Thursday, December 11, 2008

Millennium Rock

Millennium rock is the name I give to the kind of rock music that was all over Top 40 radio from 1998 to 2001. Smash Mouth, the Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox 20, Sugar Ray, and Third Eye Blind are all shining examples of millennium rock. I hate it, but to say you hate that kind of music is like saying you hate having your arm broken.

It's unfortunate that this terrible music had to be the soundtrack to the most exciting and revelatory part of my youth. I wonder if it had any hand in my becoming a miserable, untalented person, insofar as I am miserable and untalented. (I am feeling bad about myself today.) I confess that I liked that one song by Fastball that went, "Was I out of my head was I out of my mind / How could I have ever been so blind / I was looking for an indication, but it was hard to find." I don't like it anymore, but back then I used to turn the radio up when it came on. I hope this doesn't mean I am doomed to fail in all of my creative pursuits.

Wow, thinking about millennium rock is much more depressing than I thought it would be.

What are the 10 worst millennium rock songs?

1. Sugar Ray, that song about the four-post bed
2. The Goo Goo Dolls, "Iris"
3. Third Eye Blind, that terrible song that was in all the movie trailers
4. The song "I'll Be," which is like, "I'll be your cryin' shoulder / I'll be a love suicide..." Is this the Goo Goo Dolls also?
5. That song that begins, "I wish you would step off of that ledge, my friend"
6. Smash Mouth, "All Star"
7. That terrible Santana song that's like, "Gimme your heart, make it real, or else forget about it"... I believe it is called "Smooth"
8. That song about closing time

I can't think of two more without using a search engine. I came up with those eight very quickly, right off the top of my head. An earlier version of this post included "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies, but even though the Barenaked Ladies are irritating I don't really want to classify them as millennium rock. And I feel the same way about Sheryl Crow and that song "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks. Now that I'm thinking about the music of this era I can't get all these terrible songs out of my head, and I'm sorry I began.

Oh, I just thought of one more: the one that's like, "Tell me, did you sail across the sun, did you make it to the Milky Way..." I think there's a lyric in it that goes, "She talks like spring and she listens like June."


Today, in the elevator of one of the dogs I walk, someone had stuck a Post-It that said:

Dog TEDDY died last night (12/10)
Condolences and thanks to all who loved him.

Below this a few people had written kind messages about this dog. One child had written, "He was the cuddliest dog in the building."

I wished very much that I had a camera phone, and I almost stole the note, but I realized how awful that would have been, so I didn't. I didn't know Teddy, but I had seen him around. He was a chocolate Lab.


Amanda B. said...

How on earth could Chumba Wumba not have made the Millennium Rock shit list?!?

From 1997-8 I worked a job in the ATL in which my only entertainment was drugs and the radio. Me and Millennium Rock are real close, in that dysfunctional family hating sort of way.

Lawrence and Christine said...

I think thou hast hit the nail on the head, my friend. For what it's worth, I woke up with the Stone Temple Pilots song "big empty" (conversation kills....) stuck in my head. Possibly a little early for what yer talking about; could be the tail end of crappy pop grunge rather than true millennium rock. But it sure got played to death!

Ryan Lynch said...

Bitter Sweet Symnphony of Life or whatever its called belongs on this list as well. God that song sucks.

any and all Oasis songs that exist. tho inevitably I'm sure Ryan T will show up to comment on how wrong I am.

Gregory said...

All of those songs/bands are so awful, I'd be hard-pressed to single one out as the worst.

Funny, in those years I was listening to Morphine and Wilco. Most of that stuff didn't penetrate my consciousness at all.

Lawrence and Christine said...

These crappy songs are all either dripping with irony, or soaked in false innocence. The glue that seems to bind them all together is that they are all so FREAKING CATCHY, and get stuck in your head worse than a breakfast cereal jingle!

Something unpredictable and in the end its true/ I hope you had the time of your life

Amanda said...

Oh Lawrence, Green Day is NOT millennium rock and neither are STP. I know this because they remind me of fun high school, where MR bands remind me of shit-ass college.

I like Oasis. And I made out with a guy to Bittersweet Symphony once. Then again, Ryan Lynch's tolerance for mainstream rock is very, very low.

Forget it, I don't know any of you anymore.

Brian said...

As a once and current listener of Top 40 radio, I found this post very interesting.

From 1992 until 2001, the only station in the Atlanta market that played some variant of CHR was Star 94, and they wouldn't play rap or R&B, so we had this jangly guitar soccer mom rock shit shoved down our throats for a decade. I burned out on all of these songs faster than most.

1. Sugar Ray, that song about the four-post bed

It's called "Every Morning." Note how one word changes the entire context of the chorus: "Every morning there's a dildo hanging from the corner of my girlfriend's four-post bed...I know it's not mine but I'll see if I can use it for a weekend or a one-night stand." This actually improves the song immensely.

2. The Goo Goo Dolls, "Iris"

And why is it called "Iris" anyway? Maybe I'd know if I'd bothered to see the movie it was in.

3. Third Eye Blind, that terrible song that was in all the movie trailers

Terrible song by Third Eye Blind? Could you be a bit more vague please?

4. The song "I'll Be," which is like, "I'll be your cryin' shoulder / I'll be a love suicide..." Is this the Goo Goo Dolls also?

It's Edwin McCain but it sucks balls just like the Goo Goo Dolls. I particularly hate the way he says "I'll be your cryin' shoul-da-hah-hah." What an asshat.

5. That song that begins, "I wish you would step off of that ledge, my friend"

"Jumper" by the aforementioned Third Eye Blind (which is a great penis joke that every AC disc jockey had to repeat for the two years they were relevant)

6. Smash Mouth, "All Star"

Despise this song. DESPISE it. The NBA used it for a couple of years in their ad campaigns.

7. That terrible Santana song that's like, "Gimme your heart, make it real, or else forget about it"... I believe it is called "Smooth"

Featuring matchbox twenty's Rob Thomas...Not a terrible song in my opinion, but just horribly overplayed. I was glad to see Carlos Santana finally get some recognition. He is a phenomenal guitarist.

8. That song about closing time

"Closing Time" by Semisonic. It was cute the first twelve times I heard it, then it just made me want to barf.

The last song you mentioned was "Drops of Jupiter" by Train.

Amanda B. said...

You know what song is eerily millennium rock-ish but is actually from mid-decade? That Better Than Ezra song that goes "Wa-oh / it was good / a-livin' with you / Wa-oh." I therefore blame Better than Ezra for all the shite that followed years later.

And adding to the aforementioned shit list of fin-de-siecle radio garbage, I'm gonna have to add the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' "Knock on Wood." That song is fucking annoying, d00d.

Amanda said...

I am pleased with all the attention this Millennium Rock discussion has garnered. Thanks, Brian, for the analysis!

In the realm of mid-decade, to Better Than Ezra I'm going to have to add the Gin Blossoms...

Brian said...

Adding the Gin Blossoms kinda hurts my feelings...

bpd said...

Everclear would qualify if anyone could remember what any of their songs were. I once heard them described as rock masturbation, pleasant enough while it's going on, forgotten five minutes after it's over.

Collective Soul. Harvey Danger. Counting Crows. Silvergotdangchair.

Late era Aerosmith and Chili Peppers are thematically not quite the same but equally apalling.

And I'm sure that #3 is "Semi-Charmed Life", which is more popularly known as "Doot doot doot doot doo doo doot" and less popularly known as "Dude, you know that song's about heroin?"

But how have we gotten this far without mentioning the sanitized buttrock that was and is Nickelback? Or CREED?!?!?

Brian said...

Seems like we may be blurring the line from Millennium Rock to Overrated Rock, in which case I'll list

The Velvet Underground
Led Zeppelin
Pink Floyd

Eric said...

Wow. You've correctly identified a genre and defined it by example. And added a useful term to my vocabulary. Thanks. I'd make a semisentimental case for Semisonic (for an earlier incarnation, Trip Shakespeare, really). And for the Gin Blossoms, who managed to transcend their own mediocrity for an entire album, which gives me hope. But bravo.

Amanda said...

I think I'm going to have to play the Gin Blossoms on my show in January. Damn you all... this should not be making me so sentimental...

Brian said...

Whispers at the bus stop
I heard about nights out in the school yard
I found out about you