Growing Up 90’s: Reel Big Fish- “Sell Out”

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“Well, I know you can’t work in fast food all your life

But don’t sign that paper tonight

She said, but it’s too late”

A handful of songs by Reel Big Fish (along with No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom, perhaps) was about as close as I ever got to getting into the ska-punk scene. While I’ve always thought bands that featured a horn section were unique and fun, the sight of badly-dressed kids “skanking,” which was typically a stupid circular dance that required aimless flailing as if your skeletal system had been removed from your body, at the ska concerts at which I found myself was vomit-inducing.  Continue reading

Growing Up 90’s: Aerosmith- “Eat The Rich”

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Cause I’m sick of your complainin’

About how many bills

And I’m sick of all your bitchin’

‘Bout your poodles and your pills

And I just can’t see no humor

About your way of life

And I think I can do more for you with this here fork and knife”

Boston’s legendary rockers Aerosmith had a colossal album on their hands with Get a Grip in 1993, as the record was loaded with huge singles such as “Amazing,” “Cryin’,” “Crazy,” “Livin’ On The Edge,” and “Eat The Rich.” Get a Grip became Aerosmith’s best-selling album worldwide, and second-best in the United States behind Pump. “Eat The Rich,” the first song on the record after the intro, is a humorous kick-off to this massively successful album. Continue reading

Growing Up 90’s: Veruca Salt- “Volcano Girls”

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Volcano girls, we really can’t be beat

Warm us up and watch us blow

Now and then we fail and we admit defeat

We’re falling off

We are watered down and fully grown

At any given point, I’m of the opinion that badass girls are sorely underrepresented in rock and roll, but for the last few years of the 90’s, the ladies from Veruca Salt were doing their part to change that. Fronted by Nina Gordon and Louise Post, the band, named after a character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, had a fairly sizable hit on their hands with “Volcano Girls.” From the 1997 album Eight Arms to Hold You, the song is the epitome of fun, catchy rock music. Continue reading

Growing Up 90’s: Mr. Big- “To Be With You”

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Hold on little girl

Show me what he’s done to you

Stand up little girl

A broken heart can’t be that bad

This week on Growing Up 90’s, I’m reaching back to the beginning of the decade for what might be the biggest campfire sing-along in modern rock history, from none other than Mr. Big. “To Be With You,” from the band’s 1991 album Lean Into It is a hugely successful acoustic jam with an insanely catchy chorus, with lead singer Eric Martin’s incredible voice soaring over the backing vocals of his bandmates.  Continue reading

Growing Up 90’s: Soul Asylum- “Misery”

 

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They say misery loves company

We could start a company

And make misery

Unless you had a predilection towards that “pump up the jams” garbage during the 90’s, you most likely had to find a way to tolerate the dominance of the grunge wave over the popular music scene. Songs about despair, depression, and pill-popping took over rock radio, and you might have had to flip over to a jock jams tune to find anything remotely positive or encouraging. Luckily, there were some gems that came from the grunge movement, and often enough, the MUSIC was good.  Continue reading

Growing Up 90’s: The Wallflowers- “6th Avenue Heartache”

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Sirens ring, the shots ring out

A stranger cries, screams out loud

I had my world strapped against my back

I held my hands, never knew how to act.”

Jakob Dylan was a storyteller, just like his old man (Bob, in case you didn’t know), except that his lyrics and vocals were a whole hell of a lot more intelligible. Fronting The Wallflowers, Dylan brought “6th Avenue Heartache,” a song he wrote about his experiences living in New York, to the band’s album Bringing Down The Horse, and made it their first hit.  Continue reading

Growing Up 90’s: Blink-182- “A New Hope”

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In honor of this week’s much-anticipated release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens,  which is the seventh volume of every nerd’s favorite cinematic saga, The No Seatbelt Blog will remain in kind, by presenting a most appropriate song for this newest edition of “Growing Up 90’s.” From Blink-182’s seminal 1997 pop-punk album Dude Ranch came “A New Hope,” a deep track on the record about a pubescent obsession with Princess Leia. The band’s Mark Hoppus leads the listener through his fantasy about falling asleep and waking up next to the heroine from those legendary first three films. Continue reading

Growing Up 90’s: Matthew Sweet- “Sick of Myself”

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Twenty years on, I remember the first time that I heard “Sick of Myself” by Matthew Sweet. My cousin Brian had just gotten the record from whence it came, 100% Fun.  Brian had just gotten into playing the guitar, so we used to sit and listen to all kinds of music, and this particular song stuck with me after all this time. I wouldn’t recognize anything else from the album right now, and the only other song I’ve ever heard from Sweet is “Girlfriend,” mostly because of its appearance on one of the original Guitar Hero games. Continue reading

Growing Up 90’s: Everclear- “Heartspark Dollarsign”

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Coming from the band that named itself after the grain alcohol that could strip the paint off a car (but people still willingly ingest…still boggles my mind), Everclear’s “Heartspark Dollarsign” was a song that delved into the ugliness of racism, and the love that is needed to rise above it. The song, written by the band’s lead singer Art Alexakis, centers around an interracial relationship, with the protagonist having to deal with grief from his racist family members for having the nerve to date a black girl, seeing past the color of her skin and loving her for what she is.  Continue reading