In 1994 a band hit the airwaves that really came out of nowhere. Music was in a confluence of change that year, with grunge coming to an end, the origins of Emo beginning and rock making a major comeback. In a genre known as Post-grunge/ Alternative came a band that really were just a solid rock band that took some nods from the previous grunge trend, this was Bush and they hit hard.
I discovered this band through the most common new music source of the day, MTV. The video was Everything Zen and it was a strange yet satisfying short film with some fascinating visuals (I would later see again in one of my favorite tv series openings). Something about that brief but impactful video made me want to find more from this band and soon I had the album Sixteen Stone in hand and I knew I had to find more.
Why This Album?
Growing up in the 90’s and being a fan of the grunge movement, it was almost verboten for me to actually like Bush and this album. Most of my friends at the time chose to talk about how the band was just copying grunge and had nothing to really say. To them, lead single Gavin Rossdale was the ‘pretty boy’ singer who also happened to be dating Gwen Stephanie of No Doubt, (and briefly Kurt Cobain’s widow Courtney Love prior to that) making him persona non grata to my crowd. Secretly though, many of us loved Gavin and his Nirvanaesque sound despite what anyone thought otherwise. Over time, it became ‘okay’ to like Bush and it was no surprise that many of us already did.
Although I loved Sixteen Stone, it wasn’t until Razorblade Suitcase that I really fell in love with the band. Produced by Steve Albini, this is the album that really showcased just how good this band really was. From hard rocking songs to melancholy emotional tunes, this album has everything you could possibly want from an album in those days, speaking to my teen self in ways that a lot of music just ignored. In an era that encouraged people to have a positive outlook on life, this album told you how it was and it wasn’t always a good day, but that was just life.
To this day, this album remains a favorite of mine. Every time I hear it, I am transported to the end of the mid nighties with the guitar feedback and gravely vocalists, the intense drums and even more intense lyrics. This was a time for new music and there was so much out there to breath in.
The album itself is just a nineties rock album in it’s purest form. If you want a taste of what the mid nineties felt like, turn this album up, and blast it through your living room or on your commute to work. From the opening growl of Personal Holloway to the final bits of feedback on Distant Voices, this is Nineties rock in it’s purest form distilled and released in record form. All of the angst, anger and frustration of the times can be heard in every note on every track giving sound to feelings we all had. While Gavin came across as a pretty boy, we all knew, he got it.
Bush has gone on to produce quite a few solid albums from their followup The Science of Things to the more recent Black and White Rainbows. They still have a great sound and I still consider myself a fan.
Swallowed. Just listen to it. You’ll see why. Heck the video was even nominated for several MTV music video awards!
Straight No Chaser. This is one that I just cant get enough of. It is just so solid with it’s inclusion of strings and having a great flourish halfway through.
Cold Contagious: This is a long one but it is so solid throughout. It is a dark song, about breaking up and desiring revenge for some slight. Evoking the feeling of the cold raw emotion everyone feels after ending a bitter relationship, it hammers that emotion hard, giving words to those feelings. Needless to say, it is intense.
Ok, Where do I get it?
Late to the Game 4/16/19
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