A Music Era Worth Remembering: 1989 - 1993/4

So you are probably going to think I'm crazy.  Especially those who are totally into a) eighties music or b) whiny-bastard "indie" music. But I maintain that some of the best pop music of the last three decades happened between the years of 1989 and 1993, culminating sometime in 1991 (with maybe a few hits before and after). 

Just think about it.  In 1989 you have the Bangles, Paula Abdul, and the dawning of the true golden age of R&B.  Now, I'm no expert on music, whether it be hip hop or alternative, but I think I can say with some certainty that the R&B in those days was pure, soulful, and oh so smooth, with nothing like it before or since.

In 1993, Dr. Dre exploded onto the scene with his west coast-flavored rap.  Not that that wasn't excellent in its own right, but it was, in a sense, the end of innocence, and music--both so-called "black music" and so-called "white music"--was never the same again.

I'm convinced that this era is so underrated because most fakers my age didn't even start listening to music until high school, or college.  But because I had an older brother who insisted on listening to KIIS FM and Power 106 ad nauseum (a totally absurd experience with your parents in the car, let me tell you), I was educated on music from quite an early age, like third grade. 

Anyway I remember these videos/songs with such fondness that I'm going to start a new weekly installment, each time re-introducing a you to a new handful of Early Nineties videos, straight from YouTube.  You're welcome.

This week!  Kickin it off with "Motownphilly" by Boyz II Men (1991)
Aww yeah..."Boyz II Men, ABC, BBD--The East Coast Family!"

And Paula Abdul, "Opposites Attract" (1990)
Sailing on the coattails of the movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), when mixing live-action and animation was all the rage, this video was so awesome.  I couldn't get enough of it when I was 9.

15 responses
i can't even remember what i was doing during that time...

and I don't know why i'm reading blogs at 5:30am either

I loved the music from that timespan as well. Good video choices and YAY on the new weekly installments :-D
Motown Philly has got to be one of my all time favorites!
Yay! 80s and 90s had the best music!
excellent. i'll be following this. always interesting to see what music people are into.

from 1988–1991 i worked at a record store, so i knew music from that era very well. definitely looking forward to your posts.

Okay... if you're talking R&B and not talking about Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Aretha, Ray Charles and Booker T., you've got a strange definition of R&B. Not that I'm discounting any late-80s, early 90s music as bad, but it compared to the standards of R&B in the 60s and 70s it makes cry a little.


@anthony... ok you are exactly the kind of motown purist I can't afford to get in an argument with.  Suffice to say R&B, just like any other genre, has many different incarnations, and the one I'm celebrating here is of a very very limited definition.  Thanks for your input though =)

@patrick, I actually stayed up obscenely late last night digging up allll these fantastic old videos on youtube, and I can't wait to post them.  It might have to be a twice weekly thing =D

I know how you feel. I've loved music since I was a little girl. I miss that era. 2 steps forward and 2 steps back... :)
Steph... not quite just Motown, but nonetheless it has always been a pet peeve of mine while watching shows handing out R&B awards while growing up that confounded my definition (I'll admit to a narrow-minded subjectivity) of the genre... still, that said, call it whatever you want. I'm quite happy to see people discussing music whenever, wherever... plus, I'm older than I'd like to admit and was a staunch musical elitist during the time period you outlined... old habits die hard - Straight Up!
Pixies, flaming lips ( listen to priest driven ambulance), Jesus lizard, poster children, Janes addiction, nwa, de la soul, faith no more, butthole surfers, mazzy star, screaming trees, yo la tango, Pete rock & xp smooth, sixteen deluxe... I could keep going. Anywho I'm 37 and that period was brilliant and thanx for bring this topic up. Luv yer guts!
I love all of this music, and been looking for one that start with a B&W new on the tv and then a old lady screams, shut up and dance, and then all the music star, I do not recall the name of the group or even the correct name, maybe some of you recall this.
Bravo, Stephanie. Excellent post. Please excuse my late arrival to the party.

I've recently started to blog about R&B, Jazz and Gospel music from the 60s-90s, but will also include any good music that catches my fancy.

Your post highlights music from an era that is really an extension of R&B as it evolved from the 60s and beyond. We identify with music from our youth. From puberty to young adulthood, music serves as a soundtrack for our lives. I came of age during the late 60s and early 70s. During this time, I witnessed the emergence of the last great act to come out of Motown in the Jackson 5. R&B shifted into the funk sound of Earth, Wind and Fire, and Kool and the Gang. Ballards were handled by Thom Bell providing arrangements for the Delfonics, The Stylistics and later, The Spinners. As we moved through the 70s, music shifted to disco! As the decade ended and slipped into the 80s that seems to be where your story picks up. Interestingly enough, you mark the end of that era as the same time that I stopped listening to music on the radio because it just wasn't good music any more. In essence, I agree with you.

Also let me offer kudos on your blog. I've had a chance to look at a few posts and have enjoyed reading. Keep up the great work.

Cool, thanks Tony!
I believe one and all must look at it.