Friday, 15 November 2013

Terrible Music of the Late 1990s

A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I went to Cornwall for a late summer holiday in a caravan park, the kind where there is a round of bingo every night and an Adele tribute act as a "special treat" on a Friday.

It being September, the weather was ambivalent, to put it mildly. One day we found ourselves in Newquay in the middle of a rainstorm. Sheltering in the local Poundland, I came across a rack of CDs priced at a quid each, nearly all of which seemed to be from around 1996-'98. Aha! I thought. Here's my chance to turn this veritable cliche of a miserable British holiday into something truly lugubrious.

When the rain cleared (briefly, as it turned out) we walked back to the campsite with a fiver's-worth of terrible late-nineties music in a thin red-and-white stripey bag, and the way was prepared for an afternoon of painfully frustrated in-caravan boom-box listening that went some way towards curing my nineties nostalgia itch once and for all.

A couple of years back, we surveyed the years 1999-2002 on this blog and judged it to have been some kind of peak for something or other. Whether or not this is the case, my Cornwall koshmar made me think that the preceding period was unquestonably a great cultural nadir of incomparable shitness. Indeed, in comparison with '96-'98, the later "noughties nightmare" we have discussed elsewhere seems like a time of heady artistic flowering redolent of the high years of the Florentine Renaissance.

Yes friends, these may have been the years of Mogwai, Beta Band, Timbaland, Underworld, Stereolab, and all manner of diverse EDM artistry, but this was also the heyday of bands like Ultrasound and Dawn of the Replicants.


Those Poundland purchases were as follows ...

Arnold, Hillside (1998)

Creation Records folded the year after this came out.

Marion, This World and Body (1996)

Somehow, this manages to combine the worst features of Suede, Oasis, and, err, Mansun, which is no mean feat.

The Unbelievable Truth, Almost Here (1998)

Wow. To think I was once envious of my bezzie pal Graeme for owning this.

Delakota, One Love (1998)

Wait, this is actually really good.

Tricky, Pre-Millenium Tension (1996)

And this is clearly awesome. What was I trying to argue again?

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