Survey Says...

New Times critics look back on the "oohs" and the "ughs" of pop music '95 (results tabulated from individual critics' lists and comments)

2. Candlebox

Here's one Lucy nobody loves. America's favorite deceased redhead used to throw herself on conveyor belts, lower herself out of apartment windows, stuff chocolates and eggs down her pants and don a bottomless trunk of disguises to win her audience's approval. Candlebox seems content merely to sound like Bush meets the Black Crowes, except without the hooks. A pox on Candlebox! (Dominic)

3. Alanis Morissette
Jagged Little Pill

The voice of a tragically clueless crowd, this overbearing Sinead O'Connor doll comes off like an actress playing the role of a singer. (Simons)

4. Dave Matthews Band
Under the Table and Dreaming

Mr. Matthews, you're under arrest for the impersonation of Blues Traveler. Officer Popper, read him his rights! (Dominic)

5. Soul Asylum
Let Your Dim Light Shine

The curse of Winona Ryder strikes again. Dave Pirner should either a) quit letting her write his songs, or b) open up a swank nightclub posing as a seedy one and pay someone famous to die in front of it. (Notaro)

6. Better Than Ezra

Ten things that are better than this lame bastardization of the Pixies' late, lamented sound:

1. Alien rectal probes
2. Dead puppies being scraped up along the interstate
3. Someone replacing the fine coffee you usually drink with rich, decaffeinated, puréed monkey brains

4. More Suns coverage
5. A Kathie Lee Gifford boxed set with many never-before-heard tracks
6. Going in for a liver transplant and getting David Crosby's old one by mistake

7. A whoopee cushion that bellows, "Have you thought about your financial freedom in the Nineties?" whenever you sit on it

8. Watching Faces of Death frame by grueling frame while drinking bad beer with Bob Dole

9. Having someone named Fife balancing your checkbook
10. Searing molten lava being poured into both your ears (Dominic)

7. Michael Jackson
HI Past, Present and Future, Book I

Who is buying this album? If it's you, don't you see what happens when you encourage HIM? He pops up naked on cable TV with Elvis' daughter! (Notaro)

8. Filter
Short Bus

Nine Inch Nails alumni Richard Patrick and Brian Lisegang hit the bull's eye with their single "Hey Man, Nice Shot," but the rest of this album is a cut-rate Trent Reznor imitation. You never should have left, boys. (Holthouse)

9. Silverchair

Three words come to mind while listening to this album: Got. Any. Milk? (Notaro)

10. Lenny Kravitz

Squaaaawk. Lenny wants a cracker. Not since Whitesnake put violin bows back into guitar solos has Led Zeppelin's sound been so blatantly parroted. Kravitz didn't really think he could get away with this, did he? (Holthouse)

Oh, Just Reach In and Pull One Out.
(Superlative Grab Bag)

Best Trend in Band Names: The supersaturation of the word "super": Supergrass, Superchunk, Supersuckers, Supernova, and, of course, the Supersonic Soul Pimps.

Best Jazz Album: (Editor's note: Yes, the John Coltrane Heavyweight Champion collection on Rhino is awesome, but it's a boxed set, so stop writing that letter in your head.)

Charlie Parker's Bird's Best Bop on Verve. Forty-five years ago, Parker was blowing people's minds with his alto sax, and he's no less impressive today. Bird claimed he practiced up to 16 hours a day, every day, to get the kind of chops that made him a legend. For this stunning album, Verve compiled some of the saxophonist's hottest small-group bebop sessions with monsters like Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich and Max Roach. Today's young turks are still trying to figure out some of the solos here. (Golosinski)

Best Band Not to Be In If You Shoot Dope: Ministry. Bandmates Al Jourgensen and Mike Scaccia both were busted for heroin in separate incidents in August. Jourgensen was at home when the police came to call; Scaccia was shopping at a Wal-Mart. (Holthouse)

Best Reissue: "It's Hard to Believe It," The Amazing World of Joe Meek. All of the music on this album was made before 1967,but it's hard to imagine anyone making it in 1995--or any other year, forthat matter. Eerie and essential. (Dominic)

Best Follow-Up: Green Day's Insomniac. Like Nirvana with In Utero, Billie Joe and friends took the road less traveled--the one back totheir dirty roots instead of forward intomore polished commercialism--and ithas, indeed, made all the difference. (Holthouse)

Best Song to Shut Down a Party With: Duran Duran's abysmal cover of "Lay Lady Lay." Just put it on and stand clear of the exits. (Holthouse)

Best "Best of" Album: Louvin Brothers' When I Stop Dreaming: The Best of the Louvin Brothers. The pinnacle of high lonesome mountain music. Without the Louvins, there'd be no such thing as the Everly Brothers, the BoDeans, or any other harmony-heavy vocal act of the past 35 years. (Dominic)

Best Lounge-Core Album: Shadow of Your Smile, by Tucson's Friends of Dean Martinez. Makes you feel like you're a ghost-town gunslinger in a bright-yellow leisure suit. (The Friends, by the way, are playing Nita's Hideaway in Tempe on New Year's Eve.) (Holthouse)

Best Obscure Indie Releases: Model Rockets' Hi Lux and Zumpano's Look What the Rookie Did. Model Rockets lead song scribe John Ramberg is a crafty pop songwriter in the vein of Elvis Costello and Paul Westerberg. He sings about daredevil girlfriends and unglamorous day jobs where the only thing to look forward to is the UPS man giving you a bottle of booze on Christmas Eve.

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