Thursday, February 7, 2013

Maura Johnston asks "Why Can't We Leave the '90s"?  (at Seattle Weekly)

"Last month Microsoft, in the hope of burnishing the reputation of Internet Explorer, launched an ad that essentially asked, "Remember the '90s?" Called "Child of the '90s," the ad opened with a decade-appropriate bit of self-deprecation ("You might not remember us . . . ") before launching into a listicle of artifacts that existed between 1990 and 1999... They're hardly alone. ABC Family is readying the third season of Melissa & Joey, a sitcom based more on the premise of having Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains It All; Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) and Joey Lawrence (Blossom) share a small screen than on anything resembling a plot. The Twitter account @SeinfeldToday fast-forwarded that NBC sitcom's '90s-rooted characters and racked up 410,000 followers and a couple of parody accounts. And this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, set for two April weekends in the California desert, will feature three headliners—the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Stone Roses, and Blur—better associated with the (touring) Lollapalooza era than the music-blog age."

Strangely in the whole quite long piece, Maura doesn't mention the My Bloody Valentine record and the huge nostalgia-driven swell of attention, discussion, etc about what is effectively a time capsule from the mid-Nineties.

(My initial reaction to the news of the album was to feel vaguely inconvenienced, as if by the sudden arrival on your doorstep, without any advance warning, of an old dear friend you haven't seen in 20 years -- you know you should be overjoyed, but life's moved on a lot, your head is in a completely different place, the timing feels off)

(My initial reaction to hearing the record, having finally succumbed to curiosity and proddings from the wife, was "Can I have my 42 dollars back please?".  Hopefully that'll fade on repeat plays. Hopefully the vinyl, whenever the fuck it turns up, will be glorious sounding. But in MP3 form, even when burned to CD-R and played on a good stereo, m b v mostly sounds dead to me, in an eerie but not particularly pleasing or compelling way. There's something rhythmically suppressed, aurally suffocated about the bulk of it - like my slight misgivings about Loveless were premonitions. If only the last track were the first track and it took off from there).

Back to Maura... 

"But the relentless march back to the '90s—whether through reunion tours by the likes of the Afghan Whigs and Pulp or 95-page photo galleries of the decade's toy crazes—seems to be more intense than the nostalgia of previous generations. (Yes, even more the Boomers', whose self-glorification sure seemed oppressive.) Reunion tours; full-album concerts; galleries of fashion from the decade; listicles that stroke readers' lizard brains until they're endlessly looping the question "Remember when?": These all reflect a culture that seems much more interested in looking back instead of moving forward."

Another recent piece on the 90s revival -- Smells Like 90s spirit  - and I make a brief appearance in that one

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