What is the memory you most associate with this title?
I don’t actually have a specific memory tied to this album. It was released before Nick Lachey became a reality TV star, and it was one of dozens of teen pop albums released in the wake of ‘NSync and Backstreet Boys. But for some inexplicable reason, I’m always kind of rooting for Lachey.
I recognize that he’s pretty, and that is probably clouding a lot of my judgment. But I bought Revelation in the interest of understanding why teen pop became so ascendant in the late 90s / early 2000s. (I failed.) When his marriage to Jessica Simpson went on the rocks, his interview with Rolling Stone actually humanized him for me. Also, he posed shirtless in the photo shoot for the article.
So, yeah, I’ll cop to buying this album because sometimes, I just like the pretty faces on the album cover.
What was happening in your life when it was released?
Earlier in 2000, I left my job with the newspaper for an even worse one with a startup. I didn’t last more than 2 months before a friend of mine recommended me for a job at her company. I would stay at that job for 18 months before getting laid off.
But it marked the pivot when I stopped being a journalist and started being a web developer. I learned on the job, but I had already trained through community college classes and self-built projects.
I developed enough of an aptitude for programming that I managed to survive a few rounds of lay-offs before getting the ax in August 2001. Getting paid to program, however, insured I would never go back to journalism.
What was happening in your life when you bought it?
Revelation was released in Sept. 2000 and by Nov. 2000, I had already posted a review of the album. That would seem to indicate I may have bought the album shortly after its release. Perhaps even on release day.
It’s also possible I had downloaded the album through the Evil Sharing Networks before committing to purchasing it.
All that to say, the previous answer applies to this answer.
I will say this time of my life was my first bout of financial security. I was earning enough of a salary that car repair expenses didn’t tank me, and I could afford to buy incredibly expensive Japanese indie rock albums from overseas.
Because of that prosperity, I started to build a home recording studio. I dropped money on Cakewalk 9.0, and bought a bass guitar and electric guitar. I went so far as to start taking guitar lessons, bringing in band scores of my favorite Japanese artists to my instructor.
Oh, and also — I registered the domain name “musicwhore.org” and consolidated all the pieces of music writing I published under other site names.
What do you think of it now?
I am less severe on teen pop today than I was at the time of the album’s release. So a lot of the things I said in the original review probably still apply, just without the rockist attitude.
I have spotted the original self-titled 98 Degrees debut album at the thrift shop a number of times, but I have so far resisted completing my collection. (The previous sentence implies that I also own the group’s comeback album, 2.0, from 2013, and you would be correct.) I did, however, finally pick up Nick Lachey’s solo debut.
Kids get fascinated by the weirdest things. Don’t tell me you don’t have some souvenir to remind you of some random thing that just consumed your attention, something that Adult You just has to shrug and ask, “WTF??”
In 2019, my mom found a portion of a long-missing vinyl collection, and one of the records in that stash was the soundtrack to a television show called :20 Minute Workout.
:20 Minute Workout is exactly what the title says — a 20-minute exercise show with 10 minutes of commercials to fill out the full half-hour slot. My mom did the workouts, and we watched while she did them. At some point, we watched the show just to watch the show, workout or no.
My sci-fi geekery cottoned onto the THX-1138-style set — a featureless white set that looked like a spare room in Princess Leia’s shuttle. The workout instructors wore color-coordinated leotards, complete with the requisite 80s leg warmers. The wireless mic set worn by the lead instructor looked like a communication device used to keep contact with a mothership.
The synth-heavy music did little to dispel the futurism of the show. Disco was in its last throes, but new wave made everything sound mechanical and chic. So as the workout instructor ran through the aerobics routine, the music eventually grabbed my attention.
The show’s success meant more opportunities to monetize, and eventually ads began running during breaks hawking the soundtrack to the show.
This album was not something you could stick in your cart at the store. You had to send a check or money order to the address on the television screen and wait for it in the mail. Someone had to pester the parents to put that level of effort to get it, and that duty was gleefully mine.
The show was such a hit, the instructors actually went on tour. I know — I dragged the family down to Ala Moana Center to get an autograph.
I came to my senses eventually, and once I started junior high, I stashed the record album with my dad’s records so as not to remind myself of what a weirdo I was. I eventually forgot the show or that the record even existed.
Then my mom texted me a photo of the cover when she found the stash. Hell, yeah, I had to get that album in my possession.
I wish I could say the music album transcends its source, and that I could find deeper musical meaning of which I wasn’t aware as a pre-pre-teen. But no — this music was designed for the gymnasium, and it serves its purpose well.
But man, do I enjoy the memories this album conjures, awkward though they may be.