Radio Faux Show Volume 2, Number 4 (January 23, 2022): Music from 1997

Radio Faux Show Volume 2, Number 4 (January 23, 2022): Music from 1997

This Week’s Theme: Silver Anniversary, Music from 1997

This week’s show focuses on music from twenty-five years ago. Every song is from 1997, including my Top Twenty albums, some best of genre selections, and some birthday wishes to artists who released music that year.

Welcome to Radio Faux Show Volume 2, Number 4.

First things first – click a link to start listening and then come back to read about this week’s songs.


Amazon Music

Song of The Year: Cornershop “Brimful of Asha”

The original
The unbelievably even better remix – if you don’t dance around the house when this plays then go check into a hospital

Although Cornershop’s 1997 album When I Was Born For The 7th Time was not my favorite album at the time it was released, it did have three or four songs that I listened to religiously. “Sleep on the Left Side” is a great song, and “Funky Days are Back Again” is a fun little song. However, twenty-five years later, the song “Brimful of Asha” still gets played all of the time at the Faux household, and both the original and the incredible Norman Cook remix are now universal favorites with almost twenty million video views on YouTube. The song itself is catchy as hell with a fantastic guitar riff, and “Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow” is one of those once-in-a-band’s-life lyrics. Add in the fact that it is a song dedicated to Bollywood’s greatest playback singer, Asha Bhosle, and it has even more appeal. It is a perfect culture clash of music, lyrics, theme, and indie-rock ethos.

“Sleep On The Left Side”

Song of the Year Runner-Up: Blur “Song 2”

This is the song that made Blur a household name around the world. After years of success in England, including the now over-hyped rivalry between Blur and Oasis, this song exploded onto the scene with its 2-minute blast of energy and a riff that still demands attention whenever you hear it. Blur never came close to this level of success after 1997, and both Blur and Oasis faded quickly from the public eye as the new century began. But in 1997 everyone knew this song, even if they didn’t know what it was or hated it. It was everywhere – supermarkets, radio, tv commercials, movies, car CD players, and anywhere that music could be heard. And, if you ask me, it is still a great song.

Metal Album of the Year: Dimmu Borgir Enthrone Darkness Triumphant

I tend to leave metal artists off of the Faux Shows, but I am a fan of all sorts of metal music. 1997 was a good year for metal, but the classic metal albums of the late ’90s were mostly released before or after this year. For this reason, my choice for best metal album of 1996 goes to an album that wouldn’t make my best of the decade list. However, there is no denying that this is an important album by one of the best symphonic metal bands. This is Dimmu Borgir’s third album, and is often named as their best.

Rap Album of the Year: Company Flow Funcrusher

The best rap album of 1997 was an underground album by Company Flow called Funcrusher. Unfortunately, this album is not available on streaming platforms. It is on YouTube though, if you want to listen.

Rap Album of the Year Runner-Up: Busta Rhymes When Disaster Strikes

Busta Rhymes’ second album is part two of his apocalypse trilogy and features a couple of his most popular songs. None of the tracks are as good as “Woo Hah,” but as a complete album it surpasses his debut The Coming.

Let’s Take a Trip Around the World (In 1997)


Michael Mantler “First Lesson”: This is a song from the 1997 album The School of Understanding, a prog opera with lyrics by Mantler.


Larysa Kuzmenko and Yaroslav Senyshyn “Memoriam for the Victims of Chornobyl”: This song was composed by Kuzmenko in 1997. This is a 2009 live recording of the composition featuring Synyshyn on piano. Both artists are from Canada. The music is powerful, haunting, and gorgeous.


Buena Vista Social Club “Chan Chan”: This song is from the 1997 album that introduced the world to this amazing collection of Cuban musicians, many of whom were already retired at the time. Named after a Havana club of the ’40s, the album showcases several popular styles of the era. If you don’t know this album, you should go listen to it now.


Sigur Ros “Hun Jord”: This is from the 1997 debut by the best thing to come out of Iceland since Bjork.


Dimmu Borgir “Spellbound (By The Devil)”: This is symphonic death metal by one of the genre’s most accomplished bands.

Happy Birthday (January 23)

Gary Burton is one of the greatest vibraphonists in jazz history. His 1997 album Departure is just one of dozens of great albums he has released in his fifty-plus year career.

Earl Falconer is the bassist for UB40. Their 1997 album Guns in the Ghetto is a solid album from their extensive discography.

John Greaves is a prog-rock bassist who was a member of the band Henry Cow. He performs on the 1997 prog opera The School of Understanding.

Edward Ka-spel is the founder and leader of the band Legendary Pink Dots. Their 1997 album Hallway of the Gods is probably as good as many of their forty-plus albums of psychedelic music. I honestly wouldn’t know – they are way too prolific to keep up with all of their releases.

Larysa Kuzmenko is a Canadian concert pianist and composer best known for the composition “In memoriam: To the Victims of Chernobyl.”

Robin Zander is the lead singer of Faux Fan West’s favorite band, Cheap Trick. The band’s 1997 release was their second self-titled album and was released twenty years after their 1977 debut. It was a sort of comeback for these masters of power pop who are still going strong.

Top Twenty Albums

Number 20: The Sea and Cake The Fawn

The fourth album by The Sea and Cake isn’t their best, but it firmly establishes the sound they would maintain for the next twenty years. If you don’t know them, this four-piece band from Chicago create gentle yet dense alt-rock. Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt are the main songwriters and vocalists, and drummer John McEntire is one of the best drummers in rock and the heart of the band.

Number 19: Daft Punk Homework

This isn’t their best and I ignored it when originally released, but I have since learned that anything by Daft Punk deserves to be heard. Without a doubt, this is the best dance album of the year.

Number 18: Erykah Badu Baduizm

This debut album by Erykah Badu is one of the foundational albums in the neo-soul movement. Its mix of jazz, soul, R&B, and hip-hop was ahead of its time and the album won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album, an amazing accomplishment for a debut album, making it one of the most successful debut albums in R&B history.

Number 17: Spiritualized Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space

Spiritualized were formed in 1990 when the space rock band Spacemen 3 broke up. Several of the members joined J. Spaceman (Jason Pierce) to form this new band. The group released two albums in the ’90s, but nothing that prepared their fans for this third album. The band is still going, but this record from twenty-five years ago is their space rock masterpiece. If you aren’t a fan of this type of music then you may think you won’t like it, but it is so good that everyone should give it a listen. Although it seems a little bit pretentious now, back in 1997 British music magazine NME named it the album of the year and many other publications placed it near the top of their year-end lists. Those Brits love their psychedelic space rock!

Number 16: Green Day Nimrod

I’ve grown to like this record over the years after ignoring it originally. I was a fan of their first two indie albums and thought that Dookie was one of those rare albums that actually deserved all of the accolades it received, but their follow-up album, Insomniac, was a disappointment and left me wary to give this album an honest listen. It now stands as their transitional record, showing growth musically and lyrically, and launching them into the 21st century superstardom that was soon to come.

Number 15: Foo Fighters The Colour And The Shape

This is not my favorite Foo Fighters album, but the importance of this record cannot be denied. Although it is their second album, it is their debut as a full band rather than a Dave Grohl side project, and it lays the framework for the rest of their career. Looking back now, we know that mainstream rock and roll in the 21st century was kept relevant by Foo Fighters. Even if you aren’t a Foo fan, they are the reason that the modern day rock bands you listen to now are able to find an audience. Loud music is now dominated by metal, but Foo Fighters kept their anger and noise one notch down the sonic spectrum and made it okay for mainstream rock fans to bang their head without listening to music as scary as everything coming out of Europe for the last twenty years.

Number 14: Buena Vista Social Club Buena Vista Social Club

The collective made up of mostly retired Cuban musicians known as Buena Vista Social Club came out of nowhere in 1997, and for a brief moment everyone was listening to amazing Latin music. Of course, listening to great Cuban and Latin music is still an option for anyone who is interested, but it was nice that for about a year you couldn’t maintain your music hipster status without doing so. If you don’t know this album, you should go listen to it now. And then go listen to more Cuban and Latin music. It is good for your soul.

Number 13: Yo La Tengo I Can Feel The Heart Beating As One

Yo La Tengo formed in 1984 and are one of the original indie rock bands. By their 8th album, I wasn’t paying much attention to this band who I adored during my college radio days. They were always a band that attempted to broaden their musical horizons, always successfully, but the greatness of this record surprised everyone, even their fans. It is probably their best album, and in 2020, Rolling Stone included it on its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Number 12a: Labradford Mi Media Naranja

Number 12b: Mogwai Young Team

Number 11: Godspeed You! Black Emperor F# A# Infinity

The late ’90s provided an abundance of riches for anyone who likes the post-rock music started by bands like Slint and Talk Talk in the early ’90s and developed by bands like Tortoise throughout the decade. Second-generation post-rock band Mogwai got their start with their 1997 debut release Young Team, a perfect example of their quiet-loud songwriting technique that went on to influence bands such as Explosions in the Sky a few years later. The debut album by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, F # A # Infinity, made the cut, but I didn’t feel like giving over 20 minutes of playlist time to one song so you’ll have to find this one on your own – it is well worth the search. Godspeed are my favorite second-generation post-rock band, and their 2000 album Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven is one of the greatest releases of this diverse genre. Finally, Labradford’s third album, Mi Media Naranja, is their best release and one of the best post-rock releases ever produced. What is amazing is how different all three of these albums sound, yet it makes perfect sense to classify them together as the same type of music. Nowadays, post-rock has become a passé genre since so many bands, especially indie bands, mix together so many genres, sounds, and styles. But in the ’90s, this was an exciting change in how music sounded and all of these bands and albums still sound relevant and modern today.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Number 10: Sigur Ros Von

Adding to the abundance of post-rock in 1997, the debut by Icelandic band Sigur Ros is another great recording by a second-generation post-rock band. It doesn’t sound like any other Sigur Ros album – it is much more noisy and experimental – but it is still a great piece of post-rock music by a band ready to breakout internationally. Their next album, Agaetis Byrjun is a post-rock masterpiece and one of my favorite albums of all time, but this debut is very solid and could easily be released this year and still sound new.

Number 9: Oasis Be Here Now

Number 8: Blur Blur

If you are going to select these records in a best of 1997 list then you have to put them side-by-side. 1997 was the year that both bands thought they had taken over the world, but in reality they were both about to become ’90s rock and roll trivia. The Oasis album received some critical and much sales success, but is now looked upon as the album that pushed them past the breaking point. They released several more successful albums in the 21st century, but this was their last album of any sort of quality. Similarly, Blur’s international success exploded with this album, and then they never released another album of this quality again. Their earlier albums were full of raw punk energy, Kinks-like British songwriting chops, and great song after great song. This record has its moments, but they just weren’t cut out to be international superstars. Even though their followup, 13, is still highly regarded, their 1997 self-titled album is the last of their great recordings. Looking back now, it is difficult to understand how these two bands almost achieved a new British invasion, and 1997 was the year it should have happened. Other bands like Supergrass, Suede, Stereophonics, Super Furry Animals, and dozens of others were all given their moments of glory due to the work of Blur and Oasis, but now it all seems like either smoke and mirrors or a failed opportunity to cash-in on a ridiculous amount of media attention. God save the Queen.

Number 7: The Mountain Goats Full Force Galesburg

The fourth album by The Mountain Goats is the first of John Darnielle’s transitional phase from an acoustic solo act to a more full-fledged band. It is still very lo-fi, and much of it is just Darnielle recording himself on a boom box, but there are enough songs with multiple instrumentation and added effects to start to see where the band was heading. It is also the first Goats album to feature current bassist Peter Hughes (although he plays guitar on this record), Darnielle’s longest lasting band member and collaborator. The trademark Darnielle songwriting style is in full force on this one, but in many ways this album is for fans only so start with All Hail West Texas or Tallahassee if your are one of the uninitiated.

Number 6: Pavement Brighten the Corners

After the disappointment of their third album, Wowee Zowee, a lot of Pavement fans were afraid that the best band in indie rock may have passed their prime. Their fourth album put that doubt to rest. Brighten the Corners is arguably the most complete album the band ever released. It doesn’t have any songs as good as “Summer Babe” or “Don’t Cut Your Hair,” but there isn’t a weak moment all the way through. The lyrics are great, the riffs are solid, and the production is the tightest they ever produced. Within a couple of years, Pavement were done – a sad ending to the band that ruled indie rock in the ’90s. Now, when I want to listen to Pavement, this is the record I turn to. Their older albums sound more and more dated each time I listen, but this one still sounds like it was just released.

Number 5: Steve Earle El Corazon

Steve Earle’s return in 1995 with his acoustic post-prison release Train a Comin’ was a surprise to all of his old fans who weren’t sure if he would ever be able to return from all of his troubles. It wasn’t like anything he had ever recorded before, and if he had continued down the acoustic bluegrass road he could have probably carved out a nice little niche for himself in the folk world. Instead, his 1996 album I Feel Alright presented yet another side of Earle. His mastery of the songwriting craft was back in full force, and the production by the Twang Trust gave him a new sonic landscape with which to create. I had barely listened to that record when his 1997 masterpiece, El Corazon, was released. This album pulls together all of his past sonic experiments and combines them with his strongest songwriting up to that point to produce what is still his best album. Every song on the record is a masterclass in a specific style of American music and the quality doesn’t waver from beginning to end. Earle lays out a rich world of characters and stories that present America as he has experienced it – mean, ugly, gritty, painful, and unforgiving – but also hopeful and full of love for those lucky enough to find it. This is quite simply one of the greatest singer/songwriter albums ever made.

Number 4: Third Eye Blind Third Eye Blind

Looking at this Top Twenty list so far, it is filled with a lot of indie rock, alt-rock, and post-rock. Clearly, I was listening to a lot of this type of music twenty five years ago. So, it should be no surprise that the rest of this list is going to follow in that vein, starting with this pick for Number Four. The debut by pop/emo band Third Eye Blind was the album of the Summer of ’97 for me, and “Semi-Charmed Life” was the song of the summer. I listened to this CD in my car stereo everywhere I went. I even ended up giving my copy to a friend of mine and buying another copy. Then I lost that copy on an airplane (with the CD player it was in) and bought a third copy. I stuck with the band for about three or four albums, but this debut is still their best. It is pure pop bliss that still sounds fresh today. I don’t play it near as much anymore, but whenever I hear the opening drum riff to “Semi-Charmed Life” I break out a smile and start bobbing my head.

Number 3: Ben Folds Five Whatever and Ever, Amen

In 1997 I knew about Ben Folds Five. I had seen them live and had listened to some tracks from their 1995 debut, but I hadn’t become a fan just yet. Then one day in March 1997 I was driving to work and the local alt-rock station played a new song from their new album. It was the first single “Battle of Who Could Care Less,” not even the best song on the record, and I went out that night and bought the CD. Before that night was over, I was a lifelong fan. Everyone knows “Brick,” but I was much more impressed by the rock numbers like “One Angry Dwarf” and “Song for the Dumped.” Who was this guy with a piano trio making music that sounded like Look Sharp! era Joe Jackson without guitars? The fuzz bass, the Billy Joel styled piano attack – it sounded old and new all at the same time. After several listens, I fell in love with the slower ballads like “Cigarette” and “Selfless, Cold, and Composed.” And, of course, the song “Brick” made an immediate impact. It is one of the best songs ever written about abortion and one of the best pop songs of the ’90s. In January 1998 “Brick” entered the Top 40 (why the hell did it take everyone so long to realize?), and then that was the end of the band’s hits. Looking back, this song and Wilco’s “Can’t Stand It” are the two songs that represent the end of Top 40 music being relevant. Ben Folds should have been a Top 40 hit machine, but he was born too late, and Britney Spears and the rest of the Major Label Production Machine were already getting geared up to destroy Top 40 radio forever. Luckily for all of us, before Ben Folds gave up on his dream of being a pop star he made this and several more albums before going solo.

Number 2: Everclear So Much For The Afterglow

If I had to guess, the 1997 album I have listened to more than any other is this one. I was not a fan of a lot of grunge and alt-punk bands in the ’90s. I didn’t like Bush, Collective Soul, Stone Temple Pilots, 311, Blink-182, and many similar bands of this period. However, there was something about the introspective lyrics and guitar riffs of Everclear’s frontman Art Alexakis that set them apart from the rest of these bands. I always liked the band’s first hit, “Santa Monica,” but I didn’t pay much attention to them beyond hearing that song on the radio now and then. After I heard the first single “Everything to Everyone” off of this record, I bought the CD (because back then was what you did) but didn’t expect much. I figured it would be another CD where I would set a song or two on repeat and ignore the rest, but I was hooked from the opening vocal phrase through to the end. I stuck with this band for many more albums, up until the original band fell apart in 2003, and I have to admit I liked every album more than I should have. Even so, this 1997 release is by far their best and I still listen to it more than any other record on this list except for Number One.

Album of the Year: Radiohead OK Computer

This one is too obvious and a no-brainer. I’m sure a lot of people would choose a different Album of the Year, but I can’t ignore two simple facts.

  1. I have loved it since the moment I have heard it and continue to listen to it all these years later.
  2. This is one of the most important albums ever recorded.

This was my favorite album of 1997 back then and it still is. The future of rock music was birthed by this record. It bridged the gap between alt-rock and grunge, which had already worn out its welcome by 1997, and the electronic music that all of rock would become in the 21st century. The musical ideas presented in the album are incredibly dense and diverse. All of these years later, each listen presents some new piece of sonic invention that was missed before, and that is always the sign of a classic album. Radiohead helped shape modern music and it all started here.

Thanks for listening (and reading)!

Track List

TrackArtistSong Title
1BlurSong 2
2Third Eye BlindSemi-Charmed Life
3Ben Folds FiveSong For The Dumped
4CornershopBrimful of Asha
5The Mountain GoatsWeekend In Western Illinois
6PavementEmbassy Row
7Foo FightersEverlong
8EverclearSo Much For The Afterglow
9OasisDon’t Go Away
10Cheap TrickSay Goodbye
11Steve EarleTaneytown
12Yo La TengoSugarcube
13SpiritualizedLadies and gentlemen we are floating in space
14Legendary Pink DotsLucifer Landed
17Sigur RosHun Jord
18Dimmu BorgirSpellbound (By The Devil)
19Michael MantlerFirst Lesson
20Yaroslav SenyshynIn Memoriam To The Victims Of Chernobyl
21Buena Vista Social ClubChan Chan
22Gary BurtonSeptember Song
23Erykah BaduRim Shot
24Busta RhymesPut Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See
25Daft PunkDa Funk
26UB40Tell Me Is It True
27The Sea And CakeThe Argument
28RadioheadNo Surprises
29Green DayGood Riddance (Time of Your Life)

2 thoughts on “Radio Faux Show Volume 2, Number 4 (January 23, 2022): Music from 1997

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