College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1989, 86 and 85

86. Love and Rockets, Love and Rockets

The band Love and Rockets waited until their fourth full-length outing before going the self-titled route when it came to naming their album, which led to a few DJs up on the commercial side of the dial thinking it might be their debut release. Even if the confusion can’t quite be forgiven, you can at least see where it comes from for the radio crowd that knows more about Debbie Gibson than David J. That naming tactic is usually employed by bands introducing themselves, after all, and even if Love and Rockets already had at least one modest hit to their credit with the airy, folky “No New Tale To Tell,” that had a different enough sound from the buzzy, dark dance smash “So Alive,” which propelled the band into the Billboard top five, that unschooled announcers weren’t likely to make the connection. Of course, if they find something that simple so confusing, then they’re going to be dumbfounded by the supercool indie comic book that inspired the band’s name. Maybe Love and Rockets should stick with college radio. It’s where everyone truly understands them.

85. Michelle Shocked, Captain Swing

if you’re going to make a sharp stylistic left turn, it’s probably a good idea to turn on your signal. With that in mind, perhaps, Michelle Shocked made sure fans were ready for something different by naming her third album Captain Swing. Lest the record be accused of not meaning a thing, Shocked makes sure it’s certainly got that swing, filling it with big, boisterous, brassy sounds that are miles removed from the campfire sparseness of her 1986 debut, and even fuller, wilder, and happier than the trickily varied follow-up, 1988’s Short Sharp Shocked. Those looking for some of Shocked’s patented political commentary might get their greatest satisfaction from the attention-getting music video for the lead single “On the Greener Side,” which finds her sharing the frame with a healthy troop of guitar-wielding himbos in a pointed and inspired spoof of the objectification showcase that propelled Robert Palmer to the biggest hits of his career.

90 and 89
88 and 87

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