Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What's Rickey Listening to on His Way to Work?

In this column, Rickey will periodically update you on what music is revolving in his car’s compact disc player as he navigates his way to the office. Some material may range from noteworthy to foot-stompingly awesome, while other material Rickey may have blindly downloaded and listened to for the first time this morning. It’s a mixed bag of good and bad which Rickey will listen to and report in on periodically. If being hip is your thing, then proceed onward and feel free to adjust your musical tastes to align with Rickey’s.

You know what’s fun? Getting all nostalgic and deciding to catch up with a 90’s alternative rock band only to be sorely disappointed. This is what happened to Rickey when he figured he’d see what Collective Soul is up to these days. Remember Collective Soul? They were a moderately popular band when Rickey was a teenager. Rickey clearly remembers standing in a music store at age 14, trying to decide whether to buy Live's "Throwing Copper" or Collective Soul's "Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid."

Rickey went with the Collective Soul album (hey look, at least he didn’t pick Toad the Wet Sprocket) and the rest is history. For the rest of the 1990's Rickey had to sit back and watch Live become successful and popular while Collective Soul became bland(er) and uninteresting. Clearly, Rickey had chosen poorly. Look, you know you’ve picked a seriously bad band to follow when you hear one of its singles (“Run”) playing on the soundtrack for a James Van Der Beek football movie.

But then of course Live also fell hard from grace and now in the year 2007 it is equally embarrassing for one to proclaim themselves to be fans of either band. But Rickey sheepishly stands behind his decision at the time: Collective Soul was arguably a fairly decent post-grunge singles act. We apologize to anyone whose sensibilities this offends. More importantly, there’s still a chance, however slim, that Collective Soul could get their shit together and become a decent modern rock band once again.

This is what motivated Rickey to give Collective Soul’s new album, “Afterwords,” a listening to during his drive to work this morning. And we’re sad to report that it’s completely godawful. Below are the lyrics from the first song Rickey played on the album:

You're all that I know
When the sun goes down
You're all that I know
When the sun comes
Rising like the devil in me
And when tomorrow wakes
It's sure to show
You're all that I know

And this is when alarm bells started sounding in the back of Rickey’s head. We’d like to think that when they sing “You’re all that I now/When the sun goes down” they’re talking to a woman, but we’ve got a creeping suspicion that they’re actually addressing the big man upstairs. Don’t believe us? Well then, read this:

Yeah you give up some days
When the tears they must flow
But God is always your strength

Um, yeah… Forget the trite lyrics and hackneyed rhythms—what really irks Rickey is that he was bamboozled into listening to a Christian rock band. Make no mistake, there is no other form of music more cringe worthy and insipid than a group of white guys singing the praises of the Lord in alternative rock format. And there is nothing worse than discovering that the band you enjoyed as a youth has devolved into writing songs that are intended to be heard during Christian Youth Group meetings.

Look, listening to Creed is one thing. Thanks to their music videos featuring candles, rosary beads, and Scott Stapp standing at the precipices of various ledges with arms outstretched in vaguely Jesus-like poses, we knew from day two what those pricks were up to. But Collective Soul? Come on now people. They were one of Rickey’s favorites, which makes this horrific discovery a complete suck punch for Rickey. As far as musical sucker punches go, discovering that a band you liked as a kid has devolved into a pop rock band with religious overtones, ranks up there with John and Yoko’s “Wedding Album,” “Two Virgins,” or “Life With the Lions” (take your pick).

What an awful, awful album. Thank God Rickey didn’t pay for it. But on the bright side, while pontificating about alt-rock atrocities, Rickey dreamt up a terrific new message board handle: “Better than Ezra but Less Than Jake”. So the morning wasn't a total loss anyway.

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Smitty said...

Rickey makes a good point about insipidity.

Kurt Warner and John Kitna are shitty quarterbacks. Ask yourself why.

Egan Foote said...

Egan prefers the radio.

Egan, out!

The Anti-Captain Duck said...

I knew Collective Soul fell from grace when they held a concert at my former employer's office. In Ohio. Needless to say, I went home early that day.

Toasty Joe said...

Ahhh, the mid-1990's. Toasty Joe was finishing up college to the strains of everyone's post-grunge favorites, like Live, Collective Soul, Bush, Candlebox, Blur, Everclear, Silverchair, Third Eye Blind and Matchbox 20. And if that didn't tickle your fancy, there was always Hootie and the Blowfish.

What a mess. At least that era produced Beck's "Odelay" album, which is arguably the best CD of the entire decade.

Haley said...

Better than, that takes me back. I saw them perform at a local college when I was but a wee kitten - a sophomore in high school. In tribute, I named the cat I had to dissect for bio Ezra. Yep.

Mr Furious said...

Too bad for Live, "Throwing Copper" was their peak, so you didn't choose too badly.

I actually just resurrected that CD and installed it in the commute a month or so ago. The good songs still hold up.

Who's got MP3s of Live on MTVs Unplugged? I'd kill for those!


It wasn't like Collective Soul was going out of their way to be subtle...wasn't "Shine" the first hit?

"...Oh, heaven let your light shine down (x4)

Im going to let it shine (x2)
Heavens little light gonna shine on me
Yea yea heavens little light gonna shine on me
Its gonna shine, shine on me
Its gonna shine, come on in shine"


Mr Furious said...

"Odelay" is far and away my favorite Beck, and easily in the Top 10 of the '90s for me.

Mr Furious said...

Toasty Joe, don't forget Seven Mary Three.

Mike said...

This what you get for liking Collective Soul in the first place. I see it as your comeuppance.

The way to go in the mid-90s was the vaguely hip-hoppy and/or somewhat experimental sounds of geeky white boys (see Beck, Beastie Boys, Ween, Weezer, Tripping Daisy, Flaming Lips), or cross the pond for Britpop reverb and echo (Blur, Oasis, et al).

Overall though, we went from Rock's Second Golden Age ('88-'93) to Rock's Nth Shit Age pretty quickly in the mid-90s.

Rickey Henderson said...

Rickey definitely fell onto the Oasis bandwagon. Things definitely went south with that band when they decided to start competing with Robbie Williams.

Fletch said...

I agree with Mike - you deserve this for liking them in the first place.

Collective Soul is the blandest band ever. They're like the oatmeal of bands. Every song of their sounds EXACTLY like the one before it.

I never thought they were awful, just boring. Meawhile, mr. furious was right as well - Throwing Copper was easily Live's apex. The one before was too acoustic and pansy-ish, and Secret Samadhi had a few good songs but sucked overall. I gave up on them after that.