I kind of feel like 90s nostalgia really has gotten a shot in the arm in the last few years, and rightly so. A lot of classic parts of pop culture really did come from that decade – music, TV, movies, you name it. When it comes to music, I feel like the 80s are considered a veritable gold mine of one hit wonders. Sure, the 80s had their fair share of one hit wonders – Kajagoogoo, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Cameo, Johnny Hates Jazz – the list goes on and on. But honestly, I don’t think that the one hit wonders of the 80s hold a candle to the one hit wonders of the 90s. Case in point, Crash Test Dummies.
My God, I hated “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” back in the day, although it didn’t start out that way. I think at first I was drawn to it because it was different from a lot of the other stuff out there. It was definitely more poppy than grunge, but it still wasn’t as poppy as Ace of Base (nothing in the early 90s was as poppy as Ace of Base.) The majorly low lead vocal was remarkably different from just about everything else that was on the radio at the time. But for a guy like them that pretty much listened exclusively to female artists, it was always going to be a hard sell for me. Then it started getting played on the radio 5 times an hour and that was the end of it for me.
To be honest, I really look at a song like “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” as a novelty song in the vein of “Wooly Bully” by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs or “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow. I think this theory is supported by the fact that the song really is all but forgotten these days. In the 20 years since its release, every time I thought of it or randomly heard it somewhere or was reminded of it, I have to admit that I shuddered. What a terrible song, really. Turgid, plodding and just awful.
A few weeks back we were at our friend Caryle’s house helping her pack in preparation for a move. We were playing Spotify 90s radio and wouldn’t you know it, “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” started playing. My had my usual initial reaction – even before the vocals started (“Once, there was this kid who…”) but then, amazingly enough, I found myself enjoying it, if only just a little bit. I had already been thinking that I was going to do this 30 days of song blogging thing in November and it was then that I decided that not only would I commit to the project but I would include “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.” In preparation for writing this post, I’ve listened to it so much more than I have in the last 20 years it’s not even funny.
My evolution on “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” made me think of my theory on things that I dislike – and that is being actively vocal about hating a TV show or movie or song is ultimately an exercise in futility. Either the object of my ire goes away, becoming a mere footnote in history or I actually come around and end up liking it. The latter has happened so many times with me, most notably with Star Trek: The Next Generation, which I wanted nothing to do with upon its debut, only to find myself watching it nightly in my dorm room a year or two later.
Who knows, maybe 20 years from now, someone will write something similar about “Gangnam Style.”
Footnote: yes, I know that CTD were not one hit wonders in Canada. I don’t live in Canada, so they are one hit wonders.