Songs of the Year—1995

Must’ve been mid-afternoon
I could tell by how far the child’s shadow stretched out and
he walked with a purpose
in his sneakers, down the street
he had, many questions
like children often do

Songs of the Year: “Hell”, Squirrel Nut Zippers; “Counting Blue Cars”, Dishwalla

Runners-up: “Friends of P”, The Rentals; “Lump”, Presidents of the United States of America

Honorable Mentions: “Good”, Better than Ezra; “You Oughta Know” Alanis Morrissette

Not every year is dominated by songs that came out in that year; in the same way, the memory of a year will rarely be dictated by the songs you would like to have listened to or even the albums you actually bought. 1995 was still the year of Alanis (before she felt the need to thank India); none of us cared that she didn’t seem to understand irony or why one hand was in her pocket.

(Best suggestions from my friends at the time: (1) she’s hiding a roach; (2) sex toy in her hand; (3) she has an old woman’s hand and if it sees the light of day she’ll suddenly become an octogenarian; (4) she doesn’t have a hand!)

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Songs of the Year 1995

Runners Up “Lump” by The Presidents of the United States of America”
Anything off of the Batman Forever soundtrack
Honorable Mention: Smashing Pumpkins “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”

I think 1995 was the year I really started to have my own musical tastes as opposed to what I heard other people enjoy, namely my brother. This rift can be seen most clearly in my liking of the biggest post-grunge teen act from Australia, Silverchair, and my brother’s continued disdain for the band. But, I get ahead of myself. Where was I and where was music in 1995?

I was in the fourth grade. I loved the X-Men and still loved Nirvana so my clothes reflected that: lots of comic t-shirts and flannel–the pictures are pretty funny and invdicative of the times. This is the era of me listening to Nirvana before school while thinking for some reason that being somber was cool. I still didn’t understand Kurt killing himself and I probably still don’t. I can’t remember if POGS were big this year or the year before.

So I do remember rocking out to Alanis Morrisette’s first song, but I would not now include that in songs I really like. I also did buy the Foo Fighters album that year, but I covered that in another post. I didn’t know until recently that Dave Grohl actually played all the instruments on that album which is pretty cool.

There was a rash of deaths, from the odd disappearance into a canyon by the bassist of Iron Butterfly to the overdose of beloved Shannon Hoon from Blind Melon. That hit me as a youth because I distinctly remember the “No Rain” video playing many times that day after my brother had introduced me to the band the year before. Looking at what else was going on that year, I’m sure I could go on for a while so I’ve tried to break it down to two songs and a soundtrack.

1. “Tomorrow” Silverchair

I know my brother still hates Silverchair and I can understand why. They are a grunge enthusiaist band whose first few albums were done when they were barely out of middle school. The reasons he doesn’t like them are the reasons I do like them. Cobain had just died and these kids did an album all on their own which sounded good to me then and not terrible now.

I always crank up “Tomorrow” when it comes on the local alternative station. It’s not the most sophisticated stuff but when I think about what I was doing in middle school, the album becomes even more impressive. I learned to play “Israel’s Son”, the first and second best track on the album, recently on my bass and I definitely felt some nostalgia.

The two above-mentioned songs are my favorites but the whole album is good to my ears even still. Not amazing, but good. The lead singer, Daniel Johns, has disowned the albums and they don’t often play those songs any more,. He calls it “their high school albums or something like that. Nevertheless, I would be proud of such an album at that age and he should be too.


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