"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." Sagging, baggy pants. Super Nintendo. A Michael Jackson who was still musically relevant.
These are just a few of the things I associate with growing up in the 1990s. Curiously, they don't strike me as topics many 20-somethings would want to celebrate in a dance club (except, perhaps, for the King of Pop).
I mention this to explain why I was initially baffled last week when I heard that Electric Cowboy is hosting a '90s party this Sunday.
From the perspective of someone who couldn't even drive when the Y2K scare passed by, I just didn't see what there was for people my age to miss about that period of our lives. During the '90s, many of us were still, by and large, dependent on our parents to get from place to place. I certainly don't miss that.
Yet it's people my age and younger who tend to crowd the dance floor at the Cowboy. The party is also open to 18-year-olds, who would have been 6 years old at the end of the '90s. I can only imagine what they miss from that time of their lives.
Of course, the people who go Sunday won't be dressed up like Power Rangers -- though there is a $300 prize for best costume -- or to compare collections of pogs. No, they'll be there to dance, and besides having a much better "Saturday Night Live" cast, the '90s also produced some great music.
Beck, Oasis, Sublime, Green Day, Weezer and Eminem all experienced career booms during the period. Contemporary boy bands such as The Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber have nothing on Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, 'N Sync and Hanson, all of whom popped up during the '90s like mushrooms after a rainstorm. And let's not forget that the '90s also produced female pop superstars such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Sheryl Crow and Jennifer Lopez.
Clearly, these are the artists who will provide the soundtrack Sunday. Sure, many of the people who attend will likely have experienced that music in retrospect, but that's really no different than my own love of classic artists such as The Smiths and Big Star.
I suppose my initial adverse reaction to the idea of a '90s party stems from the idea that the decade is even old enough to be looked back upon. When I was growing up, the '90s seemed, as most things in childhood do, to last forever. That the decade is over now and exists as a self-contained chapter of history rather than a period of contemporary relevance is odd to me.
It's not that the idea of a '90s party makes me feel old since those weren't my formative years. No, my coming of age was in the 2000s. As much as I used to think the '90s lacked the character of earlier decades, the 2000s were even worse, a featureless wasteland whose greatest contributions to pop culture were reality TV and a pair of bad "Matrix" and "Star Wars" films.
Of course, I say that now, but when Electric Cowboy hosts a 2000s party, I'll probably look back on it just as fondly. When that happens, I'll undoubtedly start complaining about the 2010s.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, young adults, technology and people of interest. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German. He previously worked as the features editor for Sidelines at Middle Tennessee State University. Casey received the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists Award of Excellence for Reviewing/Criticism in ...
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