Rewind: Music from 10, 20, and 30 Years Ago This Month

  • Publish Date: July 21, 2010
  • Comments: ↓ 13 user comments

As we did last month, we look back at key albums released 10, 20, and 30 years ago this month. This month, we remember July 2000, July 1990, and July 1980.

Albums from July 2000

Image

Key Release:
Bow Down to the Exit Sign 84
by David Holmes

It certainly hasn't become any more famous in the past decade, but Bow Down remains the British DJ and producer's best album. Fusing the cinematic qualities of his previous releases with a more song-oriented approach, the disc also features key contributions from Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie and Martina Topley-Bird. You may be more familiar with his work than you think: Holmes can frequently be found scoring Steven Soderbergh's films.

Similar in spirit to [Primal Scream's] Exterminator or Death In Vegas's The Contino Sessions, his third album tools up a live rock band with dance music's sonic armoury... it's a claustrophobic listening experience, challengingly thick with ideas. --Q Magazine

Other Albums Released in July 2000
Artist Album Metascore Users
Arab StrapMad for Sadness829.5
Sadness was the first live album for the now-defunct Scottish sadcore band
Baha MenWho Let the Dogs Outn/an/a
Admit it: That song's stuck in your head now, isn't it?
Beenie ManArt and Life7710.0
The dancehall artist had an unexpected international hit with this Grammy-winning LP
Canibus2000 BC60 9.0
The rapper's second album was actually an improvement over his poorly-received debut
Eve 6Horrorscope537.6
The California band's disappointing sophomore set included the single "Promise"
EverclearSongs From an American Movie Vol. One:
Learning How to Smile
57 7.4
The band's last hit album was followed by Volume Two just four months later
IdaWill You Find Me n/a n/a
This was the fifth album of baroque indie pop for the married duo of Elizabeth Mitchell and Daniel Littleton
Killswitch EngageKillswitch Engage n/a n/a
This self-titled release was the debut album for the metalcore band
Mötley CrüeNew Tattoo n/a n/a
One of the metal band's worst-selling releases, Tattoo was also their first album after the departure of drummer Tommy Lee
Jill ScottWho Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 n/a n/a
The singer-songwriter's acclaimed 2000 debut album was nominated for a Grammy
Tegan and SaraThis Business of Art n/a n/a
The twins were just 19 when they released this second album, released on fellow Canadian Neil Young's Vapor label
John VandersliceMass Suicide Occult Figurines n/a n/a
The debut solo LP for the former MK Ultra member includes some of his better songs, including "Speed Lab" and "Bill Gates Must Die"
The WeakerthansLeft and Leaving n/a n/a
This is the second album for the Canadian band founded by Propagandhi's John K. Samson

Albums from July 1990

Key Release: None.

What can we tell you? It was a slow month.

Other Albums Released in July 1990
Artist Album Reviews
2 Live CrewBanned In The USA AMG, EW
The politically-charged but poorly-reviewed Banned was the hip-hop group's response to one of the more notorious obscenity trials in legal history (involving their previous LP, As Nasty As They Wanna Be)
Aztec CameraStray AMG, RC, TP
Roddy Frame's fourth Aztec Camera album featured the Mick Jones collaboration "Good Morning Britain"
Jon Bon JoviBlaze of Glory AMG, EW
Bon Jovi's first solo album includes songs from the movie Young Guns II, which he appeared in
The Boo RadleysIchabod and I AMG, TP
Few people even know that this hard-to-find debut album even exists, but there's probably not much here to interest anyone but die-hard fans
Boogie Down ProductionsEdutainment AMG, EW, TP
This was the thought-provoking fourth album for hip-hop crew featuring KRS-One
Harry Connick, Jr.We Are in Love AMG
This big-band jazz recording was a huge seller, and earned Connick his second Grammy
The Divine ComedyFanfare for the Comic MuseAMG
Unlike anything else in the band's catalog, this jangly, amateurish debut LP has since been disowned by leader Neil Hannon
Master AceTake A Look AroundAMG
Yes, the influential Brooklyn rapper was billed as Master -- not Masta -- Ace on this debut LP
Iggy PopBrick By Brick AMG, EW, RS, TP
Don Was (see below) produced the former Stooge's best album in nearly a decade, which included a duet with Kate Pierson ("Candy") and appearances from Guns N' Roses' Slash and Duff McKagan
The Soup DragonsLovegod AMG, EW, TP
The easily forgettable Scottish band (think a lesser Jesus Jones) achieved a bit of commercial success with this LP and its hit single, a cover of the Rolling Stones' "I'm Free"
Suicidal Tendencies Lights... Camera... Revolution! AMG, SP, TP
The L.A. band's very metal fourth studio LP -- their first with new bassist Robert Trujillo -- is considered one of their best
The TimePandemonium AMG, EW
This final studio LP for Morris Day and The Time (though a reunited band is reportedly at work on a new disc) was mostly written by Prince and includes the hit single "Jerk Out"
Was (Not Was) Are You Okay? AMG, EW, RC
The fourth album from the oddball pop-rock group featuring producers Don and David Was included a cover of "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone"; their fifth LP wouldn't come for another 18 years

Key to review sources: AMG = All Music Guide; BBC = BBC Music; BC = Blogcritics; BL = Blender; CMJ = CMJ, EW = Entertainment Weekly; LAT = Los Angeles Times; MA = Metal Archives; NME = New Musical Express; P4K = Pitchfork; PM = PopMatters; RC = Robert Christgau; RS = Rolling Stone; SL = Slant Magazine; SP = Sputnikmusic; ST = Stylus; TP = Trouser Press; TR = Treble

Albums from July 1980

Image

Key Release:
Closer
by Joy Division

Don't be fooled by the white album cover; this is one dark record. Originally set for a May 1980 release, the Martin Hannett-produced Closer -- just the band's second LP -- was delayed following the suicide of frontman Ian Curtis; a mere 11 days after its July 18 release, the remaining members of the group made their live debut as New Order. You can hear the origins of New Order's more synth-oriented sound in Closer tracks like "Isolation," the closest that album ever gets to upbeat, but don't be turned off by the despair. Named NME's album of the year in 1980, FACT 25 is a hauntingly beautiful, one-of-a-kind album, and one that still holds up 30 years later.

Rock, however defined, rarely seems and sounds so important, so vital, and so impossible to resist or ignore as here. --Ned Raggett, All Music Guide (5/5)

More Reviews: Blender (4/5), Robert Christgau (A-), Drowned in Sound (9/10), Pitchfork (10/10), Treble, Trouser Press, Uncut (5/5)
Other Albums Released in July 1980
Artist Album Reviews
AC/DCBack in Black AMG, BC, BL, RC, RS, SP
The band's first album after the death of frontman Bon Scott includes classics like "You Shook Me All Night Long" and the title track; it's still the 2nd-highest selling LP of all time (behind Thriller)
Black UhuruSinsemilla AMG, PM, RC
Sly & Robbie produced this third album for the reggae band, their first to be released worldwide
Cabaret VoltaireThe Voice of America AMG, TP
This was just the second LP for the groundbreaking electronic band from Sheffield, England
ChicagoChicago XIVAMG
The soft-rock band's 14th album was a major flop, though they would rebound two years later
DevoFreedom of Choice AMG, RC, SP, TP
One of the New Wave band's strongest efforts, this synth-heavy album (with the band donning their iconic red helmets for the cover) includes "Whip It" and "Freedom of Choice"
Dexys Midnight RunnersSearching for the Young Soul Rebels AMG, BBC, RC, TP
There's no "Come On Eileen" here (that would come in 1982), but the band's strong debut album disproves any notion that Kevin Rowland & co. were one-hit wonders
Echo & the BunnymenCrocodiles AMG, BBC, EW, P4K, RC, TP, TR
"Do It Clean" and "Rescue" are among the standout tracks on the band's acclaimed debut
Hall & OatesVoices AMG, RC
Hit singles from the duo's platinum-selling album include "Kiss on My List" and "You Make My Dreams"; the LP also includes "Everytime You Go Away," later a hit for Paul Young
The JacksonsTriumph AMG, BC, BL, RC, SP
The brothers' 1980 album was a commercial success, with Michael Jackson playing a featured role on most of the album's songs (including "Can You Feel It" and "Lovely One")
Swell MapsJane from Occupied Europe AMG, P4K, PM, ST, TP
This second album from the quirky and influential British post-punk outfit was also their last
UltravoxVienna AMG, RC, TP
The most successful album for the British New Wave/synthpop band, Vienna was also their first LP to feature new frontman Midge Ure

Key to review sources: AMG = All Music Guide; BBC = BBC Music; BC = Blogcritics; BL = Blender; CMJ = CMJ, EW = Entertainment Weekly; LAT = Los Angeles Times; MA = Metal Archives; NME = New Musical Express; P4K = Pitchfork; PM = PopMatters; RC = Robert Christgau; RS = Rolling Stone; SL = Slant Magazine; SP = Sputnikmusic; ST = Stylus; TP = Trouser Press; TR = Treble

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Comments (13)

  • Mike  

    Oh, so "key" means "deep". Then this is totally subjective and useless as a objective list.

  • Mike  

    I liked Bon Scott better, too, but you can't deny this album was HUGE. From Wiki:

    The album has sold an estimated 35 million copies to date worldwide, making it the second highest selling album of all time, and the best selling hard rock or heavy metal album, as well as the best selling album ever released by a band.[2][3][4][5] On 13 December 2007, the RIAA certified it 22× Multi Platinum, recognising sales of 22 million in the United States.[6]

  • Mike  

    Back in Black deserves the spot. Anyone with a brain would know this.

  • Thom  

    Back in Black, while not a bad album, is symbolic of AC/DC becoming totally uninteresting to me. The band was much more interesting with Bon Scott, and they pretty much fell off a cliff after Back in Black.

  • Chad S.  

    I can easily imagine Ian Curtis covering "You Shook Me All Night Long". It's funny to me that AC/DC and Joy Division are mentioned in the same sentence, because I posted a comment on this site for "Control" which made mention of Australia's finest. (Sorry, Air Supply.)

  • Chad S.  

    Aztec Camera! "Love" is so underrated. "Stray" has "The Crying Scene", though, but little else, save for the duet with The Clash's Mick Jones("Good Morning, Britian". Ida's "Will You Find Me?" is the best album Low never made. "Girl U Want" is the keeper on Devo's "Freedom of Choice".

  • P.S.  

    No, I think AC/DC has the bigger influence in aggregate. (There are more bands doing backwards-facing material looking to copy the past than doing forward-facing bands seeking to learn from the past.) The reason Joy Division is considered the "key release" is because people are still thinking about it twenty years later. People are still listening to Back In Black. But I think they've all figured it out by now. It might be skillful, charismatic, fun, and iconic. But it isn't deep. You hear AC/DC once and you get it. Echo & The Bunnymen, Swell Maps, Devo, even Ultravox were enigmatic then and now. There's a mystery to those albums that's still got some of its original charge thirty years later. AC/DC has a lot less mystery. If there was every any mystic energy, I think it's long-since discharged.

    On another note, Aztec Camera's Stray is nearly good enough to be a "key release." I'm still listening to it.

  • A.C.  

    The thing about it Robert, is you look at music today, and Joy Division has had a much greater influence on music than AC/DC. AC/DC really did nothing original. Taken in context, Closer is greater piece of art than Back in Black. They are not mediocre (spelled wrong), you don't need a blues-derived solo in every song to be good.

  • James R.  

    I'm going to go ahead and agree with Robert Tock. Not because I think his bro-rock appraisal that Joy Division is inferior to AC/DC is correct but because the number of classic Australian albums can be counted on one hand (two if you are feeling particularly generous) and they deserve to win one every once in a while.

  • Robert Tock  

    July 1980, AC/DC's most recognizable album is realeased and you go with Joy Division? Back in Black is a virtual Greatest Hits album, AC/DC's "Are You Experienced" and you pick a lousy medicore English drama band. It is shameful, it would be akin to choosing Donovan - Sunshine Superman as your key release in June 1967, when The Beatle St. Pepper's was released.

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