20 songs released in 1995 you MUST hear


20 songs released in 1995 you MUST hear

Egil makes the lists from the 60s and 70s, and I will hereby start doing the 90s. The remaining decades? we’ll see when we get there 🙂

The 1990s, pronounced “nineteen-nineties” or abbreviated as “nineties”, was a decade that began on January 1, 1990, and ended on December 31, 1999.

Culturally, the 1990s was characterized by the rise of multiculturalism and alternative media, which continued into the 2000s. Movements such asgrunge, the rave scene and hip hop spread around the world to young people during the decade, aided by then-new technology such as cable television and the Internet.

The 90s will not be done sequentially, I will start with 1995 and then, well, who knows…

Earlier posts:

What happened in 1995:

  • This was the year that the Internet entered public consciousness.
  • Lyricist/guitarist Richey Edwards of the Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers goes missing from a hotel in Bayswater, London on the eve of a planned tour of the United States. His car is found two weeks later at Severn View services in Aust.
  • Astronaut Norman Thagard becomes the first American to ride into space aboard a Russian launch vehicle.
  • Mississippi ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery. The amendment was nationally ratified in 1865.
  • The DVD, an optical disc computer storage media format, is announced.
  • The final original Calvin and Hobbes comic strip is published.

The 10 best Movies in 1995:

  1. Strange Days
  2. The Usual Suspects
  3. Seven
  4. Wild Bill
  5. La cité des enfants perdus
  6. Smoke
  7. Bound
  8. Devil in a blue dress
  9. La Haine
  10. Il Postino

A good year at the movies!

Egil has commanded:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

A lot of wonderful music was released in 1995, very hard to pick only 20. Lets start this demanding task…

Here is a Spotify playlist (missing Palace Music and Van Morrison)

Lake Marie by John Prine from the album Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings, released 4th April 1995:

In a 2009 interview with The Huffington Post, Prine fan Bob Dylan commented, “If I had to pick one song of his, it might be ‘Lake Marie.'”

The song was inspired in part by Prine’s crumbling marriage and a series of grisly murders the singer remembered the Chicago news media having a field day with when he was a kid. The John Prine Shrine website quotes the singer discussing his inspiration for the song: “It’s an actual place along the Illinois-Wisconsin border. There’s an entire chain of lakes along there, small lakes, and I remember as a teenager growing up in Chicago, a lot of the teenagers would go to these lakes and in the summer time kind of get away from the city. Lake Marie was kind of just one that stuck out in my mind. About ’59, ’60, ’61, I grew up in Maywood – it’s a western suburb of Chicago, and we started hearing about murders that weren’t related to the mob. You know, John Wayne Gacy was like, about two towns away from me and you just hear about it. The suburbs were kind of thought to be a pretty safe place at the time, and then some of these unexplained murders would show up every once in a while, where they’d find people in the woods somewhere. I just kind of took any one of them, not one in particular, and put it as if it was in a TV newscast. It was a sharp left turn to take in a song, but when I got done with it, I kind of felt like it’s what the song needed right then.”

Youngstown by Bruce Springsteen from the album, Ghost of Tom Joad released Nov 21 1995:
The song tells the tale of the rise and fall of Youngstown, Ohio, over several generations, from the discovery of iron ore nearby in 1803 through the decline of the steel industry in the area in the 1970s. The lyric tells its story in a style reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s “With God on Our Side”, evoking American history through several wars. It tells of how in the Civil War, Youngstown made the cannonballs that helped the Union prevail. Then the city built tanks and bombs to help win later wars, such as World War II. Finally, the boys of Youngstown went to fight the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Despite the town’s history, when it became uneconomical to keep the steel mills in Youngstown going, they were shut down, thus doing “what Hitler couldn’t do,” to the devastation of the community.

The song’s story unfolds as the narrative of one family’s history as factory-workers in Youngstown. The narrator of the song himself is a Vietnam War veteran (continuing Springsteen’s fixation with that war, also evident in songs such as “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Lost in the Flood”) and his father fought in World War II. Both also worked in the steel mills. The narrator had worked himself up to the job of scarfer, a difficult but low-paying job that entails torching the steel to remove imperfections. Although he describes the job as one “that would suit the devil well,” it is enough to put food on the table, pay his debts and provide a sense of purpose. When the mill is shut down, he tells the owners that “Once I made you rich enough/Rich enough to forget my name.” Finally, he prays that “the devil comes and takes me/To stand in the fiery furnace of hell.” Towards the end of the song, the scope expands beyond Youngstown to other areas that were devastated by the decline of the steel industry, including the Monongahela Valley, Minnesota’s Mesabi iron range and Appalachia.

The song is set to a sparse melody. Its simple chorus is:

Here in Youngstown
Here in Youngstown
My sweet Jenny, I’m sinkin’ down
Here darlin’ in Youngstown

You do something to me by Paul Weller from the album, Stanley Road, released 7th of June 1995:

“Originally available on Stanley Road, this deeply heartfelt love song has an emotional strength to the lyrics that is positively engaging, and crossed with Weller’s strident vocal performance, becomes one of his minor classics. “
– Matthew Greenwald (allmusic)

Deeper Well by Emmylou Harris from the album, Wrecking Ball, released September 26 1995:
Wrecking Ball is the eighteenth studio album by American country artist Emmylou Harris, released on September 26, 1995 through Elektra Records. Moving away from the traditional acoustic sound for which she had become known, Harris collaborated with rock producer Daniel Lanois (best known for his production work with U2) and engineerMark Howard. The album has been noted for atmospheric feel, and featured guest performances by Steve Earle, Larry Mullen, Jr., Lucinda Williams and Neil Young. Deeper Well is credited to David Olney (what a great writer!), Harris and Lanois.

Blue by The Jayhawks from the album, Tomorrow The Green Grass, released Feb 14 1995:
In his review for Allmusic, critic Jason Ankeny praised the album and called the album the group’s finest. Music critic Robert Christgau wrote the album was “always sincere, never wimpy” and Tom Sinclair of Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A- rating and wrote “This is everything a country-rock album should be. Even those who normally can’t stand the genre are likely to be seduced by the plaintive vocal harmonies, pristine melodies, and scrappy-but-lyrical guitar solos…”

Tear Stained Eye by Son Volt from the album, Trace, released September 19 1995:

Trace is the first album by Son Volt, released in 1995. The band was formed the previous year by Jay Farrar after the breakup of the influential alt-country band Uncle Tupelo. The album reached #166 on the Billboard 200 album chart and received extremely favorable reviews. According to Allmusic, “Throughout Son Volt’s debut, Trace, the group reworks classic honky tonk and rock & roll, adding a desperate, determined edge to their performances. Even when they rock out, there is a palpable sense of melancholy to Farrar’s voice, which lends a poignancy to the music.” The album was in the top 10 of Rolling Stone‘s 1995 critics’ list.

Street Spirit (fade out) by Radiohead from the album, The Bends, released March 13 1995:

Noted by singer-songwriter and guitarist Thom Yorke as “one of [the band’s] saddest songs” and describing it as “the dark tunnel without the light at the end”, “Street Spirit” was released as the band’s ninth single and reached number five on the UK Singles Chart.

To Bring You My Love by PJ Harvey
from the album, To bring You My Love, released Feb 27 1995:

To Bring You My Love is considered to be PJ Harvey’s breakthrough. It garnered massive critical acclaim worldwide and became her best-selling album. The album received huge critical acclaim. It was voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice‘s Pazz & Jop critics poll by a wide margin, and was also voted the year’s number-one album by publications such as Rolling Stone, The New York Times, People, USA Today, Hot Press and, in “the biggest landslide victory in 15 years”, the Los Angeles Times.

Old Jerusalem by Palace Music
from the album, Viva Last Blues, released August 21 1995:

Will Oldham (born January 15, 1970),[1] better known by the stage name Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, is an American singer-songwriter and actor. From 1993 to 1997, he performed and recorded under variations of the Palace name, including the Palace Brothers, Palace Songs, and Palace Music. After releasing material under his own name, he adopted the “Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy” moniker for the majority of his output since 1998.

Viva Last Blues is an album by Palace Music. The album was recorded by Steve Albini and was released in 1995 on Drag City.

The album was listed as #60 on Pitchfork Media’s “Top 100 Albums of the 1990s”

Soul Food by Goodie Mob
from the album, Soul Food, released Nov 21 1995:

Goodie Mob’s debut in 1995 was the gold-certified album Soul Food, which was produced by Organized Noize and was critically acclaimed. The phrase “Dirty South”, meaning Southern hip hop, was coined on this album, appearing as a song title. The album aired social and political issues such as racism, discrimination, geo-politics, and gentrification. Some songs were lighter in tone, such as “Soul Food,” about the band’s love of home cooked meals. Along with the album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik by Outkast, this one publicized Atlanta’s rap scene. It featured three Billboard Hot 100 singles called “Cell Therapy”, “Soul Food”, and “Dirty South”, the former being the group’s highest-charting hit to date when it reached #39

Mercenary Song by Steve Earle
from the album Train A Comin’ released Feb 28 1995:

It’s an early Steve Earle song (you can see an early version on the magnificent Heartworn Highways documentary) but wasn’t released until 1995. I need to include both the early version and the studio version from 1995.

Very “Townes Van Zandt’ish” and very good!

Days like this by Van Morrison
from the eponymous album released June 5 1995:

“Days Like This” was recorded during the 1993-1994 sessions at Wool Hall Studios, Beckington and the Real World in Bath, Somerset.

Scott Thomas best explains the theme of the song in his review:

“The title song turns a common expression and famous pop song chorus on its head. Usually, the phrase “My momma told me there’d be days like this” is something you say to make yourself feel better at the end of a tough day: the implication is that a good day might be just around the corner. The singer, steeling himself against disappointments and letdowns, does not want to feel too good on the good days: ‘When all the parts of the puzzle start to seem like they fit / Then I must remember there’ll be days like this.'”

Mellow Doubt by Teenage Fanclub from the album, Grand Prix, released May 29 1995:

Writing for The Independent in June 1995, Angela Lewis described Grand Prix as a “breathtakingly superb (album) with finely honed dynamics, nagging harmonies and deceptively simple lyrics”. In 2000, Q magazine placed Grand Prix at number 72 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever,and in 2004 it made #72 on The Observer Music Monthly’s top 100 British albums list.

Great song and Sparky’s Dream from the same album is equally good, seek it out.

1979 by Smashing Pumpkins, from the album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, released Oct 24 1995:
The second single the album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, “1979” was written by frontman Billy Corgan, and features loops and samples that were uncharacteristic of previous Smashing Pumpkins songs. The song was written as a coming of age story by Corgan. In the year 1979, Corgan was 12 and this is what he considered his transition into adolescence. The song was popular with critics and fans; Allmusic’s Amy Hanson called it a “somewhat surprising hit”. It was nominated for the Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the Grammy Awards, and won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Alternative Video.

Where the Wild Roses Grow is a duet by Australian rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and pop singer Kylie Minogue. It is the fifth song and lead single from the band’s ninth studio album, Murder Ballads (1996), released on Mute Records. It was written by  Nick Cave . The song was released as a single Oct 2 1995. The song received a positive reception from music critics and became the band’s most successful single worldwide reaching No. 3 in Norway, the top five in Australia, and the top twenty in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and New Zealand.

Needle in the hay by Elliott Smith was released as a 7″ vinyl single on January 1, 1995 by record label Kill Rock Stars.  It is the lead track on the album Elliott Smith, released in May that year. Pitchfork Media placed the song at number 27 in their list of the two-hundred best songs of the 1990s:


Little Baby by Rolling Stones (written by Willie Dixon)  released on the album, Stripped, Nov 13 1995:

Stripped is The Rolling Stones album released in 1995 during the Voodoo Lounge Tour. The album was a mixture of live recordings from smaller venues and studio recordings – made with no overdubs – of songs mostly from their previous catalogue. The exceptions were Willie Dixon’s “Little Baby” and Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”, neither of which the band released versions of before.


Brown Sugar by D’Angelo from the album of the same name, released July 3 1995:

Brown Sugar” is a song by American recording artist D’Angelo, taken from his debut album, of the same name. The song was released as the albums lead single in 1995, through Cooltempo records. The song was produced by D’Angelo and frequent collaborator Ali Shaheed Muhammad and was written by the latter two. The song’s sound is also similar to the work of funk, soul and jazz musician Roy Ayers, while D’Angelo’s soulful tenor-delivery throughout the song’s verses is stylistically similar the flow of most mcs at the time.

Stellar Regions by John Coltrane, posthumously released on the album by the same name Oct 10 1995.

Stellar Regionse by John Coltrane was discovered in 1994 by the artist’s wife, Alice Coltrane, who plays the piano on the session. Alice Coltrane is also responsible for the titles of the eight numbers featured on the album, and the record itself can be considered a lost-tapes album, since it was not found for nearly three decades.

Wonderwall by Oasis from the album, What’s the story (morning glory) released Oct 2 1995.It is written by the band’s guitarist and main songwriter Noel Gallagher. According to Gallagher, “Wonderwall” describes “an imaginary friend who’s gonna come and save you from yourself”. Great song!

Let’s include a very good live version:

– Hallgeir