As I mentioned in my previous post, the next couple of years are pretty Weird Al heavy. But behind the comfort and safety of the known, I started to become (slowly) aware of popular culture. More specifically, the popular culture of Video Hits One (also known as VH1). 1993- I'm 9 years old. Jurassic Park is out and is my favorite movie of all time. I'm in 3rd grade, and there's only one thing I want for my birthday:

In elementary school, birthdays are a special time where the whole class stops and acknowledges your existence. I chose to use that bully pulpit to make everyone sit down, eat a cupcake, and listen to "Will You Be There"* together as a class. I don't know why my teacher let it happen, but I'm sure everyone was equally excited to sit there listening to a choir back Michael Jackson as he sang a love song to a whale.

*Am I crazy to just now be noticing that the title of the song starts with "Will Y.."?

The next couple of years are great. I'm old enough to be introduced to new music and to form attachments to it, but I have no concept of "cool" yet and just like some random weird stuff. 

You can see some trends start to emerge in my musical tastes. Here are some random categories of songs that won my heart in the following couple of years of radio singles:

  • sunny nonsense pop songs
  • songs where the singing is very fast
  • songs with an inspiring message or sound

1993 was a year of inspiration. I don't really know what a nine year old needs to get inspired about, but I relished every opportunity to pump myself up. Any song with a positive message or sound went a long way with me, and when I found one that did the trick I would generally listen to it repeatedly until the effects wore off. I don't know if this is normal or not- I've never really talked about it with anyone, but from this point on I sort of trained myself to become a music adrenaline junkie. Adrenaline might not be the right word- it doesn't necessarily have to be an agressive or fast song, but there's some chemical reaction there that I learned to tap into that would literally induce a musical high. I guess it's closer to getting goosebumps than an adrenaline rush, but whatever it is, some of these songs still do it for me. Anyway, weird tangent over. Inspiration!

Obviously, the Free Willy song is very inspiring. Also, remember this song? (also has a choir)

Inspiring sounding, if not in message. I have no idea what that song is actually about.

Finally,  and most importantly in the category of songs with an inspiring message:

note: the sound for this video is out of wack in order to prevent Garth's copyright hounds from taking it off of youtube. But you should still watch the video and remember the song.

This song (and video) are so great, for so many reasons. Here are a few:

  • It's so insanely earnest. He's dead serious about what he's singing about.
  • The song is from the point of view of a man who is about to do something risky, probably for love, and I get to live vicariuosly through him. (INSPIRING!)
  • It uses a trick that works for me every single time- song that slowly builds to a bridge peak, and then most of the stuff drops out and you get a very stripped down version of the chorus before everything kicks back in. A love of dynamic shifts stick with me to this day. 
  • Bonus points for everything being on fire around him in the video
  • Double bonus points for how intense the plot of the video is.

9 Year old me got a lot of inspiration out of this song, and helped me succeed in '93. 

One other thing I'd be remiss to leave out: 

I really liked this song, but what I LOVED was a split second single vocal effect that they do the last time through the chorus. If you don't  want to hear the whole thing, jump to 2:20 or so and wait for the thing at 2:29. That single production decision made this tape a must have.

Up Next: More weird stylistic singles, the family gets a cd player, and I discover 80's radio.

Add new comment