A while back, Rob was bitten; not by a radioactive spider but by an idea to post a weekly article about a few songs that he really likes. There are so many possibilities that the series could go on forever, and so Saturday Jams was born.
In case you missed it, this past Tuesday I posted the first part of this post for Twisted Mixtape Tuesday.
I returned home to suburban Detroit in August of 1996, eight months after having been dropped off with a 1988 Ford Escort full of my possessions, and some things had changed; my computer had been destroyed, there was a steal your face sticker on my rear windshield, and along the way I had been musically transformed by the tunes on the radio. Really, I had been caught up in the wave of alternative and grunge music that smashed our minds with sonic goodness. I wasn’t the only one, and this was evidenced by the variety of musical tastes I discovered when I began to take up residence at my old hideout, the Gotham City Cafe on Woodward Avenue, just north of Nine Mile.
Of course, everybody there had already been into their music and were on their own spectra of personal development, but now I was interested in hearing what they were listening to and exploring the whys and the whats and the hows associated with the music and the lyrics. Not that I was all up in peoples’ faces going “music, music, give me music!” It became a major theme in my life – I was exploding with all the music that popped up against this backdrop of coffee and cigarettes; open mics and all-nighters; chess and Magic: The Gathering. It was during this time that I began to notice surf music, because its instrumental aesthetic fit in with this idea I had that passive music listening can disort the subconscious with ideas that aren’t being filtered through the standard channels of the conscious mind.
I’ll be honest: I spent the remainder of the 1990’s trying to get my wings going and figure out what was wrong with me, having been kicked out of an already empty nest and trying to figure out how to make it work. I think this theme of personal exploration really got the music stuck in me, because I came out of the decade having made some great strides. By the turn of the millennium, I had outgrown the cafe and had been living a couple years with a girlfriend, which began my “residency” period, but the music didn’t stop. The music never stops – it only ebbs and flows like the foaming edge of the shore. But I’ve chosen some great songs from those times, and perhaps I’ll have some anecdotes to share along with them.
First up is a selection from the Spin Doctors. I included them on Tuesday’s post too, but they had two radio hits that were a part of the sonic definition of the times, so I’d be remiss not to include the other one here, Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong. It’s enough to make a guy want to learn blues riffs so he can work them into his own music. Oh yeah, it did!
I have to say that no song seems to have graced the radio nearly as much as Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls. I don’t know if their label had a ton of money to throw at the corporate broadcasters or if the sound was just in really high demand, because it’s a great song. I love this video because of the elements that give it a Victorian steampunk feel.
I’ll be honest, I’ve always thought of Spacehog’s In the Meantime as a really odd-duck song, but it speaks to me, the lyrics resonating in a way that only truth can; for all of our differences, we’re all the same. And in the meantime, no matter how odd-duck this song might be, I’ve got to admit it’s hella catchy.
It made sense at the time for the popular media to compare Oasis to the Beatles, and Noel Gallagher to John Lennon; they had something really good going, and the song Don’t Look Back in Anger was huge. Everybody seemed to think that Oasis’ music smelled of roses, and yes, it was good. But while the Beatles can be evoked in a certain set of circumstantial traits, I doubt the modern music industry would ever allow any group to be successful as long as the Beatles were. So Oasis rose and fell, rose and fell.
And here’s one more for the record: this is the only song I have heard from Monster Magnet, but it was a big deal, and as you might guess from the imagery in the video for Space Lord, they probably blew the whole wad on it. This awesome video holds nothing back, incorporating practically every element one might associate with big and spendy music videos, and the song totally rocked out the airwaves, evoking images of Cthulu coming back to our dimension to restore chaos to the Universe and enslave the human race. Fan-freaking-tastic.
Bad news, folks: I have enough for another post. I can’t dirty up this one’s load time with a dozen videos, so look out in the near future for a B-sides post on this topic. Maybe I’ll have some more story to share or you can just trip down memory lane with me.
Enjoy your weekend!
- Saturday Jams: Shenanigans from the Emerald Isle (robssurfreport.com)
- Saturday Jams: Simmer Down now! (robssurfreport.com)
- Saturday Jams: East side! (robssurfreport.wordpress.com)
- Saturday Jams: Drivin’ Up a Storm! (robssurfreport.wordpress.com)
- Saturday Jams: Birthday Wishes (robssurfreport.wordpress.com)
- Twisted Mixtape Tuesday: The real story, and the music that saved me from country (robssurfreport.com)
- Grunge vs. Britpop (mevsthemusic.wordpress.com)
- Top 10 Undeservedly Forgotten Pop-Rock Albums Of The ’90s (toptenz.net)