Songs of the Year—1994 Geek Rock Comes out

You say I only hear what I want to.
You say I talk so all the time so.
And I thought what I felt was simple,
and I thought that I don’t belong,
and now that I am leaving,
now I know that I did something wrong ’cause I missed you.
-Lisa Loeb

Songs of the Year: “Stay” Lisa Loeb; “I Should Be Allowed to Think,” They might Be Giants
Runners-up: “Better Man”, Pearl Jam; “Animal”, Nine Inch Nails
Honorable Mention: “21st Century Digital Boy”, Bad Religion; “All Apologies”, Nirvana

1994 was the year that, for however brief a moment, cardigan sweaters were cool. Thick-rimmed glasses were no longer tokens of an embarrassing limitation but rather a sign of honor from a glorious Geekdom. Green Day were geeky punks. Weezer sang a song about 12 sided die.

1994 saw the release of albums that surprised and stuck around. I still remember the furious onslaught of the The Lead Singer as he tried to persuade me to love Green Day’s Dookie by enumerating everyone he knew (who was cool) who liked it. He should have known that this was the wrong tack to take with me. Contrarian I was.

The list of great albums that came out in 1994 is long, but a few highlights include: Nine Inch Nails’ Downward Spiral, Weezer’s Blue Album, Ill Communication by the Beastie Boys, Stranger than Fiction, Bad Religion, Definitely Maybe, Oasis, Ready to Die, Notorious B. I.G., Ruby Vroom, Soul Coughing. Tracks from these CDs would dominate the world for the next few years. But not me. Not yet.

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Songs of the Year—1994 Geek Rock Comes out

You say I only hear what I want to.
You say I talk so all the time so.
And I thought what I felt was simple,
and I thought that I don’t belong,
and now that I am leaving,
now I know that I did something wrong ’cause I missed you.
-Lisa Loeb

Songs of the Year: “Stay” Lisa Loeb; “I Should Be Allowed to Think,” They might Be Giants
Runners-up: “Better Man”, Pearl Jam; “Animal”, Nine Inch Nails
Honorable Mention: “21st Century Digital Boy”, Bad Religion; “All Apologies”, Nirvana

1994 was the year that, for however brief a moment, cardigan sweaters were cool. Thick-rimmed glasses were no longer tokens of an embarrassing limitation but rather a sign of honor from a glorious Geekdom. Green Day were geeky punks. Weezer sang a song about 12 sided die.

1994 saw the release of albums that surprised and stuck around. I still remember the furious onslaught of the The Lead Singer as he tried to persuade me to love Green Day’s Dookie by enumerating everyone he knew (who was cool) who liked it. He should have known that this was the wrong tack to take with me. Contrarian I was.

The list of great albums that came out in 1994 is long, but a few highlights include: Nine Inch Nails’ Downward Spiral, Weezer’s Blue Album, Ill Communication by the Beastie Boys, Stranger than Fiction, Bad Religion, Definitely Maybe, Oasis, Ready to Die, Notorious B. I.G., Ruby Vroom, Soul Coughing. Tracks from these CDs would dominate the world for the next few years. But not me. Not yet.

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Better than Good?

Well, maybe I’ll call or write you a letter.
Now, maybe we’ll see on the Fourth of July.
But I’m not too sure, and I’m not too proud.

Listen...

Sometimes songs stick to a moment in time and every time you hear them you pull a Billy Pilgrim (Bam! You’re unstuck in time). More often than not, for me, when a song exerts a strong enough gravity it pulls in divergent directions.

Songs that do this don’t have to be ‘great’; shit, I don’t even have to like songs all that much to begin with for them to become anchors or bookmarks in time. One example is “Good” by Better than Ezra.

(Side Note 1: I had the fortune (from my perspective) of becoming friends with someone named Ezra soon after Better than Ezra’s popularity had peaked. He single-mindedly abhorred the band. But, then again, he professed undying affection for Semisonic and spent most of his free time copying Pearl Jam bootlegs. Needless to say, I used the phrase “better than Ezra” around him whenever humanly possible. Yes, I am that charming.)

Now, Better than Ezra was/is a quintessential bubble band from the mid.-late 90’s. I call it a ‘bubble’ band, because like tech stocks at the end of the millennium and housing prices in Nevada five years ago, the band’s ‘value’ was artificially inflated by the time—a period during which producers, labels and djs were all in search of the next big band, all desperate to make money off of the unheralded talent, the diamonds in the rough.

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