By the summer of 1992, grunge was already beginning to establish it’s stranglehold on rock radio. Nirvana had peaked, Pearl Jam was cruising and the first wave of bandwagoneers (like Stone Temple Pilots) were already making waves. The effect was also being felt elsewhere on the radio, as people scrambled to sign bands who sounded even vaguely fuzzy in order to give them credibility. The point is this: Without grunge, it’s unclear whether or not Gin Blossoms would have ever made it onto the radio.
But they did, and on this day in 1992, the band released the breakout album New Miserable Experience. It came armed with a controversial story: Gin Blossoms guitarist and main songwriter Doug Hopkins was fired just before the release of the record because of his alcohol problems (he later committed suicide right as his former band was becoming gigantic). The album, full of driving jangle pop with just the right amount of distortion and angst, spawned several huge radio hits, including “Mrs. Rita,” “Until I Fall Away” and “Found Out About You.” But the biggest smash was the lead single “Hey Jealousy,” which became an instant anthem for any kids who grew up in go-nowhere suburbs (meaning about 95% of the population) as soon as everybody heard the signature “We can drive around this town/ And let the cops chase us around” lyric (because if you’re a high school kid in a small town on a Saturday night, cruising around with no particular destination is often your best option). New Miserable Experience often gets overlooked because it didn’t look or sound much like the prevailing rock trends of its era, but it’s secretly one of the most consistent and punchy slices of guitar pop of the decade. Enjoy the low-budget, black and white, turtlenecked clip for “Hey Jealousy.”