College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1989, 56 and 55


56. Neil Young, Freedom

Through most of the nineteen-eighties, every Neil Young album was a surprise. He played with electronic weirdness on 1982’s Trans, dipped into retro rockabilly with 1983’s Everybody’s Rockin’, went with pure country on 1985’s Old Ways and embraced his bluesy side on 1988’s This Note’s For You. It was enough to make record buyers dizzy. Even Young knew it, so he made a point of ending the eighties with an album that was distinctively his. As he put it: “I just wanted this one to be a Neil Young album, as silly as that sounds. For years now I’ve skirted the issue of what was really on my mind by doing stylistic things, genre albums. I wasn’t ready to talk about what had happened in my own life so I just shut that all off. I’m coming out of that now but I alienated a lot of fans by doing that too. Still, I had a hell of a good time doing it and you only live once.” It’s a Neil Young album all right. In fact, it has a few ferocious moments that stand among the greatest of a storied career.


55. Tin Machine, Tin Machine

There are some paths that recur in the creation of rock ‘n’ roll bands, but Tin Machine may be the only one that can claim to have an old episode of Fantasy Island as part of its genesis. It’s not exactly a vital part, though. It was just a show that guitarist Reeves Gabrels watched with David Bowie upon first meeting the rock legend backstage during his Glass Spider tour. Once Bowie was briefly free of any obligations to release a new solo album, he decided he wanted to put together a band to play the sort of music he wanted to hear instead of the drum machine driven material that dominated the radio. He reached out to Gabrels, and then filled out the rhythm section with brothers Hunt and Tony Sales, who just so happen to be the progeny of kid’s show cut-up Soupy Sales. Despite Bowie’s preeminence in the music world, the group was treated as a democratic unit with everyone contributing to the fierce, loud sound. Of course, Bowie is renowned for his knack for reinvention, but few could have predicted that one of his transformations would involving becoming just another guy in a working band.

Previously…
Introduction
90 and 89
88 and 87
86 and 85
84 and 83
82 and 81
80 and 79
78 and 77
76 and 75
74 and 73
72 and 71
70 and 69
68 and 67
66 and 65
64 and 63
62 and 61
60 and 59
58 and 57