Music News


Once again, we take a look at what a few local humans liked and didn't like in the music world this year. From fabulous celebrities such as Charles Barkley and Barry Goldwater to everyday folks you may have seen at your local Circle K or topless bar (Dave and Mariah, respectively) to your humble and knowledgeable staff of New Times professionals, we give you 12 different takes on the songs, discs, bands--even the music developments--of the year.

Mariah, "entertainer" at Tiffany's Cabaret
Mariah's picks serve double duty; not only does she make her living dancing to the music, but she listens to almost all of the songs mentioned at home, too. "They're good whether I'm vacuuming or stripping," she says.

1. The Sliver soundtrack. Gosh, you get such a wide variety of music, and slow stuff that's very sexy to dance to.

2. Neneh Cherry, "Move With Me." It's kind of a slow rap that's also very sexy to dance to.

3. Tag Team, "Whoop There It Is." It's a fun-filled song, makes you feel good and really gets the crowd going.

4. Nirvana, "Heart Shaped Box." It's more aggressive; if you want to project that more aggressive feel on stage. 5. Alice in Chains. It's also got a heavier feel.

6. Stone Temple Pilots. I really, really like them. It's a heavier sound, kinda like Pearl Jam.

7. Cranberries, "Linger." They have a whole sound of their own; kind of reminds me, in ways, of Sinad O'Connor.

8. Enigma, "Carly's Song." This came out a while ago, but it's on the Sliver soundtrack. It's real erotic.

9. Duran Duran, The Crying Game soundtrack. They're trying to make a comeback, but I even like old Duran Duran. They go back to, like, when I was in sixth grade or something.

10. Gin Blossoms, "Hey Jealousy." Actually, I'm very burned out on this song, but I played it a lot when it first came out. I used to go see them when they were playing little holes in Tempe.

Ted Simons, New Times contributor
1. Breeders, Last Splash. Ex-Pixie Kim Deal chops up the water in the alternative-rock gene pool. Breeders' songcraft is stronger than grunge, smarter than pop and, by CD's end, utterly ingratiating. An easy choice for No. 1.

2. World Party, Bang!. Not everyone can muse relevantly on God and man in a single CD. World Party's Kurt Wallinger does it in a single song, "Is It Like Today?". And Wallinger adds tons of other pop-smart tunes, to boot. Meet the new Prince.

3. Paul Westerberg, 14 Songs. Westerberg's first "official" solo disc is more than just replacement Replacements fare. The onetime "bastard of young" sounds older and wiser, yet still ragged enough to crank out a couple of killer faux-Faces cuts. Nice song: "Runaway Wind."

4. Juliana Hatfield Three, Become What You Are. The chords are tight. The guitars are punchy. Together, they make a nice, firm bed for Hatfield's sorority-girl vocals to bounce around on. Her best work yet.

5. Anonymous 4, On Yoolis Night. Everything that's good about austere medieval music is great on these enchanting carols and motets. Killer cuts: "Peperit Virgo" and "Lullay: I Saw a Swete Semly Syght."

6. Nirvana, In Utero. The graphic front and back cover art is unnecessary. So is a deliberately inflammatory song title like "Rape Me." It all comes off as desperation to be hip. And it only keeps this otherwise killer CD shivering in the shadows of Nevermind.

7. Best Kissers in the World, Been There. Phoenix band relocates to Seattle and becomes the Cheapest Trick in town. The riffs are good and the songwriting is great. Too bad the lyrics are so smug and condescending.

8. Sheila Chandra, Weaving My Ancestors' Voices. Stunning vocal work from a British singer of Asian ancestry. Chandra can stitch a Moslem call to prayer to a Scottish folk tune and almost always make it fit. A bit precious at times, though.

9. Arvo Part, Te Deum. Everyone's favorite Estonian composer of Eastern Orthodox meditation music comes up with another winner. Te Deum's subtle mysticism creeps and tiptoes toward a gothic, minimalist perfection.

10. Hang Ups, He's After Me. It's nice to see Minneapolis bands bubbling up again on indie labels. Hang Ups poke through with soft, melodic pop reminiscent of Velvet Underground's lighter side. A pleasant surprise. Best single: World Party, "Is It Like Today?". History, religion and other questions in a tuneful, four-minute pop song. Honorable mention: Gin Blossoms, "Found Out About You." For reasons far too obvious.

Best video: Tool, "Sober." Like an animated TV movie of Eraserhead. Gloriously nauseating.

Barry Goldwater, former United States senator from Arizona
The senator's list is actually a compilation of all-time faves; the songs reflect his deep-seated patriotism, and can rightfully be considered Top 10s for any year. Though he may not be down at Zia Record Exchange lining up for the new Pearl Jam release, Goldwater is not totally out of the loop: Is he familiar with the Gin Blossoms? "The who? Oh, yeah, they're Arizona boys. I'm sure they're good!"