College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1996, 40 and 39

dog nowhere
40. Dog’s Eye View, Happy Nowhere

Much as I complain about the monolithic grunge sound that dominated any radio station that aligned itself with the “alternative” movement in the mid-nineties, in some ways the real problem was that many of the band’s that provided some respite from that plodding noise weren’t much better. Dog’s Eye View existed as a band because Adam Duritz, of Counting Crows, heard singer-songwriter Peter Stuart and decided broader exposure of his mellow, chipper music. That ghastly endorsement truly provides all the insight that’s needed to predict the strum-along pap on the resulting band’s debut album, Happy Nowhere. Propelled by a hit single that landed in the Billboard Top 10, Dog’s Eye View felt more pervasive than they really were through, and their sophomore album went nowhere, leading to the band, which was little more than a label-developed studio construct anyway, to formally break up around 2000. When Stuart’s solo career similarly went nowhere, he decided the cachet of the one hit wonder band name was worth holding onto after all, and one more album was released under that name, in 2006. I doubt too many of the student deejays who played Happy Nowhere back in 1996 remain excited (or even nostalgic) about the release today, but at least I get how this one wound up on the chart.

39. Various Artists, Not Fade Away (Remembering Buddy Holly)

This, on the other hand, is completely baffling to me. Yes, in the mid-nineties, tribute albums were as plentiful as Solo cups at frat parties, and college radio deejays seem uniquely susceptible to the allure of the cover song. Still, I look at the artists on this tribute to Buddy Holly–the most college radio-friendly of which are Los Lobos, Nanci Griffith and Todd Snider–and I can’t figure out how this got added to the station rotation in the first place, much less how it grabbed the attention of the staff to such a degree that it ranked this high on the chart. Perhaps I’m being unduly judgmental and the songs on this album are so smartly, beautifully rendered that it is far more than the sum of its parts, but the available evidence suggests otherwise. Seriously, if they wanted to play Buddy Holly songs so badly, they would have been far better off digging into the music library to find the obscure tribute album from 1989 that served both the original performer and the station’s mandate far better.

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
–52 and 51: Bringing Down the Horse and Crash
–50 and 49: No Talking, Just Head and New Adventures in Hi-Fi
–48 and 47: Lay It Down and Pogue Mahone
–46 and 45: I’m with Stupid and XTORT
–44 and 43: Tango and …finally
–42 and 41: Good Weird Feeling and Mint 400

19 thoughts on “College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1996, 40 and 39

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