Songs of the Year—1993
Songs of the Year: 4 Non Blondes “Whats up?”, Blind Melon “No rain”, and Radiohead “Creep”
Honorable Mention” Meat Loaf “I would do anything for love (But I won’t do that)”
I started writing these songs of the year entries backwards from 1995 and found that this year is when my remembrances begin to wane (but I can jog them via Wikipedia). This is the year that Prince became a symbol which I remember coming on the nightly news. I had no idea who Prince was anyway at age 9 so I don’t remember being too bothered by it.
Another major recollection of this year was my mother listening to the soundtrack from The Bodyguard, seemingly on repeat. I cringe whenever I hear Whitney Houston even now almost twenty years later. My mom has a pretty good taste in music so her choice of musically abusing her kids with this music for what now feels like the entire year of ’93 has always puzzled me. I wrote this prior to Whitney’s untimely death but even post mortem, I still find her sound not appealing. Sue me.
Ace of Base was also hot which is another puzzler. Listening to it now, it seems like music in a can, what you might hear in Scandinavian elevators. It was big though and I remember hanging out with a friend who, like the Older J, tap danced in their leisure time at one point in their youth. Watching the video today, I wonder why people ever liked this band but so it goes. The Tapper loved Ace of Base and would play the popular album when we played Sega Genesis. I still always think of Sonic and Tails and this band as one and the same. I discovered today, via Wikipedia, that Wu Tang Clan’s first album came out this year. I foresee a future blog entry describing my love for the group but at age 8, I had no idea who they were and they probably would have scared me.
4 Non Blondes only had the one hit as far as I can tell but it was a good one. Everyone was singing “What’s up”. My mom, sister, and brother for sure. My brother would actually sing it in what he called “Axel Rose” style and it was really funny. Many of my male peers enjoyed the song, some in secret, while I remember the most popular girl in the third grade belting this out at the top of her lungs on the playground while I looked on transfixed. I’ve always been attracted to talented girls, who isn’t?
I’m listening to it now live on YouTube and it stands the test of the time for sure although the live version is not quite what I hoped. Oddly enough, I realize the phrase “What’s up” isn’t even in the song, not once. I wonder if that’s the point. I also wonder if this predated the widespread use of the phrase and in fact spurned it or if it was already a common thing beforehand. I’ll ponder that but the one summing up point I have is that Linda Perry, the lead singer of the band, went on to work with pop stars like Pink with the inverted exclamation point I don’t know how to produce from my keyboard and Christina Aguilera. Guess there’s more money working for others but I sure could use a 2011 remix of “What’s Up”.
I’ve already talked about Blind Melon and “No Rain” but it deserves another mention here as it apparently actually came out in this year. The video is what I remember the most, the now iconic image of the little girl in the bumblebee outfit dancing around until she finds the field of yellow and black garbed friends and, indubitably, happiness. My brother, as per usual, introduced my sister and I to the song soon after its release and my parents even picked up on it. I can recall riding in the oft mentioned Ford station wagon and him cranking this song right up when it came on the radio.
I also agree with an earlier statement my brother made that if the band had released “Change” as a single, it would also been a hit as it is probably a better written song than “No Rain”. Going back to a point I touched on in another year entry, I think it had to do with the video. It’s all types of weird lighting and the hippiesque vibe of the band that are largely not present in the video for “No Rain”. It truly is odd to think that videos made or broke bands back in the day as opposed to now when anyone can put together a decent video and have it for everyone to see on the internet in lighting fast time.
“Change” is probably in my top ten of best written songs ever because I think it really captures the concept of change and the human condition. Just pop it on when you’re feeling discouraged one day and you will know what I mean. Unfortunately, the lead singer Shannon Hoon lost the battle with drugs and the similar story of overdose took his life only two years after the bumblebee girl made her debut. However, I think Blind Melon will always be remembered from this era and even if they only had a few albums, they are all good throughout and will always be emblematic of the nineties’ music scene.
“Creep” by Radiohead is a song that everyone knows and which launched the band to international stardom, sort of encapsulating the alleged angst experienced by so many in the early 90’s. Ultimately, I think they were just recovering from the general whackness of the 80’s but that’s neither here nor there. My brother was in a band which he has mentioned many times and his band covered this song which is how I first heard it.
I thought they were the coolest group of guys ever at the young age of 8, even though they routinely abused me in ways such as name calling my childhood chubbiness and shoving me into closets. It was good character building and I think I could kick all their asses now….but that’s irrelevant. I took my brother’s copy of Pablo Honey and listened to “Creep” basically on repeat. I felt like, at third grade and awkwardly beginning to notice girls, I knew just how it felt to be a creep. I suppose everyone thought this who liked that song—personal identification is the biggest factor in pop music. That and a dance beat but Radiohead never needed that.
None of their other albums, except for maybe The Bends, sounded anything like Pablo Honey and Radiohead went on to be a huge band with their eclectic sound. Honestly though, except for a track or two from Ok Computer, “Creep” may still be my favorite song by them. I can already hear all the Radiohead fans mocking me.
Last and least for me is the Meat Loaf song “I would Do Anything for Love (But I won’t do that)”. I hate this song now and often will sing the chorus just to fuck with my friends or potential serious lady friends. For instance, when recently asked by a girl if I’d stay longer at a party she was having when I was planning to go elsewhere to shoot some pool, I replied “I would do anything for love…but I won’t do that”. Very clever I know.
Anyway, the video was with Meat Loaf as the Beast and some girl as the Beauty in an obvious homage to Beauty and the Beast. The Disney version was fairly recent at the time I can only assume that’s why. It’s not like it’s a heinously bad song, like Celine Dion for instance, it’s just isn’t very good and Meat Loaf has always annoyed me. He undoubtedly has talent and I did listen to Bat out of Hell the first with a childhood friend extensively…..but that’s just because it had a swear in it. He’s too theatrical for me. Now he’s on reality TV which certainly says something to me. I hate that dashboard light thing song too…..sorry Loaf fans. (But Fight Club was sick: His name is Robert Paulson.)