Released: January 12, 1999
Recorded: August 1997 to June 1998
Recorded In: Sweden
Producer: The All Seeing I, Jörgen Elofsson, David Kreuger, Kristian Lundin, Per Magnusson, Max Martin, Rami, Eric Foster White
You know, when I was younger I was kind of silly about music. I really liked everything, with a bent for the heavier musings of Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Manson. However, I was a music video nerd and I appreciated fun and interesting music videos. I also had a thing for chicks who dressed provocatively like most teenagers do today and when Britney Spears popped onto my television with her first music video, I was enjoying the catchy tune and of course, the school girl outfit. (Who would have thunk that America’s teen bomb shell pop singer would go on to record such hits like “Gimme More” that starts out with “It’s Britney Bitch!”).
If you think I am here to review this song and give it some professional write up, no. No sir, not this time. This time, it’s story time and I must warn you – to capture the full impact of the story, some explicit language will be apart of the article below.
This Stuff’s Made in New York City!
My friend Mike and I were hanging out and we had to run up to Shreveport for a visit at a hospital. I can’t recall the date, you see, I don’t write shit down because I rely on my memory. It was the first time we had traveled up to those parts and it was without the comfortable convenience of the Google Maps. Sure, we had MapQuest, but you see, we didn’t have a good printer and since we had great memories, we didn’t take care to write things down.
My pappy told me to follow a certain road and turn at a certain place. Akin to the farmer’s “Turn at the big rock” directions, we successfully navigated our way to our destination. We were driving in Mike’s little Dodge truck and we were on one of our first long(er) road trips. Anyhow, we took care of whatever business we had in Shreveport and we made our way back. Except, we didn’t really make it in as good of time as our initial leg of the trip.
See, Shreveport is a windy sumbitch with its advanced exit ramps and spaghetti bowl overpasses. It really shits all over a man’s memory, and I can’t remember why, but we forgot how to get the hell back. I guess we didn’t care to run the return directions on MapQuest. We drove and it felt right. It was the middle of the night, I believe it rained a bit, but ultimately, we drove until it happened.
“Hey umm, dude, that sign had the Texas flag on it…” I said.
“Naw man, I didn’t see that.” Mike replied
“Dude, we’re in Texas. I have bodily responses to entering this state. My blood pressure rises, my muscles tense up, I start hating people and I start reciting particular amendments of the constitution under my breath. We are fucking in fucking Texas.”
Then a sign shined ahead, town of Joaquin, several miles ahead. Beside the sign? A highway sign shaped like Texas.
“We’re in fucking Texas…” Mike said in his most apathetic tone. We were in Joe-Kwin Texas. I had no phone to Google this community of good folk. Mike had a map of Louisiana in his glove compartment, and it had a nice section of East Texas. I mulled over East Texas for quite a while and couldn’t find Joe-Kwin.
“Dude, pull over at that cafe, we can ask them how to get back on track. I’m hungry to boot.”
We pulled into the gravel lot of a cafe that goes unnamed and I led our duo into the dining room of what was the emptiest, most soulless eatery I believe I have ever seen. I didn’t realize exactly what I was seeing as a teenager, see, I was an innocent then. I know now that I was staring into the empty soul of Texas. I was standing in those outskirts that minorities intentionally detour around with their Tom Toms, because they don’t want to get dragged behind some drunk redneck’s pickup truck. I was in a place where, if you don’t dress up for Halloween 365 days a year (Cowboy hat, Cowboy Boots), you’re some kind of city slicker. I am sure, the fat man in his jean shorts, polo shirt, and NIN cap, and his sidekick, fully adorned in his jeans, T-shirt about hating stupid people and backwards ball cap, looked like something straight out of one of those MTV music videos that were turning their daughters into whores.
The first thing I said was “Hey, how are y’all doin'”
I looked at the guy at the counter. I asked him if he could tell us how to get back to that extremely busy corridor of traffic, Interstate 49, and he gave me the most complex set of instructions I’ve ever received. Mike nodded, that was good enough t for me. He had driven to Houston once or twice by this time. I asked the guy at the counter “Where are we?”
Off to the side this long, drawn out southern drawl, as if Barney Fife himself appeared from another dimension to scare the shit out of us. “THIS HERE’S JOAQUIN (waw-keen) TEXAS BOYS!”
Everyone then turned their heads to us and drained our spirits with their blank, soulless, Texan stares. See, Texans have this ability to look like assholes just by looking at you in a certain, calm way. You won’t find these types in more urban environs like Austin or Houston, but in places like Waw-Keen, everyone, from childhood to the golden years, is equipped with a certain stare that makes swamp folk like me (not so much now) want to slap the taste outta their mouths. However, the only fighting experience we had between us was a broken nose and a hurt neck. We got the hell out of their and we left Texas. We made it home just fine.
I know, I know, you may be asking “How the hell did you end up in Joaquin, Texas, and what in the world does it have to do with Britney Spears?” I am glad you asked.
See, it was late and we were chilling out, driving while lost, and I was thumbing through Mike’s CD binder (Who has those anymore?). I was looking for something different because we had been moshing out to Korn all night. I put in …Baby One More Time honestly shocked he had the disc, and we “moshed” to Britney Spears. We were death metal screaming song after song and we did this for quite for some time. I believe we did this to the point of actually missing the big stone statue bidding our welcome to the Lone Star State.
As much as I hate to say it, I have to give this album a perfect 5 stars our of 5 stars simply because the only time I listened to it, I visited a little town in Texas and I could later use it as a story to share with folks.