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1992: Year of Music in Review

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The phrase “out with the old… in with the new” really meant something in 1992. In the previous years of the new decade, the public was still obsessed with 1980s megastars Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Prince, and Madonna. In 1992, the love affair with these artists ended, even though some of them would regain their commercial or critical success in the future.

In late March of 1992, Bruce Springsteen, attempting to copy the success of Guns N’ Roses' Lose Your Illusion I and II, released two albums: Human Touch and Lucky Town. Both albums generally received good reviews but were largely ignored by the general public. Even though both albums debuted in the top five on Billboard’s charts, they instantly slipped off the charts. Many said that Bruce Springsteen would have had much better luck had he just released one album instead of two. Others said that abandoning the E Street Band (temporarily) didn’t fare well with his fans.

Michael Jackson, who told radio stations and MTV that he must be referred to as the “King of Pop,” was taking his first step into becoming an international joke in 1992. His Dangerous album was certainly a hit, but didn’t live up to expectations. People began to speak more about his weirdness than his music.

Prince released his Symbol album to mixed reception. Even though the first single, “7,” hit the top 10, the other singles were virtually ignored.

Out of all the megastars of the 1980s, it was Madonna who proved to be the biggest loser of 1992. During the summer, she released one of the best singles of her career, “This Used To Be My Playground,” from the hit movie in which she gave her best acting performance yet, A League of Their Own. For the first time in her career, however, her ego completely overshadowed her musical output. Her album Erotica was released in October of 1992 and contained some great songs. However, she released her book of sexual fantasies, Sex, at the same time. Even though the book sold well, it created one of the biggest celebrity backlashes in history and the music from Erotica was largely ignored.

U2 did not suffer the same fate as other 1980s acts. Their latest album, Achtung Baby, was released in late 1991 to the sound of people yawning, especially since the first single, "The Fly", bombed on the music charts. But in 1992, U2 started their acclaimed Zoo TV Tour and the album started producing hit after hit. “Mysterious Ways” was the best single of 1992 and proved the band wasn’t going away for a long time, at least until 1997.

1992 will mostly be remembered as the year when the musical styles of hip hop, rap, and grunge officially found a mainstream audience. These genres were definitely brewing in previous years, but exploded this year. Nirvana’s Nevermind took off in 1991 with the release of the single “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The album hit number one on Billboard’s Top 200 in January of 1992. Pearl Jam’s Ten album also broke through this year and turned the band into a stadium act. Even though the Red Hot Chili Peppers aren’t directly considered grunge, the newfound success of this genre certainly influenced their mainstream breakthrough in the summer of 1992, when their single “Under The Bridge” charted at number two.

The most pivotal album released this year was Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, which – for better or worse – mainstreamed gangsta rap. Ever since the release of this album, songs about “putting caps in yo ass” and “million dolla hos” have been released to widespread success. The album contained such notable titles as “The Day The Niggaz Took Over,” “Lil Ghetto Boy,” “A Nigga Wit A Gun,” and “Stranded on Death Row.” “Dre Day,” the first release from The Chronic, hit the top 10 in 1992.

1992 was the year that marked the debut of the TLC, possibly the greatest R&B/hip-hop group to ever emerge on the scene. Their album, Oooooooh…On The TLC Tip, didn’t have the artistic quality the group’s future albums, but spawned out such enjoyable bubble gum hits as “Aint 2 Proud 2 Bet,” “What About Your Friends,” and “Baby-Baby-Baby.”

Because of Billboard’s new Soundscan system that was able to track actual sales of singles, country music broke through to the mainstream. Billy Ray Cyrus’s “Achy Breaky Heart” spawned a cheesy dance routine and an addictive melody that people couldn’t stop humming during the summer of 1992. Garth Brooks' third album, Ropin’ the Wind, continued its mainstream success after being released in 1991. Country music had always been a popular genre, but with Billboard’s ability to now track actual record sales, the popularity became more noticed.

The ten best singles of 1992 are as follows:

1. “Mysterious Ways” – U2: This is just about the most memorable song that U2 has ever released. It’s rocking drums along with danceable bass line was completely unique when compared to the other early nineties songs that topped Billboard’s Rock chart.

2. “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston: Okay, put your guns away! You may have valid arguments if you believe this song was ridiculously overplayed and overrated. But you have to hand it to Whitney Houston for taking an average song and cranking it up with her beautiful voice. Whitney Houston’s voice can turn a devil into an angel and this is well demonstrated on this wonderfully produced David Foster song that was originally sung by Dolly Parton.

3. “This Used To Be My Playground” – Madonna: This ballad is probably one of Madonna’s best written songs to date. Taken from the movie A League of Their Own, people easily identified with a song about having such strong memories of a deceased loved one that, in a way, the person still actually exists. Some of the lyrics include, “I can see your face in a secret place, you’re not just a memory/Say goodbye to yesterday, those are words I'll never say.”

4. “Tears In Heaven” – Eric Clapton: Dedicated to his son who died tragically, Eric Clapton released the most heartfelt song of his career. This musical masterpiece won three Grammy awards the following year for Song of The Year, Record of The Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance

5. “Under The Bridge” – Red Hot Chili Peppers: The biggest hit of the band’s career and rightfully so. The song, about vocalist Anthony Kiedis’ drug addiction, includes the lyrics, “Under the bridge downtown is where I drew some blood/Under the bridge downtown I could not get enough.” On the surface level, the song could be read about someone’s love affair, through good times and bad, with Los Angeles.

6. “November Rain” – Guns N’ Roses: The last big hit of Guns N’ Roses’ career was an adventurous, symphonic classic that proves why Slash is one of the best guitarists in history. This is one of the rare rock songs that found its way onto radio stations that played mostly urban music. 

7. “Why” – Annie Lennox: This song showcases why Annie Lennox is the best female vocalist of all time. This song was released during the summer of 1992 and was one that can be applied to almost any situation. The best part of the song is the climactic ending, where she whispers, “You don’t know what I fear” over and over.

8. “Rhythm Is A Dancer” – Snap: While house music had its peak a year or two before, Snap still showed the world how it was done with this fast, exciting track that moved everyone to the dance floor. The lyrics were campy but it only made the song more appealing.

9. “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” – Sophie B. Hawkins: This rollercoaster rock ballad put Sophie B. Hawkins on the musical map and rightfully so. The sexy lyrics, the swinging beats, and Sophie’s throaty, juvenile voice turned this song into a huge hit during the summer of 1992.

10. “Free Your Mind” – En Vogue: The message of this song: don’t judge me because of my color! But this song wasn’t your everyday politically correct garbage; the lyrics take aim at people of color who misjudge people in their own race. The thoughtful lyrics, combined with heavy rock guitars and classic R&B grooves, is the group's best record out of their entire catalogue.

1992 also had its memorable duds, whether they topped the charts or not. Here are the worst singles of 1992:

1. “I’m Too Sexy” – Right Said Fred: Perhaps when Don McLean sang about the day the music died, he could have been talking about the day this song was released. This number one single sounds like an advertisement for a gay bathhouse (as Jerry Seinfeld would say, “Not that there's anything wrong with that.”). If the song wasn’t bad enough, MTV had to punish us by playing the video over and over and over.

2. “Can’t Let Go” – Mariah Carey: Unlike pop rival Whitney Houston, who could turn a bad song into a good one with her beautiful voice, Mariah had the talent of turning a well written song into a dud with her constant dog whistles and pig calls. “Can’t Let Go” was a well written and produced hit from Mariah’s Emotions album, but it was completely destroyed by Mariah’s vocal acrobatics.

3. “Erotica” – Madonna: Many people consider this the worst song of Madonna’s career. Besides lyrics such as, “Only the one that hurts you can make you feel better,” the beats were recycled from Hell.

4. “Remember The Time” – Michael Jackson: Lame lyrics, lame music, and for the first time in twenty five years, lame singer.

5. “Baby Got Back” – Sir Mix-A-Lot: Perhaps this song should go right in the Rock & Roll Hall of Shame along with “I’m Too Sexy.” Not only did this song make it fashionable to make fun of rich white girls, but also negatively stereotyped black women. We all know that Sir Mix-A-Lot liked big butts and it’s something he couldn’t deny, but his affair with big hits definitely ended after this piece of garbage.

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About Daryl D

  • JimmyT

    Very strage top 10 list, but each to his own right? I agree with you about Madonna’s Erotica album which is really the best work she’s ever done.It’s all about timing and correct marketing, which Madonna is good at but not this time.

    November Rain by Guns N’ Roses is absolutely horrible but I understand there are people who do like it. “One” by U2 is much better than Mysterious Ways in my opinion.

  • Their latest album, Achtung Baby, was released in late 1991 to the sound of people yawning (with regards to U2)

    You really need to do your research, Daryl. When AB was released, it was released to near-universal acclaim from critics and very split reactions from fans. But it was a HUGE release – people were waiting in giant lines at midnight the day of release to get it. There was no “yawning” from anyone. It was a release that got people talking, often arguing. Maybe you yawned, but you need to present statements like that from YOUR perspective, not the world’s, because you certainly do not speak for the world when you write pieces like this.

  • Normally, I’ve stopped commenting on your articles Daryl, because they so rarely are worth the time. But since I was directly involved in the marketing of Sir Mix A Lot’s “Baby Got Back” I’ve got to set you straight.

    First of all, that single was the second biggest seller of 1992, right behind Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You”, selling some 4 million records for American Recordings (where I worked at the time). We also won the AMA for best rap single that year.

    More importantly though, you’ve missed the point (as usual) in your critical assessment of the song. The song did not negatively stereotype black women as you state, but rather empowered large sized women over the “skinny minnie” hollywood stereotypes of the time. Many “large women” actually praised the song as a humorous way of showing the world that “big” can be beautiful too.

    Get your facts straight Daryl.


  • I’m a tad disturbed by the way some colleagues seek to dismiss Daryl’s perspective on music. Sure, it may not be to everyone’s taste, including my own, but it’s his own opinion.

    By definition, if U2 fans were split on their album, and many clearly were no longer interested, as Tom indicates, it seems perfectly reasonable to say people yawned. Personally, I’ve nearly always yawned when they release something as I don’t find them very interesting. It is not really of much interest what a bunch of critics think so their near universal acclaim is mostly irrelevant.

    Similarly, Glen’s mildly snide putdown is also missing the point. Firstly, comparing anybody’s work to the Whitney snooze-a-thon is pretty damning; “I Will Always Love You” is one of the wettest songs of all time. And it is certainly the case that there was a certain amount of stereotyping around “Baby Got Back”, for both black and white girls and even the artist himself!

    I think the problem here is more generational than anything else, Daryl is clearly a bit younger than many of the elder statemen of the BC Music section and has a very different take on music. Not different enough for my taste mind you, as his Top 10 singles list so conformistly reveals. And anybody who dismisses the ironic self-mockery of “I’m Too Sexy” deserves a good metaphorical kicking!

  • Daryl d


    U2’s album was headed towards flopland when it was first released. It sold well the first couple weeks, but started falling off the charts right away, until “Mysterious Ways” revived it. “The Fly” bombed at the radio station I worked at, as well as others. The record company rush released ‘Mysterious Ways” to revive the album and it did: this is a FACT!

    Glen: I was not the only person who criticized Sir-Mix-A-Lots song for the reasons I stated. Perhaps you, as well as others, saw it in a different light and I respect that. It’s just not the way I saw it. FACT: it was a huge hit single. I’m not denying that at all!

  • U2Fan

    It seems Daryl is actually the only one who does fact checking around here. The music section here is filled with fanboys and Daryl (who I’ll admit has awful taste at times) is the only one who writes with a historical perspective, understanding the music scene at the time. Tom-U2’s album was not doing too well when first released but later picked up in 1992. Glen-Baby Got Back is an offensive song, period. While it’s apparent that Daryl is not a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, his assessment of why Human Touch and Lucky Town failed is spot on. He seems to be the only one who remembers the dismissal of “Achtung Baby” when first released. Sorry fanboys, but this album was not an out-of-the box hit, even if people camped out for it. In regards to Madonna’s Erotica, he is also the only one who seems to remember what a “flop” it was considered at the time, even though it has aged well. Good job, Daryl. The rest of you “fanboys” need to go back to your fan clubs.

  • Daryl d

    Thanks, U2Fan

    Actually, almost all publications are run by fanboys than actual critics. I’ve talked about this time after time. It’s really sad and hard to read any musical publication anymore. When you read a good review by some artists, it sounds like the review was planted by the publicist. When you read a bad review, it sounds like it was planted by the publicist of a competing artist.

    Glen-The musical expert! So, you won an AMA for rap single of the year! LOLLLLLLLLLLLL! Little bit of trivia, Mr. Boyd: The American Music Awards are bought off by publicists and managers. They are not considered respectable. The Grammys, whether we agree with them or not, are at least not purchased by record companies. Remember, in 1993, when Michael Jackson won every American Music Award? I have a little secret for you. The public didn’t vote on them. They also named an award after him. I have a little dirty secret about that: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    Christopher-I perfectly understand the irony of “I’m Too Sexy,” but I just can’t stand the song. Others disagree: it was a huge number one hit.

  • Jack Mufana

    After reading some of perspectives on music, I can see why you are unemployed. To claim that remember the time is a dud is the height of interlectual bankruptcy with regard to music.

  • I like that Daryl tosses the “fanboy” term into things when he dislikes the way things are going. It never fails to get a positive reaction from readers, making him seem like he’s more one of them than one of us.

    No fanboy here – I’ve disliked a lot of what U2 has done, especially most of Pop and about half of Zooropa. I’m one of the few who will say they’re not a particularly big fan of The Joshua Tree, too. So for you to label me a fanboy only goes to show that you aren’t paying attention to what goes on around Blogcritics.

    As for the reaction to AB, I stand by what I said. It was a HUGE release, got a LOT of press, and had fans divided by very passionate about how they felt about it. That does not equate to a “yawn,” as you put it. “Yawn” would equate to people not caring, and they most definitely did in one way or another.

    Most albums have big sales in the early weeks after they are released, sales subside, and then another single is pushed rapidly to spur sales again. Nothing new or surprising there, except maybe that it’s U2 in this case and executives (and, I guess, Daryl) expected it to just magically sell huge numbers from the word “go.”

    Daryl, like I said in your previous piece, if you presented things from your perspective rather than what you perceive to be the world’s perspective, you’d have a much more interesting and valid piece. As it is, I just see your pieces as something to generate controversy, not something you write because you are compelled to or because you have something particularly intriguing to say about the subject at hand.

  • “divided by very passionate” above should read “divided and very passionate”

  • daryl d

    Tom if you worked in the programing dept. at a major radio station you would understand why I used the term yawning. For the first time in years, U2 wasn’t at the top of our request list and didn’t create any buzz from any of the songs they’ve tested.

    oh, by the way, I am unemployed because I chose to be. I just relocated from la to new jersey so I can live with all my favorite fellow Springsteen fanatics .

    Oh , by the way, this is an OPINION piece. It is clearly stated so. In my 1991 piece I listed my favorite of 1991 as the most groundbreaking: a big mistake. This time, I separated that.

    Remember the Time by Michael Jackson was a dud . It scored horrible call out research. it did make the top 5 because of payola, something Sony Records was famous for back then.

  • Erick

    Guns n roses we’re HUGE in 1992…. They really put back meaning into being a rock stars. Axl rose was dating stephanie seymour a victoria secret supermodel and big budget videos and all that good stuff… Honestly i dont think we’ve seen such a great rock band since “the worlds most dangerous band” crumbled right before us unfortunatley….

  • JC Mosquito

    Y’know Daryl, you get a lot of discussion about your writing technique, and I tend to agree with most of it. However, this article, as an opinion piece is a decent piece of writing – there’s interpretations of facts and personal opinions with which I disagree, but nothing particularly purile and outrageous.

    U2 are one of the few bands left that are true rock stars – there’s people that will argue for and against their biggest albums (I happened to dislike the Joshua Tree and everything after that til “Beautiful Day” came out as a single), so calling it down can’t help but avoid controversy. As for Springsteen…. HT & LT are still a mystery in his canon for many, including myself – maybe time will tell what that was all about.

    Generational bias? Maybe… ah, whatever. Keep sharpening that technique, and be careful when stating absolutes. One thing I’ll give you – I would never have bothered writing about the early 90s, much less picking a year like ’92.


  • zingzing

    “TLC, possibly the greatest R&B/hip-hop group to ever emerge on the scene.”


    anyway, this is obviously only “history” from an american perspective. and also from a severely bent towards the pop market perspective. best pop single of 1992? oh, probably jesus and mary chain’s “reverence,” but that’s just a personal favorite. “avenue” by st. ettiene also came out, and so did “motorcycle emptiness” by manic street preachers. classics, both. but, you know, those were in england, so it probably didn’t matter to daryl.

    that said, the first album i bought in 1992 was achtung baby, and it was “the fly” that got me into it. although i think “mysterious ways” had been released, and they were just playing “the fly” again because “ways” was so popular, even if it is an inferior song to “the fly.” april 1992. i got braces the next day.

  • I’ve never got Guns n Roses, yet more generic rock, a couple of halfway decent songs and a big yawn. Mind you, I’ve never got the Jesus and Mary Chain either, or indeed anything from Creation, which I consider the most cruelly false label name of all time, culminating in the world’s least creative band of all time, the entirely trite Oasis. Fuck, man, the Oasis tribute bands are more creative than Oasis!

  • zingzing

    um, creation had my bloody valentine. and primal scream, if i’m not incorrect. super furries, ride, swervedriver, house of love, felt…

    you just didn’t like shoegazing, did you?

    but yeah, oasis did suck. a few good singles, and second place to blur.

  • I hated lameass shoegazing and all its pathetic loser music. *Shudders at the memory of it all*

  • Glen Boyd’s comment #3 I should add to regarding “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix Alot. I agree, it is a song of empowerment. Sir Mix is a Seattle dude. He is mellow. You know how Hendrix was, a black dude from Seattle who was totally mellow. That is how it is here. And the song is actually pretty entertaining in it’s message, not hurting anyone.

    Look out because along the same lines there is a white rapper out of Seattle called STBG who has an indy track coming out called “Seatown Clubbin'”. It is pretty heavy on the sexy stuff. Here is the difference. It is merely an observation from a third person point of view, NOT the criminal rapping about how street cred he is. the retracked vocals are being mixed now, what you hear on MySpace is the live flow done on someones computer with a microphone. Producer Edgar Peep sure fixed that up though. Point being, in music there are observations and there are perps telling about their crimes. Mix ain’t a perp.

    Go and click on Seatown Clubbin’.

    My point is, Sir Mix is just tellin’ you what he sees. He isn’t out there violating anyone. Also, the quoted Madonna lyric “only the one that hurts you can make you feel better” is actaully a very astute statement in certain angles of personal psychology. It is kind of a deep thing. I can understand what she is saying there. Might be a crappy song, but I won’t knock her for that line…


  • JC Mosquito

    Geez, Christopher – do you like any relatively mainstream bands in recent memory?

  • Sure, loads; what i like above all is music that has some kind of passion and emotional or intellectual impact. Music that is fun to listen to, that isn’t boring or trite, I really don’t care what genre it might belong to.

    I don’t think right now is one of the best times for rock music. There are a lot of decent songs around but not many really thrilling bands that have a distinctive sound of their own.

    Now has been a time for pretty great pop music and albums from Justin Timberlake (both), Pussycat Dolls, Christina Aguilera (both Stripped and Back To Basics) and Gwen Stefani (Love Angel Music Baby) have had more creativity and musical chops about them than most rockers. I like quite a lot of the new comparatively underground bands like The Strokes or My Chemical Romance for their passion and energy

    I love Missy Elliott, who I think is one of the most creative people around. I guess that’s not a band though.

    Older stuff I love includes both Joy Division and New Order, The Cure, Prince, Depeche Mode, Tupac Shakur, Dr Dre, Cypress Hill, Eminem, Basement Jaxx, Stereolab, Queen and a ton of underground bands that maybe even zing wouldn’t have heard of.

  • zingzing

    oh, chris. not all shoegazing was bad. especially my bloody valentine. ok, maybe only mbv. but whatever.

    as far as new stuff… there’s so much out there. pop has become interesting again. straight white folk have figured out the dance beat. rap has gone underground, techno remembered the past, singer-songwriters and folk have gone weird, psychodelia is back down to 3-4 minutes, noise has found pop and reacted against it… now is as good a time for music as ever before, and there are more outlets for music than ever before. creativity flows from opportunity. put your ear to the ground, it will get sticky.

  • Daryl d


    You have quite an open mind for a variety of music. Rock music is making somewhat of a comeback. I can only hope dance music does the same.

    TLC-Woof! Yeah, I know. Critics aren’t supposed to like them. After all, they are a “packaged” group.

    However, their first album was one of the best collections of fun bubble gum music I’ve ever heard. Then, with their second album (Crazy, Sexy, Cool) they grew up and their music became more mature, sexy, etc. “Waterfalls” is one of the best singles and videos ever released. I also liked their third album (running a blank on the title) with “No Scrubs” and “Unpretty.”

  • JC Mosquito

    Thanx, CR – all over the place there with your choices – nothing wrong with that.

    Gotta say tho’ – I really didn’t get into Oasis til just a few months ago – I quite like them. Don’t know how you could possibly dismiss them as trite.

  • MJJ Rockz

  • Chris Rose, right on! Joy Division roolz! Their album ‘Closer’ is definately in my top 25 all-time greats. Then also, New Orders ‘Power, Lies, Coruption’ is right up there. The Cure, you betcha!

    White Stripes is one of the few bands out in the past 10 years I like. Not too much else is sayin’ too much to me lately.

    Ah, it is all so subjective. But popular music nowadays does not have a forceful message. Yawn…


  • oh boy…so much in the Article that my own tastes don’t agree with, but to each their own

    allow me to just give you three that appear to have been overlooked, but that i think were VERY important that year

    Rage against the Machine – their self titled first album exploded on the scene, fusing rock and rap in an entirely new dimension, with a dose of funk tossed into the mix in a heavier style than the RHCP had done…singer Zach de la Rocha spun lyrical with political force

    Know your Enemy

    Tori Amos hit the scene with her album Little Earthquakes…bringing her own unique lyrical ability, as well as a virtuoso ability on a piano, a strong force for Women in Music

    Silent all these years

    Tool released their first album, titled Opiate… this was the beginning of something fresh coming over the horizon…top notch musicians with a dynamic Poet, committed to bringing their vision to all who wanted to Hear…no compromise, no holding back…no remorse…imo, one of the most Important bands still playing…this album was the Seed, just beginning to find their Voice, it still rose more powerfully than most of the audio offerings at the time


    there’s three links for your perusal…

    things that should also be mentioned are…
    Suicidal Tendencies – Art of Rebellion
    Sublime – 40oz to Freedom
    Faith No More – Angel Dust
    Ani DiFranco – Imperfectly


  • zingzing

    oh god douglas… no white stripes. please. chris + white stripes = a long, boring conversation about nothing.

    and for all the joy division/new order talk, i second. best band of the past 30 years. have you read recently how new order is going down in flames? hook, seemingly, wants to take sumner/morris to court over the rights to the name. he says he won’t use it any more, but neither can they, it’s over, new order is done, etc.

    fine by me, really. they may be the greatest fucking band ever (ahh, subjectivity,) but they did hit their peak SOME time ago. still, such animosity between sumner and hook is sad. on many levels: they are great artists who can really only work together, and they are 50+ years old. grow up, you fucking idiots.

    ok. i’m drunk. got a new computer at home. with internets. oh my.

  • STM

    White Stripes??

    And who forgot to put Billy Childish on this list?

  • daryl d

    I love Tori Amos. Her voice is so angelic. I must say that the format I worked with then was top 40 so that’s what I remember the most. I was getting ready to do my next article on 1993 and find myself with not much to write for obvious reasons. Perhaps I should skip to 1995?

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    I’m pretty sure I covered quite a bit when Daryl wrote his piece about1991, but, my opinion gets overlooked around here for some reason.

    Anyways, I’m not going to state the obvious as Gonzo was pretty spot on about Tool. But, at the time it was real easy to capture the “Metal Market” on MTV because they weren’t uncovering much to begin with and Tool kinda crossed between Metal & “Grunge”. Supposedly, Grunge was this real big deal(MTV generated) because Metal was “Dead”!? HA!! Metal was dead to the jackasses that thought Poison & Warrant were the pinnacle of the genre.(Let’s not go there)

    In fact 1992 was a huge year for Metal because Dream Theater released Images and Words. Funny enough though, the more people thought that Metal was gone, the more room it made for emerging artists who wanted to push the envelope. I&W popped up on the Billboard charts at No.61, which isn’t bad for a “Dead” genre and considering that they were on the infamous ATCO records. So, Metal couldn’t have been that dead…

    So much for beating a dead horse… *Smirk*

  • MICHAEL JACKSON has never ever called HIMself – the KING OF POP…!!!

    Stop claiming that stupid rumour…!!!

    It was LIZ Taylor durin AMA in 1989…!!! and even sooner MJ fans during MJs BAD world tour…!!!

    Stop it…!!!

    But he deserves the title… his album THRILLER has been sold over 104,000,000 copies…

    Come on…, What Elvis, Beatles, Madonna, Justin……

    Michael Jackson…

  • Brian…thanks for the praise…and I always hear yer Opinion, fer what it’s worth

    thanks for mentioning the Dream Theater..i had forgotten them, since they are not in my Noise Library…but good call


  • zingzing, come on, yeah…New Order going down. Sure, why not? The album I mentioned is 25 years old. Joy Division’s even older.

    On the other hand, people are going to see a big resurgence in these two bands. Why? the Joy Division docu/drama movie will have it’s USA release in NYC in mid October.

    so, even though I was just complaining about bands over the last 10 years, that older stuff is proving more relevant than ever.

    So, ZZ, who is out of date here? Me or you?


  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Yes, Brandon, MJ deserves the titleKing of POP but…

    Elvis is only second to The Beatles in record sales and this is 30 years after his death!!
    RIAA stats

    Hey, Gonzo… I’ll always give praise & credit to those who deserve it. You pointed out a band (TooL) that released an album in that year that doesn’t get the credit it deserves and considering a couple songs were live, it showed their passion & talent for making kick ass tunes. Unfortuantely, nowadays, they don’t really do it for me, but , nonetheless they were still pioneering back then.

    Oh and I appreciate the response.. I can get alittle crazy on my soapbox about Metal but I eat & breathe that sh!t.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    *Ooops* Holy Bold Batman…

  • Brian (#30), your comment illustrates exactly why Daryl needs to take my advice and start writing these from HIS point of view and stop attempting to write these as if they are the definitive views of the world. Because they are not, and your pointing out his dismissal of a band like Tool among many others that were actually CHANGING rock instead of just going with the flow like most of the pop he’s focusing on. What we get instead is just a list of songs Daryl liked in 1992, not a list of particularly important artists – and it’s important to remember that “important” artists typically aren’t huge financial successes but influence a LOT of other artists who may wind up being huge successes. If you’re going to talk about any particular year’s important music, it had better be actual important music. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of songs, and that’s what we get here with Daryl’s lists. This is why I urge Daryl to change the format of this to something that allows him to simply reminisce about the music he likes and stop trying to act like these are be-all, end-all lists of the “greats” of whatever year he’s focusing on. They ain’t.

  • zingzing

    douglas mays: “So, ZZ, who is out of date here? Me or you?”

    haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about. never said you were out of date. what i did say was that new order was the greatest band of the past 30 years and that it’s sad to see such childish bickering among 50-year-old men (as in new order).

    and if anyone were to claim that new order (or liking new order) was “out of date,” i’d have words with that person. their stuff is more relevant than ever, what with rockist dance music making a comeback for the billionth time.

    so i think i have been misread by you… somewhere… can’t quite see where. maybe in the “hit their peak some time ago” line… but it’s true. 1989 is a long time ago.

    yes, i know about control, i hear it is finally going to get a u.s. showing sometime in october.

  • well to me, TooL and Rage against the Machine were indeed the big things for ’92…

    but on a side to Brian – i know many were disappointed in 10,000 days..but it IS an important addition to their lexicon, imo…the first song, Vicarious is in the same vein as “Hooker with a Penis” or “Ticks and Leeches” in that it’s mocking parts of their audience for not understanding what’s going on, and just being fanboys..it also says quite a bit as an introduction to the rest of the album..a Concept piece of rock symphony/opera, talking about his mother’s death and it’s effects on him..exploring quite a bit both in content and Sound

    could just be me


  • daryl d

    Tom…this is clearly an opinion piece. Although I don’t constantly state its my opinion because it should be assumed

    To the king of poop fan…it is well known that in order to have access to MJs new music in 1991, radio stations and MTV were told they had to call Michael “the king of pop” Since Poopster was hot at the time, they all complied .

  • zingzing

    well, this portion certainly isn’t “opinion”: “Because of Billboard’s new Soundscan system that was able to track actual sales of singles, country music broke through to the mainstream.”

    i don’t get it. was billboard not counting sales before? what were they doing then? and how does counting sales make country music break through to the mainstream. there’s something i’m missing here.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Hey Gonzo, don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t dismissing their musical or lyrical content. They have always been on the deep side and exploring topics has always been a side effect.
    I mean, what else could you sing or communicate with their signature sound. I guess I have just heard plenty for myself and I still,on occasion, pop in AEnima cuz that’s one of my favs but their new stuff,to me, just sounds like a re-visit to Sober.

    As for Daryl, I cannot insult the guy because alot of people use MTV or Billboard as a guide for music history. That is a shame because we all know that record sales doesn’t always equal innovation or quality. I just like to point out how mis-directed people can get by bringing forth my love,passion & knowledge of the Metal genre.

    And, I agree with Tom… Maybe Daryl should consider writing his segments about the music he loves in those years as oppose to what he may think that everybody loved back then.

  • no worries Brian…

    just to share, on the topic of Heavy Metal…and for the Guppusmaximus

    the Alpha and the Omega of the Plutonium set, imo


  • daryl d

    zingzing let me explain what happened with Billboard. pre Summer 1992 they charted songs by radio station playlists and sales reports rather than actual sales. sales reports were far from accurate and country music was often misrepresented. so, it was June of 1992 when the singles chart shocked people.In fall of 1991 the album charts changed in the same way .
    Please keep in mind that after 1992 Billboard’s singles chart lost a lot of credibility because certain artists, such as Mariah Carey, released songs for 49 cents while the normal price of a single was 2.00 or more, thus creating an illusion of a hit rather than an actual hit.

  • geeez Daryl..nothing about the additions?


    didn’t ya at least enjoy the clips?


  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Oh Yea… Gonzo’s Rippin’ Sh!t Up!!

    Here are some for ya…gonzo marx

    Some killerClowns

    And some flexible Bass Strings

  • man, i love metal. i’ve got this one Quiet Riot record that i particularly dig.

  • my wife went digging around a bit in my Noise Inventory and we appear to have missed even more than i had thought…

    Beastie BoysCheck your HeadSo What’cha Want? …nuff said?

    Arrested Development3 years , 5 months & 2 days in the Life of…, an important and talented exploration of hip/hop from the heartland…while all the east coast/west coast shizznit was going on, these folks brought poignaint portraits

    OMFG…i missed Rollins BandEnd of Silence, VERY important release that year…the singer from Black Flag returns with a vengence and a rippin’ new band… Low Self Opinion is a scathing retort against the schmuck in us all at times…or just somebody that pissed him off…

    and then there was Infectious Grooves with their debut, the Plague that Makes your Booty Move…the clip ain’t great quality, but Trujillo and company funk out and Punk it Up… that’s some tasty stuff, imo

    thanks for the clips, Brian…hope you and everyone else like these…


  • Sean Mahoney

    Hey Daryl!
    Don’t skip 1993. Songs like Don’t Walk Away by Jade, Weak by SWV, Creep by Radiohead, That’s the Way Love Goes by Janet Jackson, and Show me love by Robyn S. were all HUGE hits that year! And even Deeper and Deeper by Madonna hit big in ’93.

  • Daryl d

    Sean, I won’t be skipping 1993. All the songs you mentioned I loved. It’s just that even though the year produced some good songs, it just wasn’t a groundbreaking year. But I’ll be sure to list my favorite records just so I can hear people complain that just because I liked them that doesn’t mean the world did. Uggghhh

  • Daryl d


    Finally had time to watch the clips you posted. Rage Against The Machine never appealed to me, but I have to admire their energy.

    Tori Amos: beatiful clip! Almost every gay person I knew loved Tori in the early nineties, although I could never understand why she was a “gay” act-as Jerry Seinfeld would say, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    The Tool Clip: love the message and awesome song. Remember the time when music videos actually meant something? I do remember hearing this song several times before, but trying to remember where.

  • Daryl, the biggest problem you face is that you’ve chosen to write about the worst musical decade of the second half of the 20th century. Good luck!

  • Daryl d


    Yeah, I know it’s the worst musical decade. I was going to start with the 1980s but I wanted to save “the best” for last. As bad as the 1990s were for music, it is nowhere is bad as this decade though.

  • JC Mosquito

    1980’s the best musical decade? Nope, they run a close second to the 90’s for the worst. How’s that for an unsupported opinion disguised as a statement of fact?

    Oh, right – I assumed everyone already knew that.

  • zingzing

    daryl: “it [1993] just wasn’t a groundbreaking year.”

    jesus christ. maybe there wasn’t much great pop music (and every year has SOMETHING, so i doubt that), but you just need to get off the charts, especially when using the word “groundbreaking.” next to NOTHING is groundbreaking by the time it has reached the charts. it’s usually a watered-down, whitewashed ghostly flicker of the real stuff, with only a hint of actual experimentation and art actually making it through.

    i’m beginning to think you know very little about music, other than what was on the charts.

    (although your explanation of billboard/country was educational. but, still, just because radio suddenly knows how popular country music is doesn’t mean it suddenly got more popular. i’m sure that the increased corporate attention did, eventually, mean more sales… and the attendant white wash and soul devourment.)

    chris: “the biggest problem you face is that you’ve chosen to write about the worst musical decade of the second half of the 20th century.”

    not true! the pop charts were pretty bad, but the independant labels were releasing some classic stuff. i’ll agree that the 60s-80s produced more mainstream greatness, but the 90s–riding the coattails of the 80s–were an explosion of underground talent. the known musical universe was suddenly so much larger, and therefore, better.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Hey Zing…You said it brother!

  • 93 wasn’t groundbreaking?

    try this clip ….if that ain’t groundbreaking enough for the whole year…i dunno what is…

    nuff said…


  • crap..and here i’d misplaced what year it was out…

    1992 brought a big groundbreaker that i had missed, as Important as Opiate or End of Silence…which i mentioned earlier

    Pantera released Vulgar Display of Power on Feb 25th 1992 – so take a Walk and experience intensity and music that hit you like a steel toed boot in the crotch…



  • Daryl d

    zingzing: I worked in top 40 programming. So Top 40 is my expertise and I don’t claim otherwise. At least in the 1980s and 1990s, there was a lot more variety in Top 40.

    JC: I was born in the 1970s and didn’t really get to “experience” music until the 1980s, the decade I grew up (although some may say I never did). So while I love a lot of music from pre 1980, it just doesn’t mean as much to me because I didnt really experience it. So, I pretty much have to choose from the 1980s, 1990s, and the 2000s as to what my favortite musicle decade is and 1980s wins hands down. I expecially love the early 1980s: Journey, John Cougar, Billy Idol, Laura Branigan, Irene Cara, Prince, early Madonna, Pat Benatar; Chaka Khan; The Police; Toto; Styx; Hall & Oates, etc.

  • “I expecially love the early 1980s: Journey, John Cougar, Billy Idol, Laura Branigan, Irene Cara, Prince, early Madonna, Pat Benatar; Chaka Khan; The Police; Toto; Styx; Hall & Oates, etc.”

    /dies gasping

    all i can say is ewwWWWwwWWwwww!

    but that’s just me..and to each their own as far as what scratches that sonic itch…what some find wonderful, others flee from with bleeding ears

    that’s one of the beautiful things about Music…most of it is completely subjective as to what speaks to the Individual

    sometimes it’s in how a song is played, the difference between full out screaming electric and acoustic mellowness can transform that acoustic pop song into a powerful and raging beast…

    i’ll give an example…we all know Motorhead
    are all about “everything louder than everyone else”…but here’s one of their songs done on acoustic, same people, same Music…but big difference in how it’s played as to how it comes across…

    some like spicy, some like sweet…all a matter of Taste, imo

    just a Thought…


  • zingzing

    daryl: “I worked in top 40 programming. So Top 40 is my expertise and I don’t claim otherwise. At least in the 1980s and 1990s, there was a lot more variety in Top 40.”

    here’s the thing. you present an opinion based upon this knowledge, and that’s fine and good. your knowledge of top 40 music is probably much greater than mine. the problem is that top 40 music seems to be pretty much the limit of your knowledge, and thus, your opinions. i’m not sure that this is the case, but it certainly seems that way. it wouldn’t be a problem if you wouldn’t make statements like “1993 wasn’t groundbreaking” or “TLC was the best r&b/hiphop group,” as these things are simply not true.

    you do realize that 99.99% of music happens outside of the top 40, right? and that there is basically a 100% chance that there is something better out there that hasn’t been whittled down to what’s going to make money.

    if all you know is top 40 type stuff, and i don’t know that to be true, i feel sorry for you. go explore! there is so much out there.

    there are some people out there who don’t really listen to music, but you aren’t one of them. but, from what i can tell, you’re like a person who claims to love movies, but doesn’t want to see anything with subtitles or anything that’s not the current hit movie. it’s frustrating to see.

  • You are all musically bonkers but in entirely different ways!

    zingzing – what underground stuff? If you name any artist on Creation I shall have to come to the USA and slap you with a large cod!

    gonzo – what exactly is it that you consider groundbreaking about Tool? I thought the track you linked to was not bad but very predictable.

    Daryl – I love the 80s too, which I reckon to be second only to the 60s, with the 70s coming in third – but I despise most of the artists you list. With two or three exceptions, what a bunch of formulaic schlock!

  • zingzing

    chris: “what underground stuff? If you name any artist on Creation I shall have to come to the USA and slap you with a large cod!”

    in the 90s? i’ll just list entire scenes/genres. it’s easier.

    ok. how about…
    the louisville (slint, palace, etc) and chicago (tortoise, jim o’rourke, etc) post-rock scenes?
    warp records/idm,
    french (filter) house (daft punk, etc),
    trip hop (at least in the beginning),
    elephant 6 collective (athens),
    ambient house (orb, etc),
    ambient drone (mogwai, godspeed, etc),
    beardy rap (el-p, anticon),
    native tongues (tribe, de la soul, etc),
    jeff buckley (a genre unto his own),
    touch&go mid-90s (shellac, jesus lizard),
    space gospel (spiritualized, etc),
    japanese noise rock (boredoms, etc),
    69 love songs (if you don’t know what this is, you deserve to be shot),
    twee pop (belle & sebastian, etc),
    lo-fi (pavement, guided by voices, etc)…

    it goes on and on. give me the patience to do a little research and i could triple this list.

    and that is ignoring so much… so many groups, like disco inferno, bark psychosis, elliot smith, radiohead, bjork, wilco, primal scream (creation!), dave fridmann, yo la tengo, built to spill…

    and those are all groups most people have heard of. and still, i’m just barely scratching the surface.

    the 1990s was an interesting time. music’s always interesting, and every decade has its wonderful groups and individuals. music never stagnates, especially since punk opened the doors so that anybody could do it.

  • Chris Asks – “gonzo – what exactly is it that you consider groundbreaking about Tool? I thought the track you linked to was not bad but very predictable.”

    well..the clip i showed was a video done by the guitarist for the track…but it has to do with a few things, remember this is 92/93 we’re talking about…and *heavier* music was not the thing…neither was playing in off time counts, or a lead bass….then there was the subject matter of the lyrical content

    this clip of Prison Sexthe lyrics for the album here

    again the video is the work of the guitar player…if i am not mistaken, besides “Hush” which i linked earlier, you never see the band in their videos

    added to this is the sheer Performance Art in their live show… all of this together was a big shift at the time, nothing quite like it out there at the time, and they just got better as they went along…just saw them July 13th, and they still rip the face off the vast majority of arena shows (just short of 10,000 in Portland)

    it’s merely my Opinion, as an enthusiast for the genre, and at the time a gigging bass player, and based on the general Scene during the time period under discussion

    your mileage may vary


  • JC Mosquito

    … and this is what happened in the period most would call post punk – instead of relatively few musical genres from which to choose or express one’s allegiance, the 1980s & onward are all over the place, little chunks of scenes, labels, bands, and genres – the Balkanization of Rock and Roll. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s sure hard to get people to agree on what’s good anymmore.

  • Hey zing, thanks for the response.

    I never really got Slint, Tortoise et cetera; they just seemed like a continuation of an already tired line of rock to me, although because of that preconception I wasn’t really paying them much attention.

    Similarly, the whole Warp thing didn’t capture my attention that much, although I accept in retrospect that the scene was more interesting than I thought. Ursula is good mates with the wife of one of The Black Dog by coincidence.

    At the time, amongst other stuff, I was heavily involved with a bunch of European labels like Crammed Discs in Belgium, New Rose in France and Contempo in Italy so maybe I didn’t have enough headspace left for the above!

    Daft Punk were fun in a mindless and forgettable kind of way but I never really took to the whole new hippie dance scene; having fought and won the punk wars against the hippies, I wasn’t really up for seeing them come back in a new disguise. Still not.

    As to the rest, I don’t really find much creativity there and there was certainly more vital stuff around. I believe we actually worked on some Magnetic Fields stuff but not the 69 Love Songs trilogy. I counter your derisory death shot by responding that if you don’t know bands like Holy Toy or Huge Baby, to name but two, you can join me up against the wall! LOL

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “… and this is what happened in the period most would call post punk.”
    [I have to chime in here]
    Well, when did punk officially end? Seriously, because besides the bastardization of Rock, Metal was going pretty strong in the mid-late 70’s. Sure, for the most part,with exception to Maiden, it was a heavier blues version but you weren’t stuck listening to disco especially with the albums that Black Sabbath came out with.RUSH was a great alternative as well.

    As for 1992, and why TooL was “groundbreaking”… Gonzo was pretty much correct.But, it wasn’t necessarily who made the video but the topic “it” covered. Their sound was original, again, for a time when people who were slaves to the Billboard Charts thought that Metal was dead.I still think that they catered to the Alternative crowd because there wasn’t any real guitar work being done,BUT, they still knew how to play their instruments in a time when bands like Nirvana,Mudhoney,etc.. sucked major ass!!

    For the early 90’s I would still have to pose Dream Theater,Death,Atheist & Cynic as the most groundbreaking. They really took elements that weren’t thought of as heavy and pushed the envelope.I shouldn’t have to discuss DT.Death was forging ahead with what is now called Technical /Melodic Death Metal. Atheist, in ’93,visualized a metal album(“Elements”) that was heavily influenced by latin rythmns,Jazz, with lyrics about Nature and tried not to use much,if at all, doublebass. As for Cynic, noone was doing what they did back then..NOONE!

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    *One More Note:* Honestly, these bands that I listed weren’t playing it safe. They really were blowing peoples’ minds…Trust me, listen to those releases and think about the time frame. That stuff wouldn’t have made the charts because it was pretty hard to “get”. I still wonder how I was drawn to it at such an early age. Probably, because I was all over the place musically anyways.

  • zingzing

    “I never really got Slint, Tortoise et cetera; they just seemed like a continuation of an already tired line of rock to me, although because of that preconception I wasn’t really paying them much attention.”

    hrm. slint was pretty groundbreaking. out of them flowed american post-rock (british post-rock was a different thing) and math rock (which never really went far). they certainly had a way with tension that few other bands had. tortoise, being from chicago, were quite different. their stuff fused jazz, rock, krautrock, techno, avant… if that was a “tired line of rock,” it certainly was a nebulous one. i’m more of a fan of jim o’rourke than tortoise, but the chicago scene had many facets, tortoise just being the most famous.

    “Similarly, the whole Warp thing didn’t capture my attention that much, although I accept in retrospect that the scene was more interesting than I thought. Ursula is good mates with the wife of one of The Black Dog by coincidence.”

    really? your wife is named ursula? that’s awesome. black dog was pretty good. autechre is a favorite of mine.

    “At the time, amongst other stuff, I was heavily involved with a bunch of European labels like Crammed Discs in Belgium, New Rose in France and Contempo in Italy so maybe I didn’t have enough headspace left for the above!”

    see, something did happen in the 90s.

    “Daft Punk were fun in a mindless and forgettable kind of way but I never really took to the whole new hippie dance scene; having fought and won the punk wars against the hippies, I wasn’t really up for seeing them come back in a new disguise. Still not.”

    heh. daft punk is pop music, at least by their second album. their 90s work was the beginning of something that is actually just really blossoming today. songs are shorter, they make actual albums, and no one stinks at the beginning of the night, only at the end.

    “As to the rest, I don’t really find much creativity there and there was certainly more vital stuff around.”

    well, to each his own. if i’m finding creativity and vitality in so many different places, and you are finding it in others, what does that say? that there was plenty to go around? that the 90s weren’t half bad?

    “I believe we actually worked on some Magnetic Fields stuff but not the 69 Love Songs trilogy. I counter your derisory death shot by responding that if you don’t know bands like Holy Toy or Huge Baby, to name but two, you can join me up against the wall! LOL”

    see? never heard of them. and i had quite expected you to have heard of magnetic fields, which is why you deserve to have been shot if you hadn’t. holy toy looks pretty obscure. polish/norweigian? and experimental? if you want to go all experimental and avant, the above list would be totally different. and huge baby looks totally connected to a time and place, although they do sound interesting.

  • If you only go by charts, then yes, the 90s were a pretty dismal decade. If you go by, well, pretty much anything else, the 90s was an outstanding decade filled with a near orgasmic release of music that flew out of every corner of the sonic spectrum. How anyone could and would want to limit themselves to only “top 40” is beyond me. Just having to hear “top 40” on a daily basis would drive me to more interesting, creative music like what many of us have been talking about being so notable. How it didn’t do this to Daryl is a mystery.

    Comment #39, from Daryl: Tom…this is clearly an opinion piece. Although I don’t constantly state its my opinion because it should be assumed

    Just the fact alone that people are taking such offense at your choices and your write-ups about each shows that you are not presenting what you write as opinion. There’s a certain amount of leeway given by readers to someone who makes it obvious, without saying “in my opinion” every single line, that what they’re writing is simply their view, which they don’t give to someone who makes bold, grand statements, doesn’t back them up with any particular evidence to support them, and then bristles when confronted about them.

  • Daryl d

    Tom, people here will take offense at anything I do since they are part of the Bruce Springsteen Fanboy club and I tell the truth about him in my articles. In this article, I wasn’t insulting him a bit and just stating facts.

  • You’re right, Daryl. Everyone here is part of a supersecret Springsteen collective, the likes of which dwarf all other secret organizations. It’s just your misfortune that your name came up when it was time for the sacrifice.

  • ZZ, re: #37…. Gotcha, we are on the same wavelength. It just takes some bitching on a thread to figure that out.

    gotta jump, but thanx for clarity.





  • Erin

    I was born in 1992. 🙂

  • Katey

    I was born in 1992 to and im quit surprised as I read this overview.

  • JewelChick

    I have always disliked country music, but I wholeheartedly disagree with the estimation of Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” as being better than the original. She took a beautifully sweet, heartfelt love song and turned it into a joke with her strangely multisyllabic interpretation of the word “I.”

    Parton’s version makes you cry. Houston’s version makes you laugh . . . or vomit.