90’S MUSIC THAT SHAPED MY PERCEPTION

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By Phuong To

Growing up in the 90’s, most of the free music you can listen to was all through radio. I especially loved those nights, falling asleep listening to Love Song Dedication on the 101.1 frequency. As a kid growing up, I was at an impressionable age where many, if not all things could affect the mindset, specially songs. To me it was a powerful tool for entertainment, to change the mood and occasionally a lesson could be learnt from it. The following songs were some of the those that greatly affected me and shape the person I have become:

Savage Garden – Affirmative

For a song of it’s time, it is rare to have such a positive message. As a kid, I cared less about the lyric and more for the tune. However, as I grew up there is a greater appreciation for the lyrics. It is a reminder on what is most important in life as sometimes you forget the most simplest things and what to appreciate. From the verse to the chorus, there is a simple positive message in every line that anyone can identify with or learn from. Some of my favourite lines are the following:

‘I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side’
‘I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness’
‘I believe we place our happiness in other people’s hands’
‘I believe I’m loved when I’m completely by myself alone’

Right Said Fred – Too Sexy

I must admit the first time I heard the song it was atrocious. The voice was bad and the music was a cheap imitation of other 90’s music. However, as fate would dictate that every single time I turn the radio on, this song would magically appear. Through these numerous encounters with the song, the lyrics was etched into my mind for a while which morphed the notion of a terrible song into a funny one. That was when I started to realise that it is better to not take everything too seriously which is a philosophy I take to heart since then. The song can be summed up in the following:

I’m too sexy for my love, my shirt, Milan, your party, my car, my hat and my cat… … … hmm, cat, REALLY…. well, maybe I am.

No Doubt – Don’t Speak

As a kid who hasn’t made an excuse before? Heck, I am guilty as charged with the number of offences I have made. However, it is not until you are at the other end of the spectrum that you realise it is not fun. This is especially the case between kids as they can be unknowingly cruel sometimes. Hence, trying to seek an answer is impossible. That is when this song hits it where it hurts the most with it’s chorus ‘don’t tell me cause it hurts’. The lyric does the situation justice as when you are on the side that is hurting, you definitely don’t want to hear excuses or anything besides the truth and recognition of fault. Through this, I have since taken it to heart that if I have erred in anyway then I would own up and accept the consequences without the excuses.

Human Nature & John Farnham – Everytime You Cry

A fact I learnt early in life is that there is one thing that is fair for everyone in life and that is death. As you grow older you would experience it more as people or pets starts dying around you. However, as a kid it was a huge shock trying to understand this notion of death. Especially when a friend of mine was acting pretty erratic trying to get over his pet dog’s untimely demise which he was very close to. That was when I thought of this song, thinking what I could do to help. It somewhat reminded me that communicating, humour and just being there helped a lot. As young boys are, communication is not our strong point. In contrast, two boys sitting quietly just staring at the sun aided greatly to his emotionally recovery. From that time forward, if there was a person nearby that was grieving or needs help emotionally, I will always be there to either listen, lend a shoulder or sometimes become to clown. Even though the song probably was intended to have a different message but this was how I related to this song.

I Can Go The Distance – Hercules

As young minds are constructed, animation was one of my favourite things to watch. For some reason one song struct a chord with me from the ‘Hercules’ animation from Disney. I am not sure if this was the song that set off this walking passion of mine but there are times when maybe somewhere in my conscious I was affected it. I think of this song when I am out and about making my trek from the concrete jungle to the outer suburbs of the west, the place I called home. Some may call me crazy but it is one of the most enjoyable periods where I can calmly think and make decisions for the foreseeable future in my life. If you are wondering then it takes a little over 3 hours to complete the trek. It is also a great way to train your mental state while doing something this gruelling.

These were my lessons that I took from songs of the 90’s, what were yours?

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