How Bizarre: How the Hell Are These Songs All 15 Years Old?
Nineteen ninety-seven may have been one of the most magical years in trash-pop history. You had the Spice Girls, Hanson, Shania Twain, Puff Daddy, Toni Braxton and Aqua burning up the radio as old-timers like David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and Elton John made returns to the charts.
Well, it took Princess Diana to die for Elton to get a hit song that wasn't attached to a Disney movie, but whatever.
I think that was also the year that I embraced the inherent shittiness of pop music, even as I tried to impress my friends by buying the newest albums from Cornershop, The Verve, Elliott Smith and Daft Punk. For you high school kids, Daft Punk was like dubstep but slower, chiller and more disco-like. You would hate it.
Lest we forget that that year also held Radiohead's OK Computer, the self-titled Portishead album, The Flaming Lips' Zaireeka and Yo La Tengo's excellent I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One. Just this week I listened to the Chemical Brothers' Dig Your Own Hole, released in late March 1997, a handful of times.
There were hours and days spent reading various 'zines, SPIN and Rolling Stone, when the Internet was just a shaky, jerky, primitive option, and not a mandatory evil like it is now.
There are a few dozen songs from that year that some of us cannot let go of, even if they are the most sugar-laden corn balls to come from the hit factories in Sweden and Los Angeles, or hipster flophouses that wound up scoring left-field hits.
Mase, "Feel So Good": Mase, the future preacher-man. Puff Daddy, the future Diddy, Ke$ha overlord.
Puff Daddy & The Family (feat. Faith Evans & 112): "I'll Be Missing You": Jesus, I forgot how long the opening of this song was on record. And also, for the millionth time, why did Puff wreck his bike like that?
The Notorious B.I.G., "Hypnotize": One of the head shops in Houston used to use this song on radio adverts, and I always momentarily thought that the Buzz had relaxed its Nirvana-every-30-minutes policy.
Sugar Ray, "Fly": How would we have known that in 15 years lead singer Mark McGrath would briefly date Madonna and become a sort of Ryan Seacrest Lite? (Who's Ryan Seacrest?)