Whether or not you were there for the 90s, this decade bought some of the best artists to life. Many of our favourite karaoke songs were born in the 90s… and some questionable fashion choice! Our writers give their take on who they consider to be an iconic performer of the 90s.
Björk is truly a specimen unfathomable by humankind. She debuted in the 1990s with an album literally titled Debut and started her long and mind-boggling career. What comes to mind when you think of Björk is probably her 2001 unforgettable swan dress for the 73rd Academy Awards, in which she stopped to lay an egg. However, she has plenty of iconic musical performances, many of which occurred in the 90s. For instance, during her performance of ‘The Anchor’ at Pinkpop Festival in 1994, she ends the song by dancing, bowing, and making strange movements to the sound of an electric piano. Her show at the Cambridge Corn Exchange in 1998 is another strangely wonderful watch. She performs with a live orchestra, has gorgeous lighting throughout, and moves her body in a truly Björk dance style in a flowing white outfit that only exemplifies these movements. Björk is a visual explosion of joy and confusion to watch, making her unique performance style one of the most iconic from the 90s. – Maddie Lock
2Pac is one of the most influential rappers of all time who became a key symbol of West Coast hip-hop. In songs like ‘Brenda’s Got a Baby’ he addressed social issues that plagued black inner cities, one of the most empowering lyrics is “just ‘cause you’re in the ghetto doesn’t mean you can’t grow”. When watching old concert videos of 2Pac there is irresistible energy about the way he performs and interacts with the crowd, each song feels completely different compared to on record. He also regularly invites his friends to come to join him and rap onstage, like Snoop Dogg, you can tell when watching that all the people he creates music with are his friends and they are just jamming and having a great time. Watching the videos, you can see the audience is invited to this hangout session and each performance feels intimate. 2Pac is a performer I never got to see live and never will but watching how amazing he was with connecting with the crowd and revamping his songs for a concert makes him one of the greatest performers of the 90s. – Morgan McMillan
The Brit-Pop scene of the 90s was a nationwide sensation and Wigan-based rock band The Verve found themselves at the forefront. Whilst the band sadly split in 1999, they’ll always remain one of those classic acts that I just can’t get enough of. I’d be pretty surprised if you said you hadn’t heard their influential track ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ from their chart-topping 1997 album Urban Hymns, as the song’s opening orchestral sounds can be recognised from a single note, showing just how important the tune remains throughout the changing musical eras.
Brit-Pop will always remain in the heart of music, and The Verve were always at the forefront – even though they are often pushed to the back and forgotten due to the fame and fortune of bands such as Oasis and Blur. Urban Hymns (1997) remains in the top 20 best-selling albums in UK chart history, boasting other melancholy tracks like the beautiful ‘Sonnet’ and the emotionally-charged ‘Lucky Man’, showing a softer side to Brit-Pop. The band had a pretty tumultuous time in the limelight, often attempting to steer clear of drama yet still being sucked into the rock-and-roll lifestyle since their conception in 1990 leading to their group’s demise, yet frontman Richard Ashcroft continues the bands’ songwriting prowess to this day with solo tours that feel as close to The Verve as we’re ever going to get again. – Katie Evans