Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Best of the 90s: 1992.

Guys. Do you know how many amazing songs were popular in 1992? Lots. This is going to be hard. But I will power through. Life is tough, but it's worth it for the 90s, you know?

(Warning: If you listen to all these songs--AND WHY WOULDN'T YOU?--just know that for whatever reason the Dailymotion vids are a lot louder than all the Youtube ones. Just to save your speakers a little.)

Jill's Top 10 Songs of 1992


All I Want, Toad the Wet Sprocket

HOLY LORD I LOVE THE CRAP OUT OF THIS SONG. It is also one of the most perfect 90s songs of all time. I can picture Angela Chase walking down the halls of her high school as I listen to it. Yeah, even though Angela Chase still didn't exist for two years. YOU GET IT. Angela Chase has always existed. Perhaps more appropriately, I can picture this song being played during a montage of Brian talking to and/or gazing at Angela during various points of awkward longing, ending with those few times when she awarded him with a laugh or an adorable crooked smile. Someone on Tumblr or Youtube has probably done it. At least I hope so. Don't let me down, Internet.

I had a cassette of Fear, the album this was on which featured one of the most terrifying album covers of all time, and I listened to a whole lot as a tyke. And let me tell you, it was not exactly an upper of a record. As were most of the records I listened to as a tyke. (Case in point: the cheery I Will Not Take These Things for Granted. Although I guess the lyrics are kinda sorta uplifting. Anyway, whatever.) So basically All I Want is as happy as Toad the Wet Sprocket gets, and it's worth it. 

Also talk about a killer first line: Nothing's so loud as hearing when we lie. Boo-yah, KILLED IT. The whole song is chock-full of winning sentimental zingers, such as:

Nothing's so cold as closing the heart when all we need is to free the soul
But we wouldn't be that brave I know

But why am I even telling you this? You know you know all these lines by heart, too. Oh, Toad.

 Black or White, Michael Jackson

I know the only Michael Jackson songs which are really cool to like are the badass 80s ones, but I can't deny it: I LOVE HIS CHEESY EARLY 90S HITS WITH ALL OF MY DEAR LITTLE HEART. I must have professed my deep love of Man in the Mirror on here somewhere, I must have. But I love me some Black or White too. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. I mean the number of cultural stereotypes portrayed in the video! Countless! The breakdown in the bridge while the world implodes behind him! Macaulay Culkin rapping on a stoop! Also, lions! And those visual effects at the end that blew all of our early-90s-minds! HE'S NOT GOING TO SPEND HIS LIFE BEING A COLOR.


My Lovin (Never Gonna Get It), En Vogue

I have to admit that there was an INTENSE EN VOGUE BATTLE IN MY HEAD over whether to choose this song or Free Your Mind for my Top 10, both of which were included in the Top 100 Songs From 1992 list I found, albeit this one was much higher on the list. While I love Free Your Mind in an intense way--PREJUDICE. WANNA TALK ABOUT IT?--Kathy helped me decide on My Lovin (Never Gonna Get It), because a song with parentheses in the title always wins. Am I right, or am I right? Also helpful in this decision were those slinky silvery dresses they're wearing in this video that just barely cover their hoohas. En Vogue has legs forever, gentlemen, but guess what? You're never, never gonna get it.

Also, the breakdown at 3:05--I know it's a breakdown because a gentleman announcer tells me so--is SO. GOOD.

Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana

So the problem with making these lists is debating with myself about whether or not to include the REALLY OBVIOUS HITS. And this is the most obvious of them all. But...I can't not include it. Not just because it was so important, because it is so GOOD. It is still so good. It will always be so good. Even if it led to Kurt Cobain's demise, it will always be so good. I am not eloquent enough to write adequate words about Smells Like Teen Spirit, so instead I will tell you this silly story:

Last summer during my last graduate education class ever, my friend Abe walked in and I spent the entire first half of class staring at him and his green striped sweater and wondering what it reminded me of. My brain alerted me to this sweater as soon as I saw him: ALERT, ALERT! YOU RECOGNIZE THIS SWEATER. YOU WILL STARE AT ABE IN THIS SWEATER UNTIL YOU FIGURE IT OUT! < /robotic brain alert voice >

Finally, after at least an hour of not paying attention to the importance of research in education, I got it. When we had a break, I walked over to him and said, "ABE. I HAVE BEEN STARING AT YOUR SWEATER ALL CLASS BECAUSE I KNEW I RECOGNIZED IT FROM SOMEWHERE AND I THINK I'VE FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT."
Abe: Really? What is it?
Abe: Really? That is amazing. You should go Google that shit and show me.

Of course he probably didn't say "shit" because he is a really good Christian, but I did go to the computer lab during break and Google it, and print it out, and show him. At which point he maybe seemed a little perturbed that I had actually done all that, but he was pretty excited about it up until then. It wasn't the exact same sweater, but it was close.

And so, in conclusion, Smells Like Teen Spirit never leaves you.


Under the Bridge, Red Hot Chili Peppers

You see what I mean about there being so many songs from this year that almost seem too obvious to mention but I can't help myself because of their epic-ness? Guys, when the high-pitched background singers come in a little past the three-minute mark and Anthony Kiedis runs in slow motion, even though I never have any idea what they're actually singing (and is it actually just Anthony Kiedis singing these parts? Who knows, doesn't matter), I will never NOT get chills. I will love this song forever and ever. I think it is one of the loveliest, loneliest love letters to a city ever concocted, and if there is something I love, it is love letters to a place. If I could hug a lyric, I would hug "Sometimes I feel like my only friend is the city I live in." I would also cuddle with, "Lonely as I am, together we cry." (Although I always heard this lyric as "glide," which I think is better than cry. Regardless.) Be still my wanderlust heart.

Tennessee, Arrested Development 

Take it away, socially-conscious, history-examining, intellectual-glasses-wearing hip hop. This is a great song. I actually don't have much else to say about it. It's just good.

What About Your Friends, TLC

1992 was, gloriously, a big TLC year and it was hard to choose which hit to pick, but I feel pretty confident with my decision. I simply cannot get over the fashion in this video. If you click on one video to watch in this long entry, do this one. Do it for the condoms. How many condoms are even hanging off of their various outfits in this video? Lots, that's how many. Do it for the spray-painted all-white-jeans combo. Do it for the clown-esque oversized unbuttoned pants with suspenders. Do it for the poofy hats. These bitches were the dykiest, most bad-ass ladies of the 90s, and I feel like a lot of their dykey bad-ass-ness was lost on me when I was 9. So thank goodness I'm writing this blog entry now and can re-live it. Also, Left-Eye's raps in this one? Forget it.

One, U2

So Bono so often seems like a douche these days--I KNOW YOU'RE SAVING THE WORLD BUT TAKE OFF YOUR GLASSES PLEASE--that it's almost hard for me to include U2, but come on. This song. You know you love it. It's impossible not to love it. It is pure, pretty, definitive gold. We're one, but we're not the same. We get to carry each other. Did I ask too much? More than a lot? You gave me nothing, now it's all I got. We're one, but we're not the same. Well, we hurt each other, and we'll do it again.

And I can't be holding on to what you got when all you got is hurt.

Rhythm is a Dancer, Snap!

Another song that was popular in 1992 that almost made it onto my list was The Cure's Friday, I'm In Love. And so you might be thinking, wait. You're not including The Cure, but you're including Snap? And the answer is, HELLS YEAH I AM. Because let's be honest, I listened to a lot more Snap than I did The Cure in 1992, and you probably did too. Rhythm is a dancer! Yeah, that doesn't even really make sense! You can feel it everywhere, though. Sometimes in the air.

End of the Road, Boyz II Men 

This was actually the #1 song of 1992 (according to Billboard), but I almost didn't include it because I already gave Boyz II Men love for Motownphilly in 1991. And then I listened to the song again and realized, WHAT WAS I THINKING? THERE IS NEVER TOO MUCH BOYZ II MEN LOVE. NEVER. Also, this video features matching flannel coats, so there's that. And ugh, the boyz are in SO MUCH PAIN, GUYS. THEY ARE SO VULNERABLE. GIRL, THEY'RE THERE FOR YOU. THEY KNEW ABOUT WHEN YOU RAN OUT WITH THAT OTHER FELLA. THEY DON'T CARE. (Wait. They should care about that, right?) JUST COME BACK TO THEM. THEIR HEART HURTS, THEY FEEL PAIN TOO. PLEASE. IT'S UNNATURAL. And if you don't feel an irresistible urge to sing along to the chorus--ESPECIALLY AT THE END WITH THE HAND CLAPS--and sway along, and perhaps hit your cane on the ground a few times, I DON'T WANT TO KNOW YOU.

1992 was also the year that Wayne's World brought Bohemian Rhapsody back to glory, and that Slash played his guitar outside that church in the desert while Axel Rose got married in the rain and then his wife died or something in November Rain. But what to even say about those? 

1992 on film:

A Few Good Men

So if for some sad reason you haven't caught this movie on TV lately during one of the 210912382312312897 times it's been replayed on TV, and you've forgotten how good it is, just watch this trailer. JUST WATCH IT. There are so many reasons this movie is one of the most perfect films ever made that I can't even handle it. (And I actually can't really handle watching this movie too much because thinking too much about Santiago's death makes me squirm.) It is Tom Cruise at his best, and Demi Moore at her best, and Nicholson at his best in terms of bad-ass-ness. What is so good about this movie is that there's no perfect ending, no winning conclusion to the case, no heroes streaming out of the courtroom to reporters and cheering crowds. It is heart-wrenching and complex and the perfect high-drama courtroom film.

A League of Their Own

I have to note that the depths to which Kathy loves and knows this movie are so extreme that it's hard for me to think about it without thinking about her quoting every single line from it, at random points, throughout life. Really, instead of including the trailer, I should have just posted this:

This truly is my life. One day Kathy and Allie are going to write a post about A League of Their Own for Naked by Porpoise, and I will try my best to remember to come back to this post and link it because anything they say will be better than what I say. The only thing I will say is that Marla Hooch is forever my favorite.

The Mighty Ducks
Oh, Disney in the 90s, I heart you so much. I also hardly know what to say about this one, other than this 30 second trailer is perfection and pretty much says it all. Anything that mentions a "hot-shot lawyer" learning that "winning isn't everything"? I am there, Mr. Trailer Narrator. I am there.

Jill in 1992
In 1992, when I wasn't listening to Snap! on my way to girl scouts meetings at the Palmyra Township Building, I finished second grade and started third grade. This I believe was The Year I Was the Biggest Teacher's Pet In the World. I can't even remember my third grade teacher's name (oops, horrible memory), and I swear I didn't even do anything to warrant it, but she LOVED ME. She was also the head of technology in our elementary school or something and had control over the computer labs and would randomly tell me to go play on the computers if I wanted while everyone else in my class did work. This was perhaps a combination of her liking me because I was painfully quiet and shy, and a teacher-sixth-sense of knowing I was going to become a Mega Computer Nerd. It went like this:

Teacher Lady: "Alright everybody, get ready for your spelling test. Oh, Jill, you can go down to the computer lab and play Oregon Trail for an hour if you want."
Jill: "Huh? Okay." *shrugs*

It happened all the time and never made sense. Shockingly, no one ever beat me up.

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