Growing Up With Chad Kroeger and Spider-man

It’s easy to latch on to the idea of being a 90’s kid – there’s just so much to admire about the decade. There’s this ideal image of the music and culture that makes it appealing to associate yourself with. While my friends and I were born in the 90s, a large amount of our adolescent lives that we could actually “participate with the culture” was the 2000s (the otts, the 00s, whatever you want to call it).

I’ve started reading Colin Meloy’s contribution to the 33 1/3 on The Replacement’s album “Let It Be,” which focuses primarily on Meloy’s experience with music through the awkward years of junior high. “Let It Be” essentially sound-tracked the big memories in his life – school dances, playing on the JV basketball team, not being sure where you belong, etc. It seems like such an appropriate album for a time of transition. This got me to thinking about what particular album I can recall tying with junior high. Even though I listened to my (still) favorite all time band Remy Zero constantly, it pains me to admit that my Junior High defining album was “Music From and Inspired By: Spider-Man.”

Let me iterate that again. The Spider-man soundtrack was like my version of The Replacements “Let It Be.”

These days, it’s really cool and trendy to hate on Nickelback (myself not exclude from this) but it can’t be dismissed that in 2002 Nickelback was a juggernaut and most people I knew at the time thought they were a solid band. As promotions started for the upcoming Spider-man movie, the music video for Chad Kroeger and Josey Scott’s “Hero” was on constant rotation in the morning on MTV and VH1.

“This song is beautiful,” I remember thinking. The rolling snare abruptly being stopped by the booming strum of Chad’s acoustic guitar gave me goosebumps. The imagery of Spider-man swinging through buildings while Chad and the band played on a rooftop felt so serene, like an oil painting or a student art film. Then the vocal’s kick in with the killer opening line.

“I’m so high I can hear heaven, oh but heaven, but heaven don’t hear me.”

Sold. Shut up and take my money, Mr. Kroeger. You’ve made my puberty filled heart melt.

In a routine trip to Fred Meyer I convinced my dad to buy me the soundtrack as we passed through the electronics section. This was the summer before seventh grade. In a month or so I’d be going to a new school where I was totally unknown. Though I was able to make a few friends, I still felt a bit disconnected from everyone else that year. I was able to find my “group” to hang out with a lunch but didn’t see much of my classmates outside of school. Every day on the bus ride home, I’d take my CD case and red disc-man with matching over-the-ear headphones out of my rolling backpack and find the black disc with the orange lettering. Sitting in the back, I’d crank up the music and look out the window or sometimes observe the high schoolers laughing and talking away.

I’d skip the first track usually (the original Spider-man cartoon theme) and go straight to “Hero.” I tried really hard to like the Sum 41 song “What We’re All About” but could never manage it.

On days I tried to make a move on my current crush (which typically involved trying to start some sort of conversation) and inevitably failed it was straight to track 16, “She Was My Girl” by Jerry Cantrell. I didn’t know who Cantrell was at the time, but I thought he captured my angst and longing so well.

“She was my girl. Used to be my world.”

God damn, Jerry, have you been observing my life or something?

When I was feeling particularly angsty (again, usually over girl issues) it was “Learn to Crawl” by Black Lab.

“Tell your pretty red haired babe to forget that I exist”

Black Lab snarling those words over a chunky, melodramatic post-grunge guitar riff made me feel like I was a bad-ass that no one should try and mess with. Beneath by blue and black Nike windbreaker and graphic t-shirt was the heart of real rocker. I began to love music in the obnoxious “oMyGod MuZiK iZ mAi LyFe!” sort of way – infatuation, but not quite yet true love.

At home I’d put the CD in my computer while I worked on my large creative pursuit: Monkey Man comic books. I had a whole franchise planned out in my head including multiple series, spin-offs, and inevitably a major movie deal. At the core, it’s hard to say if Money Man was a spoof of Spider-man or just a blatant ripoff (I mean, being bit by a radioactive monkey is TOTALLY different than being bit by a radioactive spider). I think I played it off as a joke to people, but secretly I imagined Monkey Man swinging through New York on his vine as the bridge of “Hero” trembled in the background.

“It isn’t the love of a hero, that’s what I feel it won’t do.”

Looking back, it’s hard for me to listen to the Spider-man soundtrack and take it seriously. Still, it’s hard for me to dismiss something so pivotal to my early teen years. I may not be jamming out to Black Lab and Nickelback these days but those songs served as a stepping stone to what I listen to now. Chad Kroeger rocking out on an acoustic guitar had a profound impact on impressionable, tiny, naive, middle school Dusty. So Colin Meloy wins this round of cooler middle school jams, but I feel we still have shared the same feelings listening to our respective albums and I don’t think there’s any shame in that. I’ll hold on to this soundtrack like the wings of the eagles, and watch as they all fly away.

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Misinformed Review #3: The 2x’s Band – “Cokesist”

I’m gonna start this review with a personal anecdote because that’s what Pitchfork does and I really want to write like a farmer so be the hell quiet and listen okay.

I remember once I was listening to a band and it was life changing and my life was totally different after that. I saw them in concert in the 90s and nothing is as good as the decades that I care about so this was important to me. I rode my bicycle down the street with this playing on a walkman but no one else could hear cause I was wearing headphones. Then I started whispering.

That segways into why I like this album. I like to whisper and so does the 2 X’s band. If you liked their first album then I guess you probably will listen to this.Their first album had an X on the cover and so does this one. Do you think the band knows that?

That being said, this was a big step forward for the The XXzibit. Instead of playing songs that people stay awake through they don’t do that. This is sad music but also not happy music.

One of the songs that people hear when they listen to the album is “Angles.” It’s acute song.

The next song is “Two chains.” At one point an angsty quiet, dark voice says something and then a slightly higher quiet, dark voice replied. This is a good direction for THE XXX Vin Diesel to go in, they should try to do this more.

Producer and beatguy Jamie XXX IceCubeVersion is really famous now so why does he make music still? He does because there is an ROI in music but not in other businesses. Drake likes him so I like him.

It is weird that the album is all about a beverage like coke. When I listen to The XoXo I normally think of Pepsi and tears drinks.

All in all this is music for smiling to with good friends, kicking back a few beers while playing some pong. I can’t imagine having a better time than listening to songs like “Oar song” and “Reonion” while crying myself to sleep because no one reads my reviews. Why do people not read my reviews? I am so sad and lonely but it’s okay because I have a blog and that gives me purpose.

This album could be better so I’m only going to give it 14 out of 7 stars because they could have whispered a lot more. More whispers means more record sales.

Thanks for reading I am still wondering if I have purpose. Bye.

Misinformed Reviews #2: Mackymore and Paul Ryan – “The Heist”

After years of struggling against all of the odds – rap music finally has its big breakthrough.

It’s hard not to listen to this album and feel all emotions but it is possible. Seattle rapperist Mackymore (real name Mike McGinn) is saying things to a rhythm and I think that is a good thing for music to do and it is also a good revolutionary device to use. I’m not sure if he is the first person to ever do this, but he definitely is.

But Macygraymore is nothing without his second half, Paul Ryan. It’s not uncommon for presidential-elects like Paul Ryan to join music groups but it is especially relevant here because this is in Seattle and I am in Seattle too. He likes to use a lot of beats – sometimes more than one on an album. It’s total math rock for literature majors attending community college – but, you know, rap.

The music on this album is good sounding and the first single “Thrift Stop” is a good anthem about why thrift stores smell like piss and sadness sometimes and why you shouldn’t go there if you are a firm believer in doctrine. The hook is sang by guest artist Ween, but nobody cares about them anymore (am I the only one who still listens to “She Hates Me” and “Blurry” still?).

If there was any reason to listen to this album it is Macaronimore’s commentary on topical issues like his song “Some Love” which is about why love is important but people don’t agree. Cool.

The most dominate theme on the album though is stealing because the album is called “The Heist.” I don’t support stealing but Paul Ryan and Magicmore do and so I say that kids should probably start stealing if they want to be cool and accepted by their peers.

Local soul singer Allen’s Stone is on the album. It talks a lot about cathedrals with lights and that really confuses me so it makes me angry. I don’t like to be confused so I don’t listen to that song anymore.

This album was number one on iTunes but I don’t understand why people didn’t just pirate it because this album is about stealing anyway. Stay on message guys!

Even though this album is rap music and people don’t know about rap music, I think it is nice music for nice times. I don’t know if it will make me a better person, but I think if I didn’t give it as many stars as I could people think I would be a bad person and Seattle would martyr me.

To sum it up, Jesus created this album on the 8th day because he wanted people to hear the struggles of middle america. 25 out of .00001 stars.

Okay thanks for reading goodbye now.