The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Category 1990s

CLASSIC ’90s: Garbage – ‘Garbage’

by Ed Biggs Always one of the most underrated and overlooked groups of the ‘90s, Garbage were prime movers of the alternative rock trend that exploded in America that decade, at around the same time that Britpop was doing likewise across the Atlantic. Formed of three American producers and musicians – including Nirvana producer Butch Vig – plus their fiery Edinburgh-born Shirley Manson with her shock of red hair and streak

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CULT ’90s: Pixies – ‘Bossanova’

by Ed Biggs Bossanova enjoys an unfairly deserved reputation in Pixies’ back catalogue as the point where it started to go wrong for them. Surfer Rosa and Doolittle were hugely well received by the American and European indie underground, and did so much to help form the musical template that would become known as ‘alternative rock’ in the ‘90s by influencing, among others, Nirvana. But one tends to hear much less

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CULT ’90s: The Chemical Brothers – ‘Exit Planet Dust’

by Ed Biggs About to release their eighth studio album Born In The Echoes next month, The Chemical Brothers’ stellar career has begun its third decade: funny to think it all began because the Beastie Boys’ production team wanted their name back. Known at the very beginning of their career as The Dust Brothers, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons were DJs who began to make their own music using basic samplers

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CULT ’90s: The Verve – ‘A Northern Soul’

by Ed Biggs While The Verve may be more famous for their hugely successful third album Urban Hymns (1997), its 1995 predecessor A Northern Soul deserves to be mentioned in the same breath. The sound that would bring them mainstream success two years later, a powerful brand of alternative rock with strong elements of prog and distortion – think Oasis and Spiritualized in equal parts – really began to take shape

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CULT ’90s: Björk – ‘Post’

by Ed Biggs When we talk about classic albums and great artists on this site, we often talk about their ‘imperial phase’: that period during their career where everything they touch turns to gold, the critics and fans are united in adoration, and the material remembered and revered years down the line. Often, that period only seems golden with the benefit of hindsight, when the artist in question isn’t producing work

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CLASSIC ’90s: Supergrass – ‘I Should Coco’

by Ed Biggs I Should Coco, the first album by Oxford three-piece Supergrass, is not only one of the crown jewels of the Britpop era but is usually thought of as one of the most deliriously fun debuts in pop history. Seriously, without listening to the album, just think of all its joyous moments: ‘Caught By The Fuzz’, ‘Strange Ones’, ‘Mansize Rooster’, and ‘Alright’… and you’re grinning already, aren’t you?

CULT ’90s: Pavement – ‘Wowee Zowee’

by Ed Biggs The initially unloved Wowee Zowee’s twenty year journey to being considered a masterpiece is a curious thing to consider. Possibly because it had to live up to the astronomical expectations built up by its predecessors Slanted And Enchanted (1992) and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994), which had seen Pavement hailed in some quarters as the new Nirvana, the next great hope for American alternative rock. Songs like

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CLASSIC ’90s: Public Enemy – ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’

by Ed Biggs The late eighties saw a couple of seismic events that had same sort of effect on rap that punk had on rock music: those events were N.W.A. and Public Enemy. Just like the brutal basicness of punk’s dictates, these two groups left a profound sonic legacy upon the nascent rap scene that changed it forever. But if N.W.A. were The Sex Pistols in this analogy – with

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CULT ’90s: Guided By Voices – ‘Alien Lanes’

by Ed Biggs With their penchant for alcohol and short, sweet lo-fi songs, Dayton’s Guided By Voices are regarded as one of the defining underground bands of the ‘90s. Their unpretentious brand of hook-laden indie rock, compressed into minute-long song sketches, has captured the hearts of their small but utterly dedicated fanbase ever since their inception in the mid-‘80s. After nearly a decade of slogging, and having finally gained some

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CLASSIC ’90s: Radiohead – ‘The Bends’

by Ed Biggs In 1994, few would have predicted that Radiohead would turn out to be the most influential rock group of the next twenty years. Then merely one of many post-grunge bands with a moderately well-received debut, their defining characteristic was the global hit single ‘Creep’ which, while it was their breakthrough, looked like it was becoming an albatross in terms of people’s expectations of them. The ridiculously tame

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