Last week, I was watching a show on VH1 all about 90’s music. It was filmed in 2007 which made a few items of follow-up news a bit outdated. Still, it was fun to watch and it brought back a lot of memories. I thought that I’d devote some blog posts to my favorite 90’s songs (or possibly albums) and what role they played in my life or what memories they bring back for me.
"Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor: This song came out in 1990 and it reminds me of when I went to overnight camp and had a crush on this gorgeous South African counselor. The song played sometimes when we were in the same room and I associated it with him. It also makes me think of “Saturday Night Live” because Jan Hooks impersonated Sinead O’Connor a few times. My favorite was for “The Frank Sinatra Group.”
“Nevermind” (Nirvana): This album was one of my saving graces during sophomore year of high school (1992). I listened to it all the time with my walkman while riding the bus to and from school. I also brought it with me when I went to England that summer. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” may be the most popular song on there, but there are some other songs that are even better. When Kurt Cobain killed himself in 1994, I listened to the album a lot again, but it had a more melancholy feel. I still listen to it nowadays and it brings back memories of that time period in my life.
”Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers: I first remember hearing this at my sister’s Bat Mitzvah celebration in 1992. I associated it with the hot DJ (another past crush of mine) who chose to play it that evening. Then I had to go out and get a cassette single (remember those?) of that song. I put it on a mix tape that I brought with for my England trip. There’s something about this song that is so catchy. I listen to it now and it still hasn’t lost the appeal it started with in the 90’s. I don’t know if it’s the instrumental combinations in the background, the slow buildup to a great ending, the music video, etc.
"Stay" by Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories: This song was popularized by the movie “Reality Bites,” which I saw before I started college in 1994. I immediately bought the soundtrack because I liked a lot of the music from the movie. “Stay” definitely stands out for me though. It’s so catchy and fun to sing along with. I had a hard time turning off the radio whenever it came on and would sit in the car to finish listening. It reminds me of the summer before college as well as my beginning months there. A year or so later, I got Lisa Loeb’s “Tails” album and I still love listening to that, as well. “Stay” is also on the album, but it has competition with “Do You Sleep?” It’s definitely a classic 90’s tune though.
"Blackhole Sun" by Soundgarden: This song also reminds me of freshman year of college. My friends and I played billiards a lot at the beginning of the year and this song always happened to be on in the Bowling and Billiards Center. I immediately associate it with that period of time anytime I hear it. It has a great sound and seems mellow even for grunge. The video is pretty crazy though. I still like it nowadays and put it on a mix CD for road trips.
"Dulcinea" (Toad the Wet Sprocket) and "August and Everything After" (Counting Crows): I first got into both of these albums during late 1994/early 1995, over winter vacation. I’d hear various songs from each of these albums on the radio and they stuck with me after a while. I remember that I was listening to Counting Crows on New Year’s Day on the way home from an overnight party. I was getting a ride home from one of my friends. A few days later, I bought the CD after getting a CD player to bring back to school. My favorite song from that CD is “Rain King.” It was played on the radio a lot during that winter break and it just stuck with me. I still like that song nowadays.
As for Toad the Wet Sprocket…I was told how good they are by a guy I was working with at Yen Yen around Thanksgiving time. During winter break, I exchanged some Hanukkah gift money or a gift card for the “Dulcinea” cassette at Tower Records. I listened to it all the time after that. I even got my friend (who got me into Counting Crows) to buy his own copy after he heard it. My favorite song at the time was “Fall Down”. However, I also love “Fly from Heaven,” , which is the first song on the album. I remember hearing it on an episode of “Party of Five” and becoming excited about recognizing it. (At the time, I wasn’t even a Po5 fan yet.) It has a great level of melody and harmony and I still love hearing it. “Dulcinea” is what got me started on my Toad addiction. After that, I had to have all their CDs/cassettes. I even became friends with someone during junior year of college who gave me a tape of rare Toad songs. I still have that somewhere.
I brought both albums back to college second semester and listened to them all the time. I was at a different place in my life between first and second semester and those albums remind me of that. I still have the original Counting Crows CD that I bought in 1995, but I upgraded “Dulcinea” to CD status.
"One of Us" by Joan Osborne: I first heard this song during sophomore year of college (1996), before it became popular. My friend had it on his answering machine and it was very catchy. Then he moved away (he was originally from Utah and only spent a year at Illinois State). After that, the song became popular on the radio and I thought of him whenever I heard it. It’s a great song and I still like listening to it from time to time. I even requested it during an 80’s and 90’s radio request hour earlier this year. I don’t hear from the friend who introduced me to this song, but I connected with his wife on Facebook and hear updates about him through her. She probably gives him updates about my life too.
That’s all for this week’s 90’s music flashback. More songs/albums coming soon...