Saturday, August 09, 2014

#1 Songs on My Birthday: 1987-1996

Continuing this series after a week break, I'm just cribbing this explanation straight from Roger: "I have links only to the middle tune, the song of my birthday. You can go to the website and hear the other contenders. If I’ve heard it before, I won’t play it again. If I’ve never heard of it, I’ll play it once. But I won’t listen to the adjacent tunes. My goal: am I happy with THAT choice to celebrate my birthday? Or (as will be the case in the latter stages of the game), I have no idea?" Good distillation. (Roger's posts have better music, though; check out the latest, which goes through the sixties.

Here's my next decade of life:

6/27/87 Whitney Houston "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)"
7/11/87 Heart "Alone"
8/1/87 Bob Seger "Shakedown"

No contest here: "Alone" is one of my favorite songs to this day, and I hate the Whitney Houston song. "Alone" is that kind of semi-operatic arena ballad cheesy stuff that I love, much to the annoyance of most people I know. The Bob Seger song was from Beverly Hills Cop II, I think, right?

7/2/88 Michael Jackson "Dirty Diana"
7/9/88 Cheap Trick "The Flame"
7/23/88 Richard Marx "Hold On to the Nights"

I'm not really a fan of any of these songs. I had completely forgotten the Cheap Trick song until now, but it's all come flooding back. Not the best year of my life, 1988, so none of these really bring back any good memories.

7/8/89 Fine Young Cannibals "Good Thing"
7/15/89 Simply Red "If You Don't Know Me By Now"
7/22/89 Martika "Toy Soldiers"

Well... here we are again, Simply Red. Just like in 1986, you're here with a depressing song that was seemingly played for years and years in time for my birthday. It's easily the best of the three, though I prefer the original 1972 version by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. I remember not dancing with anybody to this song at a junior high dance. I hate the FYC song (all of their songs, actually), and the Martika song is even more depressing, though I remember being briefly excited about Martika's singing career because I had been a big fan of Kids, Incorporated as a young'un.

6/16/90 Roxette "It Must Have Been Love"
6/30/90 New Kids on the Block "Step by Step"
7/21/90 Glenn Medeiros & Bobby Brown "She Ain't Worth It"

*sigh* Goddammit. I'm surprised the Roxette song wasn't number one longer; it seemed like you couldn't go a day without hearing it in the summer of 1990. (To be fair, the Pretty Woman soundtrack was kind of great. Terrible movie, but everyone had that soundtrack.) My cousin Brandi was one of those girls who was into the New Kids to a hugely embarrassing degree, and for far longer than a lot of fans were. Gosh, they were so big with girls of my generation. They had a damn comic book. From Marvel Comics! I don't remember this song at all, and I'm listening to it right now and it is horrible. We are firmly into my Dark Age period, where I wasn't into the current pop culture very much and didn't pay attention to it. Mostly it was because I was horribly depressed for years. But even now, hearing a lot of music from the whole 1988 through 1998 time period, I don't feel like I missed out.

I don't know the Bobby Brown song off the top of my head, so I have to pick the Roxette song here.

6/8/91 Extreme "More Than Words"
6/15/91 Paula Abdul "Rush, Rush"
7/20/91 EMF "Unbelievable"

I remember this song pretty well; my Mom loved it. It had that video with Keanu Reeves which is an extended homage to Rebel Without a Cause. Paula Abdul was a big deal. It's not a bad song (the violin is very pretty), but in this case I'd go with the Extreme song. It's silly, and it's about coaxing a girl to give you a blowie "for love," but it was so omnipresent that to this day I somehow still know all the words without even listening to it, so it kind of defines that year for me. I despise the EMF song with every fiber of my being. I was surprised to find out it was only number one for a week, given how everywhere that thing was. It was displaced by Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)" from Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, the monster hit of the summer (from what may still be the most sloppily-made movie I've ever seen), until that one fell away from number one in September, where it was replaced by another Paula Abdul song. Circle of Abdul.

6/20/92 Mariah Carey "I'll Be There (Live, Unplugged)"
7/4/92 Sir Mix-a-Lot "Baby Got Back"
8/8/92 Madonna "This Used to Be My Playground"

Okay, yeah, I love this song. I did at the time, too. What can I say? It's that kind of Mad punk unapologetic silliness that I always find delightful. Sadly, it's bred lots of college morons who think knowing any of the words makes them hilarious. (Every year out here in college town, someone's blasting that shit like they're the first person who ever has.) I don't care for the other two. No one sang "I'll Be There" like Michael Jackson did, anyway. 26-34-26? Only if she's 5'3".

5/15/93 Janet Jackson "That's the Way Love Goes"
7/10/93 SWV "Weak"
7/24/93 UB40 "Can't Help Falling in Love"

I don't remember this song at all. I barely remember the group. It sounds very much of its time; that kind of New Jack swing era R&B soul ballad revival period. But it's pleasant and sounds enough like old school soul that I like it. I don't mind this at all, especially when compared to the UB40 song (number one until mid-September!), which was an everlasting annoyance that summer. I remember the Janet Jackson song (look how long that was number one), but I can't recall how it sounds.

4/9/94 R. Kelly "Bump 'n' Grind"
5/21/94 All-4-One "I Swear"
8/6/94 Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories "Stay"

Look at that; this one was number one for over two months! Almost the entire summer. Respect. That's a year-defining monster hit. This was the summer I worked at Target, my first regular job, and I heard it a lot on the piped-in music. It's not bad, actually, I just got really tired of it. I don't think I know the R. Kelly song. I prefer the Lisa Loeb one to "I Swear," but I don't mind this one being my birthday song. It's a function of time that many of the things you found unworthy of your time when you were younger often become nostalgic 20 years later. And wow, I just realized this was the number one song when I graduated from high school.

I kind of miss sax solos.

6/3/95 Bryan Adams "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?"
7/8/95 TLC "Waterfalls"
8/26/95 Seal "Kiss from a Rose"

I don't like this song at all. I never really got the excitement over TLC. I despise the Bryan Adams song; that one used to send me diving for the tuner to change the station. "Kiss from a Rose" is one of the greatest songs in the history of all time and space. To this day, I will crank up the volume on that one and just groove with it. One of my favorite memories, which has really stuck with me all of these years, is of heading off to work one morning at Barnes & Noble. For a while, I worked around 6:00 in the morning, so I'd be heading out ahead of a lot of the commuter traffic. That was a dark winter morning; the sun wasn't up yet and there was a fresh blanket of snow that hadn't been disturbed yet. I turned on the car and hit the radio just as "Kiss from a Rose" was coming on, and it was just so perfect; the dark, the snow, that song... that started the day the right way. It's the little moments that keep me alive.

5/18/96 Bone Thugs-N-Harmony "Tha Crossroads"
7/13/96 2Pac featuring K-Ci & JoJo "How Do U Want It"
7/27/96 Toni Braxton "You're Makin' Me High"

I definitely had other things on my mind this year; I don't know any of these songs at all. I don't know if this is the first time I'm hearing this song or not, but I'm really digging it. This is a nice one to end this installment on.

More #1 songs next week!


Roger Owen Green said...

Waterfalls did help produce Weird Al's Phony Calls, featuring Bart Simpson, though.

SamuraiFrog said...

I almost mentioned that, too, but I was distracted by my Seal memory.