Throwback Staff Trax: The Replacements, The Fugees, Depeche Mode and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Welcome to Staff Trax, the weekly feature here on DC9 where we shed some light on the music we've been enjoying of late, regardless of the touring or album release schedules that tend to bear the focus of most of our coverage. Consider it a chance for you readers to get some more insight into our own personal tastes. Maybe you'll find something you like, ya dig?

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The Replacements -- "Bastards of Young"


The ultimate slacker band makes the best video ever. You got to remember: It was 1985 and MTV was still playing music videos--lots of them. If you were a rock band on a major label, you were expected to have a video that MTV could run. So what did Paul Westerberg and the rest of the 'mats do? They filmed (in black and white, no less) a crappy stereo playing the song "Bastards of Young." No wonder the band never hit it big. And thank God. The world at large is far too stupid to appreciate the genius that was The Replacements. If you don't own Let it Be, Tim, and Please to Meet Me, you just don't understand. --Darryl Smyers

The Fugees -- "Ready or Not"


While, looking back, it seems as though the Fugees were a hip-hop supergroup. And, indeed, they were super. But it was the success of the collective unit that enabled Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill to become global recording stars after dissolving the band that took over the universe with The Score back in 1996. The album's top tracks are testaments to how masterful interpretations and inventive sampling can still be a vehicle for originality regardless of where the song's concept may have been born. "Ready or Not," "Killing Me Softly," and even "No Woman, No Cry" are respectful to their originals, but also progressive and unafraid of evolving. Unlike many who dream of an eventual reunion of The Fugees, I appreciate a band who understands the power of going out on top. --Kelly Dearmore

Depeche Mode -- "Photographic"


I wasn't yet a twinkle in my parent's eyes for the first half of the band's discography, but Depeche Mode has always sat securely near the top of my "top ten favorite bands of all time" list. The English act played a major role in establishing my love for electronic music, and, in my opinion, the band's first album, Speak & Spell, is home to some of the best early-'80s, minimalist, synth-pop tunes. I have been listening to Speak & Spell quite a bit as of late, and "Photographic" is easily one of my favorite tracks off the album. --Catherine Downes

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers -- "Even the Losers"


I recently watched Runnin' Down a Dream, Peter Bogdanovich's four-hour documentary on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers that doesn't feel like a four-hour take. You hear all of the familiar hits in the film, but so much more. Hell, it's worth it just to see Roy Orbison cutting tracks in the studio with Petty. Anyway, "Even the Losers" is one of those songs that I had never heard before, due to various reasons. I had never heard the song on the radio or anywhere else for that matter growing up. "Don't Come Around Here No More," "You Don't Know How It Feels," "Into the Great Wide Open," sure. This song, no. I'm thankful that I heard it now, though. Because, these days, it seems like a personal anthem for me. For many reasons. --Eric Grubbs

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