Archive for February, 2014

Music Friday: Mama Said Knock You Out

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 28, 2014 by goatmeal

As I’ve mentioned many times already, our generation doesn’t really have a voice, but whenever people try to look for it, they look to the 90s. There was a fundamental shift in pretty much every musical genre that occurred sometime between 1989 and 1992: Nirvana replaced Poison, NWA replaced MC Hammer, and even Madonna decided that wearing her underwear on the outside wasn’t going quite far enough as the age of Debbie Gibson came to a close. Perhaps this change isn’t quite as dramatic as I make it out to be: maybe there are changes like this all the time and I’m only aware of this one because it corresponded to the years that I was in high school. But 20 years later, Atlantic articles about Gen X keep referencing grunge as a defining aspect of our generation, so even if I am seeing something that isn’t there, more influential writers than I are doing the same thing.
As this change was underway, existing artists were scrambling to redefine their images before they became obsolete. MC Hammer was suddenly a gangster. Warrant was grunge. Vanilla Ice was grunge. Bon Jovi got a haircut. But one artist decided he’d stick to who he was but just hit harder. This song was released 23 years ago this month.


Some end of the month links.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 28, 2014 by goatmeal

Neil Howe, perhaps the biggest living expert on generations, offered this explanation of how our pragmatic DIY attitude has affected the way our country views work and spending money.  I think this is a good thing, and plan on saying more about this sort of thing some day.

Here’s some Get Off My Lawn-isms from another Gen-X blogger.  Very true all of them, and there’s one of these that I’ll be talking about very shortly.

Nothing new, but I stumbled across this link recently.  The author claims that Gen X is a white thing, and that blacks of our age are part of something called the jail generation.  I guess there is quite a big difference between 30% of GenX being backwards on our house and 30% of the Jail Generation not being in jail.  What a waste of human life: we definitely need prison reform in this country, and it’s definitely hit people our age the worst, even if they’d rather not use our title.

Music Friday- Whip It

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 21, 2014 by goatmeal

My first memory of this song was at a karaoke night at Seattle University when I was in college. I’m sure I’d heard it before then, but that’s what I remember now. Though I’d been called a slacker on many an occasion, it wasn’t until years later that I heard about Bob Dobbs and the Church of the Subgenius when I unwittingly attended one of their services, mistaking it for a house party.

To some people Devo was a way of life, to some they were a musical inspiration, to some a one-hit wonder, and to some nothing more than another page in a sourcebook of 80s-inspired humor. Feel free to share any memories you have of them here.

Presidents’ Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by goatmeal

I don’t think anybody is all that pleased with the presidency of Barack Obama.  Many of those who supported him believe he’s focused on the wrong things or on fixing them in the wrong ways.  At the very least in different ways than they had expected when they were filled with so much hope six years ago.  And most of those who opposed him continue to oppose him because he hasn’t yet ceased to exist. 

Still, he’s the closest thing we’ve had to a president from our generation, and there’s a distinct possibility that he will be the closest thing we’ll ever get.  Continue reading

Music Friday: How not to write a love song

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 14, 2014 by goatmeal

These two songs are similar in that they are about a broken heart and have the name of a color in their title. Other than that, they don’t have a whole lot in common. The first was released sometime around 1990, and was apparently a big hit, but I’d totally forgotten about it until it came on the classic rock station a few weeks ago. The second was on Pearl Jam’s debut album which came out the very next year. Pearl Jam refused to release it as a single, and yet it still became insanely popular and remains one of their signature pieces today. Perhaps I’ve got it all wrong, maybe there are huge Warrant fandoms somewhere that totally forgot about Black, but it seems to me that one has endured the test of time while the other has faded away.

Of course there’s a much bigger story behind all of this, with the shifts in musical genres occurring at this time, but I think there might be something to garner from this disparity. I think it might be that “I don’t think I’m going to love you anymore” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “I know some day you’ll have a beautiful life, I know you’ll be a star in somebody else’s life but why can’t it be mine?” Nobody believes the first one, not even the person who said it, so why try to make a song out of something like that? Maybe it appeals to people going through that early denial stage, and maybe that’s why it was popular at one time. But everyone who’s ever had a broken heart knows what the second one means, and knows that it is absolutely true. And at a time when the entire rock and roll sound seemed to draw its musical inspiration from Robert Plant’s declaration that “way down inside, woman, you need me” it was a bit of a breath of fresh air for someone to come along and say how the rest of us actually felt about things. And maybe that’s why the music had to change in the first place.

Music Friday: Walk This Way

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 7, 2014 by goatmeal

I must admit, I was a big Aerosmith fan in junior high school. I liked their old music: music made before I was even in school. I wasn’t really keeping up with the new bands like the Beastie Boys or Cinderella that everyone else was always talking about. So it came as a bit of a pleasant surprise when everyone started talking about this band called Run DMC and I already knew all the lyrics to the song.
Three decades after Run DMC brought hip-hop to the mainstream, the music world had changed considerably. No longer are metalheads and rappers banging on their respective walls and turning up their own music to drown out that of the other. Towards the end of the 90s, something called nu-metal had a sudden spike in popularity with bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn giving some amount of credit to this Run DMC/Aerosmith collaboration as the impetus for their music. It was also when the former N.W.A. mixologist Dr. Dre had to explain why he’d signed a white boy from Detroit to his label: a white boy who went on to become one of the most popular artists of the ensuing decade. And now the dominant musical language of the next generation is decidedly more like Run DMC than it is like Aerosmith.