Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Defining Images of the 1990s

At the end of 2009, I wrote that the '00s were probably the most important decade since the 1960s. I stand by that assessment, but it's mostly because of the era's economic and geopolitical shifts.

Will Smith plays Nintendo. Photo courtesy of BuzzFeed.

When it comes to having a distinct cultural identity, the last decade of note was the 1990s — and I'm not just saying that because I came of age during that time. Whether it was grunge, gangsta rap or pervy R&B ballads, popular music was still moving in new directions. (Since 2000, music has been more derivative — not worse, mind you, just not as groundbreaking.) The fashion world touted Zubaz pants, flannel shirts and "Rachel" hairstyles. And even the cutting-edge technology of that era is now delightfully antiqued.

"Saved by the Bell" PSA. Photo courtesy of BuzzFeed.

Want to take a step back in time? BuzzFeed has assembled 48 pictures that perfectly capture the 1990s. Most of them make it seem like an awkward, cringeworthy time. But at least it was unique.