Lately my favorite radio station, I hear the term “anthem” to describe a song people consider epic or fitting to the lives of their younger selves. In my opinion the 1990’s were full them. Generation X, doomed as the first generation to be “worse off” than their parents, were starting college, starting their careers, and starting to raise their own anguished and soon-to-be “emo” children. So here are some of my “anthems.”
“Story of My Life” by Social Distortion, 1990
Looking for a job, but have no experience. The school girl crush that went unnoticed. Strumming a guitar and singing and outlaw love song. Kinda makes me want to grow my wavy locks back out and let them hang in my face again.
“Right Here, Right Now” by Jesus Jones, 1990
Right here, right now…there is no other place I want to be. I first heard this song when seeing the video back when MTV still played music videos. I fell in love with Jesus Jones at first sight and sound and played the heck out of this cassette tape.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana, 1991
You didn’t think I would leave this one out, did you?
“Free Your Mind” by En Vogue, 1992
Prejudice? Wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Here it go…
It was time to be more open-minded and considerate, people.
“Dizz Knee Land” by Dada, 1992
I just smashed my car again/drank a fifth of gin/flipped off President George, I’m going to Disneyland…
“Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1992
The anthem of loneliness, feeling misunderstood, and drug use.
“Jump Around” by House of Pain, 1992
I chose this one because everyone still hits the ceiling when it’s played at parties and bars.
“Three Little Pigs” by Green Jello, 1992
The band had to change their name to Green Jelly and re-release the song and album in ’93 due to a lawsuit. But this modern telling of the Piggy’s mistakes, along with a Harly-riding Big Bad Wolf, is a classic. And the best part is the very last line: “And the moral of this story is that a band with no talent can easily amuse idiots with a stupid puppet show.”
“What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes, 1993
And I scream, “What’s going on?” Well, I thought I knew in the ’90s, but now I have no clue, only conspiracy theories.
“Ordinary World” by Duran Duran, 1993
Duran’s 90’s music impressed me far more than their 80’s tunes. This song that makes me close my eyes and breathe it in deeply.
“Natural One” by Folk Implosion, 1995
The main song from the shocking film, Kids, it was just a great sleepy and grungy tune.
“What I Got” by Sublime, 1996
Though I don’t get high, I still sing along with this tune. Life’s too short, so love the one you got, ’cause you might get run over or might get shot. You just never know….
“Fly” by Sugar Ray, 1997
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know Mark McGrath is all washed up and doing some reality TV show I think, but let’s not forget the good ol’ days.
“Walking on the Sun” by Smashmouth, 1997
The first and only really good song played on the radio by Smashmouth. It’s just groovy.
“Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve, 1998
Hitting the charts in the U.S. the year my child was born. This song is the gospel truth.
So, what are some of your 90’s anthems?