College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1989, 22 and 21

brain drain
22. Ramones, Brain Drain

When the producers of the 1989 film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Pet Sematary were looking for a band to craft a theme song, they turned to some fairly unlikely suspects. Sure, The Ramones had a little bit of cinematic experience and they were already full-on punk rock legends thirteen years after the release of their groundbreaking debut album, but their music didn’t really have the creepy vibe the film was going for. Still, the resulting song became on the band’s most significant radio hits and the centerpiece to their eleventh studio album, Brain Drain. It wasn’t just cats and creepy blond-haired boys getting resurrected. Drummer Marky Ramone’s place in the band came back from the grave as he got behind the kit for the first time since leaving the band in 1983 to deal with a drinking problem. A less happy personnel shift occurred after the album’s release, though, as founding member and longtime creative driving force Dee Dee Ramone announced he was leaving the band. His first solo album, which went in a totally different direction musically, was released just a few months after Brain Drain.

alarm change
21. The Alarm, Change

When the band The Alarm decided to record their fourth studio album, they wanted to ground it in their homeland of North Wales. According to chief songwriter and lead singer Mike Peters, going to Wales to write the lyrics to the band’s prior album, 1987’s Eye of the Hurricane, motivated the even more profound embrace of where they came from for the follow up, entitled Change. As he put it, “I thought if that album was influenced lyrically by Wales, then it was time to bring the whole group home musically as well.” The album contained all the big, anthemic songs that Alarm fans expected, but as a familiar as it may have seemed, there was a chance that an inattentive record buyer could wind up with a surprise as opening guitar riffs gave way to an unexpected language. As part of their homecoming, the band recorded a second version of the album with all of the lyrics in Welsh, in part because Peters and his cohorts felt there was a real risk of the language falling into disuse and extinction. Entitled Newid–the Welsh word for “Change,” naturally–the album featured all the same songs, but in the band’s mother tongue. It wasn’t merely a stunt. In fact, Peters has the highest of aspirations, noting “Music is an international language that knows no barriers and I hope that this record, Change, and also Newid, can heal some of the scars that have been embedded deep in Wales.”

Previously…
Introduction
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
26 and 25
24 and 23

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