In the previous articles on landmark songs of the decades, weve seen that each decade had its own distinct personality, the construction that was the 60s, with its ending of everyone being in love with the world, the deconstruction and narcissism of the 70s that ended with people hating themselves and the hedonism of people loving themselves and their bank accounts in the 80s. Where did that leave music in the 90s? Well it was seemingly headed in only one direction at the end of the century and that was towards pastiche, surely everything had already been achieved and said? Well, whilst that was certainly part of the story, it underestimates the power of the genres, the stars and the songs that emerged and brought something new to the table. Quirky indie pop entered the mainstream, big beat was born, guitar bands embraced dance music, dance music became psychedelic, girl bands matched boy bands and Madchester was still around and helped usher in Britpop, which found itself in a battle with grunge. The stage was well and truly set for a battle of tribes, styles and identities and perhaps the most beautiful thing about the decade was that genres started to overlap, all of a sudden it was cool to be kitsch and for the first time being an aficionado of the 60s or 70s was considered retro. On top of this the emergence of ecstasy brought football hooligans to raves and gigs as loved-up hippies, however unlike previous decades the drug culture wasnt clear cut at all - the 60s had speed, LSD and cannabis, the 70s had cocaine, the 80s had heroin. In the 90s, as much as there was a musical mash up, there was also a drugs mash up, which had both crucial and tragic consequences on the music scene. This article will tell the tale of how marvellous the 90s was, if the songs featured here were a compilation album, it would be the weirdest one youd ever heard, but against all odds it was a magical era for music and as per usual the rule is one song per artist. Let the debate begin.
What makes music fantastic? Star quality, amazing music, breathtaking lyrics and the ability to bring something new to the table, even if that means a new take on the classics. That's what I love to listen to and write about.
As well as writing for What Culture, I occasionally write a blog http://tedney.blogspot.co.uk and sometimes use Twitter, but sparingly @TedneyNash