Modern Rock Tracks, 2/6/93

I’ve let things get away from me in this series, so I better quickly play catchup so that I can tackle the next installment sometime in April.

I’d opened 1993 up by traveling to San Antonio for the big, annual national mathematics conference. I attended two workshops, hung out with friends from Illinois who were on the job market, and did a tiny bit of sightseeing (including the Riverwalk and yes, the Alamo). By early February I was engrossed in teaching lots of statistics and getting my first shot at first-semester calculus (I’m amused to realize as I write this that three-quarters of my teaching load this semester is the same as thirty years ago).

As for the music on the MRT chart around that time? Let’s dive in…

29. Black 47, “Funky Céili (Bridie’s Song)”
I don’t think I knew until assembling this post that Black 47 was an American band (though vocalist Larry Kirwan is Irish-born)?

The EP I have with “Funky Céili” on it also contains the epic “Maria’s Wedding,” in which our narrator/hero drunkenly ruins his ex-lover’s nuptials in the hopes of getting back together with her. Yeah, that’s a workable plan…

26. King Missile, “Detachable Penis”
One I regularly heard on WRFL (Lexington’s eclectic college radio station) on my commute to and from work that first year at Georgetown. In this spoken-word piece, our narrator/hero owns the title object, loses it while partying at a friend’s house, and subsequently suffers the indignity of having to buy it back from a street vendor.

24. Suzanne Vega, “99.9° F”
One of two songs I could have written up in the previous installment but passed on because I knew I’d have another chance to highlight them in February (the other is #6). Another thing they share is I like other songs on the respective albums much better–in Suzy V’s case, I’m more of a fan of “In Liverpool,” “As Girls Go,” and “When Heroes Go Down.”

21. Daniel Ash, “Get Out of Control”
Love and Rockets turned out to be only on hiatus; Foolish Thing Desire would be Ash’s last solo venture for a decade. “Get Out of Control” is pretty tasty, though I’m seeing what feels like a sly and subtle homage to “Addicted to Love” in the video, with women playacting as musicians.

16. Michael Penn, “Long Way Down”
Free-for-All didn’t grab me at first listen the way March had, and I never wound up giving it much of a chance. I’ll admit that “Long Way Down” wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the earlier album.

15. The Sundays, “Goodbye”
My favorite song in this post. Grateful for the three albums the Sundays put out; wouldn’t have minded at all had there been a few more.

13. Starclub, “Hard to Get”
I do this exercise as much to uncover gems I missed back in the day as to revisit old friends (with the proliferation of alternative radio stations as the 90s progressed, slipping past my radar may be harder going forward, though). Here’s a UK band that lasted only for one release. “Hard to Get” has some pleasing hooks and jangle; I think I would have liked it.

10. Soul Asylum, “Black Gold”
The Twin Cities represent with this second notable track from Grave Dancers Union. The third would break things wide open for a while for Dave Pirner and company.

9. Stereo MCs, “Connected”
This one just screams big hit to me, so I’m surprised to see it only reached #20 on the Hot 100 (and #18 in the band’s native Britain). My days as a tastemaker, if there ever were any, apparently were already past.

6. 10000 Maniacs, “Candy Everybody Wants”
Connecting back to what I said at #24, give me “Noah’s Dove,” “Eden,” and “Jezebel” any day over “Candy Everybody Wants.”

3. R.E.M., “Man on the Moon”
What would they have titled Andy Kaufman’s biopic if R.E.M. hadn’t written and recorded this song?

2. Duran Duran, “Ordinary World”
I was caught completely off-guard by this comeback single, hitting the U.S. almost exactly a decade after “Hungry Like the Wolf” had (and also peaking at #3 Pop).

1. Jesus Jones, “The Devil You Know”
There aren’t going to be many #1 songs on this chart in the coming years that are brand new to me, but somehow Perverse, the followup LP to breakthrough Doubt, eluded my attention. Truth be told, based on initial impressions here, that’s okay.

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