College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1989, 26 and 25

26. Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, Mystery Road

Any band leaning heavily on country music in building out their sound is going to rely fairly heavily on a few different well-worn themes. The band Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ decided to openly acknowledge that right in their name, which was reportedly inspired by a description of the main topics addressed by chief songwriter Kevn Kinney in his efforts for the band. Based out of Atlanta, the music on the band’s third album Mystery Road betrayed a definite tilt towards southern rock, but Kinney actually had northern roots, having moved to Georgia’s biggest city from Milwaukee. It didn’t take him long to incorporate his new home state into his sound after forming Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ shortly after the relocation, and he even realized the importance of tapping into one of the most useful area resources for stirring up college radio attention, namely the left-of-the-dial mainstays that made their home some seventy-miles to the east, R.E.M. Not only does R.E.M.’s caunted guitarist Peter Buck show up playing dulcimer on several tracks on Mystery Road, but Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ expanded their roster to a quartet for the album by recruiting R.E.M.’s touring rhythm guitarist Buren Fowler to help fill out their sound. If you’re going to seek out help, why not look to band that makes college radio programmers salivate with every musical peep they make?

25. The Frogs, The Frogs

The Frogs had quite a reputation even before their self-titled debut was released in 1988. Led by Jimmy and Dennis Flemion, the Milwaukee-based band was known for their theatricality and full-on weirdness. Though they got their start playing in the stereotypically sedate coffeehouse environment, Jimmy Flemion is probably best known in the Dairy Rock scene for the six-foot bat wings he routinely wore on stage. Beyond the spectacle, though, the music the band makes was intriguing enough to get the attention of Homestead Records head Gerald Cosloy who helped make a batch of home recordings into the decidedly controversial It’s Only Right and Natural, which bore a copyright date that matches the year in music being tracked through. That record wasn’t exactly radio-friendly, preventing it from getting anywhere near a chart like this, but the earlier self-titled effort’s offbeat, colorful pop songs were perfectly suited to the 90FM airwaves, garnering impressive airplay during the first few months of 1989.

90 and 89
88 and 87
86 and 85
84 and 83
82 and 81
80 and 79
78 and 77
76 and 75
74 and 73
72 and 71
70 and 69
68 and 67
66 and 65
64 and 63
62 and 61
60 and 59
58 and 57
56 and 55
54 and 53
52 and 51
50 and 49
48 and 47
46 and 45
44 and 43
42 and 41
40 and 39
38 and 37
36 and 35
34 and 33
32 and 31
30 and 29
— 28 and 27

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