Friday, May 10, 2019

25 years ago in music: Weezer, Sunny Day Real Estate, Sonic Youth

1994 was a great year for music, and May 10 was one of the better days that year. Three bands, all categorized as alt rock but all significantly different from each other, put out great albums 25 years ago today.

Weezer's debut album (self-titled but known as the Blue Album) introduced the world to a joyously poppy group that used the noisy guitar sounds of grunge rock but had no need for the angst associated with grunge.

Weezer also differed from many bands of the time by clearly articulating their lyrics, allowing vivid words to pop out from the songs: "destroy my sweater," "watch me unravel," "Mary Tyler Moore," "found Jesus," "ancient feelings," etc.

"Buddy Holly" is a tribute to that pioneer of nerdy rock songs.

In "Say It Ain't So," Rivers Cuomo tells us to "be cool." But we love Weezer because they never seem to care if they're seen as "cool."

Sunny Day Real Estate also released their debut album, Diary. The standout track, "Seven," is far from the comical quality of Weezer. In this song, Sunny Day Real Estate seems to convey a mini-drama even though they words are so slurred you can't understand them, making them all the more intriguing.

The legendary Sonic Youth put out their 8th album, and their most wordily titled album: Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star.

In the lead single, "Bull in the Heather," Kim Gordon talks more than sings. As usual for Sonic Youth, the main interest of the song isn't vocals but guitars, both noisy and melodic.


Norman said...

I bought the Sunny Day Real Estate album fall of '94 based on positive reviews (that's the way we used to do it!) and for some reason never really listened to it until this year. I was more into fey indie pop and psychedelia at the time and had a stack of other cd's to listen to. I only recently found out it is so highly regarded and influential today. I gave it a listen, can see it's qualities, but the moment has passed and my fire has dimmed a bit for that type of music.

The music you loved in the past never sounds dated, but the music you missed in its time does- it's a weird phenomenon.

Art in LA said...

I had never heard of Sunny Day Real Estate before. I’ll have to take a closer look now. For me, they have that classic grungey, indie sound of that era. I like the homage to A-ha with their use of the pencil-style animation in that video, but in color.

What do you think of the recent Weezer covers? I think they’re a lot of fun.

Off topic, but 150 years ago today, May 10, 1869, the Golden Spike was hammered home to complete the transcontinental railroad. Not really that long ago. A lot of stuff has happened on May 10ths.