In the Garage

Happy 2014! Remember 1994?

January 01, 2014 | 4 Minute Read

Well, it's been quite awhile (again) since I've written, but I constantly think to myself, "Ooh, that'd make a good blog entry." And then I just never get around to it. For example, I've been wanting to write about Pharrell Williams' 24-hour music video, "Happy." Yes, you read that correctly, a 24-hour music video, which is probably only possible thanks to the internet. No, I haven't watched all 24 hours of it. Considering that I'm all about music videos and the internet and I wrote my master's thesis about the topic, this is really up my alley. However, I will have to put that aside for another day because I wanted to talk about the fact that it's 2014.

What's so special about 2014? Well, it's not so much 2014 that's special, but pretty much one of my first thoughts in the new year was, "Holy crap, 1994 was 20 years ago." For me, I think 1994 is the year that I became pop culturally aware. Having two older sisters, I had always just sort of absorbed what they liked, but I began to branch out on my own.

In 1994, these were the things that were relevant for me:

  • Green Day's Dookie, The Offspring's Smash, and Weezer's The Blue Album were all released. I remember stealing Dookie from my oldest sister's CD collection to listen to it because everyone was talking about it.
  • Woodstock took place in Saugerties, New York. I watched Green Day's performance and thought it was totally cool, especially when they started slinging mud back at everyone (If you want to just watch Billie Joe throwing mud at everyone, it starts around the 27:45 mark):
  • Rumor had it that the remaining Beatles would get back together, which they did a year later with "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" in conjunction with The Beatles Anthology.
  • At the movies, Forrest Gump and The Lion King were released.
  • The TV show Friends started.
  • Kurt Cobain died.
  • The Winter Olympics took place and introduced me to Lillehammer, Norway. Oh yeah, and there was that whole Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan shenanigans.

Incredibly, I still listen to those albums, remember Woodstock and wish I had been old enough to have gone, and was so incredibly excited about the Beatles possibly getting back together. Forrest Gump made me more interested in post World War II American history and I absolutely loved the soundtrack, which includes must-know musicians and groups like Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, and The Byrds. I hadn't been all too familiar with them before, but the soundtrack piqued my curiosity. With the start of Friends, it was the start of being sucked into Must See TV on Thursday night. It's surprising that my parents let me watch the show, considering I had never been allowed to watch The Simpsons. When I look at Friends now, I still see the appeal, but don't really particularly enjoy re-watching it. And of course, when Kurt Cobain died, I remember some classmates coming in to school being devastated. Having never been a huge Nirvana fan myself, it didn't affect me like it did others.

I wonder if 1994 is still too much in the recent past to actually reflect upon it accurately. Will I care in another 20 years when Dookie, Smash, and The Blue Album came out? Thinking about things on a slightly longer time scale, The Beatles first came to the United States in 1964 and appeared on the Ed Sullivan show on February 9. Rock historians constantly talk about this seminal moment and because it's the 50-year anniversary, I'm sure there will be plenty of discussions surrounding its impact. I don't think anything I've mentioned here will be of the same caliber.

At the new year's party this year, I turned to my husband and mentioned that I couldn't believe that these things were 20 years old. He just looked at me and said I'm crazy that I think about these things. But in all honesty, I just wonder what will be considered "of historical value" in another 30 years, and I'm particularly interested to see what 2014 will bring in memorable pop culture moments. (Hopefully nothing like last year's twerking nonsense thanks to Miley Cyrus.)