College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1996, 84 and 83

84. The Cranberries, To the Faithful Departed

And now we come to what is arguably the “lingering goodwill” portion of the chart, with a couple of albums that a reasonable observer may conclude garnered airplay less on their own individual merits and more because of admiration for prior works. The Cranberries, for example, were coming off fine albums. Their 1993 debut, Everybody Else is Doing It So Why Can’t We?, and its follow up, 1994’s No Need to Argue, both garnered a lot of appreciative attention, especially the former which was the welcome elegant pop contrast to the bludgeoning grudge that was otherwise dominant. Their third album, To the Faithful Departed, was greeted with similar jubilation. The first single, “Salvation,” went to the top of the Billboard Modern Rock chart. As radio programmers tried to dig deeper into the album, they found that it plainly wasn’t very good. Though a bevy of singles were released from the record, alternative rock radio and college programmers gradually lost interest (they did managed a fairly tepid trip to the Billboard Top 40 with an completely forgettable ballad). The band wound up taking a brief hiatus, and when they returned with 1999’s Bury the Hatchet, college radio was basically over them.

83. Porno for Pyros, Good God’s Urges

In the mid-nineties, much of the appreciation for Perry Farrell emanated from his central role in creating Lollapalooza, the traveling rock show carnival that got high school kids to pay top dollar to see the likes of Sonic Youth and L7 in concert. Farrell was successfully positioned as a tattooed and pierced P.T. Barnum for the waning years of the millennium, and the music he made was increasingly immaterial to his celebrity. After his band Jane’s Addiction broke up, he moved on to a group with the truly terrible name Porno for Pyros. After a self-titled debut album that already aroused skepticism in discerning music fans, the band released their sophomore album, Good God’s Urge, in 1996, just as Farrell was trying to prove he had career legs apart from his famous road show. He split from Lollapalooza that year, in part because Metallica was recruited as one of the headline acts, somewhat in opposition to the tour’s ethos of championing acts further outside the mainstream (Farrell also claimed he didn’t like the macho posturing of their music, although he didn’t have a problem with that sort of thing when Ice-T and Body County played the inaugural edition of the tour). Good God’s Urges could be viewed as a reasonable success, peaking at #20 on the album charts and just missing the Billboard Top 40 with the first single, “Tahitian Moon.” The band was finished a couple years later, without releasing another album, after guitarist Peter DiStefano was diagnosed with cancer, and Farrell kept on with increasingly insignificant projects, eventually grabbing back a hold of the lucrative Lollapalooza brand and participating in especially odd knock-offs. The Porno for Pyros reunion that no one demanded is reportedly in the works for 2013.

An Introduction
–90 and 89: Antichrist Superstar and Three Snakes and One Charm
–88 and 87: No Code and Unplugged
–86 and 85: Greatest Hits Live and Gilded Stars and Zealous Hearts

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