Class Of 1989: The Year In Music


Our new series called “Class of _____” explores specific years in music, and the great albums from that year, genres be damned. Get excited.

1989 is straight up one of the most important years in music. Rap and hip-hop were poised for major creative and commercial breakthroughs, alternative rock was emerging as a commercially viable style of music, the wave of grunge was on its way, and hair metal was on the way out.

It was also the year that yours truly was born. Here’s 10 albums from that glorious year, for your listening pleasure, and a few words about the albums as well.

The Stone Roses (The Stone Roses)

You can thank The Stone Roses for the existence and foreshadowing of Britpop. It also started the musical movement that dominated Britain, Madchester, in the late 80’s to early 90’s. The combination of alternative rock with psychedelic dance music was very unique for its time, and inspired a number of other music movements as well. Also, this album was definitely recorded while on drugs.

Disintegration (The Cure)

The Cure’s magnum opus, and one of the best albums of the decade – arguably, of all time. When you have tracks like “Lovesong”, “Pictures Of You”, and the excellent “Fascination Street” on the same album, you know you’re doing it right.

Pretty Hate Machine (Nine Inch Nails)

Trent Reznor, the mastermind of NIN, is almost singlehandedly responsible for the popularity of industrial music, and the wave of copycats that followed (Filter, Stabbing Westward, Gravity Kills). Pretty Hate Machine may not be their best album, but the merging of simple pop structures with aggressive industrial rock and synthpop was unmatched at the time. In fact, it still is.

Sonic Temple (The Cult)

The Bob Rock produced Sonic Temple was The Cult’s greatest moment. One of the best hard rock albums of the latter half of the 80’s.

The Real Thing (Faith No More)

All hail Mike Patton. He’s exactly what the band needed after searching for years for a capable vocalist. The argument can be made that he’s the most multitalented vocalist in today’s musical landscape. They only got better with 1992’s Angel Dust, but this is more accessible.

Automatic (The Jesus And Mary Chain)

Not really the shoegaze that they helped spawn – Automatic was alt-rock at arguably its peak. “Blues From A Gun” gallops along like a prized racehorse.

Doolittle (Pixies)

Kurt Cobain’s self-proclaimed biggest influences, Pixies’ few years in the spotlight undoubtedly made them alternative rock superheroes, and any talk of the best alt-rock has to offer basically has to start with them.

Gretchen Goes To Nebraska (King’s X)

Beatles-esque harmonies and progressive rock collide with intelligent song structure and brilliant lyrics, from one of the most underrated bands in rock history.

Streetcleaner (Godflesh)

Uncompromising industrial metal and noise rock that influenced entirely too many of today’s post-metal bands.

Beneath The Remains (Sepultura)

The heaviest of thrash metal with obvious death and groove metal influences. One of the best thrash albums not many talk about (Chaos AD and Arise make this album sometimes overlooked) but the bludgeoning riffs of “Mass Hypnosis” and “Inner Self” were unmatched by their peers.

Honorable Mentions:
Altars Of Madness (Morbid Angel)
Paul’s Boutique (Beastie Boys)
3 Feet High And Rising (De La Soul)
Dr. Feelgood (Motley Crue)
Skid Row (Skid Row)
Fabulous Disaster (Exodus)

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