30 Years of Albums in My Wheelhouse: 1992

What can I say about 1992? There have been all kinds of documentaries made about the year. It all seemed to begin with the four white LA police officers being acquitted in the Rodney King beating which launch the city of LA, and the Watts and South Central neighborhoods specifically, into several days of rioting. Later, former Reagan cabinet member Caspar Weinberger was indicted for his role in the Iran-Contra affair. US President George HW Bush and Russian leader Boris Yeltsin put a formal end to the Cold War. And two Southerners by the name of Bill Clinton and Al Gore were nominated for, and, eventually, elected President and Vice President of the USA.

En Vogue

And in music, 1992 was the year in which the underground became the mainstream. All of a sudden, everything that I had been listening to had become popular with teenagers across the country. As a man closing in on his thirties, it was comforting to hear the strains of Dr. Dre, Beastie Boys and R.E.M. blasting from the windows of the dorm rooms across the Ball State campus. Alternative music was so hot that even my early-80s stalwarts such as XTC and The Cure were having pop success in the States.

Sugar

Now, the music of MY twenties was cool. And the second Lollapalooza tour blew the doors off the pop cultural phenomenon. We had Time magazine with Pearl Jam’s lead singer Eddie Vedder on the cover. Additionally, I went into a Kohl’s department store only to see tattered flannels being displayed everywhere as if this were some fashion trend they could cash in on. Even Top 40 radio was picking up the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Dre, Ice Cube and any other flavors of the moment. The only thing that allowed these artists radio airplay was the fact that they began to release edited versions of their “hits” to be played on the air, a practice still in use today. Remember, NONE of us cuss.

Phish

However, as you get older, you know this trends will never last forever. Sure, they upset the cart, but eventually the horse learns to pull that cart, then the revolution is over. In this case, the horse is Wall Street. And when they see that money is to be made, they will go into every scene and suck the life out of it. For example, all kinds of Seattle bands started to be signed to the major labels. In the wake of the city’s Big Four’s success (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains), all the bands starting hooking their careers up to the industry gravy train. One by one, these little punk bands from the grunge scene were picked off. First, Mudhoney, then Tad, Screaming Trees, until, when the dust finally settled, a new lesser band called Candlebox and the unrelated-to-the-scene Presidents of the United States of America were signed.

The Lemonheads

And, the signings did not quit. No Wave noisemakers Sonic Youth was with a major label, as were Ice-T’s thrash metal band Body Count and even way-out-of-the-mainstream The Butthole Surfers were signed. It got to be ridiculous to read about all the stupid signings taking place at the time. But, that’s how the US economy works; suck it until the well’s dry.

Canada’s own The Tragically Hip

However, for the next three to five years we were blessed with some outstanding music. But, at the same time, rock music may have been killed in the process, giving way to Nu Metal, teen music, pop punk and some other last gasps of the old way of doing things. Unfortunately, the music scene really has not recovered from this feeding frenzy. That era of gangsta rap and alternative music has given way to whatever is being pimped on YouTube and Spotify. All of each have replaced a city’s unique scene with its own sound. Perhaps, one day, we will get back to that. Yet, you have to admit that the pandemic has set things back a bit. Still, after observing the enthusiasm people displayed at the recent Elton John concert I saw a couple of weeks ago, people are itching for a communal experience. Personally, I hope that experience is for live music and won’t settle for the DJ culture of electronica, which is a nice little genre, even though I feel it has run its course.

With all of that said, let’s take a look at 1992 in all of its glory with my countdown.

50. Pharcyde – Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde

49. Body Count – Body Count

48. Blind Melon – Blind Melon

47. Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted

46. Bruce Springsteen – Lucky Town

45. Ministry – Psalm 69

44. Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power

43. They Might Be Giants – Apollo 18

42. 4 Non Blondes – Bigger, Better, Faster, More!

41. TLC – Ooh…on the TLC Tip

40. L7 – Bricks Are Heavy

39. White Zombie – La Sexorcisto!

38. Suzanne Vega – 99.9°F

37. Morrissey – Your Arsenal

36. k.d. lang – Ingenue

35. PJ Harvey – Dry

34. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Henry’s Dream

33. Ice Cube – The Predator

32. The Tragically Hip – Fully Completely

31. The Black Crowes – The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

30. Phish – A Picture of Nectar

29. Various Artists – The Bodyguard [The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

28. Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes

27. Bruce Springsteen – Human Touch

26. Sonic Youth – Dirty

25. Madonna – Erotica

24. Mary J. Blige – What’s the 411?

23. Annie Lennox – Diva

22. Faith No More – Angel Dust

21. Los Lobos – Kiko

20. Arrested Development – 3 Years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the Life of…

19. Sade – Love Deluxe

18. Stone Temple Pilots – Core

17. Peter Gabriel – Us

16. The Cure – Wish

15. XTC – Nonsuch

14. Alice in Chains – Dirt

13. The Jayhawks – Hollywood Town Hall

12. Beastie Boys – Check Your Head

11. En Vogue – Funky Divas

10. The Lemonheads – It’s a Shame About Ray

9. Neil Young – Harvest Moon

8. Prince & the New Power Generation – (Love Symbol)

7. Various Artists – Singles [The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

6. Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine

5. Gin Blossoms – New Miserable Experience

4. Sugar – Copper Blue

3. Paul Weller – Paul Weller

2. Dr. Dre – The Chronic

1. R.E.M. – Automatic for the People

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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