On Watching Headbangers Ball as a Fifth Grader, and Other Topics
This list needs help. A lot of help.
This list. Christ, this list. It’s bad. It’s really, really bad. I mean, the eyeballs of my sixteen-year-old self would not be recoverable, they would have rolled back so hard. It’s not alllll bad but collectively, it sucks. It’s also really long, so I guess I am going to have to screenshot it. I am too lazy to type out all of these shitty songs and give them even that much more legitimacy. We can deal with them in chunks, shall we?
1. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana (Nevermind, 1991, DCG Records)
Okay, so I know I am probably literally quoting Jack Black’s character from High Fidelity here (a character I very much identified with btw), but come on. It’s a little obvious no? I like Nirvana. I liked them then, and I still like them (not so much on Foo Fighters though, my apologies. Dave Grohl seems like a truly wonderful human). I bought Nevermind on cassette tape in the 7th grade sometime after this video came out. I watched Headbangers Ball, and I remember them being on it, and that Kurt Cobain wore a ballgown in a joke that seemed kind of lost on the host, and probably most of the at-home audience. That seemed as good a reason as any to spend what little money I had on their album. Music was the only thing I ever spent money on. I guess I used to babysit because I can’t think of any other way I had any at all. There is no way my parents would have given me money to buy records. I don’t know.
Anyway, I liked Nirvana, and for a couple of years, I loved them because the boy I loved from 8th grade, all of my high school years, and probably a few years after that even, loved them. Incidentally, one of the only letters I have ever received that would approximate a love letter even quotes a Nirvana song. I still have it. I was always writing him these long, intense letters asking why he would not give me the attention I so craved. (The answer btw, as painfully obvious then as it is now, was that I was fourth on a list of priorities that ranked as follows: drugs, skateboarding, other girls). When In Utero came out in 1993, I spent a lot of time listening to it on CD in his garage bedroom in Belgrade, Maine. Listening to this CD, smoking cigarettes, losing my virginity, and getting high. Oh, wasted youth. Anyway, in the letter he wrote out the lyrics Swap Meet, which after all is said and done, I still think was absolutely perfectly ninth grade, and rather sweet.
Final Verdict: Yes, it’s the iconic one, but check out more.
Better: You Know You’re Right*
*I know this is cheating a bit, but obviously it was recorded in the 1990s, 1994 specifically.
2. Loser – Beck (Mellow Gold, 1994, DCG Records)
Okay, also a good song. I always preferred the shit kickin’, speed takin’ Truck Drivin’ Neighbors Downstairs, and if I had complete power of this iTunes list, I would pick someone else all together. With this in mind:
Final Verdict: Pretty good song
Better: Daniel Johnston – Mind Contorted (Fun, 1994, Atlantic Records)
3. Spiderwebs — No Doubt (Tragic Kingdom, 1995, Trauma Records and Interscope Records)
Final Verdict: Absolutely not.
Replace with: Almost anything else. I didn’t care for the ska craze but try Blue Angel — Squirrel Nut Zippers (Hot, 1996, Mammoth)
4. Creep — Radiohead (Pablo Honey, 1993, Capitol Records)
Ugh, I am already bored by this project. There are so, so, so many Radiohead albums and this song is okay, but there are better ones. To be fair, now that I am looking, most of them came out after 2000.
Final Verdict: Good song but there are so many better ones.
Better: Palace Brothers — You Will Miss Me When I Burn (Days in the Wake, 1994, Drag City)
5. Say It Ain’t So — Weezer (Blue, 1994, DCG Records)
Final Verdict: They just aren’t that good.
Replace: Guided by Voices — Drinker’s Peace (Same Place the Fly Got Smashed, 1990, Rocket #9)