Monday, October 15, 2012

Nineties Blogfest: 1990

Day 1 of the Nineties Blogfest--Go!

Top Billboard song this week in 1990: George Michael: Praying for Time
(LOVED this song--and George Michael)

 Given I was a kid in 1990, I wasn't exactly listening to cool music. I'm talking Paula Abdul, Wilson Phillips, MC Hammer (Please Hammer, Don't Hurt Em!) and Roxette--all the radio flavors of the day (which I still have the cassette tapes boxed up in a closet). I do still have a place in my heart for Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation, which I just learned was the best-selling album of all of 1990, although it came out the year before. This was truly Janet's prime with her military-inspired look and meticulously choreographed video for the title track. "Miss You Much" is still the only song I've sang by myself at karaoke.

I was also a bit obsessed with Madonna at the time. The Immaculate Collection came out in 1990 and I think I listened to that on cassette far into the days when everything else I had was on CD. It's a great retrospective.

And how can I forget Nelson: the blond pop-metal brothers. My mother always reminded me they were the sons of Ricky Nelson from the 50s-60s sitcom Ozzie & Harriett. Nelson was my first rock concert. I saw them at the county fair (you know, see your friend show her horse, go to the 4-H barn, then head to Nelson in your dirty jeans and boots). I recently heard these guys on a talk radio show where they reminisced about coming home from their world tour around 1991 or so, and their record label told them they were already dead; labelmates Nirvana was the next thing and nobody cared about glossy hair rock. It was true, Nelson was a few years too late to enjoy their own success. That had to suck for them.

Here are some noteworthy albums released in 1990 which I was not yet cool enough to have found. In a few more years, once I started reading SPIN and Rolling Stone, I would catch up on some back catalog:

Ride: Nowhere

I still love this album. They're a UK band part of the shoegaze movement--an effect-heavy alternative rock offshoot. Ride blended pretty, atmospheric sound to their rock, most notable in "Dreams Burn Down," although "Vapour Trail" is pretty great, too. I will warn you now: I was pretty obsessed with UK rock throughout the 90s.

Cocteau Twins: Heaven or Las Vegas

Another UK band, probably bigger in the '80s than the '90s, and this is by far (IMO) their most pop-accessible. I'm a fan of atmospheric distortion as noted earlier, and Liz Fraser's warbled lyrics delighted me even more so. On this album, she seems to sing actual words more often, but the dreamy effect is still there.

This is reminding me: I should import all this to my ipod for a custom 90s mix!

Other albums of note: Sonic Youth: Goo, Morrissey: Bona Drag, Depeche Mode: Violator--all music I'd eventually get to in a few years.

1990 TV Factoids: MTV debuted the Unplugged acoustic series; Twin Peaks aired its first season of a two-season run; the original Parenthood TV series came out--not nearly as successful as the current edition; and ... Cop Rock. If only Joel McHale and The Soup were around in the (short) days of Cop Rock.

This blogfest is hosted by Dave Wrote This. Please share any related '90s nostalgia in the comments!

Tomorrow: 1991 and the band that changed the game: Nirvana.


  1. What a fun blogfest! When I think 90's, I think of all the goofy TV shows I watched. I think of waiting for my favorite songs to come on the radio and then hitting record on my tape player. I love the 90's. :)

  2. Good call breaking this up into 10 posts. I wish I had thought of that...I had a lot more I could have covered!

  3. Oh how cute are you? We all had those pop music phases as early teens. Twin Peaks is on my list. It sort of fits nicely with that Pacific Northwest strangeness that was eventually grunge music.

    1. Twin Peaks feels a bit dated; I've only seen parts of it so maybe I can't comment. Or maybe it's just too weird for me. I really got into The X-Files, which I think owes a lot to Twin Peaks having been on the air first.

  4. Thanks for taking part.

    Separating the decade out into ten posts is a great idea. I'll be back tomorrow...

    Dave Wrote This

    1. I just realized that it's a one-day thing! haha. I thought it was one year for each day... Hmmm... I only got through 1993. I'll have to decide what to do with those other posts.

  5. Cool stuff. I'm a fan of the 90s. And 80s for that matter. This sounds like a cool Blogfest!

  6. I used to dance non-stop to Rhythm Nation--classic!

  7. I would love to be back each day but I don't blog everyday. However, I loved J.Jackson R.Nation and tomorrow's post will be the best cuz Nirvana is the bomb!!

  8. Heaven or Las Vegas is indeed a goodie. I still jam to "I Wear Your Ring" in spite of it being part of my wedding to my first wife. :)


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