Hello lost people of the internet. Yes, I'm back with a brand new ramble, about an epoch in culture I think it was way better, the 90s. Though it all started in the last couple of years of the 70s, with the Hardcore Punk movement and the begining of underground, independent music. Many of the Hardcore artists started exploring new forms rock music, including more content than ever seen before in any music scene, sometimes even political and philosphical.
This reflected in the early 90s when this alternative culture suddenly became the mainstream (because of popular demand, and lets remember, according to actual studies, this generation was the best educated), and kids like me and every other regular Joe could easily be aware of alternative music that had a more honest approach (it was very introspective and humane, it talked about things that could go on in our everyday lives that mattered to some extention, easily relatable in a broader sense). MTV had shows like PostModern, 120 Minutes, and Alternative Nation, but well, you didn't even had to go that far. Being a kid here, in Mexico City, in national, open TV you could easily watch videos like Meat Puppets' 'Backwater' in the middle of the afternoon! Even the intro song to the mediocre, generic talk show 'El Calabozo' was In Bloom by Nirvana. Kids in my elementary school were sporting Alice in Chains and Metallica t-shirts, and I am talking second grade.
But it wasn't all about music, we had (what used to be considered) alternative TV shows and cartoons like the Simpsons, Beavis & Butt-Head and all that good stuff from Liquid Television, Rocko's Modern Life, Seinfeld, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Whedon yay!) X-Men, Batman, and what I consider the alternative masterpiece; The Adventures of Pete & Pete; which was basically a grunge TV show for kids. Then, in cinema there was Clerks (indie becoming strong and mainstream, in a different medium), the Crow, Singles (which other than being the base of 'Friends', I think it was pretty significant culturally), Reality Bites, and the neo-noir stuff like The Usual Suspects. Plus, all this then new, FX oriented and excellently written stuff like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Toy Story (Whedon yay!). Even the comic book medium saw the uprising of the independent stuff, in a more DIY trend like with Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise, Hepcats by Michael Wagner, Jeff Smith's Bone, amongst others.
How did all this translate into the mainstream? Well, the Friends TV show for example, which was the watered down version of the Singles movie, was a massive cultural influence. The Simpsons revolutioned cartoon concepts and started the adult cartooning trend in TV, and in that same medium, shows like My So-Called Life, Buffy, and the Practice, changed the way to make TV. In music, even with Pop products like Take That and Spice Girls, there was also plenty of other stuff to choose from and, what I like to call Alternapop, which was easy-listening music but with brains and heart in it, like the Wallflowers, Matchbox 20 or Lisa Loeb (who was the first independent artist to have a Top 10 Billboard hit single; 'Stay', from the Reality Bites soundtrack), and on that matter soundtracks featured a lot of different and mostly good artists.
For a time people seemed to be more open minded, there wasn't this new wave of religious fundamentalism, at least it wasn't very 'in your face', people, I think, used to practice more objective and critical reasoning, they were less conservative for no reason, and tried to be more introspective before judging others, hell, the internet came from all that. Well, what the hell happened to that?
My hipothesis? It was a mix of average people being introspective and finding either nothing, or something scary, that made them prefer stuff that didn't mean anything and could easily be forgotten or recycled, that, and well, the inability to take-in the real world, stuff like 9-11, corporate globalization, the central banking system... and draw the line (fight that shit? why bother, I rather have them pour me a latte, and clothe me cheaply at the expense of enslaved, little Asian children and my life quality). Something to think about huh?
By the way, check my version of an alternative music show right below in my iFuck's playlist!
"You want answers?"-- "I want the truth!"-- "You can't handle the truth!"
-A Few Good Men-