College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1996, 16 and 15

16. Various Artists, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet soundtrack

Yet another soundtrack, but this time I get it. And not just because a copy of this one still sits on our household CD shelf. Like a lot of director Baz Luhrmann’s films, his kinetic adaptation of Romeo and Juliet is such a melange of music and imagery, essentially the culminating cinematic product of the heavy MTV influence from the prior decade, that getting the soundtrack comes across as almost a necessity, a way to openly acknowledge the fingerprints Luhrmann has left on the mind, for good or ill. Surely it helped for a certain demographic that the film featured Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes at the peak of their youthful prettiness (I remember seeing the film in the middle of a packed theater in Appleton, Wisconsin and the hormonal glee radiating off the assembled high school girls could have been harnessed to power the projector). From a college deejay standpoint, the soundtrack was littered with bands that they found irresistible, at least at the time. Realistically, everything about this soundtrack (and the film from which it spring) is nicely representative of the state of the culture, circa 1996.

15. Various Artists, Saturday Morning: Cartoon’s Greatest Hits

I could probably cut-and-paste a lot of what I wrote about the Schoolhouse Rocks! Rocks compilation to explain the automatic, calculated appeal to college deejays this compilation held. What could be simpler to launch a thousand left of the dial playlists than recruit college radio stalwart acts to record some of the most incessantly catchy songs that burst upon Saturday mornings some twenty years earlier. And to give credit where it’s very much due, there were times when the combination of song and performer was beyond perfect. This was technically a 1995 release, but I believe it came out late enough (a very odd-looking Marvel Comics
had a March 1996 cover date) that the bulk of its airplay would have indeed happened in the following calendar year. Either that, or it just really held on for the 90FM deejays, as well-curated compilations with irresistible hooks were prone to do. Either way, I’m not going to disparage a release that includes the Violent Femmes covering “Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Means I Love You).”

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)
–38 and 37: Turn the Radio Off and Electriclarryland
–36 and 35: Naughty Little Doggie and In Blue Cave
–34 and 33: Eventually and Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks
–32 and 31: Beautiful Girls soundtrack and Strat’s Got Your Tongue
–30 and 29: Upstroke for the Downfolk and Set the Twilight Reeling
–28 and 27: Born on a Pirate Ship and The Golden Age
–26 and 25: Ænima and Dead Man Walking soundtrack
–24 and 23: Victor and Songs for Pele
–22 and 21: Down on the Upside and Music for Our Mother Ocean
–20 and 19: Supercop soundtrack and Dust
–18 and 17: Remember and A Worm’s Life

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