By John Everson

There were a lot of one-hit wonders and Pearl Jam soundalike releases in 1995, but there were also a lot of good solid pop records released, the best of which combined various styles to create fresh, new sounds (like Dance Hall Crashers' combo of ska, punk and pop). The following are my favorite releases of 1995, the albums that I simply couldn't keep from the CD player for long:

* * * Top 25 Albums * * *


1) Dance Hall Crashers Lockjaw (510/MCA): The nonstop party album (and best new band) of the year!

2) Collective Soul Collective Soul (Atlantic): A sharp collection of pop and power.

(tie) 2) Elastica Elastica (DGC): The '80s haven't died, Elastica rediscovered hooky New Wave power.

4) The Muffs Blonder and Blonder (Warner): Punk-meets-pop in an infectious Joan Jett-kinda way.

5) Moonpools & Caterpillars Lucky Dumpling (East/West): Loopy, fun, thoughtful, and ultimately catchy as a clawed cat on carpet.

6) Suddenly Tammy! We Get There When We Do (Warner): a piano, drums and bass trio that both rock and pull a Carole King vibe.

7) Belly King (Reprise): Even stronger than Star, this was the most sadly overlooked album at radio in 1995.

8) Seven Day Diary Skin & Blister (Warner): Two female harmony singers, a smattering of 70s rock guitar and 90's eclecticism, this was a powerful debut.

9) Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Virgin): Who would dare a double album of all new songs these days? Chicago's own daring Pumpkins. It rocked, railed and relaxed.

10) Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pills (Maverick/Reprise): Alanis was a fresh voice in a stale, grunge-ridden rock scene. And the best songs on this album haven't hit radio yet.

11) Green Day Insomniac (Reprise): More catchy pop-punk, though not as hot as Dookie.

12) Radiohead The Bends (Capitol): A perfect mix of 70s pop and '90s guitar that unfortunately missed at radio.

13) Shaw/Blades Hallucination (Warner): Half of Damn Yankees prove again that they're the best male vocal duo of the decade.

14) Echobelly On (550 Music/Epic): More of that '80s meets '90s synth-guitar sound with a strong female lead voice.

15) Mary Karlzen Yelling at Mary (Atlantic): A fresh rock/country/folk voice with nods to Nanci Griffith.

16) Matthew Sweet 100% Fun (Zoo): Another strong dose of Sweet pop guitar!

17) Wanderlust Prize (RCA): Rickenbackers rule on Wanderlust's catchy Beatlesque debut.

18) Bonepony Stomp Revival (Capitol): Rockin' stomp-ridden hooks throughout this blues-rock acoustic revival.

19) Smoking Popes Born To Quit (Capitol): Chicago's Popes put a new lounge spin on punk rock.

20) B-Tribe Suave Suave (Lava): World beat with ambient synths — astonishingly beautiful and catchy.

21) Blessid Union Of Souls Home (EMI): Lite rock with a bit of bite and lots of cool harmonies.

22) Del Amitri Twisted (A&M): One of the finest pop rock bands around still sound great on album #3.

23) Dao Dezi World Mix Album (Metro Blue): World music with a good beat a la Deep Forest.

24) Kendra Smith Five Ways of Disappearing (4 AD): Eclectic and engaging; from deranged carnival sounds to quiet soliloquoy.

25) Whale We Care (Hut/Virgin): A great little rockin album that hit way too long after the band's hit single ("Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe") to get noticed.


* * * TOP 25 Singles * * *


1) Elastica: "Connection"

2) Collective Soul: "The World I Know"

3) Alanis Morissette: "You Ought To Know"

4) The Muffs: "Sad Tomorrow"

5) Sophie B. Hawkins: "As I Lay Me Down"

6) Presidents of the United States of America: "Lump"

7) Smoking Popes: "Need You Around"

8) Smashing Pumpkins: "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"

9) Belly: "Now They'll Sleep"

10) Chick: "Malibu"

11) Jill Sobule: "I Kissed A Girl"

12) Joan Osborne: "One Of Us"

13) Del Amitri: "Roll To Me"

14) Janet Jackson: "Runaway"

15) Green Day: "Geek Stink Breath"

16) Everything But The Girl: "Missing"

17) Radiohead: "Fake Plastic Trees

18) Blessid Union Of Souls: "I Believe"

19) Bjork: "It's Oh So Quiet"

20) Primus: "Winona's Big Brown Beaver"

21) Toad The Wet Sprocket: "Good Intentions"

22) Mariah Carey: "Fantasy"

23) Jennifer Trynin': "Better Than Nothing"

24) Seal: "Kiss From A Rose"

25) Rembrandts: "I'll Be There For You"



* * * Top 5 "One-Hit Wonder" Singles * * *


1) Presidents of the United States of America: "Lump"

2) Chick: "Malibu"

3) Jill Sobule: "I Kissed A Girl"

4) Joan Osborne: "One Of Us"

5) Primus: "Winona's Big Brown Beaver"