Another year, another slew of albums, singles, tours, and videos. In the world of pop, sometimes it seems everything happens except what we really want to happen. So, in the spirit of the new year, consider this the Entertainment Weekly wish list for 1995.
Reunions of bands who died before their time. Forget the offshoot bands and solo projects; it’s time to hear something new from Jane’s Addiction, the English Beat, N.W.A (Dre and Eazy-E can record their parts separately), Talking Heads (instead of those painfully idiosyncratic David Byrne solo projects), and the ever-lazy XTC. The Pixies, on the other hand, can stay disbanded; we like the Breeders too much.
Unexpected Unpluggeds. We’ve seen enough superstars needing a boost or folk-based acts like Dylan, for whom an acoustic gig is hardly a shock. May we suggest an unplugged Nine Inch Nails, L7, Ice Cube, Megadeth, or Sonic Youth — or, even better, plopping Tom Jones in front of a rockin’ little acoustic combo?
A moratorium on Elvis reissues. The only exhumed Elvis we want to hear is the man himself — assuming he is alive and well and living in Topeka.
An actual alternative-rock album nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys. Isn’t it time that discs by U2, Nirvana, and Smashing Pumpkins — all of them top 10 charters — were liberated from the ”Best Alternative Music Album” ghetto?
No more music awards shows. Can you distinguish between the Grammys, the American Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, the Soul Train Awards, and those two country ceremonies? Where’s Don Kirshner when you need him?
More videos on MTV. The first letter of your moniker stands for music, not mediocre original programming like Dead at 21 and The State.
Enough with the ”Women in Rock” articles. Attention all major media: Women play instruments. They are in bands. Sometimes they even lead said bands. Deal with it.
A special concept lineup for Frank Sinatra’s inevitable Duets IIII. With his poor health and all, how about pair-ups with Dr. Dre, Dr. John, Dr. Feelgood, Dr. Hook, Spin Doctors, Doc Severinsen, and Dr. Joyce Brothers?
More club or small-hall concerts by arena acts. This fall, Eric Clapton took his blues nostalgia revue to clubs for shows that were intimate. May we suggest the same for R.E.M. and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, all of whom will likely be embarking on Enormo-Dome tours this spring and summer?
A smile from Eddie Vedder. Just one.
Cheaper concert tickets: If Green Day could charge between $7.50 and $15 for tickets to their arena tour, so can everybody else. Just cut back on the dry-ice fog, backup singers, and stage backdrops.
And, of course, that means absolutely no more 100-plus concert tickets. Greed is unattractive, even in superstars.
Bands we’d like to see at Lollapalooza. Neil Young as a reported headliner is fine, if not exactly alternative. To compensate, how about Pansy Division, Compulsion, Coolio, Ween, Helium, Daniel Johnston, Superchunk, De La Soul, or the Afghan Whigs?
No more singles from the latest Janet Jackson and Ace of Base albums. Each of these megaplatinum albums has already spawned multiple hits. You have your cash — now back off!
A ban on white guys with dreadlocks. Adam Duritz, Dave Pirner, and Dexter Holland of the Offspring. You don’t look down; you look dumb.
Dream-team producer-artist match-ups. Cher with Rick Rubin; Liz Phair with Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam); Neil Diamond with Don Was (Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt); Mariah Carey with R. Kelly; Stevie Wonder with Dr. Dre.
No more songs about Kurt Cobain. May we please grieve in peace?
Sports personalities should stick to sports. Seems anyone who wears sweatsocks — Shaq, Cedric Ceballos, Deion Sanders, Darryl Strawberry — is grabbing the mike, with even more distressing results than all those players’ strikes.
An end to greatest-hits albums with ”three new songs!” Attention Bob Seger, Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, Sting, and the rest: They’re not hits unless we know them and have bought them as singles.
Grateful Dead-style bands must stop. If we see one more band of ersatz hippies indulging in hours-long jams (Phish, Spin Doctors, etc.), we’re going to gag them with tie-dye, then torch the rags.
No more Christmas albums! Until next year, that is. By then, we’ll have fully recovered from this season’s excessive yuletide cheer.