Throwback Thursday: The Verve Pipe


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Drew Gurian
The Verve Pipe

In case you couldn't tell from my previous Throwback Thursday posts, I have a soft spot for the '90s. I'm a millennial, so it's easy for me to wax nostalgic over boy bands and raunchy comedies. Last weekend was quite the stroll down memory lane thanks to American Reunion, which recycled plenty of jokes from the first three American Pie movies, but that didn't stop it from being hilarious.

Spoiler alert: Jim and Michelle have a squabble and eventually smooth things over at the high school reunion. "The Freshmen" play, and we find out what Sherman, Jessica, and Nadia have been up to, and all is well. The scene is pretty ironic considering the meaning behind the song-o' choice: "The Freshmen" by '90s one-hit-wonders The Verve Pipe.

Watching Alyson Hannigan and Jason Biggs exchange smiles during the "She fell in love in the first place" line is a nice moment, even though the song was supposedly about Brian Vander Ark's girlfriend committing suicide. He later revealed that it was just a poetic device and "The Freshmen" was actually about his girlfriend getting an abortion (the '90s were a good time for "abortion hits," see Ben Folds Five's "Brick").

"My best friend took a week's vacation to forget her,
His girl took a week's worth of valium and slept.
Now he's guilt stricken sobbing with his head on the floor,
Thinks about her now and how he never really wept he says."

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Wikipedia

So, what ever happened to The Verve Pipe? "Bittersweet Symphony" wasn't their next big hit -- that was The Verve.

Unlike most '90s bands, The Verve Pipe never went on hiatus. Brian Vander Ark and Donny Brown are the only original members, but their continued activity is still pretty impressive compared to most bands that have been around for almost two decades.

"The Freshmen" technically made the band a bit of a one-hit wonder, though "Photograph" got some airplay as well. The Verve Pipe released a couple more albums, then Vander Ark released A Family Album, a compilation of children's music under The Verve Pipe name, kind of like a Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, who dabbles in alternative rock.

The Verve Pipe still rocks out -- though most of their shows are for kids, so don't get your hopes up to hear "The Freshmen" live.

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