As a writer and editor for the Music section here at Collegetimes, troiling through the pop releases for 2014 can become a rather depressing affair. Yes, there are some good albums coming and we will meet the odd surprise or two along the way but everything in the charts and the British/American music scene has just gotten so predictable and bleak. We know there will be more X Factor, features with Rihanna and Drake and unless some divine spirit should spare us, even more Will.i.am. We know this and yet, we do nothing.
While I may just be another "hater" of modern music, I will not boldly declare that popular music should not have passed the Millenium mark. The 1990s however, was the last decade in a string of pop/rock music developments that sought to excite and explore. From thereon, most music would default to much of what had already been done. If you can name more "classics" from these past 14 years than the '90s, then I will stop right now but since this is a pre-rendered article, I will explain just why the '90s were terrific for music and more!
The Anti-80s/ Grunge Movement
The '80s was a time when people forgot substance and went with style. Unfortunately, that style was also not great. By the time, Kurt Cobain and his posse rolled around then, everyone could breathe a long-awaited sigh of relief. Music became more raw. Production was scaled down. People played instruments again and the spirit of the '80s was replaced with shoe-gazing pessimism in the form of grunge.
Whilst grunge brought a more natural feel back to music, it was a good thing that its prevailing negativity didn't spread for too long. The genre would have a lasting influence, with the likes of Pearl Jam but by the time Britpop crashed the shores of North-Western Europe, the world was once again filled with the colour and nostalgia of the '60s. Rock music once again became popular and acts like Oasis and Blur showcased attitude with powerful melodies! Even the Beatles would release a new song, in "Free As A Bird" thanks to the securing of an old Lennon demo, a producer and a reunited threesome.
Better Pop Music
Take That were once the cringeworthy boy band that dominated our shores. In retrospect, their songs were a lot better than those of JLS, the Wanted or One Direction. Pop music seemed a little more innocent back then if only because not every pop star felt the need to strip down to warning point or to twerk their way to the world stage. The music could often be silly ("Barbie Girl") but it was fun too! Who could ever forget the prosperous time that was "Spiceworld?"
Hip-Hop and Rap Giants
Biggie, Tupac, Jay Z, Snoop Dogg (not Lion), Dr Dre, even some Eminem- they were all around then, producing some of their most influential pieces. But it's not so bad today- we have Nicki Minaj, for example...
More Credible Awards
At the 1996 Brits', the nominees for the "Best Album" category included: Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Radiohead and Paul Weller. Last year, we had: Emeli Sande, Alt-J, Mumford and Sons, Paloma Faith and Plan B.
In 1999, for the "Best Single Category," there were songs like Robbie Williams' "Angels," Manic Street Preachers' "If You Tolerate This" and Massive Attack's "Teardrop." Last year, James Arthur's "Impossible" even made the list, though thankfully Adele walked away with the prize for "Skyfall."
Best Selling Album
Of the '90s in the UK: Oasis (What's The Story) Morning Glory
Of the Noughties: James Blunt Back To Bedlam
...let that one sink in. So far, for the '10s, we have Adele's 21 which is alright...
Ireland Starts To Go Somewhere
Economically, after a few hundred years' struggle, Ireland begins to show signs of strenght with the Celtic Tiger. We have a Good Friday Agreement and more Golden Discs than we know what to do with.
In 2008, everything that could go wrong goes wrong.
Late Late Show Host
Gay Byrne was still at it in the 90s and if you look back at old clips on Youtube, you will see a man who still very much knew how to incorporate the audience and keep things interesting. Then Pat Kenny took over and we saw a major decline. When he left, we presumed it couldn't get any worse. But we were wrong...
Bill Clinton In The White House
And a Terrific Time To Be Young
As a '90s' kid, I am clearly biased but Sabrina, Kenan and Kel and those classic Nickelodeon shows were much more cutting-edge than iCarly and Genie in the House (remember Genie in the House?)
As well as amassing a great number of shows for viewing pleasure, there was also a little thing called the Playstation 1, which boasted some of the most fun games ever made (Crash Bandicoot). Everything's so bleak today with these shooting games.
And of course, the internet had not quite taken over yet so people still went outside!
So putting aside the effects of biased-nostalgia, Rwanda, the onset of Bin Laden's terrorist threats and the set-up for the great fall of the world economy in the succeeding decade, one can easily see why the '90s were a great time to be around!