Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A College Soundtrack of...Whatever!

All right cats and kittens (did I really say cats and kittens), it's time for another edition of the whatever feature affectionately known as “Whatever Wednesday”. And this Wednesday, I have got a real treat for you. I've drawn a Clue character card that I haven't drawn in quite some time, and I've also developed quite an interesting blog entry that sort of draws inspiration from a Thursday Diary entry even though I didn't draw the Thursday Diary card for today.

Are we all different shades of confused yet? Don't worry. It will all make sense.

Now, as you know, each Clue character corresponds with a different theme day in the blog. And when I first started this feature in September 2013, the very first card that I drew was the Miss Scarlet card, which is linked to the Sunday Jukebox.

Funny thing is that until now, I never drew the Scarlet card again. So, because I did draw the Miss Scarlet card this time, I wanted to make it a rather special, yet personal blog entry.

And I believe that I have done exactly that.

In fact, instead of just one song...I'll be posting quite a few different songs within this piece. They are songs that you may or may not care for, but they are songs that I feel the need to discuss as they have some personal meaning for me.

And, ironically enough, the vast majority of these songs can be found on the compilation album above. The album is called “Now That's What I Call Music 6” (American version), and it was released in April 2001. That's quite the significant date in my own life and times.

You was the month in which I finished my first year of university – you know, the university that I ended up leaving in 2002 for personal reasons of which eleven years later I'm still trying to make sense of. And, it was also the month in which I felt bittersweet feelings.

You know, I've talked about how when I was in primary and secondary school, I had some rather life-changing experiences – and not good ones at that. I was the outsider always looking in, and I always felt like the eternal outcast. Years later, I still try to understand what it was I did that could cause those kids to be so incredibly cruel and mean to me, and to be honest, I probably will never get that answer.

Now, you contrast that to being in university, and it was a completely different experience whatsoever. Everybody was warm, welcoming, friendly...and I'll be completely honest...I was actually kind of taken aback. I was actually thinking that I had just stepped into what I believed was an episode of “The Twilight Zone” because I wasn't used to being treated so nicely.

(Then again, I did have – and continue to have – self-image problems. That whole first week was sort of the beginning of those deep emotional scars healing...even if I wass a little scared of the whole experience.)

As I grew comfortable with the people who lived with me on my dorm room, it became a lot easier for me to come out of my shell – albeit slightly. I suppose if you wanted me to compare myself to a particular cartoon character, it would be that little walking egg from U.S. Acres...I think Sheldon was his name. I was the person who was sociable and friendly, but always kept a wall up for fear of getting hurt again.

Well, aside from that one instance in which the organization that ran the school newspaper that I worked at screwed me, I had a fantastic time at university. Every single person who was on that dorm room floor contributed to the healing process that I really went through that first year of university and beyond, and even though my university career didn't go exactly the way that I had planned, I will always see that school year of 2000/2001 as one of the happiest times of my whole life. And, no matter where I am in this life, I'll always have that happy memory to hold on to whenever times get rough...that no matter how hard things get, that there was once a time in which people really cared.

Fortunately, I'm in a place in life where I absolutely know who my friends are (and recently, I've also found myself in a place in which I've had to cut people out of my life because their friendship was far from genuine). I guess that's all a hidden benefit of growing older. You start to make better judgment calls in who you want to open yourself up to and who you want to keep the door closed for.

(And, for all of you reading this now, if you think I'm more than open enough for this blog, you have absolutely no idea what I think about when I turn the blog off for the day!)

So, for today's blog entry, I thought that I would share some of the songs that were playing on the radio during that unforgettable year. Again, some of these songs you might love, and others you probably won't. But all of these songs are very meaningful to me. Back in those days, all I had was a cheap little CD player that was tuned into a Top 40 station from Ottawa (I believe that it was KOOL-FM) that I listened to while doing homework assignments on what was then a seven-year-old computer that still operated with a dot matrix printer.

(I couldn't afford a new one back in those days. Imagine the buzz that would have happened had I still had my electric typewriter that I used in high school!)

So, let's stop babbling on about how poor a university student I was, and start talking about some of the songs that kept me sane while writing term papers and enjoying life for the first time in...well...ever. And, because I now have an iPad mini and am now realizing that music videos don't necessarily show up if you are viewing it on a mobile device, I will also post the links to the videos as well. Just click on the song title to access them.

They play this song quite often on the workplace loudspeaker stereo system that plays pre-recorded music (that's literally the best way I know how to describe it), and every single time I listen to it, it takes me back to those days in which I was slaving away on a term paper for one of my classes. This song played a LOT on both Canadian and American radio – eventually making it to the #4 position on the Billboard charts. And, believe it or not, I had absolutely no idea that Samantha Mumba was even Irish until I saw her being interviewed on MuchMusic and her distinctive brogue came out. Colour me completely shocked.

As far as the song itself goes, it's just a typical love song. And, I do apologize for the video's quality. The video itself is backwards posted, and has poor sound...but alas, it's the only video I could find of the song. Regardless, this song has great meaning for me – perhaps it's one of the few songs that can really transport me to that time in which I had so much fun and excitement as a then 19-year-old. And, truth be told, that song has a permanent spot on my music playlist.

Okay, next song.

You know, I'm going to be completely honest. I'm not exactly the biggest Coldplay fan in the world. Everyone complains about Nickelback's music all sounding the same, but I happen to have the same opinion about Coldplay's music. To me, every song sounds the same. Not exactly a band who I will rush out to go and see one of their concerts, but I do respect them as musical artists and I do respect the fact that they have sold millions of records all over the world.

And to their credit, their North American debut single “Yellow” was a song that I heard quite often when I was in school. In fact, it was one of those singles that for whatever reason played at every single bar outing, every single college party, and every single social event that was held on campus that I attended.

And it then dawned on me...when did I EVER go out to parties when I was in high school? Never. So the mere fact that I did go to parties and had a great time at them kind of brings a positive memory of a song by a band who I really don't listen to all that much. Or, maybe it was the fact that I was completely drunk that made me think I was enjoying them.

(I got all of that binge drinking and partying out of my system by the time I was in my early twenties, though. It was kind of one of those “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” things. Luckily, all of this took place at the on-campus bars, so I could get home without any problems.)

Okay, next song.

Ah, yes. Pinch Me was another song that brings me back to the days of university life. And you might be surprised as to why that is.

You see, when I initially went to school, I wanted to do something that I never got to do in high school. I wanted to do at least one extracurricular activity in my college years. It wasn't because I didn't want to do any activities in high was because I felt as though I wasn't welcome to participate in them because I felt as though I was persona non grata in high school. So, I was making up for lost time.

And although that experience with the school paper ended on a sour note, it started off extremely well. In fact, the Barenaked Ladies ended up being my very first assignment!

Though not what you think. I never interviewed them. The closest I've ever gotten to them was when I saw them perform at Riverfest in 1996. But I did review their CD “Maroon”, which happened to contain “Pinch Me”. Needless to say, in order to do the review justice, I listened to the disc over and over again, so that's probably why I've included this single in my university playlist. It reminds me of the first newspaper article that I've ever had published. Mind you, it was in a residential paper that nobody ever read, but it was something!

Upon retrospect, I remember giving this CD a not so nice review which I regret doing now because listening to the Kylie Minogue album “Light Years” again that I reviewed some twelve years ago (I still have all the CD's I reviewed), it wasn't as bad as I thought.

(Though I still admit that I will never list “Loveboat” and “Your Disco Needs You” as any of my favourite songs this century.)

But as I recall, one of the highlights of that “Light Years” album was this single. “Spinning Around” only really ever charted in the UK and Australia (despite it being written by former pop starlet Paula Abdul), but the message of the song was quite profound. It was all about making transitions from old to new, and Kylie sings about changing her wardrobe and leaving the past behind, and how a bright future was in the horizon – and how everyone who was there to stop her should get out of her way. Man, what an anthem for the freshman college student, isn't it? Granted, my future plans made quite a few detours along the way, but I think it's a perfect song for people who are embarking on a new journey (as I did back in the fall of 2000).

You know, I'm not even going to comment on the fact that this song has both a clean version and a version. I heard both playing on the radio right around that time. Come to think of it, it was one of the more frequent songs that played out of my roommate's boom box (well, when he wasn't playing “Sublime's Greatest Hits”). Surprisingly enough, we were one of the only pairs of roommates who made it through the whole year, so our different tastes in music clearly wasn't a factor.

What the hell though. Looking back on it, it's an okay song. It's certainly a lot better than some of the so-called “pop music” that seems to be on the 2013 charts.

I'm looking at you, Miley Cyrus.

The only song that I've already done a blog entry about previously, this song could very well be the theme song that best describes “Frosh Week 2000”. We were all divided up into groups based on what floor we lived on, and our group was known as the Taipan Snakes (the theme of the Frosh Week was C.U. Down Under, which meant that all the groups were named after Australian wildlife. Taipans, Kookaburras, Bandicoots, know). And as part of the festivities, we had to come up with a lip-synced dance number based on a popular song.

Our group chose this Britney Spears song. And our Britney had a goatee. Not as large a goatee as the guys from ZZ Top or Duck Dynasty have...but it was quite significant. Yeah, the members of our group who did participate looked like fools...and in the long run, I think that we ended up coming in dead last. But whenever I hear this song playing anywhere, I always think of that guy with the beard dressed up like Britney and I chuckle to myself. Especially since that guy would become a huge part of the campus presidency just a year later!

And, to close off this blog entry, a song that describes all of the days that I had back when I was in that first year mass communications program. And hopefully if all goes well, I can add even more beautiful days to my future.

Here's BEAUTIFUL DAY by U2. Enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment