At 1997, rock radio was as optimistic because the U.S. president, who’d simply been inaugurated for his second time period. From angsty grunge and stylish Brit Pop got here songs that had been sunny in sound if not in temperament, singer-songwriters digging deeply into their emotions, the nascent rise of electronica on the charts, and one thing referred to as Chumbawamba. A cheeky, lyrical British band had their largest hit with a track the place the refrain merely went “woo hoo”; the previous drummer of the technology’s most defining bands got here into his personal as a strong rock frontman; Oasis launched a disappointing double album however some guys named Radiohead predicted the terrifying, computer-dominated future, and made us really feel rather less alienated from one another; Inexperienced Day dropped their least rocking hit but, which might find yourself scoring one million commencement ceremonies; by the tip of December, Fiona Apple’s searing gaze was etched into our brains. Some artists had their solely, indelible hits; others different rock bands entered their prime, and set the tone for what would come.

It was a fairly good 12 months, and we’ve written about our favourite songs from the 1997 alt-rock charts, as a way to converse to what they meant then and the way they sound to us now. (Notice: Among the songs had been launched in 1996, however made their largest impression the following 12 months on the radio and Billboard’s Various Charts.) Discover them under.


79. Matthew Candy – “Where You Get Love”

“Where You Get Love” is the final single Matthew Candy lodged on the Billboard charts–it went to 14 on Billboard’s Trendy Rock Charts–and, from a sure angle, it’s doable to view the track because the afterburn of , the nervy 1991 album that’s the gold normal of energy pop within the ’90s. If stunned—blame that on Robert Quine and Richard Lloyd, who handled easy pop tunes as a car for exploration–“Where You Get Love” follows typical contours, celebrating hooks and progressions but in addition benefitting from its constricted development. Though the riff bubbles, there’s no suggestion that it’ll escape from its constraints, and that’s its pleasure: like all nice classicist pop songs, it follows a well-recognized construction however excites with its particulars.  –STEPHEN THOMAS ERLEWINE

78. Jars of Clay – “Crazy Times”

For the Christian recording business, the generational dissociation that buzzy alt-rock represented was prime territory for infiltration. Jars of Clay’s first incursion was 1996’s fluke hit “Flood.” On their follow-up album , they went the total 9: debuting a crisp pop/rock sound, enlisting future Adele and OneRepublic producer Greg Wells as a utility participant, and making an attempt to land a monitor in a Jim Carrey film. Lead single “Crazy Times” is a would-be anthem of religious despair, the place even the solo is glum. It’s creepy and chilly and greater than a little bit neggy, and rock radio rebuffed it accordingly. –BRAD SHOUP

77. Dwell – “Lakini’s Juice”

This was a time of reluctant male intercourse symbols. And, additionally, Ed Kowalczyk, he of the rattail, ubiquitous hen chest, and a band that stuffed the void left by U2 and R.E.M. for the spell the place they determined to be enjoyable. Kowalczyk handled intercourse with the identical absurd depth and utter lack of self-awareness that knowledgeable the whole lot else about Dwell–whereas he lamented of a love “like water/pinned down and abused for being strange” on a track referred to as “All Over You” (shudder), we didn’t understand how good we had it till “Lakini’s Juice.” The video likened the human sexual drive to a deli counter (Kowalczyk really understood the sensual qualities of salted, cured meats) and managed to make a track with the lyric “I rushed the lady’s room/took the water from the toilet” even ickier. Having discovered nothing from this expertise, the lead single from the album was a intercourse track referred to as “Dolphin’s Cry” the place video extras run screaming from a badly veiled metaphor. Say what you’ll about Kowalczyk, however be sure to say

76. Filter and Crystal Technique – “Trip Like I Do”

“Another world, another time, in the age of wonder,” begins a chant initially of Crystal Technique’s unique model of “Trip Like You Do.” Trying again, that looks like an apt-enough description of the late 90s, when film studios dropped tens of millions on star-packed soundtracks to advertise their newest blockbusters. Maybe the oddest instance of this phenomenon was the soundtrack to the 1997 movie adaptation of Todd McFarlane’s graphic novel Spawn, which paired well-known metallic and laborious rock acts with widespread DJs and digital teams. (Suppose Korn with the Mud Brothers or Metallica with DJ Spooky.) Filter and Crystal Technique’s “(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do”—a remix of the Vegas digital duo’s single from the identical 12 months—was by far the album’s largest hit.

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Very similar to very thought of huge finances soundtracks, the track is a relic from the Nineties: You had Crystal Technique driving the wave of the very temporary mainstream curiosity in electronica and Filter taking advantage of the lingering buzz from their first—and at the moment, solely—hit single, 1995’s “Hey Man, Nice Shot.” Alas, the track has not held up very nicely through the years: Filter’s determination to rework the monitor’s weird, nonsensical “lyrics” into one thing boastful and faux-angry, full with generic laborious rock riffs and out-of-place screaming, ruins the bombastic, aspirationally druggy appeal the unique held for these of us too younger to have recognized higher. With the advantage of hindsight (being 32 as a substitute of 12) it now sounds precisely like what it possible all the time was: The shitty finish results of money seize collaboration between the poor man’s Chemical Brothers and the poor man’s 9 Inch Nails for an ill-fated comedian guide film. –TAYLOR BERMAN

75. Silverchair – “Abuse Me”

Silverchair entered the worldwide grunge scene with a severe credibility downside, as three Aussie youngsters who’d gained a radio station’s demo contest and launched their debut album—titled, terribly, —practically a 12 months after Kurt Cobain’s demise. Possibly that’s why Daniel Johns and his schoolmates felt compelled to plumb the darkest depths of their younger psyches on their second full-length, , a file as obsessive about degradation and outsider id as its identify implies.

Though the more durable monitor “Freak” turned the Australian lead single, American followers heard “Abuse Me” first, and you’ll think about why. The track is a superbly executed Nirvana ripoff, from the ripply opening riff to the whispery verses and amped-up bridge to lyrics imprecise sufficient to be interpreted as masochistic. If it didn’t precisely show that Silverchair transcended the sum of their influences, not less than it confirmed that Johns was one of many world’s most competent Cobain stand-ins.  – JUDY BERMAN

74. Days Of The New – “Touch, Peel And Stand”

Nirvana was essentially the most legendary Seattle band, Pearl Jam was the most well-liked, Mudhoney had essentially the most cred and Soundgarden had been essentially the most bold. However by the tip of the last decade, Alice In Chains turned essentially the most influential and no band owed them extra money owed than Days of the New–no imply feat, contemplating a band tellingly named after a deep lower offered 20 million albums, whereas DOTN mastermind Travis Meeks felt his venture ought to’ve toured with Dave Matthews Band slightly than Jerry Cantrell. However to actually everybody else, drew from one single supply of inspiration–Alice In Chains’ acoustic EP and ran with it. The album’s single “Touch, Peel and Stand” served as widespread floor for the ostensibly tens of millions of people that didn’t wish to to decide on between Jerry Cantrell and Dave Matthews Band. –IC

73. 311 – “Beautiful Disaster”

311’s breakout self-titled album had two big hits: one in all them a dopey nu-metal guitar chunkfest, the opposite a dancehall-flavored tune with a bassline cribbed midway from the Stalag riddim. “Beautiful Disaster,” from the follow-up , is type of like what would possibly occur when you mashed them each collectively–big riffs reggae upstrokes–then pulled out all of the goofy toasting and rapping. With lyrics that nod vaguely at drug dependancy, “Beautiful Disaster” presents a extra mature aspect of 311, and if lyrics like “some people really suck” don’t register as Significantly Heavy Shit the way in which they had been supposed–hey, not less than these guitar harmonies nonetheless sound completely sick.  –ANDY CUSH

72. Our Woman Peace – “Clumsy”

Should you informed Raine Maida you had been drowning, nicely … he wouldn’t help. However he wouldn’t have recognized any higher. “Clumsy” is a track of sneaky emotional intelligence, of recognizing how folks can create mayhem with out intent, and the way the distinction between heroism and hurt generally is a matter of consciousness. That hasn’t been Maida’s sturdy go well with, as he’s felt like a “One Man Army” whereas additionally rejecting superhuman capability on “Superman’s Dead,” vying to be the Canadian Radiohead on Non secular Machines, whereas Gravity was one thing nearer to Canadian Staind. Which makes “Clumsy” a definitive track for Our Woman Peace, a Clark Kent that sometimes dreamed of being Superman however by no means may get out of the telephone sales space with no face plant.–IC

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71. Smashing Pumpkins – “ The Beginning is the End is the Beginning”

Every time the Smashing Pumpkins contribute to a significant movement image, it creates an interesting alternate historical past for the band. “Drown” was a glimpse of what would possibly’ve occurred had Billy Corgan went into as the identical paisley-eyed flower-child of ; when “Doomsday Clock” seamlessly match into struggle scenes, it raised the potential of Smashing Pumpkins regaining their alt-rock radio dominance as a crass industrial behemoth. After which there’s “The End is the Beginning is the End” from which signaled that electro-rock was going to be the way forward for Smashing Pumpkins, however on this case, it was including block rockin’ beats to prescient, drop-C nu-metal riffage slightly than the chiaroscuro . Look, “The End” is superior and isn’t, however the latter turned out to be a blessing in disguise; by the point Smashing Pumpkins desperately wanted a reboot, they couldn’t get a brand new director. –IC

70. Supergrass – “Cheapskate”

Supergrass are a British institution that by no means crossed over to America, except for “Cheapskate,” which landed them the one Billboard hit of their profession in the summertime of 97. Off their sophomore album In It for the Cash, “Cheapskate” will get out and in in below three minutes, pairing Gaz Coombes’ uniquely English sneer to a blues-y organ riff. But it surely’s the refrain, which rips the track open with a searing riff, that undoubtedly opened it as much as American ears. –JORDAN SARGENT

69. The Sundays – “Summertime”

The Sundays are greatest recognized for his or her janglepop, preternaturally dreamy in a approach nobody’s fairly imitated, however their understated songwriting is simply as noteworthy. The topic of “Summertime” isn’t such a brand new idea–the concept of summer season doesn’t stay as much as the steaming-concrete actuality, think about!–however the execution is ideal: somebody drawn to the concept of idyllic summer season love, however cerebral sufficient to prod on the thought the entire time, and to know that the prodding’s ruining it. It’s good prodding, too. Wheeler’s fantasias are set proper alongside chirpy personal-ad slogans, alienating and dehumanizing in a now-all-too-familiar approach, and “angry young men with immaculate hair” is the very best ’90s burn that got here from inside the last decade. However there’s no irony to the execution: Harriet Wheeler’s voice summertime–buoyant, breeze-like, the proper translation of the pastoral lovescapes she sings about. And in contrast to these, it’s actual. –KATHERINE ST. ASAPH

68. Soundgarden – “Blow Up the Outside World”

Using late-Beatles melodics within the service of nihilism like no modern save Elliott Smith, “Blow Up the Outside World” was the bleakest blast on . (And that’s saying one thing for an album whose lead single was “Pretty Noose”.) “Nothing/seems to kill me,” drones Chris Cornell, “No matter how hard I try.” Even at his lowest, he shreds his lungs turning the title right into a mission assertion. Within the liner notes for 1997’s posthumous assortment, Sub Pop co-founder Jonathan Poneman stated this “should be declared the new national anthem”. Jesus Christ, he’s proper. –BS

67. U2 – “Staring At The Sun”

Pop was–by U2 requirements, not less than–a failure commercially and critically, however as we speak, it lives on as an notorious doc of the lengths to which the band was keen to go to make music they believed to be well timed, paradigm-shifting, and unabashedly big in scope. “Staring at the Sun,” the file’s greatest charting single, was not as brazen a departure from type because the future-shock techno of the file’s first single “Discothèque,” and far of the extra overtly electronics-heavy music featured on the album. In the end, this makes it extra listenable than a lot of the remainder of the album as we speak: a languid, meandering, psych-pop dalliance, however with shuddering breakbeat up to now it completely to its 12 months. A significantly better track referred to as “Staring at the Sun” can be written by TV on the Radio years later; relying in your temper, even The Offspring’s track of the identical identify could even stand the take a look at of time higher. However U2’s model stands as proof that the band, nevertheless pompous they may danger being at each flip, by no means stopped pushing to redefine themselves within the Nineties, even at their most forgotten moments. –WINSTON COOK-WILSON

66. Higher Than Ezra – “Desperately Wanting”

The mid-90s created a brimming subgenre of superficially milquetoast alt-rock songs that had been darker than anybody gave them credit score for–Goo Goo Dolls’ “Slide,” “The Freshmen,” “Hey Jealousy,” the Nixons’ “Sister,” Ben Folds 5’s “Brick,” the unconfirmed chance that Collective Soul’s “December” was about oral intercourse. Add “Desperately Wanting” to that checklist: rumor had it that it was impressed by Hell Week on the Kappa Sigma home at LSU the place Higher than Ezra fashioned. However these lyrics about getting your abdomen pumped and lashing out at authority, nicely, that was truly Kevin Griffin recalling a childhood pal he misplaced to psychological sickness. One may argue which interpretation was darker, however both approach, it cemented Higher Than Ezra’s popularity because the band of frat boys who appeared a little bit extra pensive on the keg. –IC

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65. Counting Crows – “Long December”

Do you do not forget that Courtney Cox as soon as dated Adam Duritz? Or that she’s within the “Long December” music video? Good, glad we received that out of the way in which.

The one– launched in December 1996 because the second from Counting Crows’ Recovering the Satellites–was a couple of pal of Duritz’s who was within the automobile accident and was put-up within the hospital for an extended whereas. A candy meandering on the sluggish passing of time, the side that has maintained in spite of everything these years is that the worst month of the 12 months does all the time all the time looks like an eternity. Whereas the dulcet nasal melancholy of Duritz, it’s the glimmer of hope that means that “we all have reason to believe / that this year will be better than the last” that endures. An “Auld Lang Syne” of kinds for the hippie alt-rock set. —PUJA PATEL

64.  The Prodigy – “Breathe”

British “electronica” had damaged by to the U.S. mainstream by 1997, however by no means so ferociously as with The Prodigy, whose fealty to their head-banging breakbeats and freaky music movies (thanks partially to singer Liam Howlett’s crazed screw-face and reverse-clown mohawk) resonated in a rustic able to go laborious. “Breathe” wasn’t fairly as huge as their first single “Firestarter,” however the track’s opening synths discovered regular footing between acid home and metallic and received lyrically bizarre for the outcasts of the outcasts: “Psychosomatic, addict, insane!” It made little or no sense, however related to the second on a visceral degree; listening to it 20 years later, I nonetheless wanna kick shit. –JULIANNE ESCOBEDO SHEPHERD

63. Ben Folds 5 – “Battle of Who Could Care Less”

Scott Stapp by no means received the memo, however grunge was nicely and really useless by 1997. Ben Folds 5 threw it a funeral on their breakthrough single “Battle of Who Could Care Less,” a humble pianoman’s takedown of affectless slackers. Like The Trendy Lovers’ “I’m Straight” and Weezer’s “Buddy Holly,” the track is so geeky, it’s transgressive. Scattered amid sufficient retro vocal harmonies and impassioned ivory-pounding to verify the band’s nerd cred are some sick burns; “See, I’ve got your old ID / And you’re all dressed up like The Cure” is a real snigger line. However the trace of grudging infatuation that underlies their bitter mockery of a then-ubiquitous archetype complicates the sendup a bit. He may even see proper by it, however–identical to us–Ben Folds has fallen for Basic Apathy and Main Boredom’s schtick anyway.  –JB

62. The Offspring – “All I Want” 

The Offspring had been only some years from going TRL once they launched “All I Want” on the tail finish of 1996, and it acts as one retroactive reminder that lead singer Dexter Holland may write a pleasant little pop-punk track. A track about rebelling towards society, it labored greatest on the traditional late-90s online game Loopy Taxi, by which customers management a cabbie who criss-crosses a simulacrum of southern California with reckless abandon as a way to get his or her clients to their locations. Your character is working maniacally, however by its personal guidelines. –JS

61. Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – “Zoot Suit Riot”

We had been solely a 12 months away from the Hole mainstreaming the swing revival as an precise factor, not simply the passion of faculty children who hadn’t but graduated to steampunk, and the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies’ unlikely hit reaffirmed the attractive prospects of radio to sometimes enhance songs no A&R would contact with a ten-foot upright bass. “It’s not our mission to be a swing band,” frontman Steve Perry (not from Journey) informed SPIN, however a track like “Zoot Suit Riot” couldn’t assist however stand for an entire motion. The Hole’s inventory would peak shortly thereafter. –JEREMY GORDON

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