The Projects: The Essential 90s Albums, #5-1

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By The S&N Staff. All things must end. And even though it took almost as long to count down our favorite albums of the 90s as it did to actually make it through the 90s, we’re finally ready to give you our top five. While it should come as no surprise that bands like Nirvana and Radiohead top out our list, you just may be surprised at which order they placed once the final votes were tallied. Continue reading

The Historian: Masters Of The B-Side

PicCollageBy Spencer. In today’s day of single-song iTunes downloads, the B-side is something of an archaic institution. Strictly speaking, “B-side” once referred to the extra tracks that would be packaged onto a single, and distinguished such songs from the “A-sides” that comprised the single itself. Today, we don’t really package singles that way, so the closest analog is an EP track—but we’re going to start running out of letters if this keeps up. So when I refer to B-sides, I’m going to depart with the conventional nomenclature a bit and loosely include any of an artist’s songs that did not appear on a proper album—so pure singles, along with tracks appearing on EPs, soundtracks, and compilations, and even unreleased or bootleg rarities that make their way onto the internet. These are the songs that, for whatever reason, the artist holds back from the album; maybe they just aren’t as good, maybe they were recorded at a standalone studio session, or maybe they just didn’t fit in with the rest of the album’s aesthetic. There’s an automatic tendency to assume that these songs are inferior to the rest of an artist’s output. And that’s what I’m here to dispel. Because there have always been a few artists who take the B-side a little more seriously, and a deeper look at their B-sides will reveal some of their most rewarding or unique work. Continue reading

The Conversationalist: U2’s Songs Of Innocence

u2-2By Spencer and Antony. In the internet age, we rarely get true surprises when it comes to our entertainment. It’s a world full of spoiler alerts and leaked Instagram pictures from the set. The music industry doesn’t even try to keep anything under wraps for the most part; any moderately anticipated album is often available for streaming in its entirety some weeks or months ahead of its release date. So U2’s surprise release of Songs Of Innocence on Tuesday—as a free iTunes download, no less!—caught me completely off-guard. As Consequence Of Sound so aptly put it, U2 pulled off a Beyonce and a Radiohead at the same time! Continue reading