After yesterday's huge ramble through the 1980s I'll try to keep this short.
In 1990 I was 23 and already knee-deep in house music, rave culture, warehouse parties... whatever else you want to call it. For most of that decade I listened mainly to all the dance music that was kind of my reason for being in those years and I pretty much missed the rock/indie bands of the '90s (Britpop and all), though I quite like some of them now. Instead it was house (a huge genre in itself), techno, breakbeat, hardcore, hip hop, soul, trip hop, acid jazz, rejigged disco, chill-out... a very varied mix... more varied than you might imagine (it wasn't all just boom, boom, boom... it really wasn't!).
This does mean that picking a pop track from this decade is quite hard for me because I wasn't really paying pop/charts/mainstream radio much attention. Often the dance tracks that made it into the pop charts were not necessarily the ones that were most popular in the clubs (though it did happen). Some bands and singers from other areas got good dance remixes done and this helped them be popular in more than one zone, if you like (mixes of Björk tracks were huge in clubs I went to in the mid '90s, for example). So I could pick a track of hers, I suppose, for my '90s pop... I could... (especially as otherwise this is turning into a bit of boys week) but somehow that would seem fake to me (I do like Björk's music now but I wasn't a particular fan at the time). Or I suppose, with the same problem in mind, I could pick some Madonna today. You can't really ignore Madonna in any thoughts about pop music, can you after all (she's just kept herself there – centrestage - where she likes it, it would seem). And she did have some good singles in the 1990s – starting with 'Vogue' and working right through to the whole 'Ray of Light' thing (you can see them all listed year by year here). But the thing with Madonna is she's been SO ubiquitous that you just never feel she needs any more...exposure, do you? Plus all my favourites of hers are from other decades (1985's 'Papa don't preach', 1989's 'Express Yourself', 2000's 'Don't tell me'...). Luckily in the end an idea for '90s pop did come to me though - a band who were both huge in the dance clubs/festivals and in the pop charts (in the UK anyway). They were cool now and again but a lot of the time they were a bit looked down on, a bit too rough... and you couldn't get further away from the sugary sounds that often get the name 'pop' ('90s manufactured pop like the Spice Girls, they ain't!). No I picked the noisy, ugly, fairly uncompromising dance band that is... the Prodigy. They started as hardcore/rave but by the end they were really anything they wanted to be.
Now which track to go for – they had a lot of hits (more than you might think - names lead to videos if you're interested):
the very odd/ridiculous but distinctive 1991 surprise hit Charly
the 1992 track Fire
1992's Out of Space
1993's One love
1994's Voodoo People or
Instead of any of the above I went for this one from 1996 (and ignore all the substandard John Lydon posturing of one of the faces of the Prodge, Keith...in fact the band were really just about the beats...and the man who made them one Liam Howlett - in stripy jumper in this clip). This track was number one - so it must be pop, right? Number one in the UK anyway... and Finland... and Norway...
Back tomorrow for some noughties pop-talk... maybe even a woman or two. Oh and don't forget to listen to poet Ian McMillan on Desert Island Discs (here) if you can. He says some great stuff... particularly the bit about double glazing in the arse.
5 hours ago