College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1996, 52 and 51

wallflowers horse
52. The Wallflowers, Bringing Down the Horse

Here’s what rock ‘n’ roll nepotism sounded like in the early-to-mid-nineteen-nineties. Bringing Down the Horse was the sophomore effort from the band the Wallflowers, fronted by Bob Dylan’s son Jakob. The group is solid enough, but rarely rises much above the level of better-than-average bar band, so even though there’s always a hunger for these sorts of earnest, plodding rockers, it’s hard to imagine this record getting all that far without the enticement to deejays of having an easy hook for the between-song banter. And I’ll even acknowledge that second single “One Headlight” is a pretty damn good song. To the younger Dylan’s credit, he took the constant comparisons to his legendary pop in weary stride, usually responding to questions about influence with some variation on “Yeah, he had an impact on me, but hasn’t he had an impact on everybody?” Bringing Down the Horse was a sizable hit for the Wallflowers, but it was also the band’s clear peak. I know I stopped affording them my already limited attention after hearing their contribution to the soundtrack of 1998’s misbegotten Godzilla remake, one of the worst cover songs ever perpetrated by a major act. There were many more Wallflowers albums, though, including the inevitable reunion effort after a hiatus proved to be notably less profitable.

51. Dave Matthews Band, Crash

If anything, I’m surprised that this album isn’t higher on the 90FM list, because it seems like exactly the sort of easy-going record that did well at the station. The music is jammy with enough discipline to keep the album from turning into a serious of Dead-ish noodling and drones, the sort of thing that has dependably packed Wisconsin’s Alpine Valley Music Theatre once a year. The sophomore effort from the Dave Matthews band certainly had the same sort of strummy, bouncy radio hits that defined their earlier effort, so I’d be surprised if there was a lot of disappointment with the album. (It also contains the only Dave Matthews Band song that I like.) Crash did all right for itself anyway, going platinum seven times over. It’s in fact the biggest-selling album of the band’s career. And there are no shortage of albums released by the band over the course of the past twenty years, including a mind-boggling number of live releases.

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
–76 and 75: Bob Mould and Walking Wounded
–74 and 73: It’s Martini Time and Trainspotting soundtrack
–72 and 71: Aloha Via Satellite and Fever In Fever Out
–70 and 69: Hi My Name is Jonny and One Mississippi
–68 and 67: Everything Sucks and The Aeroplane Flies High
–66 and 65: First Band on the Moon and Razorblade Suitcase
–64 and 63: Comic Book Whore and Peachfuzz
–62 and 61: All Change and Rude Awakening
–60 and 59: 12 Golden Country Greats and Songs in the Key of X
–58 and 57: Brain Candy soundtrack and Pinkerton
–56 and 55: Sublime and Count the Days
–54 and 53: Wild Mood Swings and The Cult of Ray

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