Tied to the 90s: 7 1990s songs by the spectrum Wednesday, August 8, 2007Posted by Yostal in 90s rock, DeadOn's Resident Pop Culture Historian, Gen X&Y, Reasons why I am single, Tied to the 90s, Yostal.
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 once again 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’s entry nervously straddles that fine line between clever and stupid. Inspired by this photo of my favorite fellow member of the University of Michigan Class of 2000, we go over the rainbow this week to look at 7 1990s songs by the Spectrum.
1). “Otherside” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers from their 1999 album Californication
One of the advantages of taking a film class in college is that you can immediately recognize German expressionism when you see it in a music video. I always liked the slow, down-tempo manner in which this song kicks off, leading into a swell of frustration, anger, and harm. Ostensibly about battling one’s own personal demons, it is one of the hookier RCHP tracks and did hit #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Charts (albeit in early 2000, but that is neither here nor there.)
2). “Over Your Shoulder” by Seven Mary Three from the 1998 album Orange Ave.
Since nothing rhymes with orange, it makes it musically difficult to find things related to the color. But thankfully, the greatest band ever named after a ChiPs call-sign named their sophomore major label effort Orange Ave., which allows me to discuss another of those underrated follow-up songs to a band’s megahit. This one qualifies as exceptionally underrated as I could not find it anywhere in ten minutes of looking on the internets to allow me to post it for you. It is a major switch in tone from “Cumbersome”, verging away from a Pearl Jam clone to something a little more alt-countryish. It’s a quality track to check out, presuming you can find it.
3). “Bright as Yellow” by The Innocence Mission from the 1995 album Glow
“Empire Records, open ’til Midnight.” A small, little track that I have always really liked from the first time I heard it during my summer job, I’m taken by the richness of Karen Peris’ vocals and the wonderful instrumentation in it. There’s a wonderful sense of hope and warmth in “Bright as Yellow“, and even if I cannot remember for the life of me where it shows up in Empire Records, it makes my list of underrated tracks of the 1990s.
4). “Longview” by Green Day from the 1994 album Dookie
True story: From September 1994 until December 1995, the first fifteen seconds of “Longview” was my computer’s start-up sound. (It has been replaced ever since by the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up”.) The first single from Green Day’s major label debut, it went to #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts back in 1994, is credited with introducing Green Day to a mainstream audience, and has one of the coolest bass lines in modern rock. And really, if you grew up in the suburbs, who hasn’t felt this way. OK, maybe not the drugs part, but you know…OK, I’m moving on before this gets any weirder.
5). “Never Let You Go” by Third Eye Blind from the 1999 album Blue
I have a very distinct memory of 3eb playing this track at the United Way Halftime Show in Detroit during Thanksgiving 1999. I also know that at the time, I liked this song better than anything that 3eb had put on their first album, which I now credit to the fact that virtually everything from the band’s self-titled debut album had been played incessantly to the point of ear bleed during the preceding two years that it was more likely the welcome switch effect that actual enjoyment of the song itself. It still holds up, it has the weird Stephan Jenkins talk-sing section near the back, but then in doing my research about the song to do the write-up, it was noted that the song echoes the riff in “Sweet Jane” and now I can’t get that comparison out of my head, because 3eb is definitely losing to Lou Reed on that one.
6). “Least Complicated” by Indigo Girls from the 1994 album Swamp Ophelia
(Remember kids, it’s ROY G BIV, not ROY G BV.) I’m aware that this is totally setting myself up for mockery on this on, but there’s actually a lot of clever lyrically word play and thoughtful insight into relationships in this track. Plus, it has bongos. OK, moving on.
7). “Interstate Love Song” by Stone Temple Pilots from the 1994 album Purple
Neat factoid I ran across when doing the research for this: When “Interstate Love Song” went to #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in 1994, it replaced “Vasoline”, also by STP. Also interesting, to me at least, the video for this track was filmed, at least in part, on the same downtown L.A. rooftop as the video for U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” (the location of the Million Dollar Hotel sign is your clue.) A bit of a Southern rock vibe infects this track, which will one day make my list of songs you know when you hear them, but can’t remember the name of because they don’t mention the title in the lyrics.
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 continued 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.