A lot of travelers have been stuck in a lot of airports over the past few days as airlines struggle to right themselves after airport shutdowns and canceled fights thanks to the big blizzard. All over the country, people are spending time in terminals waiting to win the standby lottery and drinking in those surreal bars stuck between Starbucks and Hudson News. Those hours seem to stretch out interminably. Indeed, if purgatory existed, it would probably look and feel a lot like O’Hare. For the appropriate soundtrack to a bizarre experience, we turn to Marcy Playground.
A strange, druggy little trio from New York, Marcy Playground released their debut album in early 1997 to a mostly apathetic rock landscape that was otherwise distracted by the Wallflowers, the Verve Pipe, Third Eye blind and the rise of ska. But at some point in the summer of ’97, the band’s single “Sex and Candy” started to build a little bit of buzz, and it just kept climbing. By the end of the year, it had taken the top spot on the Billboard Modern Rock chart, where it stayed for a record 18 weeks (it was finally upended by Fastball’s “The Way”).
Even for the late ’90s alternative universe, “Sex and Candy” was as unlikely a hit as could be found on the radio. Awash in shaggy minimalism and carried by frontman John Wozniak’s marble-mouthed moan, the song casts an extremely weird shadow. It’s a bit of a downer, but the chorus still manages to sound powerful, triumphant and — most importantly — catchy. And of course, the video is super-bizarre. So if you’ve spent a lot of time in an airport terminal over the past few days, let Marcy Playground carry you away. Because momma, this surely is a dream.