eventseekr Shuffle: The Best Forgotten Songs of the ’90s

Once upon the last decade of the 20th century, the dilemma to choose between team Edward and team Jacob was instead the choice between team Tupac and team Biggie. Folks like me who grew up in the ’90s, known as Generation Y, are growing into their 20s and 30s, yet there seems to be a growing nostalgia for the 1990s. Lately everyone’s been rocking Rayban Wayfarers, buying the Nevermind 20th Anniversary album, going to raves, talking about how totally radical it would be if Nickelodeon brought back its old shows, or reminiscing about the days when MTV actually played music videos.

Whatever part of the pre-Y2K decade you’re missing, I’ve designed this playlist to guide you on a tour through the best forgotten songs of the ’90s. So, my fellow Ninja Turtles, grab a hold of a couple slices of pizza as we launch ourselves back to 1990 and travel through time until the year 2000.

Mazzy Star’s “Halah” embodies the sort of shoegazy, almost happy/almost sad sound that indie rock was making in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Toad the Wet Sprocket’s “Walk on the Ocean” gives us a taste of early acoustic alternative rock, which is a bit more poetic than it becomes later.

De La Soul gives us “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays,’” an upbeat and quirky hip-hop track from 1991, featuring samples from “Grease” and vocals from Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest. Next stop is Digable Planets’ song “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” a jazz-infused beat affirming the hip-hop culture exploding at the time.

Pavement was one of the first truly independent bands to gain widespread success in the early ’90s. The band was even featured on an episode of Beavis and Butthead. “Summer Babe (Winter Version)” is an indie relic consisting of alt-rock paired with lo-fi grunge that was new and typical of the era. Polvo’s “Tilebreaker” in 1993 takes us to the next stage of indie rock, moving away from shoegazing and into noisy alternative space rock that invaded the indie sound waves. Another space rock band we should recall from 1993 is Man or Astro-man?, which combines old samplings and new sounds on “Taxidermist Surf” for a unique and loud kind of surf rock.

Supergrass marks the halfway point of the decade with “Alright,” a Britpop song you might remember from the classic ’90s movie Clueless. And suddenly after two decades underground, electronic dance music arrives onto the mainstream in 1996 with Fatboy Slim’s big beat, pop-culture infused “Michael Jackson.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be the ’90s without a bit of ska, so I had to include Reel Big Fish’s “Beer” from 1996. This leads us to another song released that year, “Nude as the News” by Cat Power. The band is still creating relevant music, but the surprising truth is that it emerged in the mid-90s with a sound that, if you ask me, was ahead of its time. Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Two-Headed Boy” also feels relevant to this day, with a kind of dark acoustic vibe that shines through in the lo-fi sound. For further listening of this type, study the brilliance of the late Elliott Smith.

You might remember the band Polaris from the Nickelodeon show “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.” Even if you’ve never seen the show, you can still enjoy the sunny alt-rock sounds of “Hey Sandy.” The ’90s gave an accurate foreshadowing of what electronic dance music would one day become–case in point with Aphex Twin’s raunchy “Windowlicker” from 1999.

Finally, we end our tour in 2000 with one of my favorite feel-good songs, “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus. Here is the point in alt-rock’s evolution when the genre blends with pop-punk. And with that, we say adios to the glorious ’90s and the decade that was as we head back to the future.

TRACKLIST

Mazzy Star – Halah (1990)
Toad the Wet Sprocket – Walk On The Ocean – (1991)
De La Soul – A Roller Skating Jam Named “Saturdays” – (1991)
Digable Planets – Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) – (1992)
Pavement – Summer Babe (Winter Version) – (1992)
Polvo – Tilebreaker – (1993)
Man or Astro-Man? – Taxidermist Surf – (1993)
Supergrass – Alright – (1995)
Fatboy Slim – Michael Jackson – (1996)
Reel Big Fish – Beer – (1996)
Cat Power – Nude As The News – (1996)
Neutral Milk Hotel – Two-Headed Boy  – (1998)
Polaris – Hey Sandy – (1999)
Aphex Twin – Windowlicker – (1999)
Wheatus – Teenage Dirtbag – (2000)

RELATED LINKS

eventseekr Shuffle: Bright

eventseekr Shuffle: Take with a Bleach Chaser

eventseekr Shuffle: The Golden Age of the Prog Rock “Epic”

What’s your favorite music from the 90s? Come back next Tuesday for our next installment of the eventseekr Shuffle with a new playlist set! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for updates on what we’re covering. You can stay on top of exciting events from around the world by downloading the eventseekr app for Android, iPhone or Ovi.

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About Katie Kopacz
Blog Intern. Creative Writing student at San Francisco State University. When she's not busy with one of the aforementioned occupations, Katie can be found geeking out over good music, good food, conspiracy theories, cats, and well-written words.

6 Responses to eventseekr Shuffle: The Best Forgotten Songs of the ’90s

  1. Pingback: eventseekr Shuffle: House | eventseekr blog

  2. Pingback: eventseekr Shuffle: Punch It or Hug It? A Playlist of Lovely Assault | eventseekr blog

  3. Pingback: eventseekr Shuffle: Slow and Low | eventseekr blog

  4. Pingback: eventseekr Shuffle- House « eventseekr

  5. Pingback: eventseekr Shuffle: Slow and Low « eventseekr

  6. Pingback: eventseekr Shuffle: Punch It or Hug It? A Playlist of Lovely Assault « eventseekr

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