Songs are like smells. They can bring back the most specific memories. The smell of chlorine reminds me of nothing else but staying at hotels during soccer tournaments. The smell of car exhaust reminds me going on auditions in the city as a child. The smell of Phoenix Axe Body Spray reminds of school dances in middle school. The list can easily go on and the same goes for songs.
Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts by Less Than Jake.
Before our basement was a gym and even before it was a teenage party room, our basement was a classic childhood playroom equipped with wall-length shelves filled with toys, board games, arts and craft supplies, Barbies, and the biggest collection of Legos in the neighborhood. We had a pull-out couch for sleepovers and a TV set considered antique in today’s world.
It was the late 90s and I had two older brothers whom I desperately wanted to think I was cool. Every once in a while, my mom would announce a playroom cleanup day. This typically meant that the majority of the toys, board games, markers, paper, Barbies, and Legos had gone from the shelves to the floor. All three of us were sent down to the basement and could do nothing else with our day until the basement floor was spotless.
My oldest brother who was and still is a huge fan of seniority always had control over the music choice. He put a CD in the computer (Windows 98) and the cleanup would begin.
As a 10-year-old immersing himself into the 90s punk rock world, my brother always played either Catch 22 or Less Than Jake. I never objected because again, I wanted him to think I was cool and I knew both of my brothers would tease me if I requested my five-year-old self’s guilty pleasure: The Spice Girls. Also, I liked the music. My mind had been trained to associate cleaning with ska music so when I heard it, I knew it was time to get to work.
I chose Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts for two reasons. It is a song by Less Than Jake which gives me such a distinct childhood memory of basement cleanup day. The other reason is that this song in particular partially relieved my desperation for respect from my brothers. I remember my oldest brother calling me into his room one night. He had me listen to the song and then taught me the chorus which is a simple repetition of the song title. I felt so honored that my brother took time out of his awesome life to teach me awesome music. I might have been the only five-year-old girl in town with Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts stuck in my head instead of …Baby One More Time.
This song reminds me that I was a 90s kid through and through and to this day, my brother still takes time out of his life to introduce me to new music none of my friends listen to and once again my desire to be cool in his eyes is partially relived.