Friday, June 26, 2009

Children of the 90s One Hit Wonder Mash-Up: 1993

1993 was a highly varied year for one-hit wonders, with a great span of genres coming to the forefront of popular music. These songs ran the gamut from whiny to contemplative to club-thumping without skipping a beat (well, occasionally the club-thumping ones did, depending on the DJ).

Without further ado, the most memorable and enduring one-hit wonders of 1993:

I'm Gonna be (500 miles) (The Proclaimers)
Nothing's sexier than a guy with an accent. Unless, of course, it's two guys with accents. That look exactly alike. Oh, except if that accent is Scottish. I don't know about all of you, but I had to watch the movie Billy Elliot with subtitles. I've heard rumors it was in English, but I couldn't understand a damn word these Scots were saying. I suppose if you've got guys as lust-worthy as The Proclaimers, indecipherable accents aren't that important. After all, these sexpots sported the same eyeglass frames as my grandmother. Swoon!

Sure, they may not have been your typical young male pop act, but they certainly had some form of mesmerizing charm. Their uncanny ability to sing in perfect snappy staccato unison was a marvel all of its own. I didn't have to understand the words. I spent the next few years contemplating what exactly it would mean for them to
haver to me. To this day. I'm still shaky on the definition. Okay, okay. I have no clue. But I can only imagine it's something to illustrate commitment in a manner relative to talking a 1000-mile stroll to fall down at my door. I'm pretty sure.

Insane in the Brain (Cypress Hill)

What better place to be insane? I really hate it when a rebellious knee or elbow of mine randomly asserts its psychoses and has to be restrained with mini straitjackets. No, the brain seems like a pretty fair location for insanity to flourish.

Cheap jokes aside, you've got to love that intro. The beat, the rap--they so shrewdly represent all that was fun and non-threatening about 90s hip hop. Also, imagine how many thugs learned such valuable biological terms as "membrane". Before this song's rise to one-hit wonderdom, people would have to refer to the location of their sanity in far vaguer terms. Following its peak, however, we could all pinpoint its whereabouts to the slightly mores specific "membrane". In the brain.

We also were exposed to such brilliant poetics as:

Like Louie Armstrong
Played the trumpet
Ill hit dat bong and break ya off something soon
I got ta get my props
Come and try to snatch my crops
These pigs wanna blow my house down
And underground to the next town
They get mad when they come to raid my pad
And I'm out in the night loose scared

Who doesn't love a good fable or fairy tale reference in their rap songs? Especially when referencing impromptu marijuana raids? Kudos to you, Cypress Hill. Ku

Blind Melon (No Rain)
This is probably the first time I've ever really watched this video, and let me be the first to say that it's totally and completely insane. Everyone laughing at a tap-dancing young girl in a bee costume is undeniably a unique music video plot point. You can't accuse Blind Melon of unoriginality. In fact, their music video actually supposedly inspired Pearl Jam's song, Bee Girl. If your bizarre music video concept is enough to inspire contemplative odes, your concept is probably pretty compelling. Or crazy. Take your pick.

No Rain is an incredibly catchy song. I challenge you to listen to it the whole way through without being at the very least
tempted to sing along. The music is so simple and repetitive that it actually manages to embed itself into your brain's cortical membrane (formerly the location of the above mentioned insanity. See Hill, Cypress.)

In 1993, I performed an ensemble tap dance to "Tea for Two" at my dance recital and was thus convinced that this song (due to its inclusion of the phrase "All I can do, is just pour some tea for two") was somehow related to the jazzy 1925 song from the then-hit musical No, No, Nanette. I swear, if you were 7 years old, it would make perfect sense to you to. A more thorough retrospective examination indicates this song is a lot darker than I'd originally surmised. I was also way off on the tea party quotient.

What is Love? (Haddaway)

Since we just reminisced about Night at the Roxbury a few days ago, it is certainly appropriate to take a look at its trademark tune. This is one of the most repetitive, irritating, can't-expel-from memory-even-if-you-had-one-of-those-Matrix-flashy-things songs in history. Sure, it's got a fun beat. The first time it loops. Then we get to hear it a staggering 50 more repetitions. By the end, it really gives one the urge to start vomiting Jock Jams CDs and sweating out cheap clubbing cologne to purge the song's memory from your system.

The Whoa-oh-oh-oh-ohh-oh-ohhh, oh-ohhh-oh-ohhh, ohhh-oh-ohhh, ohhhhhhhh part doesn't help, either.

What's Up? (4 Non Blondes)
The song's title really fails to do it justice. First of all, the phrase "what's up?" never comes up in the song's lyrics. Ever. Also, it brings to mind those painful oft-quoted Budweiser "WHAZZZZUP???" commercials. In all of their all-caps multiple-punctuational glory.

The general tone What's Up? was just south of Debbie Downer and only slightly north of Suicidal Susie:

Twenty - five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination
And I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this brotherhood of man
For whatever that means
And so I cry sometimes
When I'm lying in bed
Just to get it all out
What's in my head
And I am feeling a little peculiar
And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream at the top of my lungs
What's going on?
And I say, hey hey hey hey
I said hey, what's going on?
Ooh, ooh ooh
And I try, oh my god do I try
I try all the time, in this institution
And I pray, oh my god do I pray
I pray every single day
For a revolution
And so I cry sometimes
When I'm lying in bed
Just to get it all out
What's in my head
And I am feeling a little peculiar
And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream at the top of my lungs
What's going on?
And I say, hey hey hey hey
I said hey, what's going on?
Twenty - five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination

Talk about before its time; 4 Non-Blondes were the original emo. I'm just thankful I wasn't twenty-five at the time of its release and thus joining in on the contemplation of my life's lack of direction. The only revolution I was praying for was a coup against my tyrannical beginning-swim instructor.

Whoomp! There it is! (Tag Team) You have to be at least slightly endeared to a song that opens with a call to "Party People!" You've gotta admit, it sounds like a fun group. Something I would really like to be a part of. Other folks can have their quilting circles and bowling teams. I'm joining the Party People.

Funnily enough, the song was released a mere month after the group 95 South put out "Whoot! There it is." Yep. Whoot and Whoomp. Not only are we not especially original at coming up with titles, we're making up words to boot. I preferred the Tag Team song, particularly because I have a soft spot for responsive shouting in songs such as this:

Can you dig it?
We can dig it!
Can y'all dig it?
We can dig it!

I liked knowing when my part was coming up. It really made me feel a part of the song. Tag Team had sat down and though, "You know, little kids probably want to get in on this too. If we ask them a question, I'm sure they'd be more than happy to respond with a hearty exclamatory reply."

So there you have it. Perhaps these artists' careers didn't flourish much beyond these fleeting glimpses of success, but in the end it seems they have the last laugh. After all, you're probably going to be humming these songs all weekend long.


Little Ms Blogger said...

The Blind Melon always puts a smile on my face. Thanks for posting!

Preppy Girl Meets World said...

I still have 500 Miles on my ipod!

rachaelgking said...

I really wish I could take this blog post in the car with me on my road trip.

Laila P said...

I love that 500 Miles song!

Brandi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brandi said...

I remember most of these and I used to skate at the skating rink to What is Love. That brings back memories.

Hollywood Sucker said...

What a marvelous list! I had basically forgotten about all of those songs but now I remember loving them so.

Anonymous said...

My dad always told me I reminded him of the girl in the Blind Melon video. That made me sad.

Anonymous said...

Awesome list! I love 500 Miles!! Oh, and my friend and I drew a picture of the little bee girl in a bar once, lol. Intoxicated drawing, always fun! AWWW, I was 7 when all of these songs came out. Memories..

Needs Help said...

OH these take me back to middle school dances!!

David Kames said...

I'm going to be gentle, but:
Billy Elliot is set in England, in County Durham.
Only Billy's father - played by
is Scottish - everyone else actually has an ENGLISH accent.

If you enjoy Scottish accents, you may like
The Proclaimers early single "Throw the R Away"

. said...

Wow, I totally remember all of these songs. Great list!

Children of the 90s said...

David: I appreciate the clarification. Now that I think of it, you are completely right--it was the father in Billy Elliot I couldn't understand a word out of.

BZ said...

Whatever, they were all hard to understand. I totally remember when we watched that with subtitles!

And OMG I never realized that What is Love song is sooo long!

David Kames said...

>it was the father in Billy Elliot I couldn't understand a word out of.

OK - how could you understand all those "Norrthun" accents and not the Scottish one? That makes no sense!

Children of the 90s said...

Okay, you caught me. I was just trying to be nice. I don't remember a thing about Billy Elliot (aside from watching with DVD subtitles) because I saw it nearly a decade ago when it came out.

I did watch the video for "Throw the R Away". Very appropriate, thank you. I like the updated glasses as well.

LWLH said...

Great songs...I still sing to What's Up at the top of my lungs in my car till this day

Unknown said...

omg I love this post ...even though I HATED THE 4 NON BLONDES ...oh that song ..that face... I adore Blind Melon though ..and got to see them in concert ..I think they opened for Nirvana ..crazy

Yet said... I still a 90's baby if I don't know these songs? But than again I didn't play them...I just looked at the title...

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call Blind Melon a one hit wonder, but maybe that's because I love them and have both their albums and their greatest hits thing.

What's Up? gets played every single day on the crappy radio station my boss makes me listen to all the time. I HATE that song.

Katie said...

I have all of those in my ipod!

Okie said...

I remember the Blind Melon video vaguely. I actually bought full albums for Blind Melon, 4 non blondes and Proclaimers. I really enjoyed the Proclaimers tape (yup, that one I bought on cassette) and I still have the Blind Melon CD (loaded up on my iPod now) but I traded back the 4 non blondes.

I bought the "singles" of Whomp there it is and Insane in the Brain. No idea where those ended up.

Kim said...

Tag Team's song was my jam back in the day. All of these songs are the type of song easily stuck in one's head.

em said...

"what is love" is my favorite song to jog to.. i jog harder and faster when i hear it because i imagine the head bob.
a lot of these songs are on vh1's greatest one hit wonders special hosted by SHATNER!
also, do you remember "how bizarre" by OMC? and "tubthumping" by chumbawumba? and definitely "lovefool" by the cardigans. i don't know if you've gone over any of these, since i'm new to the blog.

Anonymous said...

Now I've got to go and get my hands on "500 Miles". . .

As for 'Havering', I always assumed it was some weird Scottish slang word for 'throwing up'.

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