Music in the 1990s

I purchased my first ever CD from a record shop in 1995, a used copy of U2’s “Zooropa”, and its indelible purple psychedelic cover burrowed into my imagination unlike anything since. “Zooropa” was an album that was as indicative of the 90s as any other, a wayward decade in music that was defined by subcultural capital that had ambivalent relations to work, class, and domesticity. My understanding of alternative culture was a little different, forever exemplified by the installation of a purple lightbulb in my friend’s bedroom. Once you have heard music beneath the dome of black light you really can’t listen to it any other way. The hallucinatory flood of pastel lights in my friend’s bedroom forever changed the way we saw and heard things: James Iha’s novel guitar playing took on Hendrixian complexity, Soundgarden sounded like something wicked and Hesphaestian crawling to the surface as illustrated by the album cover held askew, Eddie Vedder brought urgency and soulfulness back to the role of the showman, and Bjork looked and sounded like an otherworldy character out of “Sandman”, which is not entirely a bad thing after you’ve chased cosmic blue tips with a bottle of Crystal Pepsi, and are forever poking at comic book spines on a bookshelf. We’d hole up in his bedroom for hours and hours and maroon ourselves amidst the pillows and duvet like forlorn Crusoe types,  dreaming up  twisted Munchian landscapes to pass the time and populating those midnight terrains with neon stories and existential characters played by our closest friends and kissing cousins. We designed conspiracy theories that gave credence to our deepest fears about nothing. We were too young to smoke and drink and stay up all night, but we did that anyway, looking for the right way to live when others were looking for the right way to look. And it all felt and sounded so much better when Kurt was around. Oh well, fuck it, nothing lasts forever. Even our gilded halcyon memories are starting to corrode. Did it even really happen the way we thought it happened, ye jaded sleepwalkers?