College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1996, 38 and 37

38. Reel Big Fish, Turn the Radio Off

Good lord, just look at that hideous album cover. Turn the Radio Off is the sophomore effort for punk-ska band Reel Big Fish and their first after being signed to the Mojo Records label on the strength of their 1995 self-released debut, Everything Sucks. It was solidly successfully, thanks largely to the blip of a ska trend that persisted only long enough for the music-loving public to collective come to their senses, as if shaking off the effects of a overly strong lager. Most of the album actually consists of reworked and rerecorded versions of songs from their debut, although it was one of the entirely new compositions, “Sell Out,” that become the lead single and a modest hit on commercial radio. I have a feeling it was different track that inspired the most devotion among deejays at my broadcasting alma mater. While the band has gone through plenty of lineup changes, Reel Big Fish has persisted without a notable hiatus or break-up, including an album released just last year. Because, seriously, what else are these guys going to do besides keep coming up with new product to help justify spots on festival stages and tours where they play to overexcitable drunks?

37. Butthole Surfers, Electriclarryland

To this day, I find it mind-blowing that the Butthole Surfers logged a Top 40 hit. And it’s not like the song in question, “Pepper,” is some atypical stab at commercial success. It’s still pretty odd, with its spoken-sung lyrics listing unseemly individuals skirting death, slowed down guitar riff and the beginning and different sounds played backwards. It is a hell of a catchy riff on the chorus, though. Regardless, the success of the song seemed to catch everyone off-guard, and the label felt obligated to release an alternative album cover that obscured the band’s name and included far less aggressive art. The band’s crossover was complete enough that they could be the subject of an ace The Simpsons gag by the end of the year. Not that the band was all that likely to build on their taste of the music business high life, but the think possibility was further scuttled when they parted ways with their label after a planned follow-up, to be called After the Astronaut, was abandoned. They were also bogged down by a lawsuit against their formal label, the independent outfit Touch and Go. In fact, there was only one more new studio release from the Butthole Surfers, 2001’s Weird Revolution, even as the band has continued to tour and leader Gibby Haynes makes vague promises about another record every couple of years.

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
–40 and 39: Happy Nowhere and Not Fade Away (Remembering Buddy Holly)

18 thoughts on “College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1996, 38 and 37

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