This is a most intriguing playlist: “Welcome to the ‘90s: The New Pop 1989-1992” by Matthew Perpetua. It describes itself as “an exploration of sleek turn-of-the-‘90s pop sounds – not quite ‘80s in style but also not what would take hold for most of the ‘90s either”. In a promoting tweet, Perpetua mentions that it covers “short-lived sleek post-house pop aesthetic of 1989-1992 – – not quite ’80s in style but not the eventual sound of the ’90s either”.
With 54 songs and lasting a little over 4 hours, it has a range of intriguing artists: Deee-Lite; C& C Music Factory; The KLF; George Michael; Janet Jackson; Madonna; SNAP!; Technotronic, Enigma, Seal, INXS, Black Box etc.
The list has been popular, right now it has 696 followers. One week ago it had 670.
The best thing about this particular list is that it captures a very peculiar style of music from a particular time period that feels extremely overlooked in comparison to other similar eras/styles/genres.
There is an abundance of analysis and “curation” of music from “the 90s” and from “the 80s”. The transition from the 70s to the 80s is a very richly explored subject. The transition from the 80s to 90s feels strongly under-discussed in contrast.
Like something that literally fell through the cracks between the decades. Consequently, this music also remains elusive. So it is very useful to have such a playlist, gathering representative examples of what Perpetua calls “The New Pop”, distinguished by a “short-lived sleek post-house pop aesthetic.”
I believe this music deserves a stronger, unique name. (How may new pops are there?). And it should be a bit evocative, referencing the era and the style instinctively.
This reply to Perpetua’s tweet by Alexandria Symonds captures well the vibe:
YESSS!! i have always privately thought of this as “music for an empowered 1991 businesswoman to listen to on her walkman while powerwalking through her lunch break in a skirt suit and big white reeboks she keeps under her desk” and it is perhaps my favorite musical aesthetic
What could be the name? A quick, useless brainstorm:
Fax Pop. Reebok Pop. Discman Pop. Lexus Pop. Camry Pop. Saturn Pop. World Wide Pop? (A bit too soon)
What else screams 89-92? Bush Sr. Pop? Francis Fukuyama’s End-of-History Pop?
Something that captures the culture of the era… Camille Paglia Pop? PC Pop? (politically correct). Maybe recycling was en vogue then?
Anyway, it has been thirty years since Seal and Lisa Stanfield ruled the airwaves. The least we can do is properly remember this era.