Tag Archives: smashing pumpkins

Reliving the ’90s Through 15 Music Videos

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!

One of the major themes that’s emerged from our deep exploration into ’90s music is the link between music and film. Many of us first came to our favorite songs (or several Elastica songs) by hearing them used perfectly in a movie or TV show and, in turn, directors first made themselves noticed by directing some kind of calling-card music video. These intersections really stuck with us; just look over our ’90s song list and see how many of us couldn’t help but talk about the music video when writing about the song.

Now, that cycle is mostly missing a link. Music videos aren’t the cultural drivers they once were. It’s not that there are no videos anymore; it’s just that there are so many other kinds of videos, all vying to eat up our attention and go viral, that music videos no longer get prime placement. I mean, who can focus on them when there are cats vs. shadow cats? Now and then, a music video may break through to the public consciousness—I’m thinking something like the “Single Ladies” video, or “Fancy”—but it’s not like the days when people would come home and turn on TRL.

So, it’s worth going back and revisiting what the 1990s music-video scene was like. I’ve chosen 15 to look at here. I didn’t just want to go and pick out the videos from our Top 90 songs—you can see most of those right in that list. And I didn’t want to talk about the same videos that everyone talks about in the best-of video lists, basically the ones included in the Palm Pictures Director’s Label series. If you haven’t seen those, you definitely should watch all of them. They’re amazing. But you don’t need me to tell you, yet again, that Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry are the best video directors out there, and no one needs another list that says that video where the dude is running and on fire is pretty boss.

To recap: These aren’t the best songs of the ’90s (at least according to this website) OR the best videos of the ’90s. But that’s the thing about that decade: You can lop off the top of the iceberg and there’s still so much left to talk about. So, let’s begin.
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TRACK MARKS BEST OF 2014: “Goshen ’97” by Strand of Oaks

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.

This week, SportsAlcohol.com writers are recounting the best music of 2014. Today’s Track Marks focus on individual songs from albums that didn’t make our collective top five, but did appear on our individual best-album ballots.

Here’s how I heard about Strands of Oak and came to buy their newest album Heal:

1. A friend sent me a link to the song “Goshen ’97.”
2. I listened to the first thirty seconds of “Goshen ’97.”
3. I bought the album.

I’m not sure I’ve ever gone from literally never having heard of a band to buying their album that quickly. Such is the power of “Goshen ’97,” a song where the guy from Strand of Oaks sings about being a teenager, singing Smashing Pumpkins by himself, and futzing around with a tape machine. This sounds gently nostalgic on paper, whereas in the song it sounds approximately as triumphant as punching through a fucking volcano.

Due respect to the dude from Strand of Oaks, but the music video for this song is all wrong. One of the biggest opening stomps in any rock song I’ve heard in ages, and the video opens on an image of the dude sitting on his bed, smoking, mostly naked, and looking sad. Even when it cuts over to some roller-skaters, Mr. Oaks is still just sitting there like he’s fucking Sam Beam or something. I know the song goes, “I was lonely but I was having fun,” but the video seems like it only heard the first part. Eventually there’s some slow-mo thrashing, but no, I’m sorry, it’s not enough. This video does the worst thing any music video can do: it fails to capture exactly how I personally feel while listening to this song. For me, “Goshen ’97” is the sound of the exhilarating desperation of being alone. It’s just you, some guitars, and possibly the volcano you just punched through.