Welcome the next installment of my year-long look back at a decade defined by its extremes. Rap versus grunge; mullets versus pixies; Saved by the Bell versus NYPD Blue – the 1990s had it all, and then some. Every other week I’ll be reminiscing about some facet of the 1990s, potentially drowning in some ill-forgotten nostalgia despite my best efforts otherwise. Serving as inspiration is an utterly ridiculous but nonetheless intriguing list created by Huffington Post — 1990 Things from the 90s to End the Nostalgia Once and for All – and I’ll be using a random number generator to pick each week’s “topic.” So don’t have a cow, man, if I ask you to talk to the hand while take this sweet ride through the 90s. Word to your mother.
Week 10: HuffPost list #974 – The Folk Implosion
Hm. I’d be more prepared to talk about Kids. Except that I really don’t want to. That movie right fucked me up for good, and I’d really rather not relive those memories.
I guess I could say something about The Folk Implosion’s sound, because its low-key, lo-fi, indie vibe was definitely something that was prevalent in the 90s. In that category, I’m probably most familiar with the likes of Sonic Youth and The Pixies, but even then…
…indie music of the 1990s escaped me. It was the music I heard in college, around campus, and especially during dinner when we ended up sitting in the older and “more hip” part of the college’s cafeteria. (Because it was on that side that they played the school’s radio station.)
Now, I don’t want to place any blame here. I’d like to think that I’ve matured beyond the point of holding silly grudges against things that don’t matter int he grand scheme of life. But, if I had to point to one thing that really turned me off to the whole indie music scene back that, it’d definitely be the Crash Test Dummies. Specifically, this song:
I don’t advise clicking on the video, but there you go. Me, I can’t even get past the dude’s first utterance of “Once…” without angrily flinging off my headphones while flipping off the computer screen.
This song is so physically irritating to my eardrums that it leaves me confounded. Like, there are a lot of things in life that I don’t like, but nothing makes me want to more quickly convulse into a ball of anger as much as THIS song.
I think that where things really went off the rails is that of all the excellent indie songs out there at that time,”Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” got legitimate air time on mainstream radio. I will grant that the song did have something of a message, but its composition was simply vomit-inducing to me at the time. The song, those vocals, the meandering bass just ticked me off in all the wrong ways.
Of course I was being a judgemental, prickish late-teen/early twenty-something at the time, but that was just par for the course. As I did back then, I walled myself off from things that just didn’t jive with my world view, and any musical offerings labeled “indie” or “alternative” was one of those things. To erase from my mind the Crash Test Dummies or The Smashing Pumpkins or Radiohead or anything “indie” that was too-popular on the radio, I dove really deep in classic rock and metal. Which is why I couldn’t, and didn’t, tell you a single thing about The Folk Implosion.
I’ve mellowed since. Or, at least I think I have. Folks like Beck and The Presidents of the United States of America helped turn the tide when it came to me getting along again with alternative music. Oh, I still can’t listen to “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” without feeling sick, but I’m certainly willing to give The Folk Implosion a chance. I might have to do it via Sonic Youth and The Pixies, but I’ll sure I’ll get there, eventually.