She kept talking, but I stopped listening. I was having a lot of trouble processing what just popped out of her mouth.
“What did you say? What kind of 'vibe?'” I asked with slight edge to my voice caused, no doubt, by a creeping fear.
“A '90s vibe,” she said.
“A '90s vibe?” I repeated. “A '90s vibe?”
I could've kept repeating myself, but it wouldn't have changed the facts: The 1990s now have their own “vibe.”
The above conversation occurred while I was teaching my feature writing class at Rider University, and we were discussing a recent assignment. Called a “day in the life,” the students were tasked with spending a set amount of time with a person, place or thing and then crafting a story based on the experience. One student chose a band, and as she was discussing her story, she mentioned they had a “'90s vibe.”
The band in question, The 1975, is from England, and were in New York, she got to hang out with them, and ... and dammit, I was already 18 years old in 1990, which means my adult life is being mined for nostalgic purposes.
This cannot be happening. I'm only 41, which means ... OMG! (Or to use the '90s phrase: Oh my god!) We just entered a '90s redux. Break out the flannel shirts, check your mail for AOL CDs offering 500 free hours of Internet, realize your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's DOA.
Worst part? It makes sense. Basically, the '90s are to today's college students what the '70s were to me when I was their age, and you better believe I was mining that decade for fashion, music and everything else. I had blue-tinted John Lennon-like sunglasses, and that's all I'm saying about that.
So yeah: The '90s are back.
At first — and as evidenced above — this caused me a severe case of the shivers. But the more I thought about, the more I realized how mega it is. It's da bomb. It's bangin'. I may even get jiggy with it...
And you know why? Because the 90's pretty much ruled.
No wars, no enemies. The economy was humming, President Bill Clinton was getting hum ... ourous with Arsenio Hall, who, it should be noted, is back with a talk show. (At least for the next few minutes.)
The 1990s were where it was at. In fact, the '90s were so good they didn't even end until 9/11. That's when things went down the toilet. (Is it possible there's going to be a '00s nostalgia movement in another 10 years? Seems impossible. There is absolutely nothing to be nostalgic about. Anyway ...)
Anyway, think back to the Bush-Gore election, which even though it took place in 2000 still had that 90's thing going on. You know why? Because despite the drama with the hanging chads and the Supreme Court and the whole thing, no one thought it was the end of the world. And that's because we were still living the high life of the go-go '90s. The stakes weren't so high at the time.
But imagine a contested presidential election happening today? I think there's a 50-50 shot people would actually get shot. We're a fractured nation today, the economy is sucking wind, there seems to be little in the way of hope.
But in the '90s? No one cared. Everything was, if not great, certainly hunky-dory. If I remember correctly, the biggest problem in the 1990s was deciding if “Reality Bites” was a good movie. (I'm still on the fence, though I remain staunchly pro-Winona Ryder.)
So yeah, I'm cool with the '90s coming back. I may even break out my Dr. Martens. Still have 'em after 20 years.
THIS JUST IN: Dr. Martens are back in style. Miley Cyrus is wearing them — and not much else — in her music video for “Wrecking Ball.”
THIS JUST IN: People are apparently watching music videos again.
In short: The '90s: You can knock 'em down, but they'll get up again. You're never going to keep them down.