Pablo Villavecchia’s Top 5 Bands of the Nineties
As the charismatic front-man and songwriter of Barcelona based indie-pop band, Pablo and The Appleheads, the talented young musician is one who looks back into the history books of music for his influences. Classic acts such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones have always provided inspiration for Pablo who was raised in a musical background, his mother being a singer and his father being the saxophonist for famed Spanish rock band, Loquillo y los Trogloditas, but having grown up during the 90s, Pablo notes artists from this era as some of the most influential for his songwriting. Here are his top 5 bands of the nineties:
“For me, Nirvana were the ones to change the whole destiny of where music had to go and to where it went from the nineties on. They were the ones to introduce rock back into the mainstream with something as revolutionary and sincere as the tortured songs of Kurt Cobain. I remember when I first listened to ‘Nevermind’ and just wanting to listen to it again. Those simple and at the same time, very original arrangements- how they changed from clean guitars and more mellow vocals in the verses to distorted ones and screaming in the choruses. I never heard someone whose scream was so particular and beautiful as Kurt’s.
That is one album where every song is a hit. Kurt’s song writing was so melodically talented, that everything comes out from him in a really natural way, not overthought. From that work I’d personally go with ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ as maybe being the top hit of the decade, ‘Lithium’ as my favourite Nirvana song, for its originality in the chord progression and in its melody and lyrics (really genius ones), and ‘Something In The Way’ as being maybe the most depressing, and at the same time beautiful song I’ve ever listened to with just 2 chords. Their 3rd and last album ‘In Utero’ was an album that kept up with the level of ‘Nevermind’. Maybe it was not a great evolution in style, but I don’t think it ever pretended to be. It just pretended to be what it was, a great rock album with a great collection of great tunes.”
“The first song that attracted me to Radiohead was ‘Idioteque’ from their album ‘Kid A’ while I was on mushrooms with some friends back in 2002 (a very weird experience with no philosophical backup). With Radiohead we can really see how a band evolves unstoppably and with no limit from their very Nirvana-esque first album ‘Pablo Honey’ (the fact that it has my name does not make it one of my favourites), to the rock masterpieces ‘The Bends’ and ‘Ok Computer’, which in my opinion are the best albums of the decade. Then there was ‘Kid A’, in the beginning of the 2000’s, where they started to experiment with electronics. And that’s what Radiohead means to me. Fearless experimentation with incredible taste, with enough hits to be rock legends. Extremely depressing at times, but in a way, you like to feel that sadness and anger. Political contestation. Real Artists after all.”
“They’re probably the band, besides the Beatles, that I would say has influenced me most overall. In my opinion the most original song of the nineties was ‘Paranoid Android’ and the best one was ‘Karma Police’.”
“With Oasis, we can safely say after a period of American domination with grunge, the more classic English sound influenced by Lennon and the Beatles came back into scene. It’s the only time where I’ve heard a ‘pop rock’ mainstream band to have such edgy distorted and loud guitars. It’s a marvel how they managed to have the most catchy, well-rounded composed songs in maybe 20 years of rock, and at the same time fit them with such taste into a quite radical type of production.
Noel was definitely a hit machine maker and Liam knew how to sing those hits with unmatched attitude and nerve. He’s definitely one of my favourite singers of all time. When I first heard ‘Champagne Supernova’ I knew I was in front of something really special.”
“I first bumped into Blur in 1997 (when I was 10) after a friend of mine from school showed me their untitled album of that same year. It was so powerful. At that age I was principally attracted to them by the worldwide hit ‘Song 2′ which for me is the perfect example of a brit grunge song. After that, and with time, I’ve kept on going to that album, which in my opinion is a rock masterpiece in terms of originality and production as well as song writing. You can see the acting capabilities of Damon Albarn who changes his tone and personality depending on the song, in a way that I have only seen done by the Beatles. They take you from one world to another. I love the fact that from all their albums you can always expect great tunes that will remain to be ‘Blur’, but that can play with different styles – for example, ‘indie-disco’ songs like ‘Girls and Boys’ to rock anthems like ‘Beetlebum’ or ‘Coffee and TV’, to very English cockney Madness style songs such as ‘Parklife’ and deep psychedelic depressant ones like ‘Strange News From Another Star’.”
5. The Verve
“The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’, which I later discovered to partly be a sample from the version by Andrew Loog Oldham’s Orchestra from The Rolling Stones’ ‘The last time’, I must say is one of those times where the new version is way better than the original. It’s the only time where I’ve seen a pretty mediocre song turn into an anthem – it’s a bit sad that they don’t keep any of the rights to that one after the genius lyrics and adaptation they made. That song was what made me discover the amazing album that is ‘Urban Hymns’, along with other great Brit pop tunes as the deep, mellow ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ or ‘Lucky Man’ and ‘Sonnet’.”
“What I like more about the band from Wigan is their airy kind of psychedelic sound, mixed with a very characteristic acoustic strumming and Ashcroft’s sharp, nasal voice, which makes them and their best album in my opinion a very pleasant listen and at the same time, very intense piece of art.”
You can check out Pablo’s new single ‘Zaida’ here:
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