Believe it or not, Big Shiny Tunes 2 is the third best-selling album in Canadian history, and this December it will be celebrating its Super Sweet 16th Birthday. If you're not familiar with this spectacular album, it was the second (no kidding) installment in a musical compilation series by the Canadian music television giant MuchMusic. When it was released in 1997, Napster didn't exist and people hadn't even heard of MiniDisc players. It was an era where a compilation of songs on a CD from a variety of artists was actually an exciting prospect, and consumers would make a day out of traveling to the mall to spend $20 on an album that only contained one song that they liked. I remember playing all of Big Shiny Tunes 2 on loop early on in grade school, while hunting down my wiener friends with a RCP90 on Goldeneye 64.
Between this album and the Godzilla soundtrack (shout outs to Jamiroquai, surely you're holding it down out there with your silly hat and your dancing, wherever you are) there has never been a compilation in the history of music that has ever come close to Big Shiny Tunes 2. After remembering the greatness of this musical milestone, I decided to dust off my copy of the album and see how each track holds up to the incredibly high standards of music in 2013. And so, it begins.
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The Prodigy - Breathe
This song reminds me of a kid I knew in grade five named Josh. Josh was the awkward kid who just moved to our town, and had high hopes of performing at the Grammy's with the Spice Girls that very year, which he reminded us of constantly. When he tried to make new friends his icebreaker was always: "Have you heard 'Breathe' by The Prodigy?" which no one really had at the time. Josh was a trendsetter.
To entertain us, he would then sing the entire song at recess, acapella, and throw his Philadelphia Flyers baseball hat around the field. I've had a soft spot for this song ever since. I miss you Josh.
Blur - Song 2
OH SHIT! It's called "Song 2" and it's the second song on this compilation? GOD DAMN that can't be a coincidence. Some brilliant son of a bitch at MuchMusic Headquarters knew exactly what they were doing. Hopefully that person is billionaire now.
This song is still played all the time. Last weekend, I spent a night at the Mod Club in Toronto and they played this track like it was hot off of the presses. Every dude in the place wearing a club-ready sparkly dragon shirt and a matching sports jacket lost their shit and really got into it. That night ruined this song for me.
Third Eye Blind - Semi Charmed Life
This song is about crystal meth. A lot of people don't know that but look it up. So, this ironically bubbly pop song is really just about some guy's dark descent into a crystal meth addiction. After knowing that, I'm down with this track. Imagine a montage set to this song, of some addict lighting up some crystal meth in a crack den, then cut to his afternoon of thievery where he's having the time of his life breaking glass windows and stealing crack pipes and blankets. All the while this song is stuck in his head. That makes me smile.
Sugar Ray - Fly (ft. Supercat)
Did anyone else see Mark McGrath on Celebrity Apprentice? The guy is actually awesome. MeatLoaf would be having one of his regular meltdowns, and Mark would just come in and be like "Meat, it's going to be okay bro. Just ignore Gary Busey." That's quality television right there. But at the same time, I picture longboarders editing one of their underwhelming video parts to this song so, much like "Song 2," it's ruined for me now.
Bran Van 3000 - Drinking in LA
This is one of the few songs on Big Shiny Tunes 2 that people still admit to loving unironically. I went to L.A. for the first time recently, and was warned about how girls aren't that attractive there. It's California, why wouldn't there be attractive women? I thought maybe my friends telling me that just had a picky taste in women and weren't into botoxed Barbies, which is fair. But they were right, LA actually doesn't have that many good-looking women. Maybe that's what inspired this song. Also as a sidenote, my friend saw one of the guys from Bran Van 3000 do a cannonball into a pool last year during Toronto's NXNE festival, and in the process he kicked a woman's open purse into the water, nearly destroying her iPhone. Apparently she was pissed, but at least we know that the Bran Van posse still knows how to throw down.
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