Here is where I talk a little about various artists whose music I own. (S/T means self-titled.)
Since MTV was a big part of my early music experience, I tried to find videos of one song for each band just for fun. Apologies in advance for some of the more lurid examples, I mostly picked them based on the song, not on the video content!
Beck (1993 Loser, 1994 Mellow Gold, 1996 Odelay, 1998 Mutations, 1999 Midnite Vultures, 2002 Sea Change, 2005 Guero, 2006 The Information, 2008 Modern Guilt, 2014 Morning Phase) — “Loser” was all over the radio when we first moved to the Bay Area, but when Odelay landed he really took off. Beck was one of a number of artists we got to see at the LIVE105 “Green Christmas Ball” in 1996. Overall I think I prefer his (currently) mid-career albums, especially Guero and The Information, but they all have their charm. I also like the way he mixes in downbeat, melancholy albums amid the more crowd-pleasing ones.
Bigod 20 (1991 Carpe Diem, 1992 On the Run, 1992 Steel Works!, 1994 Supercute) — In college and just afterwards I couldn’t get enough Front 242, so this Front 242 clone band was just the ticket. The wife and I still put on our fake German accents and quote “Carpe Diem” and “The Bog” at each other to this day. Pure fun. And their cover of Madonna‘s “Like a Prayer” is just perfect.
Bill Carson & His Checkered Past (2004 The Copper Look) — Wow, so not even a Wikipedia article on these guys. Amazon lists it as “country” or “roots rock” but all I know is I love it. “Languid” is the word that comes to mind, just utterly laid back and calm, and so very different from most anything else in my collection. Wish there had been a follow-up!
Tracy Bonham (1996 The Burdens of Being Upright, 2000 Down Here, 2005 Blink the Brightest, 2010 Masts of Manhatta) — Another Bay Area discovery (note the 1995-era album), Bonham had a pretty popular hit “Mother Mother” that played all the time. Always felt like she should have had more success as the rest of her material is quite good.
Babylon Zoo (1995 Spaceman) — Love this song so I picked up the single, but was never curious enough beyond that to check out this band. Turns out the version I’m familiar with is a remix (below). The original is notably different.
Barenaked Ladies (1992 Gordon, 1994 Maybe You Should Drive, 1996 Born on a Pirate Ship, 1998 Stunt, 2000 Maroon, 2003 Everything to Everyone, 2006 Barenaked Ladies Are Me, 2008 Snacktime!, 2010 All in Good Time) — Like everyone else, I caught wind of these guys when “One Week” was all the rage, but digging into their back catalogue I found a lot to like, and their first three albums are all pretty brilliant. Haven’t been keeping up with them recently, but they’re on my list to get back to.
Jean Baudin (2008 Solace, 2012 Mechanisms) — A staple at California Extreme, of all places, this dude uses a custom 11-string bass and a unique playing technique to produce some incredibly cool and haunting sounds. Might be more classical than rock, but since it’s an amplified instrument, we’ll keep him in the rock category for now.
Beastie Boys (1986 Licensed to Ill, 1989 Paul’s Boutique, 1998 Hello Nasty, 2004 To the 5 Boroughs, 2011 Hot Sauce Committee Part Two) — Licensed to Ill (which is brilliant, don’t let revisionist history tell you otherwise) made me aware, but “Intergalactic” is what really won me over to these guys. In the end I’m probably most partial to Paul’s Boutique.
The Beatles (1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1968 White Album, 1969 Abbey Road, 2000 1) — Everybody’s gotta have some Beatles in their collection, right? Obviously I’m mostly into their later stuff, with the White Album being peak Beatles for me. Toss in the Greatest Hits collection 1 to cover the earlier bits and I’m good here.
Björk (1993 Debut, 1996 Telegram, 1997 Homogenic, 2000 Selmasongs, 2001 Vespertine, 2004 Medúlla, 2007 Volta) — Quirky and a bit challenging at times but always interesting. Medúlla in particular, assembled almost exclusively from vocals and vocal samples, is a fascinating listen.
Bush (1994 Sixteen Stone, 1999 The Science of Things) — Sixteen Stone is a cornerstone of the grunge era, even if you think they were just cheap Nirvana knockoffs. I honestly never really bought into that narrative and just enjoyed it for what it was.
Bon Jovi (1994 Cross Road) — Another MTV regular with a great collection of songs. I still say he probably regrets that last key change in “Livin’ on a Prayer” now that he’s older. Sadly this is an early hits collection and misses one of his better recent anthems “It’s My Life.”
David Bowie (1995 The Hearts Filthy Lesson, 2016 Legacy) — Prior to his passing, I will admit to only owning the single to “The Hearts Filthy Lesson” owing to Trent Reznor‘s involvement and its use in the movie Se7en. Now I must edumacate myself.