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Reliving the ’90s Through 15 Music Videos

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!

One of the major themes that’s emerged from our deep exploration into ’90s music is the link between music and film. Many of us first came to our favorite songs (or several Elastica songs) by hearing them used perfectly in a movie or TV show and, in turn, directors first made themselves noticed by directing some kind of calling-card music video. These intersections really stuck with us; just look over our ’90s song list and see how many of us couldn’t help but talk about the music video when writing about the song.

Now, that cycle is mostly missing a link. Music videos aren’t the cultural drivers they once were. It’s not that there are no videos anymore; it’s just that there are so many other kinds of videos, all vying to eat up our attention and go viral, that music videos no longer get prime placement. I mean, who can focus on them when there are cats vs. shadow cats? Now and then, a music video may break through to the public consciousness—I’m thinking something like the “Single Ladies” video, or “Fancy”—but it’s not like the days when people would come home and turn on TRL.

So, it’s worth going back and revisiting what the 1990s music-video scene was like. I’ve chosen 15 to look at here. I didn’t just want to go and pick out the videos from our Top 90 songs—you can see most of those right in that list. And I didn’t want to talk about the same videos that everyone talks about in the best-of video lists, basically the ones included in the Palm Pictures Director’s Label series. If you haven’t seen those, you definitely should watch all of them. They’re amazing. But you don’t need me to tell you, yet again, that Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry are the best video directors out there, and no one needs another list that says that video where the dude is running and on fire is pretty boss.

To recap: These aren’t the best songs of the ’90s (at least according to this website) OR the best videos of the ’90s. But that’s the thing about that decade: You can lop off the top of the iceberg and there’s still so much left to talk about. So, let’s begin.
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