Categorical Schizophrenia

THE WOOF 200 FOR 1993

PART THREE: CATEGORICAL SCHIZOPHRENIA

Apparently I’ve rambled enough in my first two posts discussing this project to lead *someone* to believe that it’s really just an elaborate troll perpetrated by yours truly which will ultimately result in no actual countdown. I’m shocked and appalled by such an accusation and am considering legal action against the party who put forth such slanderous lies. For further comment on the subject, I direct you to my legal counsel, the firm of Rhoads, Iommi, Cavazo & Kotzen.

I am however, a man of the people, so I will forego any further rambling about the “how” and “why” of this immense undertaking and instead shift focus to the “what”. As mentioned previously, I listened to a shit ton of music to prep this countdown, including any number of things I knew going in I was probably not going to care for. Some surprised me and elbowed their way into contention, while others simply breezed right by, getting nary a sniff. Let’s start there.

(DIS)HONORABLE MENTION: THE UNINVITED

Presented below are a list of albums from people you’ve most likely heard of and might reasonably expect to find represented on a list of top songs from 1993, but for which I neither had the time nor the inclination to truly dive into deep enough to pull such recommendations. These albums might be brilliant for all I know. In most cases I gave them a single listen where available and decided there just wasn’t something there for me. Your mileage may vary. So with all due respect to the late Mr. Bowie, let’s take a look at some things you WON’T be finding on the mighty Woof 200…

Accept – Objection Overruled
A-Ha – Memorial Beach
The Band – Jericho
Bjork – Debut
Blur – Modern Life Is Rubbish
David Bowie – Black Tie White Noise
Bob Dylan – World Gone Wrong
Everclear – World Of Noise
Donald Fagen – Kamakiriad
Helloween – Chameleon
Billy Idol – Cyberpunk
Elton John – Duets
The Kinks – Phobia
Aimee Mann – Whatever
Paul McCartney – Off The Ground
Motörhead – Bastards
Iggy Pop – American Caesar
Sepultura – Chaos A.D.
Squeeze – Some Fantastic Place
Billy Squier – Tell The Truth

So yeah, apologies to fans of any of the above, but I just couldn’t get into them. Or I didn’t really try. Whatever. Next up we have the handful of albums (mostly from my personal collection) for which I had pulled a number of songs but which at the end of the day couldn’t find their way onto the countdown as even an honorable mention. Sometimes it’s just really hard to find that one standout track on otherwise solid album. Sometimes the album just sucks.

April Wine – Attitude
Asphalt Ballet – Pigs
Bad Religion – Recipe For Hate
Blackthorne – Afterlife
Taylor Dayne – Soul Dancing
Every Mother’s Nightmare – Wake Up Screaming
Guns N’ Roses – The Spaghetti Incident?
Steve Miller Band – Wide River
Redd Kross – Phaseshifter
Shotgun Messiah – Violent New Breed
Strip Mind – What’s In Your Mouth
Pete Townshend – Psychoderelict
U2 – Zooropa
Varga – Prototype
Warrior Soul – Chill Pill
Wildhearts – Earth Vs. The Wildhearts

Zooropa is the album that officially turned me off of U2, for those who wonder how it is that the biggest band on the planet couldn’t crack a list of what is essentially 350 songs. “Lemon” gets my vote for worst song of the year from a talented artist. I don’t even feel bad about leaving this album out.

Anyway, enough with the negative, let’s move on to what people are really here for: RANKINGS! I mentioned in Part Two my intent to go ahead with a rather elaborate set of Honorable Mentions and here they are. The idea for today’s post is to throw some love to some specific musical categories that might not otherwise get a ton of attention from me but for which 1993 proved to be a fruitful year.

(Side note about the links. Given how old some of these songs are, the availability of YouTube links, let alone the quality of YouTube links, is spotty. I made an attempt to put up my own videos for a couple of songs that weren’t available but the copyright police shut that down within about 8 hours, so there goes *that* idea. So if the quality sucks or a song is left without an actual link, I apologize, but thems the breaks.)

HONORABLE MENTIONS: HIP-HOP/RAP

We start with the one category that just completely flummoxed me in terms of how to rank them as part of the overall: hip-hop. I had a few of these on the back end of the initial Woof 200, but upon further review I figured it was easier just to dump them here en masse and use those slots for something I was more certain of. I don’t mean that as a slight, but let’s face it, there are plenty of other places to go on the web if you really want to get your rap fix. This blog is called Rock In A Hard Place for a reason.

8. Digable Planets – “Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)”
7. Salt ‘N’ Pepa – “None Of Your Business”
6. US3 – “Cantaloop”
5. P.M. Dawn – “Plastic”
4. Naughty By Nature – “Hip Hop Hooray”
3. Cypress Hill – “Insane In The Brain”
2. Snow – “Informer”
1. Salt ‘N’ Pepa (feat. En Vogue) – “Whatta Man”<

It's kind of hard to add anything thought provoking to this category given my appreciation for the art form is minimal. I can't even explain what makes these tracks rise above their brethren to find a home in my listening collection other than a really generic "I like 'em". This will most likely be the most hip-hop songs I'll ever highlight from a given year, which goes to show how wiggity-whack this '93 project is. I'm so urban.

HONORABLE MENTION: COUNTRY

Country in 1993 was basically hair metal where the guitars were dialed back and instead of strippers and sex they sang about honky tonks and failed romance. Structurally the songs were very similar and had the same sort of energy (thought the guitar thing made it seem less obvious). I have about 10 country songs residing in the actual countdown, but here’s another 15 that I felt like shining a spotlight on.

15. Mark Collie – “Trouble’s Comin’ Like The Train”
14. Garth Brooks – “Ain’t Goin’ Down Till The Sun Comes Up”
(the only available version is a live performance on Ellen)
13. Sawyer Brown – “The Boys And Me”
12. Billy Burnette – “The Bigger The Love (The Harder The Fall)”
11. Mark Collie – “Even The Man In The Moon Is Crying”
10. Sawyer Brown – “Thank God For You” (this video is comic gold!)
9. Garth Brooks – “Callin’ Baton Rouge”
(apparently Garth has a grudge against YouTube, so here is a VERY close cover version)
8. Faith Hill – “Wild One”
7. Martina McBride – “My Baby Loves Me”
6. Rosanne Cash – “The Wheel”
5. Billy Ray Cyrus – “In The Heart Of A Woman”
4. Clay Walker – “What’s It To You”
3. Billy Burnette – “Into The Storm”
2. Martina McBride – “Independence Day”
1. John Berry – “What’s In It For Me”

One of the things that really drew me to country back in the day was the lyrics. Yeah, a lot of the time they’re hokey with the clichéd “lost my truck, my dog, and my wife” themes, but they still tended to be very clever (even with all the puns). And WOW, jumping from rap to country back-to-back like this does weird things to my brain. If you’re inclined to listen to all the links, might I suggest taking a break in-between the two, otherwise you might find yourself contemplating a drive-by shoot-em-up of the local Dairy Queen. (HA! Stereotypes!)

HONORABLE MENTION: HEAVY METAL

Yeah, you might want to take another one of them breaks before diving in here. Hip-hop to country to metal? Who the fuck greenlit this format? [You did. There’s no one here but you, jackass. – Editor] One of the problems I’ve had with the Woof 200’s so far is that I don’t get to highlight as much metal as I generally listen to. My reason for this has always been that as a musical genre I find I’m usually more partial to a band’s overall sound than I am individual songs. It’s not really a “singles” kind of music, and the album tracks don’t always jump out at me even as I’m enjoying the entire album. That’ll happen again in ’93, so here’s a few extra tunes from the heavier end of the stuff that I listen to just because METAL!

15. Carcass – “Heartwork”
14. Overkill – “World Of Hurt”
13. Anthrax – “Room For One More”
12. Sacred Reich – “Independent”
11. Savatage – “He Carves His Stone”
10. Damn The Machine – “The Mission”
9. Green Jelly – “Three Little Pigs”
8. Galactic Cowboys – “If I Were A Killer”
7. Entombed – “Wolverine Blues”
6. Stick – “No Groovy”
5. Cathedral – “Midnight Mountain”
4. Metal Church – “Gods Of Second Chance”
3. Ozzy Osbourne – “Changes [Live]”
2. Tool – “Prison Sex”
1. Fight – “Into The Pit”

Man that feels good in my soul. Sometimes I question what it even means to “like” music. I get too into my own head and wonder what is causing me to think that I prefer one kind of music over another and whether it’s all an aural illusion. Then I listen to tracks like this and I immediately think, “ooh, I gotta pull that album out and play it”. With the rap and country above, I like the songs but they never make me want to do that. They’re isolated moments. Hard rock and metal makes me crave more. m/

HONORABLE MENTIONS: THE COVERS

That’s enough for the genres, as everything else will get its fair shake come the official Honorable Mentions and the actual countdown. But since I’m in the mood for just a little more goodness before I get to the big guns, let’s dive into something different. I’m a sucker for cover songs because it often takes something I like and juxtaposes it with something else that I like, and like, what’s not to like about that? Anyway, by my half-assed count there are 6 official covers coming in the regular countdown (at least as far as I know as there might be a few more that I’m simply not aware are covers). So here’s a few more (original performer in parentheses) to really bring this puppy home for the day.

Allgood – “Them Changes” (Buddy Miles)
Rod Stewart – “Reason To Believe [Unplugged]” (Tim Hardin)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Something In The Air” (Thunderclap Newman)
Type O Negative – “Summer Breeze” (Seals & Crofts)
Open Skyz – “Give A Little Bit” (Supertramp) (no link, because posting a YouTube video for a long out-of-print album might hurt sales or something)
10,000 Maniacs – “Because The Night [Unplugged]” (Patti Smith Group)
Mr. Big – “Wild World” (Cat Stevens)
Sister Whiskey – “I’d Lie To You For You Love” (The Bellamy Brothers)
Chris Isaak – “Solitary Man” (Neil Diamond)
Mariah Carey – “Without You” (Badfinger)
Saigon Kick – “Space Oddity” (David Bowie)
Robert Plant – “If I Were A Carpenter” (Tim Hardin)
Phantom Blue – “Bad Reputation” (Thin Lizzy)
Faith Hill – “Piece Of My Heart” (Big Brother & The Holding Company)
Big Sugar – “Dear Mr. Fantasy” (Traffic)

Big year for Tim Hardin, who had two of his songs make the list despite the fact that he’d been dead for over a decade by the time 1993 rolled around and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single song from the man himself. But that’s how covers often work, by presenting a song you might never have heard before in a vein that might pique your interest. Otherwise these are just killer songs that get damn fine renditions here.

That wraps it up for the specialty honorable mentions. Next up: 100 songs that I didn’t feel like writing up actual reviews for but couldn’t find it in my heart to not at least mention. That’s right… MORE HONORABLE MENTIONS! I can already feel your excitement.

 

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