Friday, April 12, 2013

'90s Nostalgiafest Continued: Veruca Salt

I'm not sure why I'm on such a '90s bender lately, but I just listened to Veruca Salt's first album, American Thighs – the golden era of DGC records – while I was out running some errands. And wow, guys, this thing totally holds up! Like at Nirvana levels (the band, I mean, I'm not getting spiritual on you).

I am twice (and change) as old as I was when I bought this album, and I haven't listened to it in well over a decade. What I find interesting is that my favorite songs are the same. There are two explanations for this:

  1. I "learned" to like those songs best while listening to this album well over a hundred times when I was 15/16; that "knowledge" is still burned in my brain.
  2. My taste hasn't changed all that much.

It's probably some combination of the two. I mean honestly, my tastes haven't changed that much. (My So-Called Life is still basically my favorite show.) My favorite song on this album is track 11, "Twinstar," a name I never would have remembered because it's not anywhere in the lyrics. I completely forgot this song existed, though I vaguely remembered having a fondness for the last three tracks, and when it came on in the car, I experienced a moment of sublime recognition, translucent and pure, and happiness seemed to pour into the car like sunlight. (There was also actual sunlight, as the clouds had just broken.) Oh my god, this song is so good.

Do you guys remember this album? Other highlights: "Forsythia," "Number One Blind," and "25," the slowburner clocking in at 7:56.

A couple of (largely) unrelated links for you:

  • My poetry BFF Kathleen Rooney has an article in the New York Times magazine connecting a handful of contemporary poets to Jack Handey of Deep Thoughts fame (the '90s!). 
  • My Twitter pal Ruth Graham has a piece in the Boston Globe's Ideas section on the socioeconomics of baby names. I love stuff like this. There is much focus on the name Olivia, which I have always irrationally hated, possibly because of my fourth-grade math teacher, but I was awesome at math as a kid and she wasn't particularly mean or anything, so that doesn't really make sense. I don't like the name Oliver either, FWIW. (Apologies if this is your name or your mother's or baby's, etc. It's really, really not personal; in fact if I meet someone cool named Olivia, maybe that'll reverse the curse?) I wonder if its recent resurgence has anything to do with Olivia Wilde?


  1. I never heard the album. I remember seeing them at an outdoor show at SXSW and feeling really really old for the first time. Like, for the first time in my life the girl on stage would think I was an old man. It was weird.

  2. My favorite Jack Handeyism: "Better not take a dog on the Space Shuttle, because on the way back, if he sticks his head out the window, his face would burn up."

  3. Handey's writing for "Shouts & Murmurs" in the New Yorker is also hilarious and great. This one especially:

  4. I'm currently obsessed with the band and their 90s material. Perhaps I was lucky to discover those girls in my teenage years as i'm 18 because they make the type of music that I feel closest to me when i'm feeling satisfied or blue (or both). Not the happiest years of my life so far but bands like VS make it all feel much more bearable.