November 11, 2007

100. Vanilla Ice - To the Extreme

100. Vanilla Ice - To the Extreme

No, I’m not being ironic or contrarian. Or funny, cutesy, amusing, etc. What I’m doing is being real. I simply can’t leave this album out.

I truly, honestly love this album. At least I used to, which means I still do, remembering a time when I wasn’t so critical, when I didn’t even own five albums to rank, when I loved music just because.

I love it subjectively, irrationally, openly. It’s not a guilty pleasure at all.

I know this choice is indefensible.

I know I’ve lost my critical credibility.

I’ve probably lost my dignity, too.

Word to your mother.

100. Vanilla Ice - To the Extreme

Nope, I’m not the least bit objective, knowing, as I do, how bad this album is, but knowing, also, how music works. I’ve never forgotten how much this album meant to me, as something I’d bought with my very own money, a totem I’d chosen to represent myself.

I still know most of the words to this – the whole goddamn album, not just "Ice Ice Baby," a song that always makes me feel happy, giggling like the former schoolboy I am – and rap them whenever I’m feeling extreme. Vanilla ice cream? V.I.P. passes? These are the triggers to schoolboy flashbacks.

100. Vanilla Ice - To the Extreme

My other early, pre-grunge cassettes? Stashed in a drawer, forever unplayed. This dumb album? I never stopped playing it, all throughout high school and college and beyond, and even today for the sake of having fun.

Music doesn’t always need to be meaningful. It doesn’t need to change the world. As long as it changes your world, it’s enough.

Just remember the year I was born, and everything I’ve written on music, life, and memory. I won’t apologize for liking this music. I can’t apologize for being myself.

This album deserves its honorary ranking. Why? Because there’s no other choice.