Friday, 16 November 2012

Testing my memory of adolescence

As I googled recently for lists of best albums to see what has changed since I discovered Joe S. Harrington a decade ago, I surprisingly found a list of “forgotten singles from the 1990s” by a site called Faster♥Louder that made me think of my adolescence.

The list is below. Songs italicised are those I can recall from the time. “Steal My Sunshine” was after I was ever listening to contemporary hits radio, but apart form one song which despite its ubiquity in the 1990s press I never heard only the middle and late 1990s are represented here.

Perhaps this is fair enough because the early 1990s was the heart of the most radical popular culture of all time, and few singles were simply memories even in Melbourne’s suburbs. Major pop artists from early 1990s Australia were well-established at the tail end of the 1980s
  1. Bran Van 3000: “Drinking in LA” (1997)
  2. Len: “Steal My Sunshine” (1999)
  3. The Caulfields: “Devil’s Diary” (1995)
  4. Not From There: “Sich Öffnen” (1998)
  5. Ammonia: “Drugs” (1995)
  6. Primitive Radio Gods: “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” (1996)
  7. Violetine: “You Know” (1998)
  8. Tokyo Ghetto Pussy: “I Kiss Your Lips” (1995)
  9. Fastball: “The Way” (1998)
  10. Spacehog: “In the Meantime” (1996)
  11. The Refreshments: “Banditos” (1996)
  12. Coppertone: “Fini Scad” (1995)
  13. Geggy Tah: “Whoever You Are” (1996)
  14. Sneaker Pimps: “Six Underground” (1996)
  15. Luscious Jackson: “Naked Eye” (1996)
  16. Money Mark: “Hand in Your Head” (1998)
  17. Fountains of Wayne: “Radiation Vibe” (1996)
  18. Strawpeople: “Trick With a Knife” (1995)
  19. Lit: “My Own Worst Enemy” (1999)
  20. Finley Quaye: “Even After All” (1997)
  21. Beaverloop: “Bad Acid … Jazz!” (1998)
  22. Local H: “Bound for the Floor” (1996)
  23. Antenna: “Come in Spring” (1998)
  24. Jill Sobule: “I Kissed a Girl” (1995)
  25. Tripping Daisy: “I Got a Girl” (1995)
  26. Francis Dunnery: “American Life in the Summertime” (1994)
  27. The Murmurs: “You (expletive)” (1994) 
  28. Space: “Female of the Species” (1996)
  29. Definition Of Sound: “Pass the Vibes” (1995)
  30. Max Sharam: “Coma” (1994)
  31. Days of the New: “Touch, Peel and Stand” (1998)
  32. Pollyanna: “Effervescence” (1997)
  33. Lucas: “Lucas with the Lid Off” (1994)
  34. Fool’s Garden: “Lemon Tree” (1995)
  35. K’s Choice: “Not an Addict” (1996)
  36. Smoke City: “Underwater Love” (1997)
  37. PM Dawn: “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” (1991)
  38. The Rentals: “Friends of P” (1995)
  39. Imani Coppola: “Legend of a Cowgirl” (1997)
  40. Bentley Rhythm Ace: “Bentley’s Gonna Sort You Out” (1997)
Of these “Coma” is the only memory that might be remotely called “fond” and in 2013 it does not sound that bad, especially in an earlier acoustic version that takes away the pomp of the “I’m coming around” section. “Drugs” is just awful generic punk pop, and “I Kissed a Girl” worse. “American Life in the Summertime” illustrated how bad the influence of rap could become when placed in 1980s synthesised pop.

All in all, it shows that I remember rather little of my adolescent years, in part because the radio stations I was used to (like the FOX) were becoming “classic rock” stations as rap and grunge took over the rest of the world and they feared going along. So did I, and rightly so I think!

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