How Did I Like This?

How Did I Like This? Limp Bizkit – “Faith”

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Brent Hopkins

In “How Did I Like This?” someone looks back at something they loved as a child and wonders how they were ever so wrong. Today Brent Hopkins listens to Limp Bizkit.

Limp Bizkit found its rock and died underneath it many moons ago, snuggling Fred Durst’s sex tape and probably their newest album, Stampede of the Disco Elephants, which will be dropped this year. Luckily, for Reading at Recess’ sake, sometimes your ankle gets grabbed by the rock dwellers and I had the pleasure of listening to not one, but two of their songs this morning on my carpool trip to work today: “Rearranged” and “Faith.”

“Rearranged” came on second and honestly, I have to admit I started singing along. I still remembered all of the words. It isn’t really played too much compared to much of their discography and I hadn’t heard it in somewhere in the vein of 10 years. As I am typing this I still can’t get the beat out of my head, so I am sure it will be stuck with me for the rest of the day.

For those that haven’t heard this song in a decade.

Faith came on first and I was mildly confused as to what I was hearing. Since living in Korea I have grown accustomed to singing in karaoke a few times a year and “Faith” by George Michael is hands down my most belted ballad. I don’t know why, but I absolutely love the song and that is where my singing zone is. Hearing Fred Durst sing the song for the first time in quite awhile (more recently than “Rearranged”) made me grind my teeth in dissatisfaction. I wasn’t too familiar with Michael as a kid so I thought Freddy Faith Bizkit was doing a pretty fine job of it. Wrong. I listened to every second of it and instantly thought: “Well, that’s definitely one of those wrong things from your childhood, Brent.”

This was the first thing I put on after booting up my PC at work to wash the sound of that other “Faith” away. All I have to do now is avoid listening to their cover of “Behind Blue Eyes” and I may be able to live a healthy life.

Brent Hopkins considers himself jack-o-all-trades and a great listener. Chat with him about his articles or anything in general at brentahopkins@gmail.com.

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How Did I Like This? How Did I Like the Show “VR Troopers?”

VR-Rangers

Brent Hopkins

In “How Did I Like This?” someone looks back at something they loved as a child and wonders how they were ever so wrong. Today Brent Hopkins looks at the TV show VR Troopers (1994-1996), which somehow couldn’t break the 100 episode mark even though it had virtual reality and a rapping dog.

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The main reason was preteen lust, but that the lust lasted for this long is shameful. #1994Swoon

My first take on this series is going to be focused on the mid-90’s show VR Troopers. For those of you that don’t know, VR Troopers was a show in the same vein as the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. The heroes were always able to overcome incredible odds due to whatever robotic augments they happened to pick up from the thrift shop. The selling point for this show was that the battle was on two fronts: The real world — where the characters normally resided as a martial arts protege, a reporter, and a computer nerd — and the virtual reality (VR) world, which was threatening to merge with the real world and be run by the series villain Grimlord.

As opposed to the massive mecha that the Rangers rocked, the VR Troopers had to settle with being locked mainly to the ground in their VR suits. They had vehicles, but they mainly fought in judo/karate style group battles.

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We thuggin’ and mean muggin’

This show absolutely captivated me as a 10 year old I will admit I would get bummed out when I had plans after school, because I would miss the next episode. The one thing I have always recalled about this show was that it had a super catchy theme song that still gets stuck in my head today. I insist you watch this for at least thirty seconds to be amazed.

Watching this theme you, may notice that this show somehow manages to look even more bargain basement quality than Power Rangers. This is due to the show being spliced together from three Japanese shows to form the action scenes. This worked well for Power Rangers, but at the end of the day watching Mega Man boss rejects fight compared to the Godzilla-like monsters the former show provided just looks comical today. This was made worse by the sets the fights took place on, which apparently included a rock quarry. That’s it. The vast majority of the fights took place in a rock quarry and it was as gray and depressing as one would hope.

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This actually has too many props in it for VR Troopers.

That being said, the show had its own unique feel to it with all of the stock footage, and since there were fewer characters to follow it actually allowed for more character development. The thing is, while the main characters could be pretty 2D and stale, they made sure to add in those weird characters you might forget after years. One in particular was the talking dog Jeb, (the Meowth of the show) who added in snarky one-liners here and there. Yet the one thing that I remember the most from good old Jeb is this:

Everything must have rap it is the mid-90s!!!

There was no expense paid to make the dog even look like it was actually talking instead of eating. The fact that this AI super-computer is being burnt out by the rapping of a dog… I would say if something this simple could bring down the main line of technological defense against the VR invasion, humanity is over and done with.

I recently sat and watched a few episodes and clips and I am amazed that this show was able to make it 92 episodes before getting “cancelled.” I put quotes around cancelled because, amazingly enough, the only reason we don’t still have the VR Troopers is because there just wasn’t enough stock footage to pull from and the show had to end. This show had bad effects, bad acting, ridiculous characters, and the worst sets humanly possible but Sarah Joy Brown kept me glued to this show. +1 to the Nielsen ratings, -1 to my childhood.

Brent Hopkins considers himself jack-o-all-trades and a great listener. Chat with him about his articles or anything in general at brentahopkins@gmail.com.

Image sources: Whatculture.com, Tokucentral.com

How Did I Like This? Tim McGraw’s “Indian Outlaw”

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Alex Russell

In “How Did I Like This?” someone looks back at something they loved as a child and wonders how they were ever so wrong. We start it off with Tim McGraw’s 1994 country single “Indian Outlaw.” Introduce yourself (or reintroduce yourself!) to the song and the video below: 

Almost everything is bizarre about Tim McGraw’s song “Indian Outlaw” except that it came out in 1994. This entire music video screams 1994 as loud as possible. This song is 20 years old, but even if you didn’t have a year to go off you could ballpark it with the video. What the hell was going on in 1994?

Music videos at the time had stories (every Aerosmith music video from the 90s is roughly 34 minutes long) presumably because every famous band in the 1990s looked like they belonged in the 1990s. Nothing looked good. Everything looked like a foreign language textbook. If you don’t believe me, dig up an old photo of yourself and return to this once you have died of shame twice.

Even if you don’t know country music from the 1990s –which you shouldn’t, but I’m from Tennessee, so I took it third period in school for three years– you probably still know Tim McGraw. He was one of the biggest names in music. He did a song with Nelly. He hosted Saturday Night LivePlaygirl magazine once named him one of the sexiest men in the world. I’m just listing the weird stuff from his Wikipedia now, so I’m just going to assume that you are at least vaguely aware of Tim “Live Like You Were Dying” McGraw.

He eventually became a massive success outside of his own genre (when country music started to show up in college students’ AIM profile quotes and every terrible bar’s “white trash” nights), but even before then he had chart success with songs like “Indian Outlaw.”

I don’t hate country music. I don’t really listen to it now, but a lot of the songs I liked when I was younger I can still listen to with a sort of wistful attitude. I regret that I was listening to Garth Brooks when other kids were getting music from their cool older brothers (television has told me that this is the experience of every other kid alive, so I have adopted this as true) but I cannot stand this song.

I pulled it up on YouTube a few months ago while listening to other things gone by. I found it, I watched it, and I was horrified. This shit is absolutely not okay. I mentioned I grew up in Tennessee, but not, you know, Tennessee.

The South has a complicated history (and present, and future, and any other parallel concept of time) with race but often the discussion of race leaves out Native Americans. There’s a certain blindness to it all that comes up whenever the debate over the name “Washington Redskins” flares up and a lot of us are forced to deal with the fact that whoa that is like, insanely racist that we say that!

But if the wheel of time on that change feels like it’s moving slowly, does this sound like something that only came out two decades ago?

You can find me in my wigwam
I’ll be beatin’ on my tom-tom
Pull out the pipe and smoke you some
Hey and pass it around

What would your guess of a release date be if you didn’t know? Would it be during Bill Clinton’s presidency? I damn well hope not.

People who didn’t grow up with this song get really uncomfortable when they hear it, rightfully so. I get uncomfortable with it. It’s racist — insensitive at best — but it’s also got this weird sexual element to it. A lot of country music talks about sex without talking about sex, but check it:

They all gather ’round my teepee
Late at night tryin’ to catch a peek
At me in nothin’ but my buffalo briefs
I got em standin’ in line

Gross, Tim McGraw. He followed this up with his first real monster hit, “Don’t Take the Girl.” That song is about a boy who learns to love a woman so much that he’d rather die than see ill will befall her. This song is… not about that. If you aren’t totally sold on hating this song, check out the dance mix. (Pro tip: Do not check out the dance mix.) It’s not even that different, but I guess this was too early for the Dubstep Indian Outlaw Remix… which I refuse to think about for another second.)

Alex Russell lives in Chicago and is set in his ways. Disagree with him about anything at readingatrecess@gmail.com or on Twitter at @alexbad.

Image source: Wiki