Rating Top 90s Music Trends
Its No Doubt the 90s was a crazy time for all things pop culture. From TV shows like Friends and The Fresh Prince of Belair to Furbies, beanie babies and frosted tips, the 90s broke the mold for self-expression and cultural experimentation. Leading the way for this strange “Anti-culture” movement was, of course, music. The music world began to diversify in terms of artists and genre. Here’s a few of the top music genre trends ranked out of ten. The list is based on the perspective of someone who missed out on living in the culture, but is still feeling the impact of 90s music today.
Hip Hop/R&B- 8/10
There’s a reason why this era of hip hop was referred to as “The Golden Age.” The late 80s left off with the likes of The Beastie Boys and Run DMC. They set the stage for trail blazing 90s artists like Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. The 90s rap scene paved the way for today’s hip hop music. The only reason this category doesn’t get a 10 from me is because R&B/soul queen Mary J. Blige doesn’t get near enough credit for her impact. Mary J. Blige has been setting trends since her start and has accomplished 9 Grammy awards along the way.
Girl Groups- 10/10
Three words: Waterfalls, Wannabe, Jumpin.’ TLC made themselves prominent figures of the 90s with their wild fashion looks and personas. According to Dalton (2017), “TLC’s message was also very clear and unapologetic. They promoted safe sex and female empowerment from the jump.” How can you not get behind this music? Next came The Spice Girls. Riding the wave of TLC’s female empowerment, The Spice Girls owned the phrase “Girl Power.” Their pop power paved the way for stars like Brittany Spears, Christina Aguilera and, of course, Destiny’s Child. Headed by none other than Queen B herself, Destiny’s Child carried the female music powerhouse into the 2000s.
I can’t give the grunge genre a 10/10 because of it’s drug adjacent culture. Grunge music icons from Mover Love Bone, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Nirvana have tragically passed away at the hands of drug overdose. Musically though, grunge music was the perfect representation of where society was at the time. Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit still resonates with young rockers rebelling against the system. Grunge music was a strange flash between 80s hair metal and punk rock. It’s difficult to describe the straining guitar sounds and ominous lyrics that define grunge music. Kurt Cobain’s sound on Nirvana’s rendition of “My Girl,” is arguably one of the best vocal masterpieces to exist.
Even though I am not 100% on board with the darker side of grunge culture, I am 10/10 here for the return of plaid and combat boots.
Okay, I may be a little bias here. Blink182 just happens to be one of my favorite bands of all time. Their recent reunion sparking the potential to get to see them live might be the only thing getting me through 2020. All jokes aside, the 90s pop punk scene further fueled the teen spirit with wild mohawks, studs and frantic guitar playing. Although there were tons of pop punk bands who came and went during the 90s, the ones that stood the test of time include Greenday, The Offspring, Sublime, Weezer, and Blink182. In the words of Hodgson (2018), “At its heart, the origins of punk began with a passion to achieve something undeniably real. Punk responded to the gritty realism of the politics and socioeconomic cultures of the day. It grabbed society by the head and shook it into taking notice with bright colours, crude remarks, and insane hairstyles.”
Jaclyn Bohmer, University of Montana
Bing.com. Best Spotify Hip Hop Playlists 1987-1996 – Hip Hop Golden Age Hip Hop Golden Age Retrieved from https://www.bing.com/images/search
Bing.com. Miss A (Still) Don’t Need a Man…And Neither Did Destiny’s Child – The Grand Narrative Retrieved from https://www.bing.com/images/search
Bing.com. Nirvana Artist Profile | Rolling Stone Retrieved from https://www.bing.com/images/search
Bing.com. Buy Blink 182 on Amazon – Low Prices for Blink 182 Retrieved from https://www.bing.com/images/search
Caston, Miles. March 2012. Drugs and Grunge; The Ultimate Couple. https://milescaston.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/drugs-and-grunge-the-ultimate-couple/
Dalton, Deron. November 2017. Most iconic ’90s girl group: TLC or Spice Girls? https://thetylt.com/entertainment/tlc-spice-girls-90s-girl-groups
Hodgson, Stewart. May 2018. Punk and disorderly: The enduring impact of punk rock on design and culture. https://fabrikbrands.com/punk-and-disorderly-punk-culture/
Mentalitch.com. Musical trends that defined the 90s. https://mentalitch.com/musical-trends-that-defined-the-90s/
Petrarca, Emilia. November 2017. Mary J. Blige, Eternal Style Icon, Has Been a Trendsetter Since the ’90s. https://www.wmagazine.com/gallery/mary-j-blige-style/