College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1996, 4 and 3

cable guy
4. Various Artists, The Cable Guy soundtrack

To the degree that anyone’s especially invested of reevaluating the bygone cinematic output of either Ben Stiller or Jim Carrey these days, I think the critical consensus on The Cable Guy has shifted somewhat, offering it the dignity of seeing it as a misunderstood cult classic. Back in 1996, though, it was widely seen as a disaster. Certainly, it was poised to be torn apart by critics, already resentful about the dismal crap Carrey was building his stardom on and freshly irritated by his twenty million dollar paycheck for the film, a record at the time. The reviews were scathing and the movie barely crawled over the $100 million mark at the box office. The movie is better than it was given credit for, though it doesn’t quite commit to its inherent darkness and is finally too spoofy to be substantial (though there will always be a place in my heart for Janeane Garofalo as a Medieval Times serving wench). The soundtrack album is an accurate representation of the dire state of “alternative rock” at the time, as it’s filled with horrid quasi-metal and tepid industrial-edged nonsense. The major selling point for the college kids was the first official solo effort by Jerry Cantrell, of Alice in Chains, but I’m betting the deejays were more likely to cue up the grating novelty of Carrey’s take on “Somebody to Love.” Listeners probably despised that track by the end of the summer.

3. Various Artists, The Crow: City of Angels soundtrack

The soundtrack for the sequel to the 1994 hit film The Crow is its own version of state of the music landscape hell, with contributions from the likes of Seven Mary Three and Korn. And that doesn’t even mention the ultimate sacrilege of Bush covering Joy Division (you’ll get no hyperlink to that one from me). Yet, I will forgive the soundtrack all of those sins for delivering to the world Hole’s spectacular cover of “Gold Dust Woman.” This was right in the middle of the span between the band’s acclaimed Live Through This and the unfairly maligned follow-up, Celebrity Skin, and Hole is in fine, fiery form, absolutely burying Fleetwood Mac’s drab original. Like a lot of people, I don’t exactly want Courtney Love over to my house for a dinner party, but she was a helluva rock vocalist for a time. The song shows offers stunning evidence of that. Luckily, as someone who was sulking his way through a commercial radio gig at the time, that was the only track I had to play from the soundtrack. Let the college radio deejays have White Zombie’s dopey, ironic cover of “I’m Your Boogie Man.” It’s one of the few instances where I don’t envy the playlist freedom they had.

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
–16 and 15: William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet and Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits
–14 and 13: Down By the Old Mainstream and The Gray Race
–12 and 11: Star Maps and Car Button Cloth
–10 and 9: Black Love and Highball with the Devil
–8 and 7: Recovering the Satellites and Evil Empire
–6 and 5: XOC and Irresistible Bliss

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