There's a new trend on the radio which is making me a little uneasy. Some stations are starting to play music that was popular about a decade ago (when I was in college). At the time, I wasn't super keen on the post-Seattle grunge, wuss rock. In fact, if you think about it, music went from self-loathing Seattle grunge (which defined my teenage years and, of which I remain very fond), to wannabe wuss rock (I would say that Hootie started us off and it only got worse from there) to even wussier boy bands (at which point I eventually left the country cuz I couldn't take it anymore). What a terrible decline in popular music in less than about 8 years. At the time, my friends and I who liked hard rock were trying to latch onto bands that we thought would fill the void of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, The Smashing Pumpkins and Alice in Chains. We tried really hard to convince ourselves that Creed rocked. And that Sevendust would actually have another good song. (Their song "Black" rocks.) But we were simply kidding ourselves. Music was beginning a sad, slow downward spiral into wussdom. The beginning of the slippery slope is making a comeback on the radio.
Every video for those mid-late 90s songs had some goofy, dark blue tint to make the band seem deep and meaningful. In the past week, I've heard Semisonic's "Closing Time" twice. I've also had the honor of hearing Dishwalla's "Counting Blue Cars" and Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping". Just an hour ago, the radio played that song goes, "Waa haa... And it's Goooooooood... (living with you?).... Waa haa". I'm convinced that if you played that song simultaneously with REM's "Man on the Moon", they'd sync up perfectly.
(Side Note: I just looked it up and the song is called "Good". And it reminds me of the only thing that Norm MacDonald ever said on SNL's Weekend Update that made me laugh. It went something like this. "On top of the Billboard Charts this week - "Better than Ezra". And in second place... (pause)... "Ezra". Ok, maybe it was funny because nobody laughed. Fine. Whatever, dude. I promise never to mention Norm MacDonald again. I don't have a man crush on him or anything and it's merely coincidence that I bring him up. Umm... Wait. Was that too defensive? Seriously. Just leave me alone. Anyways. Moving on...)
What else from that mid to late 90s era have I heard on the radio lately? Prodigy's "Firestarter". (Two girls on my floor in the dorm swore that "Firestarter" was the "Best video ever" and sat watching MTV for about 72 hours straight waiting to see it again.) Just about every song off of Bush's "Sixteen Stone" is being played again. (One of my roommates picked up his first guitar and 2 weeks later, thought he could play the intro to "Machinehead". Turns out there's a "Bad Midi Museum" that has a version of "Machinehead" that sounds very much like my ex-roommate. It's classic.)
At a pool party for the 4th of July, the DJ played The Spice Girls "Wannabe" (I think that's what it's called - "If you wannabe my lover, you've gotta get with my friends." Another roommate used to sing that song about each of us - "If you wannabe (Name)'s lover, you've gotta get with his friends.")
(Super tangent side note: I walked down to the pool in sandals and swim trunks for that same party. There were a bunch of people on the basketball court and they waved me over. They were having their annual 3 point contest. So, despite the sandals, I gave it a shot. You'll be happy to know that I am the 2006 3 point champion of my apartment complex. [Don't ask about the details. It's sort of embarrassing. I'd rather just tell you that I won.])
Oasis is getting a lot of play. I'm even finding myself fond of Tupac and other rap that I never consciously listened to in the 90s. "Standing outside a broken phone booth" by Primitive Radio Gods has also spent recent nights stuck in my head.
Why is this making me a little uneasy? Because it actually is making me a little sentimental. These songs have a deep, rooted place in my brain that will always bring me back to some general time and place in college. In fact, many of them have specific memories tied to them (as I've already shared some of them). How can something that drove me so crazy (the crappiness of the music) now bring back such fond memories? Music is funny that way. Songs and smells are the two things that tend to bring me back to a moment or a place or a person.
Why am I posting this? I dunno. This is the stuff that rattles around in my noggin and keeps me up nights. And if I don't tell you about it, I figure I'll die in my sleep from a seizure or aneurysm or whatever happens if your synapses over-fire. (Think Lewis Black "If it weren't for my horse" routine.) I also feel the need for comfort that I'm not the only one who is notices the comeback of wussy mid-late 90s rock. So, next time you turn on the radio, take special note of the comeback of mid-late 90s wuss rock. Let me know what is on your radio station. And go ahead. Post the songs (and memories) here.
Just as I was getting ready to post this, an ad on TV for Buzz Ballads came on. If hearing "32 Gi-Normous Hits" wasn't enough to irritate me, I had to listen to the super suckage, song after song. Hole, Diswalla, Lifehouse, Fastball, Eve 6, Remy Zero, Third Eye Blind (Never trust a band with with a number in the name), Vertical Horizon, Marcy Playground, Counting Crows (How did this whiny sack of crap date Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox?). Do I need to go on? Yeah, I didn't think so.
I want to be optimistic here for a minute. Let's say that real classic rock started just before Woodstock. Right around 1968. And the grunge rock revolution came around 25 years later in 1993. That means we're only 12 years away from another rock movement around the year 2018. For one, I can't wait.