‘The 90’s were terrible for music’. In a way this stands true. However, in a vast array of other ways this statement is complete and utter sluggish discharge. When it comes to musical output, in general, the 90’s are unduly slated more than Russell Brand is by The Daily Mail. Boyzone, S Club 7, Take That and co. are indeed at the forefront of many of our memories; the Disney glitz and clean-cut image of pop superstardom designed to suck out much of the spirit that was illegally injected into the veins of music in the 60’s, whilst forging a path for the commercial success of oxygen thieves like Pitbull and Conor Maynard.
Hold an image of Boyzone in your head, and imagine above it reading ‘The 90s’. Then imagine Kurt Cobain, Nas, Rage Against the Machine, Marilyn Manson and Green Day ripping through. That is what 90s music was. The decade gave us two strands of music: one is the manufactured and overtly sexualised tunes of stupidly good looking human specimens and the other is the rough-and-ready and piercingly honest younger incarnation of a spirit harnessed by the 60’s.
What I propose is this; following the 1960’s it was the 90’s that were the biggest watershed in modern music. A common sentiment prevailing amongst many today is that music has taken a drastic plunge in quality, but when it comes to this we should take ourselves out of our place on the musical timeline so that we can look at the grand scheme of things. After all, every one of the most recent decades has contained both its seminal ensembles and its cheesy pop stars that are for the most part forgotten a few years down the line. The 60’s had Cliff Richard, the 70’s had A.B.B.A, the 80’s had bags full of generic glam rock bands and the 90’s had the likes of our beloved boy bands.
To mention but a few genres, the 90’s oversaw the growth of ‘indie’ (e.g. Sonic Youth, The Flaming Lips), hip-hop (Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas), metal (in particular following Metallica’s 1991 ‘Black Album’), the birth of grunge (Nirvana, Alice in Chains) and subsequently post-grunge (Foo Fighters, The Smashing Pumpkins), electronic music (Moby) and bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aerosmith and Bon Jovi carried on their legacy throughout the decade. To conclude, going by the evidence available, the 90s was both a remarkably busy and rather eclectic decade.
Many people nowadays will still cite artists born out of the 90’s as their favourites, and these acts still remain to dominate the headline slots of the world’s major festivals. Yes the 90s were more than pants in many ways, but when it comes to shaping the image of music, they were more influential than most other periods in recent times, be it for good or bad.