24. Texas, Southside

Yes, a cursory glance at the debut album Southside suggests that the band that released it is named after the rootinin’-tootinin’est state in the union, but that’s not quite right. The Scottish band that calls themselves Texas actually took their name from Wim Wenders’ acclaimed 1984 film Paris, Texas, so they probably have more of a preference for moody storytelling with a European sensibility than high school football, ten gallon hats and luxury automobiles adorned with repurposed steer horns. That’s just speculation, though. What’s certain is that Southside demonstrates an enviable talent for slick, sharp pop songwriting that effortlessly merges vibrant longing with jubilant, expressive melodies and addictive hooks. Largely built on the partnership of singer-guitarist Sharleen Spiteri and bassist Johnny McElhone, Texas rode their elegant, engaging music to the upper reaches of the U.K. charts. It was a somewhat tougher sell with commercial radio on this side of the big pond, maybe because programmers couldn’t figure out why a band named Texas didn’t have any Judds in it. Those selecting records for the stations on the left side of the dial knew better, though. It’s not the name, it’s the music, and the material on Southside was definitely worth visiting.


23. Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper, Root Hog or Die

Mojo Nixon’s best known song insisted that Elvis is everywhere, but the southern-fried troubadour continued developing his own brand of omnipresence throughout 1989. Nixon’s profile was already boosted to crazy new heights by his his highly unlikely promo spots for MTV before he made his big-screen acting debut playing drummer Jimmy Van Eaton in the Jerry Lee Lewis biopic Great Balls of Fire!. All that doesn’t even take into account the release of his fifth full-length effort in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Skid Roper, Root Hog or Die. Taking it’s name from a time-tested piece of American slang, the album demonstrated over and over again that Nixon’s brash sense of humor remained firmly in place. Ambitious as he was, maybe Nixon wasn’t everywhere during the last year of the eighties, but there were times when discerning music fans might have wished that he was.

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
56 and 55
54 and 53
52 and 51
50 and 49
48 and 47
46 and 45
44 and 43
42 and 41
40 and 39
38 and 37
36 and 35
34 and 33
32 and 31
30 and 29
28 and 27
26 and 25

2 thoughts on “College Countdown: 90FM’s Top 90 of 1989, 24 and 23

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