College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1996, 90 and 89

90. Marilyn Manson, Antichrist Superstar

You know, when I counted down Trouser Press‘s picks for the ten best albums of 1981, I made a point of listening to every one of them before I wrote on them. Not with this chart, brother. And any such inclination was smothered with the very first entry. Antichrist Superstar was the second full-length album from Marilyn Manson, following up the previous year’s EP, Smells Like Children, which yielded a sizable with a garish, grotesque and bombastic cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” The album was a huge hit (to date, it’s sold nearly two million copies in the U.S. and around seven million worldwide) with a couple big radio singles driving its success. It’s a concept album and the first part of a trilogy, because of course it is. To my ears and eyes, it mostly proves that every generation gets the Alice Cooper it deserves.

89. The Black Crowes, Three Snakes and One Charm

If my writing on the previous album was tinged with implied disparagement of the taste of the student programmers who arrived after my time at the station, let me note that I and my direct cohorts bear plenty of lingering responsibility for the effort at #89 on the chart. When the Black Crowes released their debut album, Shake Your Money Maker in 1989, we played it. A lot, as I recall. And we similarly treated the southern blues rock outfit’s sophomore effort, 1992’s The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, with far more reverence than it was probably due. By the time they dropped their fourth album, Three Snakes and One Charm, the band was, I believe, pretty well entrenched in the culture of 90FM. As I’ve mentioned before, the station was always a little more susceptible to earnest, solidly crafted, straightforward rock ‘n’ roll than many of its more elitist college radio kin across the nation. They (and we) were programming for small town central Wisconsin, after all. It might not have an especially strong cool factor, but I’ve no doubt in worked wonderfully on the airwaves at the time.

An Introduction

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