Posts filed under ‘music’

A Cranky Gen-Xer’s Tribute to Paul Kantner.

2016 was a big year for celebrity deaths. It became kind of a competition in some ways. David Bowie’s death hit a lot of people hard, but then the famous people kept dropping, and soon it was like “oh yeah? Prince was whatever. GEORGE MICHAEL really had an impact on my life!” and then the person would have to talk about how everyone is celebrating/mourning/talking about _____, but nobody is mentioning ______ as much as they should blah blah blah.

I’m not about to do that. Everyone’s death in 2016 was tragic (except possibly Phyllis Schlafly’s and Antonin Scalia’s, but that’s another entry). However, I would like to bring your attention to one death in particular that made me think: Paul Kantner.

I grew up a cynical, cranky Gen-Xer raised by hippies. My upbringing was not that unusual; many people of my generation were raised with the idea that everything in the 80s was boring, and that nothing was as good or exciting as it was in the 1960s. Baby Boomers adopted a superior attitude of “you weren’t there, you have NO IDEA how boring it is now!” Note, “the 60s” = 1967-1974.

I loved 80s music and was totally into  punk and New Wave. In 1986, when this video came out (see below), I was heavily into U2, Big Country, Simple Minds, and other bands which my parents deemed “crap.” In their minds, in order to be cool, I had to listen to 60s music. They sat me down and made me listen to Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen (RIP), whom I have an appreciation for now, but to the ears of a 13 year old obsessed with British New Wave, it just sounded like dreary noise.

60s music was played as background music in every store in my neck of the woods. New Wave was spectacularly un-cool. In my time-forgotten corner of Upstate NY, all my peers were into Pink Floyd and The Who. The Beatles were omnipresent, but they were so cliché at that point; I had heard every song a million times, and their music had become shorthand for “what follows is supposed to appeal to old people.”

Out of all the 60s music I was forced to listen to, the Jefferson Airplane was the only one I could relate to. I liked “White Rabbit” a lot, and I discovered that when a group of Baby Boomers were together and reminiscing, I could name drop the Jefferson Airplane (after many caveats that no, I did not equate it with Starship, the band’s incarnation at the time), and Boomers would think I was “cool” and that I “get it” and didn’t have to give me the lectures on how everything we did was boring and pointless and how they engaged in Real Activism Back In The Day, unlike whatever crap passes for whatever now.

Which brings me to the song “America” by the KBC Band (a band comprised of Paul Kantner, Marty Balin and Jack Casady from the Jefferson Airplane). This is the first song I had heard that actually celebrated the youth of America that was released in my lifetime. It was optimistic!

Streets of gold
Streets of wonder
Streets of people growing stronger
Revolution and voices of thunder
It’s a New world, new people
New dreams for all of the children
Young country, new love
New dreams of freedom

The part that really resonated with me was this:

don’t be afraid of anything
don’t be afraid of anyone
young men are dreaming and
young girls believing
and asking questions like

where are the frontiers?
how do i get there?

I was inspired. I was uplifted. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do about it, but it made me resent my parents’ generation slightly less. I thought, hey, if the members of the Jefferson Airplane can maintain optimism about my generation, anyone can! Throughout all my Babyy Boomer dominated childhood, I had internalized that my entire generation was doomed because we were lazy slackers who listened to shitty music. Maybe we don’t suck so much after all! I mean, even Paul Kantner sang:

something’s happening in america
can you feel it? can you feel it comin’?
it’s like the green party in Germany
young people with visions and dreams
in Nicaragua n’ Chile, Poland and South Africa
freedom brewing, it’s an uphill dream

At this point in my life, I was harboring secret desires to be a revolutionary (I wanted to join the IRA), and this song made it seem like maybe I wasn’t the only one. Of course, the closest thing I ever got to revolution was writing a lot of letters to my Congress people and on behalf of Amnesty International, but still. This song had a giant impact on my early adolescent life. My generation (it didn’t really have a name yet; I don’t think Generation X was yet coined as a term for my peers) wasn’t just a cheap imitation of the one before it, we could make our mark for ourselves!

Jefferson Airplane was awesome, but they belonged to my parents’ generation. The KBC Band was something that belonged to my generation. Even though it was made up of Baby Boomer icons, the music was still new, and mine. It wasn’t me discovering something from the old days, that I could bring to my elders and they would condescendingly talk about how great it was and what’s wrong with me that I was just discovering it now? I heard the KBC Band first. My parents would not hear it unless I played it for them, because they were too busy wallowing in the music of the past to ever bother with anything new. I felt that unlike with Starship, the Jefferson Airplane made finally itself into a version for me.

OK, it may be a long shot to attribute the stalling of my rapidly snowballing cynicism of an entire generation to one pop song, but that one pop song forever cemented in my head that Paul Kantner was awesome (along with Balin and Casady). Rest in Peace.

January 10, 2017 at 4:43 pm Leave a comment

Big Country!

I got to see Big Country this week!!! If you’ve ever met me for longer than 47 seconds, you probably know that Big Country is my all time favorite band. I’ve been listening to them since I was about 10. In their heyday, I lived in the middle of nowhere, and they never played any concerts near me. The year after I moved to Boston, their lead singer, Stuart Adamson, committed suicide. I thought my chances of ever seeing Big Country live were dashed.

However, they reformed a couple of years ago, with Mike Peters from the Alarm as their singer. I was a little dubious at first; I mean how could they still be a band without Stuart Adamson? Then Tony Butler, the bassist retired. He was one of my musical idols too. What? How could this be?

But, I have been waiting to see Big Country for now around 30 years, so I went to the show. It was awesome!!! Bruce Watson and his son Jamie nailed the guitar parts! Derek Forbes, who played bass with Simple Minds was really good too. Mark Brzezicki is a god on drums, and he was amazing as ever. Mike Peters isn’t my favorite singer on earth, but what he lacked in Stuart Adamson-ness, he made up for with enthusiasm and sincerity. All in all, I was a grinning ball of drooling fangirl stupidity! I brought a copy of the 7″ of “Fields of Fire” I had for people to sign. I always feel creepy and stalkerish asking people to sign things (I’ve done it like 3 other times in my life), but now I have a signed cover. I am psyched!

They played most of the songs on “The Crossing,” plus the song “Look Away,” and “Wonderland” as well as some songs from their new album. Mike Peters injected some local flavor into the songs by occasionally mentioning Boston or Massachusetts at opportune moments. One of the funniest moments was during “Wonderland,” when he said “This is Wonderland, BOSTON!” He probably didn’t realize that Wonderland is the last stop on the Blue Line, and also a now-abandoned dog racing track. Rock on!


July 27, 2013 at 1:37 am Leave a comment

And the Nominations are In… #1

By me, of course. In a fit of nostalgia, i’m going to nominate the Videos That Sum up the 80s the Best. By “the best” I mean “in the most hilarious ways possible.”

Journey, “Separate Ways”
here are some highlights:
nobody ever actually looks at the chick who’s meaningfully stomping around the warehouse.

Did I mention the entire thing takes place on the ground of a warehouse?


0:53 I can’t tell if the air-drummer is actually sitting on a real stool or on an air stool. Either way it’s impressive.

0:56 more air synthing– the guy looks like he’s at an air scratching post.

1:31 The drummer is wearing a ripped-off collar sweatshirt advertising a foosball tournament.

1:44 the awesome grimace on the keyboard guy’s face

1:55 you finally see the chick who’s stomping around’s face. WOW HER AMAZING SQUARE PUFFY MULLET HAIR!

2:18 Whoa, extreme close-up of Steve Perry’s teeth!

2:22 Steve saunters backwards through a maze of pallets, but not without a quick look behind him to make sure he doesn’t smack into machinery.

2:31 two guys are facing each other singing with the chick in the middle. They are not looking at her.

2:45 synchronized head turn!

3:12 Bass dude’s got a Steinberger! SO JEALOUS!!! He shows off some sweet moves

3:51 keyboard guy has his keyboard mounted sideways on a wall again. The 80s were a tough time– it’s hard to look cool while playing a synthesizer. One had to break new ground!

the end: was it all a dream?!?!?!

I LOVE this song. Seriously. I love Journey, and I don’t care who knows. I realize I lose like 85% of whatever small shreds of indie street cred I ever had by admitting this, but I do! I also realize that I get most of my dance moves from Steve Perry. I just realized this this moment. I can’t dance for shit, and I mostly flail my arms and occasionally make fists. This video must have imprinted on my subconscious somehow.

June 1, 2013 at 12:04 am Leave a comment

I just want to use your love… tonight.

I went bowling last night with some co-workers of Doug’s– the dude turned 23. (yes, I felt old). The bowling place was playing The Outfield’s “Your Love” and the birthday boy’s girlfriend’s best friend’s roommate squealed and said “I love this one! It’s from 1985!” and proceeded to sing the entire thing from start to end.

I was obsessed with this song Back In The Day when I was 12. I loved the lead singer’s chipmunky face and earrings and mullet. I loved everything about them. However, they were kind of a one-hit-wonder, and this song was only popular for a couple of weeks, and not very popular at that.

I’ve listened to this song zillions of times (I own the 45!) No really, I do. Here it is:

Bought with my hard-earned allowance when I was 12.

I have no idea what the lyrics are. I watched the video I posted above and I still can’t make out the lyrics. Anyway, how does this girl, who obviously was born post-1985, know this song? Was it in a movie recently? Knowing songs from before your generation isn’t unheard of, I mean I know “The Locomotion” better than my parents probably, due to it being constantly everywhere. Ditto for “Stairway to Heaven” and anything by the Beatles. I could sing you Simon and Garfunkel’s entire catalog and ditto the Andrews Sisters, and that’s my grandparents’ generation. “Your Love”, however, is kind of obscure. It’s not obscure in that “I know this garage band from the 60s that only people in Topeka remember” way, more in that “one near-hit-wonder” way.

My mind was boggled. I love seeing what 80s music is popular these days. They played The Powerstation’s “Some Like It Hot” in the grocery store the other day, which is hilarious because nobody would have ever played it in a public place frequented by people over the age of 19 back in the day. However, now that I’m an Old Person, all the music is retro and therefore, safe. I LOVE BEING OLD!!!

February 16, 2013 at 8:06 pm 2 comments

Scooter’s Guide to Christmas Music

carole3rsYou’ve been hearing Christmas music since the beginning of November; probably so much that you completely tune it out by now. However, some of you are probably thinking “oh crap, it’s Christmas, and I should bust out the Frank Sinatra… or whoever sings that Mele Kalikimaka song or whatever.”

I am a giant snob, and don’t like many Christmas songs written after 1900, but I know them all by heart of course, due to years of having worked retail with them on in the background.
Here is a summary of what you could be listening to in order to make your yuletide a little more gay. Or, rather, here’s a condensed version so you can read this list and feel the warm, roasted-chestnut glow of Christmas without actually having to hear the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

  1. White Christmas*
    ::strangely fitting commentary on global warming

  2. Silver Bells*
    ::Tinnitus is a bitch, particularly in urban areas.

  3. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting…)*
    ::Christmas discriminates against 7 out of 9 nonogenarians

  4. The Little Drummer Boy
    ::I’m poor, so all I can do in the face of inequality is annoy everyone.

  5. Walking in a Winter Wonderland*
    ::marriage officiated by snowmen is a valid relationship goal.

  6. Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow*
    ::there will be some hanky panky due to inclement weather.

  7. Baby, it’s Cold Outside*
    ::date rape was much more romantic/humorous in the era before roofies.

  8. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas
    ::too bad it’s only October.

  9. Carol of the Bells
    ::it’s very very very very repetitive. Very very very very repetitive.

  10. Have a Holly Jolly Christmas*
    ::”holly” is apparently an adjective

  11. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year*
    ::”mistletoe” is apparently a verb

  12. Do They Know It’s Christmas? +
    ::probably not.

  13. I’ll Be Home For Christmas*
    ::Being in a war sucks, so please control the weather for my benefit.

  14. Santa Baby*
    ::daddy issues are a terrible thing

  15. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
    ::Guess who your real dad is?

  16. Santa Claus is Coming To Town
    ::Santa is Big Brother

  17. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer*
    ::being different is only cool if you’re extremely useful. LIKE A LIGHTBULB!!!

  18. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree*/Jingle Bell Rock
    ::hey, remember when rock n’ roll was relevant?

  19. Feliz Navidad
    ::Hey white people, you too can sing in Spanish!

  20. Mele Kalikimaka
    ::Sleigh bells, schmeigh bells. face it, you’d rather be somewhere where the weather doesn’t suck.

  21. Frosty the Snowman
    ::Magical snowmen don’t need to heed the police.

  22. We Need a Little Christmas*
    ::WE ARE IMPATIENT! p.s. who the heck has a spinet anymore?

  23. Chipmunks’ Christmas Song
    ::I will personally kill anyone who buys Alvin a hula hoop.

* written by at least one Jewish person
+ Bob Geldof had a Jewish grandparent!


December 25, 2012 at 5:52 am Leave a comment

Protected: ::Squee!!!:: (I think)

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January 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm Enter your password to view comments.

Drama! (and music)

It’s been so long since I’ve had any Lil Bitch related drama, last weekend was almost a trip down memory lane. OK, it would have been if I hadn’t been so freaking annoyed.

I bought tickets for Lil Bitch and I to go see Mission of Burma at the Brighton Music Hall months ago. I was positive it would sell out. I mean, who would miss up a chance to see MoB in an awesome tiny venue like the former Harper’s Ferry? Apparently lots of people because it didn’t sell out. But anyway… It had snowed the night before, so Lil Bitch came up in the afternoon to hang out so he wouldn’t have to drive in the snow at night. Or something. He brought burritos and tequila as well as a bottle of what he thought was Margarita mix, but actually had tequila already in it. After mixing it with tequila it was pretty strong, to say the least. I had had the lovely norovirus all week and so I didn’t drink so much. At some point Lil Bitch and Dee got the idea that they wanted to go to Deep Ellum (a local bar) and get some hot cocktails. So, we went down to the bar and drank hot buttered rums which were delicious… but alcoholic. Lil Bitch insisted upon buying us shots of Jameson on the way back since he didn’t think he could make it all the way back to my place through the snow (we were walking), so we stopped at The Draft and had shots.

When we got back home, LB was in that special surly phase of drunkeness. He started talking about how his stepsister got raped in France and how she deserved it because she had narced on her classmates in high school or something. After about the 15th exclamation of “The bitch DESERVED it!” I tried to change the subject to no avail, but it was time to leave for the show so whatever.

LB has been already pretty tanked for some time now, yet still we get beers at the show– $4 for a 16 oz PBR, which LB rants on about being criminal. He even texted Pete a poorly spelled and even poorly worded rant about how it’s all his fault PBR is so expensive damn hipsters. I wasn’t quite sure of his logic, but this is Little Bitch we’re talking about. Logic is not one of his strong points on the soberest of days.

The opening band were called Shepherdess, and while they weren’t exactly my thing, LB decided they were the worst band in the history of music and proceeded to tell me this in between yelling “YOU SUUUUUUUUUCKK!” at them. I tried repeatedly to shut him up, which of course just made him rowdier. Eventually the bouncer came over and cut him off from further drinking. Thus, he tried to get me to buy him a drink. The conversation went like this:

LB: Buy me a drink. I can’t get one myself.

ME: there’s a reason you’re cut off.

LB: I want a drink

ME: sucks to be you!

LB: I want beer.

ME: I want a pet unicorn.


When he realized that I was not going to buy him a drink, he yelled “THIS IS FASCIST BULLSHIT! I’M OUTTA HERE!” and stomped off. I was a bit relieved, to tell you the truth, and pushed up closer to get a better spot to see Mission of Burma. This is the one time being short is awesome– you can pretty much shove your way to the front of a concert and nobody cares because pretty much everyone can see over your head anyway. it almost negates the fact that if you’re short, you can’t see a damn thing at concerts unless you are in the very front anyway!

Anyway, the band starts and, as always, they are awesome. They get 2 songs in when I start getting texts.

“Where are you? I’m scared and alone.”

I tell him to go wait for me at my house.  He replies that he doesn’t know how to get there. I text him directions (it’s less than a mile home). He saysto come get him, he’s still confused. I text him the house number and tell him to get a cab.

“But I dint [sic] do anything! I’m cold and lost.”

Finally it dawns on me that if he really does manage to find his way back to my place, he will get into his ginormous SUV and drive home, probably killing himself as well as mow down a bus full of nuns chaperoning orphans to a party with kittens or something.  I leave after the third song and all the way home he rants about how it’s a conspiracy and he has every right to heckle crappy bands and it’s because of the Obama administration that everyone is forced to be polite and how he’s going to vote Republican and he’s never going back to that fascist place and fuck Mission of Burma, they’re not really punks if they let bouncers kick rowdy drunks out of their shows etc. I stick up for the bouncer, and, after calling me a “dumb bitch” and a “stupid cunt” several more times, he says possibly the best line of the night:


I don’t know, the unicorn line was pretty good too, but it didn’t contain the phrase “dominant paradigm” used without irony.

We get back to my place and I physically wrestle his car keys away. He calls me many more bad names and insults my political views, my hypocrisy and mentions how “slaves like [me] exist to suck the cocks of  the dominant paradigm.”

“Well the dominant paradigm is telling you to get your fucking ass into bed and sleep it off!” yes, I couldn’t think of a better witty comeback. I was fairly furious at this point.

Cursing, he climbs onto my bed and, after muttering about fascism and stuff a bit more, falls asleep, snoring loudly. I go downstairs to sleep on the couch. Sometime in the early morning, LB finds the keys I left for him and leaves. I go back up into my bed, since I’m sleeping on the small 2-person couch because Tanya is sick and crashing on the big couch. I notice that the pillow is upside down– it’s the pillowcase I decorated myself of a menorah, and it’s menorah-side-down.

That’s what it looked like after I finished it (it came with crayons)– The punchline to the night is…  it no longer looks like that because when I turned it over I discovered that it was covered with used burrito. Yes, LB had turned the pillow over rather than clean it up. W.T.F.!?!?!?

I wish I could say

That’s when I reached for my revolver.


January 27, 2012 at 2:39 am Leave a comment

Protected: oy vey

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December 20, 2011 at 8:07 pm Enter your password to view comments.

Dear Santa,

Being the Holiday Season, and working retail, I’ve had to hear a lot of Christmas music. Now I’m not against Christmas music per se, it’s just that I get sick of the bland stuff that everyone puts out this time of year. When I had to pick the Christmas CD at the store I chose the newly re-released Joan Baez’s Noel. We had this album when I was a kid and I remember being obsessed with it. Well there go my fond memories because, well, it’s painful to listen to. For one thing, JB sings the songs kind of operatically, but she’s not an opera singer, so it just doesn’t work. Plus, you can’t understand any of the words. Plus, it goes on FOR FREAKING EVER.

So dear Santa, here’s my wishlist for the Perfect Christmas Album:

I’d like one where

  1.  you can understand the lyrics
  2. It have no guitar solos
  3. it have no slow jams, though those are kind of funny, especially when Mariah Carey is involved.
  4. it have a minimal amount of original songs unless they are sufficiently funny as to be entertaining.
  5. There are no children’s choirs present
  6. “Santa Baby” is not included
  7. there is a minimal amount of bells, chimes, glockenspiels and music box noises.
  8. If you’re going to sing in a foreign language, please make an attempt to pronounce it correctly. If you don’t know French, just don’t sing “Un Flambeau, Jeannette Isabelle!” It’s simple as that! “Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella” may not sound as good, but it will be less painful than you mangling French.
  9. Avoid the token Hannukah song. Let’s face it, good Hannukah songs may exist, but the average non-Hannukah celebrater only knows “I have a Little Dreydl” which kind of blows unless you are 5 years old.

When people try to make Christmas carols RAWK!, it usually fails miserably. This may be because most “traditional” carols (i.e. those written before 1900 or so) are written in 6/8 time. A lot of them, like “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger” are lullabies, and lullabies are often in 6/8 because it lends itself to more of a rocking motion. Ironically then, that it doesn’t RAWK!, since most rock music is in 4/4.

Anyway, that’s my wish list for listening to X-mas music this season. So far, She and Him’s christmas album is OK. That is, when it was playing I completely didn’t notice it was on which is a good sign!

My favorite Christmas albums:

Firestone presents Your Favorite Christmas Carols Volume 5 with Julie Andrews

I had this album when I was a kid and was completely obsessed with it. Yes, it’s cheesy and overblown, but I keep hearing tracks from it in various stores and Julie Andrews still holds up. The other volumes (I had a green one and a gold colored one and maybe a red one?) just weren’t as good.

Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors “Horny Holidays”

This is awesome, especially “Good King Wenceslaus” where Mojo admits nobody actually knows the words to this so everybody just sing “la la la”– a classic! They also sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.

Jim Jones, “A Dipset Christmas” — come on, who could resist a song called “Ballin’ on Christmas?”

2 Live Jews “Christmas Jews”– I used to have a collection of Jews with Christmas Albums (i.e., Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow), but I had to abandon it because I realized I would have to actually purchase Kenny G’s album, and even I have limits to my kitschy compulsions. Anyway, 2 Live Jews’ album was the crowning glory of this (or any holiday) collection. Anyway, sing “Bagels and bagels and bagels and lox” to “Jingle Bell Rock” and it’s just awesome times a million.

Bootsy Collins, “Christmas is 4 ever” – Bootsy is just awesome.

Various Artists: “A John Waters Christmas”– this one is almost cheating. It’s supposed to be awesome in that kitschy way, and it totally delivers.

I’m sure there are a couple more Christmas albums that don’t make me homicidal, but I can’t think of them right now…

December 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment

Everything I do, I do it for…

Certainly not fucking Bryan Adams. My 20 year high school reunion is this week. Yes, I’m going to it. Well, the Ithaca High School one anyway. I missed the Cortland one though I was invited. ACS? My graduating class was like 23 people. They generally don’t bother with reunions, except occasionally they have one for anyone’s who has ever attended the school and really, do I want to do a giant group hug with tofuheads past and future? Not unless Art Stark would be there and he died sometime in the 90s. I think. He was the awesomest teacher ever! Anyway, I’m trying to get into the spirit of  ’91 by checking out some of the music… but seriously. 1991 was probably the worst year ever for pop music. 1991 was more than a rut. It was a gaping chasm of suck in the world of the top 40. The #1 song of the year was…

Yes, Bryan Adams managed to squeeze this parenthetically titled steaming pile of turds into the top 100 the longest of any other artist that year. Not only did the song suck giant blue wombat balls, but it was the theme to “Robin Hood: Prince of Dweebs”, a movie that will live in infamy at the very least for having Kevin Costner attempting to have an English accent occasionally. Not even Alan Rickman could save that movie, I’m afraid.

But really, Mr. Adams didn’t exactly have a lot of competition. The second biggest song of the year was “I Wanna Sex You Up” by Color Me Badd.  (a) How exactly does one sex one up? (b) Is the act, in fact, “badd” with 2 D’s?

Ok, the third one was “Gonna Make You Sweat” by C&C Music Factory (most people know it as “Everybody Dance Now”, the song that was a minor scandal of people suing for zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz yawn). That song was at least fun, and it opened the pop charts to all sorts of vacuous dance music. This is not a bad thing. If pop music is going to be dominated by vacuous tunes, at least you should be able to dance to them!

I’m not going to dwell on each song, let’s recap some of the highlights (i.e., lowlights): Michael Bolton covering “When a Man Loves a Woman.” ::shudder:: People of my generation, we are largely responsible for this. Music wouldn’t make it onto the pop charts unless kids were buying it. What were we thinking? Really? A balding old guy with a mullet trying to be soulful? WTF people? I am embarrassed to be a part of Generation X.

The rest, let’s see… some minor songs by Paula Abdul, Gloria Estefan and Madonna. These are the songs that make it to the end of the 3rd Greatest Hits albums.  “More than Words” by Extreme. That song may have been the #1 cause of teen pregnancy in America at the time. Come on, the words are so creepy– Here’s the (slightly grammatically puzzling) first verse:

Saying I love you
Is not the words I want to hear from you
It’s not that I want you
Not to say, but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel
More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me
Cos I’d already know

Come on Nuno and Gary– what example were you trying to set for the Youth of America? Like I said, anyone born around 9 months after June 1991 probably has these guys to thank:

And yeah, they’re from the Boston-ish area. Unlike most natives here, I don’t claim that Boston has produced better music than any other city. One word? Boston. I don’t even think Boston is from Boston yet they still cast a grey-tinged aura of suck around the whole damn city’s musical reputation.

“Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak. Here’s a video that got everyone all hot and bothered:

Whoa, scantily clad people stretching the limits of “rated for television”! Truthfully, neither party in the video ever did it for me. Perhaps if the song had been less awful I would have been able to watch more than the first 10 seconds of it.

“Touch Me (All Night Long)” by Cathy Dennis. Who? Cathy Dennis? That name doesn’t remotely ring a bell.  CATHY DENNIS? What kind of lame name is that? Cathy Dennis probably plays bingo with Barb Johnson and Doris Murphy down at St. Mary’s on Wednesdays. Come on, Cathy, couldn’t you have thought up something cool to call yourself, like… Sting? Ok never mind. I don’t think I even knew her name at the time.  The only words I ever caught from this song were:

Hold me baby, drive me crazy
Touch me all night long

which always totally cracked me up because all I pictured was sitting in the backseat of a car with my little sister screaming “DON’T TOUCH ME!” and me poking her yelling “TOUCH! TOUCH! TOUCH!” with each poke. This is what I envisioned this song to be about.

What else? Wilson Phillips, Amy Grant, Roxette– it truly was the year for lite rock.

“Losing My Religion” by REM. I loved REM but really? They had sucked for 2.5 albums already at this point. I heard this song on the radio the other day and it was kind of sad, it was their “good” period. Everything they have done since has sucked even worse. Alas.

“O.P.P” by Naughty By Nature. OK, this is one of those songs that goes in the “HOLY CRAP SOMEONE ACTUALLY WROTE THAT?” category. It belongs there with “Hollaback Girl,” “Macarthur Park” and “My Humps.” It will always make you shake your head in confusion; it did at the time and it will even more so now. I freaking love this song!

“Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch Featuring Loleatta Holloway. Why not? This song was pretty fun in that totally dumb way. Plus, the Funky Bunch featured members named Miss ? and Hector the Booty Inspector. How could you go wrong with those monikers? Cathy Dennis, TAKE NOTE!  Nobody ever thought Marky Mark would eclipse his brother Donny of New Kids on the Block fame’s shining star. Wow, I guess we were wrong. Side note: it took decades for people of My Generation to stop referring to him as Marky Mark (and probably a good half still didn’t stop). It doesn’t matter how many critically acclaimed movies he’s starred in or Academy Awards he’s won– he’s still Marky Mark to us. I guess it was a good year for Boston music.

OK ok there were a couple of songs that *didn’t* suck–
I Touch Myself” by Divinyls and two songs by Jesus Jones (“Real Real Real” and “Right Here, Right Now”)– Those were the last death twitches of New Wave. God how I loved New Wave. Hair Metal killed New Wave and I am still bitter to this day. Really now, how could

These dorks:

ever supplant the awesome awesomeness that was these people?:

Wow, looking at those pictures now, a casual user probably couldn’t even tell the difference in eras, styles, and general coolness by looking at the hairdos. Well whatever. *I* know, and since this is my blog post, that’s all that matters!

Back to music of 1991… Someone posted on Facebook looking for songs to play at the reunion. They asked everyone what music reminded them of high school. Half the people of course said shit like “The Grateful Dead” and “Pink Floyd” and “Bob Marley.” Fucking hippies. I went to the lamest school on earth. In a Baby Boomer dominated town all anyone listened to to be cool was classic rock. I said “the thing that reminds me most of high school was saying ‘I don’t listen to pop music. I don’t even know what’s popular these days. I only listen to classic rock.'” because seriously, that’s all anyone did. Our fucking prom theme (I didn’t actually go to the prom, partially because it) was STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN! What crack smokers came up with that? “Why?” you ask, “because it’s a song about suicide?” well yeah, but also because it was a song from our fucking parents’ generation! Way to move ahead and look to the future, morons!

But I can kind of see why people shied away from the pop charts. I mean, I’m looking over 1990 and sadly, the song that is the best is “Ice Ice Baby” probably for the kitsch factor, making a nice meaty sandwich filling between the twin white bread slices  of Nostalgia and Irony.

“Do Me” by Bel Biv DeVoe comes in a close second. That was when pop music no longer needed innuendo. Even in songs like “Let’s Spend The Night Together” there’s some ambiguity. Sure we *think* we know what they’re going to get up to spending the night, but it never is spelled out. For all we know they could be spending the night playing Monopoly and having pillow fights. Maybe they’re even doing something as innocuous (in the 1990s at least) as worshiping Satan. There really is nothing ambiguous about “You can do me in the morning, you can do me in the night, you can do me when you want to do me , oh… yeah.”

Moving farther back in time to my sophomore year… Phil Collins ballads and Richard Marx. Milli Vanilli. “Toy Soldiers” by Martika– that was an awesomely puzzling and overblown song. Who would have thought that 20 years later the little chick on Kids Incorporated would be famous? (that’s Fergie, in case you all forgot). Martika had a pop song back in 1989, what happened to her?


1988 brought us lots of Bon Jovi and Rick Astley. I was not a fan at the time. INXS was there at least.

Basically my four years of high school were a popular music wasteland. I spent a lot of time listening to Tears for Fears’ “Seeds of Love” album as well as all the 80s music I still listened to. ::sigh:: aren’t you supposed to feel nostalgic and see the music of your teenage years in the soft focus hazy light of a sitcom flashback? Maybe I would if the music hadn’t been so damn shitty.

Seriously. My generation has a lot to answer for.

August 3, 2011 at 3:36 am Leave a comment

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