SoulDecision – “Faded”

When: 8:00 PM, 31 December 2000
Where: My living room
Who: Several family members
Weather: Cold, clear

“Canuck funksters SoulDecision resembled a boy band, with their male-model looks, wholesome sexuality, and shitty, shitty name, but they actually wrote their own songs and played their own instruments, which made them an anomaly in Lou Pearlman’s heyday. NOW! Volume 5 compiles “Faded,” one of the compilation’s few pleasant surprises.”

–Nathan Rabin

SoulDecision is one of the few mainstream pop-acts to be fawned over by AV Clubbers for two reasons: One, they make their own music and two, the music is good. So this hidden gem was an appropriate dance number for the close of the 20th century.

In Pasadena, you go out on New Years’ Eve, eat a ton of food, shoot silly string everywhere and either camp out on the street or go home. I’ve done both (we’ll get back to that in about nine years), but this time it was just home after some particularly energizing shrimp tempura. I danced my ass off, and none of that Dance Dance Revolution jumping masquerading as dance. I was really into it. I have a picture of it somewhere, my spiky hair and pilot’s jacket, but I don’t know where.

Prepare to get your car buried in toilet paper

Next: We in Pasadena were also very proud to know that the new millennium started in 2001, starting with Daft Punk!

Mick Harvey – “Bonnie and Clyde”

When: 11 November 2000
Where: Southbound on El Molino Avenue in my dad’s car
Who: My parents
Weather: Cool, clear

If you’ve been following this series, it may have occurred to you that I had not reached my Intoxicated Man phase, so how did this get in here? The answer of course is my father. We were on the way to my Bubby’s for thanksgiving during a set by Nic Harcourt of KCRW when this came on. My mom, who was listening to her own radio, took off her headphones and asked if we were listening to the same station as her. We weren’t. But one day, Mick Harvey would return.

Next: The 20th century comes to a satisfying end, that is, if I can find my old photos.

Nelly Furtado – “I’m Like a Bird”

When: Early November, 2000
Where: My bubby’s house in Monterey Park
Who: Nobody
Weather: Cool, clear

When I first saw the video for “I’m Like a Bird” on Nickelodeon, I wasn’t crazy enthused (that thing with the tree made me kind of nauseous), but I understood what people might have seen in her. She did fairly well, then she took a hard left, making weird, posturing statements and trying to be all skanky and her whole career went to hell. I don’t really have anything to add to this, it just makes you wonder.

Madison Avenue – “Don’t Call Me Baby”

Embedding disabled by request.

When: 15 October 2000
Where: The 10 westbound through Ontario.
Who: My mother and bubby
Weather: Warm, dry

Two days ago, I mentioned my carpool mate Elizabeth; at the time this was her favorite song, but for our purposes that’s irrelevant.

One week, my mother did something she only did again once (about which more way later). She got me out of school a day early for purely recreational purposes.

Well, it might have been recreational for me, but she and my bubby still had to go to my cousin’s wedding. My cousin was Marilyn Wilson, ex-wife of Brian and mother of Carnie. But it was in Palm Springs, which was nice because I’d never been. The high desert is all dust and scrubs, air bases and mining towns. This was the low desert: white sand, date palms, casinos, and lots of old gay Jews. Altogether it was fascinating.

But all vacations come to an end, and the following Sunday we were headed through the featureless scrub somewhere around Declezville when we hit traffic. Mindblowing traffic, like Times Square in the ’70s. Like the Bowery in the 1870s. We were stuck under the 15 interchange when this song came on. My mom and bubby were arguing and I was trying to listen to the song, which got me nowhere. It’s funny what you remember.

An insult to crushing post-holiday traffic

Next: Nelly Furtado makes her debut before gettin’ dirty (and nowhere).

Barenaked Ladies – “One Week”

When: 6 October 2000
Where: United Artists La Cañada
Who: Chad Robinson
Weather: Cool, clear

Fun fact: These are written months in advance. As I write this, it’s August 30.

In the fall of 2000, I developed an interest in Digimon that, while seemingly longstanding, could only have lasted a few weeks. Either way, I was ready when Chad Robinson asked me to see the Digimon Movie with him. During one of the early scenes, this song played, and I was shocked because it was the song from that Mitsubishi commercial! What were the chances?

A better question would be, what was the original song in the Japanese version? Probably some slow, irrelevant love song.

Who the hell is that one guy there?

Next: The everlasting struggle between the unprecedented and the annoying.

Jimi Hendrix – “Purple Haze”

When: 18 September 2000
Where: Bob Buente’s car
Who: Elizabeth and her father
Weather: Hot, dry

Usually during Hebrew school, my mother would drop us off and Elizabeth’s mother or father would pick us up. This led to some interesting conversations such as this:

Them: “Are you going to the read-a-thon?”
Me: “Nah, that thing is for losers.”
Them: “Are you calling my daughter a loser?”

I attended the read-a-thon that Friday.

The following week there we were, riding in the car on the way back home. Bob was listening to NPR when an announcement came out that it was the thirtieth anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s death. I hadn’t heard of him, but I had heard of The Purple Cloud, the sci fi novel that apparently inspired “Purple Haze,” and a book of which I’d read a segment at the read-a-thon. Then they played the song, which was unusual because KPCC was not an NPR music station. It was very Jungian.

Next: Synchronicity strikes again through the power of the Barenaked Ladies.

Destiny’s Child – “Jumpin’ Jumpin'”

When: September 2000
Where: My mom’s car, westbound on the 134
Who: My mother and my classmate Elizabeth
Weather: Hot, dry

In the summer of 2000, my mom traded in her corolla for a new 2000 Honda Accord, though the new car smell wore off when she drove up to Mammoth to bail out my dad and me. Our car broke down up there and the three of us spent the rest of the trip fishing in thunderstorms. As a side note, rain is great for freshwater fishing, you can do really well.

When I started the 5th grade, a girl from our synagogue was in our class– Elizabeth, who now carpooled with me after school. The previous spring, I’d been shamed into listening to KIIS-FM by a guy who said he’d met Rick Dees and assured me he was an old black dude.

As a result of all of that, this song was most frequently on the air that month as we made the drive to Glendale; a drive that now seems unthinkably long. My mom hated it, but admitted it sounded halloween-ish. I was indifferent, but I sure as hell struggle to listen to it now.

The only car in 2000 that wasn't silver or an SUV.

The only car in 2000 that wasn't silver or an SUV.

Next: The carpool returns, but Elizabeth’s father has different ideas about the radio…