Did Collective Soul Actually Exist?

December 21, 2021 by , featured in Pop Culture
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Hey, ’90s kids, do you remember Collective Soul? They had a number of hit songs that no one can definitively pin down but everyone agrees was a large number between approximately 1994 and 1999. They totally rocked, but never too hard. They definitely had some albums that sold a million copies. But then, like so many other ’90s bands, once the 2000s rolled around, they disappeared. How come? Well, what if I told you that Collective Soul never actually existed?

Name a Collective Soul song.

Tell me about your experience at a Collective Soul concert.

Produce the name of a member of Collective Soul.

You can’t.

This could be Collective Soul. But it isn’t.

So how do we explain this common knowledge of Collective Soul despite their obvious lack of existence? Me and the other guys on the SoulTruthers subreddit have our theories.

It’s A Mass Hallucination

collective soul band
This is not Collective Soul.

It’s like how millions swear they grew up reading Berenstein Bears books (it’s actually “Berenstain”) or that Sinbad starred in a genie movie called Shazaam (he didn’t). The notion that a popular ’90s pop-rock band called Collective Soul existed is another example of a shared false memory. But where did it come from? We think there were so many middling rock bands in that era that the world mentally lumped them together. We conflated elements of Matchbox 20, Live, and the Goo Goo Dolls and then got all of them confused with Soul Asylum.

It’s An International Conspiracy

Is this Collective Soul? You don’t know.

“But Collective Soul is playing my county fair this summer, and I’m sort of thinking about going, maybe,” you offer. Well, the only people who will “rock” your fairgrounds under that name are a group of hired musicians. You see, the most lucrative line of business for the old banking families of Europe is booking bands at county fairs. It’s entirely possible that they created Collective Soul in 2013, made us believe by dosing our chicken nuggets with memory-implantation drugs, and put them out on the road, making millions from the suckers who attend these nostalgia-driven shows.

We Needed Them

collective soul exist
There are no photos of Collective Soul.

This one is a heartbreaking but indisputable possibility: We created Collective Soul as a coping mechanism. Amidst the rapid change of the ’90s — the rise of the Internet, sheep cloning, multiple nights of Must See T.V. — we needed something blandly comforting to see us through uncertain times. And so, the human race turned to what got it through the ’80s: the instantly forgettable, perfectly fine music of Mr. Mister and Cutting Crew. Our brains updated it a little, and we all clung to this band until we didn’t need it anymore. That was around 2000 or so, when Limp Bizkit got big.

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