This is a painful post for me, as it makes me confront the past--specifically my past with one Katie Holmes.
You see, the Orange County, CA-based band The Flys (not to be confused with a '70s New Wave band of the same name) got their start on the soundtrack to Disturbing Behavior, a terrible Stepford Wives rip-off co-starring Holmes and James Marsden released during the post-Scream teen-horror resurgence. On a list of awful teen horror movies of the late-'90s, it would probably be somewhere below The Faculty and slightly above Idle Hands. (The film's tagline: "Perfection is every teenage student's co-pilot." What the hell? I fail to remember planes being involved in any way.)
"Got You Where I Want You" appeared on the soundtrack album released sometime in mid-summer 1998. But this may not be the song you associate with that film; another one-hit wonder, Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta," was used in the ad campaign.
The song was coupled with a tie-in video for the movie featuring Holmes and Marsden running away from the brainwashed teens chasing them, only to come to a cliff where the couple stops, and watch as their peers jump like lemmings, falling to their watery deaths--while the band plays smack dab in the middle of all of this. I recall the first time I watched this video, it was included on a CD-Rom on The Flys album, which a friend had. This friend and I had bonded over our mutual love for Ms. Holmes during an after-school intramural soccer game. We watched the video on his computer in a cramped corner of his dorm room, enraptured for all four minutes.
(BEGIN TANGENT -- warning: this part is barely related to the rest of the post, feel free to skip): Now here's where I reveal something to you, dear readers. I feel we have become close over the past few months and I can share this with you: From about 1998 to 2002, I was obsessed with Katie Holmes. These are also the years I happened to attend an all boys boarding school, but that is no excuse. I won't lie, it was creepy. From the moment I'd seen her in a Fall TV preview issue of Entertainment Weekly promoting Dawson's Creek, I had fallen head over heels. That hair, the eyes, those lips always curling into that sideways smile and her weird, shaky eye problem. I had a lame poster of her wearing a hat that I'd found at Media Play tacked on my dorm room door. I bought every issue of YM or Seventeen that featured her on the cover. I made a teacher take me and my roommate to see Go (far superior to Behavior, btw). I had my mom record most episodes of Dawson's, as my dorm only had one TV that was usually commandeered come Wednesday night. I had The Ice Storm on tape, simply for the several scenes she appears in (and maybe somewhat for Christina Ricci). It was getting uncomfortably weird.
So when I saw the video for "Got You Where I Want You" with Katie looking ravishing, all touseled hair and questionable eye makeup, what should have just been an enjoyable Nirvana rip-off became my new favorite song. (END TANGENT)
The band, led by brothers Adam (vocals) and Joshua Paskowitz (rapper), had an interesting sound--grunge was an obvious influence, but The Flys weren't wallowing in the Northeast rain, they were riding convertibles, and, as their album cover attests, jumping out of planes under the California sun. They had too much fun to be miserable--they glammed it up and weren't afraid to reveal their melody. My favorite part--the bridge's rap--was cut out of the radio version for reasons I'm still not sure of. It still holds up today, albeit in a nostalgic sort of way. The often copied Pixies/Nirvana loud/soft dynamic is put to good use here. After the single reached #5 on the Modern Rock Charts, the band's album, Holiday Man, only went to #109 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.
They released a second single called "She's So Huge" that wasn't given any sort of video treatment, and definitely not one with Ms. Katie Holmes. Again, we have another possible example of a label giving up on a band they'd already deemed a one-hit wonder. The song is a piece of bouncy, distorted pop-rock. The sound isn't very original maybe, but it's no more generic than a ton of other So. Cal bands that came out in the late '90s, and their influences are probably better--there's a lot of Faith No More going on here. And of course, it's catchy--though we've seen thus far that a catchy sound isn't grounds for a hit song.
One thing I am not going to sit here and defend is the lyrics, which are laughably bad. Sample lyric: "I'm your food/am i cake?/I'll have another plate of attitude." Jesus H.
I can't hit you with anymore or you'll just be saddened that this sort of thing could pass on a major label. Okay, one more: "she's so huge/she's so cool/so damn sweet/her perfume's cheaper than her eyes are blue." What? This may eclipse Limp Bizkit's "Nookie" as the worst lyrics in a '90s single--luckily, the vocals are all distorted and you can't understand a damn thing Paskowitz is saying.
The Flys issued another album two years later, 2000's Outta My Way. The album wasn't a disaster--reviews were fairly positive, saying that the songs revealed even more disparate influences and a knack for melding pop hooks with hard rock riffs.
In 2002, they went on indefinite hiatus, but six years later, The Flys announced on their MySpace page saying simply, "The Flys Are Back." To celebrate their comeback, the group released a new iTunes single--a cover of "Hey Jude" as well as a cover of their own song, "Got You Where I Want You 2008," clearly a nod to Alannah Myles. As of yet, no new material has surfaced nor has there been mention of a new album, but the single (available on their MySpace) is surprisingly good. The new version of 'Got You" holds up to the original, and in some ways improves on it--pianos and acoustic guitars buoy an overall mellower sound and shows that the band has become more comfortable with letting melody take center stage and not drowning it in compression and distortion that was so popular over the last decade. And the "Hey Jude" cover isn't embarrassing--which is all an unnecessary Beatles cover really needs to be. These guys may be living proof that just because you're a one-hit wonder doesn't mean you're a complete joke.
Oh, and about me and Katie Holmes. Yeah, well. We all know what happened there. After movies like Abandoned, Wonder Boys, The Gift (her best, ahem, acting to date) and Batman Begins, I realized she just wasn't very good and it began to bug me. Batman and Katie Holmes together should have been a perfect storm of awesomeness for me, and it just wasn't. She came perilously close to ruining the movie. I also thought she was kind of lame for dating the appallingly uncharismatic Chris Klein for five years. So my interest started to wane. Eventually I just stopped following her altogether.
What's she up to these days anyways? Anyone?
Download: The Flys - Got You Where I Want You
Download: The Flys - She's So Huge