Sunday, March 13, 2011

"...then you turn your back, and they're gone so fast!"

After a few comments to the effect of, "There are people who read your blog who are too young to remember 'Where's the Beef?'" I felt I needed to give a little perspective...some perspective that I gained myself the other day.

Working at a college, I forget how old I am, and how old incoming students are nowadays.  The other day, our student workers were talking about music and pulling up clips on YouTube.  One of workers who is a little older, in his early 20's, says something to the effect of, "Tracie, you'll know this one," and proceeds to pull up:

"MmmBop" by boy band Hansen.  Of course I remember "MmmBop!"  Ah, the summer of 1998, spent in a dark, dingy, moldy basement at an internship at a state historic site.  The cheeriness of "MmmBop!" and the invent of AOL Instant Messenger is what got me through that summer.

Here's a photo of the Hansen boys in their heyday:

The time some friends and I performed as Hansen in the college drag show is another story.

"Oh yeah!" I exclaimed.  "Of course I know this song!"

Another student worker and student government officer, both 19, look at each other and say, laughing, "What IS this song?"  Like he had just pulled up "Double Rainbow" or some nonsense.

I almost fell out of my chair.  WHAT??? I was in disbelief.  I tried to make sense of the years, and said, "But I thought you guys would've been their target audience!"  Because I was thinking these girls must have been what, like, 10 or 12 in 1998?  "What year were you guys born?" I demanded.


Which would have made in 1998.  Heck if I knew any current pop music when I was seven.  I felt so deflated.

Coincidentally, the very next day Hansen, all grown up, was playing live in studio on a local radio station. They are still releasing music independently, and are still touring.  Little Hansen, all grown up!

Courtesy of MIX 106.5

They were very positive, well-mannered young men.  They were a little Leave it to Beaver (aw, shucks!), and felt like they were trying a little too hard to be nice, witty guys, but maybe that's just because we're unaccustomed to unabashedly nice rock stars (if Hansen are even rock stars).  They played some new tunes, which I actually really enjoyed, and, after much cajoling, played a little "Mmm Bop."  You could tell they really want establish a new identity separate from that "one-hit wonder," but they good-naturedly played most of the song.  I thought it might be silly for a bunch of twenty-something men to be singing the song, but let's just say it was no more silly than the thirty-something woman bobbing her head and singing along with a ridiculous grin on her face as she pulled into work.

Mix 106.5 hasn't posted the whole performance yet, but here's a link to the video for the first part, if anyone wants to see Hansen, Grown Up live (my title, not theirs).

To conclude on a slightly more academic note, every year Beloit College  produces a "College Mindset List."  for the incoming freshmen class.  This list paints a picture of the pop-culture/current event point of view of new students.  Sometimes it seems as though they are reaching, and sometimes their observations need to be taken with a grain of salt, but the lists are always interesting and thought-provoking.  I looked up the list for these girls, Class of 2013, most of whom were born in 1991.  Just to give you an idea:

  • They have never used a card catalog to find a book.
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream has always been a flavor choice.
  • American students have always lived anxiously with high-stakes educational testing.
  •  The European Union has always existed.
  • We have always watched wars, coups, and police arrests unfold on television in real time.
  • Nobody has ever responded to “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.
I was hoping to see what they had to say about my incoming college class, the Class of 2000, but they don't go back any further than 2002.  So, the first line of the Class of 2000 might read, "They have never heard of the Benoit Mindset List."

If you've graduated in 2002 or after, I'm curious - do you find things in the list that apply to you?


  1. HAHAHAH, "MmmBop" was on the radio either just last night or the night before as we were getting ready for dinner, and Jason said, I don't remember the context, "And this one must be a 90s song; it sounds like it." "YEAH, late 90s, when we were at IUP." "Really? How do you remember these things?" "BECAUSE I TOTALLY ASSOCIATE IT WITH TRACIE!"

  2. @Amy - Brian said almost the exact same thing, only on facebook!

  3. I feel old when the Breakfast Club comes on TV. That was my freshman year of high school, but that doesn't seem like it could possibly be 27 years ago.


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