What Made the 90’s Unique?

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21st March 2018

In honour of our Ultimate 90’s holiday theme, read our top reasons why the 90’s were truly the ultimate decade…

From the Grunge Explosion, to the Golden Age of Hip Hop, to Girl Power… While wholly new genres may not have emerged, the 90’s saw the birth of subgenres like grunge, which took rock and mutated it into something fresh and exciting. Hip hop entered what is generally considered to be its golden era, with artists like Tupac, Dr Dre, and Notorious B.I.G all delivering classic albums, against the backdrop of an East/West Coast rivalry. In contrast with grunge and hip hop, the 90’s also charted the meteoric rise of girl and boy bands, generally anchored around catchy hooks and harmonies, as well as the fun personality archetypes of the bandmates themselves.

While the sitcom is the dominant cultural force of the time, smash hit shows like Friends, Seinfeld and The Simpsons reinvent and subvert it for a new age. Nickelodeon defines the collective childhood of a generation, courtesy of shows like Rugrats, Arthur and Kenan & Kel. And the proliferation of multiple network channels allows writers greater room for experimentation with conventional forms and tropes. The 90’s also usher in the age of reality TV, which in the noughties, would go on to dominate programming and by extension the zeitgeist at large.

Pixar’s Toy Story made history as the first fully computer-animated feature film, while Disney’s traditional animation also enjoyed a renaissance with musicals like Aladdin and The Lion King. At the same time; Jurassic Park, Titanic and Terminator 2 all amazed audiences with technically revolutionary special effects. The era was not entirely characterised by multiplex-dominating blockbusters however. Perhaps in evidence of the Inverse Cost and Quality Law (the larger a movie’s budget is, the worse it is going to be), the 90’s indie movement birthed highly original films made on lower budgets, such as Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Kevin Smith’s Clerks.

Ultimate 90’s week is coming to Netley Waterside House on 24 March and Jubilee Lodge on 14 April. For more info and to book, call 0303 303 0145, or email bookings@revitalise.org.uk

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