Ninety 90’s Songs: Someday, That Sugar Ray…


There’s something weirdly “meta” about music that occurs sometimes. Listening to something, you can’t help but feel a premonition of the nostalgia that a song will trigger many years down the line. It’s like you’re listening to a glimpse of the future, which, when listening to that song in that future, becomes a link to the past. It’s like that moment you know will be a memory, or that instance when the most mundane thing becomes memorable, remains forever like a two-way mirror. You always remember that there’s another side, even though you can only look through one direction at a time.

#54 “Someday” by Sugar Ray. Sugar Ray began as an Alternative band with a couple of albums devoted to a harder sound. ’97’s “Floored” was the pinnacle of that sound, but ironically their unique-sounding (on that record), reggae-inspired “Fly” was their biggest hit. It became popular across several formats aside from Alternative and Modern Rock, and many claimed that Sugar Ray could never do such a thing again. Their next album “14:59” (which hints at their “15 minutes of fame”) came along 1999 with more hits, including “Someday” among others like “Every Morning”.

“Someday” is a slower track, featuring some then-common synth organ accompaniment. It’s a sad sounding song, remorseful, and hints at some kind of regret or nostalgia. It was this sense, as well as a line in the lyrics, “I hear a song from another time and fade away”, that stuck with me. Even back in ’99 I knew that I would hear this in the future and that it would become the self-same song from another time. The video features a bar in some kind of Key West-ish retirement community or something. The whole thing is in black and white (oh, 90’s…) as if to evoke that effect of time passing. Overall, it’s a pretty good tune, and the kind of softer ditty that Sugar Ray would continue to put out.

You see, at the time of “14:59″s release, Sugar Ray was accused of selling out. They had already established themselves as a pretty decent Alternative act throughout the early and mid 90’s, but this attempt to garner more top-of-the-charts kind of acclaim led them to begin producing a more pop-oriented sound. Whether or not you agree with their apparent selling out and throwing their alternative sound under the bus, it was a successful move for them. Throughout the next decade they had become a pop staple, and left behind nary a trace of their alternative roots.

Every now and then, this song still plays on Adult Contemporary stations and I take a moment to reminisce. I remember musing that this song would stick around on the radio while sitting in the bathtub, my broken wrist hanging dryly off the side in a cast, and that I would always think about that someday in the past when I took the chance to deeply listen to the song, and that someday in the unknown future when I’d hear it again.


Ninety 90’s Songs: Len-cest

I’m an only child who also happens to be (mostly) an introvert. I can interact quite well with people despite this condition, as long as those interactions remain within certain boundaries. There are a few things I can try to handle that come from the extroverted types, but some things cross the line. Excessive touching between strangers may be odd, but to me there’s a line that even family can cross.

#63 “Steal My Sunshine” by Len. ¬†Want to know what the late 90’s were like? This video pretty much sums it up. Bug-eye sunglasses. Tank tops (a.k.a wife beaters in tribal looter speak). MTV-like beach fun. “Steal My Sunshine” was a big hit during the summer of ’99, the last summer not only of the decade or the century, but of the millennium. Hence the decadence.

The song is cheery and the rhythm, featuring a sample from Andrea True Connection’s “More, More, More”, is monotonous without being grating so it blends in with your summer-partying-drinking haze. The song focuses on a flirty back-and-forth between the two singers and the¬†video slices and dices your perspective with retro-esque squared off cutaways and party-wide camera panning. Eventually all the crew gather around the flirty duo while the male lead rubs his underarm funk all over his friends.

What is most striking about the video isn’t learning that the romantic late afternoon/early evening footage was a product of most of the video budget being spent on their nightly alcoholic binges and subsequent morning hangover recoveries. It’s from learning that the leading couple are in fact related, but not by marriage. Yes, the Romeo and Juliet in this video are from the same family, not feuding ones. Perhaps we can chalk up their lax boundaries to late 90’s hedonism.

Regardless, Len managed to resurrect a disco hit to inflate their one hit wonder with a lot of life. It’s good to know we knew how to party like it was 1999 in 1999, even if we had to do it with our siblings.