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Tag: Attack of the '90s (1-10 of 94)

Summerland Tour preview: Everclear's Art Alexakis on playing the hits and choosing food over sex

In 1995, Everclear released their second album Sparkle & Fade, which not only contained the band’s breakout hit “Santa Monica” but also a ruggedly dreamy composition called “Summerland.” Nearly two decades later, Summerland is more than just a song. It’s a franchise, and it serves as the name of Everclear frontman Art Alexakis’ touring mini-festival, which is about to kick off its third consecutive year on the road (and fourth overall). Starting this Friday, June 13, in Pompano Beach, FL, Everclear will take Soul Asylum, Eve 6, and Spacehog across North America for a healthy series of doses of alt-rock nostalgia. “These are still real bands,” Alexakis notes. “They’re not bands coming out of the mothballs to play the hits. That’s the difference between our tour and some of the other ‘90s tours. If that’s what you want to see, that’s totally cool, but that’s my thing. A lot of those bands are starting to sound like karaoke bands. I want to hear rock bands.”

Enjoy EW’s conversation with Alexakis about the new trappings of rock stardom below, and check out the official Summerland site for the full list of tour dates.

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Chris Cornell tells EW the stories behind classic 'Superunknown' songs -- EXCLUSIVE

Today marks the release of the deluxe 20th-anniversary edition of Soundgarden’s landmark 1994 album Superunknown.

The band celebrated the release of the two-disc (or five-disc, if you’re fancy) monster with a show at New York City’s Webster Hall last night—cleverly, tickets were $19.94—where they ran through the album top to bottom, with an encore of “Outshined” and “Rusty Cage” tossed in for good measure.

To properly celebrate one of the crowning achievements of the grunge era, EW caught up with Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, who shared the stories behind some of the tracks from Superunknown.

Read on to find out how Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament led the band to “Spoonman,: and exactly what the heck a “Black Hole Sun” really is (or not).  READ FULL STORY

Weezer's debut: 20 thoughts on 20 years

Weezer’s self-titled debut album came out 20 years ago today. I wrote about this watershed anniversary in the pages of this week’s issue, but here are a lot more thoughts I had while paying homage to one of the best rock debuts in the history of the medium.

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Ben Folds Five's 'The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner': 15 thoughts on 15 years

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Fifteen years ago today, Ben Folds Five released their third album, titled The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. It is by no means a masterpiece (though it is ultimately underrated), and had to have been considered a commercial disappointment after the group’s previous effort, 1997’s Whatever and Ever Amen, went Platinum on the back of the breakout single “Brick.”

But Reinhold Messner is also deeply wonderful in its strangeness, and it stands as one of the ballsier post-crossover albums a one-hit wonder ever produced. (And make no mistake: BFF is a one hit wonder—Folds had solo success after the band broke up, but their impact as a collective begins and ends with “Brick.”) To celebrate the album’s 15th anniversary (an off-kilter number, I acknowledge), here are 15 thoughts about an album that I literally think about every day.

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Kurt Cobain's life and legacy: A conversation with biographer Charles R. Cross

Twenty years ago, we lost Kurt Cobain. Few singular stars were as deeply influential as the Nirvana frontman, who smashed apart the otherness of the rock star persona and made it a more egalitarian pursuit.

No two Nirvana albums were ever alike, and it seemed like Cobain’s musical horizons were continuing to expand when he left us. His approach to singing, his songwriting style, and his band’s shifting dynamics so permeated rock radio that there seemed to be an entire subgenre of hit-making bands (Bush, Silverchair, Sponge, and the like) who seemed to exist solely as Nirvana avatars. READ FULL STORY

The Unsung Melodies of Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain’s old home sits in Seattle’s quiet Denny-Blaine neighborhood, a posh place with water views where people probably kept to themselves even before an iconic rock star died in their midst. The room over the garage where the Nirvana singer’s body was found on April 8, 1994, after he ended his life at 27 with a gunshot wound to the head, is now gone, and the house is ­isolated by a large fence, an imposing gate, and some Middle-earth-level greenery growing up around it, so fans tend to stick to Viretta Park next door. There, a pair of benches have acted as a standing tribute to Cobain, with decades’ worth of messages etched into the wood by grunge pilgrims from around the world. I’ve made this trek myself ­multiple times, and as I sit on one of the benches, the same question that has occupied alt-rock devotees for the past 20 years tugs at me: Had he not died so young, what would Kurt Cobain’s music sound like now?

 

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What would Kurt Cobain's music sound like today?

In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, I ruminate over the anniversary of the death of one of the last great rock stars with a simple question: Had he not died in April 1994, what might Kurt Cobain’s music have sounded like now?

In order to find some possible answers, I talked to Cobain’s friends and collaborators about his potential musical directions; the master playlist craftspeople at Beats Audio took those cues and built a batch of songs that help extrapolate what Cobain might have sounded like had he lived.

“Cobain always seemed like an old soul and I agree that he would have continued to explore more acoustic music, as opposed to electric,” says Beats’ Scott Plagenhoef. “He wrote personal lyrics but they were opaque and non-linear and he never wrote narratives. There is also a temptation to assume major creative forces like Cobain would remain progressive into their older age but the fact of the matter is that was never a quality that he displayed even during his lifetime. There is no indication he would have embraced electronic music, for example.”

The playlist includes a handful of tracks that seem like inevitable Cobain compositions (Elliott Smith’s “Waltz No. 2 (XO),” Wilco’s “How To Fight Loneliness,” The White Stripes’ “We’re Going To Be Friends”), as well as some reasonable stretches (EMA’s “California,” Cat Power’s “He War,” Lambchop’s “My Face Your Ass”). Spin the whole thing here while you consider what might have been.

What do you think Kurt Cobain would have sounded like in 2014? Let us know in the comments.

Nine Inch Nails' 'The Downward Spiral': 20 years of filth and fury

Though I had dipped in and out of MTV throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s, tuning in for the manic kitsch of Remote Controlthe clever smarm of The Half-Hour Comedy Hour, and the occasional Skid Row video, I didn’t really go all in on the network—and thus music videos—until 1994. I had become deeply invested in the narrative running through the third season of The Real World, which was the great San Francisco-based slobberknocker between Pedro and Puck. That show became the only thing people talked about during middle school study halls, so I immersed myself in one of the earliest revolutionary reality shows, and often stuck around for the videos.

I have vivid memories of sitting in the dark in my living room after my parents had gone to bed, watching clip after clip on the network (this was still the era when a Saturday night meant several consecutive hours of music videos shown under various umbrellas). A handful of those videos from that year stuck with me, simply because they were in such heavy rotation: Nirvana’s Unplugged performance of “All Apologies,” Smashing Pumpkins’ sci-fi clip for “Rocket,”  Soudgarden’s terrifying “Black Hole Sun,” and the Beastie Boys’ kinetic ’70s cop show homage “Sabotage.” (There was also the always-playing clip for Janet Jackson’s “Any Time, Any Place,” which I found boring at the time but now I find cripplingly sexy.)

But only one video really mattered to me, and that was Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer.” READ FULL STORY

Fast talking at the end of the world: 15 thoughts on hip-hop's 1998 middle age

Just last week, one of the topics on EW Radio was the number of genre-defining hip-hop albums hitting their twentieth anniversaries this year.

Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle, Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders, and Salt-N-Pepa’s Very Necessary all just wrapped their second decade. Those all represent different corners of the rap universe, and they all point to a crucial moment when hip-hop became such an overwhelming presence that mainstream culture had no choice but to move in its direction, rather than the other way around. The success of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, which dropped in late ’92, started the trend, and it reached its apotheosis with the one-two punch of Notorious B.I.G.’s 1994 debut Ready to Die and Tupac’s 1995 crossover smash Me Against the World.

Plenty of rap records had found their way to the upper echelon of the charts, though they were primarily pandering or novelty tracks (in ’92, both Kriss Kross’ “Jump” and Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” became Hot 100 chart toppers). The albums from ’93 were purer hip-hop, and they were crafted by fantastically charismatic characters who were singular in their delivery and presentation. The success of Doggystyle was particularly jaw-dropping—listening to that album 20 years on, it still packs an incredible impact both as a unique piece of pop music and as a remarkably dirty statement of purpose.

Those albums are unimpeachable classics, and by design there’s not a whole lot more to add to that conversation. So let’s fast-forward five years to the albums from late ’98 that are now turning 15 years old. They represent a strange middle age for hip-hop, as its dominance on the pop chart began to be taken for granted and just about everybody began to lose their way.

There are plenty of notable big-ticket rap records from 1998’s fourth quarter, and none of them are classics. It could even be argued that not a single one of them is any good. But they do represent a culture in transition, and it’s a fascinating look at where hip-hop was and how it managed to get to the place it is now. So on the 15th anniversary of Busta Rhymes’ E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front, Method Man’s Tical 2000: Judgment Day, Mystikal’s Ghetto Fabulous, Ice Cube’s War & Peace Volume 1: The War Disc, RZA’s Bobby Digital In Stereo, DMX’s Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, Juvenile’s 400 Degreez, and Redman’s Doc’s Da Name 2000, here are 15 thoughts on the 15th anniversary of a weird time for hip-hop.

1. Everybody totally thought Y2K was going to be a real thing
For anybody too young or too unborn to remember Y2K, it seems utterly ridiculous. READ FULL STORY

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