Tuesday, October 11, 2011

An Artist a Day: 6

Today's artists are R.E.M., Spin Doctors, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Gin Blossoms and Peter Gabriel.

Today's playlist marks the first playlist that doesn't feature a single artist or band, but instead is a group of artists with a common bond.  In the case of today, that bond is music I was listening to during my senior year in high school (minus some artists that have their own playlists).  The list was originally intended to be an REM list and was born out of the recent breakup of REM.  But it turns out that I don't really have all that much REM music, so I built today's playlist out of the REM album Life's Rich Pageant, which I had on pretty much constant repeat in my car for awhile in the fall of 1992.

1992 was a fun time for me.  It was the beginning of my senior year of high school and a pretty amazing time for me personally.  I had just made it as a varsity spirit leader, I was really expanding as a cartoonist and as an artist and I was working really hard on the school newspaper as both a cartoonist and as a writer.

The Spin Doctors were also a big part of that year's soundtrack.  The Superman-themed title song, "Pocket Full of Kryptonite," got me started listening and I found that I liked the bluesy, funky jams on their debut album, especially "What Time is It?," "Refrigerator Car," and the 12-plus minute jam "Shinbone Alley/Hard to Exist."  For awhile I actually hated the song "Two Princes" because it was on such heavy rotation on the radio stations we had playing at my senior-year place of employment, Foot Locker.

Peter Gabriel is represented on the list because of the album So.  It was already several years old in 1992, but that's when I discovered it.  And I loved the sound, especially "Red Rain" and "We Do What We're Told."  I seem to recall listening to Peter Gabriel a lot on Sundays and in the rain.  I don't know why.

Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Gin Blossoms are both from the spring of 1993.  Big Head Todd's "Broken Hearted Savior" was getting some airplay on the radio, and after a rough breakup with a girl I was dating it just spoke to me for some reason.  I liked Big Head Todd's heavy sound, and even today it sounds timeless.  Maybe it was my lack of disposable income or my changing musical tastes during college, but Sister Sweetly is the only Big Head Todd album I own.

The Gin Blossom's New Miserable Experience is an album that I started listening to some time around spring break of my senior year and carried me into my first semester in college.  I remember driving around Huntsville listening to "Hey Jealousy" and "Allison Road."  I loved that there was what seemed to be every kind of music on that album, from rock to pop to blues to country.  It was perfect for the time in my life when I was struggling to figure out who and what I wanted to be.  It was an album that couldn't really be defined, so it kept me from defining myself by the type of music I was listening to.  And for unknown reasons - and just like Big Head Todd and the Monsters - it's the only album by this band that I own.  And again, I'm not sure why.

Playlist: 85 songs, 5.9 hours

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