The 3 Most Relevant Artists Of The 1990s In 2021 And Beyond

If you’re a 90s kid, you may remember it as a time of incredible musical diversity.

As bands faced growing pressure to do something different to stay ‘relevant’, the genres began to branch out. Where heavier music in the 80s mostly consisted of classic rock’n’roll and punk, now grunge, alternative rock, industrial, and metal came to the fore.

The trend towards the ‘dark and gloomy’ that began in the 80s with gothic rock bands such as Depeche Mode, Joy Division, and Sisters Of Mercy, now took a more dramatic turn with the rise of more ‘extreme’ industrial metal, with artists like Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails arriving on the scene.

However, whereas in the 80s, rock, punk and metal had largely been a subculture built on indie labels that were supported by die-hard fans, in the 90s, heavier music became produced and consumed on a much wider scale.

Rock and heavy metal had become a big business, and it was no longer dismissed as simply ‘music for rebellious teens’. Rock and metal got a new, sophisticated, and up to date makeover, as record labels snapped them up and polished them into something more ‘consumable’.

At the same time, pop and experimental music was also on its way up, with electro still big on the scene since the 80s, and underground raves meaning big business.

At this point, rap and hip-hop started to become more mainstream, and developed into the distinctive genre we know today, with artists such as Snoop Dogg and Jay Z becoming iconic celebrity figures.

Reggae and R&B also continued to be popular in this era, and genres quickly fused together to expand into fascinating new musical worlds; from electro-swing to ska, there was something for everyone.

Soul especially took off in the 90s with soul superstar Whitney Houston, who quickly became one of the best-selling music artists of all time, shifting over 200 million records worldwide.

So what music continues to inspire us today? Let’s refresh our memories by going over some of the artists that have aged best in the last 30 years.

Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman is instantly recognisable as one of the most talented political singers of our time.

Singer-songwriter and black and LGBTQIA+ rights activist Chapman has a classically simple, yet deeply expressive, quality to her voice and lyrics, and is exceptionally talented in creating memorable but meaningful blues music that ties in with her political activism.

Talkin’ About A Revolution, in particular, has become a modern-day anthem for Black and LGBTQIA+ activism, and she continues to be closely aligned with those political causes, while also volunteering for Amnesty International and AIDS/Lifecycle.

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