1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year

Green Day, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and 35 other bands who made the word "alternative" lose all meaning

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Frank Black, 'Teenager of the Year'
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Courtesy of Elektra Records26/40

26. Frank Black, 'Teenager of the Year'

"I'm into just doing all kinds of things," Frank Black told an interviewer who'd asked a question about the "sprawling" sound of second solo album Teenager of the Year. "People get bent out of shape when someone that isn't country tries to do country, or someone that's country tries to do rock." After the Pixies broke up, the former Black Francis reinvented himself as an eclectic L.A. rocker with a wry view of the alt-rock scene he'd helped invent. The 22-song double-album Teenager of the Year produced a minor hit in "Headache," and Pere Ubu keyboardist Eric Drew Feldman helped Black get a spacey sound that incorporates everything from ska to vintage rock & roll to surf-pop to punk. The best moment is "Freedom Rock," a biting yet loving song about an alterna-dude that's worthy of Randy Newman: "My name is Chip and I'm different/I don't conform/I wear a different uniform," Francis sings, before adding what might be a maxim for the album's freewheeling spirit: "Nobody owns the pleasure of tones." Jon Dolan

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