College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1989, 52 and 51


52. The Tragically Hip, Up to Here

Maybe it’s the fact that the character Mike Nesmith played on the Monkees always wore a tuque that drew the Canadian band The Tragically Hip to him. More specifically, the group with a penchant and talent for rootsy rock took their name from a sketch in Nesmith’s groundbreaking collection of comedic videos called Elephant Parts. Formed in 1983, the band was plying their craft to great acclaim in clubs across the Great White North when an executive from MCA Records caught and show and became immediately excited about the prospect of the band translated their vaunted live energy to record. A self-titled EP resulted in 1987, followed by their proper full-length debut in 1989. The record is full of stand-out songs that practically sound like they were genetically engineered for rock radio. There’s plentiful acknowledgment of the breadth of their influences, including a name check of the city of New Orleans, which is notably distant from their snowy homeland. Maybe there’s a bit of aspiration in singing about a place with a warmer climate. Canadian or not, everyone needs a break from wearing toques all the time.

51. The Woodies, Train Wreck

The Florida-based band The Woodies generated a little bit of interest and success with their debut record, Five Years From Now, but that didn’t prevent a little bit of doomsaying from creeping in to their follow up EP. Luckily, it didn’t impact the songs, which are generally the sort of brisk, guitar-driven pop nuggets that generally set college radio programmers’ heart aflutter throughout the late eighties. It’s only in the title of the EP. Admittedly, it’s hard to conjure up a more potent metaphor for disaster than Train Wreck, but at least the title doesn’t make for a good review of the release. A better way to check on the collective frame of mind of the band when it was recorded may be simply flipping the cover to ponder the cluttered wall of memorabilia sharing space with the release’s credits. Any band the chooses to represent themselves on their back cover with an image of Fred and Wilma Flintstone, a Stiff Records button, a Moby Grape button a plenty of other material of that ilk can’t be doing too bad.

90 and 89
88 and 87
86 and 85
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66 and 65
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54 and 53

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