I am going to attempt every Thursday to recall music from my past that had a profound effect on me. Today I have chosen the year: 1991, my senior year of high school in my hometown of Bucyrus, Ohio. Where you live and what music you listen to have a very strong connection on your life. I think to myself sometimes, ‘why was I so into this song? into this album? at that period of time? How was it speaking to me?’ As I do these retro music blogs, I am trying to find those answers.
I begin with a band that I wish would have had a more prolific career but alas, there is only one album of theirs that still to this day takes me back to 1991 like no other. They are School of Fish and their self-titled debut album. I have learned they had a total of 2 albums, the second one in 1993 didn’t do nearly as well as their first and of course, they broke up soon after.
The album School of Fish is alternative music at its best! Every song is a gem and it covers angst and frustration quite well. As I stated before, I was a senior in my small Ohio hometown and I couldn’t wait to get the fuck out of dodge at the time. Every day I was counting the days down cause I was going to be the next big actor. I was going to move to NYC or Hollywood and make it big. (Ah the dreams of an 18 year old and how no one can tell you anything cause you are 18 and know everything..)
There is a line in the song “Speechles” : “And in my one room apartment/High above this town” I would picture myself living in NYC, far away from my boring little Ohio town. The album itself is mostly depressing in lyrics but somehow it wasn’t depressing to me. It made me want to go out and explore the bigger cities. I also didn’t drink or do drugs in high school so this album kind of glorified drugs and alcohol..once again, in a depressing manner but it didn’t stop me from daydreaming about all that!
The main hit off the album was “Strange Days” (also known as “3 Strange Days”) and it’s just a great song basically about being fucked up for 3 days. But there is one line in the song that gave me inspiration: “I’ve got to make it through/No matter what it takes/Oh I’ve got to make it through/These strange days” I knew there were new experiences ahead that I would learn from and grow.
But the song I listened to over and over in times of teenage frustration was the last song on the album, “Euphoria”. The song just takes me back to that 18 year old boy laying on his bed staring at the ceiling, worrying, wondering, what is the meaning to all this? I wish someone could have reached out and said, ‘it’s going to be alright. Being gay is ok. You have great times ahead of you. Stop worrying what people think.” So this song was a way for me to have those thoughts privately and keep going, get to graduation and your life is yours.
If you do not know this band at all, I highly recommend to take a listen to it and see what you get out of it. And if you were alive in 1991, what were you doing? Where were you and can you feel the connection from music to time? And if you weren’t born yet, you now have a great album that your friends probably don’t know about and you can be the cool kid with the old music that is still cool today..at least I think it still holds up to the test of time.
As for an analytical standpoint of this album, you can feel the precursor to grunge and all the bands that would copy this sound down the road. All the songs flow very well together almost telling a story but not in a direct manner.
Below I have posted 2 videos; the main hit “3 Strange Days” and “Euphoria”. Lastly, I dedicate this post to one of my good friends in high school days, Molly. She loved this album and it never fails to make me think of her when I hear these songs.
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