A 20 Year Salute To Some Of Rock Music’s Best
The past few years have been a continuous twenty year anniversary of some of the most awesome music. The 90s were a pivotal decade with the emergence of Grunge and the movies that mirrored this genre such as “Singles” and “Reality Bites.” It was a great time to be young because you followed the rule that there were no rules. You could be a lazy, dreamy-eyed teen who listened to rock music all day long — nothing else mattered.
Not only was this decade for the rebellious, emotional dudes in their frayed jeans, flannel shirts and Doc Martens, but it was a time that catapulted amazing women rockers forward. Here are a few of the most notable “twenty years ago anniversaries”:
Right now, twenty years ago PJ Harvey was a peculiar force to be reckoned with. Creative juices poured from her soul, with her deep and haunting vocals. Rid of Me, PJ Harvey’s second album was released twenty years ago on May 4, 1993. I may have been young the first time I heard PJ Harvey, but I was captivated by her rawness.
Twenty years ago, June 1, 2013, Soul Asylum released their international hit “Runaway Train,” the song won a Grammy for Best Rock Song in 1994. The track hit the airways around the same time the quintessential Generation X film, “Reality Bites” was released and Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner just happened to be dating the film’s star Winona Ryder, which was way cool.
Twenty years ago on August 9, 2013, The Breeders released the single “Cannonball,” which I first heard on a mixed CD my older brother made for me, and it instantly became a favorite. And to mark the anniversary, The Breeders performed “Cannonball” this week on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” I wondered if anyone in the audience was even born when the song came out.
This September 2013, it will be twenty years that the Smashing Pumpkins released “Today,” their second single off Siamese Dream. I vividly remember this video, which was played repeatedly on MTV, with Billy Corgan driving an ice cream truck and bassist Jimmy Chamberlin in a dress. The song is recognized for bringing the band to mainstream success.
Last year, November 2012, Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled debut album turned 20. An anniversary box set was issued that featured never-before-released material, a re-mastered CD version with three bonus cuts, DVDs, and a 40-page booklet. This was a breakthrough album because it seamlessly fused the sound of rap and heavy metal. Not to mention unveiling the band’s head strong and heartily expressive lyrics.
2011 was a slew of twenty year anniversaries, one of the most noteworthy was a little known album by Nirvana called Nevermind. This insane masterpiece was released in 1991 and I assure you twenty years from now — or even a hundred and twenty years from now — it will still resonate with young kids. Nirvana had so much to give musically that even after iconic frontman Kurt Cobain’s death, drummer Dave Grohl continued on to front his own band, the Foo Fighters, successfully for nearly two decades.
Pearl Jam marked their twenty year anniversary in 2011 with a film documentary, “Pearl Jam Twenty.” Pearl Jam has been a continual presence in music through the years, while they’re not my number 1 of all time grunge bands, I can listen endlessly to their earlier stuff like “Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town,” released in 1993, as much as the newer music like “The Fixer” released in 2009. And Eddie Vedder’s presence alone was quite funny, effortlessly no less, in the film “Singles,” a classic depiction of what the 90s solidified.
And next year will mark the 20th Anniversary of the release of The Offspring’s Smash, which might be ranked as one of the best albums of the 90s. The album produced a number of hit singles including “Come Out and Play,” “Self-Esteem,” and “Gotta Get Away,” all songs still played often on rock stations today.
Without a doubt the 90s produced music that lingers on and on, and I wonder will the music today have the same massive impact twenty years down the road? Most of these 20-year-old bands and others like, Soundgarden, Jane’s Addiction and Alice in Chains, after some hiatuses, side projects and new frontmen, are still kickin’ it strong. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Here’s to the next twenty years.