Songs To Learn and Sing Golden Years #12: 1994

by George_East on February 24, 2014

With Jackie South’s posting of Oasis’ debut single, Supersonic a couple of weeks back, 1994 became the first of the years of the 1990s to enter our Golden Years pantheon by having 20 Songs to Learn and Sing posted.   The full list of years together with the total number of songs it took to reach the 20 song marker is as follows: 1967 (411),1969 (440), 1980 (495),1977 (539),2011 (543),1979 (561),2012 (641),1978 (706),1981 (730),2008 (758) and 2013 (790).

It is not surprising that 1994 is the first of the years of the 1990s to make it to 20 songs because it was, of course, the year of Brit Pop.  Although sometimes Brit Pop is seen as originating with Suede’s debut album in 1993, in reality Suede belonged on their own – an androgynous mixture of early 1970s glam rock Bowie and bed sit indie that woke British music up from its post-Madchester malaise. 

Brit Pop was something different – a swaggering mostly (the consciously camp of much of Pulp aside) return to traditional rock values.  Even in its female form (Elastica/Sleeper/Echobelly) it was macho and basic.   It was initially refreshing, not for its originality but for its in your face  confidence: Oasis wanted to be rock n roll stars and wanted everyone to know it.  

For the first time in a decade leading British bands seemed not to be apologising for their own existence.  Effete shoe-gazing indie bands had been the main stay since C86, only broken by the drug and dance influences of the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays of the musical world.   The moment was summed up by those ultimate musical chameleons, Primal Scream who turned from Andrew Weatherall ecstasy taking ravers to Rolling Stones copyists.

In the end this re-assertion of a meat and potatoes rock ethic would also be Brit Pop’s undoing, as Oasis and their many tired copyists released the same album again and again ad tedium.    Blur would escape this cycle precisely by breaking with the whole mockney Kinks/Small Faces persona that had been their making, with 1997’s Pavement and Sonic Youth influenced eponymous album, leaving their erstwhile rivals sounding like dinosaurs.

Elsewhere in music the year marked the last year of the Golden Age of Hip Hop and saw the return of Johnny Cash with the first of his Rick Rubin collaborations, American Recordings.  And the year saw Kurt Cobain commit suicide at the age of 27, marking the end of an era.

Weirdly Brit Pop feels culturally like a Blair-era moment (probably because of that cringeworthy photo of Tony Blair hanging out with Noel Gallagher and Alan McGee at Downing Street).  It was in fact music that shook up the greyness and political chaos of the end of the Major premiership – as ‘the bastards’ did everything they could to make their party and the country ungovernable.  

Amongst the notable albums released that year was: Whiskey For The Holy Ghost Mark Lanegan, Dubnobasswithmyheadman – Underworld; Too High To Die – The Meat Puppets; Dookie – Green Day; Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain – Pavement; Stereopathetic Soulmanure Beck; Selected Ambient Works Volume 2Aphex Twin; His N Hers – Pulp; Superunkown Soundgarden; Vauxhall and I  – Morrissey; Promenade – The Divine Comedy; Live Through This – Hole; Let Love In Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds; Up To Our Hips – The Charlatans; Parklife Blur; American Recordings –Johnny Cash; Southerplayalisticadillacmuzik – Outkast; Middle Class Revolt The Fall; Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star – Sonic Youth; Weezer – Weezer; New Times – Violent Femmes; Ill Communication – The Beastie Boys; Teenager of the Year – Frank Black;  Now I’m A Cowboy – The Auteurs; Bee Thousand – Guided By Voices;  One Foot In The Grave – Beck; Tiger Bay St Etienne; Music For The Jilted Generation – The Prodigy; Roman Candle Elliott Smith; Autogeddon Julian Cope; Life Model – The Blue Aeroplanes; Mars Audiac Quintet Stereolab; Sleeps With Angels Neil Young & Crazy Horse; Bakesale – Sebadoh; Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age Public Enemy; Without A Sound Dinosaur Jr; The Holy Bible Manic Street Preachers; Definitely Maybe – Oasis; File Under: Easy Listening Sugar; Ready To Die – The Notorious B.I.G; Monster REM; Dog Man Star – Suede; Second Coming The Stone Roses; Nas – Illmatic; Primal ScreamGive Out But Don’t Give In; Nirvana – Unplugged In New York.

The first 20 Songs to Learn and Sing from 1994 are (in order of appearance):

  1. #36: Oasis, Rock N Roll Star;
  2. #51: Pavement, Unfair;
  3. #177: Jeff Buckley, Lilac Wine;
  4. #221: Pulp, Do You Remember The First Time;
  5. #222: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Do You Love Me?
  6. #226: Blur, Parklife;
  7. #269: Blur, Bank Holiday;
  8. #368: Primal Scream, Rocks;
  9. #393: The Charlatans, Can’t Get Out of Bed;
  10. #459: Beastie Boys, Sabotage;
  11. #523: The Blue Aeroplanes, Broken and Mended;
  12. #563: Nas, Life’s A Bitch;
  13. #574: The Presidents of the United States of America, Lump;
  14. #611: Ali Farka Toure, Diaraby;
  15. #617: Yossou N’Dour with Neneh Cherry, 7 Seconds;
  16. #627: Nirvana, The Man Who Sold The World;
  17. #630: Sonic Youth, Superstar;
  18. #784: Elliott Smith, Roman Candle;
  19. #788: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Red Right Hand;
  20. #848: Oasis, Supersonic.

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