This is the last year on my list in which I will spend more than one day covering the great albums released during a particular year. If I biased toward any music, once again, they are those years during which I was growing up, specifically 1975 through 1995. With that stated, let’s finish up 1995.
Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995). Oasis did it! They continued to stretch our their musical limbs, only to achieve everything they set out to accomplish. The Gallagher brothers held their sibling rivalry in check long enough to perfect that Beatles/Stones/Kinks/Soup Dragons/Smiths sound their were on the cusp of defining on their debut album. Oasis created the perfect English band sound, one that transcended the whole Britpop throne and never matched by Blur, Suede or Supergrass, who all came close. This is an album for the ages.
Phish – A Live One (1995). Phish are the Grateful Dead of Generation X., a great jam band that HAS to be experienced in a live setting. In all honesty, you could spend a fortune just to hear all the concert glory. But, if you want one manageable live album to discover what all the fuss is about, look no further. This double CD has it all, from the band’s only hit song “Bouncing Around the Room” to their strange showstopper “Wilson” to their appropriately titled jam song “Gumbo.” This album has all the magic.
Prince – The Gold Experience (1995). Back in 1995, Prince was in a war with his label Warner Bros. Rumor has it that Prince was in the midst of one of his fertile creative periods, as he had enough material for TWO triple albums. The first one, Prince wanted to release the project under the title of The Dawn. This project would have included these albums in an interesting order. Instead, three albums were release separately as Come, The Gold Experience and Chaos & Disorder. Of the three, The Gold Experience was the better album, though all three make for a compelling listen. When Prince got his freedom, he immediately dropped another triple-CD affair called Emancipation. Still, this album marks the last time during which Prince released a truly great album.
Pulp – Different Class (1995). While Oasis may have created the best Britpop album and Blur nailed the best song, it was Pulp who nailed down the best description British class differences on this album called Different Class. Their British hit song “Common People” really does nail the cultural differences in the social hierarchy of life in the UK. Personally, I prefer this album to the others in the Britpop sweepstakes.
Radiohead – The Bends (1995). I saw Radiohead open for R.E.M. back in 1995. And, I was pleasantly surprised by the band’s musical growth on this album. In all honesty, I did not care for the debut album. However, The Bends was a much more satisfying listen. Throughout this album, Radiohead stretched the boundaries of their sound, taking it in much more interesting places than the tired alt.rock sound found on their debut. This is the album in which Radiohead was developing into a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame act.
Supergrass – I Should Coco (1995). Much like the Nuggets-era of American garage rock, Britpop held the same sway over the youth of the UK. So, it should not have been a big surprise when three teenagers bonded over their favorite British rock artists such as The Beatles, Blur, David Bowie, The Buzzcocks, Elton John, Madness and The Who to create their debut album. All rock music should be this energetic.
The Jayhawks – Tomorrow the Green Grass (1995). The Jayhawks matured into one of the finest country rock acts since the Eagles heyday of the mid-Seventies. Throughout this album, I am reminded of those peaceful, easy feelings I got from my pre-Hotel California Eagles albums. The Jayhawks did a cover of Grand Funk’s “Bad Time” that is a power pop delight. But, the main attraction is the “Blue,” “I’ll Run Away” and “Miss Williams’ Guitar” triple-timeless song sequence. And, standing heads above all else on the album is the opener “Blue,” arguably the greatest country rock song ever.
The Smashing Pumpkins – Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995). This double album has everything that makes a double album so awesome in the first place. This is an album of overabundance, in sounds, guitars, instrumentation, vocals, literally everything. But, the grand abundance never overreaches itself. It’s as if lead Pumpkin Billy Corgan totally understood what need needed to done in the correct amounts. It’s just a great album about growing up. And, “1979” really does remind me of that year.
And, that my friends, was the way it was in my music collection back in 1995. Until next time, peace.