dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Throwback: Repeated Threesomes, Term Papers, Erasure And The Book-End Of Generation X

This ongoing "Throwback" series comes to somewhat of a turning point—but by no means an end—today. It's a weighty triumvirate of events to attempt to put to words, but I'll zip it all up in one package, somehow.

****
Friday, April 8, 1994—fifteen years ago today. I was really jazzed to see the movie Threesome, which opened that day. Christ, remember when the idea of three college students having a three-way could pack 'em in theater seats? I guess having just turned 20—and having lived a pretty innocent life up to that point—it was enough to snag me.

Friday morning, off to school in my blue 1987 Dodge Shadow, a metal beast that had trustily withstood several Pennsylvania week-long snow storms and ramming into the bumper of another student's parked car earlier that semester.

After Jogging—yes, that was really a class—I popped into the college library, where a couple friends were waiting for me. That's where I was when I found out: Kurt Cobain. Suicide.

Rush home. Turn on MTV.Hour after hour, news on Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. This was pretty big.

****
Friday night. My friend Meg and I went to see Threesome. That semester, the two of us saw a slew of movies: What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, Short Cuts, The Piano, PCU, Blink, With Honors, The Crow. Actually, The Crow we caught the week after finals, in May.

You know, it's funny...I watched Threesome last year on my old VHS copy I had stuffed in a drawer. It really didn't stand the test of time very well. But somehow, in my anticipation to finish off my last two months of community college in spring '94 before transferring to a real university that fall, watching Josh Charles' character navigate through sexual confusion along with a post-Twin Peaks Lara Flynn Boyle and dirty-hot dumbass Stephen Baldwin (now a born-again Christian in real life who completely disavows this film) struck an exciting chord deep inside D'luv.

Meanwhile, side note: Ever notice how in films dealing with gay shit in the '90s, the guy always had to bed down a girl as well as a guy?

Jesus, I'm ashamed to admit that I actually went again to see the movie the next night. And then Sunday night, too. I think Meg and I were too embarrassed to show our faces a third time in a row at our hometown theater for the same "devious" flick. So that Sunday evening we drove into Pittsburgh and saw it at the Beehive [a now closed-down coffee house/indie theater I'd gone to for the first time just a few months prior.]

I even bought the soundtrack, which had on it Bryan Ferry's "Is Your Love Strong Enough," a then-unreleased U2 B-side called "Dancing Barefoot," General Public's cover of "I'll Take You There"—which surprisingly became a radio hit and modest Top 40 U.S. single—and, appropriately, the 7" edit of New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle." It was a pretty decent soundtrack, and I think that CD stood up better than the movie has. There was also a pretty rad heart-tugger called "Buttercup" by Brad.

****
Kurt Cobain's suicide seeped into every faction of media and popular culture over the next few weeks. Magazine covers like Newsweek and Entertainment Weekly. CNN segments. Tributes on MTV. Generation X had found its immutable loss. And then, at once, Generation X kind of ended. Well, that's open to debate. But in my book, at least, it did.

Nirvana's In Utero had become one of the albums forever cemented in my teenage canon the fall before, but I actually never owned Nevermind until years later.

The nonstop soundtrack while banging out my final papers that April and May (captured in the photo to the right by my dad) was alternately Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream and Nirvana's In Utero.

And, yeah. That's a lot of denim.

****
The following week, I was bounding through the Clearview Mall one night. I kind of liked the new Elton John song, "Can You Feel The Love Tonight," that was beginning to get a lot of airplay at that point. It was from some upcoming animated Disney movie. The Lion-something or other. So, off it was to Disc Jockey.

And, just like six months prior at the same mall, I accidentally stumbled upon a soon-to-be fixture in my pop music-loving history—the single for Erasure's "Always."

Man, I'd completely f-ing forgotten about Erasure. Well, not literally. But they hadn't released a full album at that point in nearly three years. It was pretty cool to champion an overseas pop song that actually bore a hole through the seemingly impenetrable wall of American radio. One that made it all the way to...#20 on the Billboard Hot 100 (Ha!).



****
"All Apologies" became a posthumous Nirvana hit for Kurt Cobain. Unfortunatley, "Pennyroyal Tea," the more emotional track (in my mind) off In Utero saw its scheduled single release hastily scrapped at the last minute in the wake of Cobain's suicide. Something to do with the B-side, "I Hate Myself And I Want To Die." Pretty subtle, eh?

"Pennyroyal Tea" also contains the eerily prophetic lines:

Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld
So I can sigh eternally
I'm so tired I can't sleep
Distill the life that's inside of me


I played In Utero on Monday. I hate to say it, but 15 years later, it doesn't really rawk anymore. Now it just makes me feel kind of sad.

Oh, well. Whatever. Nevermind.

THIS PIECE IS A CONTINUATION OF:
* I'll Remember
*
Return To Innocence
* Coffee, Drugs, Death And Ace Of Base
*
Pet Shop Boys' 'Very' At 15: How Can I Even Try To Explain?
* These Are Days You'll Remember

Labels: , , , , ,

13 Comments:

  • At 9:50 PM, Blogger M. G. said…

    The Threesome Soundtrack is awesome. That's Brad's best song. (On a side note: Stone Gossard is the writer/guitarist for Brad and Pearl Jam [On another side note, my parents' dog is named after Stone Gossard].).

    I think I appreciate "In Utero" more and more each year. I've now reached the point where I consider every song - including the ones I've never really been into - to be brilliant. Where do you go from there?

     
  • At 11:03 PM, Anonymous shaun said…

    Oh, D'Luv, denim head to toe...community colleges...runs to Disc Jockey...me thinkest growing up in Pennsylvania was very akin to growing up in rural Virginia! Great trip down memory lane, as always. Made me think of laying around listening to the Pumpkins, Belly, the Breeders, Pearl Jam, and, of course, Nirvana...which, in turn, makes me think of some of the MTV "buzz clip" commercials that aired during this era...I will always remember this one in particular that had clips of "Today" by the Pumpkins, "Cannonball" by the Breeders, and "Gepetto" by Belly....among others...."Thank you, master, for the buzz!"

     
  • At 1:14 AM, OpenID ToddN said…

    These are my favorite posts of yours. Brilliant. Thank you.

     
  • At 4:39 AM, Blogger Paul said…

    ah the denim. i was heavily into khaki cargoes and denim at the time. how shameful. and me and some renegade mormon buddies snuck out to see the banned by the church Threesome! It was shite basically but because it was taboo it was also brilliant :)

     
  • At 5:41 AM, Blogger Catty said…

    I'm right there with you on so much of this post: 1994 was the year a lot of my gay friends were coming out, so as the resident fag hag I ended up seeing Threesome in the theatre far too many times. Loved the General Public cover and "Always" remains my favourite Erasure song ever.

    Can't believe Stephen Baldwin is a born-again Christian. What a waste.

     
  • At 6:18 AM, Anonymous EQ said…

    Wow D'Luv thanks for the Flashback - "Threesome" was my "coming out" movie. I forced all my closest friends to go with me to the cinema to watch it which was then preceeded by a "I felt similarly to Eddie" conversation at our local Red Robin afterwards. No huge shocks from my friends, but that movie and the soundtrack is really special to me. I still laugh my ass off when Alexis Arquette tries to kiss Josh Charles....

     
  • At 7:43 AM, Blogger xolondon said…

    I love that your Dad took these random pictures of you, which have taken on significance for their little clues about how we lived backed then (that typewriter!).

    I think Stone Gossard still had his "flolopping" grunge hair at this time. Le sigh.

     
  • At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i hope that baldwin's hairstyle in 3 sum never comes back.

    "so 90s!!! SO 90S NOW!!!!"

     
  • At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Heidi Montag Fucked Your "Teen Spirit" Generation said…

    Kurt Cobain? WHO?! More Fergie Ferg, please.

     
  • At 5:00 PM, Blogger Joshua said…

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_nw8fcHV1bdE/Sd0xFTotPDI/AAAAAAAAF1o/eCAGHCfcsyg/s1600-h/Me20.jpg

    O
    M

    G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     
  • At 4:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Dancing Barefoot" and all the other songs had been released... but none on CD. That was the concept behind the sountrack release: rarities from good bands available for the first time on CD.

     
  • At 8:16 AM, Blogger suzi said…

    Blogs are so interactive where we get lots of informative on any topics...... nice job keep it up !!
    _____________________

    Buy term papers

     
  • At 6:47 AM, Anonymous Term Papers said…

    Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

     

Post a Comment

<< Home