Saturday, January 15, 2011

90's Hit Parade: A Belated Introduction

So why am I doing this, exactly? Well, on the one hand, I find writing about music much more difficult than writing about movies or TV. I feel like I could use some practice at it. On the other hand, writing about music doesn't require the same level of forethought as movies or tv, since my appreciation of music is always more intuitive than analytical. And writing about a song is easier than writing about an album, because my feelings can usually be expressed in a short paragraph that takes about 15 minutes to write. So this series will be easier to work into a busy schedule than the movie writing, and I'm going to try to keep my thoughts as spontaneous as possible. Of course, the other reason is I started thinking about doing this series, and now I won't be able to stop thinking about it unless I do it. So here we are.

I don't think I could do this with the 80's. That is, I don't think I could pare the 80's down to a list of 100 songs. I basically went through my entire adolescence in the 80's, so my feelings are too jumbled and complicated, and there's an almost limitless reserve of songs that I have some kind of emotional attachment to. How do I resolve my feelings toward Iron Maiden, Angry Samoans, R.E.M., Run DMC, and the Go-Go's? But the 90's, when I was in my 20's, is a good fit for this project. Not only was I the right age, but it was kind of an interesting time, with the "alternative rock" bands topping the charts, and the lo fi indie bands happening parallel to that, and the apex of the Golden Age of Hip Hop happening right at the start, and electronic music (techno or whatever) emerging. There's just a lot to write about.

And this is a completely subjective list. I don't know if it's literally my 100 Favorite Songs of the 90's, but it's 100 great fucking songs that came to mind while I was making the list. Not any attempt to define what songs were "important" or "influential" or "culturally relevant," just songs I dig, some of which have been nearly forgotten. (There are four or five that I placed in the top 15 as a nod to their relevance that would probably have been much lower otherwise, and just to get this out of the way, I did pick the obvious song for my number one spot, but for the most part this is a "from the gut" list.) I'm not making any commitment to myself to get this done in the next year, or to do one a week, or anything. We'll just see how it goes.


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