The Nineties In Retrospect

For some reason, I’ve had this weird desire to go back and listen to some of the bands popular during my youth. I’ll admit that I was a grunge fan. I was even a fan of some of the lighter brands of industrial music. Yes, I’m still a Stabbing Westward fan. I was deeply affected by their angst.I still am in some ways, and not always through the lens of nostalgia.

However, in retrospect, I can’t figure out for the life of my, why. I come from a stable home. I may not have had the best school-life, nor that many friends. I may have been a loner, but I’ve always tended towards it. But ultimately, I don’t see where the angst came in. Was it a put on?

Recently, I was listening to The Casbah on KSYM’s podcast and their guest host was spinning (literally spinning) some old garage/psychedelic tunes from the 60’s. He’d owned a lot of it since it was new music, and he described it as just being “dance music” when it all came out. At the time, it was nothing more. Now. we’ve elevated it to something more. (He felt that it was justified, and I happen to agree.)

A lot of the music from the nineties seems to have done the reverse, where it was elevated and vaunted back then, but now it is losing its sheen as we get older. Have we lost our angst by having adult troubles? Or is the Nineties grunge almost as comical as the late 50’s and early 60’s girl groups with their melodramatic songs? We now revel in its melodrama to escape the real drama of our adult lives.

It maybe the later, but I still love it. It still taps a part of me that is still groping my way through being an adult and struggling against it. Now, some of the greater bands that have survived into the greater rock cannon do have staying power and musically, their lyrics have matured with us. I’m mostly thinking of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, but I cannot add Nirvana to that group.

So every now and then, I have to dig out “Wither Blister Burn and Peel” from the bottom of the pile and listen to on the way from work. I even created a station on my Pandora account to scratch the itch.

Of course, I still do it with Pink Floyd’s The Wall, which was grunge before there was grunge.

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