When Bush was really popular, I was not a fan. I let my bias interfere with my enjoyment of their music.
I’ll get the negative stuff out of the way.
When I first heard singles on the radio in 1995 from Bush, I really hated them. So I can understand why people do not like this band. I’ll state the obvious: they are totally unoriginal. They were/are Nirvana clones and just jumped on the grunge bandwagon. Pretty/pinup boy Gavin Rossdale’s poor me/torctured lyrics sound contrived and calculated; just waiting to be eaten up by a nation of high school kids. In short, Bush was the Bon Jovi of the grunge/alternative movement. They were trend-followers. If Bush had come out in 1988, they would have had teased hair and played hair-metal.
Having said that, ten years after the fact, I find myself quite fond of this album. About a year ago, I stopped in at a used CD shop and bought this album out of nostalgia, as I had never owned a copy during Bush’s heyday. I put it in my discman and was transported back in time; it was 1995, I was still in High School, Bill Clinton was still the President, and I had never heard of Creed or Limp Bizkit.
When I listen to “Sixteen Stone” now, I find that this is actually a very good album. It’s a modern rock classic. Sure it’s contrived and unoriginal, but the songs themselves are excellent. From the opener “Everything Zen” to the closing “x-girlfriend” there really aren’t any bad songs. This album contains some of the very best radio-singles from 90’s rock. “Everything Zen,” “Little Things” and “Glycerine” are some of the most memorable songs from that era. The entire album is well crafted and written. Every song has a good hook and grove. Nigel Pulsford is an excellent guitar player and the album is chock-full of killer solos, something that was lacking in popular music just a few year later (Korn, Limp Bizkit).
In conclusion; no this band was not all that original, but they still wrote great songs. Furthermore, this album has stood the test of time. It does sound dated, but paradoxically, it also sounds as fresh today as it did when it first came out. Furthermore, everything I used to hate about this band-how it was contrived, it’s cookie-cutter singles, it’s pretty-boy frontman with anguished lyrics and perfect-cheek bones–everything I used to hate, I now find to be charming. “Sixteen Stone” is a 90s gem. It is a perfect time capsule and still-photo of a certain time and era. And most importantly, it rocks!