College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1996, 76 and 75

76. Bob Mould, Bob Mould

I was working in commercial radio in 1996, at a station billed, in the parlance of the time, as a “new rock alternative.” While I often disparage the format’s reliance on watered-down grunge, at about the time Bob Mould’s self-titled album came out, Oasis were giving way to the Cranberries on the top of the relevant Billboard chart. That may have made it an even worse climate for a new effort for the blazing, punk-derived music of the former Hüsker Dü member. There was even a person at the station who lamented over the tragic disappointment that Mould “couldn’t even get arrested” in the current format. This was the Music Director who told me this, so his feigned helplessness way especially dismaying. Bob Mould was the third solo album for the genius guitarist and his first in several years after a digression with Sugar. In the grand panorama of his career, it’s probably a lesser effort, but there’s still good stuff on there. This was clearly an odd period for Mould. Two years later, he released The Last Dog and Pony Show, the suggested finality of the title seemingly coming to pass when he followed the associated tour by switching careers to become a writer with World Championship Wrestling.

girl walking
75. Everything but the Girl, Walking Wounded

Everything but the Girl had been around for a long time before they had their first notable U.S. chart success, and even then it arrived through unlikely means. “Missing” was the second single off of Amplified Heart, the band’s eighth studio album. It barely made a blip in its initial release, but it was reissued in a Todd Terry remixed version about a year later and became a worldwide smash, including a climb to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, a feat remarkably accomplished in its twenty-eighth week on the chart. And it spent an full, uninterrupted year bouncing around the Hot 100, the only song to ever do that. So it was that remix that the duo was following up with their 1996 album, Walking Wounded, and the release understandably embraced the dance music style that defined their greatest success. While they did top the dance charts with the track “Wrong,” their newly established peak level of success proved elusive. Everything but the Girl released one further album, 1999’s Tempermental, before becoming, as lead singer Tracey Thorn put it, “mothballed.”

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
–84 and 83: To the Faithful Departed and God’s Good Urges
–82 and 81: Billy Breathes and Sweet F.A.
–80 and 79: The Process and Test for Echo
–78 and 77: Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds and Breathe

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