“You ever listen to K-Billy’s “Super Sounds of the Seventies” weekend? It’s my personal favourite”
Back in 1992 as a sixteen year old, when I first saw Reservoir Dogs (two years later in 1994 as an eighteen year old to be honest) the 1970’s seemed like a long time ago. Understandable considering I was only four years old when the 70’s gave way to the 80’s. However, now the 90’s don’t seem like that long ago. The characters in the movie talk about the radio station “K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the Seventies” and we hear the station being played in the background. The music fitted perfectly with the contemporary setting film and wasn’t in anyway out of place. 70’s music was commonplace on the radio at the time and still is; in 2009 BBC Radio 2 introduced Johnnie Walkers Sounds of the 70’s, it remains one of the best programs on the radio. There had already been a Sounds of the 60’s for several years and was this year joined by Sounds of the 80’s.
Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993) also found its way to British screens in 1994. It took a different approach to 70’s music. By setting the film in 1976 the film was filled with early and mid 70’s classics but portrayed as contemporary music within the films setting. Both these 90s movies were using music from th70’s leading me to wonder if now is the time for a 90’s music revival in film. I’m not sure it is. While the 60’s and 70’s were both looked upon with nostalgia almost as soon as the decades had passed, we have been slow to embraced the 80’s. And while many people are still clinging onto the 90’s as if they had never ended, a new generation doesn’t seem to acknowledge their existence.
Growing up in the 80’s, if I believed what I had seen on TV I would have thought the 70’s were made up in equal parts Disco, Punk and Glam Rock. However every type of music you can imagine existed; there was a thriving singer songwriter scene, Country and Southern rock was in its heyday, Heavy Metal and Urban music were in their formative years. This only scratches the surface of 70’s music. The same is true of the 90’s. Britpop and Grunge get all the headlines but we also had the start of Alternative metal. A renaissance for female singer songwriters and Punk Rock. Hip Hop, R&B and Country music began to blur with the mainstream and the decade ended with a resurgence of pop and a Post Grunge Rock planted the seed for today’s Rock.
There have already been a few films set in the 90’s. Many of them centering around world events such as the Gulf War, Three Kings (1999) and Jarhead (2005) being the most notable. Characters in the later even made a point of talking about music such as Public Enemy being the music of their war shunning the 60’s and 70’s music from Vietnam War and Vietnam War movies. I am yet to see Spike Island (2012), a film based on The Stone Roses famous outdoor concert in 1990. But this could be the start of things to come. As could the third spin off to This Is England set in 1990 if it ever gets made. It is this type of film featuring everyday people that we haven’t really seen much of yet. The closest thing to Dazed and Confused to be made recently is probably The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012). The interesting thing about the music in that film though is the way the characters are more interested in a previous generation, Dexys Midnight Runners, David Bowie and The Smiths. Is it possible that in the internet world in which we line, music is too readily available and there are less surprises than there ever has been before. This takes the mystery away from the 90’s in a way that didn’t happen when we looked back from the 90’s to the 70’s. How does this access all areas attitude affect the way the present will be looked back on ion the future?
I write this more out of interest than excitement. While I like a lot of 90’s music, I spent the first half of the decade listening to more music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s than the 90’s.