Tuesday, June 11, 2024

#89 Poco

 Backtracking to card #89, here's Poco.

I can't imagine kids of the early 90s ripping packs of MusiCards, pulling this card, and finding it at all desirable in any way, no offense to the men of Poco. Just an awkward shot of four average-looking middle-aged men.

Ha, I gotta admit I'm not super familiar with Poco and I was kinda under the impression they had an 80s hit with a cover of "Puttin' On the Ritz"... but I was confused and that artist was actually Taco.

Poco? Taco? Falco? What's the difference!? lol

But no, it turns out Poco were a band known for helping pioneer the Southern California country rock sound.

After skimming their Wikipedia entry, seems this band had a lot of quality musicians pass through its ranks over the years, though commercial success was elusive, perhaps because they called themselves Poco instead of something cooler.

Poco - "Call It Love"

Their reunion album, Legacy (1989), contained two top-40 singles, "Call It Love" and "Nothin' to Hide", good enough to earn a MusiCard apparently, but the accompanying tour flopped and the band was dropped from their label by the time packs were on shelves.

Poco was inactive for most of the 90s before being revived in the new millennium, spearheaded by Rusty Young, the only original member remaining by that point. He passed away in 2021, which seems to have closed the book on Poco.

One "fun fact" I knew about Poco is that the late, great Phil Hartman did the artwork for a couple of their albums, including the horse illustration on the back of the MusiCard above. Doesn't that blow your mind a little? Phil Hartman from SNL, The Simpsons, NewsRadio, etc., cranking out album covers in his younger days. Heck, I should toss a dupe of this Poco card into my Pee-Wee Herman subcollection as a little tribute to the renaissance man behind the character of Captain Carl and co-writer of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. No fooling, he was my favorite actor back in the 90s. Him and Kurt Cobain were probably the celebrity deaths that rocked me the most while growing up.

Anyways, despite being half-tempted to do a Custom Corner for Taco, or even Falco, let's call the post good here with the Phil Hartman custom I whipped up a couple years back.

Do you readers have any thoughts to share about Poco? Listening to their top-rated tracks while drafting this post reminded me of hearing "Call it Love" on the radio here and there over the years. Nice song. Nothing else rang a bell with me, but they've got a few solid tunes reminiscent of easy listening stuff from the likes of The Eagles and America.

Poco - "When It All Began"

Thanks for reading. Since #90 was covered in the previous (Party) post, next up we jump to #91 for a double dose of Lionel Richie.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

#87, 88, and 90 The Party (+ World Party bonus)

We've got a few cards to hit today. In a first for the blog, we'll be jumping order a little bit because of a hiccup in the 1991 MusiCards checklist. (We're skipping unrelated #89 and will backtrack to it next post.) Plus-- unrelated to the checklist order misstep?-- there's an error variation mixed in with this group of cards, so heads up.

For a visual aid, here's this Pop portion of the (mostly alphabetical) checklist with my added notations:

84 Nelson
85 New Edition
86.1 Maxi Priest (Yes, this card should be #86.)
86.2 The Party (Whoops, no; while this card is numbered #86 on the back, that's an error. A later variation of the card corrects the number to 90. This makes it tricky to sort a master set of 1991 MusiCards; Like, do you sort this card in at #86 or #90?)
87 The Party (Their 1st card out of 3)
88 The Party (Their 2nd card out of 3)
89 Poco (Hey, why the heck did they pop Poco in the middle of The Party's run? Weird!)
90 The Party (Yes, there is only one MusiCard #90 and it is in fact The Party's 3rd card, though it's "out of order" in the checklist, and that same card also has an error variation that mistakenly has the wrong number [#86] on the back but is otherwise the same as the only card that's actually numbered #90 on the back [though that card probably should have been #89, but Poco snuck in at #89 instead for some reason].)
91    Lionel Richie
92    Lionel Richie

Does that all make sense? Or did I just make it more confusing than it needs to be? One thing that's clear is that whoever it was at Pro Set's creative department whose job it was to order the individual cards into number was in over their head! It's like they had a good checklist in a box of index cards, but the fool tripped on the way to the design department and those index cards that were in logical order got shuffled around just enough to the point where if anyone bothers to actually take a good look at the checklist, they'll inevitably come to the conclusion that whomever it was at Pro Set's creative department whose job it was to order the individual cards into number was in over their head.

Ok, enough smack talk about the MusiCards production team's checklist guy. (I wonder if it was the same guy who thought it'd be a good idea to have an odd shaped photo area in the design, and not allow for any flexibility such as swapping around the design elements any further than the choice between vertical and horizontal, or by mercifully allowing any part of the photo poking over those odd-shaped borders. I can't help but feel like they shot themselves in the foot. Maybe I'm just being cocky, but I'd love to take a time machine back to 1990 when these cards were being designed and use my pocket phone/camera/computer to convince them that I'm a magician from the future or whatever so they'll let me run the MusiCards project, and I'm not saying that I'd for-sure lead the team to heights warranting a follow-up set... but damn it, I'd at least run a tighter ship with the order of my checklist!) 

(And this is not even the worst of the checklist order's several blunders! That honor has got to go to the one random hair metal band smack dab within the R&B-and-Rap portion of the set.. but we'll worry about that down the road at card #114.)

We'll hit that fake #86 in a moment, but for now here's MusiCard #87:


Funny thing, this card gave me a minor "mind blown" moment because I have never heard of the group called The Party other than vaguely knowing they're in the 1991 MusiCard set. But it turns out I've been searching eBay for the person on the left's autograph every day for the past year!


Reading the back, I was like.. "Wait a minute, (first person mentioned) Deedee Magno [Hall] is a voice actor on a favorite animated show of mine, Steven Universe." Then I looked it up, and yep. it's the same person. What a trip: Pearl, the Crystal Gem, appears in the 1991 MusiCards set! Wow. I won't blather on too much here, but I talked more about my Steven Universe stuff in an underperforming post on Baseball Card Breakdown last year. I've since snagged a few more autographs I'd been targeting from that set (chiefly Amethyst, Garnett, and Lion), but Pearl (Deedee) is still a need.

But back to her days as a fledgeling musician, here's card #88:


Per the outfits, this pic is from the same photoshoot as the previous card. I can't really tell if Pro Set manufactured that blurry column on the left to artificially make the photo work better with the design or if there was actually a thing there during the shoot.


The back photo here is the same as that of the previous card, cropt differently. And I still don't have much of an idea what this group's music sounds like, but hey, the quintet's members are all featured on the only album they had released at that point. Good for them. lol

Skipping #89 here because it's a different act, as previously mentioned, but then here's The Party back for more (in the same clothes) at #90:


Either they rocked trademark outfits a lot back then or else they really got a lot of mileage out of this photoshoot. All their photos in this post-- front and back-- all feature the other lady (Tiffini Hale) in the same distinctive hat, and there seems to be a big red jacket that a couple of the guys take turns in.

Of course I had to check out some tunes from these guys, and lo and behold there's yet another shot from this photoshoot on their Spotify homepage:


The above (apparently reversed) image wasn't used on a MusiCard, but it's very similar to the front of card #87.

Anyways, card #90 is technically the rarest card you'd need to find if you wanted to put together a full set of series 1 MusiCards (since the correctly numbered card wasn't actually included in series 1 packs). But since The Party don't have much of a mainstream following today, there isn't really any premium on the card's typical price, far as I can tell. If it was like Tom Petty, Ozzy Osbourne, or somebody else popular, a scarce variation like that might've been a bigger deal.


Oh, ok.. now we get some context. Turns out, these young performers were cast members on a late-80s Mickey Mouse Club reboot that were then thrown together as a musical act by a marketing department or something, Monkees-style, and the name The Party ("Positive Attitude Reflects Today's Youth") was the winning entry from a contest to name them.

The Party - "In My Dreams" (a Dokken cover) ...the most successful of their few singles to chart.

That powerful Disney influence behind the scenes likely played a part in them being granted 3 cards in this set. Wikipedia also tells me they cranked out a CD per year for four years, 1990-1993, before splitting, later regrouping in the mid 2010s and are still occasionally active, doing a handful of live performances in 2023. Sadly, however, Tiffini wasn't involved in the reunion, as she battled schizophrenia for years before a cardiac arrest lead to her death in 2021.

VARIATION ALERT

Here's the same front again, but it's the error card, numbered 86 on the back:


Same card other than the number in the corner.

The Party toured as openers with Taylor Dayne and then Vanilla Ice back when that meant something, and that helps give you an idea what to expect with their music. Honestly, I couldn't get through any of their songs I tried to check out while drafting this post. In their defense, I'm clearly not their target demographic. I don't recall ever hearing their stuff back then-- like, when I was in their demographic-- so there's no sentimental attachment for me either. Regardless, it's been interesting learning the group's backstory, and again, the Steven Universe connection was a trip for me to discover.


CUSTOM CORNER

This is already a longer post for the blog, but I wanted to squeeze in a custom, too.


The Party might not be my speed, but World Party on the other hand is a band I really like. I was heartbroken hearing that frontman Karl Wallinger passed away just a couple months ago at age 66. The band had been inactive for nearly a decade, and he had dealt with serious medical issues dating back to a brain aneurysm in early 2001, but fans hoped that the songs he had been tinkering on for the past several years would wind up as a World Party comeback album soon, but alas. Perhaps Karl's estate will be able to work up a posthumous farewell album from the new material he left behind.

After making a name for himself helping out in The Waterboys in the mid 80s (see the tremendous "Whole of the Moon"), Wallinger spread his wings as World Party in 1986, scoring a minor hit with "Ship of Fools" off their debut, Private Revolution. I remember catching the video for "Put the Message in the Box" from their second album, Goodbye Jumbo, a couple times on MTV circa 1990, but it was hearing "Way Down Now" on the radio a couple years after the fact that really caught my attention. 

World Party - "Way Down Now"

Those minor hits in the late 80s and 1990 would seem to make World Party a strong candidate for inclusion in the 1991 MusiCards set, but nope.. not even in the UK edition. Bummer.

1993's Bang! was another banger, and I dug the cut "Is It Like Today?" enough to pick up the CD after hearing it on the radio a few times (and it's still an all-time favorite of mine). Egyptology (1997) made less of a splash, but included the song "She's the One", which went on to be covered by Robbie Williams, going all the way to #1 on the British pop charts. (Robbie was a dick who sometimes falsely claimed to have written the song himself, but the royalties helped a lot when Karl was recovering from the aneurysm, unable to work.) Dumbing Up (2000) ended up as World Party's final studio album, though fans got a nice treat in 2012 with Arkeology, a big collection (5 discs) of unreleased songs, live stuff, and covers (including some tight Beatles renditions). It really sucks that we lost him too early.

World Party - "Is It Like Today?"

💔

That'll do it for this post. Please let me know in the comments if you've got any thoughts to share regarding either parties covered here today. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

#86 Maxi Priest

Due to a Pro Set numbering error, 1991 MusiCards [Series 1] came packed out with two different cards at #86. One of those was supposed to be #90, and was corrected for the updated packs of Series 2. We'll tackle that blunder soon enough, but today let's take a look at the correct card #86, Maxi Priest.


Solid, well-framed photograph of Maxi. It's a rare instance where the intrusive "totally radical '90s" design actually compliments the photo, one might venture to say.


Maxi Priest is an artist that I like fine based on the small handful of songs I've heard from them, though never bothered to dig deeper than what the radio/MTV played me. "Close To You" is his biggest hit, going all the way to #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in early October of 1990.

Maxi Priest - "Close To You"

The card's write-up mentions that song's album, Bona Fide (released June 29, 1990), but not the smash hit from it, instead noting 1988's "Wild World" cover. This all indicates the blurb was likely typed up sometime around July-September 1990. (Always fun trying to pin down stuff like that.)

Anyways, I also like that Cat Stevens cover and the version of "Set the Night to Music" he did with Roberta Flack. 

"Set the Night to Music"

Maxi Priest is in his 60s now, still releasing music every once in a while and performing. He notched his third nomination for "Best Reggae Album" in 2021. Here's his Wikipedia entry for further reading.

Truth be told, I wanted to cover the other card #86 in this post too, pulling a bit of a blog double-header, but.. well, I ran out of time before hitting my self-imposed monthly deadline here at the end of April, so it'll have to wait!

Thanks for reading and please share in the comments if you've got anything to say about Maxi Priest.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

#85 New Edition (+ New Order bonus)

New Edition here at #85 is a rare case of an inactive act getting a MusiCard in 1991. Besides the gold Legends subset with the likes of Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin, I can't think of other examples off hand.

New Edition - "If It Isn't Love"


We've already seen Bobby Brown in this set at #35, but these photos seem to be from the post-Bobby lineup from the late '80s as a 5-piece with Johnny Gill added. Gill gets his own MusiCard coming up at #121, with Bell Biv DeVoe having a pair at #109 and 110. Ralph Tresvant has to wait until Series 2, but we'll eventually see him at #297 and 298. So considering Pro Set was fully covering the fellas, I suppose it made sense to also give a card to their group that was splintering at the time.

All six men have reunited as New Edition after years apart, still occasionally touring and even doing Vegas residencies as recently as right now. That's pretty impressive, especially since they started out as a "boy band" after all. From looking at a recent show's setlist on YouTube, the fellas mix in their non-New Edition hits as well, such as Bobby's "Every Little Step" and Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison", so looks like they give you good bang for your buck when you see them live.

New Edition - "Can You Stand the Rain"

New Edition's heyday was a little before my time, though I've always liked "Can You Stand the Rain" and "If It Isn't Love". For further reading, here's their Wikipedia entry link.


Changing gears for some Photoshop fun, my favorite "New (something)" artist has got to be New Order (...though I also like the New Pornographers a lot). I've mentioned before that receiving the New Order cassette Substance as a Christmas gift from my older cousin circa 1989 was a turning point in my musical journey or whatever. Kind of surprising they didn't receive any MusiCards. "Blue Monday" was unavoidable in the mid 80s, while their latest album at the time, 1989's Technique, had gone to #1 in the UK (#32 US), so New Order was definitely popular enough to warrant inclusion, but perhaps Pro Set wasn't able to secure licensing. Let's at least give 'em a custom mock-up here these many years later.


They were still riding high in the early 90s, with 1993's Republic being a big hit, and stands as New Order's best chart position in the States, hitting #11 on the US Billboard 200.

New Order - "Regret"

I bought Republic on CD when it was new and listened to it a ton, later going back and getting into their early stuff too (not to mention Joy Division). Frontman Bernard Sumner is a bit hit-or-miss for me, with his vocals and lyrics sometimes falling short (I have no idea what any New Order song is about, as the lyrics generally seem to be random phrases thrown together willy-nilly), but overall I'm a big fan. His side-project with Johnny Marr called Electronic had a few bangers in the 90s, too.

I haven't done it in a while, but the blog's Desert Island Disc recurring feature is where I fill up a theoretical CDR with my favorite songs from one band I love. I'm dusting it off with a name change for this post. These songs are not ranked in order, but rather it's just a playlist of songs to help me to cope with the ol' desert island isolation, were I limited to about an hour of New Order material to bring with me. Actually, I'm cheating here as I would probably just bring Substance (disc 1, which is the same as the cassette; the CD release included a second disc of b-sides), so this is a "besides that" playlist.

New Order - Desert Island Playlist

1. Dreams Never End
2. Age of Consent
3. Your Silent Face
4. Love Vigilantes
5. Elegia
6. Face Up
7. Regret
8. World
9. Special
10. Hellbent
11. Restless
12. Love Less
13. Round & Round
14. Run
15. Vanishing Point
16. Touched By The Hand Of God
17. 1963

Yeah, that could maybe use a little tweaking, but a good enough mix of songs for me. Length comes to just about 80 minutes, so that would likely squeeze onto a CDR.

I figured I'd change this feature to a "playlist" rather than "disc" to update for the times. My new car now is the first for me that doesn't have a CD player-- well, I suppose my first car didn't have a CD player either, just radio and cassette player-- so it's an end of an era for me spinning discs as I drive. I dislike commercials too much to listen to the radio very long these days, but I've been making myself "best of" playlists on Spotify for a while now, mainly for tunes when I walk the dog, and looks like I'll be using these playlists in the car now too.

As a card collector, I similarly like having a "music collection"-- like a stockpile of CDs, or even folders upon folders of mp3s backed up on an external hard drive-- but that doesn't jive with streaming services like Spotify (who have a reputation for being terrible at compensating artists). But oh well. Gotta get with the "new order" of things, I guess. lol

New Order - "1963"

Back on topic to wrap up, New Order still exists as a band today, but they're not quite the same since acrimoniously parting with bassist Peter Hook years back. At least the gal on keyboards, Gillian Gilbert, returned to the fold after taking a decade off to be a mom.

Are any of you readers into New Edition or New Order? Got favorite songs of theirs? Sound off in the comments if you wanna, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 29, 2024

#82-84 Nelson

 
Nelson has 3 consecutive cards in Series 1 plus a "different font" promo for a total of 4 MusiCards for us to check out in this post. Above is the only card where the rest of the band is featured in the photo, not just the titular twins. The redhead in the middle looks a bit like Emma Stone, but don't let the long hair fool you; that's a man, baby.


Entering today, I know just a couple Nelson songs: "(I Can't Live Without Your) Love & Affection" (which I could live without) and "After the Rain" (which I do like). They seemed like the last new "big hair" rock band to emerge before that genre went the way of the dodo in the wake of Nevermind.

Nelson - "After the Rain"

I was intrigued by the SNL tidbit on the back of the card. Wikipedia has some more context on that early performance:

During the 1980s, Matthew and Gunnar played as Strange Agents and as The Nelsons, with which they played the Los Angeles club scene. A year after the death of their father in a plane crash, Lorne Michaels agreed to have the Nelsons as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live, at the request of their manager at the time. They became the first unsigned band to play on the show. During this iteration of the band, Matthew was the lead singer and bassist, while Gunnar played the drums. As they returned home from the show, Gunnar claims he had what he called "an epiphany", which he shared with his brother. He told him that they should break up the band as it was and start sharing the front stage together. Gunnar promised to learn to play guitar and did so in a year. (source)


Here's a shot of them holding their guitars.


The band members get name-checked on the back of card 83. If it were me putting the set together, I'd maybe swap backs with the full-band photo of the previous card (that actually shows all those guys), but whatever.



Deja vu. The unnumbered promo version of card 83 can be distinguished by the casual "Pro Set MusiCards" font in the black box. The crop is also slightly different, with that box touching hair here, plus we see the tip of the lower guitar now. And of course the back is different:


The blurb is a little more.. effusive?.. than we're used to with this set. That opening sentence, jeez! "Uniquely 1990s music" was close, but turned out to be uniquely 1990, specifically. Done by '91.

Nelson - "Love & Affection"


Nelson's last card features a tight headshot of the duo split by a beam of flowing blond hair.

The other band members bookend the Nelson cards, showing up again on the back photo of card 84.

I really doubt the other fellas are still in tow, but the Nelson brothers never stopped rocking. I gotta admit I could've sworn I remember hearing about Gunnar Nelson passing a few years back, but I may have conflated him with someone like Jani Lane from Warrant, because yep, at least as of Leap Day 2024, they're both still kicking. Nelson has released new music as recently as the mid 2010s and still perform live on occasion. They also have a separate tribute act for their dad called Ricky Nelson Remembered, and sometimes play in a celebrity all-star rock band called Scrap Metal.

Let me know in the comments if you've got any thoughts or memories connected to Nelson to share.

Monday, January 29, 2024

#80-81 Alannah Myles (+ Alanis Morissette bonus)

Alannah Myles parlayed her #1 hit "Black Velvet" into a pair of MusiCards in 1991.

Per ASCAP, it was the most played song on radio for 1989 and 1990, so that's pretty impressive. Like most Americans, I liked the song, but never really heard from her again after it faded from the airwaves.


I hadn't realized (or maybe I just forgot) she was Canadian, but I guess her being known for that bluesy Elvis tribute tricks you into thinking maybe she's from down south. She's got a robust Wikipedia entry with lots of accolades from north of the border, though in the US she just could never get out of "Black Velvet"'s shadow.


Here's the other card Alannah Myles got. Neither was reprised in the UK edition, so she's just got the two regular MusiCards. Not much to say about the photos used-- typical promotional headshots-- though both cards look like they would have been better served by having the Super Stars logo bumped to the opposite corner (but for some reason Pro Set only dared do that for the UK edition, or for the occasional Series 1 cards that got an updated variation included in Series 2 packs).


Alannah turned 65 this past Christmas and seems to have slowed down her music career, though she still works on music here and there, in recent years re-recording her old songs, sorta like the Taylor Swift thing, re-recording your music so then you own the recordings instead of slimy industry dudes.

I'd be curious if any of you regular readers have heard an Alannah Myles song besides "Black Velvet"..? I took a curious listen to some of her other songs on Spotify and they were solid but nothing else really stood out too much for me. Here's one that's not too bad:

Alannah Myles - "Why Have Angels Denied You"


CUSTOM CORNER

Feels like I gotta pair up Alannah Myles with another female singer from Ontario who also did some child acting before becoming a rock star, and who coincidentally happens to have a similar name.


This custom fudges not only Pro Set's borders, but also the timeline of Alanis becoming a star. Her debut album didn't come out until 1991, with a quick follow-up in '92, but those were Canada-only releases. Then in 1995, Jagged Little Pill was a worldwide smash, selling over 33 million copies. You gotta imagine that had MusiCards endured as an annual release instead being one-and-done, Alanis would have likely been all over those theoretical mid/late-90s MusiCard sets, probably even featured on the box.

I still remember when she burst onto the scene with "You Oughta Know". For a guy like me mainly into alternative rock back then, the track was notable for featuring Flea and Dave Navarro, bandmates at the time in the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The story I remember hearing is that they only agreed to do it as anonymous session work, and after a bit of legal posturing when the news leaked, the two guys ended up getting points on the album, resulting in Navarro making more money from that one song than the entirety of the rest of his tenure in the Chili Peppers, funny enough.

I'd consider myself a casual fan of Alanis Morissette, but have never bought an album or seen her live. "Hand in My Pocket" and "Ironic" are a couple other hits of hers I dig, both also off Jagged Little Pill. Acting-wise, she was cool to see in Dogma and a run on the show Weeds, plus a recurring part on the fun animated show The Great North. I also watched a lot of You Can't Do That on Television as a kid (despite it being kinda controversial at the time), though I don't particularly remember young Alanis' brief stint in the cast.

Anyways, her most recent album came out in 2022. For further reading, you can peruse her Wikipedia entry.



"Thank You"

READER APPRECIATION

I wanted to do a little reader appreciation now that 2023 is in the books. I hit my MusiCards Blog goal of posting at least once a month for the year.. though fell short of my stretch-goal of posting more than once per month. But I still count it as a victory after only 5 posts in all of 2022.

I like to offer a vague incentive for readers to chime in about the artists we cover here, so sometimes I get around to doing a little mail-blast to the regulars. Thanks and congrats to these five fellas who all commented on at least half of the 12 posts here in 2023:

Brett Alan
Fuji
Jon
Matt (Red Sox)
Night Owl

It goes without saying I appreciate anyone who reads this little blog, and especially these 5 guys for their continued active participation. If there's a chance I don't have a current mailing address for any of you guys, please hit me up. Nothing too exciting, but I'm planning to send out thank-you cards your way soon/eventually.

No promises for a similar promotion next year, but definitely maybe. If you're a reader who doesn't comment much, well, the count is reset for 2024, so feel free to pop in more this year. Let me know in the comments if you've got any thoughts/memories to share regarding Alannah Myles and/or Alanis Morissette. Thanks!

Sunday, December 31, 2023

#79 Morrissey (+ The Smiths bonus)

Here's Morrissey at #79 in the 1991 MusiCards checklist. It's certainly one of the more visually distinctive cards in the set, though feels rather cramped. The same photo is reprised on his card in the UK edition.

I didn't pull this card from the handful of packs I opened as a kid, but it probably would have been regarded as a pretty sweet hit if I had. I really got into Morrissey and The Smiths back around 1992. In fact, thinking about it now, I believe Best of the Smiths vol. 1 and 2 on CD were my first ever online purchases, ordering off a text-only CD store site during the early days of the web. 

Morrissey - "Suedehead"


Sadly, like many other fans, my opinion of Morrissey has taken a tumble over the years, what with his tendency to cancel more concerts than he performs, and, yep.. the frequent eye-roll inducing statements he spouts off these days, often coming off as a crotchety old racist. But I prefer to remember the good times, back when he wrote cool songs about being a shy, unlovable nobody that I could relate to.

Morrissey - "Tomorrow"

Longboxes of Bona Drag and Your Arsenal were among my other early CD purchases, and both albums got a ton of play by teenage Gavin. I even had a Your Arsenal t-shirt in my rotation during high school. 

I was resistant to 1994's Vauxhall & I when it first came out-- the single is the worst song on it-- but years after the fact it became another favorite album of mine. I'm sure one could argue he's done some other good stuff here and there since ("First of the Gang to Die" is a snappy tune from 2004), though I don't pay that much attention to his modern output.

CUSTOM CORNER


Here's a custom for The Smiths as a quartet from the mid 80s. They're one of the few notable bands from their era to never give in to the "reunion" (payday) pressure even though they were all still around until just mid 2023 when bassist Andy Rourke passed away. But yeah, I guess Johnny Marr is happy doing his own thing. He's put out some good stuff in recent years though doesn't seem to get a whole lot of attention.

The Smiths - "Panic"

I still do enjoy pretty much the entirety of the Smiths' recorded output, even tracking down all the rare b-sides and such back in my days trading live & rare recordings. I honestly hadn't realized "Panic" was about Chernobyl until reading the back of Morrissey's MusiCard. So there you go.. Informative! LOL

The Smiths - "How Soon Is Now?"

"How Soon is Now?" was the first song of theirs I remember really noticing, with its unique droning standing out when it'd come on the radio. I soon then copied a cassette of Meat Is Murder that I borrowed from my cousin. I remember often listening to that tape on my walkman, a must-have album for any long trip. I eventually got their discography on CD and loved them all in their own way. I don't listen to the band nearly as much these days (and have never gone vegetarian; sorry, Morrissey), but still give them a spin on occasion.

How about you? Any readers go through a Smiths/Morrissey phase? Favorite songs?

Thanks as always for reading and Happy New Year!