Were the 90's really a golden age, when everything was better, or does it just seem that way because it was the decade and culture in which we (myself and my peers) grew up? Does the grass seem greener only because we're now on the other side of the millenium?
The clothes were more comfortable: basically anything you wanted to wear, have no concern whether or not it matched. Overalls, flannel shirts (which, in response to my frequent prayers, God has brought back into style), scrunchies, plastic jewelry, minimal make up; it was all about convenience and individualism. Then again, if you do some research (watch Friends or Boy Meets World), sexy women's clothes meant gratuitous amounts of leather.
Music from that era has not yet been forgotten, and perhaps it's because mainstream radio has been taken over by drastically different styles. Rap, which gained popularity in the previous decade, has changed drastically in subject matter, beginning with celebratory party jams and becoming poetry about violence, sex and crime. Everything I hear on the radio seems to be about getting money and fucking hoes.
On second thought, any popular mainstream music today holds not so distant roots in music trends of the 90's: Destiny's Child has lived on through Beyonce, who is as popular as ever; The Jonas Brothers are picking up where the Backstreet Boys left off; Lady Gaga is our generation's Madonna. Some 90's legends are still on the scene, as Third Eye Blind just released a new album, Hanson is touring, and Dave Matthews Band is still alive and well (with the exception of LeRoi Moore, may he rest in peace).
Stupid, useless toys of our childhood have merely changed form: they no longer exist as hard copies and have moved to the internet. Spending hours on a screen keeping something alive? Giga Pets and Farmville are essentially similar, if you think about it.
It's not the same though. Have you ever been in a big room (or drunk bus) of people singing Third Eye Blind's "Jumper"? Current songs don't compare, right? If you had a Furbie with you right now, would you not have twice the gratification than playing Farmville? How much more comforting is it to watch an episode of Seinfeld or Friends after a long day than watching Two and a Half Men, or whatever the current sitcom is? Aren't this year's fashions just as comfortable as those of 1999?
I believe that the only difference between that blessed decade and the present is nostalgia. While I'll always look back to those times with adoration and longing, the truth is it wasn't any better or worse: it was long ago, and so our memories have, as to favor the past, erased the bad and glorified the good. My generation is now getting to the age that we can look a little further into the past and remember, we can now compare and contrast, laugh at old trends and scoff and new ones.
It won't be long, perhaps, until we look back to the past decade and wish we were once again in the 00's, when life was good, Lady Gaga ruled with world, everyone watched Gossip Girl, Farmville was a way of life, and Uggs were in style.