... And Who Could Forget About
These Great Hits?
(The Ten Best Albums of 1995)

1. P.J. Harvey
To Bring You My Love

Britain's Gen-X version of Patti Smith gets gruff and bluesy on her latest set of psyche-aerobics. It's not exactly easy listening--first-person songs about drowning one's children rarely are--but a sense of storyteller's confidence keeps Harvey's excess grotesqueries in line. (Simons)

Creepy, crunchy and filled with sinister intimations, this smoldering scare fest is like something torn from the pages of a psychologist's case study and pressed on vinyl. (Golosinski)

Classic albums play like movies, and this comes off like a great, old Barbara Stanwyck flick directed by David Lynch. Whenever Polly Jean gets around to birthin' a baby, I want a bootleg tape of every moan. (Dominic)

2. Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl and company reclaim all the great musical virtues of Nirvana and leave all the sensational shamanistic aspects of the band for Courtney Love to exploit. The year's most pleasant surprise. (Dominic)

He could have just crawled into a hole somewhere after Nirvana self-destructed. Instead, Dave Grohl got out from behind his drum kit to front the most dynamic new act of the year. Virtually every cut on this debut packs a powerhouse punch that'll have you humming along as you wonder what hit you. (Golosinski)

3. Smashing Pumpkins
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Roly-poly Billy Corgan can be hard to take seriously, what with his whining, adolescent brand of existentialism (see: CD title). Still, this double-disc set is an impressive piece of work in both scope and depth, and the music, which ranges from thud-metal to soft ballad with lots of stops in between, makes it clear that the Great Pumpkin is for real. (Simons)

4. Flaming Lips
Clouds Taste Metallic
(Warner Bros.)

The only place to hear songs titled "Psychiatric Explorations of the Fetus With Needles" and "They Punctured My Yolk." See these guys live, and marvel at a stage show that's not only startlingly psychedelic but damn tight. No easy feat considering that Ronald Jones slashes at his guitar with a violence normally witnessed in serial killers. It's not really a guitar, though; it's a jukebox stocked with samples of aliens squealing in languages that haven't even been invented yet. (Golosinski)

5. Cypress Hill
Cypress Hill III/Temples of Boom

A wicked album that epitomizes the guilty pleasure of gangsta rap. BReal's crazy-eyed delivery and Sen Dog's Jamaican street-tough patois are the perfect media for the rap duo's cartoon-gangland fables (where the moral is always shoot first and shoot often). DJ Muggs lays down grooves and beats that are so phat, this album should come with a calorie counter. (Holthouse)

6. Guided by Voices
Alien Lanes

Low-fi postpop in glorious miniature, GBV's latest collection of bite-size gems is the band's best yet, a cavalcade of pointy, melodic hooks framed by a loopy sense of surrealism that keeps things perfectly off-kilter. (Killer lyric: "The closer you are/The quicker it hits you.") (Simons)

7. Throwing Muses

One of the most critically overrated acts of the '80s finally comes up with an album to equal all the hype--and no one pays any attention. Too bad. Twitching chanteuse Kristin Hersh proves herself an inspired and innovative songwriter, as adept at melody (finally) as with meter and lyrics. (Killer cut: "Start.") (Simons)

8. The Presidents of the United States of America
The Presidents of the United States of America

What a relief to hear a band come out of Seattle that doesn't have anything to do with the "G" word. The Presidents are fun, energetic and willfully goofy, a band of young, fresh fellows who might be giants. (Best track: "Lump.") (Simons)

9. Goldie

Could he be the one? Techno needs a better messiah than Moby, and when it comes to building bridges, Goldie has a Midas touch. Using jungle beat as a base of operations, he cuts a star pattern of swaths through the bullshit to unite allthecutting-edge electronic forms--jungle, acid, triphop, breakbeat, trance, etc.--inavast, vivid panorama of underground music that is authentic but accessible. Thisis it--tenyears from now, they'll say it all started here. (Holthouse)

10. Supergrass
I Should CoCo

The best of the Brit-pop renaissance lot, the lads in Supergrass cleverly pinch everything from Saturday-morning cartoon themes ("Strangeones") tothe Damned and Buzzcocks ("Caught by the Fuzz" is the consummate Singles Going Steady track that never was) to art-rock bands like Pink Floyd and Queen("Alright," "Sofa of My Lethargy"). The members of this trio would be teenidols in America by now if they didn'tall resemble sweaty fish onstage. (Dominic)

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Serene Dominic
Contact: Serene Dominic
Matt Golosinski
David Holthouse
Contact: David Holthouse
Laurie Notaro
Ted Simons

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