Somehow, as an eight year old child, I ended up with a television in my room. It was one of those clunky brown ones that had a dial to change the channels and the volume. I used to watch Boy Meets World, Jeopardy and some weird sitcom where the girl was an aspiring tennis star. But one day I came home from school, having failed my spelling test so profoundly (I still can’t spell definately definitely properly…), that my parents removed my TV. At first I was sad and upset, but then I started listening to my radio. I had grown up exposed to my Dad’s and my sister’s music (The Beatles and Nirvana respectively), but I had never really ventured off on my own, and having no other entertainment in my room but my radio changed it all. And I loved it, I shamelessly loved every single song I heard on Mix 99.9. I loved me my 90’s AC so much I actually wrote a letter to my parents thanking them for taking away my TV and allowing me to discover the bliss that was music.
Lots of people are embarrassed by the music they listened to when they were younger, but I still love it. Even though some songs make me cringe a little, they still bring back oodles of good memories. My tastes have most certainly broadened and progressed over the past decade and a half, and while I may not feel as strongly about some of the bands I loved in 90’s, I still embrace them as part of my musical past. They were essential to my musical evolution.
The first albums I ever bought with my hard earned allowance were Oasis – Wonderwall on CD and Alanis Morisette – Jagged Little Pill on cassette tape from Sam the Record Man. Those purchases were swiftly followed by Lisa Loeb, Dance Mix 95 and Marilyn Manson. I was an eclectic little girl. But with the onset of puberty my tastes became more focused towards indie rock.
Slowly but surely, I made the move away from Mix 99.9 to 102.1 the Edge. And it was then that I truly fell in love with music. Due to the Canadian Content legislation I was exposed to huge amounts of Canadian Indie Rock, and I ate it up: Age of Electric, Treble Charger, I Mother Earth, Limblifter, Zuckerbaby, Matthew Good Band, Sloan, Econoline Crush, Flashing Lights, Moist, The Gandharvas, The Tea Party, Bif Naked, Wide Mouth Mason, The Watchmen, Sandbox, See Spot Run… I can go on and on. I had a soft spot for quirky British bands like Dodgy and Spacehog. I also loved Jimmy Eat World, Lit, Marcy Playground, and of course Radiohead. I remember buying Pablo Honey in HMV and the cute cashier boy said to me “Most people think The Bends is the best, but Pablo Honey will always be my favourite.” I think it’s still my favourite too.
I listened to Humble and Fred in the morning, and swooned over George Stroumboulopoulos the in the evenings, I loved Dave Bookman’s Indie hour and lived for Alan Cross’s Ongoing History of New Music. Though the TV never made it back into my bedroom, I did manage to discover Much Music in the last few years that it actually played music videos. I would stay up late to watch The Wedge when it had some random time-slot after Saturday Night Live was over, and I would watch The New Music and try to learn everything I could. Music most certainly was my boyfriend, and the best one I’ve ever had.
My friends and I went to every single all-ages concert we could get our parents to pay for. I saw so many shows. I saw Our Lady Peace at Maple Leaf gardens, I saw The Stereophonics at the Opera House, I saw Placebo at The Government, No Doubt at the Molson Amphitheater, and a ka-thousand other shows. And every year my friends and I would stay up all night on December 23rd watching Kevin Smith films, and at 4am go to Humble and Fred’s Christmas Spectacular at the Horseshoe. We were the annoying pimply teenagers that are the reason I now dislike all ages concerts!
It would seem that 90’s are back in style these days. I’ve seen a lot of long chain purses, tights with jean shorts, and tapered jeans, I’ve even seen parachute pants in H&M. I cannot condone these things, they horrified me as much in the 90’s as they do now. In the 90’s I fashioned myself as a raver girl. I wore big huge brightly coloured pants, tight shirts, giant spice-girl platforms and teddy-bear mini-back packs. I even owned a few of those plastic pacifier necklaces. I wore my hair up in two high Princess Leah buns with sparkly ribbon for my passport photo. Frightening. But what I do enjoy about the 90’s being cool again is the music. Clinton’s has started hosting 90’s dance party nights, and it’s fantastic. Sadly the DJ didn’t have any of the songs I request, but they managed to play an excellent mix of dancey hits like Wigfield’s Saturday Night, and everything from Sloan to LL Cool J. It’s nice to be able to dance to all the music that I grew up hearing, the music that influenced my tastes today. The songs that made me fall in love with music in the first place.
So here are some of my favourite songs from the 90’s, some have most certainly withstood the test of time, others not so much, but I love them all the same.
Eve 6 – Inside Out
I won’t lie, I loved this entire album so much! I had visions of driving somewhere, on some dirt road blasting this out of my cherry red Jeep. Ah to be young! This album (or the follow up, I can’t remember exactly) also happened to be an integral part of a seduction playlist of a guy I once knew.
Limblifter – Tinfoil
It’s hard to get more 90’s Canadian Indie than this.
Spacehog – In The Meantime
I loved Spacehog SO MUCH. And I thought I was extra cool for finding this quirky, obscure British band before anyone else. I still have a soft spot for them, and I still think this song is awesome.
Marcy Playground – Sex and Candy
Just great. Disco lemonade? Yes. Still just great! Though I suspect my parents were slightly concerned with me siging this at the top of my lungs while in the shower…
Age of Electric – Remote Control
And finally, this song and album is just as good now as it was in 1996.