Over three decades have passed since the end of the 1990s, yet the music from that decade remains as popular as ever.
The debate of which era was the best for music will never come to an end. However, one thing is for sure, and that is that the 90s was a golden ager for music. Why? The reason being that this was a time when Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, and Pop, etc. was making its way to the fans through television, music videos, CDs, and cassettes. Simply said, this era had everything for everyone. From Beanie Babies to Nickelodeon, the kids of the 90s should be grateful to be born in this era. One thing the world does not seem to let go of is the 90s music. Therefore, let us discover as to why and how it remains popular to this day.
The 1990s musical period had a wide range of pop, rap, and alternative music acts, as well as a variety of one-hit wonders. There has never been a decade with so much variety and diversity. There was too much happening throughout that decade to reduce it to a single factor.
As already mentioned, 90s music was not specifically for Country, R&B, Hip-Hop, and Rap, etc. Instead, it was for everyone. It was the diversity of the artists that brought a huge fan base to them. The beauty was in the way the artists assumed the style of the 90s, refined them, and added a unique sonic dimension that helped with the optimism and sometimes despairs of the decade.
Grunge, the band, came in the spotlight in the late 80s with their shabby hair and loud guitars, poking every teenager with their heavy metal music. Soon enough, you could hear almost every individual rocking their guitar or drums in their garage. This new breed of rock-n-roll was easy to copy and play, a prime example being ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’
You could learn four chords within minutes. As the wave continued, bands with flannel shirts and fast-paced music drew interests of the fans and fat cheque-books. This was a defining moment for individuals who were at once high school students and then were performing at the biggest stages of the world.
Drugs paved in and, for many, made electronic music the only reason to live for. People danced all night not just in clubs, but in factories, warehouses, and even country fields. Then came the DJs. What this meant was that the party level could be extended to a much higher level, and anybody with the system could make a big splash anywhere. The DJs were like a God to some, especially to music lovers. These people became superstars. Not only did they remix music but also dug into classical music and made it fit just right with the 90s era.
R&B of the 90s
R&B in the 90s was huge, like literally huge and is still popular today. Several of the greatest names in music got their start in this genre, and it remains one of the most popular. It was something that one could not live without experiencing it. The R&B hits of the 90s were some of the sexiest hits ever produced. The synthesizer-heavy rhythm tracks of new jack swing were being replaced by the grittier East Coast hip-hop- inspired tracks. Artists such as Mary J. Blige and Sean Combs were some of those who added soul to this genre.
Then came Whitney Houston with her ground-breaking performance in the movie ‘The Body Guard”. Hill and Missy Elliott recorded music in both Hip-hop and R&B style, further blurring the line between the two very popular genres of the time. Finally, Timbaland and The Neptunes, who had set influential precedence on Hip-hop and R&B music that we listen to even today dominated the second half of the 90s.
Nightclubs and Music
The nightclubs have a huge role to play in keeping the 90s music alive. We get to see the same nightclubs in today’s movies as well, where people in the background seem to be dancing to old tunes. Midway through the decade of the 1990s, synthetic techno music began to make its way into dance clubs, bringing in the era of electronic dance music (EDM).
The remixing of both 80s and 90s music kept the playlist fresh in every nightclub. That is why you would find the same remixed songs being played at a different night club. From one nightclub to another, the popularity of 90s music spread like wildfire. People knew what they were dancing to, and neither wanted the night to end nor the music.
East Coast Vs. West Coast
As R&B, Hip-Hop and Rock were going hand in hand. It was the epic battle of the East Coast Vs. West Coast that helped Hip-Hop with the push it needed severely. After that, all hell was let loose. Hip-Hop was on every stereo, be it in a car or at home. Tupac Shakur and Notorious BIG were in the spotlight, representing their respective coasts.
On the one hand, where people were found dancing in nightclubs, on the other, you could see teenagers covering themselves in loose t-shirts and jeans with chains to highlight their increasing obsession with rap music. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Nas, and DMX were some of the top artists who stand behind 90s Hip-Hop music’s popularity to this day.
Boy Bands and Girl Bands
The 90s wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for artists like Justin Timberlake. The rising of Boy Bands and Girl Bands undoubtedly offered new music and new voices altogether. Furthermore, the collaborations brought in versatility, which was not offered before.
Band Boys like 98 Degrees, Backstreet Boys, B2, and LFO were some of those who were at the top of their game. If you ask anyone belonging to that era, they would tell you how big Boyz II men were back in the day. And of course, then there were Band girls like Spice girls, SWV, TLC, and Destiny’s child that made us lip-sync at concerts.
When you are talking about the 90s era as a whole and particularly the music, you should not forget Country music. Vocalists like Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks were known for sweeping people off their feet. They had maintained their signature twang, and that alone remained tucked with people. The Dixie Chicks brought in a fresh wave of acoustic music that would make many revel in the sound produced by the trio.
The popularity of Banjo also an increasing trend after the band introduced it for future generations. However, the sad thing about country music is that today it has lost its roots. Although singers like Taylor Swift are one in a million, they have clearly blurred the line between country and pop. This, as a result, has made Country music lose its essence, and it does not carry the same soul anymore.
Pop music was popular in the 1990s and still is today. The mainstream music of today just cannot compare to the timeless classics that were released throughout the 1990s.
When you think about Pop, the first names that come into mind are Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and of course, the King Michael Jackson. Back then, it was a talent the world had never seen. With Michael Jackson’s moon walk-in ‘Smooth Criminal’ to Britney Spears’s ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time, pop music was exploding at the scene, and everybody wanted it to remain that way.
The 90s swayed through, listening, and watching Michael Jackson dance to his beats and imitating him. Songs like ‘Billie Jean,’ ‘Just Beat it,’ and ‘Thriller’ sound even fresh to this day.
To conclude, the reason 90s music is still so popular is that people were more into organic stuff back then. They valued the voices, lyrics, and class, which unfortunately today’s artists do not possess. The introduction of stellar voices like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and not to forget Celine Dion ingrained their voices in our minds. What you see and hear today is the continuation of 90s music, but it is not anything close to being genuine, which it once was.
Even though some people may not recognize it, the effect of ’90s music can still be seen and heard today. Whether you like ’90s music or are interested about what made it so unique, there are several ways to enjoy it now. You may listen to radio stations that play 1990s songs, or you can find online streaming services that focus on this kind of music.