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Found out about Me [Part 2/4]

April 6, 2016

Picture of a photograph

Found out about Me:
My (not so) New, (not so) Miserable Gin Blossoms Experience
By Geoff Stephen

Where Are They Now/Prologue (2016)
Learning the Hard Way (2006)
Congratulations, I’m Sorry (1996)

[Part 2/4]

Early 1996.

I had not yet joined the world wide web (though terms like world wide web/cyberspace were gaining traction).

In such an age, finding a satisfactory answer to the ‘where are they know?’ question was difficult.

As a result, when I saw the video for Follow You Down enter the MuchMusic countdown, I was ecstatic.

The Gin Blossoms had returned!


Lose interest

In 1996, any changes in the Gin Blossoms were not terribly noticeable to my relatively unchanged 14-year old self.

Which meant that the scenarios #1 & #2 above did not apply, but there was a chance of losing interest via scenario #3. A chance that the group could come across as treading water, I’d lose interest and move on, seeking new sounds.

If there was a chance, it was a microscopic, Dumb & Dumber-esque probability. For me, at the time, such sameness was exceptionally comforting.


But now that I’m two decades older and marginally wiser (I’ve changed, scenario #2), will I still enjoy Congratulations I’m Sorry?

Here’s what I think in 2016:

Congratulations I'm Sorry


What’s changed in 20 years?

Well, I knew less about ‘coolness’ than any other grade 9 student in 1996 but I was at least cognizant of 2 mandatory rules: No socks + sandals and you must not, never, not ever, profess to love country music.

In my grade 9 classes this semester, students wear socks and sandals, regardless of the weather, as they eagerly & proudly listen to country music.

Whether both changes are improvements, who am I to say!

But one sure improvement is my appreciation of the GB track, Memphis Time. It would have been a clear-cut ‘I’m sorry’ for me in ’96, thanks to the social need to distance myself from anything that could be perceived as ‘country.’

Though the recording’s unchanged, I’ve most definitely changed my tune: I’m now a proud Memphis Time fan. The pedal steel is a nice touch & the track adds some welcome variety to the proceedings.



Competition Smile


Thinking about all those wonderful songwriting ingredients & looking back at that (somewhat less wonderful) post-opening, guitar-holding photo of me, I’m appreciating how influential the Gin Blossoms have been in my personal songwriting.

I’m also relieved to see that I was abiding by mid-90s social norms, socks yes, no sandals in sight. Not to mention the appropriately brooding-facial expression & disheveled hair, as any self-respecting, aspiring 90s teenage musician would have done!

But why the shirt?

(to be continued)

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  1. Like the breakdown of the album and how U feel about it in 2016! It’s fantastic that this album has stuck with you through 2 decades! Great stuff……enjoy the first early am read of the day (with coffee in hand)
    Have a good 1!

    • Deke, I’m thrilled to hear my post pairs nicely with a morning ‘fee!
      I’ve been enjoying seeing how my feelings have changed over 2 decades – with the exception of the one track (memphis time) here, this one was pretty constant.
      I like to think that means 14-year old me had good taste!

  2. Brilliant. I have experienced those scenarios many a time. Scenario #2: Luckily for me, Scott Weiland became an Scenario #2 Though Scott Weiland became a Christmas album recording artist. Ha!

    • My brain isn’t working too well. You know what I meant though, right 😉

      • I do!
        THat’s OK, I like to think I understand the ‘Brain of J’ (speaking of groups that my interest in new material has started to wane)

      • I feel the very same way, Geoff. Haven’t been that enthusiastic about their output for a while. Their last two albums were especially underwhelming.

  3. I remember this one very well — front chart big seller. It did well for us.

    I have found once I hit 40, socks & Crocs are A-OK!

    • It rhymes, it can’t be all that bad!
      I’m curious as to what the tipping point age is for just ‘not caring’ about fashion, or specifically foot fashion – I’ve definitely reached it!

      • 40. I decided that age is officially 40. Maybe for some it’s a bit less…maybe for some it’s a bit more. But I decided it’s 40, period.

    • LOL, socks and crocs!

  4. I remember this album well, I think I’m probably a year older than you, so I was around the same age. I knew right away it wasn’t NME….but it had good moments. As Long As it Matters is beautiful, a local guitarist is prone to covering that song and I never get tired of it. (Nominated for a Grammy, too!) Follow You Down was played A LOT on local “alternative” stations to the point that I was kind of tired of it. Even now, this goes in the “I like songs on this record” pile, whereas NME lives in the “I love this album” pile. But you’ve made me want to pull this out and listen to the whole thing again, something I haven’t done in a while. I’m enjoying the reviews and I look forward to the rest!

    • Those Ohio guitarists have good taste!
      Thanks so much for reading & commenting sourgirl, I hadn’t listened to this one in ages prior to the last couple weeks. Now the 4 GB CDs I have are pretty much all I’ve been listening to since, and it feels grand!

  5. Hackskeptic permalink

    Just listened to the song for the first time. I like it a lot, and it reminds me how important a decent bass player can make a song feel complete. The intro and first verse is sparse, almost tinny and then the bassline comes in on verse two and boom! The song takes on a completely different dimension

    • It is a nice delayed entry! At the time in ’96, I didn’t really notice the bass at all.
      I was so focused on learning the guitar chords, I missed so many other great details by the rest of the band!

  6. Worst is when an artist changes to roll with the times. Like Bon Jovi suddenly wearing flannel and saying that was the direction he’d been headed anyway. Yeah right, you calculating mofo!

    • Yes – I’ve heard that being described as ‘chasing trends’ and that is often most unappealing!

  7. Your students may now wear socks/sandals and listen to country, but they are likely social media nitwits with selfie sticks. Things haven’t improved.

    • Selfie sticks, shudder!
      I was really pleasantly surprised this semester – in my grade 9 computer course, in the opinion piece, ‘has technology improved life/made things more complicated,’ it was a pretty balanced set of responses.

      Many of them are seeing that tech isn’t all awesome (or all awful), it’s important to set boundaries/be with the people you’re with, which is probably the right lens!

  8. Dude, you are knocking it out of the park with this series! I’m so glad those songs speak to you more now than they did back then. Because, of course, I LOVE this record! Every track. Yeah, there’s maybe weaker stuff, but the weak stuff is still better than a lot of other bands’ best stuff! Oh man, I played this album A LOT. I still have a GBs CDr in the car full of all their stuff. The kids like it too!

    Anyway, loving your ways of sharing information, too. Charts and graphs and lists and commentary all rolled up into one pile of awesome. Part 2/4 is a success!

    • Much appreciated!
      The kids haven’t minded having this on one bit over the past couple of weeks here too, haven’t caught them singing along…yet!
      Thanks so much for the kind words!

  9. Great series!
    The socks and sandals rule – back in ’96, it was amazingly common to find students at UWO wearing socks with their Teva sandals! And, I followed suit. The caveat to the rule was that you could only wear socks with Tevas if you were wearing pants. It was standard exam period attire!

    • Thanks Sarca!
      It’s funny the dress codes of the day – in ’96, I would have been wearing 2 t-shirts, perhaps to prevent sweat from showing? perhaps to look more muscular? I can’t remember the rationale, just remember it’s what was done!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Found out about Me [part 3/4] | 1001albumsin10years
  2. Found out about Me [Part 4/4] | 1001albumsin10years

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