’90s News: Coolio fought Boyz II Men, M2M update, Hootie and the what now?

m2m

Please note: This column can only be printed in Dot Matrix.

COOLIO FOUGHT A BOYz II MEN MEMBER, THINKS BJORK IS ‘CRAZY SEXY’, RECKONS HE WOULD HAVE COLLABORATED WITH COBAIN.

If I had a ’90s news headline generator [with half-peeled TV Hits stickers on the side] and it spat out the above effort, I would at once praise the breadth and depth of content offered up, while acknowledging that automatic headline generators have some way to go before creating truly believable copy. Instead here we are, tied to ancient technology, typing our own damn headlines which also need to be somewhat true – and yet we can still run the above one, all thanks to a batshit crazy Coolio interview conducted by Spin.

Ostensibly as part of their year-long ’94 retrospective, but mainly because of the following quotes, Spin played a bunch of old tracks and just transcribed what came out of Coolio’s mouth. Below is one of those Elle magazine-style teaser things that bundle all the good quotes from the interview. The whole thing is worth a read, but in case you’re so into this column you only access it via a dial-up modem and can’t handle Spin’s graphically-intensive site, the highlights are under this classic road documentary.

He tried to get a Bjork collab. going.

“She’s crazy sexy. I never got into her music, but I remember meeting her manager. I thought because me and her were so different, it’d be interesting to do a song together. He probably didn’t even tell her. Nah, he probably did and she was like, ‘No’.”

He thinks 2Pac is still alive

“I saw a very — I don’t want to say “disturbing” — a very informative post that implies he may have really pulled a Machiavelli and faked his death. Because if you go by the evidence on the Internet, there’s no way 2Pac died that night in Vegas.”

He fought a Boyz II Men boy

“We were in a hotel. He was trying to hit on some chicks, and the chicks were trying to hit on me. And he started hatin’: “Coolio, old spider head.” He gave me a look, but I gave him a gangster look. We went our separate ways, ended it very eloquently without any bloodshed.”

Old spider head. He also got angry at Cobain for killing himself before the Coolio/Kurt jam the world needed could eventuate.

“I was mad at Kurt, like, ‘Why you gotta do that before I do a song with you?’ I was mad at his people. They didn’t see that shit coming? C’mon! Put the motherfucker on Thorazine; dose him up so he can stay alive.”

When Cobain died, he was set to work with Michael Stipe in what would have been a logical and thrilling studio progression from In Utero, especially considering the possibilities their MTV Unplugged set tossed up. Still, a party jam with Coolio (with the flow back in ya ear) would have also been a good follow-up to the plaintive likes of ‘Pennyroyal Tea’.

B*Witched Have A New Single (AND FIGHT LIKE THEIR DADS, TOO)

Slightly naff beats over an earnest acoustic guitar was a stable in girl pop ballads of the ’90s. You know it worked, I know it worked, Jennifer Love Hewitt definitely knew it worked, and the lasses from B*Witched haven’t forgotten either, as evidenced in ‘We’ve Forgotten How’ from their recent EP Champagne Or Guinness, innit Edele. Two minutes in the girls suddenly realise this is meant to be a B*Witched song and a very Irish string part dances in briefly, before being swallowed back up by the lightweight melodrama. Now all we need is a new Pokemon soundtrack to slap this baby on.

Sidenote: Sinead O’Carroll’s Wikipedia page contains this face-slap of a phrase: “She is best known as the oldest member of the girl group B*Witched.”

BOTH M AND M FROM M2M HAVE NEW SOLO RECORDS OUT

By now it should be clear that the above mention of the Pokemon soundtrack led to the question “What are M2M – the delightful Norwegian best friend duo that sang ‘Don’t Say You Love Me‘, one of those few pop songs that is happiness incarnate despite being a ‘back the fuck off, dude’ anthem – up to these days?” I wrote to the PO box fan club address listed in the booklet to Shades Of Purple (missed a trick there, didn’t you Prince?), waited ten weeks for a reply, and was greeted by the happy fact that not only do both girls have solo records out this month, but they also appear to have aged backward Darius Rucker-style.

First Marion Raven (or Marion Ravn as she’s known in territories that aren’t offensive enough to just whack an ‘e’ in someone’s name for ease). Her album Songs From A Blackbird is out October 30 in Australia – it’s been out a year in Norway, only now getting an international release – and lead single ‘The Minute’ is a dramatic, upbeat pop song with a million hooks which really should be massive but almost certainly won’t be.

Meanwhile Marit Larsen also has an album due, When The Morning Comes, out October 20. Lead single ‘I Don’t Want To Talk About It’ lives somewhere between Blasko and Catatonia – with The Cardigans and Bachelor Girl living up the road (Delta drops in from time to time, too). It’s a remarkably mature pop song – see what happens when you Google artists from the Pokemon soundtrack? – and while it’s nice to see both Ms doing well, I recommend taping one song on each side of a cassette, and imagining it’s a killer double A-sided M2M cassingle.

HOOTIE-SANS-BLOWFISH UPDATE

Darius Rucker is the guy from Hootie and the Blowfish that – up until this very point – you assumed was named Hootie. Since leaving behind the blowfish and their puffy FM fodder he’s become quite a successful country star, and at 48 years of age, looks barely out of his 20s – as evidenced in both this photo, and the video to his new single ‘Homegrown Honey’ (Here’s a fun game: imagine his Vedder-voice in your head, sing how you think the chorus to ‘Homegrown Honey’ goes, then click this link and see how close you were. Pretty close, right? Can also be played with any latter-day Dylan, Stones, McCartney, Madonna or Prince song ).

But all the above talk of youth serums and backyard beehive set-ups is just a ruse to lead into the most under-reported fact about Hootie and/or the Blowfish. He/they pulled one of the most blatant case of copy/paste plagiarism in the history of music (well, almost) when they decided if it’s lyrics you are stealing, why not steal the best ones that are being written – those of Bob Dylan.

And lest you think they hid this transgression on a B-side or a deep album cut (which don’t actually exist on records that sell 16 million copies), it was on their #1 single ‘Only Wanna Be With You’ – whose title they lifted from Dusty Springfield. The jaunty acoustic pop song carries along nicely for about ninety seconds or so, but when they hit the second verse Darius/Hootie suddenly runs out of lyrical steam and uses a nifty trick you may know from writing uni essays: whack in loads of quotes from those who do know what they’re saying. “Put on a little Dylan, sitting on the fence” he sings. “I say,’that line is great’, you ask me what I meant by:

“Said I shot a man named Gray,

took his wife to Italy

She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me

I can’t help it if I’m lucky”

Only wanna be with you

Ain’t Bobby so cool?

Only wanna be with you

Yeah, I’m tangled up in blue, only wanna be with you

The four lines in italics are directly lifted from Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks favourite ‘Idiot Wind’. Regardless of whether your characters announce they are quoting Dylan or not, you can’t just steal Dylan lyrics and put them in your song, especially not an entire verse’s worth, and especially not by capping this with another ‘Bobby’ name-check and a “tangled up in blue” lift from yet another Bob Dylan song.

Dylan sued, Hootie paid, and the whole thing was settled fairly quietly. The video clip still holds up, too – its message perhaps more relevant now than ever.

 

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