Monthly Archives: December 1990

1990’s Best Music . . . and Worst

THE BEST ALBUM OF 1990: GWAR—Scumdogs of the Universe

GWAR’s much-awaited major-label debut, Scumdogs of the Universe, is basically unlistenable. It is noisy, offensive, and stupid. And that’s why it’s so good. Scumdogs isn’t for everyone—in fact, one of the tracks, “Slaughterama,” shows that it may not be for anyone. If you buy the album, you’ll probably think it’s a joke. But with songs like “Death Pod,” “Horror of Yig,” and “The Salaminizer,” it is certain that GWAR would agree with the Roman poet Horace, who wrote, “What are you laughing at? The joke’s on you.”

Now, no one can touch GWAR. But in 1990, many artists came close. Here, THE FREE PRESS presents its staff selections for the best twenty albums of the year.

A Tribe Called Quest—People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
Big Daddy Kane—Taste of Chocolate
John Doe—Meet John Doe
Eric B. and Rakim—Let the Rhythm Hit ’Em
Ice Cube—Amerikkka’s Most Wanted
Living Colour—Time’s Up
LL Cool J—Mama Said Knock You Out
Megadeth—Rust in Peace
Mother Love Bone—Apple
Bob Mould—Black Sheets of Rain
The Pogues—Hell’s Ditch
Lou Reed/John Cale—Songs for Drella
The Replacements—All Shook Down
Scatterbrain—Here Comes Trouble
Paul Simon—The Rhythm of the Saints
Sonic Youth—Goo
The Time—Pandemonium
24-7 Spyz—Gumbo Millennium
Neil Young and Crazy Horse—Ragged Glory
ZZ Top—Recycler

THE WORST ALBUM OF 1990: MC Hammer—Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ’Em

If Milli Vanilli are condemned for not singing their own lyrics, why isn’t Hammer condemned for not making his own music? Sampling can be an art form, but to him it’s a free lunch. And while Hammer concentrates on showy dance moves (and while record sales top seven million), his juvenile rhymes deteriorate more…as if that were possible.

Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ’Em is worse than a poor excuse for an album—it is no excuse for an album. But even barring beauts like The New Kids’ Step by Step and Nelson’s After the Rain—who expected anything from them, anyway—an all too vast number of 1990’s albums were just as horrible. Here are some of the worst.

The Black Crowes—Shake Your Money Maker
Andrew Dice Clay—The Day the Laughter Ended
Joe Cocker—One Night of Sin
Havana Black—Indian Warrior
Sam Kinison—Leader of the Banned
The Luke LP, featuring the Two Live Crew—Banned in the USA
Roger Waters—The Wall 

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