It’s 1996 and I’m 34 years old. ’96 is an awful year for music. At least for me. There’s a whole bunch of IMO second rate bands pumping out lousy rock that the kids of that era seem to really love.
These bands didn’t grab my attention. So was I just becoming an old fart, out of touch with the scene or could I simply discern that the music was crap?
Well, the success of these bands seemed short lived and today they’re mostly forgotten. So I tend to go with the “just crap” hypothesis.
The Beatles (sort of) released the Lennon post-mortem reconstruction of “Free as a Bird.” I remember hearing that and feeling some nostalgia but also that it wasn’t quite right. Proof positive that Elton John and Bernie Taupin were wise to say:
And you can’t go back and if you try it fails ~ The Captain and the Kid
No Doubt released Tragic Kingdom which I enjoyed at the time but not so much today. And Oasis had a hit with “Wonderwall”—another one I liked then but not so much now. Listening to that tune last night I was amazed at how Liam Gallagher’s vocals ingloriously drift off-key when he holds a note.
Yes, I understand that “detune” is cool in EDM but was he doing that on purpose or is he just a crummy singer? I guess a hit is a hit. So he must have known what he was doing. And as I say, I liked it when I was younger.
I don’t remember too much from my personal life for ’96. Probably just working my butt off on the Ph.D., a few friendly and romantic dates here and there, and taking long walks, checking out Ottawa mostly on foot.
I do remember talking to a lot of street people and watching their natural progression from say, just losing their apartment to becoming homeless babes in the urban woods.
I learned a lot from talking with those street people—musicians, drifters, and drinkers, alike.
It was sad and I sometimes tried to help. But after getting scammed by one operator I started giving less and less, with a few exceptions. I guess what I learned most from my long interactive walks is that street people are individuals just like anyone else. No stereotypes really apply to any of them.
Anyhow, my fav song for ’96 wasn’t an obvious choice. I really only recall the hook when Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip sings “You are ahead by a century…”
Gord Downie is a hero in Canada. A very brave guy. With terminal brain cancer, he kept performing and advocating for Canada’s First Nations communities, trying to shed some light on one of Canada’s dirty little secrets.
Personally, I think there are more dirty little secrets in Canada. But only time can bring those to light.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. But I look at it as a physician would look upon a desperately sick nation. No cure without first identifying the disease.
So with that said, hats off to Gord Downie, a great Canadian in line with other heroes like Terry Fox and all those who sacrificed their lives or health in the line of military duty, fighting to ensure our country remains “The True North Strong and Free.”