Because this MTV Unplugged blew the world’s mind like Dylan had just gone electric. Because Kurt’s green sweater was just exhibited at an in-depth Nirvana retrospective staged by the Experience Music Project in Seattle. Because rock legend Dave Grohl is wearing a Normcore turtleneck. Because Nirvana fundamentally changed all of us 90s kids, whether or not we understood that.
If Gwen Stefani was the role model, then Gavin Rossdale was all that a teenage girl could possibly want in an imaginary boyfriend. He was British, incredibly handsome, and frontman for the quintessential 90s rock band. If you lived in the suburbs, this was a particularly potent combination. We little ladies ended many a long middle school week with a sweet slumber party where pieces of paper were folded and a game was played to decide who we would marry, how many kids we would have, and what kinds of cars and houses we would own; I always included Gavin Rossdale. And when I found out he idolized Allen Ginsberg while watching an episode of MTV’s cribs, well, I was done for.
While my lustful teenage melanchology compelled me to put “Glycerine” on repeat, I listened to “Everything Zen” when I wanted to thrash about my room and feel cool. The albums Sixteen Stone and Razorblade Suitcase were permanently embedded in my walkman, and I recall my sullen puss listening to them while riding in the backseat of my Dad’s car on the way to dinner, my Mom in the passenger seat and his cologne permeating the entire interior–the leather of which would creak as he turned a corner too fast, which he always did because he was a Terrible driver with a capital “T”.
For me, Bush harkens back to Southern California winters in which we wore sloppy sweaters with sleeves that hung past our hands so we could twist them neurotically in emulation of our silver screen idols of the era. Bush helped me build my identity in ways I could not know then, but appreciate now, and Gavin Rossdale has had an indelible influence on the type of men I’ve chosen to date over the last 10 years. While it pains me to see how far the band has fallen in recent years, Bush and its enigmatic frontman will forever hold a place in my heart. Rock on, you 1990s gods.
If you were a teenage girl in the 90s and lived in Southern California, chances are your hero was Gwen Stefani. Ska was having a moment and No Doubt was everywhere; Gwen was gorgeous and offered a uniquely strong, DIY role model for young girls who wanted to be independent but glamorous in a quirky way–a fantastic antidote to other independent female voices of the era that were more of the Janeane Garofalo, coffee house aesthetic.
Then she married Gavin Rossdale (whom you will see soon in Daily Dose garb), and started a fashion empire while raising some of the cutest children known to mankind. If we ignore the fact that she’s slated to be on The Voice this season, this means she continues to be an amazing role model fifteen years later.
I watched this video incessantly as a teeny-tweener, and we danced like fools to Spiderwebs at every middle school shindig (right before the chicken dance, directly following a thrilling round of YMCA). Good times.
I celebrated a seminal birthday this month, and, instead of going existential about life’s brevity, I decided to run through my 30-year-old music catalog. Belatedly beginning today, the Nostos Algos Daily Doses of September will present the songs and videos that defined certain epochs in my life (in no particular order) because, as I’ve said before, music marks moments.
So here it is, the first installment: “No Scrubs” off TLC’s second studio album CrazySexyCool, which was released in 1994 when I was a 4th-grader learning the complexities of the California Mission System.