Pretty much the only upside of my hour-long commute to work is that it’s perfect for listening to all the music I’ve been meaning to listen to but just haven’t gotten around to yet. I have a bad habit of downloading albums like there’s no tomorrow, so most of the time the albums end up forsaken in the danger zone that is my iTunes library. This summer, though, I’m on a self imposed album-a-day plan that is forcing me to listen to everything I’ve already downloaded and much more. (Just leave it to me to turn listening to music into a premeditated chore.)
About two weeks ago I decided that I had to become an expert on 90’s music or else I would never feel satisfied with my life again, so lately I’ve been on a real 90’s kick. I started out with the record Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain by Pavement, which has quickly and unexpectedly become the album of the summer for me.
In very close second has to be Live Through This by Hole. This album fascinates me on so many levels, about 50 of which have to do with Courtney Love. But I’m also intrigued by the album’s relationship with and contribution to third-wave feminism. I know that Courtney Love and Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna — the forerunner of the “riot grrrl” movement– had a bunch of verbal and physical cat-fights back in the 90’s. I also know that both Love and Hanna were associated with third-wave feminism and riot grrrl. Yet, interestingly enough, their views on feminism clashed pretty severely. It’s odd to me that Love is always clumped with the riot grrrl scene even though she has publicly expressed her distaste for the movement’s tenets. Some food for thought, eh? I’m just realizing that the whole Bikini Kill versus Hole deal would have made a stellar paper for my History of Rock ‘n’ Roll course last semester, especially thinking about it from the context of the weird backlash against feminism that we’re in right now. (Sadly, that ship has sailed.)
To be considered a living and breathing human, I figured I had to familiarize myself with Nirvana at some point. And so, I began my foray into the world of Seattle grunge with Nirvana’s debut album Bleach, which I am aware wasn’t conceived in the 90’s, but 1989 is close enough for me, so WHATEVER. This was soon followed by an extensive investigation into the life and death of Kurt Cobain via a trustworthy site called Wikipedia.
Other highlights of my 90’s spree include but are not limited to: R.E.M., The Vaselines, Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore, Teenage Fanclub and Bikini Kill (duh). I admit that most of my immersion into the decade has just involved me screaming “OMG-Pavement-is-the-best-band-ever-why-did-they-break-up???” and “Kurt Cobain + Courtney Love 4 EVA!!!!” but I’m really, sincerely trying to get a firm grasp on the music of the 90’s. I know I have a long way to go until I can consider myself “well-versed” in the area. But then again, I also have about 22 hours left of driving to and from work this summer, so…