The glorious day my parents finally caved to my manipulative whining and added MTV to the list of our available TV channels - thus freeing my sisters and me from suffering through endless and truly mind-destroying episodes of VH1's Pop Up Video feat. Duncan Sheik Barely Breathing - coincided, magically, with a sick day home from school. At 10 AM, Channel 52 went from static to transmitting a clear picture of Carson Daly's face, and ahead of me stretched a long day to lie on the couch in the warm sunlight and eat cinnamon sugar toast, to watch MTV Jams and read Seventeen magazine in the ad breaks. In this memory I believe I feel the pure, unadulterated joy of youth.
Certainly, the Best Hits of the 90s (as Barbara and I remember them) are not all remembered through the filter of deliciously warm sunlight dappling fluffed pillows and an uninterrupted afternoon of watching MTV Jams. No, no, we know you don't need reminding, but more often than not these songs call up less of youth's happy nostalgia and rather significantly more angsty hormonal memories, the sound of furious scribbling in diaries or worn out tapes recorded from the radio, slammed doors, and the scent of Manic Panic hair dye. Oh and, if you're me, way more memorized Tori Amos lyrics than should be admitted, even now, a thousand years later.
There have been many odes written to the music of the 90s and we won't attempt to cobble together yet another for you here. In its place, we offer you a selection of videos we may have watched on those days home sick with a fever, when the only thing that would soothe our sweating brows and relieve our fear of tomorrow's inevitably missed AP science test was Björk showing us what's possible with hairstyles and eyebrow crystals, and, like, the limits of musical expression. Or our crush on Beck (which has suffered such a painful subsequent death). Or whatever it was that saved us from what seemed, or legitimately was, bad in those long days of our teendom.
Among the more likely suspects below, there's also the song that was the instigator for this whole playlist - The Connells' '74-'75. They were a local band from Raleigh, North Carolina that never really broke through in the U.S., unless you count the tape I got from my friend Saira as breaking through something. But they were, wikipedia tells me, " big in Europe." And in one of the greater mysteries of my life, this song is piped on repeat through the picture frame section in one of Berlin's three IKEAs. The first time I took a close-up look at a RIBBA frame in Spandau and heard the faint sounds of '74-'75 register in my brain I was thrown back so powerfully to the summer of 1996 and the miserably longing moods of being nearly 14, I could practically feel my jean shorts chafing in the Virginia heat and the sweaty pinch of my Walkman headphones.
Because we are very much in favor of going down time warp YouTube holes and reliving that one summer you spent pacing the neighborhood listening to your Walkman and aching for adulthood, we encourage (demand) you to put your favorites in the comments.
xoxo from Lydia and Barbara and 1995