Memory Lane: 1994

So, SPIN Magazine released its list of the 100 Best Alt-Rock Songs of 1994, and I basically fell down a rabbit hole. This is the soundtrack to my 23rd year.

I was a hot mess, but damn, the music was fantastic.

A few of these songs remind me of a short-lived abusive relationship I was in with a drug addict (short-lived because he was an abusive drug addict, der). See: Suede; Smashing Pumpkins.

A number of these songs remind me of The Ex, a man I would spend the next four years with, give or take a few months in the middle there. (We were on a break!) See: Liz Phair, “Supernova”; Guided by Voices, “I am a Scientist”; Pearl Jam, “Better Man”.

But most of these songs remind me of being single and feeling fierce, which is how I spent most of 1994. I had a pierced lip and a tattoo, and I was Gen X to a T — a pot-smoking, aimless slacker living on my own. I had a job and was freelance writing, and spent most of my money on rent and beer at Dee’s Cafe on the South Side.

I don’t remember “Possum Kingdom” being so rapey. I do remember Urge Overkill’s version of “Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon” being *exactly* that creepy, though.

The most nostalgic songs for me: “Something’s Always Wrong”, Toad the Wet Sprocket; “Gee Angel”, Sugar.

And talk about women in music: L7, Lisa Loeb, Hole, Breeders, the aforementioned Liz Phair, Bjork, Luscious Jackson. LUSCIOUS JACKSON! Lots more. And I remember every single word to “Seether” by Veruca Salt.

And now for a video.

I thought about posting the video for “Gentleman” by Afghan Whigs, but, two things: 1. I didn’t listen to the Afghan Whigs in 1994. They are a new obsession. 2. If I watch a 28-year-old Greg Dulli in this video one more fucking time, I’m going to turn into a puddle of quivering jelly.

I limited myself to the Top 10 songs, and I still have to post two. Point and counter point as it were.

1994 was the year Kurt Cobain put a bullet in his brain. “No Apologies” from Nirvana, from MTV Unplugged Nirvana, is a fitting elegy.

On the flip side, we have Courtney Love of Hole howling into the void with “Miss World”.

If you don’t feel like flipping through the slideshow at SPIN, here’s the link to the Spotify playlist.

What were you listening to in 1994?

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6 thoughts on “Memory Lane: 1994

  1. Any relationship with the band Smashing Pumpkins is abusive. I hated *HATED* the fact that Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performance wasn’t actually unplugged.

    And… huh… I thought you were younger for some reason.

    • I rather loved Siamese Dream. But I saw the Pumpkins live several times, and finally got sick of Billy Corgan being a total drag as a performer. He didn’t even look like he was having fun.

      Yes, my maturity levels leave a lot room for questions about my age. 😉

    • The best music of any decade comes out in the 4, although 2004 was sort of a letdown. Up until very recently I thought that 1984 was the best year in music (absolute classic albums by R.E.M., Prince, the Smiths, Cocteau Twins, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, PiL, the Minutemen, Husker Du, U2, the Replacements were all released in 84 along with Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense)

      But I think 2014 is getting awfully close to topping ’84 and ’94. There’s been incredible music released this year.

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