For the life of me, I cannot remember what made me think Everything Zen by Bush was the worst song of the 90s while this song exists.
I guess I forced The Freshmen out of my head, despite the fact that it was inescapable in 1997. When the song came out, everyone assumed that it was about a rape that was followed by a suicide but the The Verve Pipe’s lead singer later said that the song was inspired by his girlfriend getting an abortion when they were younger and that the lyrics about Valium were poetic license. (The amount of valium mentioned in the song would not be fatal.) Abortion is a serious subject matter and there’s been a lot of good songs written about that very topic. Of course, this derivative dirge isn’t exactly one of them.
A quick google search revealed that there are a lot of people who are under the impression that the “I can’t be held responsible” line is meant to be taken literally. Though I’m not a fan of the song, I will say that I don’t think we’re necessarily meant to agree with the all of the lyrics. I think that the “Can’t be held responsible,” is just something the song’s narrator is telling himself as a way to deal with his guilt. That this fairly obvious point was missed by both critics and fans says more about them than it does the song.
This video is pure 90s angst, from the room with the one light bulb to the band slowly appearing behind the lead singer. Angst was big in the 90s, though there was eventually enough of an angst backlash that it led to the era of the boy bands and pop queens. Still, those of us who grew up in the 90s can’t be held responsible. We won’t be held responsible. People listened in the first place.