So let’s wrap this up before we move on. This post was supposed to be done yesterday, but I woke up late and then had a bunch of stuff to do, so it’s happening today instead.
I, like so many others, discovered Toadies when Possum Kingdom was all over the radio in the mid Nineties. I didn’t end up buying Rubberneck until about five years later. I loved that album, but Toadies fell off my radar after that. Then, in 2008 they made a comeback with No Deliverance, and I got involved again. I picked up Feeler a couple of years later, and grabbed Hell Below/Stars Above around the same time. Since then, I’ve stayed current as albums have been released.
But the real question is: why did they make the list, and why here? Well, in honesty, when I first made the list, they didn’t make the top forty. I had originally designated this week for a different artist, who later got moved to honorable mention. I was talking to my wife about who didn’t make the list (side note, even she doesn’t know the official list of those who made it, or in what order). When I mentioned that Toadies hadn’t made it, she was surprised. According to her, it was the most surprising of the “also-rans.” I thought about it, realizing that other’s perception of importance should weigh in on actual importance. I also realized that the last two artists on my top forty were there less for the sake of important influence on my life and more for a desire to look diverse and talk about artists that I felt needed more exposure. That went against the spirit of the top forty, in my opinion, and so they were dropped into honorable mention and Toadies took their spot on the list.
But still, why are they here? What makes them important? After more than five hours of Toadies music this week, I’m actually not sure I have a better answer than I did when the week began. Toadies speak to come kind of cool that I don’t have. There is a swagger to their music that I love. The bass line and the aggressive guitars have a power over me that makes me feel a little more badass than I am. There’s a grittiness to it, like the musical version of a bar fight. As has been discussed before, I’m not cool (almost ever) or confident (most days) and I don’t have swagger. But I can embrace a little of it by listening to Toadies. Many times, that’s what music is for me. It’s the sonic equivalent of a vitamin supplement. I use it to address a perceived deficiency in myself. In this case, I use Toadies to supplement my lack of swagger, my lack of confidence, and my lack of connection to the non-urban elements of our country. I was born and raised in the suburbs, and now live in a city. I’ve had enough of the suburbs for the rest of my life, but I love the city. I identify with the city. I luxuriate in the city. The mixtures of cultures and arts and musics that a city brings make me, if nothing else, comfortable. But you get me fifteen minutes out of the city, and I’m lost. Not physically lost, mind you. I just can’t identify. Rural America continues to mystify me, but the psuedo-country grooves of Toadies, I feel, help me bridge this gap.
And Song I Hate is one of the best break-up songs ever!
So, I hope you’ve enjoyed Toadies week as much as I have. Maybe you were a Toadies fan already, maybe you were like so many who thought them a one hit wonder and never fully explored them, maybe you’ve never heard of them at all. In any case, keep listening. I’ll be moving on today to another week of someone else (there will be another post in about fifteen minutes addressing this). Until then, I promise you, you will stay as beautiful forever…