My second Random Weekend selection is more upbeat than yesterday’s, at least musically. This little blast from the 90s past comes courtesy of Toad the Wet Sprocket, my pick as the best of the 90s alternative bands that dominated that era.
The most depressing thing about today’s SOTD is when I Googled the lyrics, I found them on a site called ‘Oldie Lyrics.’ Have the songs of my late teens and early 20s officially become oldies?
Best Songs of 2013 – #17
I doubt Toad the Wet Sprocket’s lead singer Glen Phillips’ name ever comes up in discussions of great pop vocalists. The band is too much a relic of the 90s to command that much respect.
But I’d rank him right up there. His soothing but edgy tone perfectly serves the band’s rocking material and especially its ballads.
Listening to a new Toad the Wet Sprocket album is like having a friend over for dinner whom you haven’t seen in 20 years.
It’s hard for me to be objective when assessing these guys because the albums they put out in the early to mid 90s made up the soundtrack of my 20s — notably, the first years I spent with my future wife.
Best Albums of the 90s – #10
Dulcinea – Toad the Wet Sprocket (1994)
I recently named Toad the Wet Sprocket as my favorite 90s band so it should come as no surprise that their best album shows up on this list.
Dulcinea, released in 1994, is so good that today’s SOTD marks the sixth song I’ve featured from it, and I featured one of those twice.
Best 90s Artists – #1
Toad the Wet Sprocket
I’ll admit, it was a bit of a struggle to come up with ten bands for a 90s countdown. The decade pales in comparison to its predecessors, whether it’s the British explosion of the 60s, the singer-songwriter movement of the 70s or the New Wave cool of the 80s.
The defining sound of the 90s — grunge — is almost by definition unpleasant to the ear. It’s often more about attitude than sound.
It’s funny how you can know, and even love, a song for years and never really grasp what it’s about.
Maybe you just never take the time to really pay attention to the lyrics. Maybe the music works so well that the singer may as well be singing Chinese for all you care. Maybe the words seem too cryptic to bother deciphering.
But one day you pay a little more attention than usual or read something that makes you see the song in a new light, and suddenly its meaning is glaringly obvious. That’s what happened to me recently with Toad the Wet Sprocket’s ‘Fly From Heaven.’
My wife’s car comes with an electronic woman who talks to us. She is the voice of the SYNC technology that runs the radio. We tell her “Play track ‘In My Life'” or “Play artist Justin Bieber” and she replies “Playing track ‘In My Life'” or “Playing artist Justin Bieber.”
We used to think she was a lesbian because when we set her to random, she always played songs by Sarah McLachlan and Indigo Girls. We’ve since changed up the list of songs fed into the system and now she doesn’t seem like a lesbian anymore.