So says Steven Hyden of the Milwaukee Decider, and he’s totally right, isn’t he? I don’t just agree because I hate most music made after the ’80s; late-’90s music was incredibly obnoxious, soulless, talentless, and bland.
Now, it’s true that the inclusion of Third-Eye Blind’s worthless, sickening, offensive shit-fest “Semi-Charmed Life” and that inexplicable pile of dreck “If You Could Only See” by Tonic would make any period of music one of the worst in history. You could add those two songs to the mid-’60s glory of Dylan, Beatles, and Rolling Stones or to the timeless 1970s classic rock of the Eagles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Bruce Springsteen, and they would singlehandedly (doublehandedly?) bring those eras down a few notches.
Still, he has a point.
Is there anything worse than music from the late ’90s? Setting aside the unimpeachable classics of this time period—Radiohead’s OK Computer, Beck’s Odelay, DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing, Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Wilco’s Summerteeth, insert your favorite record here—late-’90s music is pretty much the most disreputable pap to ever be forced on the music-buying populace.
Every truly horrible subgenre from the past decade—rap-rock, Creed/Nickelback-style butt-rock, über-simple, overly materialistic hip-hop—has its roots in this period. The late ’90s also spawned the most annoying pop hits in the history of annoying pop hits. It’s hard to believe now, but people willingly subjected themselves to the likes of Los del Rio’s “Macarena,” OMC’s “How Bizarre,” Vengaboys’ “We Like To Party,” and Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”—fucking ad nauseum [sic], back then. No wonder consumers started stealing music online by the end of the decade. Music sounded worthless in the late ’90s, so it was inevitable that it would actually become worthless.
I’ve heard of exactly one of the albums he mentions in the first paragraph, Odelay. I guess “Loser” is from it, but I just know it by name, not because I’ve heard the whole album, or own any more Beck songs than “Loser,” or have even seen the CD cover in the store. I had no idea Wilco had been around since the 1990s.