Some amazing music came out in 1990. By the time those little trick-or-treaters knocked on our apartment door that night, I’d spent what little expendable income I had on some brilliant records — and thanks to MTV, a cable station that used to be focused on music, I had access to many more.
And so when I wasn’t listening to sound effects and dialog at my editing bench, I had my cans plugged into my Walkman. When Jody was out of the apartment, I was listening to my Walkman. Walking up to Hollywood Boulevard? Walkman.
Portable tape players had some advantages over iPods and streaming music. Being limited to the one tape stuffed into the Walkman forced one to listen to an album in its entirety. It’s not like I was going to carry around 100 tapes everywhere I went, and because fast forward sucked up batteries I wasn’t going to skip songs.
I’m not going to romanticize tape hiss or suggest that portable cassette players were in any way more convenient — that’s just crazy talk. But slowing down, listening to an album all the way through — I’ll take that over cherry picking songs all day long.
Anyway, here are some deep cuts from new releases that you would’ve found in my stacks in October 1990.
“Then She Did,” Jane’s Addiction. From Ritual de lo Habitual, released August 21, 1990. This remains my favorite Jane’s song.
“Della Brown,” Queensryche. From Empire, released September 4, 1990. This was a huge album thanks to hits like “Silent Lucidity,” but this cut in particular grabbed me for some reason that I still can’t figure out.
“The Last Day of Our Acquaintance,” Sinead O’Connor. From I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, released that March. There’s not a bad cut on this record, but this is one of my favorites.
“Man on the Corner,” Urban Dance Squad. From Mental Floss for the Globe, released March 23, 1990. How did these guys not end up huge? “Deeper Shade of Soul” was a hit, and then they disappeared. That’s a damn shame, because this album was rock solid.
“Come Bite the Apple,” Mother Love Bone. From Apple, released July 19, 1990. An essential album. Seriously. If you don’t have this one in your stacks you have a huge gap.
“Fight the Fight,” Living Colour. From Time’s Up, released August 20, 1990. Living Colour could do no wrong as far as I was concerned, but I liked this cut in particular because it showcased what an exceptional musician each band member was.
“Sadly Beautiful,” The Replacements. From All Shook Down, released September 25, 1990. Was I disappointed that the ‘Mats were now mellowed out and Bob Stinson-free? Yeah, of course, but I refused to give up on them. Thank goodness, because there are some real nuggets on those later albums.
“Wang Dang Doodle,” Hindu Love Gods. From Hindu Love Gods, released October 5, 1990. Warren Zevon fronting REM minus Michael Stipe? Yes, please.
“It’s Love,” King’s X. From Faith Hope Love, released October 23, 1990. Not a deep cut, but it may as well have been considering how little these guys are regarded outside of their loyal fan base. King’s X is another band that should’ve been huge.
“Sister Luck,” The Black Crowes. From Shake Your Money Maker, released January 24, 1990. I wore this tape out, and then I played it some more. Absolutely loved it.
Well isn’t that interesting. Compiling this playlist was like taking a punch in the gut. While I wrap this up “Sister Luck” is playing in the background, and I may as well be holed up in Su Casa apartment #207 in Hollywood, Walkman on my belly and Jody on my mind. I guess that’s why music matters.