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‘90s Modern Rock Chart-Toppers in Need of Critical Re-evaluation

on April 28, 2014, 1:00pm
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Big Audio Dynamite

bad ‘90s Modern Rock Chart Toppers in Need of Critical Re evaluation

Had Mick Jones only fronted Big Audio Dynamite, we’d still know him as one of the most forward-thinking rockers of his generation, and the group probably wouldn’t make unsung-heroes lists like this one. Unfortunately, Jonesy formed this on-again, off-again dance-rock outfit in 1984, just after he’d been sacked from the mighty Clash, and as a result, the project was always going to seem like an inferior sequel. And that’s pretty much what it was, though BAD and the Clash weren’t so different.

Both were more ambitious than they were talented, and both nudged rock ‘n’ roll into the clubs, incorporating bits of hip-hop, disco, and whatever folks were grooving to at the time. BAD weren’t the kind of band that inspired fans to change their haircuts or political affiliations, and no one has the lyrics to 1991’s Modern Rock No. 1 “Rush” tattooed on their biceps, a la “Death or Glory” or “Straight to Hell”. But they were charmingly doofy—beatbox-bumping pop utopians whose theme song, “Just Play Music”, speaks to the guilelessness of their mission.

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