What’s up Baldwins and Bettys, Megan here to reminisce about a time that actually wasn’t that long ago. Recently, I sat down and spent some time with my favorite 90s era teens. This always brings back a lot of memories but, in my hormonal state (who’s got two thumbs and is ready to pop…it’s me), I’ve been transporting myself back to the 1990s more often than usual. Instead of suppressing the urge, I’ve decided to celebrate some of my favorite moments in 90s music, TV and movies. So grab your hacky sack, an ice cold Zima and let me take you back…
Oh, 1990s music! How would you know what to feel if Counting Crows and Dave Matthews Band weren’t dictating your every mood?! Counting Crows is still the best/worst depressing college music of the last two decades. Adam Duritz’s nasal whine still makes me feel 16 and weird. I saw SO many Dave Matthews Band concerts for someone with very little income (thanks Mom!). I still don’t understand bands like the Grateful Dead, but I know that my kids (and probably my husband) won’t understand my dalliance with DMB either. The 90s as a whole is completely schizophrenic when it comes to the music scene. Grunge was definitely important in the first part of the decade, but then there are bands like Weezer, paving the way for geeks to rock out too. Fiona Apple brought the lady angst (I missed the Tori Amos years but completely respect the influence they had on each other), but then you have the sunny cheer of ska music to make you not take everything so seriously (personal faves include Reel Big Fish, Save Ferris, the Aquabats and No Doubt). With these examples that I love and cherish so much, I dare anyone to find a more perfect song that encompasses the latter day 90s than the Cardigans “Lovefool.” Simply perfect pop that almost everyone thinks they are too cool for, but I bet you will not be able to get it out of your heads for the rest of the day. You’re welcome.
As far as television is concerned, all I can say is My So-Called Life is one of the best time capsules of 90s clothing, angst, music and plot devices. Angela Chase was me, Jordan Catalano is still one of the hottest a-hole love interests that can’t read of this decade and the next, and Ricky was my first gay best friend. I distinctly remember being 14, lying on the couch in the dark, completely engulfed by every moment. As an adult, I’m terrified to revisit this show because I’m afraid of the teenage coma it would potentially put me in, rendering me useless to the child(ren) that will require my care eventually. I think I have bought and sold this DVD collection at least 3 times in the last decade because it’s like having a really sad scrapbook that I could potentially revisit if I ever had the guts to do so. (An honorable music mention goes here because, without My So-Called Life, I would have not have realized just how awesome the Violent Femmes are! Even though they are technically an 80s band, I’ll put then in the “ahead of their time” category and move on to the next subject.)
I have a three-way tie for my favorite 90s time capsule movies. Each movie evokes, within me, a completely different feeling and, like children, I refuse to pick a favorite so I pick them all! For a young pre-teen from a small farming community in Wisconsin, Clueless was exactly how I pictured California and Hollywood to be (after finally visiting as an adult I found that I wasn’t so far off, I still feel compelled to wax my eyebrows before visiting, like I’m going to be turned away from their borders if I don’t). I don’t know why I love this movie as much as I do, it’s just one of those things that is implanted into my brain to love without question. Now, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion is a wonderful 80s/90s highbred that I continue to appreciate long after its release. As a teen, I loved the humor, fashion and creative use of swear words. As an adult I can appreciate the message, the silliness and the willingness to slop beer down the front of my shirt to make a point at someone else’s expense. Because of this movie, I was a lot more willing to be myself for my last year of high school and managed to work in as many choreographed dances as humanely possible.
Finally, the most 90s of the 90s movies: Empire Records. This is a near perfect snapshot of 1995: the music, the clothes, the job (working at a record store with a bunch of like-minded weirdos, sign me up!), the speed addiction (how 90s is that?!). On my best days at my current job working in used entertainment, it will be the closest I get to live in this world (although my skirts are longer than Liv Tyler’s but I have just as much flannel in my closet). The whole crux of the movie rests on sticking it to the man and not letting their indie music store go corporate. What’s so sad and ironic is that their fight against chain music stores is now completely moot; all the corporate Sam Goodys and Tower Records are gone and it’s almost exclusively a mom and pop industry that is now struggling against MP3s and iTunes (I don’t count the Best Buys and Targets of the world because their focus on music is minimal and wholly current artists). Empire Records not only looks 90s, but FEELS 90s, making it a truly historical record for the ages.