Unpopular Opinions

If you are addicted to TikTok, like some of us…cough, cough, you’ll have probably seen the phenomenon that is everyone using that sound clip from Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” and are probably just as sick of it as I am.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song. One of her best. Not THE best. But in the top three. But like anything else associated with this new generation (what are we at now, GenZ?), they always take something and just run it into the ground and suck the life out of it until nobody can stand it anymore.

For a song that always used to make me stop skipping songs and just settle in and listen, I have snoozed that sucker for probably the next ten years.

I have to admit though I’m grateful. Like Mindfulness/Yoga/Kombucha drinking levels of gratitude that they didn’t choose “Wuthering Heights” for that episode. How I loathe that song. It is shrill, about a book I utterly despised, and the cringe-inducing throw-up-in-my-mouth levels of Darth Vader yelling “Noooooo!” the mass interpretive dance party of dozens of people in red chiffon dresses you can watch on YouTube just demonstrate that there is a Hell and if I don’t straighten my shit out, I’ll be damned for all eternity listening to Kate warble “Heathcliff! It’s me! I’m Catheeee!” until I puke up my spleen and demons do carnal things to it in front of my eyes.

So, if you liked Kate Bush running up that hill. Wait until you get a load of her controlling the weather with “Cloudbusting.” It’s a better song. Or, branch out to Souixie and the Banshees. Sinead O’Connor. Stevie Nicks. Eurythmics. Or even Heart. Chrissie Hynde might just be the Chrissie that Eddie needed to wake up.

Or, maybe just don’t.

Every generation has its own disease

Lately I’ve noticed that 30 year cycle of nostalgia rolling across the internet. I happen to get lots of GenX posts on my For You Page on TikTok. If you are born between 1965 and 1979, you are part of this generation. We are a lot like the Lost Generation, which I’ve always been a big fan of. Only instead of surviving World War One, we survived the Cold War.

Though my classmates and I didn’t participate in air raid drills to duck and cover underneath our desks for fear of nuclear war, the subject was always talked about. Our parents, the Baby Boomers, back then were very into themselves. They were the first generation that really had both parents working. They worked hard. They played hard. I won’t get into it.

GenX is characterized mostly by our cynicism and inability to give a fuck. We’ve been Slim Pickens riding the Bomb for a long time. But one of the things we actually did care about–passionately even–was music.

I was at the tail-end of GenX, and so when my musical tastes ripened, I found more identity in the Alternative and Grunge genres than I did hair bands and the earlier “Classic Rock” though I am not ignorant of their contribution. I’ve jammed out to Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, the Doors, then Slaughter, Cinderella, Ratt, and many others. But those jams were not my…er…jam, I guess, as much as what hit in 1990-1998. What I consider the golden era of GenX music.

But here’s the thing that bugs me. People show how little they know about GenX when they think that Nirvana encapsulates the musical experience. Honestly, before Kurt Cobain died, people who listened to music were mostly tired of their shit. Nevermind had a few good songs but mostly it was a novelty experience of listening to Kurt warble incoherently with some garbage lyrics and stoned out of his fucking gourd most of the time. In Utero was some alienating crap with a few mainstream tracks like Heartshaped Box and About a Girl. Unplugged actually gave them verasity. I mean, listen to Scentless Apprentice, (awesome drum track, but the rest of it is some bullshit). Talking up Nirvana is a lot lot telling a Boomer than Woodstock was the ENTIRE experience of the ’60s.

We didn’t wander around playing Smells Like Teen Spirit all damn day. Most people I knew couldn’t even stand Nirvana until Kurt killed himself. The band itself was on the decline by then, with him hitting the horse pretty hard. When he nearly died in Rio, most people figured that was that.

We had other bands too, like Fury in the Slaughterhouse, Love Spit Love, Edwin Collins, Mazzy Star, Pornos for Pyros, Sonic Youth, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, the Samples, Folk Implosion, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Tori Amos, Nine Inch Nails, Machines of Loving Grace, Rollins Band, the Cure, Pantera, Rage Against the Machine, Live, The The, White Zombie, Oasis, the Cranberries, XTC, Jane’s Addiction, Jesus and Mary Chain, Fat Boy Slim, Concrete Blonde, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, Stone Temple Pilots, Radiohead, Belly, Veruca Salt, and so many others. Those were just some off the top of my head.

Yet everyone on TikTok plays fucking Smells Like Teen Spirit like any of us actually liked that song. On that album alone, Come as You Are and In Bloom were the actual good songs. Lithium was good too. I had the single! On cassette tape! But it was hardly our anthem.

We also had Enigma, Faith No More, Queensryche, and don’t get me started on 90s R&B and hip hop. We had SWV, TLC, Salt n Pepa, New Edition, Bel Biv Devoe, Beasty Boys!, Sir Mix Alot, then Wu-Tang Clan(!!), Arrested Development, A Tribe Called Quest, Skee-lo, Geto Boys, NWA, and a plethora of others.

Maybe it’s fitting for a generation who were labled disenfranchised slackers as we were coming into our own even then that were as associated with a song that was overplayed and we were sick of even then. A whole generation who hates their birthday because all it does is prove that nobody even comes close to understanding us.

GenX huh? I love Smells Like Teen Spirit!

Yeah? Fuck you.

That isn’t us. Anymore than the Boomers are free love in hippie busses with Mamas and the Papas lilting out the windows, or Vietnam just being Fortunate Son blaring out of the side of a Huey.

They’ve tried to capture the zeitgeist of my generation (and failed) a few times in movies. Reality Bites was one. With Honors was another one. I think Singles came close, but that was very niche and very early GenX. Probably one of the best movies of the time was Kevin Smith’s Clerks. It’s childish and jejune, but the entire concept of “I’m not even supposed to be here today!” caught the spirit of my generation. Maybe Pump Up the Volume, but it was a movie about GenX written by Boomers. Sorta like Hackers, which was a movie about computers or something. Honestly it’s just a spoon for Angelina Jolie.

You want a good GenX movie, hit up Trainspotting. Or even Grosse Pointe Blank. The soundtracks alone…

The reason I’m writing this was because I was listening to my Amazon station and Alanis Morrisette came on. Jeez, I probably wore out my Jagged Little Pill album. I used to like playing it when I was doing dishes and folding laundry. I liked a girl in college who looked like Alanis from the video for “Ironic.” “You Oughta Know” was the weakest song on the album too, but it was shocking so it got play. I liked “Forgiven” and “Head Over Feet” the best. To me, Alanis was closer to the rage and heartbreak of the 90s and being GenX than any Nirvana song.

The disillusionment. The angst. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” has somehow ironically become what it was written to make fun of.

Moving forward

The site is back!

Now that life has returned to “New Normal,” I can post here again.

It’s nearly midnight as I type these words. I’m exhausted today from a variety of things and I’m probably too tired to work on the book right now. I find myself trying to catch up again, slowly, but some of the things I was so passionate writing about have faded. What I get down about those times feel almost like they belong to a different time. Maybe that’s the point of this story, to document an era that slipped through our fingers just as it was getting good.

This year has been hard on everyone, I won’t even belabor that point. It’s just a fact. We know it, for global, local, and personal reasons that have affected everyone.

Maybe this book is more than I had thought it would be. Maybe there is another purpose to it. A need to document the end of an era that began in the 1990s and will fade out in the next few years as my generation takes its place in the halls of nostalgia, replaced maybe before the Boomers are by the self-aggrandizing Millennials and the Z’s who have suppassed every other generation on their dependence of electronics.

We are truly another Lost Generation. We were branded X before we even came into our own, X being the unidentified, the Other, the Unknown variable. In taste tests, it was always Brand X against the name brand. There are so many things I enjoyed about the last few decades, which somehow just bled into what we know now. A time that is lonely, sad, and sanitized for your protection.

Say what you will about the election, but we are no longer represented. We are ruled by dinosaurs of bureaucrats who have divided us for political and personal gain. On both party lines. Growing up, I heard that the Revolution Will Not Be Televised. It won’t be. It wasn’t. Maybe it has already been fought and won, and one of these days they will let us know who we are again.

It’s great books that help us identify with an era. Not saying mine will be that, but it couldn’t hurt to put my hat in the ring.

In the meantime, I just write down things that happened, or should have happened, and they will encapsulate what was going on for someone else down the road to read. I hope it is at least interesting. My chances of being published are probably close to zero, but my enjoyment of putting the words down is much, much higher.

This site is going to be a reference to what was going on at the time, so I can come back to it later. If you enjoy what you see here, please hit that like button and share it with someone.