Dinner is always a loud experience. Children are too tired to sit still, days have to be discussed; food is very much a secondary feature of the event. My kids are very good at talking to excess at any time of day, but at dinner my wife and I get a pretty nice indicator of new terms and phrases the wee ones picked up through their daily adventures. One such phrase learned by the now six year old was, “is this from the ’90s?”
How does one respond to that? Who says that? Why did the child’s day discuss the 90s in any fashion? One day he’ll study the 90s and how communication, globalism, technology, and politics of the era formed our lives today, but does a six year old need to have any comprehension of the decade?
I was flabbergasted. Did he think the hotdog itself was from the 90s? Was the culinary tradition of hotdogs and French fries developed in the 90s? Was his ketchup from the 90s? I was confused too.
He didn’t say the phrase out of curiosity either. His tone was one of disgust. “Ew, is this from the 90s?” was the statement. By tone alone we learned that whatever discussion of the decade had occurred during the day, it was not a positive in nature. I mean, the 90s weren’t fantastic, but disgust? That seems a little much.
Once bewilderment left us, a thought spread like wildfire. Why not let the kid listen to 90s music? Then he’ll know what the 90s were like!
To our beloved Echo we turned. “Alexa? Play Basket Case by Green Day.”
A solid start. Punk revival, set the genre’s standard. Certainly from the 90s. Does it define the 90s sound though? Absolutely not. That whole album is timeless. Good start. We provided him the best of the best. He liked it.
“Alexa? Play Hold My Hand by Hootie and Blowfish.” The bar band invasion of the 90s! Gin Blossoms, Blues Traveler, Train; all basically the same genre. Immense talent gone to waste. Harsh, I know. Does it sound like the 90s? Yes. Yes it does. The firstborn was okay with this one.
“Alexa?” I don’t know why it always sounds like a question when addressing the robot, it just does. “Play Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson.” This is peak 90s rock. Not good, not bad, very commercial and banks on “don’t tell your parents about this, kiddos!” as the appeal. This type of music no longer exists. There’s shock rock still. There’s bad metal. There’s goth core still. Is there anything quite like Manson though? A friend from college once described Manson as being one of two acts in their genre. The other was Blood Hound Gang. The music exists strictly to make people talk in hushed tones.
We listened to the opening measures and turned it off. “I don’t like this one,” the six year old said. Agreed, wee one, agreed.
“Alexa? Play Pretty Fly for a White Guy by The Offspring.” Whatever happened to The Offspring? It is tough to think of the 90s without The Offspring coming into play. They would never get radio play today. “Dad, can we listen to that first song?” The firstborn asked. Green Day won the day.
For the full 90s experience we’ll be rolling out TLC, Ricky Martin, Alanis, Bush, maybe some Biggie for kicks. I don’t have the heart to tell him ska is mostly a 90s thing. I can’t bear to hear him say, “ew, ska is so 90s.”