Muruch Classic Albums Appreciation Club: Week 20

Last week’s pick, Garbage’s self-titled debut, is still a favorite. Led by red-haired Scottish siren and former Angelfish vocalist Shirley Manson, Garbage was what was called an “Alternative Rock” band when they first emerged on the scene.

There’s a misconception that “Alternative” was to the 90s what “Indie” is today, but ’90s “Alternative” bands weren’t necessarily independent DIY affairs, many were on major record labels and/or heavily produced. “Alternative Rock” was initially used to describe bands (Garbage, REM, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins) who just didn’t fit into the mainstream’s concept of popular rock music at the time. Their music was catchier than grunge, but not quite pop or rock. But, like “indie,” the label was soon misapplied to pretty much any new band and became more of a marketing term in in the post-Grunge era than an actual genre. But I digress as usual. Here’s some more digression for your pleasure….

As a teenager, I suffered from severe insomnia. To kill the wee small hours, I’d split my nights up between listening to NPR’s World Cafe and playing cassette tapes on my old Sony walkman (which, by the way, still works after 20 years while many of my mp3 players have died). Among the tapes I played most often were Joan Osborne’s Relish, Siouxsie & The Banshee’s The Rapture and Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes. But there were only two tapes I played first thing every night: Heather Nova’s Oyster and Garbage’s debut.

The songs on Garbage may not be quite as distinctive and powerful as they were when I first heard them, but they’re still pretty strong and very catchy. And Shirley Manson’s voice has no equal. My favorite tracks are: “Queer,” “Only Happy When It Rains,” “Not My Idea,” “A Stroke of Luck,” “My Lover’s Box” and “Milk.” But really, there isn’t a song on this album I don’t still like and sing along with.

This week’s classic album is…Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon. Feel free to watch The Wizard of Oz on mute while listening to the album for the infamous Dark Side of the Rainbow experience. As I recall, you’re supposed to start playing the album on the third roar of the MGM lion at the beginning of the movie.

To recap the procedure here: At the beginning of each week, I’ll post brief thoughts on the previous week’s listening experience along with the coming week’s classic album selection. Then sometime in the week that follows, we’ll all take the time to listen to the album from beginning to end with no distractions. It can be as simple as just getting away from the computer to listen alone or you can make an event of it with candles, beverages and friends. Whatever format you play the album in or the manner in which you listen, just give the music your full and undivided attention.

Feel free to comment or email your opinions of our selections and recommendations for classic albums (from any decade, including this one).