Sampladelic '90s Rock
by Dan Weiss | November 24, 2013
One of the truly magical and underrated trends in all of rock history is modern rock's fascination with sampling and collage in the mid-'90s. Maybe it was seen as ironic, especially considering that ultimate detached hipster Beck and his hits like "Loser" and "Where It's At" helped spawn this entire movement. But the addition of scratching and samples to otherwise conventionally written pop and rock songs ascended from college radio favorites like Soul Coughing's "Bus to Beelzebub" (which sampled Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse," familiar to anyone who ever saw Looney Tunes as a kid) and Primitive Radio Gods' "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand" (whose mournful hook arrives courtesy of B.B. King).
From there arose Hanson's Dust Brothers-produced "MMMBop" and Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping" in 1997 -- around the same time Radiohead turned this blueprint into something more grandiose (just play "Airbag" to hear the DJ Shadow-inspired pounding breakbeat). Bizarre samples also struck gold when Smash Mouth mimicked ? and the Mysterians ("Walking on the Sun"), and White Town turned mournful trumpets into a deadpan dance hit ("Your Woman"). Here's a look back at a truly wonderful era.