When it comes to ’90s nostalgia, I’m pretty much the reigning queen, but even I have to cringe at some of the products of that strange and wonderful time.
Sure, a lot of it, particularly the early stuff, was heavily influenced by the absurdity of the ’80s, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. All of these songs and videos received a ton of airplay, too — I didn’t just hunt down the most obscure, jacked-up thing I could find. This, for better or worse, was everyday stuff.
“That’s What Love Can Do” – Boy Krazy, 1993
Right out of the gate, we have this masterpiece. It’s like the ’90s ate the ’90s and then threw up the ’90s all over itself.
“Oh, you know, just popping in the coffee shop, choreographing our video, wearing our overalls with one strap down.The uszh. (Short for usual. Duh.) Gosh, it’s so much fun being a member of Boy Krazy! Can you believe we actually do our hair like this?”
I think Boy Krazy may have been trying to capitalize on the popularity of successful girl groups like En Vogue and Wilson Phillips, but this was their only big hit, and even then only after it was remixed. One final thing, though — I don’t pretend to be a music expert, but I cannot for the life of me identify whatever that noise is beginning at 1:39. I mean…what IS that? Exactly what setting on your Casio keyboard makes that sound?
“Nothin’ My Love Can’t Fix” – Joey Lawrence, 1993
In 1993, Joey Lawrence, best known for this:
Turned around and did this:
I loved Joey Lawrence, and I loved this video. I even loved Cop and a Half, the movie that used the song as its end-title theme. Of course, I was nine years old and thought sixteen-year-old Joey was Dreamy City. Let’s face it — he was.
This video, however, is three minutes of pure ’90s hell. I’m purposely not looking up who the director was because I already know: some guy in his fifties who was sure he’d really nailed it this time. I can imagine him pitching it:
“We got a graffiti-covered wall! That’s what the kids like! We put him in front of it, throw in a few babes on roller skates” — clearly missing the ’90s rollerblade zeitgeist, as well; nice job, dude — “and maybe we’ll have him rap a little like that Vanilla Rice, huh? Whaddya think? Also, he’ll inexplicably be wearing both a leather jacket and a flannel tied around his waist, just because.”
Joey’s gone on to be a successful and very sexy adult, and I hope he realizes how much a part of that this video really was.
“C’mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)” – Quad City DJs, 1996
I wasn’t even sure what to search for when trying to find this video. What the hell is this song called, anyway? “The Train”? “Come On Ride The Train”? “And Ride It”? Alas, the true title, “C’mon ‘N Ride It (The Train),” evaded me, and I had to settle for searching for Quad City DJs.
And in stunning HD, no less!
Of course, it’s a catchy jam, and I mean, who can resist the dance? It was the sheer ubiquity of this song that doomed it. Nary a junior high school dance floor nor skating rink nor bowling alley nor wherever kids hung out in your cool, sophisticated hometown was without this song…and they all played it every chance they got for the next five, or ten, or fifteen years. Rumor has it they still bust out this bad boy at Midwestern weddings and reverse raffles, but you didn’t hear that from me.
“No More I Love You’s” – Annie Lennox, 1995
I love this song. I love Annie Lennox. I love this video. But I think this marked the tipping point for just how weird we were willing to allow people to be on TV. Annie Lennox was the Tilda Swinton of the ’90s generation: just plain old batshit crazy, and everyone knew it.
In a video full of bizarre surrealism, surely Annie Lennox’s freaky Michele Bachmann face is the most haunting image.
This is by far the best of the four songs in that it’s actually a good song at all. (Sorry, Joey! I still want to birth your children!) Annie Lennox just so embodies the kind of eccentricity that we’d simply nod and accept in those days, as we did with Prince before her and Bowie before him. That was the nature of the ’90s.
Any forgotten ’90s nightmares you’d like to mention? Take thee to the comments!