Monday, March 05, 2007

oh the glory that the lord has made

Huh. Popular music was really, really good a decade ago.

I happen to be digging through Wikipedia for some ideas for my Music Class paper, and I just happened to click through the entry for White Town's "Your Woman." The UK #1 song preceding its reign on the charts in late January, 1997? Tori Amos, "Professional Widow." What bumped it from its top spot? Blur, "Beetlebum."

Sigh. I loved, loved, LOVED radio back then. LOVED it. (With the possible exception of Primitive Radio Gods' "Standing Outside a Broken Phonebooth with Money in My Hand." I HATED that one.) The Boy and I will sometimes play "Remember when...?" and trade band names and song titles that captivated us back in the mid-to-late 90s, which was really when I started to come of age as a music aficionado. I remember getting ready for school listening to Cake's "The Distance" and No Doubt's "Just a Girl," or doing trig homework with Ben Folds Five or Radiohead. Or Bush. Or Soul Coughing. Oasis, the Wallflowers, K's Choice, Smashing Pumpkins, the Verve, Sarah McLachlan, Liz Phair, Tonic... yeah. There was a lot of really good stuff on alternative rock radio, and even though I certainly don't lack for new music nowadays, there's just not that collective sense of, "This is what an entire city is listening to, and damnit, it's great."

Then again, maybe I'm waxing poetic too soon: the song that preceeded "Professional Widow" on the UK charts? That would be the Spice Girls' "2 Become 1."

Forget I said anything. Back to the paper.


Anonymous said...

aw shucks, I happen to have a soft spot for Primitive Radio Gods's song. I just happened to have heard it in an Arby's restaurant today. And I was singing out when they started singing "i've been downhearted baby! i've been downhearted baby!" suffice to say some people gave snickering smiles.

ps. thanks for reminding me of who the artist was for that song. i just couldn't for the life of me remember :)

Justin Rimbo said...

Hey, I WILL forget you said anything. Want to know what I think, Kat? I think you've succumbed to nostalgia -- it's a sign that you're getting on in years. I don't think the music back then was better, I just think more people got on board with good music, so we felt cooler. There's tons of cool music nowadays, and if people recognized "The Crane Wife" for the masterpiece it is, we'd have something else to feel nostalgic about ten years from now.

In the bonus round -- ten points to anyone who can name the song that PRG sampled to get the "I've been downhearted baby" loop from.

Unknown said...

it's b.b.king, right? i want to google the song name, but i'll do it afterwards so i don't cheat.

and i love that song too. kat, i guess we don't have _exactly_ the same taste after all.
"if i die before i learn to speak, would money pay for all the days i've lived awake but half da do do do..."
that's what i remember anyway... pretty deep, eh?? :D

- supermarj :P

Justin Rimbo said...

Correct! Um, . . . ten points.

The song is "How Blue Can You Get?" Which, unlike "Standing Outside a blah blah blah," is an amazing song.