Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Did My Generation Have Bad Music?

Take the music from the 1990-1996 time frame. This was during my high school and college years, probably the hey-day of my musical knowledge. This was the time when we spent our own money on tapes and CDs, and radio and MTV were still important and relevant.

Now take a look at the music we were essentially told to like via radio and MTV. This is the popular music as opposed to the more obscure songs and artists. The artists that still hold up 15-20 years later from that era include Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Dr. Dre/Snoop Dogg, Metallica and Guns ‘N Roses. You can probably also include Alanis Morissette and possibly Dave Matthews Band into the discussion. Sure, there were also artists like REM, Tom Petty, U2, Michael Jackson and Madonna that did well during this era, but I’m not including them in this discussion since they first made it big prior to this time.

Besides the aforementioned list, we seemed to have a lot of grunge sound-a-likes and Lilith Fair artists that were often difficult to differentiate. Throw in MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, the Wallflowers, Hootie and the Blowfish, and TLC, and in retrospect, it may not have been a good music era, particularly compared to other generations.

Don’t get me wrong. I like songs from many of these artist and The Humpty Dance and Back Got Back could be some of the greatest songs ever recorded.

However, how does this music stack up against that from other eras? Basically, would the music on a 60s, 70s, 80s, and even 00s station on average be better than music from the 90s? (Feel free to break this into 6-7 year intervals instead of entire decades.)

Messiah, anything else you want to add since you started this discussion at Monday night trivia (and wrote some of the text in this post)?


Gilahi said...

Well, lessee.... Metallica was formed in 1981. Guns N Roses came along in 1985. Michael Jackson was singing with The Jackson 5 in the '60s. U2 was formed in 1976. R.E.M: 1980. Tom Petty: 1976. From the list you mentioned, the only group that, in my opinion, has made any important music and also came around in the '90s is The Dave Matthews Band. And by "important", I mean anything that anybody will be listening to with any sort of regularity 10 years or so after it came out.

But that's just me. You KNOW that I always have to comment on music posts.

Archi said...

OK, I know music is pretty subjective, but there are limits. And I must say
that TLC should not be lumped together in any group that contains Vanilla Ice.

TLC is definitely one of the seminal female groups of that era, and Wikipedia says they are the top selling female group of all time in the United States. They won a bunch o' Grammys, and I think are generally pretty well respected.

And personally, I really liked most of their hits.

Vanilla Ice, not so much.

Captain Easychord said...

every generation has bad music... the one thing I would say about the early 90's, however, is that there may have been a wider variety amongst the popular music options than at any other point in time... since then, I feel like everything that's popular has gotten more homogeneous... ok, not that I *really* know... I'm not sure what's popular these days and I'm probably not listening to it... but that's the impression that I get...

Gobo said...

I agree with the commenters that have said that every generation has bad music. I think the problem with the '90s is that the bad music was less enjoyably bad that the bad music from other generations. The 70s and 80s particularly had extremely enjoyable bad music.

To state it differently, i go out of my way to listen to bad music from the 70s and 80s. not so much the 90s (with the notable exception of Ace of Base).