Friday, July 06, 2007

Middle of the road crap or rock classics?

In the early 90's I wasn't listenng to a lot of music, and what I was listening to was all over the map. A little bit of country, a little bit of shoegaze (even though I didn't know that was what it was called) a little bit of whatever was popular on MTV or on WNEW-FM, the New York progressive rock dinosaur radio station.
For me, it was a time of relearning how to listen to music, after a long period of not listening to much music at all.
The three songs I'm posting here are songs I listened to a lot during that period, and which I don't think I've listened to in over ten years. I'm posting them because I'm curious if they hold up.
When the Gin Blossoms released their first album, New Miserable Experience, it seemed like they could be the reincarnation of either Big Star or the Raspberries. Then the band fired their alcoholic guitar player, Doug Hopkins, (he later committed suicide) and they were never able to repeat the magic.
Del Amitri was a Scottish band, in some ways maybe a distant relative of Teenage Fanclub in their ability to come up with memorable melodies, but without the Fanclub's originality or willingness to take a risk.
Hothouse Flowers was another Scottish band. I liked the bigness, the anthem-like quality of their songs. I put "Isn't It Amazing" on a lot of mix tapes, because of its spiritual theme.
Gin Blossoms - Hey Jealousy
Del Amitri - Be My Downfall
Hothouse Flowers - Isn't It Amazing?
So, crap or classic? I can't tell. Each of these songs meant a great deal to me at a particular moment in my life, and I can't separate the songs from the emotional connections I still have with them. The one thing I will say is, none of them are as bad as Hootie and the Blowfish.

Here's a bonus:
Freedy Johnston - Bad Reputation


Taranis said...

Hothouse Flowers are Irish, I think.

Why does everyone give Hootie and the Blowfish so much crap? Yes, it's not some religious experience, but Darius Rucker can sing. I agree. A lot of it was fluff, but there are moments. Then again, with Hootie I'm probably falling victim to the same sort of emotional connections you describe for these songs.

Robin said...

You are right about Hothouse Flowers being Irish. Thanks for pointing that out.
I wanted to like Hootie and the Blowfish, if for no other reason than they named their first album after a phrase from a John Hiatt song ("Cracked Rear View"). And I agree, Darius Rucker could (and can) definitely sing. Ultimately I just didn't like that first album. But your comment is makes me want to go back and check it out again.