Butthole Surfers, “Pepper”
It’s weird to consider the Butthole Surfers in this context, as they had already ground out over a decade’s worth of grimy who-gives-a-punk by the time they dropped this spoken-word electro-rock oddity in 1996. It was an actual Top 40 pop hit despite the fact that frontman Gibby Haynes mumbles lines about losing limbs on train tracks and venereal diseases. It benefitted from something we call the Beck Effect: After the success of “Loser” (and also “Where It’s At”), everybody thought any rock-ish thing with a drum machine and some half-rapping was boss (see also Primitive Radio Gods, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Soul Coughing, Citizen King, ad infinitum).
Dishwalla, “Counting Blue Cars”
We had a really hippy-dippy teacher at my high school who adored this song because it refers to God with a feminine pronoun. This also has a sound that I always call the hard jangle—it’s an extremely particular production style (best found on all those Gin Blossoms songs) that probably has something to do with tweeters and tape that I don’t really understand (nor can I really describe). But it’s there, and I don’t hear it very much any more.