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.
shes a super cool glam punk mom who tends to be. a bit too cool. shes like the mom that tries super hard to be best friends w her kid, and can be a little overbearing to steven and intrude on his space. she loves rocking out and being loud and destructive in general, making messes anywhere she goes and kind of just leavin them there 4 anyone else to deal with. shes irresponsible but amazing to party with
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.
Did anyone else get a little nervous when G sang. I don't know why I guess because she really can sing great but some people aren't fans and just was people to fail. I didn't want views to be critical. I loved the song tonight they were great and G was great. It was the perfect song proving you don't have to belt out a song like Alicia's team did (which was great). All 3 of her singers have big voices. I love subtle songs they just pull you in and the up beat part at the end was fantastic.
Haha. I wasn’t worried. I know she has a unique voice that some people aren’t drawn to and they will probably be critical regardless. But if she’s proven anything with her career, it’s that she is incredible at singing any genre and she’s great at knowing her vocal limits. She’s been successful with songs in ska, punk, pop rock, classic rock, R&B, hip hop, country, and now that I know of that Brian Setzer Orchestra song, swing and rock-a-billy. (And probably more.)
Speaking of that song, Brian Setzer said this about asking Gwen to do that song back in 1998: (x)
I kind of feel like that is how Gwen is with every style of music. She’s super willing to try it and also very aware when it works and doesn’t work.
I think a lot of times in group songs, her voice is actually the one that gives the harmony the best sound and texture. Like in Waterfalls with the coaches, her voice rings through and is so beautiful if you listen to it on a speaker in a bathroom (lol, I know). It’s really the voice that blends everybody else’s together and makes the harmony.
But I loved that song choice. Gwen, Brennley, and Hunter were able to sing in their own individual styles and it still came out great. It really was a good song choice for the three of them. Definitely one of my favorite coach and team performance I’ve seen.
So yeah. Me and my son Abner (@prekdropout) finally put out this pop punk/ska project we been doing since ‘09. Ssj homie Juan joined on lead guitar and recorded/mixed/mastered the whole thing like a champ. Y’all should go check it out cause its actually pretty dope, I promise
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!