The 90s ska revival hit at just the time in my life when I was being given freedom to choose my own music, and it also coincided with the rise of mp3 technology. Mp3s were perfectly suited for the short windows of internet access I had, where I could log on for maybe 20 minutes, and make sure that whatever I did could be entertaining for the rest of the day. During this time, I would have long, rambly internet conversations with people on newsgroups, download fanfiction, and grab single songs via random ftp hookups. This music is the music that makes me feel young.
The revival itself is one of the weird things of the 90s where for about two years, we just tried out a different thing in pop. You remember Ricky Martin? He was in the middle of a storm of generic Latin Menudo-Derived pop that lasted about two years and then vanished. The Ska revival was mostly connected to three bands releasing really good, pop-radio quality albums at around the same time. There was Reel Big Fish’s Turn The Radio Off, The Mighty Mighty Bosstone’s Let’s Face It, and Less Than Jake’s Hello Rockview.
Hello Rockview was an album I bought, with actual money, and recorded the CD onto tapes so I could listen to the tracks while I walked around at school on my knock-off brand Walkman. The song off that album that became big was called All My Best Friends Are Metalheads, which is not a bad song, by any means. The thing is, on the same album, we have this:
Nervous in the Alley is one of my favourite songs. It’s a song that expresses a feeling that I genuinely struggled with. If you’re not inclined to listen to the song, or don’t quite get them, the scenario is the narrator standing in an alleyway, during the rain, and witnessing a crime – the liner notes make it more clear that it’s witnessing a mugging. The moment where our narrator has to decide whether they’re going to act, or if they’re too frightened to.
I wonder what I’d fight for.