6 thoughts on “How the 1990s Have Broken Oldies Radio Stations

  1. I would argue there was great music in the nineties in a variety of genres under the general umbrellas of pop, rock, and rap. The problem may be that the music was very divided into too many subgenres. MTV would devote shows to alternative rock, for example, and jazzy rap sounded miles away from gangsta rap. Grunge came and went quickly. The problem with all this may be that radio stations–and therefore, the listeners–latched onto one of these subgenres and were not exposed to others. This may be why it is hard to define “nineties music” for the general music audience. Mind you, I have only anecdotal evidence for this, but it may be worth researching more.

  2. Pretty much anyone who announces “there’s no good music!” is full of it (George RR Martin’s 1983 Armageddon Rag, for instance, bemoaning how good music died with the sixties).

  3. Things like are why some people claim that Generation X were “the forgotten generation.” They were the ones who would have been in their 20s or even 30s during the 90s, and would be in their mid-to-late 40s now (if not 50s). Yet so many things in our pop culture, including the nostalgia machine, hopped from the Boomers to Millennials (and now “Zoomers”) and leapfrogged over GenX. And the notion that “the 90s were terrible for music” is among that.

  4. Being a teenager in the ’90s and early ’00s, it was very easy for everyone to find something they liked and could latch onto: let’s not forget this was the decade where California (or surf) punk, ska, and a swing revival were all in vogue. I introduced my grandmother (a big swing fan) to Squirrel Nut Zippers in this area.

    I think to say that mainstream “pop” was better in the ’00s is disingenuous at best, because the ’00s was where the homogenization of what was popular really kicked into high gear.

    As Andrew says, it might be a wealth of choice that makes the ’90s hard to slot into classic rock stations.

    You say that various styles of music were popular in every decade where oldies and classic rock made a showing, but I think late ’80s and early ’90s really upped the ante as a lot of music was created as a way of protesting what was generally the most popular “mainstream” options; it’s just that these anti-pop songs managed to get popular in their own right.

  5. Plenty of oldies stations near me in NH & MA playing awful 90s music. It’s unbearable! But less and less 60s and 70s. 50s music long ago vanished.

  6. Oh, I do miss hearing more ’50s music. I wish there were a proper oldies station around here where it focused on ’50s to early ’70s.

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