Article
Playing God With Whatever: The 90s Pop Culture Box

By: Andrew Unterberger
2005-06-20



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Posted 06/20/2005 - 10:48:05 AM by Amandalucia:
 This is 72,456 layers of awesome. I salute you.
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 11:34:52 AM by dioxido:
 that were some hiper mega cool years!
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 12:38:46 PM by bassman08:
 Wow. There isn't much to say to that besides wow. That may be the best feature I have ever seen on this website.
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 12:47:19 PM by mpatton:
 I am saddened by the review/recap of "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane (worst song of the decade, really?!), which is most certainly one of my favorite songs of all-time. But I am glad it was included.
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 12:57:39 PM by AUnterberger:
 Ironically enough, I actually heard "Life is a Highway" on the radio this morning. There goes that, then.
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 01:28:28 PM by mpatton:
 I love your list. Here are some that I would think of adding (note they may have been on Rhino's) ---- "Informer" - Snow, "One of Us" - Joan Osborne, "Shuffle it All" - Izzy Stradlin & the Ju Ju Hounds, "I Touch Myself" - The Divinyls, "Bad Reputation" - Freedy Johnston ...
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 01:38:46 PM by cwperry:
 I still think it's amazing that I haven't heard half of these songs. I've never heard “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" - should I be thankful?
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 01:46:13 PM by ddrake:
 Holy fuck, Andrew. That's all I can say really. Nice work.
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 02:13:50 PM by iloveokra1:
 If I am to believe your profile, you are only 19. Wow. You did a great job for not even being in school when the 90's began. I was born in 1978 so he 90's cover my awkward middle school days (90-92, still in love with R&B; and hiphop), my wonderful high school days (92-96, yes glorious music, my love of all things guitar), and my eye-opening college years (96-00, disillusion with popular music/continued discovery of so much more I love in music). It's funny how the 70's and 80's sets are like, "man, what great music, ahh the feelings you get just listening to them." And this set (yours and Rhino's) are like, "eek, some good, some bad, lots of memories, and just weird feelings towards so much of it." I guess it all has to do with your place in life and how the music touched you at the time (isn't that always the case), but this all makes me think of the 90's as a mixed-up and strange decade as much as the 80's. Weird. But a great read.
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 03:13:34 PM by how2know924:
 No "Ironic"? It's undoubtedly one of THE songs of the '90s. Only in that decade could a song about irony get sooo much airplay (and i'm sure none of us can ever forget just HOW MUCH airplay it got). I remember the endless debates about whether or not the instances mentioned in the song were in fact ironic, followed of course by the debate about whether or not there was a higher irony to be found in a song about irony that contained no true instances of irony etc etc... "It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife." really...
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 03:55:04 PM by mpatton:
 how2know924 --- No Alanis because she does not fit the theme of the box set (see Andrew's explanation above: "I did keep one philosophy from the Rhino set intact, which was to leave out the really huge names of the era").
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 06:14:40 PM by fistfight:
 I really liked this list, top notch. but I had one gripe big enough I had to write about: Ride My Pony is one of the greatest songs of all time. I see that Aaliyah's Are You That Somebody was a bigger song by a bigger artist, but c'mon, ride it, my pony...
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 07:19:46 PM by scottpl:
 andrew, you bastid, I was going to do this same feature the week the box actually comes out! really good job though - you can make it up to me by ysi'ing me a copy someday! ;) (p.s. you're still nuts for disliking quad city djs, but freak nasty's inclusion makes up for it)
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 10:14:01 PM by idunnowhy:
 no Harvey Danger?! Everything else looks a-ok.
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 10:19:35 PM by japann:
 "that brief moment in time after the death of grunge and before the rise of nu-metal where nobody had any idea what to do and so people did everything"... holy shit, nice.
 
Posted 06/20/2005 - 11:53:41 PM by hflorin:
 A beautiful list. I wish New Order's "Regret" would've been on. And, to step off of what okra said, there should be a club called the 1978ers.
 
Posted 06/21/2005 - 12:10:46 AM by kineticandroid:
 Wonderful job as usual... but dude, "Summer Girls" sucks.
 
Posted 06/21/2005 - 09:26:14 AM by DriftwoodProse:
 Way to include "I Wish" - awesome song...nothing like some good old fashioned Skee-lo, but yeah, the lack of Harvey Danger is a darn shame.
 
Posted 06/21/2005 - 11:32:48 AM by jimhart3000:
 Really good. The only absence I really feel to any degree is "Bittersweet Symphony" which really seems to fit all the set's criteria.
 
Posted 06/21/2005 - 03:33:27 PM by ddrake:
 wait...andrew doesn't like "C'mon (Ride the Train)"?!
 
Posted 06/21/2005 - 05:30:05 PM by petebb:
 never has the line between "do i despise this song... or do i need to go out and buy it right now?" been any hazier. except in the case of Joan Osborne's "One of Us," now that was the worst song of the decade, and a grammy no less. chinese food makes me sick.
 
Posted 06/21/2005 - 07:15:48 PM by MyNameIsKenny:
 I agree that in the 90s Third Eye Blind was much better than Matchbox 20, but Matchbox Twenty actually became a much better band later.
 
Posted 06/22/2005 - 03:24:33 AM by clem_bastow:
 So. Fuckin'. Awesome. *applauds* Now, who wants to make this up as a CD set for me? Anyone? Anyone?
 
Posted 06/22/2005 - 08:37:30 AM by startak:
 Excellent! Thanks for that. Some of your descriptions are better than the actual songs.
 
Posted 06/22/2005 - 09:28:09 AM by copelanda:
 Further proof that 1999 was perhaps the Worst Year in Music History. Thank you, Andrew.
 
Posted 06/22/2005 - 10:42:28 AM by Hubajube:
 > 12. Gabrielle – “Dreams” (1994, #26 Pop, #1 Dance) > I don’t understand why it topped the dance charts, though—is there a remix that I’m missing or something? About 30 of them, I think. These empowering motivational speeches of songs always played especially well at the gay clubs in the 90s. Every week, 1000 drag queens lip synced this song. There's your #1.
 
Posted 06/22/2005 - 11:27:17 AM by TheBrad:
 "Wishing I Was There," Ms. Imbruglia's follow-up to "Torn," was a better single to these ears, although it stalled at number 13 on the Adult Top 40. And yeah, the All Saints track is magic.
 
Posted 06/22/2005 - 12:18:15 PM by bebopkid:
 looking back at the 90's...it was very awkward. dance, alternative, and all that other music in the awkward stage of puberty was all great. was "i'm too sexy" on there? either way the best 90's list ever. unbelievable. what about reel2reel, were they on there?
 
Posted 06/22/2005 - 02:56:04 PM by jmaxwell:
 great feature to echo everybody else. But what's kind of amazing to me (still being fairly young) is the nostalgic effect: even mentioning songs I absolutely hated (and still hate, for the most part) like New Radicals and Kid Rock somehow makes me wistful...and yeah, Harvey Danger definitely deserved a spot. Great call on OMC, though. I still can't hear somebody say the word "bizarre" without being overcome with the urge to start singing that song...how bizarre, how bizarre, oh man, I'm singing it right now...
 
Posted 06/23/2005 - 08:50:48 PM by manis5:
 i didn't even know there were that many non-indie bands in the 90's(that was the point of this peice, right?). so thx for opening some ears.
 
Posted 06/24/2005 - 05:30:04 AM by mikell:
 nice article, to answer your sophie b. question...."Damn!", hands down. not only did it soundtrack thousands of Urban Outfitters across the nation but also cued THE tv event of the era...the dylan-kelly-brenda love triangle-the high point of the definitive 90's show. neither watching 90210 nor shopping for that perfect flannel shirt were quite as sweet after the song went out of rotation.
 
Posted 06/24/2005 - 10:29:02 AM by AlfredSoto:
 Wow! I thought I was the only one who associated Sophie B. Hawkins with the Dylan-Kelly-Brenda triangle!
 
Posted 06/24/2005 - 07:36:56 PM by KeithKawaii:
 I fucking want this... If I win an album art challenge thing, you have to burn me all 7 discs :)
 
Posted 06/26/2005 - 05:39:09 PM by bpearis:
 That Proclaimers song, while made famous in the 1993movie Benny & Joon, was actually released in 1988.
 
Posted 07/05/2005 - 02:20:53 AM by LemonDropKid:
 RE: The Cardigans – "Lovefool" "Incidentally it’s fantastic, the kind of song that no band could ever hope to equal in terms of pure pop perfection (obviously, they didn’t even come close)." I must heartily disagree. It's a great song, but "Been It" is its equal if not its superior.