The other day someone close to me said that the 1990s were the worst when it came to music. Naturally I disagreed with that statement because of a couple of reasons. I thought the 1990s were rich with great music for these reasons: it gave us great bands such as Garbage, No Doubt, and the Spice Girls (yes I said the Spice Girls. I will explain why I think they are great in a moment) and we saw the emergence of some singers with great staying power.
During the 90s, some great bands formed or gained popularity. One of those bands was Garbage. When Garbage arrived on the scene back in 1995, it was apparent that this band was a force to be reckoned with. Formed by producers Butch Vig and Steve Marker and Vig’s longtime friend and musician, Duke Erikson, Garbage was born out of the desire for the three men to make their own music instead of remixing everybody else’s. At first the guys were going to take the direction of Garbage as a trio, but after the initial recordings with Vig doing vocals, the men knew that they were missing something: a woman’s influence. As chance would have it one night while watching MTV’s 120 Minutes, Steve Marker saw the video of “Suffocate Me” by Angelfish and found the missing piece to the puzzle, Angelfish’s lead singer Shirley Manson. Their first hit, Vow, sent Garbage to being famous.
Garbage’s unique electropop style to this day has not been successfully duplicated. While Garbage went on hiatus back in 2008, things are looking good that the band will be back together. On a personal note, I met Garbage back in 1999 when they were on tour with Lit as a part of MTV’s Campus Invasion in support of their second album, Version 2.0. I have to say that Shirley Manson and the guys are some of the coolest people I ever met and to this day I can hear Shirley say to me in her Scottish accent, “I love your shirt” referring to a holographic button down shirt I had bought from Gadzooks. Here are some pics below:
Another band that achieved greatness in the 90s was No Doubt. The Orange County band brought ska music to mainstream with their breakout album, Tragic Kingdom. While the band formed in 1985, their self-titled debut album was not released until 1992, but the band’s first album was not met with critical acclaim. It wasn’t until 1995 that No Doubt would discover mainstream success when the first single off Tragic Kingdom, “Just a Girl” , debuted in October 1995. Since Tragic Kingdom, the band’s popularity skyrocketed and No Doubt became an inspiration for bands such as Paramore.
The final band that was great during the nineties was the Spice Girls. The girl group from England consisted of Victoria Adams (Posh Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), Melanie Chinsolm (Sporty Spice) and Melanie Brown (Scary Spice). The Spice Girls gained popularity in 1996 with their first single from the album Spice, “Wannabe” and the 90s became defined by “Girl Power”. The term “Girl Power”, as the Spice Girls explained it, was about strong and loyal friendship among females and has been dubbed the third-wave feminism.