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Breaking Artist: 1990s

August 29, 2007 10:21 AM ET

Who: Three rowdy Scotsmen who are veterans of both Glasgow's rich rock & roll tradition and its raucous party scene. The trio was discovered at a Franz Ferdinand afterparty and offered a record deal on the spot.

Sounds Like: Pub-ready sing-along rock featuring hand claps, witty one-liners and a cast of debauched characters straight from the Glaswegian streets.

Three Things You Should Know:
1. Singer-guitarist Jackie McKeown used to play in a band called Yummy Fur with future Franz members Alex Kapranos and Paul Thomson. And before they called themselves 1990s, the trio served as the live backing band for Damo Suzuki of legendary krautrockers Can.
2. When the 1990s sing about drugs, rest assured they've done their research. "The first time me and my friend took ketamine, we stood in this kitchen stock-still for two hours," McKeown remembers. "Afterward, my friend was like, 'I was in space.' And I was like, 'Me too!' We were floating around with stars and planets, but our friends had to keep wiping our noses."
3. Though the 1990s licensed their clever pop song "You're Supposed to Be My Friend" to a recent Nissan ad, they promise they'll never sell their most precious track. "'See You at the Lights' is a little flower," McKeown says of the catchy track. "He's a nice little guy, and you wanna take him under your wing."

Get It: The 1990s' debut, Cookies, came out July 31st.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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