Last week I spotlighted the Top 100 debut albums of all-time as compiled by Rolling Stone magazine. One glaring omission from the list is Sixteen Stone, our introduction to Gavin Rossdale and his British alternative rock band, Bush. Many consider the album England’s finest tribute to Nirvana and the Seattle grunge sound. Others deride the disc as derivative and jumping on the bandwagon after Kurt Cobain’s death. Despite the controversy, five Top 10 singles and a place on the Top 100 CD’s of the 1990’s, places Sixteen Stone as the finest moment in Bush’s career.
Unlike many of their grunge peers, Bush kept the distortion and loud guitars but held tight to catchy hooks and a strong melody. Rapid fire guitar riffs plus cryptic lyrics combines with visual imagery that sparked conversation about the true meaning behind songs like Glycerine and Machinehead intrigued Bush’s audience. The sexual undertones of Everything Zen added a new level of excitement. Then you have the ultimate anthem, Comedown, with the dramatic buildup and who can deny those lyrics, “I don’t wanna come back down from this cloud/ it’s taken me all this time to find out what I need.” Out of nowhere, the CD concludes with a full throttle punk attack with the one minute blast, X-Girlfriend.
Here’s a look back at one of the best debut albums from a band that never reached this level of success again: