"Rock and Roll is dead" is a term that is a load of bullshit. It's just morphed and changed. As far as teh grunge era goes, I missed it by a little bit. Yeah, sure I am a fan of STP and Pearl Jam and Nirvana and Soundgarden etc., but for me, the real rocking era of alternative rock or however you want to classify the post grunge era of the 90s was what I grew up with. That said, the best rock band of the 90s after grunge was more or less done are the Foo Fighters. They were a tight rock band built from the ashes of Nirvana. For me, this was a band to emulate and to want to be. Dave Grohl was a real rock star recording the debut album entirely himself. It wasn't until 1997's The Colour & The Shape came out that they were a full band and that they truly showed the world how much ass kicking could be done. This album and the videos that came from some of it's biggest hits were the cream of the crop for my middle youth and therefore a very important record for myself the past 25 years.
Again, like a few on this list, there aren't a lot of attached specific memories. It's more of an overview of my high school career and even into college. Thinking back and seeing that this record is 11 years old now is kind of crazy. It was one of the many that made me want to be in a band. Like Tommy, it has some amazing musicianship and great songwriting. Apparently, this is also a concept album about the beginning and end of a relationship. This wasn't a soundtrack for any kind of break-up the way, say Beck's Sea Change or Jeff Buckley's Grace were, but it is in fact a kick ass rocker showing a gritty, harder side to losing someone close to you.
The most pertinent thing about this record is the fact that my own band, Noringo, which lasted a good three years of my life, were heavily influenced by the sound on this record. We had a few ballady type songs much in the style of "Walking After You" as well as sprawling rockers like "Everlong" or "My Hero." Our band emulated a few 90s acts but the Foos would have to be the biggest comparison. It's no wonder as all of us grew up listening to the Foos and loving every minute of it. As much as all of their albums are good in their own right, there is no mistaking the masterpiece that is The Colour & The Shape. I can't think of many 90s albums that truly rocked as hard and as consistently. The other ones will probably appear on this list as well, but this one is the most important to me out of anythig rock wise in the 90's. Even Pinkerton and Odelay don't really match up in the Rock territory. They are different in a way so they are still favs of mine, but as much as they are great, the Foos just rock a whole lot harder.
As far as what songs really stood out to me, there was no denying that "Hey, Johnny Park!" was by far the finest rock song I had heard in the 90's. Lyrically and structurally it's a beastily track that rips and subsides to show some vulnerability then rips it again. "February Stars" was one of those tracks that when heard live would just put you in awe. Either at the acoustic tour I saw at the Tower or the pit seats I had a few years back, this was a top notch track to hear. It's also one of those tracks I would listen to late at night with headphones in a dark room just soaking in the goodness. "Enough Space" surprisingly is a new favorite of mine. This shows how the record still affects me to this day. Sometimes just damn good rocking is enough to make it change your life, even if nothing personal comes attached to it. The Colour & The Shape proves that time & time again.
1. The Who - Tommy
2. Beck - Odelay
3. Television - Marquee Moon
4. Weezer - Pinkerton
5. Brian Eno - Before & After Science
6. Wilco - A Ghost is Born
7. The Beatles - Rubber Soul
8. Grand Funk Railroad - Closer to Home
9. Foo Fighters - The Colour & The Shape
Next Up - Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection