I still think it’s weird when I meet people who were born in the 90’s. I shouldn’t, considering I was born in 1988. That’s practically the nineties, right? It’s only a two-year difference but it feels significant. People born in the mid-nineties missed out on a fantastic decade (well, except for that whole Pogs thing). But lately I’ve been getting the feeling that I missed out on the nineties, too.
I was alive for the whole decade, sure, but the nineties were my childhood years rather than my—how should I put this?—listening-to-dance-music years. I wasn’t going to clubs and playing vinyl, I was going to Little League practice and playing Super Nintendo. My generation came of age in the 2000’s (the aughts? have we agreed on what to call this past decade?). The decade I love belongs to an older group of people. So does the music I love–early nineties house.
I know music doesn’t really “belong” to anyone. Everyone listens to music created before they were born. That’s life. And I shouldn’t feel too bad about missing the nineties. Imagine how Beethoven’s fans feel! The music is still “there,” technically speaking. The 12-inch vinyl pressings are on eBay. Some popular songs made it to CD, a few even float between hard drives as MP3s. I can listen to it whenever I want.
So I guess it’s not the music I missed out on, but rather the “scene” that supported the music. I’ll always have access to the songs. But while the music is still here, the decade is gone. A lot of the people are gone too—they’re not dead, they just aren’t releasing new music. I don’t look forward to new songs in the genre; instead, I just dig deeper into the library and try to find some hidden gems. Listening to nineties house music is a constant ear-tease, if you will, the audio equivalent of watching a Hitchcock movie and knowing the director will never make another film.
In a lot of ways I’m glad I grew up when I did. I honestly can’t imagine having to carry a crate of vinyl to play a set. And I love having the ability to find any song I want within five minutes. There’s so much amazing music being made today that I’m not completely cynical (and I hope this post didn’t come off as such). I hate those “nobody makes good music anymore” misanthropes who complain about the state of modern music. I’m more nostalgic, really, if it’s even possible to be nostalgic for something I never really experienced. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the Chicago scene of 1993 and listen to house music until my ears bleed.
Watch the video below for the kind of stuff I miss (MP3 available underneath). You’ll probably have one of two responses: “This is totally amazing” or “This is totally ridiculous.” I hope it’s the former.
I know this next song has been floating around forever, but I’ve gotta post it for the handful of people who still haven’t heard it. Remember that one friend who knew all the words to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song?