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Tied to the 90s: 7+ songs to help people planning their fifteen-year high school reunion this year. Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Posted by Yostal in 90s rock, DeadOn's Resident Pop Culture Historian, Gen X&Y, Reasons why I am single, Tied to the 90s, Yostal.

Tied to the 90s

Welcome back to “Tied to the 90s“, a not-very complete guide to a decade that was. I’m your host, Yostal, and once more, I’ll be taking you through the pop culture landscape of the 1990s. If you have any suggestions for future columns, please email me at GoinYostal@gmail.com or leave me a comment.

Really quick though, before we begin, I’d like to mention that my good friend Mike is running the 2007-08 Allison LaPlaca Open, a television “death pool” where you attempt to pick the ten shows you don’t think will see a new season.  If you’d like to play (for pride only, please no wagering), check out this link.  All of the rules and details are on the site, but if you have questions, I’ll be happy to field them.

Today, we keep a promise to commenter Peter Cavan by looking at 7+ songs to help people planning their fifteen year high school reunion this summer. Building upon the ten year reunion effort from May, I’m looking at some songs from 1992 (which may or may not have come out during your senior year ’92s, bear with me. It was my freshman year of high school and my musical taste sucked back then. It got way better as I got older, though I am sure some of you would like to disagree strongly.) This one will be a little different, because I am going to give you a straight seven, plus some other songs that I will group by theme. Also, I tried to avoid songs I already have discussed before, so there may be some obvious holes. But enough prologue, less chat, more hat.

1). “Jimmy James” by the Beastie Boys from the 1992 album Check Your Head

OK, I’ll admit it, this one is just on here because it’s the origin of the name of everyone’s favorite wacky billionaire boss. Oh and it also happens to be a tribute to Jimi Hendrix (“Jimmy James” being an occasional Hendrix alias) which means it has some great samples, including the opening riff of Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady”, even if it isn’t actually “Foxy Lady” due to rights clearance issues. You could throw this or “So Whatcha Want” on the list and people will know you’ve got your white boy rap/hip-hop covered for the crowd.

2). “Remedy” by The Black Crowes from the 1992 album The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

I’ve always liked this one as a throwback to classic arena rock, while still feeling modern (there’s a reason why Jimmy Page touring with the Crowes seems so natural.) Some excellent guitar work makes this an excellent choice for some background music as you chat with your friends about what your son/daughter did the other day or the tough housing market out there.

3). “Black Metallic” by Catherine Wheel from the 1992 album Ferment

Another great background selection methinks, as you can have this lovely shoegazer track on and it will feel familiar (even if it took me until three weeks ago to actually check to see what the name of the song was when I heard it on Sirius 24. But I digress.) There’s not a whole lot in terms of lyrical depth here, and the album version extends out for about another three minutes after the radio edit cuts out, but I think this will make someone smile randomly when they hear it.

4). “Connected” by Stereo MC’s from the 1992 album Connected

While I’m pretty sure someone is going to think that you’re trying to sell them a cell phone if you include this one, it’s still another great choice, emblematic of it’s era, British club music built for Americans.

5). “Dizz Knee Land” by Dada from the 1992 album Puzzle

Ahh yes, the clever use of spelling to avoid legal issues. This one will likely be little remembered by your classmates, but there’s a lot of good teen angst in here, which means it goes well with:

The “Angsty Commentary on the Fleeting Nature of Youth and Optimism” Selections:

6). “Human Touch” by Bruce Springsteen from the 1992 album Human Touch

This is one of my favorite Springsteen songs, which I am sure costs me some points with my friends who are die-hard Boss fans. It’s not from one of his stronger album efforts, but I’ve just always loved the essential Springsteen-ness of this track. Because really, at the end of it all, I think we all just want someone to talk to and a little of that human touch.

7). “Summer Babe (Winter Version)” by Pavement from the 1992 album Slanted and Enchanted

Throwing a bone to our indie kid friends who look at us askance when we fail to remember them in these things. It’s perhaps the most well-knon track from one of the 1990s most influential albums and well, it’s a great song to boot.

More tracks with minor comment:

Always the Last to Know” by Del Amitri from the 1992 album Change Everything

As I may have mentioned before, this was one of my favorite additions to my Class of 1996 reunion playlist (1992-1996) when I made it last year.

The “Songs that were so ubiquitous that year that they have to be included lest someone ask about them” section:

  • Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots from the 1992 album Core
    I still think of this song when I think back to second semester world history my freshman year, which is weird since I now teach in the classroom where I had it.
  • Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang” by Dr. Dre (feat. Snoop Dogg) from the 1992 album The Chronic
    Come on, it’s Dre…and Snoop. Back to the lecture at hand…
  • What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes from the 1992 album Bigger, Better, Faster, More?
    Someone will be happy when they hear this song. I don’t know who they are, but you know, someone will be. I’d look for the woman who comes to the reunion in a top hat with goggles and striped knee socks.
  • Right Now” by Van Halen from the 1992 album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
    Admittedly, it’s less fun if you don’t have the video, or the Crystal Gravy for that matter, but I am sure you’ll make due.
  • Hey Jealousy” by Gin Blossoms from the 1992 album New Miserable Experience
    I remain fully committed to jangly power pop.
  • Runaway Train” by Soul Asylum from the 1992 album Grave Dancer’s Union
    I mean, it’s a reunion, and this video did help reunite missing kids with their families, even if it wasn’t always under the best of conditions.

The Singles soundtrack section:

I love this movie. To this day, it remains one of my favorites, perhaps because it was an aspirational view of what life could be like at some point in my twenties. It actually made me for a while want to end up living in Seattle after I graduated from Michigan. It made me realize that public transportation will never work because people love their cars. It gave me a serious crush on Bridget Fonda. It made me believe in parallel universes. It scared me off video dating forever. It became my example to explain the concept of Zeitgeist to people. It helped me realize that somewhere around 25, bizarre becomes immature. It made me realize that there is a certain dignity in being alone. It made me wonder if I would ever one day be huge in Belgium. It made me confused every time I see an ad for The Closer. It made me aspire to one day have my own garage door opener. And it has some great music, any of which could easily make it on to your reunion soundtrack, discounting the Heart and Hendrix contributions (even if it is an excellent Hendrix track). (Yes Greg: Seattle 1991 = Minneapolis 1986 + exposure.)

That’s all I have for this week. I genuinely hoped you enjoyed it, and please come back next week for another edition of “Tied to the 90s”. As a warning, I may be doing some 90s television entries for a couple weeks to let the music breathe, barring a great idea…hint hint. Until then, this has been Subcommandante Yostal, logging off.


1. fizzball - Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The musical experience of a Class of ’92 would of course include tunes coming out in the second half of 1991, and with that in mind…

Crazy, Seal – released in summer ’91, this dominated the homecoming dances, then everyone came back from christmas break and was sick of it.

Crush Story, Too Much Joy – underrated snot-rock from Scarsdale.

Scenario, A Tribe Called Quest – ladies & gentlemen, meet Busta Rhymes.

Bring the Noise, Public Enemy/Anthrax – this hybrid made “Walk This Way” feel like those old kinescopes of Pat Boone singing “Tutti Frutti.”

Thunder Kiss ’65, White Zombie – Every generation needs their KISS, I suppose.

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, TLC – remember Jukebox Network? Remember when this and “Baby Baby Baby” were on every fourth song?

Planet of Sound, The Pixies – needs no explanation.

2. Peter Cavan - Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Thanks for putting this together. I’ve been listening to your picks this afternoon, and most of the songs take me back to those awkward days many years ago. Music was so much better then.

Damn, I’m old.

3. Baba Oje - Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Right Now seems like it should be 10 years older than the rest of these songs

4. Greek McPapadopoulos - Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I really want someone to realize that the main riff in “Remedy” is lifted directly from a part of “Crown of Thorns” (except a different key). Amazingly enough, both were mentioned.

Good list–the only ’92 things I can find on my iTunes that might be worthy of inclusion:

Blind Melon – “No Rain” (I would think this would fall in the ubiquitous section)
King Missile – “Detachable Penis”
Rage Against the Machine – “Bombtrack” (or something else from their debut, though “the heavy” might not be appreciated)
R.E.M. – Man on the Moon (though I love Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite)
Sonic Youth – 100% (for the true indie kid)

5. Stijl Council - Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I effing hate that 4 Non Blondes song.

Thank you for your time.

6. spankyjoe - Thursday, August 2, 2007

I really, really, really, hate to be that guy, but I should point out that Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was released the summer of ’91, and lest we forget, Bryan Adams’ juggernaut (Everything I Do) I Do It for You was included on that soundtrack.

I only point this out because I was 11 at the time and found the song inescapable. Surely you high school kids must have heard it too.

7. Mark - Friday, August 3, 2007

A 15 year high school reunion? Why? Bad enough to have to go every 10 years.

8. 90shardrock - Friday, August 31, 2007

The Black Crowes played a concert in my town recently (that’s right, outdoor park in the suburbs type venue) and i heard from my gen-x friends who showed up that they wouldnt even play any of their songs from the 90s, they only played their latest album, guess they think they’re better than just being relegated to the reunion set

9. Shane - Friday, August 31, 2007

90’s hardrock, I would surmise that your friends are steering you wrong. Here is a link: crowesbase.com Every live set that TBC have played is listed here. Check out all of the recent shows, including the one from your neck of the woods, and you’ll see that the band’s setlist are made up of 85-90% tunes from the nineties. Other than live albums, TBC have released only ONE studio album outside of the nineties, 2001’s Lions. Maybe one or two (often zero) Lions songs get performed per night, and other than the occasional (very rare) new tune, everything else is from the nineties. The friends HAVE TO BE mistaken.

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