The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on December 16, 1993 · 140
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 140

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Boston, Massachusetts
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Thursday, December 16, 1993
Page:
140
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I -. i I :! I '' NANCY GRIFFITH 70or'c5 ,,,,,,,,,, f(P J Wl mam h r'PJy r LENNY KIVITZ W 1. Pearl Jam, "Vs." (Epic). Eddie Vedder & Co. ruled the hard-rock field. Rousing songs with mega-attitude and smarts. It was easier to stop Michael Jordan than Pearl Jam this year. 2. Midnight Oil, "Earth and Sun and Moon" (Columbia). These Aussie rockers are unsurpassed at mixing environmentally conscious idealism with solid-to-the-core rock. 3. Nanci Griffith, "Other Voices, Other Rooms" (Elektra). Folk-country diva Griffith took the favorite songs from her youth from Dylan to Townes Van Zandt and made them magical again. 4. Aerosmith, "Get a Grip" (Geffen). Boston's own arena giants got back to basics with their least formulaic disc in years. They rediscovered their rock backbone and won new respect. 5. Melissa Ferrick, "Massive Blur" (Atlantic). The North Shore-raised singer, who got her break by opening a tour for Mor-rissey, delivered a personally moving, gutsy tour de force. 6. Mick Jagger, "Wandering Spirit" (Atlantic). Mick released what seemed like the best Rolling Stones album in eons. It was only too bad Keith Richards couldn't bite into these tunes. 7. Swinging Steaks, "South-side of the Sky" (Capricorn). Boston's brainy, guitar-slinging roots band got off the national launching pad in fine, unfettered style. 8. The Samples, "The Last Drag" (W.A.R.? Records). The Samples joined the H.O.R.D.E. tour this year, but broke away from the horde with this sensitively melodic, Neil Young-influenced disc. 9. 0"Yaba, "The Game is Not Over" (Shanachie). South African reggae continues to come into its own. O'Yaba owes a debt to Peter Tosh and Lucky Dube, but that's meant as high praise. 10. Dwight Yoakam, "This Time" (Reprise). The country-rock crossover star kept crossing into new realms with this invigor- ? SINGLES: : ? Gin Blossoms, "Hey Jealousy" Tasmin Archer, "Sleeping Satellite" Lenny Kravitz, "Are You Gonna Go My Way" Us3, "Hand On The Torch" (Blue Note). Of all the CDs exploring the hybrid of rap, hip-hop and jazz, none hit the target the way this one did. The rapping is spotty, but the music makes this a powerful record. And it's on Blue Note. Nuff said. Buddy Guy, "Feels Like Rain" (Silvertone). Guy goes big-time with a star-studded album that, in sappier days, would have been titled, "Buddy and Friends." Adrian Legg, "Mrs. Crowe's Blue Waltz" (Relativity). Every few years, Legg's name pops up when people discuss the world's best 12-string guitarists. This album proves why. U2, "Zooropa" (Island). A strong, eclectic release that alienated lots of U2 fans, especially those weaned on the overblown sounds of the band's two previous albums. George Clinton, "Hey Man... Smell My Finger" (Paisley ParkWarner Bros.). This one slipped by most folks, but two or three standout cuts ("Martial Law," "Rhythm and Rhyme") make this as strong as some vintage Parliament-Funkadelic releases. THE STORY Buzzcocks, "Trade Test Transmissions" (Caroline). Best thing about this new Buzzcocks album is its resemblance to the old ones. Punk rules again for these lads. Morphine, "Cure For Pain" (Rykodisc). Haunting, bluesy rock by a mostly guitarless local band led by Mark Sandman's two-string slide bass. Bizarre? Sure. Great? Definitely. Jamiroquai, "Emergency On Planet Earth" (Columbia). An all-natural, environmentally conscious blend of Sly Stone and Earth, Wind and Fire concocted by a precocious 23-year-old Englishman. Brian Eno, "Vocal" (Virgin). A three-disc retrosnective of the rnaster producer s ongma.orj containing several unreleased gems. Eno is God. Annual Grudge Pick: Dr. Dre, "The Chronic" (Death RowIn-terscope). Despite Andre Young's choice of actions (slapping the female host of a rap video show) or his choice of friends (accused murdererrapper Snoop Doggy Dogg), this was the rap CD of the year. SINGLES The Story, "So Much Mine" The Breeders, "Cannonball" M.C. Lyte, "Ruffneck" Lenny Kravitz, "Are You Gonna Go My Way" Blind Melon, "No Rain" V,,. NIRVANA 1. Nirvana, "In Utero" (DGC). No "sophomore" slump; hence, no backlash. The self-lacerating followup to punk rock's biggest album ever was bursting with pain and catharsis. 2. U2, "Zooropa" (Island). The notion that the biggest band in the world can take successful risks like this one is indeed heartening. A slinky, dense, oft disorienting disc that brought Bono and the boys out on a few 'antaliz-ing limbs. 3. Mekons, "I (Love) Me-kons" (QuarterstickTouch & Go). Love songs. Skewed, damaged, erotic, complicated love songs. Done in styles ranging from alluring pop-rock to fritzed-out noise. Gorgeous. 4. Warren Zevon, "Learning to Flinch" (Giant). The rare live album that makes the crucial cut. Solo but not unplugged Zevon puts his all into his best. 5. The Fall, "Infotainment Scan" (Matador-Atlantic). The Fall's rollicking, rickety machine gets a fresh coat of paint and singer Mark E. Smith remains as smart, scabrous and ironic as ever. 6. Kate Bush, "The Red Shoes" (Columbia). Rich and multi-layered, Bush's art rock reveals more and more with repeated listenings. Lush, sensual, provocative. 7. Lemonheads, "Come On Feel the Lemonheads" (Atlantic). Detractors call 'em bubble-grunge, perhaps missing out on Evan Dando's way with a win- soipe oppopjand n affectjng krji ( j'li. j ;fi ant, j 8. Loudon Wainwright 3d, , "History," (VirginCharisma). An oldster overlooked in the lastest folk boom, he keeps writing infectious, strong songs that live in the zone between comedy and trage-dy. 9. Butthole Surfers, "Independent Worm Saloon" (Capitol). More nastiness and dementia from the kings of pain. Their first major label effort, but still not for the faint of heart. 10. Suede, "Suede" (Columbia). Sure, it was BowieT.Rex glam redux, but for drama and passionate angst Brett Anderson and company found gold in the old mine. SINGLES "World Class Fad" Paul Wes-terberg "Creep," Radiohead "Slow Dog," Belly HI" Here we are, another year with screechin' soulman (or should we say sold-out man?) Michael Bolton whizzing toward the numero uno spot on the charts. Well, here's one list he won't "The HitsThe B-Sides" (Paisley ParkWarner Bros.). The diminuitive musical dervish's phenom career is chronicled, but it's the B-sides that kick. Earth, Wind & Fire, "The Eternal Dance" (Columbia). Celebration of the brassy band that taught the world to wiggle its butt. If you're one of those people who can resist warbling "Reasons" intently, loudly and off-key this collection is not for you. Various artists, "In Yo Face!" (Rhino). For die-hard funksters who don't mind passing out in the name of a good party. "More Bounce to the Ounce" alone is worth the price of admission. Isley Brothers, "Live!" (Elektra). The funkfest continues. Fi- JAMES TAYLOR nally, finally, finally, a live version of "Voyage to Atlantis"! Ella Fitzgerald, "Best of the Songbooks" (Verve). It's Ella. It's Arlen. It's Gershwin. It's Ell- bucks. Unessential,. . y ,." v;

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