What Do Scary Spice and Trent Reznor Have In Common?
by Michele Christopher
Defining albums. Do I have to write an intro? Baby Huey already did that. Read his. I'm exhausted.
Three that were defining for genres:
Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
Mixed industrial techno with traditional songwriting, making what was then an obscure genre accessible to people who might otherwise have not given it a listen. This album took a little everything - synth pop, new wave, techno, rock, goth, drama, despair, catchy riffs, danceable beats and forged them together into something a thousand bands would try to replicate.
Run DMC - Run DMC
Where would hip-hop be without these guys? This album was the original hybrid of hard rock and rap, and no one after could produce that sound so sweetly. This album also marked a turning point for hip-hop - until then, it was more party/fun music than anything else - bringing a little dose of reality to the rhymes. It shaped the future path of rap more than any other album.
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
The songs were long and murky in a sludge-rock sort of way and the music was somewhat trippy and sometimes listening to this album was like walking through an acid trip while wearing boots made of cement. But there is no denying that as a whole, it worked. Maybe it didn't define the genre of heavy metal, but it sure started the path on which a whole slew of bands later traveled.
One that was defining in a negative light:
Spice Girls - Spice Girls
Not all defining albums define in a good way. This one represents the height (or low point) of crass commercialism and branding. This is how your six year old became a desired demographic. This is where pop music proved to the world what some of us jaded, cynical music lovers already knew: that it is nothing more than a giant manufacturing conglomerate that cares less about the end product (the record) than it does about what items the product can sell. And it also proved that 90% of the record buying public are sheep-like slaves to the flashing lights of mass media.
And one that was defining for me, personally:
Black Flag - Damaged
I had been listening to punk before this, going back to the Ramones and Sex Pistols, but there was no punk album - hell, no album in those last years of high school at all - that I reacted to so viscerally. There was something profound about this, something dark and desperate that at times made me want to crawl under the covers and just give in to whatever mental breakdown was coming and at times made me want to get out the door and kick ass and take names. It was raw and powerful and listening to it was the aural equivelant of scratching yourself until you bled. Less messy, too.
There you have it. Just a couple of defining albums that popped into my head. There's a ton more, and I might visit a couple of them in Tuesday's Gauntlet.