Have you ever come across something that you thought was incredible and said to yourself “I have to find myself one of those”? Have you spent the better part of a decade tracking down said item? Well I’ve had this experience with a song. Much like Captain Ahab tracking down that fat fucking whale Moby Dick I chased my own “Musical White Whale”. Call me Ishmael…
The 1st Glorious Sighting
It was about 3:30 A.M. back in Spring 1997. I was watching TV and blissfully floating in and out of sleep. In the background I could hear MTV’s Amp, a show that played some pretty cool mid ‘90s electronic music. After a few minutes, I started to take notice of a song that was playing. Slowly coming out of my sleepy haze, I sat up in bed to listen more closely and get the song title and artist. Cool drums. Sweet wah-wah pedal guitar sample. Nice dreamy vocals. Love it. Have to have it. After the song ended, I thought to my tired self “That may be the best song ever. I’m totally going to get that CD tomorrow zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.” I was out. I’m talking deep R.E.M. sleep the rest of the night and into the next afternoon.
The Best Song Ever Goes Missing
I woke the next day in a great mood. The prospect of going out and purchasing “The Best Song Ever” was all I needed to get me up and moving. Now what was the name of that group again? My mind was a blank. What was the name of the song? Again nothing. Well I had to have written it down right? One does not discover the “The Best Song Ever” and not write down the artist or song title. I looked at the side of the bed for a scrap a paper or something that would hold the answers to my questions. Nothing. BLURGH!!!
The Search Begins
Now this wasn’t the pre-internet era, but let’s just say Al Gore’s Information Superhighway was more like The Oregon Trail back then. I couldn’t just look up MTV Amp and get the previous episodes playlist. There was no smartphone app where I could sing some of the song lyrics and have the phone spit out the artist and song title. No, this search would not be easy.
I tried catching MTV Amp again the next night hoping they would replay the same episode, but it wasn’t on. As a matter of fact, I could hardly ever find that damn show. It seemed like it was constantly changing time-slots. I probably saw every episode of The Real World: Boston 10 times in that period (I found Genesis to be annoying, Sean to be a tool, and Syrus to be a bad ass) but I never saw that Amp episode again.
The 2nd Glorious Sighting
In the fall of 1998, I was mindlessly watching an incredibly unrealistic movie about computer hackers aptly titled, Hackers. Having finally given up on finding “The Best Song Ever”, I was completely shocked when it was playing in the background of a scene in said shitty movie. Check out the scene below. In it you will also find a baby fresh and puffy lipped Angelina Jolie.
I immediately fast-forwarded to the end of the movie to view the credits and found that there were like 42000 songs in Hackers. Guess that’s why they made 3 freaking movie soundtracks (I’ll get to those in a bit). I read through all the songs but nothing caused any sleepy memories to come flooding back. There were also no digital downloads back then so I couldn’t just buy every song in the credits. The next day I went to the local record store(Yes, we still had one) and picked up the over priced Hackers Movie Soundtrack. You can imagine my disappointment when the CD contained no trace of “The Best Song Ever”. Nor was it in subsequent purchases of the Hackers Movie Soundtrack #2 or Hackers Movie Soundtrack #3. Yep, bought all 3. Yep, I hate myself for it.
There She Blows!–There she blows! A Hump Like a Snow-Hill! It is Moby Dick!
Fast-forward to Spring 2000. My wife and I were shopping in the local CD Warehouse. After the Hackers snafu (and several other unsuccessful various artist trip-hop compilations), I quit buying anymore CD’s potentially containing “The Best Song Ever”. As I was flipping through the M-N’s section, the scary goth chick at the register changed the CD that was playing overhead. My heart skipped a beat when I heard that unmistakable hi-hat, bass and repetitive wah-wah guitar. CD Warehouse used to display the cover of the CD that was currently playing so I quickly went to the counter to see it…
I felt like a fool but was incredibly happy at the same time. I had finally found “My Musical White Whale” and was the proud owner of “The Best Song Ever”. The whole record is great too by the way. Perfect to throw on in the background if you are up late surfing the net. Or even better to throw on when it’s time to “hunker down” with your special someone. You know what I’m talking about…
Here is the video that started it all.
Heard this amazing little ditty myself for the first time ever at around the same time you did … played in the late-night empty newsroom of the Times-Republican in Marshalltown by a guy you just might know. Later featured on the first CD mix I ever made a few months later in 1998 or so, compiled by same said guy you just might know.
“I like Massive Attack too. And your husband…”
I was like cat-nip to scary goth record store chicks.
I played this tonight while reading the blog and my 6 year old started asking about it because “it was pretty”. 🙂