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9. Public Enemy, Greatest Misses (Def Jam/Columbia). The anger may still be there, but not the inspiration to transform it into passionate new battle cries. P.E. apparently saved it for the remix half of the album, the best way to relive Chuck and Flav's glory days short of wearing out your It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back disc.
10. Kris Kross, Totally Krossed Out (Ruffhouse/Columbia). They may be prepackaged front boys right down to their nauseating, cute-as-pups image, but the Krispies have a scary grip on what it takes to warm it up--they bend rhythms at will, rap a million miles an hour, drop it Jamaican-style and even sneer out the sides of their mouths to make the point. Hip-hop's Jackson Five.
In no particular order:
Bruce Springsteen, "Lucky Town" (Columbia). The song, not the album, although the album was better than "Human Touch," which wasn't all bad, but would've made one good Bruce album when combined with the few great songs on Lucky Town, the album. If not for the tortured verbiage in the bridge (like in that last sentence), "Lucky Town" would be one of Springsteen's coolest tunes. Flea's acceptance speech on the MTV Music Awards--I know next to nothing about the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but their bass player's first instinct upon winning something from MTV was to jump up to the podium and make frenzied, masturbatory gestures. The director cut away from this tender scene just as another Pepper stepped up to perform what appeared to be mock fellatio on his bandmate. It was, by far, the most entertaining moment on any awards show all year. Nirvana, Nevermind (Geffen). Actually released in 1991, of course--which means I could probably legally include John Prine's The Missing Years (Oh Boy) somewhere in this list--but my 1992 theme disc nonetheless. How many times did the line "Oh well, whatever, nevermind" run through my head during the last umpteen months?
Wonderful Russ hosting a Channel 8 pledge break a couple of weeks ago. Instead of the usual polite PBS appeals for cash, Wonderful, longtime Valley zane master and occasional KSLX morning-show contributor, did it this way: "I'm hearing a silence that is irritating to me, and I'm seriously thinking, I'm not saying I will do it, but I'm seriously thinking of starting to take these people who are answering the phones, and choking them one by one until you phone in with your pledges." Joe Ely, Love and Danger (MCA). Excellent road music, as usual, now threatening to replace Midnight Oil's Diesel and Dust as my favorite soundtrack for the drive to Tucson. Joe also sings the bossest sonic punch line of the year: "So I shot em down, one by one, and I left them long the rails/I only use my gun whenever kindness fails." Los Lobos, Kiko (Slash/Warner Bros.). Not as good as the great Los Lobos albums of the mid-1980s, but nothing is. Still, a rollicking, tuneful collection of songs. There's some folk here, some lilting border sounds, some blistering rock guitar playing, and everything swings. "The Zamboni Song," from Billy's Live Bait (Polydor) by Gear Daddies. Now played (as a sing-along) during the second intermission at every Phoenix Roadrunners game, this should become the hockey version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
Dino, Nick Tosches (Doubleday). Tosches' masterful Dean Martin bio wallows lovingly in Rat Pack vulgarity. I couldn't put it down. Tom Waits, Bone Machine (Island). Talk about your wallowing! A wonderful collection of shrieks, groans and thumps, assembled to illuminate the theme, which is death. Not a great Christmas gift for the infirm. "All Alone on Christmas," Darlene Love (Arista). Written by Miami Steve and interpreted by the otherwise jobless remnants of the E Street Band, Love's contribution to the Home Alone 2: Lost in New York soundtrack sounds, as it was designed to sound, like the lost track off Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift for You. A thrilling cut. The Simpsons, 7 p.m. Thursdays, Channel 15. A weekly masterpiece. My favorite line of the season so far was uttered by Krusty the Clown, after Bart led an insurrection to reveal his hero's summer camp as a squalid rip-off. The clown is captured by rioting campers (after his return from Wimbledon) and forced to confess why he lent his name to such a horrible, exploitative enterprise. "They drove a dump truck full of money up to my house," wailed Krusty. "I'm not made of stone!" Brian Griffith
Dead Hot Workshop
1. L7, Bricks Are Heavy (Slash/Warner Bros.). Angry women, loud guitars.
2. Morrissey, Your Arsenal (Sire). Brilliant!
3. Ultramarine, Every Man and Woman Is a Star (Dali/Mute). Limp-wristed and loving it. My hand is on the closet door.
4. Soul Asylum, Grave Dancers Union (Columbia/Sony). Rock n' roll, beer guzzlin' and pool shootin'.
5. Sugar, Copper Blue (Rykodisc). Mould does hard-pop like nobody, no how.
6. Adulterous Woman, Camping in Anger (local tape). The most underrated album and band in Phoenix.
7. Alice in Chains, Dirt (Columbia). Only Seattle band that will last, besides Queensryche.
8. Beastie Boys, Check Your Head (Capitol). Best rap album ever.
9. Chimera UK, Heals Me (Expo). If Cocteau Twins met My Bloody Valentine at Long Wong's.