Being transported back to the ’90s

Music has always played a big part in my life.

Don’t get my wrong, I can hardly carry a tune, let alone am I musically inclined in any way. But music, mostly pop music, has been something that has touched me in a way nothing else has.

Certain songs, albums and artists can take me back to a time in my life when I heard them often. Sometimes they even take me back to a single moment in time or person.

Recently, my husband and I got a car. With that came a trial subscription to satellite radio. We decided to keep the service after the trial period ended. Some of the big draws had to do with the commercial-free part, while I (as a channel surfer), enjoyed knowing what was on another station before I clicked over to it. The biggest draw for me has been the ’90s station. Oh man, how I can’t get enough of the ’90s. Just ask my husband. He hates it.

I was born in the early ’80s, but the 1990s is when I first became aware of the world around me. I remember the year I started really listening to the radio and liking music outside of my parents’ record collection (1994). In the years afterward, the radio was a god-send for me. It was probably my best friend in the whole world.

Like now, I had the world’s worst taste in music. While the world was mourning Kurt Cobain, I was replaying The Sign by Ace of Base.

Even today, these songs take me back. A few weekends back, Sukiyaki by 4 p.m. came on. I likely couldn’t even tell you that was the name of that song back in 1995. But there I was singing along to the entire song as if I played it all the time nowadays. It struck me then how powerful music is, and how our brains are so receptive to it.

Of course, the 1990s weren’t all about music for me. Television has always been a big part of my life (I chalk that up to having few friends as a child). As far as I’m concerned, they don’t make theme songs nowadays like they did in the late ’80s and early ’90s. (Don’t believe me? Check out the long version of Full House, Growing Pains, Perfect Strangers, I could go on.)

Of course, those were shows I watched with my parents who had also introduced me to those programs — save for Full House. But, like with music, I soon began to watch shows my parents didn’t. Yes, Full House was one of those shows, but Beverly Hills 90210 was another (I’ll never forget being 10 years old and lying to my mother about whether or not there was sex on the show so I could watch and see if Brenda would lose her virginity on prom night. (Sorry mom.)

In 1998, Dawson’s Creek started. I was — what’s the word, oh yeah — addicted to Dawson’s Creek. It was my show. I could relate so much to the characters (too much at times). This was so amazing. My Dawson’s Creek addiction likely paved the way for my Sex and the City fascination to come a couple years later.

Thanks to Netflix, I’ve been able to rewatch Dawson’s Creek. I was so excited when it was added on the service. My husband, as you likely can imagine, was so disappointed. I began to binge-watch it from Episode 1 one night when he was working late. Friends warned me it was going to be hard. They had been excited to rewatch it, too.

I would not be deterred. Dawson’s Creek  meant so much to me. I knew it would be like being back with my old pals again. Like being in high school all over again.

The thing is, rewatching Dawson’s Creek, was like being in high school all over again. I didn’t go to my high school’s last reunion because I didn’t want to run into people who are still the same people they were in high school. Trying to rewatch Dawson’s Creek was like that.

This all made me wonder: Why does music have the ability to take us back to another time and place, but other artforms like television and movies (I’ll spare you the story of my Titanic obsession for another post), not have the same ability.

Why is it I can listen to an *N Sync song sans judgment, but cringe listening to the dialogue between Joey and Dawson?

I don’t have any answers, but thought I’d put this out there to see if you, dear reader, have noticed the same. I’d love to know what music still takes you back, and what TV shows no longer do it for you anymore. I’ll be listening to my ’90s station eagerly awaiting your replies.

  • Debbie

    I think the reason TV shows and movies don’t feel the same when we re-watch them is because. The visual is off — hairdos, clothing styles, even technology have changed so much and continue to. So the show seems dated.

    Music on the other hand is based on your mind and memories; the visual is yours and since music evokes emotion and sentimentality in a way that TV/movies can’t I think that is why music is more powerful and continues to haunt us. I always remember certain life events from various songs…..TV/movies doesn’t do that for me — they just remind me my youth has gone.