Influential Albums 1129-1135
Thu., Jun. 15. 2023 3:39pm EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the latest entries in the "albums that influenced me" series I started writing in May 2020.
Note: Just because an album appears on this list doesn't mean I give it a blanket endorsement. Many of the secular albums on this list are mainly there because they wound up being spoofed by ApologetiX.
1129. Under the Table and Dreaming - Dave Matthews Band
Released in September 1994, Under the Table and Dreaming was the debut LP by Dave Matthews Band. I bought my copy in early '96. The group was formed in Virginia, although Matthews himself was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and moved to New York with his family at age two. During his childhood, he spent stretches of time in South Africa (twice), the United States (twice), and England, before becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1980. Under the Table and Dreaming went to #11 on the Billboard 200 and sold six million copies in the United States, with three charting tracks: "What Would You Say" (#22 pop airplay, #5 mainstream rock, #11 alternative), "Ants Marching" (#21 pop airplay, #18 mainstream, #18 alternative), and "Satellite" (#55 pop airplay, #36 mainstream, #18 alternative). I especially liked the first two. DMB's next album, Crash, went to #2 and sold seven million, spawning their biggest hit, "Crash Into Me" (#19 pop airplay, #7 alternative). Although none of the group's subsequent LPs sold more than three million, six of them did go to #1. ApologetiX has never spoofed Dave Matthews, but his distinctive voice would be fun to do. At one point during ApX alum drummer Fred Behanna's tenure with us (1999-01), he told me that DMB's Carter Beauford was his favorite drummer at the time. Fred's successor on drums, Bill "Moose" Rieger, was also a fan of Matthews and his band.
1130. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - The Smashing Pumpkins
I think I first heard of Chicago alternative-rock group The Smashing Pumpkins in 1994 through a co-worker at Equitable Resources named Ira Bradford, who had two teenage sons at the time. My friend Dana also gave me a mix tape in '94 that included their '93 hit "Today" (#69 pop airplay, #28 mainstream, #4 alternative). But I didn't really pay too much attention until the Pumpkins' third studio LP, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Released in October '95, the double album featured 28 tracks, six of which charted: "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" (#22 pop, #4 mainstream rock, #2 alternative for six weeks), "1979" (#12 pop, #1 mainstream, #1 alternative), "Zero" (#49 pop airplay, #15 mainstream, #9 alternative), "Tonight, Tonight" (#36 pop, #4 mainstream, #5 alternative), "Muzzle" (#57 pop airplay, #10 mainstream, #8 alternative), and "Thirty-Three" (#39 pop, #18 mainstream, #2 alternative). Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness spent one week atop the Billboard 200 and sold 10 million copies. I wrote a parody of "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" in 1996, and ApologetiX recorded and released it in 2014. I spent a lot of time trying to get a good spoof idea for "1979" back in the '96 but never got anything I felt was worth pursuing. It was a very listenable song, though, as was "Tonight, Tonight."
1131. Sixteen Stone - Bush
Even though George H.W. Bush lost the 1992 U.S. Presidential election, another Bush would dominate the mid-'90s. This one, however, came from London. Led by lead singer/rhythm guitarist/songwriter Gavin Rossdale, the British alternative-rock band Bush was actually formed in '92, but it would be a couple years before they'd release a record. Their debut LP, Sixteen Stone, finally came out in December '94. The album and the group were actually more successful here than in their homeland. Sixteen Stone sold six million copies in the States and went to #4 on the Billboard 200, on the strength of these five songs: "Everything Zen" (#40 pop airplay, #5 mainstream rock, #2 alternative), "Little Things" (#46 pop airplay, #6 mainstream, #4 alternative), "Comedown" (#30 pop, #2 mainstream, #1 alternative), "Glycerine" (#28 pop, #4 mainstream, #1 alternative), and "Machinehead" (#43 pop, #4 mainstream, #4 alternative). ApologetiX bassist Keith Haynie lent me homemade cassette copy of Sixteen Stone before I bought one in the store. I could tell it had potential for our purposes. ApologetiX recorded and released parodies of "Little Things" (1997), "Comedown" (2014), and "Glycerine" (2019). I wrote the spoofs of "Comedown" and "Glycerine" in the mid-'90s but revised the lyrics when we finally recorded them.
1132. Frogstomp - Silverchair
Australian hard-rock trio Silverchair released their debut LP, Frogstomp, in March 1995. At the time, each member was only 15 years old, but I never would have guessed, based on the heavy-duty music or the vocals. For example, nothing on this album sounds anything like "MMMbop," the smash single that the similarly-aged pop-rock trio Hanson would put out two years later. Frogstomp went to #9 on the Billboard 200 and sold two million copies in the United States, thanks primarily to the hit "Tomorrow" (#28 pop airplay, #1 mainstream rock for three weeks, #1 alternative for three weeks). That song was ranked as the #1 alternative song of 1995 in the year-end issue of Billboard. Two other tracks charted: "Pure Massacre" (#72 pop airplay, #12 mainstream, #17 alternative) and "Israel's Son" (#39 mainstream). The group took its name from The Silver Chair, one of the volumes in the C.S. Lewis series The Chronicles of Narnia. In the mid-'90s, I wrote a parody of "Tomorrow," which ApologetiX has never recorded. Don't stay up late, waiting for it.
1133. (What's the Story) Morning Glory? - Oasis
Released in October 1995, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? was the second Oasis LP, but the first to really make a big noise in the States ... although their previous album, Definitely Maybe (1994), had topped the U.K. album chart. Led by the battling Gallaher brothers (lead singer Liam and lead guitarist/songwriter/singer Noel) — the five-piece Britpop/rock band had a frictional-fraternal-frontmen dynamic reminiscent of The Kinks. They achieved much bigger and longer-lasting success in their homeland than here, but (What's the Story) Morning Glory? would be their highwater-mark in both places. Four of its tracks charted in the States: "Morning Glory" (#24 alternative), "Wonderwall" (#8 pop, #9 mainstream, #1 alternative for 10 weeks, #2 U.K. pop), "Champagne Supernova" (#20 pop airplay, #8 mainstream, #1 alternative for five weeks), and "Don't Look Back in Anger" (#55 pop, #10 alternative, #1 U.K. pop). Two other big U.K. hits didn't cross over, which is funny if you read their titles back to back — "Some Might Say" (#1 U.K. pop), "Roll With It" (#2 U.K. pop). Believe it or not, "Champagne Supernova" wasn't a U.K. hit. I just couldn't get enough of that one. (What's the Story) Morning Glory? sold four million copies in the United States, but it sold almost five million in the United Kingdom. That's an astounding amount for that area, good enough to make it the fifth biggest-selling album of all time there, right above Michael Jackson's Thriller and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. And two of the titles it trails are greatest hits collections by ABBA and Queen. The Guinness Book of World Records ranked Oasis as the most successful act in the United Kingdom from 1995-2005. When the smoke cleared, Oasis had eight U.K. #1 (and two #2) albums and eight U.K. #1 (and six #2) singles. Overall, they had 23 U.K. Top 10 singles and 12 U.K. Top 10 albums. I wrote spoofs of "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova" in the '96, but ApologetiX didn't record and release them until 2014 ("Wonderwall") and 2018 ("Champagne Supernova"). Incidentally, my family vacationed at a North Carolina beach house called The Blue Oasis the summer I turned 10, but the music we associated with that was a hit song from a month or two earlier by Maria Muldaur, "Midnight at the Oasis" (#6 pop, #7 adult contemporary).
1134. ... Let the Truth Run Wild - Jacob's Trouble
... Let the Truth Run Wild was the third LP by Jacob's Trouble. It came out in March 1992, and the group had expanded from a trio to a five-piece band by that time. I'd purchased their previous two albums in '92 but didn't buy this one until '96, although I'd already heard and loved two of its tracks long before then. The first was "You Scare the Hell Out of Me," which I'd seen JT play live at Creation '92. Yes, the title is a pun, but this song is about awestruck reverence for God, and the music and lyrics are majestic and powerful. The second was "Something Good Happens," a song full of hope (in the vein of Romans 8:28), which had been included on a Christian video compilation somebody had given me a couple years earlier called The Best Christian Videos We've Ever Seen. The guys from Jacob's Trouble hosted/narrated the production, which included that song and others by Petra, Whiteheart, Newsboys, Mylon Lefevre & Broken Heart, Whitecross, and Edin-Ådahl. I probably would have picked up ... Let the Truth Run Wild a lot sooner, but our local store didn't stock it, so I had to do a special order, which was a lot more tedious before we all became internet shoppers. Those two tracks alone would have made it worthwhile, but all 13 tracks were great. Of the other 11, my favorites were "Love Is the Reason We Live" and a beautiful cover version of "I'd Rather Have Jesus." I also really enjoyed "Just Like You," "Icicle Face," "Mornin' Light," "O.N.F.S.," "Love Me Today," and "Walls of Doubt" (a well-done remake of an old Daniel Amos song).
1135. Jacob's Trouble - Jacob's Trouble
Since I was playing catch-up, I bought the fourth Jacob's Trouble LP (released in May 1993) at the same time as their third. Whereas previous projects showcased their '60s influences, this self-titled album showed that the group (now down to a foursome) was just as comfortable making music with a '90s flavor. It look a little longer to grow on me, but that was time well spent; the songwriting was stronger than ever. Two of the tracks even made it onto the Christian Contemporary Hits Radio (CHR) charts: "This Moment" (#7) and "Best Part of Me" (#22). I especially liked the poignant lyrics of "This Moment." The opening songs on each side rocked — "Wild, Wild Ride" and "Time Bomb." My favorite other tracks are "Lovehouse," "It's a Boys', Boys', Boys', Boys' World," "Lovin' Kindness," "Tears of an Angel," "Let Me Love On You," and the powerful "Way of the Cross." You can definitely hear echoes of U2 on that last one ... also on "Desireé" and the excellent "Better Days." Sadly, this would be the last full-length original album by Jacob's Trouble, although it won't be the last of their LPs to appear on my list.