#62 – “Kids Are Different Now!” (Spool 409; 2000)

TMBG Unlimited - October
L.K.: We’re really getting a lot of these Battle of the Bands tracks the past few weeks, it seems…
A.S.: Just two, right, including this one?
L.K.: Maybe I’m just getting confused because we were discussing the project with regards to other, unrelated songs.
A.S.: This is one of the songs recycled for the project; it’s gone under three different titles: “Unreliable Narrator”, “I’m The Substitute”, and finally, “Kids Are Different Now”, as performed by the band Spool 409.
L.K.: I’m guessing it’s a riff on Blink-182 since it’s the same sort of snotty pop-punk style.
A.S.: As evidenced by the name they chose. Sum-41 as well, and stylistically the song seems to combine something like “Brain Stew” from mid-period Green Day with “All the Small Things”.
L.K.: Kind of strange subject matter for the genre though.
A.S.: I dunno, it’s music primarily enjoyed by young teenagers, so singing about something related to school makes sense to me, even if it is from the point of view of a substitute teacher.
L.K.: Yeah man, but the teenagers don’t want to sympathize with the teacher!
A.S.: It’s a nice musical role-reversal there.  The sort of play on tropes that TMBG are consistently great at.
L.K.: I still can’t believe the number of different times this song has been released though, mostly for free.
A.S.: Its very first appearance was as a spoken word piece on Dial-A-Song in 1999.
L.K.: Since the version with music was initially downloadable from eMusic for free, it just seems kind of silly that they would include it as part of the paid TMBG Unlimited tracks on the same site. Then again, “Fellowship of Hell” was available for free on a podcast before it was released on an album. I guess it’s not completely unusual. Though that’s an album as opposed to an “exclusive” subscription service.
A.S.: They were probably really pulling for Battle of the Bands material.
L.K.:  Yeah, the second batch of tracks screams of desperation. They shouldn’t have resorted to recycling and re-labeling stuff to fit into the concept.
A.S.: Just a simple EP-length Battle of the Bands thing would have sufficed. I think a lot of folks first heard this song through Malcolm In The Middle though, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this was written for the show.
L.K.: It took me a really long time to start watching the show, so by the time I started watching, I missed most of the episodes with noticeable TMBG songs in them.
A.S.: I can’t say I ever particularly watched it – sometimes my family would leave it on because it was on after The Simpsons for a while.
L.K.: My mom thought it was a horrible show so I wasn’t allowed to watch it. I went back and watched a couple really early episodes on Netflix though, and TMBG’s music was definitely a lot more prominent in the first season than in subsequent ones. I think they only did the score for the first two or three seasons, and then I don’t know who did it after that.
A.S.: That makes sense.  And they were never fully compensated for it, right?
L.K.: Oh, no, I’m sure they were paid for it, but I think there was an issue involving payment when it came time for the stuff to be released on DVD.
A.S.: Right, that was it.  I always forget the Malcolm situation.
L.K.: Only the first season was ever released, and “music rights issues” were given as the reason subsequent seasons weren’t released, so it’d make sense if TMBG were involved with that somehow. Though it must’ve been bigger than just them if it prevented any other season from being released. It’s hard to know what’s going on since the parent company is obviously going to want to make it sound like greedy musicians are keeping your DVDs away, regardless of whether their demands were reasonable or not.
A.S.: Ah, the music industry.
L.K.: The whole series appears to be available on Netflix now anyway though, or at least through the streaming service, so if you really want to watch it there…
A.S.: If you really want to hear “Kids Are Different Now” in its original context. (I almost typed “The Kids Are Alright” – which would also kind of make sense because of “Substitute” and whatnot.) But yeah, this is a fun song – really convincing in its homage to turn-of-the-millennium pop-punk.
L.K.: It’ll be interesting when we get to some of the other songs from Malcolm in the Middle that were exclusively written for that show, because some of them are… uh… different.
A.S.: Oh yes.  Hey, do you have a favorite late 90s/early 00s pop-punk song that we can end the post with?
L.K.: Nah, I basically hated all of them.
A.S.: I was never all that crazy about the stuff either, but there’s one that I still really love…
2 Responses to “#62 – “Kids Are Different Now!” (Spool 409; 2000)”
  1. Nathan says:

    Although written for Malcolm in the Middle, I don’t know if the song ever actually appeared on the show.

    • TMBW claims it appeared in the episode “Funeral”, but since I don’t have streaming Netflix, I have no way of verifying that. A lot of songs in MitM just appeared as quiet little background snippets, so maybe that was how it turned up on the show?


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