Note: Occasionally we will be running posts that look back to the music we remember from certain years.
1994 was a big year in music, for me and for the world. Kurt pulled the trigger and effectively lionized himself for eternity; Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane fame pointed a shotgun at police officers in a drunken stupor. Shotguns seemed to be a motif of the year but for me, it was all Nirvana and little girls in Bumble Bee suits dancing around in a field to neo-hippie melodies. Weezer and Green Day too, with a little bit of sullen Sound Garden thrown in. This year also brought us the birth of Justin Bieber who would begin his unholy reign years later.
As I’ve said numerous times before, I was a diehard Nirvana fan as a youth even though I could barely understand what Kurt was singing most of the time. I’m sure if I’d known the words, I as a third grader could not identify with the kind of personal desolation he appeared to have felt to spurn his suicide. I don’t even think I would have understood if I had heard the words. Let’s face it; I was a lower upper middle class kid growing up in the woods with numerous friends and a seemingly loving family. My main concern was what snacks I would eat on a given day and if I could convince my mom to drive to Ben Franklin’s department store to buy X-Men trading cards.
I stole my brother’s cds and I don’t think I ever gave back the original copy of Nevermind. I had to buy In Utero and I remember setting up a fake stage with my two friends who were brothers and pretending to perform the entire album. I got the plastic guitar and the giant foam microphone because I played the lead singer, megalomaniac as I was, while my friends backed me up on a broom and various pots respectively. I would lip-sync to songs like “Rape Me” and “Scentless Apprentice”, even then realizing the beauty of Nirvanas arguably best written song “All Apologies”. I was really sad when he died and I vaguely remember crying. Still kind of bums me out now.
I also had a serious fascination with Green Day and their gigantic album Dookie which my sister listened to non-stop. She loved that band and even got the ‘rents to buy her a low cost Harmony electric guitar which now sits in my basement (a piece of crap, although we did pull it out and hook it to a bass amp not long ago to see if we could make it sound cool). All of the songs were good to my young ears and I still love “Longview”. It perfectly epitomizes the general malaise of the young male, specifically “when masturbation lost its fun / you’re fuckin lonely.” Vulgar, but right to the point of the single male.
One time in music class when it was one of my fellow student’s turns to bring in and share a piece of music. She brought in this cd and played “Basketcase”. Our teacher, an ultra Christian whose son I was friends and had attended their Waco-style Church one Sunday, sort of flipped out. She was like “I can’t believe the depravity of these lyrics. Not only are they using curse words but they also talk about being stoned, having sex, and whores!”
I swear to God she shunned the girl the rest of the school year and would always give these mean looks. The woman was a saint otherwise but Green Day really rubbed her the wrong way. Green Day has since rubbed me the wrong way and this is due to their make-up, as lame as that may be.
I don’t get the make-up thing. It’s got nothing to do with insecurity or homophobism or even issues with femininity. There are many males who have or do wear make up that I respect thoroughly, such as David Bowie, Marilyn Manson and mostly likely Ozzy at some point. It’s because I remember watching the band on Behind the Music sometime in the late 1990’s and Billy saying something about newer punkish bands like “I don’t understand these new bands and the make-up”. A short time later, they had the make up on and started cranking out hits again. Lame. However, I can’t find the video so I could be making it up.
“The last major remembrances I have of this year was two bands whose other songs I didn’t like until much later and mostly because of their videos. The first song is “Buddy Holly by Weezer. The video, which I’m sure everyone remembers, was set in the restaurant on Happy Days, complete with Ritchie and the whole gang. There was a few year span in my early years where I truly thought Arthur Fonzarelli was the coolest dude around. This was during that time.
I actually thought I had slipped into an episode when it came on but instead, the simple but well crafted lyrics and power chords pulled me in. As far as I’m concerned, the blue album was Weezer at their best and they have tried to replicate many times over, never coming close for me. I got into them a bit more in high school but still only regularly listen to the first album.
The other video was “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden. I really like the band now and have heard good things of their recent, as of August 2011, reunion tour. However, as cool as that song was musically and lyrically, I liked it because of the video. It had these cartoonish looking people whose smiles would turn into giant grimaces while Chris Cornell sang about washing the rain away. The little girl with the ice cream falling out of her mouth and the priest figure stick out in my mind most clearly. The video stands the test of time for sure, even with the multi million dollar videos of today which nobody watches anyway.
As a last honorable mention, I think this was the year Aerosmith had all their videos that started with c and starred cute young women, one of whom was Steven Tyler’s daughter Liv who actually stripes in one of the videos, “Cryin” I think. I still don’t like the band beyond a few hits from the Seventies, but their videos in that era were quite visually entertaining. It’s weird how that doesn’t have shit to do with the bands anymore but then; it could make or break them. I blame the internet.
So one last mention for this entry and that’s for future writing. This is the year I discovered gangster rap and hated it. My love affair with the most gangster shit has blossomed much since then but at the time, I thought it sucked. This one scary kid named Josh would pump “Gin and Juice” on the bus which made me hate it more. The video was cool, with people turning into dogs and shit, but Josh scared me and so did his music.