She’s on the western side looking at the Jersey skyline. She’s in a real bad mood so she couldn’t write back to you. She’s had the longest day and it’s a gridlocked highway. She’s in a real bad mood so she couldn’t write back to you. That poke at every bruise. Is she gonna write back to you? You’re an exhausted kid of fractured relationships. You wanna crush that gloom. Is she gonna write back to you? “Hey Allison! This city’s a total disaster without you around.” You spent the days inside avoiding social landmines “Hey Allison! This sudden detachment from friendship is making me ache.”
While you were asleep On the couch, watching a movie, smoking weed Rummaging through the utensils in the kitchen counter, In the drainer, which one’s sharper. When the light creeps in loosen my grip and crawl back into my bed. Your alarm is set to go off in a half an hour. Eyes closed. Fake snore. None the wiser.
Coming off the heels of new wave and hair metal, the 90s saw an array of new genres begin to reshape the musical landscape. Grunge, punk, ska, pop, acoustic rock and post-hardcore – and sometimes a fusion of everything – gained traction, broadening the landscape of what could be found on mainstream radio. 1995 was the apex of this musical Renaissance, seeing momentous debuts and critical additions to catalogs just before one-hit-wonders and boy bands took control of the charts. Below are our top 10 records from the year – records that inspire awe even two decades after their release.
Cheshire Cat – Blink-182 Feb. 17, 1995 Listen to: “M+Ms” and “Carousel”
The unforgettable debut from Blink-182 embodied the frantic skate-punk sound of the 90s like no other. The album encompasses the legacy Blink-182 has created, and serves as the foundation for pop punk as we know it today.
The Bends – Radiohead March 13, 1995 Listen to: “Fake Plastic Trees” and “High and Dry”
British alt-rock saw plenty of success in the 90s with important releases from Blur and Oasis, but The Bends is often touted as the album that would shape both British and American rock and roll for years to come. Though it never gained the same momentum as OK Computer and Kid A, The Bends remains a staple for well-rounded record collection 20 years later.
Red Medicine – Fugazi June 12, 1995 Listen to: “Do You Like Me” and “Long Distance Runner”
Fronted by Ian MacKaye, whose legacy in punk music is nearly unmatched, Fugazi’s influence on post-hardcore can be heard echoed in bands ranging from Nirvana to Jimmy Eat World. Red Medicine was a benchmark release for Fugazi that explored not only their punk roots, but also ventured in psychedelic and ambient music, receiving critical acclaim from music reviews and fans alike.
Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette June 13, 1995 Listen to: Literally all of them (or “Ironic” and “You Oughta Know”)
Two decades and over 33 million album sales later, Morissette’s international debut continues to inspire and receive critical acclaim. Mixing post-grunge with acoustic guitars and a harmonica, Jagged Little Pill is one of the most successful albums of the decade and helped pave the way for some of the most popular women (for example, Pink and Taylor Swift) in music today.
Answer That and Stay Fashionable – AFI July 4, 1995 Listen to: “Two of a Kind” and “I Wanna Get a Mohawk (But Mom Won’t Let Me Get One)”
Carried by fast drums and fast guitars, the debut album from AFI reflected a more prominent hardcore punk sound with production from Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and Brett Reed. While lacking the more theatrical and polished sounds of later releases, AFI’s roots in punk rock run deep and are perfectly captured in this debut.
Foo Fighters – Foo Fighters July 4, 1995 Listen to: “This Is a Call” and “Big Me”
Dave Grohl’s post-Nirvana debut was originally born from a need for anonymity. Intended to be a low key release with most of the lyrics written in the moments before recording, the self-titled album is not only the humble beginning of one of the greatest rock bands of all time, but also the second most successful release in the Foo Fighter’s catalog.
Teenage Politics – MxPx July 4, 1995 Listen to: “Punk Rawk Show” and “Teenage Politics”
“We ain’t go no place to go, so let’s go to the punk rock show…” are the first lyrics that come to mind whenever MxPx is mentioned. Simple pop punk in its simplest form, Teenage Politics consists of 18 songs that all come in under the three-minute mark, detailing perfectly the frustrations of being a teenager in the 180-second-or-less length preferred by musicians in the genre.
…And Out Come the Wolves – Rancid Aug. 22, 1995 Listen to: “Time Bomb” and “Ruby Soho”
Released at the peak of ska-punk greatness, Wolves quickly became one of Rancid’s most popular releases. Earning mainstream radio play and the attention of MTV, the album has gone on to top numerous “Best of” lists and continues to be a fan favorite.
Tragic Kingdom – No Doubt Oct. 10, 1995 Listen to: “Don’t Speak” and “Just A Girl”
Featuring multiple hit singles, Stefani’s songwriting is at its rawest on the third release from No Doubt. Despite being that unique blend of ska, reggae, new wave and punk that could only come out of the 90s, Tragic Kingdom is timeless and a must hear for anyone who even remotely enjoys music.
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness – Smashing Pumpkins Oct. 24, 1995 Listen to: “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” and “1979”
Featuring the band’s only number one album debut on Billboard, the 28 tracks featured on Mellon Collie are spread over two halves of the album – one representing day, the other night. Propelled by Billy Corgan’s self-deprecating and morose lyrics, the album spawned five successful singles and garnered the band its greatest mainstream success.
I know people like to shit on pop punk and ska but I love it. I love that I can scream along to lyrics about me sucking, you sucking, my job sucking, my parents sucking, my friends sucking, my life sucking in general, and laughing it off with the end message being “But thats okay man, thats just how it goes. I’ll get through it” all punctuated with sweet, sweet brass or other weird instruments.
Pauline Black, The Selecter and Siouxsie Sioux, Siouxsie and the Banshees
Punk had swept away all that had gone before and it was a time of reinvention really for women. There’s a very, very famous photograph that has myself, Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Viv Albertine, Siouxsie Sioux and Poly Styrene all collected together for the front cover of an NME and those were the women who did change the pop landscape.
Pauline Black, The Selecter
I think the first time I would have seen Siouxsie and the Banshees would have been Top of the Pops, 1980, when they were on there doing Happy House. It stayed with me and I could tell that, you know, there was a lot of depth to what Siouxsie was doing.
She, as an icon, was never a sex symbol. Her entire career was about refusing the male gaze, refusing to be sexualised in that way, refusing to be submissive to the male leer. In rock and roll terms that was a real first. She’s quite a kind of forbidding presence, really. There was a real toughness to Siouxsie, this refusal to compromise. And, I think fans, whether male or female, respected that. I got it completely.
I was really shy, cripplingly shy, at the time. I loved the idea that I could walk down the street looking quite alien and quite freakish and people would look at me, they’d stare, but they’d keep their distance. And I think Siouxsie inspired that in a way, because you cannot take your eyes off her. But you don’t want to get too close, because she is, frankly, terrifying.
We Are The Union - Not being biased because I trombone for them now. they’ve been my favorite band for a while. Lyrical content is probably the most superior of any ska band. also very pop-punk (if you like stuff like the wonder years, such gold, set your goals, a loss for words)
Survay Says! - Also one of my favorites, and not being biased cause i toured with them. Super energic, with songs that go hard musically and lyrically. They do the ska pop-punk thing, as well, but more mid 2000′s pop punk.
The Best of the worst - Ska-core who rips. Lyrical content is also very strong. Their songs aren’t basic major chords like a lot of ska bands. sometimes it gets super technical (for a ska band). their drummer is a beast.
The A-OK’s - Super fun, very third wave ska punk band out of Denver. Their music is just really fun, horn parts get stuck in my head sometimes. can’t listen to them without skanking tbh
Chase long beach - Honestly one of the best ska bands of the last 10 - 15 years. Female fronted, and powerful. Their horns ripped, they were making strides, then suddenly broke up
The Duppies - Trad ska/rocksteady from gainesville, FL. one of the tightest ska bands i’ve seen live. Their horns are super jazz influenced, and they have that old school ska sound down extremely tight. Very danceable
Fandangle - They were gaining a lot of hype, though i think they’re from europe. They have a full length out that was like, one of my favorite ska records in high school. i heard they were inactive, but recently got back together
The Spitvalves - Orlando Florida ska punk band made up of a bunch of dudes who really love hardcore. Now inactive, but most of the members now play in a hardcore punk band called the attack
The last slice - If you like the planet smashers, you’ll like the last slice. very 2-tone sounding third wave ska. Their songs also get me skanking every time
Oreskaband - If you don’t mind listening to music in japanese, they’re one of my favorite ska bands. Super energetic, have a pure ska sound. All female band. Their name actually translates to girl ska band in japanese lol
Hope you check out all these bands! Most of them are active, and at least half of them are touring over the next year, so keep an eye out for them!
Okay but I saw that picture and started thinking about a high school AU where Octavius is this cool, really chill, and independent skater punk who listens to pop punk/punk rock/ska (sum 41, green day, reel big fish, pain, etc) on his daily skateboard rides to and from school. And he has like 2 friends but it’s okay because they’re all like best buds in a band and he comes from a nice home where his mom loves him and his best friends and let’s them have band practice in the livingroom sometimes.
And then one day he’s riding to school and he collides with this blonde jerk and its Jed.
And Jed is like a hipster/swagfag/hippie kid who runs blogs about space and shit (all he really does is reblog pictures of stars) and he listens to indie music and is all about starbucks and trees and never cutting or styling your hair and trying to hide most of it by wearing snap backs that say ‘YOLO’ in bold letters. And Jed’s like “You just stepped on my new air Jordan’s im gonna kick your ass”
And Jed’s just really this jerk hipster kid who only dresses and acts the way he does because he comes from a broken home where no one cares about him and he only goes to school so the cops don’t come looking for him at home and make things worse. So He tries to fit in and make friends so he’ll be accepted by someone
And then they become friends and oct convinces Jed to dye and style his hair and join his band and then Octavius ends up at Starbucks every morning with a different colored flower crown every day and he blasts Bastille songs while he’s cruising in his dad’s car and he’s wearing fake big-framed glasses and one of Jed’s old red and gold snap backs . And they totally fall in love.