08Dec2016 2000: Nonagenarians
A few months ago I linked some 90s-ass music on YouTube. My point was that most of the decade has faded from consciousness, but even that playlist contained heavy hitters like R.E.M. and Garbage and Mazzy Star. People remember those! Last month I cracked wise at the idea of Internet radio stations. I had little hope of stumbling upon something I liked, and even if I did I couldn't go back and play it again.
This is what it's like when worlds collide! I don't remember what possessed me to finally click into Red Delicious radio, but that is now the most 90s thing you can hear short of the Titan A.E. soundtrack. You can taste the differences between Google's strategy and something like Pandora or Last.fm: the latter branch out from the initial seed endlessly, using musical links to try to expand the scope of a single station until it becomes useless. Google set up a station with Red Delicious at the heart and sixteen artists around the periphery and it has barely strayed. This is laser-focussed on late-90s female-fronted alt-pop/trancegroove/gothgaze. It even hits all the lowlights of album art:
This station only has a couple hundred songs at its command, and it will never grow. It's permanently stunted and unable to sell me anything new -- Google doesn't even run radio ads. But for two days it brought me the kind of moderate desaturated joy that defined the late 90s. It sent me down a shallow wiki hole over the true ownership of one of the bigger pop hits of the era. It wrapped me up in an undifferentiated mass of detuned guitars and cracking voices and ripped jeans. Occasionally some other band named Red Delicious crashed my Red Delicious party. They're the band logo on the station, in fact, and they sounded like brit rock. Probably not these guys.