Monday, February 25, 2013

My Music Timeline: Just Starting Out Pop Music: Friend or Bubonic Plague? Jan 25, 2013 4:43AM PST

So, while I very seriously question whether I ever actually owned a Game Boy Color (ok, that's a lie, I know I did) after looking at the list of released titles on Wikipedia (I know I only rented Pokemon Yellow, but definitely owned Pinball, and I feel like that can't be the only game I ever had for it, and yet no other games really ring a bell), let's all pretend I'm not going to take a long time pumping out My Gaming Timeline blogs due to memory loss, and refocus our attention on how my music tastes have changed over time.

At this stage in my life I'm open to everything, but tend to lean towards the easy-going or upbeat stuff. It wasn't always like that; in high school, my CD case gave a sense of a pimply rage monster ready to go toe to toe with a bottle of eyeliner in a slam poetry contest... OF THE DAMNED. (Please Note: I never actually wore eyeliner, that was a joke. Just wanted you to know... Ahem.)

The line "her CD changer's full of singers that are mad at their dads" in that one Bowling for Soup song perfectly described my taste in music, minus the gender/sex and the fact I've never had much of a problem with my dad. Don't get me wrong, the incredible amount of sucking that was my high school experience probably influenced my love of Metallica, Children of Bodom, Megadeth, In Flames etc., but I'd actually say I was just interested in guitar, and those bands used it more skillfully than anything on the radio (ignoring that Metallica still gets tons of airplay and peaked in popularity the decade before I went to high school).

In middle school to early high school, I was into rock, but rock with very much pop sensibilities a la Green Day, American Hi-Fi, Sum 41 etc., so y'know, I liked pop-punk at that point basically.

Across all of these timespans, I've been a huge fan of 90s Alternative, and it's the only playlist on Song Pop I have all 5 stars in as of right now. By the way, I'm "Joe Mike Step" on facebook if you feel like challenging me.

But while my favorite radio songs growing up were "Paradise City" by Guns n' Roses and "When I Come Around" by Green Day (which is my favorite song of all time, partly based on the song itself, but probably mostly based on nostalgia), my tastes were such at the age of 7,8, maybe 9 (my memory had a time frame, Googling release dates has crapped all over it and put what I thought was one event into separate years) that the first CDs I bought from a CD Warehouse, a brick and mortar store I miss dearly, were







This Isn't A Filter. If You Can See This, It Means You've Entered The Mind Of A Nickelodeon Executive Circa The Late 90s. Come Closer Stranger, We've Got Waffles Here On The Other Side. Muhahahahaha!

and *drum roll*




Apparently, I Really Liked Orange As A Kid. Damn Rugrats And Their Mind Control.


Granted, before I started writing this blog I was sure I owned two Hanson CDs at the time, the other being 3 Car Garage, but release years on Wikipedia and the fact I doubt I had the allowance from lawn mowing to buy 3 CDs at once seem to suggest that I purchased Middle of Nowhere first, and then bought 3 Car Garage along with Version 2.0 later, but I was also sure before writing this blog that 2.0 and a Hanson CD were my first simultaneous CD purchases ever, and since that sounds slightly less embarassing, we'll go with that narrative.

Between the two Hanson CDs I owned, if I did in fact own two (my memory failing this badly at 22 is not good, I need to do some crossword puzzles to stave off Alzheimer's or something), I only remember about three songs from reading the track listing on Wikipedia.

"Mmbop" was obviously their hit, "Man from Milwaukee" I remember being my favorite on the CD, both cause my parents were from Wisconsin, so I thought the reference was cool, and cause it had the best melody to my ears at the time, starting a long-standing trend of my preference for tracks that were not singles when buying a CD, and "Soldier" I barely remember cause years after the fact a family that lived close by played it in their minivan while they gave me a ride, and said they still listened to Hanson despite it being a long passed fad at the time. Also, I looked all these songs up on Youtube, and could recall the basic melodies of all of them except "Soldier," once again making me question if I ever actually owned 3 Car Garage or just knew of it.

While I barely remember the music, I definitely remember being the only kid in school with a t-shirt from them after the fad had died, and while all my friends denied ever being into them (I wasn't even the one that started their fandom at my school... damn Marco), I was known as that Hanson kid, with a t-shirt I got from sending in a proof of purchase to a waffle company to prove it.

Our Plan Is To Humiliate You To The Point Where You Give Up On Life, Stop Worrying About Your Health In The Depths Of Your Despair Over Being "That Hanson Kid," And Eat More Waffles You Chubby Fuck.

Item C in the case my memory is shot: I swear the t-shirt I got was grey and said MMBop in orange letters above their picture, not white like in the photo.

The good news I always tell people about the ordeal is that at a birthday party I went to wearing the shirt, I heard the sincere delivery of the words "Hanson is gay, we listen to Backstreet Boys now." Yes, the one nugget of humor I can get out of these dark times was the irony in that statement.

But, what about Version 2.0? Well, if you asked any of the people I went to school with, they'd probably never guess I had it or even knew about Garbage, and I doubt too many of them knew of the band at the time. The only reason I bought the CD was hearing the song "When I Grow Up" in the Adam Sandler movie Big Daddy, I think in the trick or treat scene, and in the ads, thinking it was catchy and liking the sentiment of growing up and turning the tables, so to speak.

When I Grow Up, I'll Learn What A Golden Shower Is And Have a Whole Different Perspective On Me Humming Along To This As An Eight-Year-Old

The thing is, I remember this CD and I remember playing it a hell of a lot more than my Hanson CDs, but to be honest, probably the reason I never would have brought it up was the fact I was enjoying a band headed by a female singer. While Hanson's gender remains a mystery to me, what with them having transformed from boys that look like small girls into what I imagine are grunge rocking lesbians disguised as what they think is the look for rocking lumberjacks, there had always been a stigma placed on enjoying female singers if you were male, at least I felt so anyway.

You look at my best of 2012 songs blog, and you get plenty of female singers I unabashedly admit to liking, but at the time, even being on the bottom of the social ladder with a Hanson shirt and a teacher for a mom (the momma's boy reputation from that helped nothing) I didn't want to make matters worse by telling everyone I actually liked a girl singing. Cooties and such, amiright?

That being said, while I was a bit young to be thinking this, I definitely remember finding a certain sexiness in the songs. The opening track "Temptation Waits" was especially good for nighttime listening with its atmosphere and talk of wolves in sheep's clothing. "Push It" was cool and sexy, and so not like the Salt n' Pepa song I also like, and "Wicked Ways" was great. I never actually looked at track titles as a kid, but damn if every song on there isn't suggestive as hell. George Carlin would be proud.

Also, come to think of it, I never knew what singers looked like back then unless we were at a hotel or a relative's who had cable (which we didn't) and I happened to see their MTV video, so I thought the songs were sexy, but had no clue what the singer looked like. Speaking of which, did you see her in that video above? I think she ate Edward Cullen. I thought I was pale! Also, you have no idea how much I preferred not knowing what these people looked like as a kid, the mystery added to my enjoyment I feel.

Unlike the Hanson CDs, which I sold at garage sales, I still pop in Version 2.0 every now and then and absorb myself in the atmosphere of "I Think I'm Paranoid," "The Trick Is To Keep Breathing," and for some reason, I especially like "Sleep Together" in spite of the semi-creepy lyrics. As a final note, I had a deeper voice than most kids as soon as I turned ten, and I can't help but feel this CD played a certain role in that....

The best thing about Garbage? I listened to their playlist on Spotify during my walk the other day, and I don't know how I missed this, but they're still so awesome I would have easily placed this song on my best of 2012 list had I heard it last year:


Seriously, while the verses might be so-so on their own, that chorus is something that just feels like it belongs on every inspirational movie trailer, kind of like "Dream On" by Aerosmith or "Lose Yourself" by Eminem used to be, only this has that 90s alternative atmosphere I love so much.

I haven't heard a band hold up this well in its old age since RHCP released Stadium Arcadium. As a matter of fact, it was this song that inspired me to finally write this blog.

I hope you've enjoyed this look at the infancy of my musical tastes, and hope to make another series of this and show you how my tastes have matured over time.


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