In May 2004, “Friends” was winding to a close, marking what was, perhaps culturally or even emotionally, the end of the 1990s. Prior to the final episode, an hour-long retrospective aired. It was referred to as “The One Before The Last One” or “The One With All The Other Ones.”
If you look at the IMDB page for the episode, you’ll notice which songs were featured on the special, playing before cut-together scenes from the iconic series.
One of the groups you’ll find on that page is Hoobastank.
“Out of Control” played as Ross…
I’m totally kidding.
Of course, “The Reason” was on the episode behind a montage of the series’ more romantic moments.
(“Out of Control” was also on that record, released shortly before the special aired, and was listened to that following high school football season by junior varsity players who weren’t going to play, but also owned walkmans and also had to ride the bus to games. It should be noted, probably, that they weren’t spinning through the album “The Reason,” but rather some weird mix CD featuring “Out of Control” and probably something off of Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson’s “The Massacre.” Furthermore, someone had probably opened their CD player while testing it, running a sharpie over the disk to create what probably could pass as a modern art piece at various museums across America.)
Hoobastank was (is?) a band from Agoura Hills, California. The group has a name that likely makes for the best 10-finger knuckle tattoo money can buy.
If you haven’t formally heard of them, you’ve probably heard “The Reason” one way or the other. You probably also read the song’s lyrics during the era of AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM, in someone’s profile or away message.
In the four seconds before Myspace took over and the phrase social media came to be, AIM profiles were getting more and more complex by the minute, sometimes featuring click-through blog-like portions of text. Sometimes they were full biographies, sometimes they were just a block of text, often lyrics to the person’s favorite song.
“The Reason” is a song about a breakup, during which the narrator asks for forgiveness, and was seemingly written for this very purpose. It was the kind of obvious that almost made it unlistenable, the kind of obvious that made perfect sense to children experiencing what they thought to be heartbreak for the very first time.
SCENARIO: Zach and Rachael slow-danced at the “Just Say No” dance. (Zach and Rachael apparently live in a township that has yet to move on from Reagan-era traditions.) The next week he was spotted walking home from school with Sarah. Rachael catches wind. She is not pleased. Zach catches wind of her displeasure and wants to make good.
Which lyric does Zach (Or Joey, or Jeff, whatever) choose? And Why?
Option 1: “I'm not a perfect person. There are many things I wish I didn't do. But I continue learning. I never meant to do those things to you.”
Reason: Zach/Joey/Jeff going with a classic here. It’s the opening lyrics to the song. It’s, honestly, somehow every lyric the song contains? They’d like to be perfectly clear that they’ve grown a lot since school let out, and they seem to be sorry. (If someone in their 20s or 30s used this song for 20- or 30-something person problems in 2004 then please tweet the show @_Reminiscent immediately and tell us that story.)
Option 2: “And so I have to say before I go, that I just want you to know -- I've found a reason for me. To change who I used to be. A reason to start over new. And the reason is you.”
Reason: Zach/Joey/Jeff reading a little farther down the lyrics here and found themselves a mother fucking Hoobastank chorus. Thanks, Hoobastank. They’re logged in, ready to update their away message, and in the years to come the sound of a door opening will play in their mind when they hear this song, that noise getting ingrained in their subconscious as they stare at their buddy list waiting for the crush to log on and see that they have, in fact, found a reason to change who they used to be. Also, are they kissing? Did they fucking kiss before? I know they slow-danced at the “Just Say No” but this feels a little heavy. Kissing is probably super fun, I bet.
Option 3: “I'm sorry that I hurt you. It's something I must live with every day. And all the pain I put you through, I wish I could take it all away and be the one who catches all your tears.”
Reason: You done fucked up, Zach/Joey/Jeff. You done fucked up real bad. Best of luck to you.
Option 4: Post the whole damn song.
Reason: You’ve reached Option 3. If you got that far, just post the whole song. Go for broke. Because as we’ve mentioned, you done fucked up somehow and the buddy list needs to know. And you should do it fast because your mom needs the phone to call her sister.
Well, there you have it. A little walk down memory lane. Hopefully, you never had to live through this soap opera, as it must have been harrowing for all parties involved. But this isn’t a journey you had to go through alone.
You know that part of the walk on the beach when you only saw one set of footprints? Well, Hoobastank was carrying you the whole time.
-to hear more about The Reason by Hoobastank, stream/download our latest episode below-
Here at the Reminiscent podcast, we are humming through a few leftover songs, albums, and music videos celebrating 10-year and 15-year anniversaries in 2019 before we uncover a new batch of nostalgia in January 2020 (which will be exciting, as we can begin combing through a fresh batch of 20-year anniversaries and so forth).
So far this year, that journey has led us to albums that have since become stage musicals (Green Day’s 2004 release of “American Idiot”) and music videos that, for some reason, haven’t been made into feature-length Wes Anderson movies by now (My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay [I Promise]”).
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