You know what I never thought I’d end up being? The kind of jag who sits around reminiscing about the ’90s. Yet here I am, thinking about the ’90s. Part of the reason I’m thinking about it is because I don’t remember a lot about them. I’m just going to have to trust that these pictures are accurate. Just how much do I remember about the ’90s, you ask? Well take a look!
I know we have rap beefs now, but it’s not like it was in the old days, man. People used to get shot. A LOT. It was a big deal, and the media covered it really, really heavily (it probably helped that it let them play into the kind of racist stereotypes that news is a big fan of.) In Tupac and Biggie, we lost two generational talents to the east coast/west coast rap beefs. It was bad, and terrible, and a total bummer.
Why did we ever need jeans that were this big and ridiculous? And anyone who gives you an answer to that question is a liar, because there is no good answer. We were morons. Damned morons. The fashion of the ’90s was largely defined by not trying, so the fact that Jnco Jeans are like, trying the most makes them a weird fit for the era.
Yeah, there have been boy bands all throughout the history of modern music. Even recently, One Direction was maybe the biggest band in the world, but that’s not what I mean — the ’90s were flooded with boy bands. 98 Degrees, N*Sync, Blort & The Malorts (one of those is made up); they all followed a similar template, and they all managed to sell a ton of records. A ton of records.
As a young man, I really hated boy bands. I thought they were lame, for chicks, and had no edge. But you know what kind of music I loved? Nu metal. It’s where dudes kind of rap over really basic metal riffs, and… look, it doesn’t matter. The point is, it was bad. Looking back, I realize that the schmaltzy earnestness of boy band music is at least slightly authentic, much more so than a bunch of dudes in their thirties singing the kinds of lyrics you’d find a teen girl’s journal. And when the lead singer of KoRn would do that crazy scat thing… *starts shuddering*
“Virginal” Pop Stars
The final item in the ’90s trio of music archetypes, female pop stars had to be seen as “innocent”. While today we want our female pop stars to be both virgins and whores, back then we wanted them to have a fall INTO trashiness after a couple of albums. Hence Christina Aguilera’s “Dirty” phase (which was slightly post-’90s, but no theory is 100 percent perfect, y’know?)
“Edgy” Comic Books
DEATH! BLOOD! SEX! IMPLIED SWEARING! That was all that mainstream comic books contained during the ’90s, but man, was it ever “adult” and “cool”. Really, Marvel was the worst purveyor of this junk — this was the era of Venom as one of the industry’s most popular characters, and that dude was an absolutely brutal and savage murderer. And while that was going on at Marvel, DC was killing Superman and breaking Batman’s back. It was a tough era.
Concerns About Violent Media Affecting Children
The concerns over how violent media affected kids ranged from “genuine, but misguided” to “so brazenly politically influenced it was pathetic”. They were wrong, of course — media affects everyone, but it’s one of many, many factors involved in how we react to violence in our culture. Hand-wringing about violence was ever-present, and a major political platform of a guy who almost became vice president in 2000.
Were you alive in the ’90s? Remember anything about them?!