jon parales

Music Monday: Pearl Jam 1994

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Pearl Jam Image One
Photo Credit: vinylthriftchaser.wordpress.com

Twenty-five years ago, this week (November 19/25, 1994), the song Spin the Black Circle by Pearl Jam debuted on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart (Page 79/ called Album Rock Tracks in 1994), entering at #16 (also its peak). Released November 8, it was the first single from their third album Vitalogy. Produced by Brendan O’ Brien, it was written by Eddie Vedder and Stone Gossard.

Mike McCready had difficulty with the leads and Jeff Ament didn’t like the punk sound at the time. Per Vedder, the lyrics reflect a love of vinyl records but, there could be interpretations of similarities with drug addiction.

From Jon Pareles with The New York Times (December 4, 1994):

The most [Vedder] will do is proselytize against the extinction of the LP, as he does in “Spin the Black Circle,” one of the few songs from Seattle in which a needle has nothing to do with heroin.

From Al Weisel with Rolling Stone (December 15, 1994):

Vitalogy has a number of gripping songs that match the soaring anthems of Ten. The first three tracks are a promising start: “Last Exit,” “Not for You” and especially “Spin the Black Circle,” a revvedup thrash tribute to vinyl, rock harder than anything Pearl Jam have ever done.

Pearl Jam Image Two
Image Credit: pinterest.com

From David Browne with Entertainment Weekly (December 9, 1994):

Pearl Jam still hasn’t developed an individual style to match that of its profoundly uptight singer, Eddie Vedder. Guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready continue to play sloppy, characterless riffs. [T]heir punk song, ”Spin the Black Circle,” is a little flabby, like dinosaur rockers trying to prove they’re into Green Day.

The song peaked at #18 November 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the first Pearl Jam single to enter this chart. It also peaked at #11 on the Billboard Alternative chart (called Modern Rock Tracks in 1994). It peaked in the top five in Australia, New Zealand and Norway.

The single won Best Hard Rock Performance at the 38th annual Grammy Awards. Vedder famously remarked:

I don’t know what this means. I don’t think it means anything.


 
Lyrics (From LyricFind)
See this needle
Oh see my hand
Drop, drop, dropping it down
oh so gently
here it comes
touch the flame
Turn me up
won’t turn you away

Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
spin the black, spin the black
Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
whoa

Pull it out
a paper sleeve
Oh my joy
only you deserve conceit
Oh I’m so big
and my whole world
I’d rather you
rather you, than her

Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
spin the black, spin the black
Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
whoa

Oh you’re so warm
oh, the ritual
as I lay down your crooked arm

Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
spin the black, spin the black
Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin

[Repeat: x5]
Spin the black

circle

Spin the black circle
Spin the black circle

Music Monday: TLC 1994

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TLC Image One
Image Credit: hellogiggles.com

Twenty-five years ago, this week, the song Creep by TLC debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, entering the chart at #71. Written and produced by Dallas Austin, it was the first single released from their second studio album CrazySexyCool. It is based on member Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins‘s experience with infidelity. The lyrics portray the singers as women who cheat on their unfaithful lovers for attention.

You’re with a guy and he’s not showing you attention, so another guy comes along and you’re like, “Hey, if you were where you were supposed to be, he couldn’t be showing me attention right now!” I was in the middle of this drama, because the other guy was [my boyfriend’s] friend and my boyfriend was just not getting it together.

[From T-Boz]

The idea was controversial. [M]ember Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was opposed to it. She threatened to wear black tape over her mouth in the song’s music video to express her disagreement with its message, and its selection as CrazySexyCool’s lead single, [in] part because of the group’s history of advocating for safe sex.

The women sing about infidelity, revenge, status and power plays, not as victims but as contenders. [W]hen they’re cheated on, they cheat, too.

[From Jon Parales @ The New York Times, advocating for the concept.]

TLC Image Two
Photo Credit: leilanisays.wordpress.com

The song made it to #1 and remained for four weeks. It also made it to #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart and the Billboard Rhythmic chart.

Lisa Lopes passed away April 25, 2002, from injuries in a car crash. She was 30 years old.

[I have to confess that I have never heard this song. The middle 90s was the time I stopped listening to Top 40 and moved to Alternative Rock stations. ~Vic]

Accolades
Legacy
Cover Versions


 

Lyrics via LyricFind:
(Creep) oh ah, oh ah, oh ah yeah,
(Creep) oh ah, oh ah, oh ah yeah,

(Creep) oh ah, oh ah, oh ah yeah,
(Creep) oh ah, oh ah, oh ah yeah,

The twenty second of loneliness
And we’ve been through so many things.
I love my man with all honesty,
But I know he’s cheating on me.
Look him in the eyes,
But all he tells me is lies to keep me near.

I’ll never leave him down though I might mess around.
It’s only ’cause I need some affection, oh.
So I creep, yeah, just creepin’ on,
On the down low, ‘cept nobody is supposed to know.
So I creep yeah, ’cause he doesn’t know what I do
And no attention goes to show oh.

So I creep.
The twenty third of loneliness
And we don’t talk, like we used to do.
Now this is pretty strange,
But I’m not buggin’ ’cause I still feel the same.
I Keep giving loving till the day he pushes me away.
Never go a stray.

If he knew the things I did, he couldn’t handle me.
And I choose to keep him protected, oh.
So I creep, yeah, just creepin’ on,
But I’ll know. ‘cept nobody is supposed to know.
So I creep, yeah, ’cause he doesn’t know what I do,
And no attention goes to show oh.

So I creep, yeah, just creepin’ on,
But I’ll know. ‘cept nobody is supposed to know.
So I creep, yeah, ’cause he doesn’t know what I do,
And no attention goes to show.

So I creep, oh ah, oh ah, oh ah yeah
So I creep, oh ah, oh ah, oh ah yeah
So I creep, oh ah, oh ah, oh ah yeah
Baby, oh ah, oh ah, oh ah yeah

So I creep, yeah, just creepin’ on,
But I’ll know.

So I creep, yeah, ’cause he doesn’t know what I do,
And no attention goes to show.
So I creep, yeah, just creepin’ on,
But I’ll know.
So I creep, yeah, ’cause he doesn’t know what I do,
So I creep, ‘cept nobody is supposed to know.