WOWEE ZOWEE (25)
June 20, 2018
One in a series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the subject of our favorite albums of the Nineties (1994–2003). A new installment in this series will appear each Wednesday during 2018.
CALIFORNICATION | RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS | 1999
I lived in the Bay Area when this album was released, and the local radio station played “Scar Tissue” constantly. I’d roboticly rap/moan the bridge along with Anthony Kiedis:
Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you ’cause
With the bird I’ll share
This lonely view
With the bird I’ll share
This lonely view
The song’s melancholic melody matched the mood of the times: It was 1999 and we were already nostalgic for a future that hadn’t even arrived yet. Every quarter promised some new innovation that hadn’t existed six months earlier. I’d just graduated from AOL into the big leagues: Earthlink. I worked for a computer book publisher that produced programming language training manuals for software administrators. My coworkers obsessed about obtaining beta tests of the next iterations of Perl, Java and the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) exam.
Obsessed with finding love, I explored the world of online dating through Craigslist and Yahoo Personals. My friends and I stood in knots in the break room, sharing tales of new beginnings and harsh terminations. We met strangers and didn’t worry too much about physical threats. We had a safety system: You sent your friends the date’s name and email address and details about the meet-up, in case you never returned.
“Scar tissue that I wish you saw/Sarcastic Mr. Know-It-All,” I sang in my beat-up Chevy Nova as I drove through Berkeley to meet A.R., a programmer who lived in San Jose. His emails were funny. I hoped he liked to neck with his eyes closed.
We went on a few dates after that initial meeting, but I wasn’t attracted to him. He reminded me of my dad. I didn’t let him down gently when he tried to kiss me after the third date. I just ducked his lips and gave him the “friends” hug. He sent me an email after, asking “Why’d you answer the personal ad if you weren’t looking for a romance.” I didn’t have the heart to write back. Every time I hear the song now, I cringe. It saddens me to think that I left so much collateral damage in my wake. I hope that my erstwhile suitor found the love of his life that summer and the scars of my romantic misadventures have faded over time.
WOWEE ZOWEE: Stephanie Burt on UNISEX | Anindita Basu Sempere on UNDER THE PINK | Mark Kingwell on DUMMY | Bill Nericcio on AMOR PROHIBIDO | Sherri Wasserman on HIPS AND MAKERS | Mimi Lipson on THANK YOU | John Overholt on BEN FOLDS FIVE | Jordan Ellenberg on GET LOST | Chelsey Johnson on PERSONAL BEST | Marilyn Snell on MAXINQUAYE | Dan Fox on DIFFERENT CLASS | Devin McKinney on IF YOU’RE FEELING SINISTER | Alice Boone on MTV UNPLUGGED (ALICE IN CHAINS) | Rob Wringham on SPICE | Joe Alterio on BEATS, RHYMES AND LIFE | Jason Loeffler on SECOND TOUGHEST IN THE INFANTS | Rick Pinchera on EITHER/OR | Josh Glenn on THE LONESOME CROWDED WEST | Jennifer Krasinski on SUPA DUPA FLY | Sara Ryan on DIG ME OUT | Luc Sante on MEZZANINE | Molly Wright Steenson on I CAN HEAR THE HEART BEATING AS ONE | Franklin Bruno on ENGLAND MADE ME | Michael Campochiaro on IS THIS DESIRE? | Adrienne Crew on CALIFORNICATION | Drew Daniel on I SEE A DARKNESS | Veda Hille on THE SOFT BULLETIN | Vanessa Berry on TEENAGE SNUFF FILM | Tom Kipp on GET SKINTIGHT | David Hirmes on DOPETHRONE | John Hilgart on YORK BLVD. | Deborah Wassertzug on JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT | Adam McGovern on INVINCIBLE SUMMER | Brian Berger on TIRED SOUNDS OF… | Michael Grasso on MUSIC HAS THE RIGHT TO CHILDREN | Jen Collins on HURRAH | Flourish Klink on THE TEACHES OF PEACHES | Judith Zissman on TALLAHASSEE | Lauren Oliver on SOUND-DUST | Jason Cohen on IS THIS IT | Matthew De Abaitua on THE RAINBOW CHILDREN | Jenny Davidson on TIME (THE REVELATOR) | Crystal Durant on LIVE THROUGH THIS | Gordon Dahlquist on GARBAGE | Erin M. Routson on WASHING MACHINE | Carl Wilson on TEMPTING | Jessamyn West on ALL HAIL WEST TEXAS | Kaleb Horton on STREETCORE | Tom Nealon on BAZOOKA TOOTH | Erik Davis on DOPESMOKER | David Levine on FEVER TO TELL | Deb Chachra on MASS ROMANTIC.
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