Tag Archives: nostalgia

The 90 Best Songs of the 90s (Part 1)

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

We here at SportsAlcohol.com can get down with a good list, but we’ve never attempted one quite so expansive before: a list not just of a band’s best songs, but the best songs of an entire decade: the ’90s, which have been experiencing a major nostalgia boom over the past five years or so, and which we hope to cash in on in a major way with this very undertaking; we just haven’t worked out the specifics of how that will work. In the meantime, you can send us personal checks.

While we wait for those to clear, let me reiterate: yes, this is the biggest list project yet undertaken by this organization. As it turns out, though, even a big list of 90 songs can feel too short when you’re dealing with a whole and particularly eclectic decade. Over 500 songs received votes, and plenty of favorites were left off the final list. Participants were asked to send their ranked lists of the 40 best songs of the ’90s, and the votes (weighted by ranking) were diligently counted in Excel to come up with the list that kicks off today. No adjustments were made for any reason beyond math. No fudging the rules to include a song by a particularly important artist or to cut down on the number of songs by an over-represented ones. This is the list of 22 children of the ’90s, though many of us approach that designation from different ages, directions, and backgrounds.

Today we’ll unveil songs 90 through 51. Tomorrow, we’ll hit 50 through 11. And on Thursday, we’ll get to the top ten. Look for other Best Songs of the ’90s content on SportsAlcohol.com all week, including our biggest podcast ever where a bunch of us got together to hash out this list.

And before we get started on list itself, I’d like to introduce your Best Songs of the ’90s voters. The panel included beloved SportsAlcohol.com mainstays, editors, and contributors whose biographies and past contributions are available at the click:

Chris Adams
Sara Batkie
Jeremy Bent
Jason Forman
Jesse Hassenger
Craig Iturbe
Rob Kuczynski
Marisa LaScala
Sabrina Lauzon
Bennett Morrison
Nathaniel Wharton

Plus these great people I’ll introduce here:

Shelly Casper is an artist, photographer, and teacher.
Sara Ciaburri is a librarian and former DJ.
Kerry Cullen is a fiction writer and editorial assistant.
Derrick Hart is a music fanatic and librarian from Boston by way of Upstate New York.
Michelle Paul is Director of Product Development at Patron Technology.
Lorraina Raccuia-Morrison edits textbooks and makes pottery.
Cristin Stickles is a book buyer for McNally-Jackson who makes New Jersey look good.
Erin Styne is a teacher and mother.
Alex Templeton is a middle school teacher, voracious reader, and writer in Philadelphia.
Bayard Templeton is a teacher, Mets fan, and theater enthusiast.
Jennifer Vega is a birder, administrator, and Mariah Carey scholar.

I am especially proud of two things about our contributors:
1. The gender makeup is majority female.
2. None of us are professional music critics.

Now then:

The 90 Best Songs of the 90s (Part One of Three)

Continue reading The 90 Best Songs of the 90s (Part 1)

Dana from Morphine is sitting 4 feet away from me…

Chris

Chris has always known more about computers than you. You can see the things he made for you at the55.net. You can see the things he blogged about for you at ruinsorbooks.com.

Latest posts by Chris (see all)

[ed. note: chris sent me this email years ago and I asked that we be allowed to publish it as part of our ’90s music rundown because it is the best email I’ve ever received]

Dana from Morphine is sitting 4 feet away from me…

at a cafe.

I see Dana from Morphine all the time.

Dana from Morphine is a carpenter or fix-it dude of sorts.
He does work at the bookstore that my boss owns.
He drives a pick up truck with assorted band stickers on the back.
It is parked outside my office building all the time.
One of the stickers is a Twinemen sticker.
The Twinemen suck.
Compared to Morphine, at least.
duh.

My office is on the fourth floor.
On the fifth floor is Hi n Dry studios.
Morphine recorded and hung out there all the time.
Various Dana from Morphine related projects record there still.
Sometimes i can hear Dana from Morphine playing the saxamaphone.
Often the same thing over and over again.
For a long time.
That is what recording is all about.
The saxophone carries, so often that’s all i can hear.
wahwahwah, through the ceiling.

Sometimes i pass Dana from Morphine on the loading dock.
Or the stairs.
And i say “hi”,
like he’s not Dana from Morphine,
and he’s just some dude, that plasters ceilings,
carrying a baby car seat,
and i think about telling him that i was way way into Morphine.
That when i was, like, 15,
Morphine, was, like, my fourth favorite band,
between, like, TMBG and Weezer.
That i remember exactly where i was,
and what i was doing,
when i heard that Mark Sandman was dead.
But i think about all that for a sec,
and that he’s got a baby carrier,
and ‘hi’ will have to do.

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY IN BROOKLYN (March Edition)

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

They Might Be Giants is playing a show on the last Sunday of every month of 2015 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Marisa and I have tickets to all of the Williamsburg shows that have been put on sale so far, and we will be reporting on each show. Here is the third installment of our TMBG musical biography, arriving just after the next show. We’ve been busy.

They Might Be Giants at the Music Hall of Williamsburg: 3/29/15

1. Dead
This show is a They Might Be Giants Flood show. I do not, even as a TMBG obsessive, disdain Flood, their most popular album. I find, in fact, that a lot of TMBG obsessives seem to love Flood just as not as, if not more than, their less popular albums. I can’t front; it was the first TMBG album I heard. I bought a used copy on cassette at a record store that is so far away from still existing, I could not even tell you. It was called Probe and a fair amount of their stock at the time was cassettes — used cassettes and also some bootlegs. I went to Probe because I was going to London with my family and I wanted to buy a new (used) tape for my Walkman to listen to on the flight. The vague idea was to get something British, but Flood was there and I’d heard about TMBG from Tiny Toons and, I think, my friend Jeff, so I got that instead. I still remember listening to Flood in several different airports on that trip. “Dead” is on the first side which, I recall from back in 1996, is generally better than the second side, but more in the sense that it has more of the immediately catchy stuff. It was still early enough in my TMBG fanhood that I very much looked forward to hearing “Particle Man” on every go-round of the tape. But I didn’t use fast-forward to go through the other songs. – JH
Continue reading THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY IN BROOKLYN (March Edition)

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Concertgoing over the years

Rob

Rob

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

SportsAlcohol.com founders Jesse, Sabrina, and Rob were joined by Sara from Boston to see Sleater-Kinney on their reunion tour. The next day, they reminisced about how great the show was and their history of concertgoing.

How To Listen

      We are up to five different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

    • You can subscribe to our podcast using the rss feed.
    • I’m not sure why they allowed it, but we are on iTunes! If you enjoy what you hear, a positive comment and a rating would be great.
    • I don’t really know what Stitcher is, but we are also on Stitcher.
    • You can download the mp3 of this episode directly here.
    • If you are lazy, like 35 year old who would rather just stay at home, you can listen in the player below.

BEST OF 2014: SportsAlcohol.com

Rob

Rob

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

2014 was SportsAlcohol.com‘s first year of true existence. After years of us joking about the most perfect domain name, I bought it last December and made our first post this past January. Even though we didn’t have much of a plan, things kind of snowballed from there. Branching out from our core group of founders, we got a lot of our friends to contribute articles, blurbs, lists, comments, and their voices (to our podcast). Without checking with anyone else, I decree the following to be the best SportsAlcohol.com content of 2014!

Continue reading BEST OF 2014: SportsAlcohol.com

The SportsAlcohol Podcast: The Replacements and The Reunion Act

Rob

Rob

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

Bands that got back together to play the hits on tour was a phenomena that, like so many things in American culture, catered to baby boomers until very recently. About a decade ago, the Pixies started playing shows again and hipsters in their twenties and thirties suddenly had something in common with all the grayhairs who enjoy the classic rock circuit.

SportsAlcohol.com founders Jesse and Marisa had the pleasure of seeing The Replacements play with Deer Tick and The Hold Steady at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens this past weekend with a bunch of friends. Afterwards, they discussed their uncomplicated feelings of getting into reunion acts in their thirties. What do they want to see and why? They discuss their specific experiences and idealize what they want to see with reunion acts. They were joined by recently-minted SportsAlcohol contributor Ben and future SportsAlcohol contributor Derrick, who has participated in a couple of our music list surveys.

How to listen

We are up to four different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:
You can subscribe to our podcast using the rss feed.
We are also finally on iTunes!
You can download the mp3 of this episode directly here.
As always, if you are very lazy, you can just listen in the player below.


This featured image was taken by Nicole Fara Silver and shamelessly swiped from Rollingstone.com’s review of the show.

TRACK MARKS: “Can’t Hardly Wait” by the Replacements

Sara

Sara

Sara is big into reading and writing fiction like it's her job, because it is. That doesn't mean she isn't real as it gets. She loves real stuff like polka dots, indie rock, and underground fight clubs. I may have made some of that up. I don't know her that well. You can tell she didn't just write this in the third person because if she had written it there would have been less suspect sentence construction.
Sara

The first time I heard The Replacements I was not cool. It was 1999 and I was a shy, lonely twelve year old who had just rented Can’t Hardly Wait on VHS to watch at her grandmother’s house in Michigan. The movie itself was fun but forgettable and, I realized once I’d actually started high school, completely divorced from any of my own experiences. But I’ll always remember the second that opening chord progression hit over the closing credits, warm and inviting as a friend’s arm slung over your shoulder, the drums kicking in soon after, as the images of fake good times and memories scrolled by.

It’s a fairly straightforward song and, given its general upbeatness including the use of some funky horns, a bit of an anomaly in the Replacements catalog, something I learned the hard way after checking out Tim from the library not long after seeing the movie. Young me was unprepared for the more raucous, caustic side of the band but tastes change as we grow older and by the time I was in college I had discovered the pleasures of Let It Be and Pleased to Meet Me, on which “Can’t Hardly Wait” appears. As far as instant nostalgia goes, its Pavlovian effect is unparalleled for me. It’s about another time, sure – nobody has to worry about writing a letter tomorrow or borrowing a stamp when there’s text messaging. But it’s much more than that and it’s all in the title, which also provides the only lyrics to the chorus. “Can’t wait” is tossed-off excitement but “Can’t hardly wait”? That’s pure teenage ecstasy.

This Friday I will be seeing The Replacements in concert for the first time. I’m still not that cool and the show will likely not live up to whatever idea I have of the band from the old records I’ve listened to and loved. They’re not what they were, any more than I am what I used to be. But even so I can’t, well, you know the rest.


The Replacements play Forest Hills Stadium in Queens on Friday. Young old people and old young people will be there.

The SportsAlcohol Podcast: Top 10 Summer Movies of 1994

Rob

Rob

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

Like all the hot websites, SportsAlcohol.com is all about celebrating meaningless anniversaries. Join us as Rob and Jesse attempt to cash in by looking twenty years back in time at the top ten movies of the summer of 1994.

You can subscribe to our podcast using the rss feed. You can download the mp3 of this episode directly here. You can also listen in  the player below.

Going Ape

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

When I think about friends I’ve had throughout my life, one common thread that runs through all of them is the ability to get excited about something. The “something” is only of secondary importance (though I’m sure if you were passionate about something I find loathsome, a friendship might not work out). But the ability to get into something, feel strongly about it, argue about it, write about it, make lists about it, or just generally be about it is apparently something I find important in people.

While it’s essential that you have the ability to get excited about something, it’s even better if you can muster enthusiasm for next to nothing. Which brings us to Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes.

If you recall—and Jesse and Rob get into this in more detail—in the summer of 2001, there wasn’t much to get excited about. Before Burton’s Apes, the big blockbuster-type movies that year were The Mummy Returns, Pearl Harbor, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Fast and the Furious (surprise hit!), and Jurassic Park III. Okay, we also had Moulin Rouge and A.I., but it was a summer of slim pickings. I still went to the movies often, but there was not that much to really rev up the anticipation engine.

With enthusiasm to spare and nowhere to direct it, and being a bunch of kids on college break living out in the suburbs, Burton’s Planet of the Apes became The Thing We Get Excited About among my friends. I don’t really remember how or why it was chosen. (I do have a theory about how suburban upbringings and unconditional love for Tim Burton go hand-in-hand, but that’s a different post for a different day.) I just remember that it was decided: We Will Go All Out for Apes. And we did.

Apes4
I love this photo, and not just because you can’t see me in it. First off, you can see that we got big group to go to the movie in the first place (six in the photo, me taking the photo, and at least one more in the photo below). If this movie came out today, I don’t know if I could scrounge nearly 10 people to go see it unless it had a good Rotten Tomatoes score.

Also, we brought apes! And monkeys, of all sizes. (I’m pretty sure that purple one up front is mine, and his name is John Flansburgh because I bought him at Serendipity 3 after a They Might Be Giants concert.) One of my friends brought an ape so big, I was afraid they were going to make him buy a ticket for it.

Ape2

We were definitely Team Ape. You can’t see it in the photos I think a few of us even drew “GO APES!” on ourselves, homecoming pep rally-style. It didn’t matter that the movie wound up falling into the bottom tier of Apes movies and the bottom tier of Tim Burton movies.

It’s pretty easy to find a friend that will go with you to a critically acclaimed, Oscar-preordained, box office smash. But if you find people who will go with you to a possibly junky, head-scratching Mark Wahlberg vehicle—and bring stuffed animals, and write on themselves, and generally root for the apes, well, then, that’s a friend for life.

Oh, How Things Have Changed

Maggie

Maggie

Maggie is a for-real writer. We're kind of surprised that she would lend her name and her words to SportsAlcohol.com, but we're certainly not complaining. Her first novel, The Cost of All Things, can be ordered here.
Maggie

Latest posts by Maggie (see all)

On September 22, 2004, I had been living in New York for just under two months, after graduating from college in June. I had always wanted to move to New York, so I found a job and did it, without really knowing anything about the industry or field I was getting in to—or, for that matter, without googling my future boss (a major error that would become obvious within hours of starting the job)—and without any friends other than my boyfriend, who had moved the month before. I had found a 6×10 room above a Mexican restaurant, which featured a giant light-up sombrero directly below my window, and I didn’t get along particularly well with my roommates.

Me and the sombrero and the bottom corner of my window, 2004

That day, I watched the premiere of Veronica Mars.

I distinctly remember why I sought it out: A capsule review in the AV Club’s fall TV preview, which I just spent half an hour searching for and does not appear to exist any more. It said something about teen detectives, and hardboiled noir, and that it had snappy dialogue. Sold.

Somehow, in the age before DVR, I managed to get home from my stressful job in time to turn on UPN every Tuesday at 9 PM. Plus I had to make sure my roommate didn’t want to watch TV at the same time. She had her own TV, but since we were splitting the signal, things got wonky if we were trying to watch separate shows in different rooms. It was a different time. No DVR. No pausing. Waiting a week between episodes. The fact that I was the only person I knew who had heard of this show, let alone watched it, seemed like another symptom of the general loneliness and out-of-place-ness that I associated with post-college life.

Here’s an email I wrote to my college roommates a month later, on October 20, 2004:

i’ve recently decided to take up Veronica Mars on UPN (the one network actually worse than the WB!).  it’s brand new, not bad, a sort of buffy the vampire slayer meets twin peaks meets clarissa explains it all, and since it’s UPN, there’s way more drugs and sex than on the regular networks.  who can say no to that?  the first episode featured a weird pseudo-lynching, a flashback where veronica is given a roofie and (presumably) raped, a preppy asshole caught with a buddha-shaped bong in his locker, and a mexican biker gang generally shaking shit up.  and it’s funny!

(All capitalization and double-spacing [sic].)

It’s obvious to me now that I was trying not to overhype the show so that I wouldn’t scare them away. I really, really wanted them to watch, and I blew that carefully faked nonchalance by following up only five days later, on October 25:

btw, I will pay someone–metaphorically speaking–to start watching Veronica Mars.  It’s no fun without having fellow fans.

It didn’t work. Not right away, at least. Ten years later, I’m pretty sure all six of the recipients of my 2004 emails eventually did watch it. But the first evidence I have that someone I know watched the show is from October 7, 2005, soon after the second season premiere. This was my response:

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Finally! Someone! Has! Watched! Veronica! Mars! Quick, someone get my inhaler.

Of course I read the Television Without Pity recaps; back then they were the only recap game in town, and they were especially important before I got a DVR. The write-ups helped me notice and remember things, and they assured me that I was not a crazy person hallucinating an entire show. But I’ve never been much of a social person online, so I didn’t comment, and I didn’t join in discussions, and I didn’t seek out livejournals or other fan outlets. Veronica Mars became something that existed almost entirely in my head.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-30478-1363196987-18

This post is supposed to be a defense of Logan Echolls, since the rest of SportsAlcohol.com is heavily invested in #teampiz (or team anyone else). I am also forgiving and understanding and generally fond of poor Piz, but I am here to tell you why, from my personal experience, the Logan Thing became so overwhelming and satisfying, at least in that perfect first season.

(I call it a perfect season, and narratively I think it’s a thing of beauty, but we should never forget that Paris Hilton was in an early episode. That was something I was careful not to mention in any of my pleading emails to far-flung roommates.)

Watching the show week by week, I (and, I suspect, the other early watchers—and probably even the writers) found my/ourselves genuinely surprised by Logan Echolls. Jason Dohring gave a sociopath a heart in just a few smoldering glances, and the quick-witted chemistry between Logan and Veronica worked.

logan-echolls-profile

If anyone had been around to ask me my opinion of Logan Echolls 2004-2005, I would’ve said he was a monster until after episode 6. Episodes 6-13, he was still a jerk, but one I could understand. Then by episode 18—bam. I loved him. This was pure magic. Alchemy. How on earth could they have managed this transformation?

I think it’s because Rob Thomas and the writers didn’t know what they had until they had it. They watched their own show and they saw what was percolating beneath the surface, and they exploited it. I don’t consider this fan service. First off, no one was pressuring them; practically no one was watching. Secondly, we (the fans) didn’t know we wanted it until it happened, or perhaps right before. How could they have bowed to “pressure,” with the schedules of network television being what they were, and the feelings of the audience changing practically week by week, based on they were giving us? It was smart, savvy storytelling; it was paying careful attention to not just the larger arcs but also the small, charged moments that only happen when the episode is actually shot and performed and edited.

logan-crying-wv-1

Logan surprised us all, including Veronica. If Veronica wasn’t able to allow herself to be surprised, she’d have been a bad detective and a boring character. Noticing Logan like this made her three dimensional. Yes, she could be rigid in her judgments, and sometimes let that blind her to the truth, but she wasn’t a robot. The world hurt her, but she hasn’t closed herself off from it completely. She felt things and noticed them and eventually acknowledged what they meant.

Neither Veronica nor Logan changed who they were at their core when they got together—they only added layers. Logan was an entitled monster and he wanted to protect her. Veronica was bitter and paranoid and she cared about him. Things got more complicated in later seasons, but I believe this relationship stayed central because it showed Veronica’s humanity and vulnerability, and reinforced the idea that even if we thought we had everything figured out, people could surprise us. What had seemed shallow showed depth.

A show on UPN could bring us just what we were looking for.

###

My first year in New York, the first year of being an “adult,” I became obsessed with a show about a teenager solving crimes. Why? I probably would’ve gotten obsessed with it whenever I found it — it’s just the type of thing I like — but perhaps the show’s willingness to show change and evolution as scary but manageable made it particularly appealing. Veronica’s life had changed dramatically. It was still changing. Those changes were rarely good. Inevitably, surprises would come — not just (arguably) good ones like Logan. Things sucked, often, and people were jerks. But Veronica could handle it — she would be okay.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-21695-1363209299-2

In the summer of 2005, I moved out of the apartment above the Mexican restaurant and left the ridiculous job for one I loved. We got a DVR. I started making new friends. My old friends started watching Veronica Mars. My new boss at my new job was a fan. Veronica Mars got canceled, but love for the show would continue to spread. I fell in love with other shows; I discovered ones I’d missed. (I didn’t start watching Lost until the summer of 2006—and it premiered the exact same day as Veronica in 2004. There’s always new stuff to discover! Hooray!)

And now ten years later I get to revisit Veronica Mars, this time in a movie theater with hundreds people (including over a dozen close friends) and tens of thousands more across the country. People listened and watched and noticed. People fell in love.

Veronica Mars has surprised me again.