[identity profile] amethysting.livejournal.com

The Freshmen
The Verve Pipe
Villains
1996

This song isn't a difficult one.  It's not like some music that I initially didn't like, but grew to love--music that was difficult because it was hard to listen because it was shocking or an assault on my senses.  "The Freshmen" kind of fades into the background of 90s alternarock.  This was The Verve Pipe's one and only hit and, when it was a hit, it was in heavy rotation on the radio.  At my high school we had a student "lounge" that we could hang out at (I say "at" and not "in" because it was sort of a wide hallway dotted with wooden benches).  The two speakers that hung from concrete pillars in the middle of the "lounge" blasted the current top forty.  We were allowed to bring in our own mix tapes and CDs (I remember this guy brought in a tape of Alannah Myles' 1989 hit "Black Velvet".  It kind of cleared the place out).

All that to say that this song played incessantly in early 1997 and, I hated it.  I thought the speaker came off as a bit of a douchebag.  There was something about the tone of the song that begged to be mocked by my fourteen-year-old self.  The acoustic guitar at the beginning...that gravelly sounds-like-a-billion-other-bands voice...the repetition.  I innately felt the need to sing "For the life of me/I cannot remember..." with the whiniest voice.  This song made me groan and roll my eyes.

Now, I think that the reason I like this song basically hinges on nostalgia.  It really isn't a very good song.  Listening to this song years later, I find that the parts that irritated me make me feel kind of...winsome--like the waves of electric guitar in the background at 3:08 (and following every chorus).  I guess this song isn't an example of how my tastes changed, exactly.  If it weren't for the associations, I would probably still find this song slightly grating.  I love what the passage of time can do though--a line like "When I was young, I knew everything" has morphed from my cue to switch radio stations to something relatable that makes me pause, think, remember.

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