Song of the Day #1,342: ‘Fall Down’ – Toad the Wet Sprocket

Best 90s Artists – #1
Toad the Wet Sprocket

I’ll admit, it was a bit of a struggle to come up with ten bands for a 90s countdown. The decade pales in comparison to its predecessors, whether it’s the British explosion of the 60s, the singer-songwriter movement of the 70s or the New Wave cool of the 80s.

The defining sound of the 90s — grunge — is almost by definition unpleasant to the ear. It’s often more about attitude than sound.

Still, before I even started looking at potential candidates for this list, I knew Toad the Wet Sprocket would land in the top spot. Not only are they a terrific, underrated rock band, their music defines my early 20s more than any other single artist.

That’s because this is the first band my wife-to-be and I discovered together. We would listen to their breakthrough album, Fear, on lazy summer afternoons the year we met. We scanned the radio listening for ‘Fall Down,’ the first single off of 1994’s Dulcinea. We packed in tight at Revolution in Fort Lauderdale to watch them perform live.

And today, every time one of their songs pops up on the random playlist in our sensible Ford sedan with our two children in the back seat, we turn up the volume, listen and remember.

She said “I’m fine, I’m okay”
cover, up your trembling hands
There’s indecision when you
Know you ain’t got nothing left
when the good times never stay
And the cheap thrills always
seem to fade away
When will we
When will we fall down
Jump back, got to get out of here
been too long this time
Jump back, got to get out of here
When will we fall down
She hates her life
She hates her skin
She even hates her friends
Tries to hold on to all the
reputations she can’t mend
And there’s some chance we could fail
but lthe last time someone was
always there for bail
When will we fall down
Jump back, got to get out of here
been too long this time
Jump back, got to get out of here
When will we fall down
For the last time conscience calls
For a good friend I was never there at all
When will we fall down
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3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,342: ‘Fall Down’ – Toad the Wet Sprocket

  1. Dana says:

    A good pick, I think. I’m not as familiar with Toad as I should be, but I have liked most everything I have heard.

    So here is my list, without some of the artists you excluded because you felt they were not sufficiently 90’s such as Counting Crows. I disagree, and I leave them in.

    1. Counting Crows (They continued to do great work in the 2000s, but their breakthrough and biggest hit song and record came from their 90s debut)
    2. REM (yes, they started in the 80’s, but enjoyed far more success in the 90’s and were more on my radar then, releasing what I consider to be the best album of the 90’s with Automatic for the People)
    3. Lyle Lovett (okay, he had some great albums in the late 80’s, but I discovered those in the early 90’s and he put out arguably 2 of his best records in the 90’s (Joshua Judges Ruth and Road to Ensenada, and has not really registered much on my radar since, so I say he belongs on this list)
    4. Bonnie Raitt (yeah, I know she had a career before the late 80’s/early 90’s, but her early 90’s success far outweighed her earlier success and was what was on my radar screen and CD player, and, like Lovett, she kinda disappeared after the 90s)
    5. Marc Cohn (he is truly an artist confined to the 90s for me, although I know he has continued to record)
    6. Toad the Wet Sprocket (appearing on the list, and relatively high based on what I have heard even though much of it I didn’t hear in the 90’s)
    7. Lauryn Hill (She may not have died like Jeff Buckley, but her career seemed to have done so after the powerful breakthrough of Miseducation)
    8. Elliot Smith (Like Toad, I didn’t listen to him in the 90’s, but clearly I should have and he achieved much of his acclaim in that decade)
    9. Beck (Like Smith, I didn’t listen too much in the 90’s, but he made his splash in that decade, even if he went on to do more great work in the 2000’s)
    10. Alanis Morissette (I am reaching the bottom of the barrel on this one, demonstrating perhaps either the weakness of 90’s music or the lack of my personal connection with it compared to other decades, but while I did not always love all that Alanis did and found her annoying at time, she was still a talent and provocative and very 90s)

  2. Clay says:

    Good list. Of those, I think only Alanis Morissette and Lauryn Hill would qualify for my definition of a 90s artist. I didn’t think of Hill or might have included her on my own list.

    I guess Counting Crows really are considered a 90s band by the world at large, but I resist putting them in that bucket. If I did, they’d be #1 or #2 on my list.

  3. Dana says:

    Amy reminded me, correctly so I think, that Dave Matthews Band is a 90’s band—at least by my defmination (biggest and most known work in 90’s) — so actually, I would amend my list to put DMB in, probably at number 5, which would jettison Morissette.

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