I graduated from college in 1993. In early 1994, I landed my first "professional" job as an advertising account executive at WERZ Radio in the seacoast region of New Hampshire. WERZ is one of the big three stations in that area - one is country, one is classic rock and WERZ is a pop/rock/top-40 kinda deal. Working there meant that I was pretty much around pop music all day, 5 days a week, so that's what I mostly listened to. Unfortunately, this was a very dry musical period for me. I really had no definable path when it came to my musical tastes, I was really just all over the map. Little bit of country, little bit of rock, a lot of pop. I started listening to alot of dance music around this time. What's become known as "booty music" was becoming popular around this time and so I listened to alot of that. Some of my favorites were:
Baby Got Back (Sir Mix-a-Lot)
Rump Shaker (Wreckx'n Effect)
Tootsie Roll (69 Boys)
Come Baby Come (K7)
Whoomp! There It Is (Tag Team)
What can I say? I guess I'm a sucker for a danceable beat (and a nice booty!). Also around this time, there appeared a new radio station in Boston; Jammin' 94.5. They played all kinds of rap, hip hop, R&B and such, and it quickly became my station of choice. Gangsta rap still hadn't hit the big time yet, so most of the stuff I listened to was the more mainstream dance/rap/hip hop type stuff. Here are some example to give you an idea:
This is How We Do It (Montell Jordan)
What a Man (Salt n Peppa)
Here Come the Hotstepper (Ini Kamoze)
Sexual Healing (Max-a-Million)
No Diggity (Black Street)
Killing Me Softly (The Fugees)
Freak Me (Silk)
As far as straight pop tunes go, these were some of the songs I was into:
I'd Do Anything For Love (Meatloaf)
Mr. Jones (Counting Crows)
Runaround (Blues Traveler)
Jealousy (Gin Blossoms)
Only Wanna Be With You (Hootie and the Blowfish)
The alternative explosion was getting underway during this time as well, led by bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but I never really got into it fully. I did really like Pearl Jam's first album and listened to it quite extensively, but I've never much cared for Nirvana. I don't care much for their music and never really understood what the big fuss was about them.
As I mentioned in the last musical history post, country music around this time was getting to be nothing more than pop drivel, so I spent a lot of time during this period discovering much of the older country music. My brother introduced me to Johnny Cash and he became one of my favorites (still is). I also became a David Allen Coe fan. I guess I just prefer the old time, honky tonk, drown-your-sorrows-in-your-whiskey kind of country. I also developed a deeper appreciation for the King himself during this timeframe. That's right, Elvis. See, I took a road trip out to Las Vegas in 1995 with some friends of mine, and among the many places we stopped at was Graceland. I've always liked Elvis, but going to Graceland made me a much bigger fan and I discovered alot more of his music. My favorite Elvis song? Without a doubt, it's "Are You Lonesome Tonight?". It's such a beautiful song.
The only other musical influence of note that started to take hold during this time was hardcore or gangsta rap. For me, it had it's beginnings with songs such as these:
Nuttin' But a G Thang (Dr. Dre)
What's My Name (Snoop Dogg)
Uptown Anthem (Naughty By Nature)
Gangsta's Paradise (Coolio)
I wouldn't get really into it until later on, but it definitely took hold during this time.
Overall, this was a bad time for me musically. Although I was continuing my pattern of branching out and listening to different stuff, there isn't anything remarkable that defines this period for me. It was mostly the same ole same ole. The funny thing is that there was a lot of great music produced during this time that I got into, but I didn't discover it until the next phase; to read about it, you'll just have to wait for the next installment, which promises to be more interesting.
Stay Tuned for Part V...