Using data to define the official canon of 90s music

I'm a big fan of the Pudding's clever approach to infographics, and this latest piece examining 90s music does not disappoint. They surveyed thousands of people, collecting millions of data points to find out how well they recognized charting songs from the 1990s, and analyzed the results according to birth year. Pretty cool!

Sinatra, Elvis, and Chuck Berry are emblematic of ’50s music, but what’s the ’90s equivalent? Using the recognition data we collected, we can begin to define the canon. These will be the artists and songs that Gen Z and beyond seem to recognize (and value) among all the musical output from the decade.

First, it’s important to understand the general trends in the data. “No Diggity” knowledge peaks among people born in 1983, who were 13 years old when the track debuted in 1996. We also see a slow drop off among people who were not fully sentient when “No Diggity” was in its prime, individuals who were 5 years old or younger (or not born yet) in 1996.

That drop-off rate between generations—in this case, Millennials to Gen Z—is one indicator for whether “No Diggity” is surviving the test of time

The Instagram post below is only a small piece of the results; check out the Pudding's website for the full analysis, with all your favorite (and/or totally forgotten) 90s pop gems.

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Part 1 of 2—New project: 1) Gen Z is far more likely to recognize "Wannabe" than "No Scrubs." 2) Will Smith is falling into obscurity.

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Get in the mood with this commercial from the 90s "Pure Moods" music collection

Remember when ambient music was Enya and the X-Files theme song, and you could get your favorite mood music from a 1-800 number, instead of streaming it straight to your phone? Remember when my mom actually listened to this on a semi-regular basis, but always skipped the X-Files song, even though it was the only one I cared for, because that show was cool? Good times.

I didn't remember that the Twin Peaks theme was on here, though. I think they missed the irony of those soothing dulcet tones from northern Washington?

Fuck "Tubular Bells" though. Read the rest

This footage of New York in 1993 will make you miss New York in 1993

Manhattan in the early nineties, captured on what must have at the time been an unusually high-def camera.

The uploader of this incredible archival B-roll footage said to be of New York in 1993 says they captured it off of “a D-Theater HD DVHS Demo Tape by techmoan.com.

It's pretty incredible.

I miss this NYC.

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David Bowie, Internet Service Provider: Interview with the guy who ran BowieNet ISP

When artist and pop star David Bowie launched an Internet service provider firm in the heady dot-com runup days of 1998, a guy named Ron Roy helped Bowie run the ISP. Days after the music icon's death from cancer at age 69, Ars Technica interviews Roy about how "BowieNet" came to life, and why Bowie wanted to be in the ISP business in the first place. Read the rest

Remembering Sassy Magazine's life advice for teen girls

Theresa DeLucci got a letter published in the only publication for girls that really attempted educational journalism—amid Twin Peaks fashion spreads and celeb interviews with grunge luminaries like Kurt Cobain and Kim Gordon.

At Gitmo, ‘Fresh Prince’ replaces Harry Potter as entertainment most requested by detainees

President Obama isn't closing Guantánamo any time soon, but prisoners will be well-taken-care-of in the entertainment department, according to this Miami Herald article: they have an endless supply of of Will Smith’s 1990s TV comedy, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, with which to while away the years. The sitcom has become a "popular way to pass time among the 168 captives now in their second decade of U.S. detention." Guards say it now eclipses the Harry Potter books as most-requested entertainment. (via @kgosztola) Read the rest