inthe00s
The Pop Culture Information Society...

These are the messages that have been posted on inthe00s over the past few years.

Check out the messageboard archive index for a complete list of topic areas.

This archive is periodically refreshed with the latest messages from the current messageboard.




Check for new replies or respond here...

Subject: Was 1998-2003 an Experimental Time for Music?

Written By: HazelBlue99 on 07/16/17 at 10:53 am

I was browsing through the 2000s sub-forum earlier in the week and I happened to come across a thread from 8-9 years ago which was about the decline in popular music and the cultural identity of the 2000s. There was a particular comment that really stood out for me. Someone commented that 1998-2003 was an experimental time for music and people weren't too sure which direction music should head in. While this probably wasn't the case, I can definitely see their point of view.

There were several short-lived genres during this period of time. Latino-pop emerged as a dominant force in 1999 with the likes of Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira achieving success on the Billboard Hot 100, but the genre had largely disappeared from the mainstream by the start of 2001. Nu-metal was also a rather short-lived genre, although it did survive longer than Latino-pop. Linkin Park and Evanescence released Meteora and Fallen in 2003 respectively and while both albums performed well and spawned successful singles, the genre was well and truly on its last legs by that point. Then, of course, there is teen-pop. Unlike the two genres previously mentioned, teen-pop isn't a genre unique to the 1998-2003 period of time. However, with that said, it too only lasted for a couple of years, before disappearing from the mainstream entirely.

The Early 2000s also saw the re-emergence of garage rock, the popularisation of the Emo scene, as well as the beginnings of the over-saturation of rap on the charts. What is your opinion on this? Do you believe the 1998-2003 era was an experimental time for popular music?


Subject: Re: Was 1998-2003 an Experimental Time for Music?

Written By: mach!ne_he@d on 07/16/17 at 11:37 am

Yes, I would say that it was, but that it was really only an extension of the '90s as a whole. Music was truly all over the place during the '90s, particularly after the alternative explosion during the early years of the decade. After grunge took off, it seems like record execs were doing everything they could to find the next hot new thing before their competition. From roughly 1992 to 2003, besides the genres you mentioned, you also had the Pop-Punk explosion, Brit-Pop, Ska, Swing-Revival, and a Singer-Songwriter revival, just to name what I remember offhand. That's probably what I like about music during the '90s and the first half of the '00s the most, there was certainly a lot of variety.

Subject: Re: Was 1998-2003 an Experimental Time for Music?

Written By: #Infinity on 07/16/17 at 2:48 pm

I think the mid-1990s were a far more experimental time for music, to be honest. In-between the more predictable post-grunge, g-funk, and eurodance, there were all sorts of songs with sort of unique production, strong alternative influences, or just sort of idiosyncratic in general that managed to achieve massive success. Among them, there was "I Love You Always Forever," "Spaceman," "Elevators (Me & You)," "As I Lay Me Down," "Fade Into You," "You Gotta Be," "Lady," "Pepper," "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand," and frankly even "Macarena," which weren't specifically trendy but which managed to tap into whatever pop sensibilities the general public had at the time.

1997-2003 was really when popular music became more consistent in sound, as well as more commercially oriented. Only a small portion of the teen pop could be considered experimental at the time, like Vitamin C's self-titled debut. The rest was mostly just a sugarcoated version of hip hop, new jack swing, r&b, and house music. Rock was also generally poppier and less scroungy or unpredictably influenced.

I'm guessing you omitted 1997 from your late 90s/early 2000s categorization because that year still felt much more mid-90s in Australia than it did in the United States or Great Britain? Because between Savage Garden, Aqua, Hanson, Spice Girls, Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Puff Daddy, Mase, Backstreet Boys, Timbaland productions, and the ilk, it feels like that year was a pretty clear turning point in the overall direction of music.

Subject: Re: Was 1998-2003 an Experimental Time for Music?

Written By: HazelBlue99 on 07/16/17 at 11:11 pm


I think the mid-1990s were a far more experimental time for music, to be honest. In-between the more predictable post-grunge, g-funk, and eurodance, there were all sorts of songs with sort of unique production, strong alternative influences, or just sort of idiosyncratic in general that managed to achieve massive success. Among them, there was "I Love You Always Forever," "Spaceman," "Elevators (Me & You)," "As I Lay Me Down," "Fade Into You," "You Gotta Be," "Lady," "Pepper," "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand," and frankly even "Macarena," which weren't specifically trendy but which managed to tap into whatever pop sensibilities the general public had at the time.


I agree with you. I believe the Mid '90s were one of the most experimental times for music in recent history. As you suggested, there was a creative desire to experiment with a range of different production and music styles across most genres. To be fair, even post-grunge was quite experimental during the Mid '90s. Apart from "Spaceman", one song that comes to mind is "Glycerine" by Bush. It relies solely on the guitar, as well as the violin, viola and cello.

I'm guessing you omitted 1997 from your late 90s/early 2000s categorization because that year still felt much more mid-90s in Australia than it did in the United States or Great Britain?

The user in the thread I referred to used the 1998-2003 timeline to describe the "experimental" nature of music at the time, so I thought I would use that time-frame as well and hear what others think about it. :) Just on that though, do you believe 1997 still felt more Mid '90s in Australia than it did in the US or UK? I'm inclined to agree, however Savage Garden had a number of hits that year and it also saw the emergence of Human Nature (although, mind you, I believe their songs were more adult-contemporary based).

Subject: Re: Was 1998-2003 an Experimental Time for Music?

Written By: #Infinity on 07/17/17 at 12:05 am


I agree with you. I believe the Mid '90s were one of the most experimental times for music in recent history. As you suggested, there was a creative desire to experiment with a range of different production and music styles across most genres. To be fair, even post-grunge was quite experimental during the Mid '90s. Apart from "Spaceman", one song that comes to mind is "Glycerine" by Bush. It relies solely on the guitar, as well as the violin, viola and cello.


Yeah, in contrast to Bush's other work, which most people at the time considered Nirvana lite, "Glycerine" stands out on its own as a lush, beautiful composition unlike anything else.

The user in the thread I referred to used the 1998-2003 timeline to describe the "experimental" nature of music at the time, so I thought I would use that time-frame as well and hear what others think about it. :) Just on that though, do you believe 1997 still felt more Mid '90s in Australia than it did in the US or UK? I'm inclined to agree, however Savage Garden had a number of hits that year and it also saw the emergence of Human Nature (although, mind you, I believe their songs were more adult-contemporary based).

It's hard to say entirely, since there still were some very late 90s music acts that got absolutely massive around or coming into 1997, like the aforementioned Savage Garden, plus the Spice Girls and Hanson. However, classic eurodance seemed to still really succeed there for most of the year, whereas it was declining in America and had been basically dead in the UK since late 1996. Also, many of the hip hop songs that Australia chose to embrace were still fairly backwards, like "I Shot the Sheriff" and "C U When U Get There," in contrast to stuff like "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" and "You Make Me Wanna," which was already quite big in the United States.

Also, since UK boybands like Take That and especially East 17 achieved massive fame in Australia throughout the mid-90s, unlike America, Human Nature's ascent to fame in 1997 didn't really impact the nature of the music scene there. It seems like the teen pop movement really only truly took off in Australia in 1998, when bands like Steps, B*Witched, and Five got huge there. By contrast, the late 90s/early 2000s wave of teen pop solidified itself in America around spring 1997 and in the UK during the second half of 1996.

Subject: Re: Was 1998-2003 an Experimental Time for Music?

Written By: HazelBlue99 on 07/17/17 at 1:47 am


Yeah, in contrast to Bush's other work, which most people at the time considered Nirvana lite, "Glycerine" stands out on its own as a lush, beautiful composition unlike anything else.


I personally think that Bush's Sixteen Stone is quite underrated. The lyrics on some tracks may leave a lot to be desired, but overall, it's a great album. I listened to it for the first time yesterday morning and I was quite surprised by the all-round excellent quality of the album. My personal favourites off the album would have to be "Everything Zen", "Comedown", "Machinehead" and "Glycerine". In a way, it's a shame that some people dismiss the band as being a "Nirvana lite". I can understand why some people would have had that point of view, but with that said, Sixteen Stone and Bush are good in their own right, IMO.

It's hard to say entirely, since there still were some very late 90s music acts that got absolutely massive around or coming into 1997, like the aforementioned Savage Garden, plus the Spice Girls and Hanson. However, classic eurodance seemed to still really succeed there for most of the year, whereas it was declining in America and had been basically dead in the UK since late 1996. Also, many of the hip hop songs that Australia chose to embrace were still fairly backwards, like "I Shot the Sheriff" and "C U When U Get There," in contrast to stuff like "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down" and "You Make Me Wanna," which was already quite big in the United States.

Also, since UK boybands like Take That and especially East 17 achieved massive fame in Australia throughout the mid-90s, unlike America, Human Nature's ascent to fame in 1997 didn't really impact the nature of the music scene there. It seems like the teen pop movement really only truly took off in Australia in 1998, when bands like Steps, B*Witched, and Five got huge there. By contrast, the late 90s/early 2000s wave of teen pop solidified itself in America around spring 1997 and in the UK during the second half of 1996.


I agree with the points you raised. Aesthetically speaking, I believe 1997 also had much more in common with the Mid '90s. Unlike the US and Great Britain, 1997 was still very much a Gen X cultural year here. As you can see in the video below, a lot of the music videos released at the time still have that dark, "edgy" feel to them, which was a common feature of Early-Mid '90s music videos.

1997-99

Subject: Re: Was 1998-2003 an Experimental Time for Music?

Written By: bchris02 on 07/17/17 at 11:23 am

I would say the mid '90s were more experimental. I can't remember a time when Top 40 was as musically diverse as it was from 1993 through early 1998.  1998-2003 was a very commercialized, "lowest-common-denominator" era for Top 40.  It was decent, but I would hardly call it experimental.  Especially after 9/11, "playing it safe" seemed to be the theme.

Check for new replies or respond here...