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World Cafe 30th Anniversary Playlist: 1995

World Cafe celebrates 30 years with a 1995 playlist.
World Cafe celebrates 30 years with a 1995 playlist.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of World Cafe, we're looking back and posting playlists from each year of the show. As music has evolved over the years, so have our playlists, which have grown to reflect a much wider range of music than when we first set out.

It was the year that music fans saw grunge going out of style, with the mainstream steadily leaning more into pop, hip-hop and alternative. Bands in the latter category — like Blur, Oasis, Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins — released some of their best work. It was a massive year for hip-hop and R&B too, with instant-classic records from Mobb Deep, Raekwon, Ol' Dirty Bastard and D'Angelo, while on the digital side of things The Chemical Brothers and Moby entered the chat with their dance-indebted computer music. The chart elephant in the room, though, was without a doubt Alanis Morrisette's Jagged Little Pill.

Björk, PJ Harvey, Pulp, Pavement, Elastica and Supergrass all made excellent records in 1995, yet commercial radio didn't know how to fit them into their playlists. There were numerous other musical outliers that didn't fit neatly into commercial radio stations' playlists but found their fans and began to find homes on public radio music stations and of course World Cafe, like Emmylou Harris's Wrecking Ball, PM Dawn's Jesus Wept, Americana records by Wilco, The Jayawks and Son Volt, the debut from Ben Folds Five and Joan Osborne's Relish.

What a year! Let's rewind.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bruce Warren is assistant general manager for programming of WXPN in Philadelphia. Besides serving as executive producer of World Café, Warren also contributes to Paste magazine and writes for two blogs: Some Velvet Blog and WXPN's All About The Music Blog.