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

  • Comments: ↓ 6 user comments
  • Publish Date: September 15, 2010

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

Albums from September 2000

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Key Release:
Music 80
by Madonna

Produced chiefly by French electronica artist Mirwais, Music wasn't quite as big a hit with critics or fans as its predecessor Ray of Light (though it still was a massive success, selling over 15 million copies worldwide). Going for a fun, dance-heavy vibe, Music winds up being surprisingly daring and varied, usually to its benefit. Only a few relatively boring collaborations with holdover producer William Orbit mar the tracklist.

"Music is fitful and its charms aren't all immediate, but Madonna is still doing what she does best--giving a lick of pop genius to the unlikely genre of experimental dance music."

-- Mojo

Other Albums Released in September 2000
Artist Album Metascore Users
16 HorsepowerSecret South828.3
The alt-country band self-produced this accomplished and intense third album
The 6ths Hyacinths and Thistles689.3
The weaker of the two albums from Stephin Merritt's (Magnetic Fields) side project that uses guest vocalists for each song, Hyacinths featured appearances by Marc Almond and Gary Numan
98 DegreesRevelation575.0
Critics may have been thinking, "Stay out of it, Nick Lachey," but fans were still buying this boy band's final studio album, which includes "Give Me Just One Night"
Ryan Adams Heartbreakern/an/a
The former Whiskeytown member's first solo album is still one of the singer-songwriter's best recordings, earning some of the best reviews of his career
AFIThe Art of Drowningn/an/a
The rockers' horror-punk disc was their last self-produced album
Christina Aguilera Mi Reflejo568.2
The singer's lone attempt at an all Spanish-language album was not the huge-seller that its English-language predecessor was, but it did win a Latin Grammy
At The Drive-InRelationship Of Command779.7
This was the final album for At The Drive-In, whose members then split to form the bands The Mars Volta and Sparta
Barenaked LadiesMaroon598.9
The Canadian band's attempt to follow-up its biggest hit album (Stunt) fell short commercially and critically, with many critics finding the Don Was-produced disc a bit boring
Bettie ServeertPrivate Suit807.5
Produced by John Parish, Private Suit was a decent mid-career outing for the Dutch college-rockers
BjorkSelmaSongs: Music from the Motion Picture Dancer in the Dark769.2
The singer's soundtrack to Lars Von Trier's Dancer In The Dark (in which she also starred) includes a duet with Thom Yorke.
Black Eyed PeasBridging the Gap748.6
BEP's second album was the last of their pre-Fergie, pre-superstardom period, when they were just an L.A.-based hip-hop outfit (albeit one that could attract guests like Macy Gray, Wyclef Jean, and De La Soul)
Boyz II MenNathan Michael Shawn Wanyan/an/a
The men set out to prove that they could write and produce their own album; the result was their worst-selling album at the time
The Corrs In Bluen/an/a
This third album found the Irish group moving away from their Celtic folk roots and closer to pure pop, which didn't necessarily please critics though it proved popular with fans
Damon & NaomiWith Ghost808.0
This strong, ethereal offering from the former Galaxie 500 members found Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang pairing with Japanese outfit Ghost
ElectronicTwisted Tenderness569.0
It certainly wasn't the best album from the side project for New Order's Bernard Sumner and The Smiths' Johnny Marr, but it was their last
The Go-Betweens Friends of Rachel Worth779.6
The first release for the Australian band in a dozen years, Rachel Worth found original members Robert Forster and Grant McLennan collaborating with members of Sleater-Kinney
godspeed you black emperor!Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven849.4
Two discs of epic instrumental goodness from the Canadian collective equalled one of the best albums of 2000, and certainly of the group's career
GoldfrappFelt Mountainn/an/a
The duo's debut album earned strong reviews thanks to its atmospheric musical backing -- a sound that would change drastically on the band's more dance-oriented follow-up
Good CharlotteGood Charlotten/an/a
The pop-punk band's self-titled debut included their hit "Little Things"
Guided by VoicesSuitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft67n/a
It's hard to describe GBV head Robert Pollard without using the word prolific; this four-disc box set of 100 previously-unreleased tracks is one of three such compilations in the band's catalog
Emmylou Harris Red Dirt Girl738.6
Almost a companion piece to the singer-songwriter's 1995 album Wrecking Ball, Red Dirt Girl includes appearances from Bruce Springsteen and Dave Matthews
Harvey DangerKing James Versionn/an/a
This second album from the Seattle alt-rockers sold poorly despite mostly good reviews
Rickie Lee Jones It's Like This65n/a
A covers album, this 2000 outing found Jones tackling works by The Beatles and Marvin Gaye
Mark Knopfler Sailing to Philadelphia749.0
James Taylor guested on this second solo album for the Dire Straits frontman
Lil' Bow WowBeware of Dogn/an/a
The rapper released this hit debut album at the age of 13
Meat PuppetsGolden Lies60n/a
The band's first LP after a brief breakup and reformation is not one of their best albums
Mojave 3Excuses for Travelers779.6
The Mark Van Hoen-produced third album for Neil Halstead & co. splits the (slight) difference in sound between the band's two prior albums, resulting in another strong record
Willie Nelson Milk Cow Blues598.7
The country singer's blues-heavy album wasn't a success with reviewers, despite the presence of guests like Dr. John and B.B. King
Joan Osborne Righteous Love599.6
The blues singer's second album was not the hit that her debut Relish was
PhotekSolaris70n/a
The electronica producer's third LP as an artist found him moving away from his usual drum 'n' bass sound to embrace acid house
The Presidents Of The United States Of America Freaked Out and Small779.6
A newly-reformed PUSA re-emerged (playing conventional instruments for the first time) on this first collection of new studio material in four years
Suicidal TendenciesFree Your Soul and Save My Mindn/an/a
This was the final studio album for the hardcore punk band
Tom Tom ClubThe Good, the Bad, and the Funky719.0
Though this record was the final studio album for the Talking Heads spinoff featuring Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, the Tom Tom Club is still active (and even touring this fall)
The Twilight Singers Twilight as Played by The Twilight Singersn/an/a
This first LP for Greg Dulli's Twilight Singers project was produced by Fila Brazillia
UnderworldEverything, Everything [Live]779.8
If any electronica artist could pull off a successful live album, it would have to be Underworld, known for their terrific live shows (which translate fairly well to CD here)

Albums from September 1990

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Key Release:
Heaven or Las Vegas
by Cocteau Twins

Whether you call it shoegaze, dream-pop, or alternative rock, you can stick one more label on Heaven or Las Vegas: the Cocteau Twins' best album. Far more direct and accessible than the band's output prior to this point without sacrificing any of the sheer shimmery beauty of Robin Guthrie's guitarwork or Liz Fraser's unmistakable vocals (which find her singing in recognizable English more than she ever did before), the album is filled with memorable songs including the college radio staple "Iceblink Luck." Heaven would be the Twins' final album for 4AD; they would record just two more LPs before calling it quits.

"From the start, Heaven... is simply fantastic ... a near-perfect album."

-- Ned Raggett, All Music Guide (4.5/5)

More Reviews: CMJ, Entertainment Weekly (B-), Pitchfork (#90 album of 1990s) Sputnikmusic (4/5), Treble, Trouser Press
Other Albums Released in September 1990
Artist Album Reviews
3rd Bass The Cactus Revisited AMG, CMJ
The hip-hop outfit released this remix album in between their first and second LPs
Angelo BadalamentiSoundtrack from Twin Peaks AMG, SP
This still-impressive soundtrack to David Lynch's groundbreaking TV series features Badalamenti's incomparable score as well as three standout tracks with vocalist Julee Cruise
Bob Dylan Under the Red Sky AMG, BC, EW, RC, RS
Panned by most -- but not all -- critics, the overly slick and cutesy Red Sky was produced by Don and David Was
The Flaming LipsIn a Priest Driven Ambulance AMG, CMJ, TP
One of the band's better early albums, this fourth LP added Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue to the lineup and was their first release produced by Dave Fridmann
Front Line AssemblyCaustic Grip 
Caustic Grip is the best early album for the Canadian industrial band
Human LeagueRomantic? AMG, EW, TP
This late-period album for the synthpop band contained "Heart Like a Wheel" and nine even less-consequential tracks
INXSX AMG, CMJ, TP
The band's last major hit, X included "Suicide Blonde" and "Disappear"
Judas PriestPainkiller AMG, CMJ, EW, MA, PM, SP
The critically-lauded Painkiller would be the heavy metal band's last album for seven years
L7Smell the Magic AMG, CMJ, RC, TP
The second album for the L.A. grunge band was their only release on Sub Pop
Los LobosThe Neighborhood AMG, CMJ, RS, TP
The band followed an all-Spanish-language outing with this varied exploration of Americana
MegadethRust In Peace AMG, CMJ, MA, SP
A metal classic, the Grammy-nominated Rust In Peace was a commercial and critical success
George MichaelListen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 AMG, EW, RC, SL
Considered a commercial failure despite selling 8 million copies worldwide, Michael's ambitious second solo album included the single "Freedom! '90," with a video directed by David Fincher
The PosiesDear 23 AMG, BC, CMJ, PM, TP
The Washington state power-pop band led by Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow made their major-label debut with fan favorite Dear 23, though they would have greater commercial success with 1993's Frosting on the Beater
Prefab SproutJordan: The Comeback AMG, BBC, CMJ, EW, TP
Produced by Thomas Dolby, Jordan: The Comeback was a loose -- and very lengthy -- concept album, the last recording for the English band until seven years later
The ReplacementsAll Shook Down AMG, BC, DU, EW, P4K, RC, RS, SP, TP
Ostensibly the band's final album, All Shook Down is in effect Paul Westerberg's solo debut, with all of the Replacements playing together on just one track
Soul AsylumAnd The Horse They Rode In On AMG, CMJ, EW, TP
This transitional fifth album is generally considered one of the band's weaker efforts
SuperchunkSuperchunk AMG, CMJ, RC, TP
The Chapel Hill indie rockers (who are still going strong) made their full-length debut with this lo-fi self-titled release, which contains one of the band's best songs ("Slack Motherfucker")
VariousRed Hot + Blue AMG, RC
The first benefit compilation in the "Red Hot" series, this well-regarded album includes artists from David Byrne to U2 reinterpreting standards by Cole Porter
WarrantCherry Pie AMG, RC
The hair metal band had its biggest hit with the anthemic title track to this sophomore release
Neil Young + Crazy Horse Ragged Glory AMG, CMJ, EW, RC, TP
This electric, hard-rocking outing for Young includes "Mansion on the Hill"

Key to review sources: AMG = All Music Guide; BBC = BBC Music; BC = Blogcritics; BL = Blender; CMJ = CMJ; DU = Dusted; EW = Entertainment Weekly; LAT = Los Angeles Times; MA = Metal Archives; MM = Melody Maker; NME = New Musical Express; NYT = New York Times; P4K = Pitchfork; PM = PopMatters; PN = Punknews; RC = Robert Christgau; RS = Rolling Stone; SL = Slant Magazine; SP = Sputnikmusic; ST = Stylus; TMT = Tiny Mix Tapes; TP = Trouser Press; TR = Treble; UN = Uncut

Albums from September 1980

Image

Key Release:
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
by David Bowie

David Bowie's last great album was released 30 years ago this month. Often overshadowed by the Brian Eno-produced Berlin Trilogy (Low, Heroes, Lodger) that preceded it, Scary Monsters is nevertheless the equal of those heralded releases. Substituting bleak alienation for arty experimentalism (though there's still a bit of that, too), Scary Monsters is best known for its "Space Oddity" follow-up "Ashes to Ashes" (which also inspired one of the first great music videos), "Fashion," and the incredible title cut, but there isn't a weak moment among the album's 10 tracks. And, unlike Bowie's three previous releases, it was a commercial hit in both the UK and the States.

"Throughout the album, the beat is so jackbooted, the pressure so intense, you find yourself casting about for relief."

-- Debra Rae Cohen, Rolling Stone

More Reviews: All Music Guide (5/5), Blender (5/5), Robert Christgau (B+), Pitchfork (#93 album of 1980s), Sputnikmusic (5/5), Trouser Press
Other Albums Released in September 1980
Artist Album Reviews
Kurtis Blow Kurtis Blow AMG, RC
The rapper's debut album includes "The Breaks," the first rap single to sell over 500,000 copies
Kate Bush Never for Ever AMG, TP
The singer-songwriter's third album -- which she co-produced -- was her first #1 record in the UK
Comsat AngelsWaiting for a Miracle AMG, ST, TP
This haunting debut album from the Sheffield, England post-punk band is an overlooked gem
John Cougar Nothin' Matters and What If It Did AMG
Mr. Mellencamp was simply John Cougar for this fifth album, not one of his memorable outings
Dead KennedysFresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables AMG, BC, P4K, PM, PN, RC, TMT, TP, UN
The Jello Biafra-led band's politically-charged debut album is a punk rock classic; fantastic tracks like "California Über Alles" and "Holiday in Cambodia" make up for a few weaker songs
The Doobie BrothersOne Step Closer AMG, RC
The Doobies' lackluster final album with Michael McDonald includes the hit single "Real Love"
George Jones I Am What I Am AMG, RC
The country singer's biggest hit album (it went platinum) was also a critical success
KansasAudio-Visions AMG
Concluding a long streak of commercial success, A-V was the last album for the band's original lineup (until a 2000 reunion)
Kool & the GangCelebrate! AMG, RC
The funk band's hit 1980 album includes the still-ubiquitous disco smash "Celebration"
Joni Mitchell Shadows and Light [Live] AMG
Mitchell's double live album was recorded during a California stop on her 1979 tour
Ozzy Osbourne Blizzard of Ozz AMG, BBC, PM, SP
The heavy metal godfather's first solo album -- a monster hit -- is still his best-selling LP; beware the 2002 reissue, which controversially replaced the original drum and bass tracks
Simple MindsEmpires and Dance AMG, P4K, TP
Produced by John Leckie (never a bad thing), the band's third album lacked a hit single but made up for it with a propulsive post-punk sound and many strong tracks
Barbra Streisand Guilty AMG, RC
Written and co-produced by the Bee Gees' Barry Gibb, Guilty is Streisand's most successful album, selling over 20 million copies worldwide
SupertrampParis AMG
The band's first live album -- a double LP -- was recorded in Paris in 1979
Tom Waits Heartattack and Vine AMG, RC, RS, SP, TP
The singer-songwriter's final album for Asylum, Heartattack included the track "Jersey Girl," often performed live by Bruce Springsteen
Steve Winwood Arc of a Diver AMG, RC
Winwood's second solo album was his first solo hit
Stevie Wonder Hotter Than July AMG, RC, RS
Wonder rebounded from a commercial slump with this hit album, which featured the incomparable, reggae-influenced lead single "Master Blaster (Jammin')"
XTCBlack Sea AMG, P4K, RC, TP
The band's fourth album -- easily one of their best -- contains a number of terrific singles, including "Generals and Majors," "Sgt. Rock," and "Towers of London"

Key to review sources: AMG = All Music Guide; BBC = BBC Music; BC = Blogcritics; BL = Blender; CMJ = CMJ; DU = Dusted; EW = Entertainment Weekly; LAT = Los Angeles Times; MA = Metal Archives; MM = Melody Maker; NME = New Musical Express; NYT = New York Times; P4K = Pitchfork; PM = PopMatters; PN = Punknews; RC = Robert Christgau; RS = Rolling Stone; SL = Slant Magazine; SP = Sputnikmusic; ST = Stylus; TMT = Tiny Mix Tapes; TP = Trouser Press; TR = Treble; UN = Uncut

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (6)

  • A.C.  

    At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command is much more of a key release than Madonna's Music. Relationship of Command represents what music should be, a band that expressed more emotion than Madonna ever could, a group that broke up soon after because they did not want to sell out and become more recognized than the music itself.
    Madonna had a video involving a cartoon stripper version of her for the single, big whoop. She was over the hill long before this release.

  • Anand  

    I'd personally say that the albums by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Megadeth, and Dead Kennedys had much more impact than the albums listed here as key releases.

  • Mitch Tough  

    I have to agree with Anand on Dead Kennedys. Groundbreaking album. And Megadeth is pretty amazing.

  • Hylke Schoot  

    Brian Eno did NOT produce Heroes, Low or Lodger! Somebody else did. Do your homework.

  • antonius65  

    Tony Visconti produced Heroes, Low and Lodger, as well as Scary Monsters

  • Anand  

    Oh, and Stevie Wonder was NOT in a commercial slump at the time. His previous five albums had all reached the top 5 in the US, as did Hotter Than July.

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