Your Favorite Song Sucks and No One Even Remembers It
July 24, 2020 8:05 AM   Subscribe

When records are not replayed, they become fleeting fads in the eyes of history. In the case of “Wild Wild West,” the only people who understood its importance were those who were there in 1999, at peak Will Smith. But, some songs will survive—the ones most recognized by Gen Z. Defining the ’90s Music Canon, Part II of "How Music is Remembered" from The Pudding. posted by chavenet (185 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
I can't believe that "Achy Breaky Heart" comes in above "Whoomp! There It is", but that is the world we have to live in, I guess.
posted by thelonius at 8:11 AM on July 24, 2020 [13 favorites]


Ok idea for a poll but a lot of the time it's playing the bridge for the first 10 seconds or more. Not so good.
posted by Yowser at 8:22 AM on July 24, 2020 [11 favorites]


Now That's What I Call Data Analysis! 2
posted by theodolite at 8:23 AM on July 24, 2020 [78 favorites]


This kind of thing can change as time passes, though. I'm noticing that the New Order song Blue Monday is lately the go-to "this is set in the 1980s" aural cue in movies and TV, most notably in the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 - but as recently as five years ago I don't think anyone outside Generation X even heard of it or remembers it, much less used it as a cultural time-setting signifier like this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:25 AM on July 24, 2020 [25 favorites]


This feels like someone just discovered a well known phenomenon. Songs that tie into the cultural zeitgeist have staying power, those that don't...don't. (The article mentions "Bohemian Rhapsody", but ignores that it got a strong push back into relevance in the 90s, thanks to the scene in Wayne's World.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:27 AM on July 24, 2020 [27 favorites]


No The Way. No My Own Worst Enemy. Bogus!
posted by thelonius at 8:28 AM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


My glib response about WWW is that it’s a terrible song, but I have to admit the rest of the rankings really don’t bear out the idea that time is separating wheat from chaff.
posted by bjrubble at 8:30 AM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


Previously, in which MetaFilter takes the part 1 quizzes and waits for the guitar solos to end so they can get to the part of the song they recognize.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:31 AM on July 24, 2020 [9 favorites]


but as recently as five years ago I don't think anyone outside Generation X even heard of it or remembers it, much less used it as a cultural time-setting signifier like this.

I'm 36 so I guess I'm close to Gen X, but "Blue Monday" has always been pretty popular among people I knew, especially in college. It was definitely a staple of any 80s-themed thing.
posted by star gentle uterus at 8:33 AM on July 24, 2020 [28 favorites]


I'm really surprised that the most known BSB song for Gen Z is "Everybody". That seemed like a 3rd rate hit of theirs in the 90s. Is there a tiktok I don't know about?
I would have guessed "I Want it that way" would live on the most in meme culture.

PS I love this and am sad I'm not doing this project lol
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:37 AM on July 24, 2020 [9 favorites]


Not even a mention of The Humpty Dance? Must not be a serious study.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:37 AM on July 24, 2020 [47 favorites]


Completely unscientific, but the songs that surprise me most (heard in the wild, not on this chart!) are Crystal Waters’ 100% Pure Love (literally heard it playing in the park the other night, and I assume it was kids because it was a bunch of people with a PA having a dance party in a park around 10:30pm? But I hear it often enough) and Shania Twain’s Man I Feel Like a Woman. In the before times I spent a lot of time at a bar that admittedly played a lot of 90s music but that song makes a younger crowd go WILD, and it surprises me every time.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 8:37 AM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


When people mention a song called "Wild Wild West" I think they're talking about the Escape Club. Where does that put me?
posted by LionIndex at 8:37 AM on July 24, 2020 [76 favorites]


I think Glee and Pitch Perfect alone are responsible for a good chunk of these songs being recognized.
posted by wellred at 8:38 AM on July 24, 2020 [24 favorites]


Yes! Crystal Waters is definitely having a resurgence. I just heard her the other day too!
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:39 AM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


When people mention a song called "Wild Wild West" I think they're talking about the Escape Club. Where does that put me?

The first thing I thought was this; the second, this.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 8:40 AM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


as recently as five years ago I don't think anyone outside Generation X even heard of it or remembers it

The band Orgy covered "Blue Monday" in 1998, and I remember it getting radio airplay at the time. This probably helped bring awareness of the song to my millennial cohorts.
posted by good in a vacuum at 8:40 AM on July 24, 2020 [29 favorites]


I was wondering at the absence of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from the "top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100" chart at the bottom, but according to Wikipedia: "[t]he single peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart". Huh, TIL. It was the album Nevermind that reached number one.
posted by star gentle uterus at 8:42 AM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


It really wasn't the best song on Nevermind imho. I liked "Lithium" and "In Bloom" and "Come As You Are" much more.
posted by thelonius at 8:46 AM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


I'm 36 so I guess I'm close to Gen X, but "Blue Monday" has always been pretty popular among people I knew, especially in college. It was definitely a staple of any 80s-themed thing.

Huh! Not been on my radar....but maybe that says something about a given thing's ubiquity changing? In the things I've seen prior to this, the song that was the go-to "hey this scene is in the 80s" cue was something like "Safety Dance" or "Take On Me", but I'm wondering if this is more a clue that the things I've been watching have been more on the mainstream side anyway produced by people who were more likely to go with a "we're certain that everyone knows this as an 80s song" choice, whereas "Blue Monday" was used by a smaller but more "clued in" group. And over time "Blue Monday" has crossed into the "obviously 80s" mainstream playlist.

….Gah. I hope to God I'm explaining myself well, you know what I mean?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:51 AM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


K-Ci and JoJo’s “All My Life” and Jewel’s “You Were Meant For Me” are widely known by Millennials, but rarely recognized by anyone else.

Born in '82. All My Life was a mainstay at all my school dances. The slow dance song.

I regularly listen to the '90s radio playlist on Apple Music so for me most of these songs are in the regular rotation. I guess I'm a boomer now because I miss the culture of 30 years ago. Not because I physically want it to be the '90s again, they suck for many reasons. The dial-up internet for one. I just miss the hope we had because a truly better world appeared like it was almost certainly going to happen. The Cold War was over! People were coming back together! We were moving forwards, becoming more empathetic, and we were fixing problems and wanting to treat our fellow human beings better.

Then 9/11 happened and shit went crazy.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:52 AM on July 24, 2020 [27 favorites]


We were watching the world wake up from history, you might say.
posted by MrBadExample at 8:56 AM on July 24, 2020 [46 favorites]


But...where? And when?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:58 AM on July 24, 2020 [15 favorites]


If Blue Monday is forgotten, it's because SOMEBODY flung an original pressing at zombies in the back yard, so they can't play it any more.
posted by delfin at 8:58 AM on July 24, 2020 [34 favorites]


The band Orgy covered "Blue Monday" in 1998 , and I remember it getting radio airplay at the time. This probably helped bring awareness of the song to my millennial cohorts.

And Kylie Minogue made a mashup with "Can't Get Blue Monday Out of My Head" a couple years later, which was on the soundtrack for at least one popular film.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 8:59 AM on July 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


As a hopelessly contrarian late Gen-Xer, who spent most of the 90s hanging out at record stores and listening to college radio, I will admit to you that I don’t remember/recognize a lot of these songs either.

“No Diggity” is a solid jam, though. Kids are going to flip out when they inevitably “rediscover” it.
posted by thivaia at 8:59 AM on July 24, 2020 [11 favorites]


The fact that I listened to the "cool hits" radio station to wake up in middle school, and inevitably snooze several times, means the cool jams of 1997-1999 are indelibly printed in my consciousness. Someday, aged millennials will do singalongs of No Diggity to improve our cognitive function.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:02 AM on July 24, 2020 [12 favorites]


I guess the reason Gen Z (or whatever people under 20 are called ) don't know musical history is because there's too much of it now. Growing up in the late 70s/80s I was listening to the radio and knew the hits form all genres, even stuff from the 1950s because it was on the Oldie stations. Plus 1980s MTV when they played music videos. There were only a few decades of popular music to really know about a that time.

But now many younger people seem mentally challenged when trying to grasp what was popular 20 years before they were born. Maybe it's too overwhelming but I don't get the lack of curiosity and cluelessness about it.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:06 AM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


Someday they'll do a survey like this for websites. Who knows about MySpace and Digg?
posted by clawsoon at 9:08 AM on July 24, 2020 [8 favorites]


We were moving forwards, becoming more empathetic, and we were fixing problems and wanting to treat our fellow human beings better.

Recently I watched the 2000 Super Bowl halftime show (brought to you by E*Trade and Disney) on Youtube. It's such a pure product of pre-9/11 world-peace optimism: Edward James Olmos talking about the Gateway of Time opening every thousand years(??), shiny plastic costumes, giant puppets, everything draped in white fabric.. it all seems hopelessly naive in retrospect, obviously things weren't perfect back then, but yeah, I kind of miss it too.
posted by theodolite at 9:08 AM on July 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


it all seems hopelessly naive in retrospect, obviously things weren't perfect back then,

It wasn't about perfection though, it was that we could work together to make that perfection possible. It was within our grasp, almost a certainty. Hope was so strong it was palpable.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:11 AM on July 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


Wild Wild West...in 1999? Hah? That song came out in 1988.


She's so mean but I don't care
I love her eyes and her wild, wild hair
Dance to the beat that we like best
Heading for the nineties
Living in the wild, wild west



So many people talk about "historical firsts" and "unprecedented" thats and don't even have any idea of even recent history.

For it is the doom of men that they forget.
posted by lon_star at 9:12 AM on July 24, 2020 [20 favorites]


I wish they had added some music from a somewhat broader scope than the Hot 100 chart, because that has a pretty limited view of the music of the 1990s. As already mentioned Nirvana didn't chart high enough so weren't included; neither did almost any of their grunge peers; the one exception being a Pearl Jam near-novelty track. It was a great decade for British music; when I think of a 90s track called "Creep", TLC's is a distant second, but Radiohead, Oasis, Blur, Pulp etc didn't chart on the one chart they used. Obviously any heavier music isn't included, even though there was a brief moment when punk sold tons of albums; I wonder how RATM or NIN have aged. Even genres that are represented are skewed; there is some hip hop (and to be fair a few stone cold 90s classics) on the chart, but a lot of the songs were very pop-oriented. When I searched the list of songs for "Snoop", the closest match was "Snow", which I think says it all.
posted by Superilla at 9:14 AM on July 24, 2020 [15 favorites]


I feel like there were two different 90s. There was the bubblegum pop, boy bands, Spice Girls, optimistic stuff. That feels very late 90s to me.

But at the same time, there was, very much in the mainstream, Grunge, Marilyn Manson, NIN, Fight Club, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, NWA, etc. etc. There was a strong current of fuck this shit that was strongly in the mainstream zeitgeist in a way that I don't think you see before or after.

None of that is represented here.

It also seems like when I see "90s" music represented, the bubblegum stuff seems to be played a lot more.
posted by MythMaker at 9:20 AM on July 24, 2020 [35 favorites]


it’s like in the 90’s there was some sort of “alternative” music scene going on...
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:23 AM on July 24, 2020 [48 favorites]


The biggest surprise to me in this article is Snap!'s The Power being so recognizable to Gen Z. Was this featured in a movie like All Star?
posted by mhum at 9:25 AM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


but a lot of the songs were very pop-oriented

Pop? IN MY POP CHARTS??? 🧐
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 9:26 AM on July 24, 2020 [11 favorites]


I feel like there were two different 90s. There was the bubblegum pop, boy bands, Spice Girls, optimistic stuff. That feels very late 90s to me.

This was pre-Internet. There was a ton of different 90's only certain strains ever made it to the mainstream gatekeepers. It's a bit different now with all the YouTube/iTunes/Viral stuff where things that used to just not be accessible to people and stayed underground now explode out into the open on a regular basis (i.e. Old Town Road).
posted by jmauro at 9:28 AM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Except that the "alternate" music was what was being played on the radio, MTV rebranded itself as alternate, etc. The joke during that period was the question about what "alternate" was in fact alternate to, since it was the mainstream. Kurt Cobain's death was seen as an enormous cultural event.
posted by MythMaker at 9:28 AM on July 24, 2020 [14 favorites]


I'd agree with the different 90s thing. There was very much a pop music boy/girl band thing going on, and there was also, for a brief moment in time, a pretty solid alternative music, well, alternative to that. There were radio stations (hah, remember those!) where you could listen safe in the knowledge that those two things would never meet.


Betraying all of my attempts at credibility towards having been a listener of the alternative stations, upthread someone mentioned Backstreet Boys "Everybody" seemingly having more staying power than, say, I Want it That Way. I think there might be a case to be made that most people who admit to enjoying BSB do it in sort of an ironic nostalgia kind of way, and there's really no more absurd song by them than Everybodaaay (yeeeaaaahhh). It's the crowd-pleaser at karaoke in that it's big, loud, and silly. And yes, Mrs. Ghidorah and I do a pretty awesome two person version of both of those songs.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:29 AM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


Uhhh, lots of GenXers were in high school and college in the 90s and therefore remember a lot of music from that era.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:29 AM on July 24, 2020 [13 favorites]


In summation: generational markers are BS.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:30 AM on July 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


The songs with a reverse spread (recognized better by gen z than millennial) jumped out to me, so I did a little digging to try to figure out why:

Wind of Change - Scorpions -- A couple of movie/TV appearances, subject of a podcast exploring if it was written by the CIA (!)
Love Takes Time - Mariah Carey -- featured on Pose
She Ain't Worth It - Glenn Madeiros -- ?
Romantic - Karyn White -- Semi-popular remix
Because I Love You - Stevie B -- seems to be a resurgence of popularity in Brazil?
More Than Words Can Say - Alias -- Subway commercial?
Diamonds and Pearls - Prince -- covered on The Voice
posted by parallellines at 9:32 AM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


The biggest surprise to me in this article is Snap!'s The Power being so recognizable to Gen Z. Was this featured in a movie like All Star?

It's just that everyone knows the (powerful black female vocal) hook: ("I've got the power!"), just like Gonna Make You Sweat ("Everybody dance now!") or Marky Mark's Good Vibrations ("I've got those good vibrations!").
posted by stopgap at 9:43 AM on July 24, 2020 [9 favorites]


The biggest surprise to me in this article is Snap!'s The Power being so recognizable to Gen Z. Was this featured in a movie like All Star?

I feel like "The Power" has been a lazy music cue for many, many years* but the only movie I could think of off the top of my head that used it was The Fisher King. (Does Gen Z remember that movie? I'm honestly curious.)

A visit to IMDb, where Snap! has a curiously exhaustive filmography, includes dozens more. Some of the movies are Hudson Hawk, Under Siege, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Three Kings, Coyote Ugly, Bruce Almighty, Made of Honor, and Cop Out, plus a metric ton of TV series appearances all the way up to the present day: Stumptown, Pose, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Portlandia, Family Guy and, yes, Glee.

*This is not meant to dis "The Power." I love "The Power!"
posted by Mothlight at 9:43 AM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


Seconding the above comment that it took me awhoile to register WWW as Will Smith. I made the progression through Escape Club's Wild Wild West. And then to the finest use of western apparel in music video history: the 80's Kool Moe Dee Wild Wild West. Oh man, I wanted a duster after seeing that video.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:45 AM on July 24, 2020 [10 favorites]


New Wave guy talking about New Wave music on an EDM station: "Look, when you talk about music from the '80s... New Wave music is just more memorable than pop music. Pop doesn't really have a lot of character. It doesn't stick."

I flipped the station and immediately hit on "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins, a pop song which obviously nobody recognizes from the first beats, let alone remembers the lyrics.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:47 AM on July 24, 2020 [11 favorites]


Then to the finest use of western apparel in music video history: the 80's Kool Moe Dee Wild Wild West.

This was the Wild Wild West that popped into my mind first.

It's like there's a "Wild Wild West" for everyone!
posted by thivaia at 9:48 AM on July 24, 2020 [10 favorites]


Maybe that's the shorter version of the Pudding's test?

"1. Tell us your age.
2. Now tell us which of these three songs you thought of first when we say the words 'Wild Wild West'."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:50 AM on July 24, 2020 [19 favorites]


this will not stand, ya know, this jesus jones erasure will not stand, man
posted by entropicamericana at 10:00 AM on July 24, 2020 [10 favorites]


"In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins, a pop song

That...doesn't really seem right. Experimental proggy adult contemporary?
posted by The Tensor at 10:03 AM on July 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


There are songs that never really broke the Billboard charts, and were not considered "Top 40," that probably outperform the least-recognizable tune from the Air Supply catalog, so I'm not entirely sure what conclusions can be drawn from this sampling of music...

Pretty sure that in certain pockets of modern culture, more people will recognize Radiohead's "Creep" more than they will TLC's "Creep." I think the genre matters. If you're not into metal, then you won't have a frame of reference for "For Whom the Bell Tolls," even if you hear it in a movie...but if you ARE into metal, you're more likely to recognize that song as a Gen Zer than, say, "2 Minutes to Midnight."

Cover songs also contribute to a song's longevity. People are often surprised to find out that Johnny Cash didn't write "Hurt," for instance, or that Weezer didn't write "Mrs. Robinson."

Cool article, bro. Makes me feel old. When I was a wee lad, I listened to Big Band music and 50's pop. I know a 23 y/o who can't tell the difference between The Cure and The Clash, so there's way more to it than just the music itself...
posted by Chuffy at 10:04 AM on July 24, 2020 [5 favorites]



this will not stand, ya know, this jesus jones erasure will not stand, man

"erasure" you say?
posted by thivaia at 10:06 AM on July 24, 2020 [14 favorites]


BTW, Artemus Gordon called and he wants his buddy's theme song back.
posted by Chuffy at 10:09 AM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


I'd really like to see something like this that draws on a wider pool of music. I'd like to know if there are songs that endure over the generations even though they never made it on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. Like I wonder if millennials might recognize "Red Right Hand" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, which was not a (U.S.) hit but feels kind of like a classic today? Or, I dunno, non-hit "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake, which earned a surprise second life after its use in a 1999 VW TV ad.

And I agree with Chuffy, above, that genre really matters. And I love a lot of "pop music" (and might even argue that every song discussed in this thread is "pop music," although I get what people usually mean by using that term) but agree with The Tensor that "In the Air Tonight" isn't a typical example of what's usually dismissed as "pop." Is "Sussudio" recognized from the first few beats? Maybe it is, I'm not sure, but it's definitely less of a standout from pop-radio stylistics than the singular "In the Air Tonight."
posted by Mothlight at 10:10 AM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


> stopgap: "It's just that everyone knows the (powerful black female vocal) hook: ("I've got the power!"), just like Gonna Make You Sweat ("Everybody dance now!") or Marky Mark's Good Vibrations ("I've got those good vibrations!")."

Except, according to the stats they collected, it seems to be recognized by Gen Z way more than those:

Snap! - The Power: 88%
C+C Music Factory - Gonna Make You Sweat: 69%
Marky Mark - Good Vibrations: 62%

Never mind some other 90s dance floor hooks:

Tag Team - Whoomp! There it is: 51%
Technotronic - Pump Up the Jam: 42%
Bell Biv Devoe - Poison: 26%
Wreckx-N-Effect - Rump Shaker: 15% (!!)

> Mothlight: "A visit to IMDb, where Snap! has a curiously exhaustive filmography, includes dozens more. Some of the movies are Hudson Hawk, Under Siege, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Three Kings, Coyote Ugly, Bruce Almighty, Made of Honor, and Cop Out, plus a metric ton of TV series appearances all the way up the present day: Stumptown, Pose, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Portlandia, Family Guy and, yes, Glee."

Hmm. Then, I wonder if there was some specific movie/TV episode where Gen Z was exposed to Snap! or if it was just kind of pervasive in the atmosphere but not really noticeable to me, like nitrogen.
posted by mhum at 10:13 AM on July 24, 2020 [5 favorites]




I was at the oral surgeon's having a tough tooth extraction a decade ago. He's got my tooth in a clamp and tugging me off the chair. Over the radio playing softly in the background Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" comes on. I could live my life never hearing that song again.
posted by Catblack at 10:14 AM on July 24, 2020 [16 favorites]


There are songs that never really broke the Billboard charts, and were not considered "Top 40," that probably outperform the least-recognizable tune from the Air Supply catalog, so I'm not entirely sure what conclusions can be drawn from this sampling of music...

Yeah like this is a bit orthogonal but I'm diligently working on improving my Spanish-language skills and my tutor finally got me to look for Spanish-language music, and I discovered this Mexican band Kabah and I told him one of the songs I like, "La Calle de la Sirenas" and he FLIPPED. OUT.

Apparently it's, like, the kind of song everyone in Mexico knows, and I literally had never heard it before.

Culture is weird.
posted by Automocar at 10:15 AM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


This kind of thing can change as time passes, though. I'm noticing that the New Order song Blue Monday is lately the go-to "this is set in the 1980s" aural cue in movies and TV, most notably in the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 - but as recently as five years ago I don't think anyone outside Generation X even heard of it or remembers it, much less used it as a cultural time-setting signifier like this.

I'd never noticed that song (maybe I've heard it?) before you linked to it just now, but I would have 100% pegged it as an 80s song. I'd imagine that it first got used because it was both unfamiliar to most people (and so didn't have any particular connotations) but still recognizably "80s music."
posted by straight at 10:15 AM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Also, I think we really missed an opportunity in not naming the generation who came of age around 1999 as "Willennials" since -- as this data shows -- they truly were the first and last generation of the new Willennium.
posted by mhum at 10:25 AM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


There's a certain subset of 80s songs that I mostly know from playing hours and hours of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Is there an equivalent for 90s songs?
posted by oulipian at 10:26 AM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


I’m looking at those songs at the bottom and going...
Elton John, Can You Feel the Love Tonight... Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, A Whole New World... Vanessa Williams, Colors of the Wind....
It’s a Disney thing.
posted by TrishaU at 10:29 AM on July 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


Wasn't Slanted And Enchanted by Pavement like, at least worth mentioning? hahaha Y'all I was a stoner indie rock kid, by 1995 all I knew were magnetic fields songs.
posted by noiseanoise at 10:31 AM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


Is there an equivalent for 90s songs?

The soundtracks to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (well, the alt-rock, rap, and New Jack Swing radio stations at least) and the first few Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games.
posted by box at 10:33 AM on July 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


there's also some salience of songs coming from, say, Rock Band
posted by dismas at 10:40 AM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


I can't believe that "Achy Breaky Heart" comes in above "Whoomp! There It is", but that is the world we have to live in, I guess.

What I'm hearing here is that you haven't been to a Mexican / Mexican-American wedding, birthday party, prom or family barbecue at any point in the last twenty-five years, because No Rompas Más (Mi pobre corazón) is inescapable if you have.

My wife teaches at a high school in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles and it is wild to see every single kid at prom knowing all the steps to that dance.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:40 AM on July 24, 2020 [8 favorites]


The thing about Smith's WWW is that it was a perfunctory song for a movie that wasn't a teensy fraction of what it could have been; Smith and Barry Sonnenfeld were obviously trying to recapture the fun and success of Men in Black, and while the theme song from that movie probably won't be on anyone's short list for great hip-hop of any era, it bounced and the video (with its mo-cap alien from the movie's prologue) was fun. WWW just borrowed a pretty well-known riff from Stevie Wonder and dragged in Dru Hill and Kool Mo Dee--again, not really that bad, but with that back-up crew, pretty much anyone could have done it. Kenneth Branagh could have done it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:48 AM on July 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


Recently I heard an Imogen Heap song that came out when I was in high school in the early 00s on the grocery radio along with other "nostalgic" radio hits and that was the precise moment I knew I had finally arrived at being officially Old™.

Then, I read this Clickhole article and I laughed while also feeling personally attacked because, lord, I keep having this exact experience talking to Zoomers about 90s shoegaze. "But why is the sound quality so bad? Didn't they have good recording equipment? It's so, like, fuzzy. You can barely even hear the singer." No, no, that's guitar feedback, they're doing that on purpose, it was a cool and interesting techn... sigh. Nevermind. No, recording equipment all just mysteriously failed from 1992 - 2006. No one knows why. It sounded better live.
posted by Lonnrot at 10:50 AM on July 24, 2020 [13 favorites]


BTW, Artemus Gordon called and he wants his buddy's theme song back.

Here you go.
posted by straight at 10:54 AM on July 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


I wonder how RATM or NIN have aged.

RATM is in their moment right now. See them quoted or linked on a very regular basis by people who weren't alive when their stuff was new. Feels like their music was just lying in wait for the rage of 2020 and the past four years. Fits the mood now better than it did then.

NIN also seems to be a perennial. In the goth / darkwave groups where I'm the token old, I see Trent's stuff on the regular.

For that matter, My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive also seem to have a very long shelf-life. It's 2020 and I somehow still see zillions of memes about both of them. The Cure too. Pity about Morissey turning into Thatcher because The Smiths would have similar longevity if it wasn't for him.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 11:01 AM on July 24, 2020 [17 favorites]


Another old millennial just here to say that Blue Monday was absolutely my favorite song in college in like 2005 and I distinctly remember sorting my iTunes by play count and laughing out loud that Blue Monday had an order of magnitude more plays than any other song. This is because I mostly listened to albums and playlists but sometimes would just have nights or weekends where I only listened to Blue Monday, on loop, for hours.

I think pop music was already so fragmented by the 90s that the idea of a canon no longer made sense, personally.
posted by potrzebie at 11:03 AM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


Gen Z might not know Wild Wild West, but I wonder how many know Wow Wow
posted by gc at 11:07 AM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Where does Deee-Lite fall in in this? I mean, there were a solid twenty years there when you could not go to a supermarket/wedding/drag show/dance party and not hear "Groove Is In the Heart," a song that for me is about as inexorably 90s a pop song as you can get.
posted by thivaia at 11:14 AM on July 24, 2020 [30 favorites]


I've never heard "Wild Wild West" because at the time I (mostly) listened to mix tapes made by Belle and Sebastian fans (discussed online and traded by mail), and now that I (occasionally) walk around without headphones, those songs seem to be what gets played in the background in hipster taco shops.
posted by betweenthebars at 11:17 AM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


> I'm really surprised that the most known BSB song for Gen Z is "Everybody". That seemed like a 3rd rate hit of theirs in the 90s. Is there a tiktok I don't know about?
I would have guessed "I Want it that way" would live on the most in meme culture.


Tell me why.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 11:21 AM on July 24, 2020 [22 favorites]


Tribe called Quest
John Quest
Ex-explorer, gun-slinger
No, you don't want nada
None of this, six-gunnin' it...
posted by Groundhog Week at 11:22 AM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


there's also some salience of songs coming from, say, Rock Band

Relevant xkcd.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:24 AM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


I'm so sorry that people have forced younger generations to listen to "Smooth" that much... This has been your generation's waterboarding...
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:31 AM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


I'm so sorry that people have forced younger generations to listen to "Smooth" that much... This has been your generation's waterboarding...

Like holding someone 7 inches from the mid-day sun
posted by gc at 11:33 AM on July 24, 2020 [13 favorites]


The Sign by Ace of Base could not be a bigger memory for me, given how huge it was when I was in 5th grade (and how buying the cassette tape with my own money at the mall was one of the big first purchases for myself in my life).

That said, I am astounded that "All That She Wants" is nearly as recognizable to Gen Z. Nothing against the song, but in the mid 90s I don't think I would have guessed those two would have nearly the same long term recognizability.
posted by jermsplan at 11:38 AM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


this will not stand, ya know, this jesus jones erasure will not stand, man

A few years ago for reasons, I was in Prince Rupert BC. I passed a bit of time in a charity shop and I was frankly flabbergasted at the number of Jesus Jones and EMF CDs. If you cannot locate your copy of Doubt or Schubert Dip, I know where they are.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:47 AM on July 24, 2020 [12 favorites]


I was frankly flabbergasted at the number of Jesus Jones and EMF CDs.

Was it... Unbelievable?
posted by Superilla at 11:52 AM on July 24, 2020 [37 favorites]


I Want It That Way was permanently cemented in my personal canon thanks to the two Chinese roommates lipsyncing video.

Count me as a cusp Gen X/Millennial who is SO CONFUSED by which songs have lingered in popular consciousness. There's also gotta be a sampling issue, because some of the 90s hiphop is for sure more recognizable to people who listen to hiphop now?
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:53 AM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


There seems to be less and less diggity with each passing year.
posted by dephlogisticated at 11:54 AM on July 24, 2020 [26 favorites]


I tell you what blew my mind was how many albums Ugly Kid Joe made
posted by thelonius at 12:01 PM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


I would have guessed "I Want it that way" would live on the most in meme culture.

Heard it on eBay.
posted by straight at 12:06 PM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


I’ve gone down a YouTube rabbit hole recently of people reacting to songs for the first time. Songs that are like wallpaper in my mind, but that’s because we’re all solipsistic about culture and forget there are young adults born after 9/11 (which just feels impossible!) who think that Dave Grohl is the funny internet guy from memes.

At any rate, watching a young kid listen to, say, “Down Rodeo” by Rage Against the Machine which begins:


Yeah, I'm rollin' down Rodeo with a shotgun
These people ain't seen a brown-skinned man
Since their grandparents bought one


And then they kind of stare in disbelief at the thought of a this band being massively popular for a full decade.

Culture and art are perpetually weird and fickle and I love it.
posted by lattiboy at 12:10 PM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


In the things I've seen prior to this, the song that was the go-to "hey this scene is in the 80s" cue was something like "Safety Dance" or "Take On Me", but I'm wondering if this is more a clue that the things I've been watching have been more on the mainstream side anyway produced by people who were more likely to go with a "we're certain that everyone knows this as an 80s song" choice, whereas "Blue Monday" was used by a smaller but more "clued in" group. And over time "Blue Monday" has crossed into the "obviously 80s" mainstream playlist.
I think it's going to vary depending on how the people making it feel about the 80s, and how they want to depict it. Blue Monday will come across as more serious, while Safety Dance more frivolous.
posted by ckape at 12:19 PM on July 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


gonna derail by shifting forward five years or so.

so i'm maybe the only one who bonded hard with early-2000s electroclash and electroclash-adjacent music — peaches, ladytron, goldfrapp, that sorta thing. and what i wanna know is what that sounds like to kids these days. like it sounds quasi-contemporary to me, but i'm an old. my guess is that a lot of it sounds way too frantic and maybe repetitive to kids from the like billie eilish generation, since actual contemporary music's got this "slow-but-complex" thing going on.

moving back to the actual 90s: i also kinda wanna know what teh kidz think about vintage riot girl. like anyone got a teenager they can play "my my metrocard" at so they can tell me what they think?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:23 PM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


I feel like there were two different 90s.

I was at a 90s themed dance party in Brooklyn a few years ago and this was pretty evident; they'd play the Spice Girls followed by more ska or grungy stuff and you could hear the different subsets of the crowd getting excited.

You know what song of all songs brought the entire venue together? Torn, by Natalie Imbruglia.

I kid you not, when that came on, nearly every single person in that room* immediately started swaying in sync and belting out every single word at the top of their lungs without missing a beat. I realize 90s Night at the Bell House is going to self-select for a certain demographic to begin with, but I still never would've guessed Torn would be the song that would transcend genre and lodge itself in our collective brain forever.

*The one exception was my friend who grew up in Japan. She knew most of the poppier stuff but not Torn, and was completely flabbergasted by the intensity of crowd's reaction.
posted by yeahlikethat at 12:27 PM on July 24, 2020 [19 favorites]


look can we all just agree to never talk about the 90s ska revival ever again
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:30 PM on July 24, 2020 [20 favorites]


i don’t mind the ska sometimes the messages it blows
i can hear it off my lips and tap it on my toes

Also: you know how they tell you that at any given moment lightning is striking somewhere on the earth? It’s the same thing with “Torn”, and has been since 1998.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:35 PM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


I feel like there were two different 90s.

There were three, but you had to listen to hip hop stations, because Dr Dre released The Chronic in 1992 and Snoop Dogg gets big in the 90s, and there was the whole East Coast/West Coast rap feud with Biggie and Tupac through the 90s. They were all mainstream but different radio stations.
posted by gladly at 12:37 PM on July 24, 2020 [13 favorites]


The 90's had:

- A golden era of hip-hop and R&B
- A golden era of indie rock
- A golden era of electronic music
- Grunge
- Boy Bands
- The Lilith Fair scene
- Nelson
- Green Day and the birth of emo / screamo (goddamn you Green Day)
- Bjork
- And whatever TF was on the radio
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:40 PM on July 24, 2020 [18 favorites]


look can we all just agree to never talk about the 90s ska revival ever again

I like ska and you should give The Interrupters a listen.
posted by The Tensor at 12:41 PM on July 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


Every time I introduce almost anyone born after ~1970 to Fools' Gold, Ian Brown gets a few more pounds.

It's funny that The Pudding came up with this after seeing videos of kids reacting to these songs. Every time I listen to an old song on YouTube, there's invariably a clutch of supposedly 10-16 year olds in the comments with how they can't stand today's music, and why can't music be like this stuff, and how they wish they were young adults in the 60s/70s/80s/90s to experience this stuff live. I agree about the 60s, and yes, sometimes I wish I had been 18 and not 3 in 1972. Then the adults chime in with, "THESE KIDS TODAY DON'T KNOW NOTHING ABOUT GOOD MUSIC! I HATE THAT HIPPITY-HOP WHATEVER THE FUCK IT IS!", most recently seen in the comments for the video to... "Me Myself and I" by De La Soul. Invariably, they were about 14 when the song in question was released. Old heads complaining about today's hip-hop, a few songs of which I like; "Savage" is a jam! Welp.

Hahahahaha! I literally haven't thought about Air Supply in 35 years. I had to DuckDuckGo them to recall what they looked like. No one where I grew up in the 70s/80s listened to these guys. I know that "Here I Am" song from the dentist's office.
posted by droplet at 12:43 PM on July 24, 2020 [9 favorites]


For better or worse, the 90’s will always be about Pavement to me.
posted by sjswitzer at 12:43 PM on July 24, 2020 [9 favorites]


t’s like in the 90’s there was some sort of “alternative” music scene going on...

The phase transition between the two states would be Lisa Loeb's "Stay" in 1994 (called out in the article, fwiw). That was the cultural point where it seemed like a lot of the hipster fashion stylings and attitudes of the early 90s crossed over into mainstream syrupy Hallmark-card preciousness.
posted by gimonca at 12:52 PM on July 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


As someone *solidly* into my 30s, there are several things that stick out as missing to me - Korn, grunge/alt. rock in general (the PNW constellation especially, but also the Blur, Bush, Radiohead, Oasis stuff), and lots of electroica (Crystal Method, Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Moby).

Linkin Park and Eminem seemed significantly overlooked, but upon review, despite their very noticeable 1999 entrances, they made hit after hit in the 2000s. I'm still very fuzzy on what an EP is as opposed to a studio album.

Maybe the only reason I found New Order before their 2001 single Crystal was Orgy's cover of Blue Monday.
posted by cult_url_bias at 12:55 PM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


I would have guessed "I Want It That Way" would live on the most in meme culture.

Like Smells Like Teen Spirit, it peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and so wasn't in this data set. For posterity, the songs that were #1–5 when it peaked were:
  1. If You Had My Love — Jennifer Lopez
  2. Last Kiss — Pearl Jam
  3. Livin' La Vida Loca — Ricky Martin
  4. No Scrubs — TLC
  5. Where My Girls At — 702
And the songs that beat out Smells Like Teen Spirit at the height of its popularity were:
  1. Black or White — Michael Jackson
  2. All 4 Love — Color Me Badd
  3. Can't Let Go — Mariah Carey
  4. It's So Hard to Say Goodbye — Boyz II Men
  5. 2 Legit 2 Quit — MC Hammer
Amusingly, Smells Like Teen Spirit was sandwiched between two MC Hammer songs when it peaked: 2 Legit 2 Quit at #5 and the timeless Addams Groove at #7.
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:57 PM on July 24, 2020 [8 favorites]


look can we all just agree to never talk about the 90s ska revival ever again

Only if we also avoid the late-90s swing revival.

I was getting pretty good at Lindy Hop by the end of '99 though.
posted by good in a vacuum at 1:02 PM on July 24, 2020 [9 favorites]


look can we all just agree to never talk about the 90s ska revival ever again

Ska defines who I am as a person and I will never turn my back on ska!
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:17 PM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


Came here to note that the recognizable "Good Vibration" sample from the Marky Mark song is sampled from the 1980 disco hit Love Sensation by Loleatta Holloway. One reason it became so big was by echoing a song that still lingered in people's subconscious – in part because Love Sensation was extensively sampled by Black Box in their dance hits from 1990.
posted by rednikki at 1:18 PM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


Only if we also avoid the late-90s swing revival.

That was truly the nadir of my post-collegiate life.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:21 PM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


"Two different 90s" or "n-different 90s" and droplet's comment and "watching the world wake up from history" are all tied together.

It's been *common* in the past that musical tastes were defined by what popular music was when you were a kid/adolescent, but it's never been that simple -- there have always been temperaments or individuals who were drawn somewhere else. As an X-ennial I had lots of friends even as a teen who were looking back to the music of the 60s & 70s and even the big band era. Tastes have always been distributed differently even in the middle of media-coordinated zeitgeist. And of course, there were channels that recognized that, the different stations trying to coalesce around different markets. An acquaintance recently drew a total blank on a reference to Colin Raye's "love, me" and I didn't know that was possible but if you didn't listen to a country station or have friends who did, you might have largely avoided the song.

But now that YouTube and Spotify and the like mean every period of recorded music is constantly happening at once, there are no *walls* to the channels ... most of the barriers and natural paths are in people's individual synapses and in their social networks (some in the recommendation engines too, but those are much more fluid than the old market designations). It's just easier for stuff to find its audience even across decades now.
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:22 PM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


The Sign by Ace of Base

Truly, every generation is cursed to bear the burden of its own catchy Swedish pop group. ABBA, Roxette, Ace of Base, the Cardigans...
posted by Ghidorah at 1:24 PM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


Green Day and the birth of emo / screamo (goddamn you Green Day)

I blame Green Day for a lot of things (there’s a pop-punk rabbit hole that gets uglier and uglier the deeper you go), but having beem to actual (god help me) emo/screamo shows in the early 90s right arouns the time when bands startes sounding less like, say, Indian Summer and more like Jawbreaker (and then all those bands got weirdly huge), I don’t put that on them. Some of the ridiculous fashion, maybe. I was mostly aged out of the emo thing when it really rolled onto Mtv/ Top 40 radio (dodged that bullet, but I did own 3rd Wave ska records so I’m in no position to judge), but friends younger than I are way more likely to cite early Weezer and “Creep” era Radiohead as entry points to emo than Green Day.

(I love this thread, by the way. I miss going to shows and bars in part because i miss having and excuse to sit arouns and have (usually trivial) conversations about music)
posted by thivaia at 1:31 PM on July 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


look can we all just agree to never talk about the 90s ska revival ever again

The 90s ska revival is responsible for this which is amazing, so no.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:32 PM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


That was truly the nadir of my post-collegiate life.

I would have killed for that! Instead I got the late '90s Beastie Boys (Intergalactic), Daft Punk, Prince's Pussy Control, and Love Rollercoaster by Red Hot Chili Peppers - all of them played incessantly. It's like club music was punishing you for drinking in public.

I listened to pop music in the 1990s and I can barely remember lots of those songs.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:32 PM on July 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


Does The Knife count? They're Swedish, and had some catchy songs.
posted by nikoniko at 1:33 PM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


see yeah the knife is another of those groups where i'm like "this sounds contemporary to me but probably doesn't to someone actually contemporary"
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 1:41 PM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


Thanks, I'm totally making myself a playlist out of a lot of these songs (not YOU though, Mambo No. 5). I was too young in the early 90's to be able to recall the names of any of these songs or the artists, but many are awesome and hearing them makes me super happy. My 40th is next week; I think I'll play them at my (miniscule, outdoor) party.

I was more into the alternative 90's and was also getting into 60's folk at the same time, and remember buying a Marilyn Manson album and a Bob Dylan one in the same purchase and the HMV worker being like - what??? With all of the music availability now no one would scratch their heads anymore at eclectic tastes.
posted by kitcat at 1:49 PM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


I was a nightclub DJ in the early 90s and this entire list makes me sad. This is the legacy we are leaving?
posted by Manic Pixie Hollow at 1:53 PM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


I was a nightclub DJ in the early 90s and this entire list makes me sad.

Don't despair! Street Player samples are eternally relevant.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:59 PM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Pop? IN MY POP CHARTS??? 🧐

This was the thing with the Nineties, though. While Mariah Carey and Kaci & Jojo were being played at the prom, they were far from heavy rotation elsewhere. Like, I wasn't listening to hip-hop in the nineties, but even as a died-in-the-wool "Alternative" kid I had way more incidental knowledge of whatever Snoop or Dre were doing than anything that was hitting #1 on the pop charts. It was just a different time.

It doesn't help that the things topping the Pop Charts in the nineties were also the blandest, most forgettable music from that decade, by and large. But there's a reason something like "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" is near the top of Gen Z recognition despite not being one of the best-selling or most ubiquitously played songs of that era, and it's because you only need to hear it once to remember it forever. Most songs on that list I wouldn't remember after an hour.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:00 PM on July 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


When people mention a song called "Wild Wild West" I think they're talking about the Escape Club. Where does that put me?
posted by LionIndex


Somewhere in the proximity of a knife, a fork, a bottle, and a cork, I'd venture.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:17 PM on July 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


Not only am I am old-ish Gen Xer who thinks "Escape Club," not "Will Smith," when someone mentions Wild Wild West, I am also one of the small minority people who is really more familiar with the parody song by Wally Wingert and the Caped Club, "Adam West." You'd have to have been a special kind of nerdy teen in 1989 for that one to have sunk in at all.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:29 PM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Somewhere in the proximity of a knife, a fork, a bottle, and a cork, I'd venture.

yesterday can seem like such a long, long time ago
posted by entropicamericana at 2:40 PM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Opposites Attract
Paula Abdul, 1990


(scatters a few sprigs of catnip for MC Skat Kat)

Too soon!!!!
posted by panama joe at 3:25 PM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


I can't believe that "Achy Breaky Heart" comes in above "Whoomp! There It is", but that is the world we have to live in, I guess.

Eheump! Sic transit gloria mundi.
posted by No-sword at 3:58 PM on July 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


I like ska and you should give The Interrupters a listen.

I raise you some Agent 99.
posted by eviemath at 4:06 PM on July 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


I looked up the Billboard Year-End Top 100 Singles for the year I was born on Wikipedia.

Of the top ten: I recognized 3 for sure. There were another 3 maybes. And 1 whose lyrical hook I've seen in print but never actually heard.
posted by clawsoon at 4:10 PM on July 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


look can we all just agree to never talk about the 90s ska revival ever again

Yeah, please, all of them - working sound in small rock clubs in the 90's I'm pretty sure there were at least 3 different revivals, maybe 4 or 5, so there'd be this wave of hyperactive suburban pimply kids with trombones and porkpie hats and every bill had 4 or 5 bands on it and it was like fucking herding cats and then after a while it would die off and you'd think, "Whew, seems that's over with" and then a couple of years later these kids are everywhere again and you'd be like, "What is going on, didn't we already do this and get it out of our systems already?"
posted by soundguy99 at 4:26 PM on July 24, 2020 [18 favorites]


hello porkpie hat
posted by thelonius at 4:35 PM on July 24, 2020 [11 favorites]


look if there were justice in the world all y’all talking about the 90s ska revival would be forced to listen to sell out on repeat until you repented
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:50 PM on July 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


> Truly, every generation is cursed to bear the burden of its own catchy Swedish pop group. ABBA, Roxette, Ace of Base, the Cardigans...

i’ll let someone else defend the honor of the cardigans and roxette because i am here to tell you that it is basically a crime to put abba (who are beautiful and good and pure and wonderful in every way) in the same sentence as ace of base (who suck and who are suspiciously nazi-adjacent)

okay i tried derailing towards the 2000s and that didn’t work so now i’m gonna try to take this back to the 70s with one of my favorite fight-starter sentences:

abba was better than queen.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:02 PM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon: as a child of the 00s more than a child of the 90s, I also bonded with that sound (plus all the early 00s indie electro stuff from labels like Morr like Lali Puna, Electric President and The Notwist and the Postal Service's Give Up, and 00s post-rock which was quietly huge at the time) and I think it probably sounds like post-vaporwave or proto-PC-Music to the Kids Today. Like, sort of vaguely "retro" and "current" at the same time, with both the optimism and the depression being kind of painful given the problems of the world today. I think some stuff like Electric President's first album would have the same if not greater resonance now. Most of the friends I have who are a fair bit younger than me are listening to either radio pop or chill hop stuff, but the really cool ones are into things that throw pop culture from about the 70s to the present in a blender with big fat chunks of 80s pop and 90s alternative floating around in there.

Most people have always been very passive in how they listen to music, but there's a subset of kids who are really into excavating all the music from previous decades and synthesizing it with the present, which is a lot more accessible than it used to be. There's sometimes a flattening effect, too, where, say, My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive are perceived as equivalent to Adorable and Chimera despite the former pair being shoegaze stars and the latter being pretty obscure - they're both generally available to listen to on YouTube (not Spotify, though), so they can be evaluated for musical quality and spread through word of mouth rather than relying on music journalists, printings and so on. It's been really weird to notice which songs or artists persist indefinitely and which just vanish down a memory hole as I age, but there are still nerds who are into digging around for the buried treasure.
posted by Lonnrot at 5:07 PM on July 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


Y’all are heartless bastards. Ska was is great stuff, from the 50s to the 80s, the 90s and what being made today.

Mrs. Ghidorah has been watching this random BBC murder mystery/fish out of water show called Death in Paradise, and I’ll sit and watch it because it’s just filled with 50s ska, and she’s finally started to notice that a good chunk of the music I’m playing while we’re driving to and from anywhere has been on that show, and is starting to get into it as well.

And then there’s the wonderful thing about Japanese tv (I’ve mentioned this before), but it’s honestly shocking how much aka is used as the background music for different segments, ska from all eras. It’s usually pretty quiet in the background, but it pops out to me, and it’s awesome getting a little bit of some random midwestern ska band (seriously, Animal Chin? The Pinstripes?). The other day, there was a show that just had pretty much non-stop first wave ska for every segment, and, because of that murder mystery show, Mrs. Ghidorah was starting to recognize it as well, and really enjoying it.

I wonder if the whole ska hatred thing comes from the intense cynicism/sarcasm of the 90s. Showing enthusiasm or excitement about things was deeply uncool (I know, I lived through it), and then there’s ska, which is all about enthusiasm and excitement.

I mean, shit, I don’t often go to this well, but the “your favorite genre of music sucks” vibe is not a lot of fun, but it’s definitely something I can count on anytime 90s music comes up here. Sorry ska killed your puppy dog.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:12 PM on July 24, 2020 [12 favorites]


Needs more Carbon Leaf.
posted by basalganglia at 5:13 PM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Also I think I fall right into that age bracket where both Wild Wild West and Wow Wow sit side by side in pop cultural relevancy. Woah.
posted by Lonnrot at 5:16 PM on July 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


Weren't the ska and swing revivals partly a side effect of all the kids learning brass and woodwind instruments in high school bands wanting to do something with it?
posted by clawsoon at 5:29 PM on July 24, 2020 [7 favorites]


it’s like in the 90’s there was some sort of “alternative” music scene going on...

When I was in high school, an easy listening station changed formats to alternative, but they intentionally chose not to disclose the new format beforehand. Instead, they played REM's It's the End of the World as We Know It on repeat for 24 hours straight with the only breaks being for the most generic station IDs possible.

Somehow, I find that illustrative of how times have changed. I don't think a stunt like that would generate interest today, but it sure worked back then. Radio changed, too. Back then all of the stations in my market were locally owned. Less than a decade later, all of the commercial stations had been absorbed into one of the national conglomerates.
posted by wierdo at 5:29 PM on July 24, 2020 [8 favorites]


I suspect, but have no proof, that there is a deeper story behind this about media consolidation where companies that make movies/shows also own record labels and so their own libraries are tapped to create and exploit nostalgia for synergistic marketing purposes and cost saving. As result some songs fade into obscurity because they are not part of this integration.
posted by srboisvert at 5:36 PM on July 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


It was all fun and games to hate on the ska and swing bands, which felt like it came out of nowhere, and horns are inherently uncool, but little did we know they’d be replaced by nu-metal. No matter what’s going on, it can always get worse.

We’re sorry squirrel nut zippers. You warned us there’d be hell to pay.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:39 PM on July 24, 2020 [17 favorites]


I teach students who are now more than 20 years younger than me (oh god). I am constantly amazed by the things from my childhood that do still float around in the cultural consciousness. Like, I'll make a Captain Planet or Vanilla Ice joke, and they get the reference, which mostly baffles me because why would you actually want to be exposed to those things?
posted by Dr.Enormous at 5:46 PM on July 24, 2020 [8 favorites]


One big change between now and the pre-streaming era is the whole sunk cost thing. When I was a teen in he 90s buying CDs was an investment, and if you got burned by something, you tended to stay away. On the other hand, if you happened upon something good you glommed onto that hard.

Which is a long way towards saying is that one day when I was seventeen I walked into my local record store in Reykjavík with summer job money still burning a hole in my pocket, found Beta Band’s 3 EPs and Modest Mouse’s Lonesome Crowded West in the new arrivals section, bought them on a whim, and after listening to those albums on repeat for days decided that this kind of thing was what I was going to listen to from now on, which pretty much was the case until I was 24 (when my horizons thankfully broadened again, but by then it was after Napster/Limewire and all that).

But yeah, “I have spent money on this, therefore it is my identity” isn’t really a factor these days in the same way. There would be stores dedicated to different types of music, and once people had invested money and identity in their chosen genre, it was easy just to live within that aural world, never hearing anything else. Now it’s so easy to stumble onto random other things, and try them out, without having to decide to spend money on it.
posted by Kattullus at 5:56 PM on July 24, 2020 [21 favorites]


squirrel nut zippers

I have never felt more persona non grata than when I said they were a "novelty act" at a party in Chapel Hill, circa 1999
posted by thelonius at 6:05 PM on July 24, 2020 [11 favorites]


Not on the list since it obviously wasn't a Billboard 100 Top 5 song, but I've somehow got it in my head that Gen Z will absolutely belt out Sublime's What I Got.
posted by suckerpunch at 6:38 PM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


Weren't the ska and swing revivals partly a side effect of all the kids learning brass and woodwind instruments in high school bands wanting to do something with it?

I mean, in a general way, sure, but it wasn't really driven by the horn players.

What it was was that the 80's & early 90's punk/"alternative" scene developed a whole infrastructure of college/indie radio and small labels and distributors and record stores and clubs. So when a handful of punk rockers rediscovered ska or swing (Royal Crown Revue, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Voodoo Glow Skulls) and decided to start playing this music, they tapped into that infrastructure (which they already knew) to put out records and get gigs, and had enough (relative) success there that the idea of being in a ska or swing band kind of percolated out beyond the hardcore fans of the genre.

Which meant a bunch of horn players got invited to be in what were often originally punk bands, or realized that they could switch from guitar or bass back to their high school instruments and get gigs.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:45 PM on July 24, 2020 [13 favorites]


Also, sorry to rain on Gidorah's ska parade - personally I certainly got no problem with the original ska bands, or the 2 Tone second "revival", or even some of the third wave stuff - Mustard Plug and The Blue Meanies were always a good time.

I just had too much exposure to well-meaning but inept and unoriginal practitioners of the genre in the 90's. Same reason I have little interest in jam bands. Occupational hazard.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:05 PM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


I'd like to know if there are songs that endure over the generations even though they never made it on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. Like I wonder if millennials might recognize "Red Right Hand" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, which was not a (U.S.) hit but feels kind of like a classic today?

Hi, born '85 millennial here. I heard that song in both an episode of the X-Files (rented VHS from Hollywood video, season 2?, I think?) and in movie Scream. At one point I owned both the Songs in the Key of X: Music from and Inspired by the X-Files and the Scream soundtrack, however it wasn't until maybe freshman year of college (2003) that someone burned me a copy of Let Love In that I ever realized that there was more good than that one song.
posted by lizjohn at 7:06 PM on July 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


Well, you’ve also got Red Right Hand being the theme song to Peaky Blinders, and Snoop being such a fan of the show that he recorded his on cover of the song that finally showed that fatherhood can even render Snoop Dog uncool.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:18 PM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


I mean, I guess if you were primarily listening to ska made by suburban white teenage boys, there's your problem.
posted by eviemath at 7:55 PM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


look can we all just agree to never talk about the 90s ska revival ever again

Ha ha yeah, a message to you, Rudie.
(Just kidding, I love ska.)
posted by slidell at 9:21 PM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


> I think it probably sounds like post-vaporwave or proto-PC-Music to the Kids Today. Like, sort of vaguely "retro" and "current" at the same time, with both the optimism and the depression being kind of painful given the problems of the world today.

see okay i'm glad someone gets why i posted that comment thank you for the search terms ps why did no one inform me of SOPHIE sooner holy shit this is 100% the thing. like, the mid-2000s shit i'm so into but the vicious hollowness is way heightened and there's an extra black mirror edge to it.

pretty sure i am going to be exclusively listening to pc music for like the next year or so.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:07 PM on July 24, 2020 [4 favorites]


folx folx stop talking about 90s music and go listen to pc music
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 10:20 PM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Ska is like hip hop, r&b, the blues, funk, and most jazz that doesn’t sound like a game show theme or a differential equation, in that there’s no reason white people shouldn’t be able to make good music at it… they just almost never do.
posted by rodlymight at 11:32 PM on July 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


yeah like we could talk about how 1990s 3rd wave ska was the result of layer after layer of elvisification or we could talk about how it sounds bad or we could listen to pc music but you know your call
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:50 PM on July 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Like I wonder if millennials might recognize "Red Right Hand" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, which was not a (U.S.) hit but feels kind of like a classic today?

It's the theme song for Peaky Blinders, so yeah, probably.

On preview: as Ghidorah points out.

On edit: It was also featured in an early episode of The X-Files, and was featured on the "soundtrack" release Songs in the Key of X. So you've got your older millennials right there.
posted by tzikeh at 11:59 PM on July 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


I’m baffled by the hatred of ska and always have been, so wow, I feel shitty and sad reading the last half of the thread. Even if it makes you feel cooler to make fun of people who like it, can we maybe let people like what they like?

My days of using obscure band references as a shibboleth for whether I’m worthy of being in the cool boys club is long over. Some parts of this thread are making me flash back to the 90’s not so much for the music but for the feeling of being afraid to like anything that someone else would point to as reason to exclude me from the group.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 12:58 AM on July 25, 2020 [11 favorites]



Apparently it's, like, the kind of song everyone in Mexico knows, and I literally had never heard it before.

The idea of a list of songs that everybody in a particular nation know, but which are not international hits, would also make an interesting article. It’s quite hard information to get at too; as a foreigner who speaks French and knows plenty of songs in the language - I have no idea what that list would be for France. I’d expect to be surprised.
posted by rongorongo at 1:26 AM on July 25, 2020 [6 favorites]


The Blue Meanies were always a good time.

Hell yes, for the life of me I can't understand why Full Throttle doesn't get more attention. Brilliant combination of hardcore punk guitar + moderately jazzy chords + horn section.

This was a pretty neat article. I'd be interested to see the results for '80s music too.
posted by equalpants at 1:32 AM on July 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


so i'm maybe the only one who bonded hard with early-2000s electroclash and electroclash-adjacent music — peaches, ladytron, goldfrapp, that sorta thing.

yes(well at least I never dug Peaches). No. No. (I dig both of those two.) I also enjoy FS's first two albums quite a bit.

I'm 40, and the only youth that I talk to extensively and regularly (I feel weird breaking down demographics, but they're a seemingly even more queer than me brown (they don't really dig the term POC) enby 22 year old) is also the person who I talk to the most out of anyone in the world because they're the only one online as much as I am. We met through a wrestling message board and bonded because we're the only people as weird as we are that we've ever found in that community. I tried to get them to apply for the mod job here, but they thought that it would be too much of a pain in the ass. Anyway, I digress, but

They don't seem to give a remote fuck about the underground/mainstream divide that people our age did, and they call a fair amount of the music that I send them "weird beep beep music". I don't recall if I have sent any of those specifically, but I'm pretty sure that they would qualify. Your mileage may vary with other youths on the beep beep point, but the lack of interest in the notion of things being underground seems pretty universal.
posted by bootlegpop at 3:42 AM on July 25, 2020 [6 favorites]


I was surprised that so many of the songs in this article were so bad, like not even the best songs from the bands selected. Does this just represent corporate music industry bloat from that era? I wonder what the top songs from a given time period look like on spotify or YouTube.

I certainly hope most of these are not remembered, the kids need their own sound
posted by eustatic at 5:14 AM on July 25, 2020 [2 favorites]


i worked in record stores from about 1995 to 1999 and i recognize all of these titles but i still couldn't tell you how a quarter of them go even if i had a gun to my head. i stopped listening to commercial radio entirely around 1994. as someone who DID watch a lot of MTV until about 1994, i can't even begin to tell you how i pleased i am see Nelson, Color Me Badd[1], and BoyzIIMen sinking to the marianna trench of our cultural history though

--
1. though shatner's cover of "i wanna sex you up" is a goddamn treasure
posted by entropicamericana at 5:54 AM on July 25, 2020 [2 favorites]


> They don't seem to give a remote fuck about the underground/mainstream divide that people our age did

i was gonna say that this is probably an artifact of mainstream pop getting really really good and identify britney spears's blackout as the dividing line, or maybe milkshake by kelis, but then i realized that back in the day i probably shouldn't have had so much attitude about like madonna back in the day. for whatever it's worth i never had attitude about late-70s early-80s pop, like i always knew that blondie and a-ha and the aforementioned abba were great

last night while on my pc music bender i realized that charli xcx is connected to that scene, so apparently i've been pc music–adjacent for a while without realizing it.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:13 AM on July 25, 2020 [2 favorites]


britney spears's blackout as the dividing line

This was the point at which I ceased to care as much. Mainstream hip hop often being better than underground hip hop also helped.
posted by bootlegpop at 9:31 AM on July 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


But there's a reason something like "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" is near the top of Gen Z recognition despite not being one of the best-selling or most ubiquitously played songs of that era, and it's because you only need to hear it once to remember it forever.

For me, this is literally true. I heard that song once and I immediately remembered it.
posted by acrasis at 9:51 AM on July 25, 2020 [5 favorites]


The under-30's I work with literally never listen to the radio for any reason. They stream everything, always. They're always listening to exactly what they mean to be listening to, or at furthest, what Pandora or Spotify think they may like based on that.

As a consequence, the only songs they seem to pick up outside of their era are the ones that still have active pop culture presence, tv/movies/ads/video game use, etc.

Honestly, I'm jealous of them. I grew up hearing a ton of shitty AOR classic rock because that station was the only one I had a shot at hearing alternative on before alt rock radio was a thing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:38 AM on July 25, 2020 [4 favorites]


i mean but at this point don't like under-50s never listen to the radio for any reason?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:03 PM on July 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


At this point, yes. But we did a whole lot of pop canon absorption in the three to five decades leading up to that, right?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:47 PM on July 25, 2020 [2 favorites]


Didn't expect all the ska hate here. It was big in Boston when I was, like, 16 (mid 90s) and there were lots of all ages shows, so maybe I just ended up there (i.e. The Middle East) a lot.
posted by thefool at 1:34 PM on July 25, 2020 [4 favorites]


Specifically regarding Blue Monday, I think I first heard a remix downloaded from Napster or one of the others, then looked them up, though probably already familiar with Joy Division via particularly cook punk/rock friends and stuff like Bauhaus and from more Goth friends.

There were certain older songs that seemed really prevelant on Napster etc. (or was it just me?) E.g. "Tainted Love", maybe others for no discernable reason, perhaps some early sharer just happened to have it.
posted by thefool at 1:38 PM on July 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


I finally saw Mighty Mighty Bosstones two summers ago and I have to say it's quite amazing that that one guy made an entire career as a hype dancer in a ska band.

Killer live show though. Probably top ten all time for me.
posted by mannequito at 1:57 PM on July 25, 2020 [5 favorites]


I suspect that about two-thirds of the ska-shaming in the thread is self-shaming by people who were into it then.
posted by clawsoon at 5:09 PM on July 25, 2020 [9 favorites]


Is that...
🕶
the impression that you get?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:45 PM on July 25, 2020 [19 favorites]


lately I just wanna listen to jetsetradio.live, I dunno what I like any more
posted by egypturnash at 5:54 PM on July 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


In case anyone is including my comment in the ska-hating, I really was just joking and don't mean to hate on ska. I just think it's funny that the rivalry between two genres that weren't actually that different reached the point that they actually made that song. Also, I like the song, which is of course, ska.

In fact, one time maybe five years ago, I inexplicably fell into a four-day depression with one evening when it was particularly deep. It lifted as mysteriously as it arrived, but for some hours, everything was utterly pointless in a painful way. I wasn't suicidal, but I could better understand where suicidal people were coming from. And the only solace I could find was 1990s ska/punk.

I could detachedly see the irony (or appropriateness?) of myself as a middle-aged office worker spending a long commute listening to songs from my teens about how capitalism sucks, looking online for local garage shows in a music scene I hadn't tapped into for over 15 years, trying to escape a crushing sense of ennui. It felt like a trite detail from literary fiction. But it was my lived situation. All to say -- count me among the people for whom third-wave ska/punk has a special place in my heart.
posted by slidell at 6:14 PM on July 25, 2020 [6 favorites]


i mean but at this point don't like under-50s never listen to the radio for any reason?

Data point: I am under 50, and I listen to the radio at times. I also know other under-50-year-olds who listen to the radio at times.
posted by eviemath at 6:29 PM on July 25, 2020 [2 favorites]


I grew up as an 80s teen on The Specials, The Selecter, and other 2 Tone bands from the UK. 2 Tone was already a nostalgia movement for music made mostly before I was born, so I got familiar with Prince Buster, Desmond Dekker, The Skatalites, and other 60s ska bands.

But I understand how 90s young people loved their era of ska. I'm sure a lot of the people in those bands and their fans also knew and loved the same 2 Tone and earlier sounds that I did. 3rd wave seems to have gotten popular when I was heading into my late 20s. By then, I hadn't been listening to top 40 radio for almost a decade.
-------
I tried out The Pudding's quizzes for other decades, and there were songs from every decade, including my beloved 70s, that I didn't know (I like the 80s, but I LOVE the 70s).
posted by droplet at 6:46 PM on July 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


Well, if we're all here at the bottom of this thread, I will admit to being the weirdo Xennial who is sitting here listing to "Lit Up" by Buckcherry on repeat OVER AND OVER for the 5th or 6th straight day or so, so....
posted by wats at 12:04 AM on July 26, 2020 [3 favorites]


Data point: I am under 50, and I listen to the radio at times. I also know other under-50-year-olds who listen to the radio at times.

Radio is so strange in the US. Like 95% of the stations across the US are exactly the same, playing the same tiny subset of songs, whether country, rap or pop. Like, if you wanted to listen to Fleetwood Mac's hits while you were crossing the US, I'm pretty sure you could via listening to the radio as you changed cities and change stations.

But then there are 5% of stations, often run by colleges but not always, that play something totally different (as in non-commerical alternative, not commercial hiphop, non commercial country, or electronic music), or play *everything*, and not jack-fm everything, I actually mean everything. These are usually in really small towns. And there is usually one non-commercial station in every town/state, so city A gets hiphop and city B gets electronic, and city C gets outlaw country, and there is really no rhyme or reason to which city gets what.
posted by The_Vegetables at 4:56 AM on July 26, 2020 [6 favorites]


I’m under 50. I still listen to local college radio at times (wxyc, wxdu) and also a hip-hop/r&b station from down the road (102 Jamz) when I cannot pull myself out of a funk (no pun intended). Also WFMU, thanks to the internet. And NPR and my local NPR affiliate’s music station (WUNC Music is good, y’all).
posted by thivaia at 5:39 AM on July 26, 2020 [2 favorites]


I am still waiting for TwinstheNewTrend Tim and Fred Williams to pick up on my suggestion they give Blind Willie Johnson's Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground a listen.
posted by y2karl at 6:44 AM on July 26, 2020 [1 favorite]


Where does Deee-Lite fall in in this? I mean, there were a solid twenty years there when you could not go to a supermarket/wedding/drag show/dance party and not hear "Groove Is In the Heart," a song that for me is about as inexorably 90s a pop song as you can get.

I literally danced to this last week with non mouse spouse. I don't dance. Listened again today off this comment. It's solid. I would be hard pressed to dis a song that has both Bootsy Collins AND Q-Tip on it.

The_Vegetables:

Radio is so strange in the US. Like 95% of the stations across the US are exactly the same, playing the same tiny subset of songs,

My commute is less than 30 minutes. Last Dance of Mary Jane played on two different stations in that time.

But then there are 5% of stations, often run by colleges but not always, that play something totally different

Yep. I ran one of those stations in college. Coincidentally, there is one on the same frequency which has the same issue we had (roughly 10 watts). I would love to just plug in to them and never change the dial again.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 12:14 PM on July 26, 2020 [6 favorites]


As swing was just making a resurgence, I was roommates with a saxophonist in a ska band. We were watching some swing band on TV one night, and he shook his head sadly, saying, "I feel so bad for those guys. Swing is such a flash in the pan." No doubt he's now retired and living high on the hog from all his frat-ska saxophonist royalties.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:49 PM on July 26, 2020 [9 favorites]


Radio is so strange in the US. Like 95% of the stations across the US are exactly the same, playing the same tiny subset of songs, whether country, rap or pop.

"All Billy Joel, all the time!!" A few years ago, I tried tuning in local stations on several drives across Wisconsin from east to west--you could have recorded a fairly comprehensive Billy Joel discography just by recording the oldies stations I stumbled on.
posted by gimonca at 6:17 PM on July 26, 2020 [2 favorites]


Quality seems to come into play, then? A lot of the quick decay songs are bad. Like I was a huge Will Smith fan as a kid, and I remember thinking "Wild Wild West" was bad even then. Paula Abdul and Jennifer Lopez are not without talent, but, uh, they're not talented singers. And there are a lot of good boy band songs, but they all also tend to sound the same -- why play "Quit Playing Games" when you can instead play the vastly superior "I Want It That Way"?

...no, wait, I just scrolled down the recognition list and apparently the youth doesn't know any good songs either. So maybe it's less about quality and more about what gets played in sports stadiums before a game starts...I feel like arena playlists would absolutely explain the recognition rankings of, say, Mambo No 5 and Believe.
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:30 AM on July 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


> grandiloquiet: "So maybe it's less about quality and more about what gets played in sports stadiums before a game starts"

Ah! I forgot about jock jams. I'm guessing this is a non-trivial contributor to its high recognition rate among both Gen Z and Millennials.
posted by mhum at 10:04 AM on July 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


Who remembers trip hop? Portishead, Tricky, Massive Attack, Nightmares on Wax, The Herbalizer, Dj Shadow, etc.

Also Jungle/D&B? LTJ Bukem, Goldie, Kemistry, Storm, Shy FX...

IDM? Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada...

The 90's were lit musicwise.
posted by nikoniko at 12:47 PM on July 27, 2020 [6 favorites]


Somewhere in the neighborhood of the 90s might also be peak professional recording in the audio engineering / production sense. Or at least the plateau. There's plenty of good work since then but I think overcompression hadn't yet overwhelmed a lot of popular production, and digital techniques had started to reach their potential but a lot of practicing engineers had come up working with analogue as well as becoming familiar with digital and could bring to bear strengths of either/both.

And also we hadn't destroyed the economics of the industry yet so making a career in music-related things was more sustainable. Spotify and the like have done lasting damage.
posted by wildblueyonder at 2:29 PM on July 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


Who remembers trip hop? Portishead, Tricky, Massive Attack, Nightmares on Wax, The Herbalizer, Dj Shadow, etc.

Also Jungle/D&B? LTJ Bukem, Goldie, Kemistry, Storm, Shy FX...

IDM? Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada...

The 90's were lit musicwise.


Hell yes.
posted by Television Name at 3:16 PM on July 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


Surprised not to see this previous FPP linked here: Why doesn’t anyone listen to Ani DiFranco anymore?

Who remembers trip hop? Portishead [snip]
I remember sometime recently hearing a Portishead song on a tv or movie soundtrack and wondering why their music doesn't pop up more.

Massive Attack
See this FPP from two weeks ago:
Massive Attack call for global change in new EP Eutopia, and beyond

There were a quite few triphop one-hit-wonders (if you can call getting a couple plays on 120 minutes being a hit (previously, previouslier)), but one that always springs to mind is the Sneaker Pimps

--

I'm not sure how to fit this into the conversation, but I had a very brief run-in with Jesse Camp a few months ago at a Bernie Sanders event (location doesn't really matter). He wasn't introduced as "Jesse" but just a minute after we parted ways I got a tickle in the back of my brain and then put two-and-two together. The voice and mannerisms are unmistakable, even after all these years, and then realizing it was his sister that introduced us....

Anyway, the other people who were with me were maybe 2 years older than me and 10 years younger than me, and none of them could believe me when I said that we just met one of the most famous people of the summer of 1998. When I reeled off a bit about his hijinks with the aid of wikipedia and a few "where are they now" sort of articles, including the duet with Stevie Nicks, they still didn't believe me. That summer, even in far-from-New-York Montana where I was, Jesse Camp was all we talked about in the same way that "Who Shot Mr. Burns" was good for 3 months of summer break speculation in 1995.

I guess it's just endlessly fascinating to me to think about what pop culture sticks with us (both individually and as a culture) and what moves on.

--

One last thing, sort of related to all of this, Jason Lazarus' photobook My First Time: Nirvana is an idea that I love. It's a collection of photos of the person who introduced another person to Nirvana's music. For people of a certain age around my own age, thinking about that question, "Who played Nirvana for you for the first time?" brings up a huge well memories of people and places that I can't really access any other way.
posted by msbrauer at 10:54 AM on July 28, 2020 [5 favorites]


> Who remembers trip hop? Portishead, Tricky, Massive Attack, Nightmares on Wax, The Herbalizer, Dj Shadow, etc.

I used to love trip hop, sadly it's been turned into muzak and is known these days as lo fi hip hop - beats to relax/study to
posted by Tom-B at 6:45 PM on July 28, 2020 [4 favorites]


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