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Year to Remember: 1992

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

When historians reflect on the 1990s and popular music, 1991 tends to get all the glory. After all, it was the breakthrough year for Nirvana, the genre-hopping Lollapalooza music festival, and a slate of progressive hip hop artists led by A Tribe Called Quest. But Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston has another year in mind: 1992. In the next installment of our "Year to Remember" series, Johnston joins us to discuss the year that brought us not one, but three classic debuts: Pavement's "Slanted and Enchanted," Mary J. Blige's "What's the 411?" and PJ Harvey's "Dry."

Guests:

Maura Johnston

Comments [16]

Noam Sane from Harrisburg, PA

If you're gonna sell 1992 to me with Guns & Roses, Madonna, and Whitney Houston, I'm not buying.

Seriously - "November Rain"? You gotta be kidding.

Jul. 06 2011 04:45 PM
brian from manhattan

1992. Mazzy Star. Listen to it now. Timeless.

Jun. 08 2011 10:22 PM
Mickey from New York

odd as it may seem, I've always thought that Nirvana/grunge's ascendance saved the Beastie Boys career. In 1991, they were dead, then when grunge happened, it made it safe for them to go back to their punk roots and merge that with hip hop. 1992-1998 is their most successful period.

Jun. 08 2011 04:12 PM
Bill from Brooklyn

While the mainstream was ruining/being ruined by a handful of bands from the "indie" scene, lots of other independent bands were putting out some pretty good records that year.

Come - Eleven: Eleven
Jawbox- Novelty
The Nation Of Ulysses - Plays Pretty For Baby
NoMeansNo - Wrong
Shudder To Think - Get Your Goat
The Jesus Lizard - Liar
Beat Happening - You Turn Me On
Superchunk - Tossing Seeds
Laughing Hyenas - Crawl
Yo La Tengo - May I Sing With Me

among others.

Jun. 08 2011 03:22 PM
jay eisenberg from glen rock, nj

Ask Erik if his old sixth grade art teacher gets any credit for playing the Allman Bros. in class

Jun. 08 2011 02:55 PM
Soundcheck producer

Hey Dorothy: We did a companion segment last week with writer David Hajdu about the importance of age 14 in the life of music fans. Check it out!

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/soundcheck/2011/jun/02/formative-year-age/

Jun. 08 2011 02:48 PM
Dorothy from Brooklyn

Maybe instead of asking about the best year in music we should be asking what age we were during our self-selected best year in music. I didn't have a Bar Mitzvah but if I had it would have coincided pretty neatly with my best year in music, too.

Jun. 08 2011 02:42 PM
Mark from Brooklyn

What?!?

Friday I'm in Love? Deeper and Deeper?

That's scratching the very bottom of the barrel. If you have to invoke so many bands' C-level material... not much of a year. Bizarre choice.

Jun. 08 2011 02:27 PM
Debbie from Brooklyn

I graduated from h.s. in 1992, so the year brings back a lot of memories. I loved Nirvana of course (1991 but still very fresh in 1992).

I got "Little Earthquakes" as a h.s. graduation gift. (1991 release too, I believe)

I also liked "Blood Sugar Sex Magic," which seems crazy to me now. :)

Was "Why?" by Annie Lennox from that year too? I remember getting the cassette single of that.

Jun. 08 2011 02:23 PM
Telegram Sam from Staten Island

1987. That was the year POST-punk broke. All the "indie" * bands I dug were suddenly playing stadiums -- depeche mode, the cure, echo and the bunnymen, new order, jane's addiction, the cult, etc...

(* the word we used before alternative, though these bands were mostly on majors)

Jun. 08 2011 02:22 PM
Bill from Brooklyn

Spiritualized's first and best album, Lazer Guided Melodies came out in 1992.

Jun. 08 2011 02:22 PM
Matthew from brooklyn

For sidestream becoming mainstream
Band: Helmet
Album: Meantime

Jun. 08 2011 02:22 PM
Brad

Having grown up to the rock of the 70's and getting burned out by hair bands in the 80's, those new bands of 92 were a musical rebirth for me: Nirvana, screeming trees, SOUNDGARDEN!!!!,
STP, Alice in Chains.... I spent way too much on CD's that year.

Jun. 08 2011 02:20 PM
Nick from Uws

1992....the year melody, romance, fun, listenability began to die and noise, racket, unlistenability, tunelessness took their place.

The 80s...the last decade of great pop songwriting. There is nothing from the 90s that gives me pleasure to listen to. That induces me to DREAM. Wait..I take that back; Eliot Smith.

Jun. 08 2011 02:19 PM

3 of my 5 guitar students (all under 15) are learning Nirvana tunes. Reading that Curt Cobain was in to Os Mutantes turned me onto them (I'm 46).

Jun. 08 2011 02:13 PM
Catherine K. from Brooklyn

1992 will, for me, always be the year of ZOO-TV. With its blend of art, sound, music, politics and theater, U2 changed the concert-going experience forever. I don't think any tour, ever, has been more intelligent, forward-looking, or memorable.

On a personal level, I was just entering university in September of 1992, and seeing that concert (a few times) earlier that year inspired me to look into bands, artists, and authors I hadn't previously been aware of. Suddenly The Pixies, Jenny Holzer, & Charles Bukowski became not only my cultural touchstones, but my personal heroes.

Jun. 08 2011 02:13 PM

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