9 Definitive Tracks of the 90s

September 09, 2016

So I like music but I wouldn't say I was particularly musical or that I have much musical knowledge besides band trivia and an extensive memory for lyrics.

music turntable computer | Almost Posh

However, the good thing about music is that you don't have to be any kind of expert to enjoy rocking out to your favourite beats. There is no shame in my music game and I have reached the stage in life where zero regard is given to what anyone thinks of my taste in tunes. In my collection, you'll find everything from 40s big band to dubstep so I often feel awks and at a loss when people ask me what kind of music I like, because the answer is usually a cop-out "oh you know, lots of things".

Anyway, a while back I was tagged on Facebook to do the "7 Days of 90s Music" challenge. Actually, it was both the 80s and 90s challenges so I did them back to back. It involves posting a song that was definitive for you during that era, maybe a bit of backstory as to why and then tagging others to join in. Well, I'm not much of a tagger but I decided to do the challenges for myself and round them up for you here; the 90s being "my generation".

Day 1: "House of Love" - East 17

I was never a boy-band girl and you might argue that East 17 were a boy band but I'd disagree strongly and then we'd have to either agree to disagree or take it outside. This is me heading into teen years so I was influenced by looks as well as tunes - I always loved Brian the best at the time but looking back, Tony is far superior (and aged better). Still remember singing this on the school bus to some excursion and soloing on the rap bit because I knew all the words (still do). "East 17" are touring Australia next year but I use the name loosely as it's only John and Terry! What a cheek! As if they ever did anything except dance around with stupid hats!!

Day 2: "Alive" - Pearl Jam

Growing up in the country (South Australia's Mid-North) before the internet meant we didn't get a lot of exposure to alternative music. Triple J didn't even broadcast in our region until about 96-97? So our only option was Rage which meant either stamina for late nights or access to long play VHS tapes and a recorder. Luckily for us all, grunge was big enough to transcend into the mainstream charts. I considered a track from Nirvana Unplugged In New York (my first CD along with Pearl Jam's Vitalogy) but I had to go for this one for the amount of times my Dad put it on the Wirrabara Hotel jukebox.

Day 3: "Hand In My Pocket" - Alanis Morissette

I've got to include this one because I was a female teenager and this was such a huge album. I remember ringing up the radio station (Centre State 5CS, three decades of hits) after hearing this for the first time to find out who it was and what it was called. They made me sing it but that's okay. At the time there was nobody like Alanis. She was a bit mental, sang oddly and wasn't all synthetic pop blonde. I still love this album.

Day 4: "Don't Look Back In Anger" - Oasis

One summer's day in 2011, I was walking along Rundle Mall on my lunch break. Walked past a guy and thought, "Wow, he looked heaps like Noel Gallagher." Then several key facts suddenly clicked in my head. Big Day Out was on. Noel was on the bill. OH MY GOD, THAT WAS NOEL GALLAGHER.

Annoyed with myself for not catching on sooner and dreading the return to work where I knew my boss would give me heaps for not speaking to him, I set out to track him down. Walked back up the Mall, no sign. Just as I was about to give up hope, there he was.

"Excuse me," I said. And again. He turned around. "Sorry. Hi. I just wanted to say . . . Thank you for some of my favourite songs of all time."

Noel [looks surprised] "Oh! Thank you, it's a pleasure, yeah?"

Me: "Sooo, yeah. Thank you!" *little wave, walk off*

I like to think me not asking him for a selfie was my gift back in return for the choons. And here's one of my favourites. Maybe I'll see him play it live one day.

Related:  I heard "Wonderwall" in a classic rock segment on the radio a while back and didn't know whether to feel pleased or dismayed.

Day 5: "Free As A Bird" - The Beatles

When I was in Year 12, the Beatles Anthology documentary series and accompanying albums were released which sent my friends and I into Beatlemania 30 years late. Seriously, we were obsessed, had our favourites, borrowed our parents' albums (Mum had Sargeant Pepper on vinyl), watched all the movies and swore we would visit Liverpool one day and find our future husbands. Well I did visit Liverpool eventually but I had already met my eventual non Liverpudlian husband by then. I had to settle for working with one instead!
Anyway this was the song that started it all and it's a really clever video with lots of references to other Beatles songs.

Day 6 of the 90s: "Lump" - Presidents of The United States of America 

At this point, struggling to cram so many seminal songs into 7, I decided I don't need to be bound by the rules of some arbitrary Facebook game so would do as many days as I needed to. My friend introduced me to the Presidents via their EP but it was this song that kicked it off for me and pretty much everyone else in the Mid-North. This album was *everywhere* in full including on repeat at my 18th and of course the jukebox at the Wirrabara Hotel. In 2013 they came to Adelaide to play that album in full. Unfortunately I had something on that day; a c-section. Related Fun Fact: lead singer Chris Ballew now writes kids songs under the name Caspar Babypants. Think kid-friendly Presidents songs - fun and catchy.

Day 7: "Setting Sun" - Chemical Brothers

When I moved to South Hedland, Western Australia in '97, it was a whole different scene musically than what I was used to. Everyone was heavily into R&B - one of my least favourite genres - and there were no FM radio stations AT ALL until mid '98. So it was back to relying on Rage and Recovery. My Dad actually alerted me to this song because he liked the film clip. My mate Noel Gallagher does the vocals and it was the first big beat / electronica to really catch my eye / ear. I got to see them at Future Music and they were amazing. Pity I'm now allergic to festivals but at least I've had one good one.

Day 8: "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" - Green Day

So this song was released at the end of 1997 but enjoyed a resurgence the next year thanks to being featured in the finale of Seinfeld. Not that I was into Seinfeld, but that's besides the point. Having finally grown weary of Pilbara life (apart from the top friends I made there), I decided to move on in October 1998. Adelaide was still struggling with employment so I decided on Melbourne as all of Mum's family were there and Sydney was too . . . Sydney. At my farewell party the night before I left, I was pressed upon to make a speech. Oh gosh, me - make a speech? So I said;

"Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don't ask why
It's not a question but a lesson learned in time
It's something unpredictable but in the end it's right
I hope you had the time of your life"

The next morning, same friends and family had assembled at the airport to wave me off and, being early morning, they had Rage playing on screens in the airport, including above the departure gate. So as I walked through to board the plane, guess what film clip came on? Bearing in mind it had been out of the regular charts for a year . . .

It doesn't end there. I arrived in Melbourne (after a two-week stopover in Adelaide to visit my Grandma) to stay with my aunty and uncle in Mt Eliza. They took me to dinner to welcome me to town and we went to a local pub. That had live music. First song the band played?

Whenever I hear that song randomly now, I prepare myself for change. It also got me right into Green Day - I already had the album Nimrod but as it happened I lived near a really cool second-hand music store in St Kilda East so I got to stock up on their back catalogue including Kerplunk and 1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours which is actually my favourite Green Day album and very few people have even heard of it.

Final day: Mordi

Although I could easily name a heap of awesome songs for days on end, I have to end it somewhere. So anyway, it's the end of '98, I've just moved to Melbourne and I need a job. I answered an ad for a comedy club and showed up to this group interview to learn that said job involved being one of those annoying people that approach you from the middle of shopping centres trying to flog you stuff; this being tickets to said comedy club.

How long do you reckon I lasted?

Close. A day and a half.

It was almost completely horrendous except for meeting Steve and Tessa. Steve played in a band called Mordi and invited me and this other girl (whose name escapes me but she was a massive scab who would drink the dregs of people's drinks in pubs) to their CD launch that week. So that Friday I went along to the Corner Hotel and fell in absolute love with this awesomely fun band.

During my time in Melbs, I got to see them play at loads of iconic music venues including the Tote, the Evelyn, the Armadale and the Espy. I got to sit in on rehearsals and even at the recording studio when they were mixing their EP (with Scott Carne of Kids In The Kitchen!)

It was a great time and I still love the songs. Unfortunately this was all pre-YouTube so I don't have a video but here, have this photo instead.

Melbourne band Mordi | Almost Posh

That concludes my songs of the 90s. Honourable mentions to:

"Ice Ice Baby" - Vanilla Ice
"Gonna Make You Sweat" - C+C Music Factory
"Joyride" - Roxette
"Baby Got Back" - Sir Mix A Lot
"Santa Monica" - Everclear
"Just A Girl" - No Doubt
"Dammit" - Blink 182
"Rockefella Skank" - Fatboy Slim
"Intergalactic" - Beastie Boys

What decade is "your" era of music? Do you have many backstories for significant songs or albums?

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