dirty martini

old music for new people

high school musical: the 90s December 8, 2007

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 cluless.jpg sat.jpg

it’s a testament to the scary times we live in that something as anodyne, safe and unchallenging as high school musical is so popular and gratefully received by fearful parents.

gone are the days when kids looked up to rebels – these days they actually swallow the moralistic, gap-sweatered cheese the establishment tried so hard to push in the 50s, and again in the 70s. i am talking about the kids who aren’t out shooting their classmates and working on their next asbo, obviously.

don’t call them throwback to the kids from fame – those kids had more grit. even the partridge family look hardcore compared to drippy gabriella and troy.

as in high school musical, my generation, the 90s high school crowd, were infinitely more stylish than the 80s crowd we looked up to, and no less bitchy. but the similarities with gabriella and co end there. the class of the 90s had designer polish by day but by night they lived the 90s dream – drugs, clubs and alcohol. yes, even yanks got pissed in 90s teen movies.

download here

never been kissed

madonna – like a prayer, ozomatli – cumbia de los muertos

the original version of the madonna classic is far superior and well used in this movie. the reggae club scene shows how underage partying has merged into the adult scene and lost its edge. gone are the days of smoky clubs and out of control house parties – the 90s girls have endless wardrobes and no need to work in record stores or gas stations to fund their social lives.

10 things i hate about you

brick – dazz,  kci and jojo – all my life

old skool funk and 80s soul ruled this soundtrack, and made such a refreshing contrast to the usual dreary US teen angst rock so prevalent in these movies, to the bemusement of the UK where complaint rock is so not popular. some indie warbling did slip past but the main character was resolutely alternative so this was to be expected…

american pie

etta james – at last, paul simon – mrs robinson

well this soundtrack was a bit of a mishmash of genres and these were probably the least offensive. again, the US preoccupation with MOR rock shines through most of the other tracks.

can’t hardly wait

kp and envyi – swing my way, tone loc – funky cold medina

not so great movie, much better soundtrack. miaow – but, does anyone really think jennifer love hewitt is attractive enough to play an obsessive love interest? i’m not buying it personally, can’t see the fuss. but then i’m not supposed to as i’m a girl.

she’s all that

rick james – give it to me baby, goldie – believe

by the late 90s, high school mean girls are apparently dating reality tv z-listers. never in the breakfast club. throw in some superfluous cameos by lil kim and usher within the lead characters’ army of skanks and apparently you have a movie. again – NEVER IN THE BREAKFAST CLUB.

clueless

coolio – rollin’ with my homies, no doubt – just a girl

generation defining movie that started the high school movie ball rolling again. alicia silverstone broke the mould as the teen queen with a heart. 12 years later, people are still saying ‘whatever’ and ‘as if’. much like ‘valley girl’ before it, clueless made er, being clueless, cool again.

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90s male r&b groups – don’t call them boybands May 13, 2007

male soul groups in the 90s were destined never to replicate the success of their pop counterparts. pop requires a manufactured yet individual, who’s-your-favourite type image. soul groups are usually quite similar. only fans can tell the difference. there’s no cute one, sporty one, fat one, funny one – and if there is, it’s real not a product of an over-zealous marketing department.

what also set these groups apart was their ability – robbie williams and jordan knight couldn’t hold a candle to these vocalists. the mass market, for the most part, seemed slightly threatened by this fact. they succumbed to some of the music, boyz ii men’s ‘end of the road’ a notable example, but swept the rest under the carpet where it couldn’t draw unflattering comparisons with their pin up popstars.

check out the b list and the c list too. and now, the z list.

ten boybands who could actually singdownload here



guy – do me right
kings of the new jack swing era, comprising teddy riley, aaron hall and his bro. pioneers of the sound in the late 80s they deservedly held the crown as the scene took off. aaron went to moderate solo success a few years later, and teddy



blackstreetbooti call
…from the ashes of new jack swing, teddy riley created blackstreet. possibly the biggest true male r&b act of the 90s, they had huge success with their first two albums and collaborated twice with swv ,who were somewhat their female counterparts. started to fall off after a tinny duet with weak-voiced mya for the rugrats movie. dave hollister has become a credible yet underappreciated solo artist.

boyz ii men – please don’t go
clean cut boys who met at performing arts school in philadelphia. first achieved worldwide recognition with ‘end of the road’ in the video for which they sang earnestly whilst wearing knee length shorts. the group sold itself on heartfelt ballads and released few uptempo numbers. their wholesomeness possibly allowed member wanya to get away with a relationship with then-underage brandy in the mid-90s.



jodeci – come and talk to me
jodeci were the bad boys of r&b from 1991 to 1996 and provided a sleazier alternative to boyz ii men. kci hailey has long been tarred by his troubled relationship with mary j blige. despite the group being a sorry shadow of their former selves today, their swing mob collective did launch the careers of missy, timbaland and ginuwine amongst others.

tony toni tone – my exgirlfriend
raphael saadiq and co were always the slightly less sleazy and more conscious act of this genre. several successful albums in the early to mid 90s then raphael went solo, and the other two…anyone’s guess. raphael has since discovered a penchant for very young girls and is rumoured to be dating joss stone, 23 years his junior. which goes to show its always the quiet ones you have to watch….
hi-five – i like the way
sweet new jack swing for the ladies, this hit the top of the billboard on release in 1991. the group split in 1994 and never really strayed from this tried and tested formula. now back together and releasing an album – how old must they be now???


mint condition – so fine
along with tony toni tone, revered as one of the more talented and credible groups from the 90s. originally tried to appeal to the new jack crowd but their harmonies were more suited to classic soul and they had many hits in this genre. still recording today, minus keri lewis who left the group to produce, most notably for his wife, toni braxton.
112 – only you
bad boy creation that went global thanks to a remix featuring then hot rappers mase and notorious big, shortly before his death. they have since made a living as members of the bad boy family despite possessing not much vocal talent and zero individuality. but their willing participation on infinite tribute songs keeps them on the payroll and in the recording studio, intermittently.

another level – be alone no more
uk lads who cheekily, like all good authentic cockneys, nabbed their name from a recent blackstreet album. bobak kianoush, dane bowers and the other two were fairly hot uk property in the late 90s. bobak mumbled alongside dane‘s surprising vocals and er, the other two who no one can remember. dane then disgraced himself by following victoria beckham around like a puppy dog for several years after a one-off uk garage collaboration.

jagged edge – let’s get married
twins brian and brandon are often credited for distracting letoya and latavia from the destiny’s child duties whilst touring together in the late 90s. the group have had reasonable success ever since but have the odd knack of making their songs impossible to pinpoint by year. i often hear a track of their and think its old, only to discover its new. hmm.