College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1989, 40 and 39

40. Marshall Crenshaw, Good Evening

Marshall Crenshaw is as well-known and widely respected for his skills as a songwriters as his is for his performing talent. With that being the case, it raised some eyebrows when his 1989 album Good Evening had a generous selection of songs written by others, including the impressive likes of Richard Thompson, John Hiatt and Bobby Fuller. That shouldn’t be that surprising, though, given that Crenshaw has always been comfortable slipping into other performers’ dancing shows. He got his first major exposure playing John Lennon in the touring company of Beatlemania and he portrayed Buddy Holly in La Bamba, the 1987 movie about the tragically short life of Ritchie Valens. Even without putting his signature on every note of the sheet music, Crenshaw demonstrated that he could still make music that was clearly, unmistakably his. Good Evening carried his chiming, perfect pop sound to the heights fully expected of him.

39. The Dickies, Second Coming

Lots of albums are sold with testimonials or critics’ quotes, but few more boldly than Second Coming, the 1989 comeback album from the California punk band The Dickies. Ads for the record included a quoted endorsement from Jesus H. Christ who purportedly proclaimed “To live a meaningful life is to live with a copy of the new Dickies album Second Coming in your proximity.” The rest of the ad copy promised “You too can have the love of Jesus enter your soul” and noted how a purchase of the album will lead to prayers being answered. All that juicy sacrilege is just par for the course for the Dickies. This is, after all, the band that rejuvenated their career in part through recording the theme song for the weirdo cult horror flick Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Apparently conjuring up just the right music to accompany a film that prominently featured a cotton candy gun revived their punk spirits. Second Coming, then, is an especially fitting title for the collection of potent rockers they found within themselves. Even the heavens agree.

90 and 89
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