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article by: Michael Canter

20 May 2011

Friday Flashback 1995

FRIDAY FLASHBACK: Every Friday we set the Wayback Machine to one year in rock history and give you the best (and worst) music from that year, all day long beginning at 5AM EST on Jivewired Radio powered by Live365. This week: 1995 Next Week: 1968. To listen: Launch Jivewired Radio

1995: The concept of the album was rapidly diminishing. The culprit? MP3s and file sharing. Audio compression technology and digital encoding made music files small and transportable. Consumers could now buy or trade, steal or give away only the songs they wanted or liked from a particular album.

Ironically, the process for developing the MP3 almost died during development. Karlheinz Brandenburg, often called the "father of MP3," was a specialist in mathematics and electronics who had been researching methods of compressing music beginning in 1977. In an interview with Intel, Brandenburg described how MP3 technology took several years to fully develop and almost failed, stating "In 1991, the project almost died. During modification tests, the encoding simply did not want to work properly. Two days before submission of the first version of the MP3 codec, we found the compiler error."

It is unfair to compare the quality of the albums released during the vinyl era (when making and distributing an album was an expensive process) to the quality of the albums released during the CD and MP3 era. With the development of the MP3, the concept of the album skewed toward one or two good songs interspersed with simple filler. No wonder then that quality and clarity on an album was so much better during the 1960s and 1970s. In the earlier era record labels could not risk releasing an artist's LP until it contained the best possible music, mastering and production.

Ultimately, the "album" was rapidly becoming an obsolete concept. The boom of independent music had changed the dynamics of the music industry. The internet gave indie musicians a platform to directly distribute their music, thus bypassing the need for major label representation. Some great music was released, but a lot of average stuff was too. What we saw was an explosion of mediocrity. Many avant-garde recording artists made a name for themselves with a virally spread song followed by a quick descent into obscurity. The motivation to innovate became inversely proportional to the low cost of making albums.

Among mainstream musicians, it became commonplace to release an album that contained only one or two songs worthy of being released. But there were some wonderful exceptions in 1995. Pearl Jam (Vitology), Radiohead (The Bends), The Smashing Pumpkins (Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness) and Ween (Chocolate And Cheese) released critically acclaimed records that year. Commercially successful albums in 1995 included "Jagged Little Pill" by Alanis Moreissette, "Pieces Of You" by Jewel and "Cracked Rearview Mirror" by Hootie & The Blowfish (both debuts), "Division Bell" by Pink Floyd, and "Tragic Kingdom" by No Doubt. Michael Jackson released his first double-album "HIStory," which became the best-selling multiple-album of all-time, with 22 millions copies sold worldwide. On December 4th, The Beatles released "Free As A Bird" as their first new single in 25 years.

Jerry Garcia died on August 9th, probably the most tragic event of the year, musically speaking. On a high note, Bruce Springsteen reformed the E-Street Band for arguably the most successful tour of the year. In fact, large scale tours of historically successful artists helped the major labels to keep the indie artists at bay. Concert tours in 1995 by U2, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Eagles (who reformed in 1994) and Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band remain among the top-grossing tours of all-time. How ironic that Jerry Garcia died just as the whole scene morphed into the ultimate in capitalism and consumerism. The idealism of the hippie age had died with Garcia as music was becoming more and more faceless.

Playlist Adds For Friday Flashback 1995

001. All Mixed Up by 311
002. Don't Stay Home by 311
003. Down by 311
004. Freak Like Me by Adina Howard
005. Hand In My Pocket by Alanis Morissette
006. Right Through You by Alanis Morissette
007. You Learn by Alanis Morissette
008. You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette
009. Grind by Alice In Chains
010. Waiting In Vain by Annie Lennox
011. Good by Better Than Ezra
012. Hook by Blues Traveler
013. Run Around by Blues Traveler
014. The Mountains Win Again by Blues Traveler
015. The Ghost Of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen & Tom Joad
016. Secret Garden by Bruce Springsteen
017. Glycerine by Bush
018. December by Collective Soul
019. The World I Know by Collective Soul
020. Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio
021. Ants Marching by Dave Matthews Band
022. Jimi Thing by Dave Matthews Band
023. The Best Of What's Around by Dave Matthews Band
024. Warehouse by Dave Matthews Band
025. What Would You Say? by Dave Matthews Band
026. Breakfast At Tiffany's by Deep Blue Something
027. Roll To Me by Del Amitri
028. Hey Man Nice Shot by Filter
029. Big Me by Foo Fighters
030. This Is A Call Foo Fighters
031. Stupid Girl by Garbage
032. Til I Hear It From You by Gin Blossoms
033. Name by The Goo Goo Dolls
034. Brain Stew by Green Day
035. Asking For It by Hole
036. Only Wanna Be With You by Hootie & The Blowfish
037. Space Cowboy by Jamiroquai
038. Runaway by Janet Jackson
039. Last Goodbye by Jeff Buckley
040. I Kissed A Girl by Jill Sobule
041. One Of Us by Joan Osborne
042. Stay (I Missed You) by Lisa Loeb
043. I Alone by Live
044. Lightning Crashes by Live
045. Selling The Drama by Live
046. Human Nature by Madonna
047. Protection by Massive Attack
048. Weather Storm by Massive Attack
049. Carnival by Natalie Merchant
050. Wonder by Natalie Merchant
051. 1963 by New Order
052. The Man Who Sold The World (live) by Nirvana
053. Just A Girl by No Doubt
054. Spiderwebs by No Doubt
055. Champagne Supernova by Oasis
056. Wonderwall by Oasis
057. Send His Love To Me by PJ Harvey
058. Better Man by Pearl Jam
059. Corduroy by Pearl Jam
060. Nothingman by Pearl Jam
061. Take It Back by Pink Floyd
062. What Do You Want From Me by Pink Floyd
063. Wynona's Big Brown Beaver by Primus
064. Crush With Eyeliner by R.E.M.
065. Strange Currencies by R.E.M.
066. Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead
067. High And Dry by Radiohead
068. Just by Radiohead
069. My Iron Lung by Radiohead
070. Street Spirit (Fade Out) by Radiohead
071. Aeroplane by Red Hot Chili Peppers
072. Walkabout by Red Hot Chili Peppers
073. Kiss From A Rose by Seal
074. Cumbersome by Seven Mary Three
075. Tear Stained Eye by Son Volt
076. Windfall by Son Volt
077. The Day I Tried To Live by Soundgarden
078. Big Empty by Stone Temple Pilots
079. Interstate Love Song by Stone Temple Pilots
080. Pretty Penny by Stone Temple Pilots
081. Still Remains by Stone Temple Pilots
082. Vasoline by Stone Temple Pilots
083. Free As A Bird by The Beatles
084. Turn It On by The Flaming Lips
085. 1979 by The Smashing Pumpkins
086. By Starlight by The Smashing Pumpkins
087. Galapagos by The Smashing Pumpkins
088. Thirty-Three by The Smashing Pumpkins
089. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins
090. Zero by The Smashing Pumpkins
091. Ten Storey Love Song by The Stone Roses
092. Your Star Will Shine by The Stone Roses
093. History by The Verve
094. On Your Own by The Verve
095. It's Good To Be King by Tom Petty
096. You Wreck Me by The Stone Roses
097. Mother Mother by Tracy Bonham
098. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me by U2
099. Days Like These by Van Morrison
100. I Can't Put My Finger On It by Ween
101. Buddy Holly by Weezer
102. Passenger Side by Wilco
103. Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1) by Yo La Tengo
Album art from 1995 - Click album cover to purchase at Amazon.com

Previous In This Series: Friday Flashback 1986

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