You have probably seen that commercial for the Toyota Corolla that shuffles through the last 50 years or so of musical styles and, if you are anything like me, you experience a brief bit of shock when it gets to the end and the beautiful group of multiracial young people are, I guess, twerking to EDM or whatever and you're like, "This is supposed to be now." It's jarring in a lot of ways, particularly if that actually is what's going on out there (I don't get around much anymore), but even if it's not the power of persistent imagery can hang a vision on an era and [...]
"If 90’s MTV VJ 'Kennedy' had access to the Internet or social media two decades ago when she was the trouble-making voice of alternative culture, oh, the photos she would have Instagrammed and the scoops she could have tweeted. 'Kennedy,' whose full name is Lisa Montgomery Kennedy, was in a unique position at MTV, then a cutting-edge music channel where all of pop culture converged." Also: "Kennedy decided the timing was right to commit her memories to paper because of a general wistfulness for the 90s permeating today’s culture."
Michael Magnes: When Sarah Marshall first told me about her hobby of watching old TV show themes on YouTube, I probably made fun of her, and then immediately told her about this early 90s Fox show called "Woops!" The exclamation point is part of the title. It was about last six humans on earth, survivors of a nuclear holocaust. They all found a farm somewhere in America and did things like fight giant spiders, have their aging process reversed, start their own currency, and find hallucinogenic berries. Later I'd find myself at parties trying to explain the show and no one believed me. They suggested I'd made it up, [...]
In college, I dated a girl who applied for a job at an Express store in the mall. Part of her training involved something called the "Express You! Street Verbage [sic] Guide"—an almost unbelievably wrongheaded dictionary of street terms and slang that Express management wanted sales associates to learn so as to best relate to customers. My friend, a greeter-in-training, was instructed to review and memorize it. To be fair, this was the mid-90s. Illmatic had just dropped, Mariah Carey was putting out remixes with ODB, and it was virtually impossible to avoid TLC’s “Waterfalls.” But never mind that. The guide was funny even then—and as soon as I heard [...]
In the new video from Cleveland-based rock band Cloud Nothings, Bill Clinton is dragged by his feet out of a house, through a parking lot and a forest and a field and up a tree—above which he then hangs upside down like the inverted cross symbol of the occult. It's not actually Bill Clinton, but it is actually pretty terrifying. It feels a little like we're watching someone die of a heart attack. The song it accompanies is the first one on a new album, Attack on Memory, which has been getting rave reviews and comes out today. I like it a lot. It reminds me [...]
One man's quest to identify the "Most 90s Film of All Time" continues with this frightening installment on Airborne. Directed by the exec producer of "Castle," who is also the director of Elektra and Reign of Fire—no lie, not the best movies ever made, God bless!—Airborne is about a California high school surf-dude who is forced to move to Cincinnati, where is he is mocked and then proves his awesomeness in a rollerblading race. It includes Jack Black in his second film role, and it sounds terrible and delightful. It's a real standout in the genre.
I guess I knew about Wendy Williams in the same way that our culture makes little girls know they should wear princess dresses or little boys know they should play with trucks. The kind of knowing that results from those culturally hegemonic signals that fall somewhere between English teacher favorites "nature" and "nurture." You know: how orphan Pip, bouncing from here to there all those years, was ever socialized. For example, I had heard Will Smith or Jay-Z or Lil' Wayne rap about a Wendy. And I remember how an old colleague of mine tuned into some Wendy for "you know, the gossip."
"The Greenbriars’ house is bedecked with the trappings of 1990s popular culture: Magic Eye images; homemade VHS recordings; posters for rock shows featuring musical acts like Weezer and Soul Asylum and Lisa Loeb (as well as obscurities like Veruca Salt); TV listings that include 'Family Matters,' 'The X-Files' and 'Walker, Texas Ranger.'"
"To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trend-setting, backwards-pants wearing one-half of Kriss Kross who loved making music. But to us, he was just Chris—the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party. Though he was only with us a short time, we feel blessed to have been able to share some incredible moments with him. His legacy will live on through his music, and we will forever love him." —Donna Kelly Pratte eulogizes her son Chris, a.k.a. "Mac Daddy," who was found dead yesterday at his home in Atlanta, of an apparent drug overdose. He was 34.
The new book by music critic Marc Spitz, Poseur: A Memoir of Downtown New York City in the '90s, out this week from Da Capo Press, is a wistful, candid recounting of Spitz's struggles with career, love and drugs as he made his way into adulthood. The memoir's also enjoyable for its many anecdotes of downtown New York during the 90s, the time when Chloë Sevigny was coming off Kids, the actress Adrienne Shelly was the reigning indie queen, and Bennington graduates seemed to be everywhere. Spitz's anecdotes about the actors and musicians he meets have a wayward namedropping charm—they also, all together, form a fascinating portrait of the [...]
So far in this series dedicated to forgotten vanity projects past, we've addressed a pretty-good album by Ian McShane and an awful one by Corey Feldman. Now it's time for our first unabashed success. Milla Jovovich's The Divine Comedy, an acoustic art-rock timepiece heavily influenced by the Cocteau Twins and Kate Bush, is a vanity project, but it's one that entirely deserves a place in your collection.
But to put the album in its proper context, we'll have to explore a period in our history we might otherwise prefer to forget: mainstream pop culture of the mid-90s. The Divine Comedy came out in 1994, and so [...]
Nostalgia for the cultural touchstones of the 1990s, according to the Times, is a real-life, actual thing. Of course, they’re thinking in terms of Nickelodeon programs like "Doug" and "All That." I would hasten to add that any good reminiscence of the pre-Lewinsky Clinton years requires a recognition that Columbia House Music Club was both a blessing and a curse for many a nascent music fan. It was for me. My membership fell somewhere between 1993 and 1996, pre-high school, pre-love of record stores. It was through Columbia House’s mail-order catalogs that I received all the Nirvana, Soundgarden and Belly albums I could get my hands on.
Huh. Here's a blast from the past. Eighteen years after they sang together on the Lemonheads' lovely It's a Shame About Ray album, head Lemonhead Evan Dando (he for whom the term "alternahunk" was coined) and the Blake Babies' Juliana Hatfield have formed an official duo. Both from Boston, longtime friends-and-maybe-more, the two are playing NYC's Mercury Lounge next Wednesday. They've been recording together, and they've remastered their old song "My Drug Buddy." Sounds as nice as ever.
"It was the dawn of the Lilith Fair era, and the Cranberries were hardening their sound just as Jewel and Sarah McLachlan were enchanting America with a mellower, rootsier sound." —Do you ever read something and think, "Oh my God, now it is time for me to kill myself?" Because that is how all of this makes me feel. And I don't even like the Cranberries.
Not long ago, MTV made an unusual appeal: It asked for help finding information about one of its own shows. The show was "Buzzkill," a hidden-camera program that ran in 1996. The plea came from MTV's Guy Code blog:If you try to find old clips online, they're nonexistent. Seems impossible, right? The web is where you can find the most obscure remnants of every era, the most disturbing videos the human mind can conjure. And yet it has seemingly been scrubbed clean of all "Buzzkill" details…. Internet, we need your help. We must uncover the truth of "Buzzkill." Send us your tips and clues. Better yet, if you [...]
The best time to get involved in a conspiracy theory is in media res. A really good conspiracy needs years to pile up the evil plans and secret knowledge into a baroque edifice worth caring about. At its beginning, it's just a bunch of people with some sinister ideas, and where's the fun in that?
So I think I got really enthusiastic about "The X-Files" and its ongoing storyline of a human-alien conspiracy precisely because I came into it in the middle. I had seen an episode or two of the first few seasons, enough to get the general gist of the show; but it was only after I moved [...]
"Fish on PCP also showed more erratic swimming behavior. Collins also looked at social behavior in the shoaling test. Zebrafish are social, and like to shoal together, but will show differences in social behavior in response to different drugs. When Collins gave the fish mescaline, the fish appeared to be more social, showing decreases in inter-fish distance. Psilocybin and PCP also produced increases in the stress hormone cortisol." —Scientists are testing hallucinogenic drugs on fish now.
"Are 18- to 34-year-olds too young to be nostalgic? Evidently not. Starting next Monday, TeenNick, part of the Nickelodeon family of cable channels for children, will start rebroadcasting old series from the 1990s that are considered classics by young adults. That’s right: classics from the 1990s."
I am surprised that the New York Times finds this surprising. My sophomore year of college, 1991, this guy I knew threw an '80s Party. Where people dressed up in '80s fashions and danced to '80s music. The early '80s held sway, apparently: pastel leg-warmers and off-the-shoulder Flashdance sweatshirts, Flock of Seagulls and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I didn't go to [...]
The amazing thing about the 1992 survey of librarians' attitudes toward sex that got its author, Will Manley, fired from his job at Wilson Library Bulletin is how absolutely chaste it is by 2010's sullied standards! A few sample answers: