Rating 90s Top Music Trends

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.

Grunge- 9.99/10

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.

Punk Rock-1000/10

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/










5 Missoula Bands On Their Way To Being Household Names

Pearl Jam

It’s no secret to those of us in Missoula that we have a music scene with the potential to launch bands to the next level. With local claims to fame in Pearl Jam, The Decemberists, and The Lil Smokies, who’s to know who the next act to burst out of the local scene will be? Not me, but I have my suspicions. So, below are my top 5 Missoula bands (in alphabetical order) that are making moves to become national names.

Author’s Note: There are so many amazing acts in Missoula, it’s impossible to give them all the recognition they deserve. These are my opinions and my opinions only, based solely on interactions with and what I know about each group or individual.

Chloe Gendrow

Chloe Gendrow – photo by Ryan Schmitz, collage by Kamilla Varga

While on a bit of a (much deserved) hiatus after graduating from the University of Montana, the release of full-length album 22 Below, extensive touring, and being featured on the lineup for Pilgrimage Music Festival with names like The Killers, Foo Fighters, and Keith Urban- Gendrow certainly holds promise for becoming a leading lady in pop music.

Getting an early start on her career while still in school, Gendrow was featured on Missoula to Memphis, an album put out by UM’s student record label Switchback Records and the Entertainment Management (UMEM) program. Her cover of Elvis’s “And I Love You So” and a live performance at a Switchback Records Showcase caught the ears of many friends and advisors of both the label and UMEM program that have proved to be helpful connections.

The Fertile Crescent

The Fertile Crescent – photo by Sara Diggins

The 7(ish) piece group that is The Fertile Crescent has had a big few months. In January they released their single “Onion Garden” on the same night that they filled The Top Hat to capacity. With LA-based management and connections to publicists in place, the band is already setting their sights onto bigger and better things.

The band has said to expect a full length album by summer, but what about larger Logjam Presents venues or a summer tour? This extremely driven group of students might just have the ambition and connections to do all that and more.

Letter B

Letter B – photo by Mikey Graef

With a full-length album and an EP under their belt and promises of new recorded music soon, Letter B has been carving a name for themselves in Missoula’s music scene for years, and it’s working. Not to mention that they’re touring machines- letting other cities know who they are, as well.

With multiple packed Top Hat shows, the band seems to have received more promotion from local giant Logjam Presents than a good amount of other local acts. With Logjam ranking in the top 100 promotors nationwide, this certainly doesn’t hurt. If my math is right, adding Letter B’s local power and continued heavy touring together could result in a major breakthrough for the band.



When listing popular Missoula bands or artists, Norwell may not be one of the first you’d think of. However, I dare you to make that same list without naming at least one other band that Norwell front man Brady Schwertfeger isn’t involved in. As Brady is a master of collaboration, a good amount of Norwell’s success is in working with other artists- including recording with Chloe Gendrow, Ira Wolf, and Maxy Dutcher.

Another local collaboration with UM’s Switchback Records placed Norwell and Ira’s cover of “I Hear A Symphony” in the hands of LA music professionals who chose to feature it on Falcon Music’s Motown Mixtape, on which the song has outperformed every other cut on the EP by tens of thousands of streams on Spotify.


TopHouse – photo via Logjam Presents

This folk trio has just recently moved from Missoula to Nashville and is doing the thing.

With gigs in the country music capital and dynamic content on their social media (think weekly podcast style vlogs and insane folk-stylized covers of songs like Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” or Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive”) someone with the power to blow these guys up could at any moment.

Honorable Mention: Dead Phones & Dogs

Dead Phones & Dogs

While only halfway Missoula-based, this Missoula/Chicago band deserves to be recognized for all they’re doing to get their path started. Within less than two months of releasing their first self-titled EP, they’re racking up streams just shy of 10,000 on two of their songs on Spotify, largely due to strategic playlisting.

Not bad for a band with 1,300 miles in between the two members.

A blog post for Marketing Analytics at the University of Montana by Aeriel Martens. Do you agree with my choices? Why or why not? Find me and @ me if you need to. <3

Top 5 things to do in Missoula

Missoula is a vibrant and super friendly place filled with great activities. As an exchange student basically everything you do is new and exciting, but I wanted to highlight these five things. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

1. Hike the M. This is the number one thing to do whilst you are here. The views are spectacular and if you enjoy doing this, you’ll be tempted to try out the other hiking places in Missoula too.

2. Go watch a Griz game! American sports culture is something else and this is an experience you don’t get anywhere else. The atmosphere is amazing and the Grizz community is hilarious. And the best thing is that you have a variety of sports to choose from: football, soccer, volleyball, basketball…

3. Water sports. Rent a tube from rec center (uni students) or buy one, and then go float the Clark Fork river. If you are into different kind of water activities there’s plenty of rafting, canoeing and paddle opportunities. On a warm summer day there’s probably nothing better to do than this.

4. Build a bike! You can do this at the http://www.freecycles.org/ and I guarantee that that you’ll love it. You volunteer for 4 hours and then you get to make your own bike with the help of oh-so-wonderful volunteers. This place truly is a community.

5. Downtown events. Missoula has different kind of festivals, music events, brewery tours etc. You can find more about them here: https://www.missoulaevents.net/. Check at least Caras Park and Roots Festival. You will be able to access all these with you brand new bike too!

By: Eleonora Schirmer

Missoula’s Best for $10 or Less


Missoula, Montana is far from lacking in the “things to do” department. There are beautiful mountains surrounding the city with ample hiking trails, plenty of rivers and lakes around to satisfy your need to fish, kayak, or float, and an array of local businesses waiting to help you shop, drink, and have a good time. While the outdoor activities in Missoula are absolutely killer and usually free, sometimes you want to hang out with friends inside for a night of fun, or the unpredictable Montana weather is forcing you to.

I’ve compiled a list of 10 of my favorite (completely biased) indoor activities to do in Missoula for (BONUS) $10 or less.

1. Bowling!

Head on down to Westside lanes and knock down some pins any day of the week! While you’re there, you can also play pool, hang out in their arcade, hit up their casino, or go to their karaoke nights listed below.

Price: $3.89 to $4.89 per person/game dependent on day of the week and time of day + shoe rental at $2.69 per pair

Here is a bonus: Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday after 9pm they have Dollar Bowling where each game (per person) is only $1!

Another bonus: If you’re an early bird, you can stop in on Sunday mornings from 9am-11am and bowl 2 games for FREE with the only cost being your shoe rental.

Check out their website at http://missoulabowling.com/

2. Karaoke

Get a group together and belt your heart out at any of the karaoke nights in town. Pro tip: The bartenders are more than willing to help you out with a little liquid courage before you make your debut as the next Beyoncé.

Price: Free


  1. Karoake at the VFW – Mondays at 9pm
  2. Kraptastic Karaoke at the Badlander – Wednesdays at 9pm
  3. Karaoke at the Bowl Dog Lounge at Westside Lanes – Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and the 2nd and last Saturday of each month at 9pm

Check out their websites at:




3. Trivia!

Missoula is packed full of trivia nights. Not only are these free, you can usually win some awesome prizes ranging from shots for your table, t-shirts, or $50 bar tabs for winning teams. And hey, since it’s free, it’s a great opportunity to spend $10 on some delicious bar food and drinks.

Price: Did I mention it’s free?


  1. Pub Trivia – Tuesdays at 8pm at Thomas Meagher Bar
  2. Trivia – Tuesdays at 8pm at the VFW
  3. Trivia – Wednesdays at 7pm at the Silver Slipper
  4. Brains on Broadways – Wednesdays at 7pm at the Broadway Sports bar, Grill, and Casino
  5. Trivial Beersuit – Wednesdays at 8pm at the Press Box
  6. Trivial Beersuit – Thursdays at 8pm at the Darkhorse
  7. Trivia – Thursdays at 7pm at Brooks and Browns Bar and Grill

4. Dancing!

Get your dancing shoes and get groovy with the group dance nights at the Dark Horse and Sunrise Saloon. Seriously, it’s fun.

Price: Free to $5


  1. Salsa 406 dancing at the Dark Horse – 3rd Saturday of each month at 8:30pm

Price: Free

Check out https://www.facebook.com/Dark-Horse-Bar-Missoula-178709825494516/?rf=130915486981358 for more info!

  2. Swing Dancing at the Sunrise Saloon – Wednesdays (Beginners), Thursday (Intermediate) at 7pm

Price: $5 per person

The style of dance is subject to change. Check out the http://sunrisesaloonandcasino.com/ event calendar for details on specific dates.

5. Board Games!

There’s nothing better than grabbing some friends, tortilla chips, and 18lbs of nacho cheese for a good ole fashioned game night. Don’t have the game you want to play? You’re in luck! You can rent board games from the HUGE selection at Retrofix Gaming (around 60 to 80!!) for the low price of 10% of the retail value of the game. A ton of these games are under $10 and will keep you entertained for quite some time. Just don’t get any cheese on them.

Price: 10% of the retail value of the game

Check out their website at http://www.retrofixgames.com/missoula/

6. Sporting Events!

More specifically The Missoula Jr Bruins Hockey games (remember this list is completely biased). These range from September to February and take place at Glacier Ice Rink on various weekends starting at 7:30pm. The rink sells hot chocolate and beer to keep you warm, and has some pretty great entertainment in between periods.

Price: $10 adult tickets

Check out the specific schedule at http://www.missoulajrbruins.com/

7. Ice Skating!

I’m sure all of that hockey talk made you want to go Ice Skating! Don’t own skates? It isn’t winter? Well no problem! Glacier Ice Rink has skate rentals as well as an indoor and outdoor rink ready for any type of weather. Check out their open skate schedule at http://www.glaciericerink.com for specific dates and times to transform yourself into Michelle Kwan.

Price: Adults entry $6 + Skate Rental $3 = $9

8. Paint Pottery!

The Zootown Arts Community Center has a “paint your own pottery” studio that is a great activity for any number of people and any age range of people. Prices of pottery range from $5-$30 (plenty of options for $10 or under) depending on what you choose to paint, and that is the only cost of the activity. The ZACC provides glazes, supplies, and even takes care of firing your artwork once it is painted so you get your masterpiece back in around a week. Bonus for the ladies – stop in on the 4th Thursday of each month for Ladies Night and get 20% off of your pottery!

Price: $5 to $30

For more information on the “paint your own pottery” studio or the ZACC in general, visit http://zootownarts.org/pottery

9. Oula!

Check out the dance workout schedule at https://www.oulafitness.com/studios/missoula/ and head to the Oula Studio for an hour long class for only $5! Oula is a super fun and welcoming community, and the classes will leave you feeling amazing. There is also the option to do a double-header (2 classes back-to-back) for $7 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Oh, and Sundays the classes are donation based only starting at 3pm.

Price: $5 per drop-in class

10. Music!

I’m talking about concerts and open mic nights. Now, Missoula, Montana has SO many of these I simply cannot list all of them in this short (but amazing) list, otherwise you would be scrolling for hours. Check out the wonderful http://www.missoulaevents.net/ website to see the hundreds of music events happening in Missoula yearly. Now, not all of these are free or less than $10, but there are definitely options under $10. Plus, with all the money you’re saving by using this list, go ahead and splurge on the $20 ticket to see a great band!

Price: Free or as much as you’d like to spend

Written by Shelby Young

Do what you love, and F***k anyone who tells you different

I sit here writing this after a long weekend of class, ironically listening to Paramore’s song “Pressure”, trying to wrap my brain around everything that has been going on in my life thus far.  I’m about to graduate in two months, and the question that not only gets asked everyday, but haunts my dreams, is what do I want to do when I graduate.

Let’s back track six years ago to my first day at the University of Montana.  I had declared a vocal performance major due to a scholarship I had received through the School of Music.  Not necessarily knowing if I wanted to go the performance route, I knew I had to pursue something in music.  About two years into the program I didn’t feel like performing opera was going to do it for me as a career.  Don’t get me wrong, singing in different languages at ungodly high notes was rad, but if I wasn’t going to perform or teach what was I going to do.

I had heard some students talk about the Entertainment Management program through the School of Business, so with curiosity I took the Entertainment Management 101 class.  Fast forward to today.  Two months to graduation.  And all because of that one class I will be graduating with a degree in Marketing, minor in Music, and certificate in Entertainment Management.  Through the University of Montana I have been able to do marketing for huge tours, run VIP events, and learn from industry professionals.  But I have also been to conferences, music festivals, and met people who have taught me more than I have learned just sitting in a classroom.

I have had numerous conversations with my peers, students of different majors, and people who have sat at my bar rail at Buffalo Wild Wings who have straight up laughed at the fact that I want to make music a career.  I have been asked how would you make a living doing that? How will you ever have a family with a schedule like that? Why aren’t you wanting a career in something a little more practical, that has some job security?

After trying to explain my reasoning a million times, the only answer I have left, is it’s my passion, it’s what drives me, it’s what makes me a better person, and to be honest at times it’s what has kept me alive.  

If you were to ask your favorite artist what made them want to be in music, someone promoting shows in your local area, someone who created a festival from the ground up, or a band who travels in a van touring around the country why they are pursing music, could probably give you a similar answer.

For some people they have found success in music not going to college, which is honestly so inspiring.  College isn’t for everyone, and to be honest, that degree I am about to receive in two months is something that millions of people all over the world may have.  It doesn’t make me better than anyone else, but it’s something I felt like I had to complete in order to start the next chapter in my life.  

One thing I do know is what my passion is, and that’s music.  Music has been what has brought me to school, and you bet your ass it’s what I will be doing the rest of my life.  It has to be.  Ever since I was little sitting in front of my parents stereo, doing some weird rendition of the chicken dance, music has been a part of me.  It’s what I turn on when I wake up, and what I’m listening to when I go to sleep.  For me a life or career without some facet of music isn’t a fulfilling life for me.

Below is one of my favorite lyrics that has always resonated with me, and is a constant reminder of why I do what I love, and fuck anyone who tells me different.

“Someday I hope to make it clear to you that success is not determined by leather bound books and ink on paper, but rather the passion that I have found out of heartbreak and anger. I know that happiness is stability, but stability is not a desk job. And I refuse to sacrifice my aspirations for an income and security.”

-“Nineteen” by Movements


Blog by: Chanelle Paakkonen

Photo by: Chanelle Paakkonen