Influential Albums 1157-1163
Fri., Jul. 14. 2023 12:29pm 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.
1157. Tubthumper - Chumbawamba
Released in September 1997, Tubthumper was the eighth studio LP — but the first major-label release — for British rock band Chumbawamba, who had been around since 1982 and would continue until 2012. It reached #3 on the Billboard 200 and sold three million copies in the States, and we all know why — the irresistible underdog anthem "Tubthumping" (#6 U.S. pop, #1 alternative for seven weeks, #2 U.K.). I think the band's unique name might have helped the cause, too. A second single, "Amnesia" (#60 U.S. pop, #6 U.K.), also charted on both sides of the Atlantic, but that was it for the album. Chumbawamba never returned to the U.S. charts, although they had one more U.K. hit, "Top of the World (Olé Olé Olé)" (#21 U.K.), which was later included as a bonus track on a re-issue of the European edition. If you like "Tubthumping," then "Amnesia" and "Top of the World" are both worth a listen. ApologetiX spoofed "Tubthumping" in 2015.
1158. Yourself or Someone Like You - Matchbox 20
Formed in Orlando FL in 1995, Matchbox 20 released their debut LP, Yourself or Someone Like You, in October 1996. It sold only 610 copies in its first week ... not a good sigh, huh? Never fear, it went on to sell 12 million in the States and 15 million worldwide, peaking at #5 on the Billboard 200. Three of its songs reached the Top 10 on the pop airplay charts: "Push" (#5 pop airplay, #4 mainstream rock, #1 alternative), "3 AM" (#3 pop airplay for eight weeks, #2 mainstream, #3 alternative, #1 adult Top 40 for 10 weeks), and "Real World" (#9 pop airplay, #17 mainstream, #13 alternative, #3 adult Top 40 for five weeks). Two other cuts also hit the Top 10 on other charts: "Back 2 Good" (#24 pop, #4 adult Top 40) and "Long Day" (#8 mainstream). Those were five of the six tracks on side one (I bought the cassette), and the other track, "Girl Like That," probably could have been a hit, too. But I think all 12 tunes are eminently listenable and instantly likable. ApologetiX spoofed "Push" in 1999, and it became one of our most beloved parodies. As a matter of fact, in years past, both my wife, Lisa, and ApX alum drummer Bill Rieger have told me that it was their favorite ApX song.
1159. Floored - Sugar Ray
I'm guessing most people who bought Sugar Ray's second LP, Floored, did so for the hit "Fly" (#1 pop airplay for six weeks, #29 mainstream, #1 alternative for eight weeks). If they were looking for more of that kind of music, they were in for a rude (musically and lyrically) awakening. "Fly" was funk mellow; the rest of the album is funk metal. The only other charting track on Floored, "RPM" (#35 alternative), was much more indicative of what the album had to offer. I like both of those tunes. And as soon as I saw the title "Speed Home California," I knew I'd like it. There was also a cover of Adam and the Ants' 1981 U.K. #1 hit "Stand and Deliver." I started working on a parody of "Fly" in early '98 and had a hook line I really liked, but all that reggae/rap stuff featuring Super Cat would have been murder to spoof ... although there is a second version of "Fly" at the end of the album without him. Nevertheless, I love what he did and find it extremely amusing. Floored made it to #12 on the Billboard 200 and sold two million copies. Sugar Ray would be back with more hits before the end of the decade, including a couple that would (and probably did) appeal to the folks who loved "Fly," but I'll talk about those later.
1160. Fush Yu Mang - Smash Mouth
Smash Mouth has become so synonymous with Shrek (thanks to the songs "All Star" and "I'm a Believer") that it's hard to believe those fun-lovin' boys from San Jose CA had a huge hit four years before that film came out. Remember "Walkin' on the Sun" (#2 pop airplay, #13 mainstream rock, #1 alternative for five weeks)? That's why I bought their debut LP, which came out in July 1997 and peaked at #19 on the Billboard 200, selling two million copies. It also contained a cover version of War's 1975 #6 pop hit "Why Can't We Be Friends" that did OK on the alternative chart (#28). A third track, "The Fonz," was a hit in Canada (#18) and also charted in the U.K. (#82). Those two tunes were among the better cuts on this album, but my favorite track besides "Walkin' on the Sun" was the frantic and funny "Padrino," a ska-flavored ode to mobsters. ApologetiX spoofed "Walkin' on the Sun" in '99.
1161. Marcy Playground - Marcy Playground
Marcy Playground is a band mainly known for the massive hit "Sex and Candy" (#8 pop, #4 mainstream rock, #1 alternative for 15 weeks). That was the second of four singles released from their self-titled debut LP, which came out in February 1997 and reached #21 on the Billboard 200, selling one million copies. They never appeared on the Hot 100 again, and only one of the other singles from this album made it onto the rock charts: "Saint Joe on the Schoolbus" (#30 mainstream, #8 alternative). The other two would-be hits were the extremely catchy opening track, "Poppies," and "Sherry Fraser." Marcy Playground reminds me a little of Meat Puppets and The Presidents of the United States of America. All three groups seemed a bit eccentric and made unconventional music with off-the-wall lyrics, and if I'd discovered them in my free-spirited college days, I probably would have been a regular listener. However, by the '90s, I was a lot more selective about the lyrical content of songs and artists I played repeatedly ... unless I was writing a parody. Speaking of which, ApologetiX spoofed "Sex and Candy" in '99.
1162. Villains - The Verve Pipe
Released in March 1996, Villains was the first major-label release (and the third LP overall) from Michigan-based alternative-rock band The Verve Pipe. Four cuts from the album charted: "Photograph" (#53 pop airplay, #17 mainstream rock, #6 alternative), "Cup of Tea" (#35 mainstream), "The Freshmen" (#5 pop, #9 mainstream, #1 alternative for three weeks), and "Villains" (#24 mainstream, #22 alternative). All of them are interesting, but I bought the cassette specifically to get "The Freshman," which was released to rock radio in January '97 and peaked on the Hot 100 in June '97. I began working on a parody but never completed it. Four months later, a similarly named British band, The Verve, released "Bittersweet Symphony" to rock radio. I loved that tune. Like "The Freshmen," it has very evocative music. "Bittersweet Symphony" peaked on the Hot 100 on April '98 (#12 pop, #22 mainstream, #4 alternative). The album from whence it came, Urban Hymns, sold a million copies and reached #23 on the Billboard 200. The Villains LP also sold a million copies and peaked one notch lower, at #24. You can find both "The Freshmen" and "Bittersweet Symphony" on my personal iTunes in a special mini-collection I titled "Best of Verve-Named Groups."
1163. Let's Face It - The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones formed in 1983, although they'd have to wait 14 years for their big breakthrough. Released in March 1997, Let's Face It was the Boston ska-punk band's fifth LP. But punk seldom sounded as slick as this album's three chart entries: "The Impression That I Get" (#23 pop airplay, #1 alternative), "The Rascal King" (#68 pop airplay, #7 alternative), and "Royal Oil" (#22 alternative). I really like "That Bug Bit Me," too (great title). It was all part of the so-called "third wave" of ska popularized by such notables as No Doubt and Sublime ... also represented by Christian bands The O.C. Supertones, Five Iron Frenzy, and The Insyderz. Let's Face It reached #27 on the Billboard 200 and sold a million copies. I bought the cassette in early '98 and started writing a parody of "The Impression That I Get." It remains unfinished, but I haven't given up on that dream. Somebody should persuade '80s rocker John Parr to team up with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and form a supergroup called The Naughty Naughty Bosstones.