I spend this morning, all warm and spring-like, with fresh-baked bread and a hard-boiled egg, listening to the freaking Verve Pipe.
Like it or not, the 90s were the decade when I came of age, whose music and movies were deeply formative, even when they were formulaic. I was born in 1979, which means that I was just starting to form my own tastes when Nirvana hit the scene--and I was living in Seattle at the time. But I was a bit too young for Nirvana to mean much to me. I didn't have disenfranchised rage yet. (This is the kind of thing I think about when someone accuses me of being Gen X, which is really just ridiculous. I wish there were a word for the cuspers between X and the Millenials--they used to call us Gen Y, but that's being used to describe Millenials, too, so I have no idea.)
I moved in 1992 and spent the better part of the 90s in California, living my weird little hippie-faerie (and you better believe I spelled it that way) life, which then bled into the world of a teenage runaway, and then college and two full time jobs--and its the period of working at Starbucks and the Folsom Cineplex that I most associate with 90s music, since my commute time was filled with radio. I got up at 4, opened the Bux, went to class from 11-3, and closed the movie theater from 4-midnight. Lather, rinse, repeat. Insomnia was a gift in those days, and it's what I had to do to live. Alanis--ah, 96!--was the music of the summer I started dating the man I'd marry, with much drama. All the bands with numbers were my commute music.
And the thing is, when I listen to those songs, I am flooded with nostalgia. The music isn't bad, it really isn't, especially when you think on the late 90s, early aughts miasma of shit boy bands and Britney and electro-pop auto-tuned crap. They were a bit formulaic, those songs by Matchbox 20, Eagle Eye Cherry, etc etc, but they were catchy and sometimes fucked up (that one song that was actually about meth) and heartfelt and I liked them. They were perfect drive music, a nice soundtrack to growing up.
I listened to a lot of other stuff--I'm always been a musical omnivore. I shudder to think how hard it would have it me if I were ten years younger than s00j and had discovered her at 14. I devoured old things and parents' collections and weird local bands, but as a mainstream, top-level culture perpetual soundtrack? The 90s playbook, beloved of college guitar-playing guys everywhere, beats the hell out of what's on the radio now...which is often replaying the "alternative" 90s stuff because no one wants to play the amazing music being made today on the freaking radio, thank you Clear Channel.
I grew up in the 90s. I don't want it to, but that stuff goes straight to the kid-brain, which is stronger than the reptile brain and the monkey brain. I am a music freak and I adore the music of the 00s--the awesome, strange, fantastic indie music I find whenever I so much as blink at the internet. This is the decade of my adulthood, of my desire and my hunt for self and reflection in art. And I find it--hell, I'm on tour with it.
But it's occasionally rad to listen to the shit I played in my forest green Honda Civic while speeding to work in Citrus Heights before the sun came up, wondering what my life would be like in 10 years.
In celebration of all that, hit me with your 90s playlist, kittens.