music from 1994 – 1996 <3
So, this collection of music is one that fits together seamlessly in my head. You know when you associate certain songs with others so closely, usually because of the time period in which you were listening to them? Yeah, that’s these songs for me. Now, someone else may read this and think, “Wow, that’s a random collection of songs” (though probably not, because they’re all the same genre from the same couple of years), but for me, these songs are all inextricably linked. Moreover, they remind me so strongly, in only the way that music can, of being like 8 years old and feeling really cool for liking the same music as by older siblings. So, here’s a brief survey of that period in my life, via music:
1. The Toadies – Possum Kingdom
In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have been listening to this song as an eight year old, and the lyrics present some… interesting questions vis a vis feminism and sexuality, but I can’t help thinking this song is very seductive. If I were going to intellectualize it and make myself feel better about liking it, I’d say that the honesty of the lyrics, the singer’s repeated imploring to “make up your mind”, is refreshingly direct and thus opens the door for an honest and measured answer from the female object of the song. If I wanted to sound legit, I’d say something like that. As it is, I think the song is sexy. Sue me. Additionally, they have a girl bassist, which is awesome.
2. Sponge – Molly
Following with the theme of girl-as-tragic-figure-who-has-fallen-from-grace-because-of-lust (I’d theorize that this was a preoccupation with mid-nineties rock, but I’m pretty sure you could replace ‘mid-nineties rock’ with any time period and genre of music, or art in general, and still be right), we have the song Molly by Sponge. I thought that the lyrics of the hook “sixteen candles down the drain,” were completely deep and brilliant as a child. I clearly didn’t entire ‘get’ the song though, because I remember suggesting to my sister that she feature this song at her sweet sixteen party. She didn’t think that was such a good idea.
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – My Friends
This one time, in middle school, a boy I had a crush on randomly started singing this song at recess, and I was convinced that we had some kind of cosmic connection, and that if he liked this song there must be some level of depth to him that no one knew about and only I could possibly understand and god and the universe were conspiring to bring us together and it was only a matter of time before we had a moment and he just knew that I was what he’d been waiting for in his empty shallow life. Given that, sadly, things didn’t work out (I know, right? How could that have failed?) it’s surprising, perhaps, that I still love this song. But I do.
4. Better Than Ezra – Good
Now, to bring up the mood a bit. I always thought that the sentiment expressed in this song was very mature and nuanced. Maybe I’m over thinking.
5. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Now, I realize that this is kind of obvious, and also that this song predates the others by a few years, but I have a cool story to tell about it, so hush. My siblings and I were in the car on our way some from somewhere with my mother. She had to stop to buy some milk so she parked the car in the grocery store parking lot, left it on and went inside. My oldest sister was sitting in the front and turned on the radio. The song was just starting, its intro chords getting louder through the speakers as my sister raised the volume. My brother turned to me and said, “Babe, don’t let mom know we’re letting you listen to this.” The combination of hearing something so different from what I’d heard before, and knowing that it was forbidden for some reason but at the same time sort of okay because my brother and sisters said it was, was overwhelming to my five year old mind. The four of us sat their, just listening, until my sister saw my mother returning to the car and changed the station to Lite FM or something. Without sounding too bombastic, I think that moment changed something in the way my head processed music that never went back.
Thanks, mid-nineties. I miss you.