Replay Thursday: Vinyl Villain: "The Simpsons was better in the 90's (so was the music)


Ah yes, the 1990's...a time when cracked out Nickelodeon cartoons had the ability to numb the A.D.D. minds of Millenials for 15/30 minutes at a time. When McDonalds fed the world cardboard crap and we didn't feel bad because they DIDN'T have to show us it's nutritional values. Or when it seemed normal to impeach the President of the good old U.S. of A for being a complete turd Goblin. You know what else was better in the 90's? The Simpsons and music videos. Hands down.

Like many of us who grew up in the 90's (sorry 2000's babies) we grew with the tv basically babysitting our wild asses.

I fondly remember coming home from school and watching re-runs of The Simpsons on Global TV, OMNI TV and Fox 29 (channel 28 for most of us). I would flip between that and channel 29 (which was Much Music) to watch what they originally used to play…(drum roll) MUSIC VIDEOS!

Even at a young age I remember drawing parallels between cartoons like Ren and Stimpy or Beavis and Butthead and the music videos that were aired on Much Music/MTV- but I didn't know why?

If you can remember the music videos from the 90's, you'll recall how much more cinematic and animated they were. Remember Chris Cornell singing Black Hole Sun with a bright blue sky speeding by in the background? How about Dave Grohl's hand grow cartoonishly big to smack the shit out of that guy in the Everlong video? Or Missy Elliott and the Beastie Boys looking like they were going to rap their way right out of your screen via highly used fisheye lens' in hip hop videos?

The directors of that time like Spike Jonze or Hype Williams were praised as visionaries for creating these cinematic short films that accompanied the popular music of that time. While I'm sure many of these music video directors would accredit their inspiration to famous films and artists, I feel that Matt Groening deserves much of that praise for bringing back the resurgence of animation when he created The Simpsons.

The Simpsons aired it's first episode, "Roasting on an Open Fire" on Dec. 17, 1989, and shared mixed reviews amongst critics as it showcased controversial topics for an animated show. The world just wasn't ready for a cartoon about a middle class American family…

Low and behold, the entire world warmed up to the series and it blew up as it pushed the bar while refusing to suffice itself as a kid friendly show. We can all thank their beast of a writing team that knocked out classic episodes week after week that we can still remember and quote till this day.

Whether it was Sideshow Bob grumbling after getting smacked in the face by several rakes, Homer imagining stupid sexy Flanders showing off his butt in a tight ski outfit or Mr. Burn's Nuclear Power Plant getting infiltrated by the Department of Labour for forcing a missing Brazilian soccer team to play inside one of his nuclear reactors, the show stood the test of time by becoming a revolutionary tv series landing its place in pop culture.

As the series got bigger and bigger, other animators started pushing even more controversial topics with their own new series (South Park, Family Guy, King of the Hill). The Simpsons creativity would eventually fall back as the series moved into the 2000's.

Just as The Simpsons golden era came to an end, arguably, so did music videos. Videos began to consist of booty shaking, half naked women and rappers flashing money around. It became more and more evident that popular music held less of a message and just wanted to make a quick buck.

Looking back on my childhood and for many others who I'm sure would agree, the 90's was far from a dark moment in history. The music and movies were colourful and artistic. Console video games were booming and exciting. Broadcast television was more memorable because we were forced to watch tv at a specific time slot which pushed writers to work that much harder. We weren't glued to the internet like we are today. Infact, for some of us who were lucky enough to have the internet at home in the late 90's- it still took far too long to connect to the damn thing.

I'll admit that I'm a nostalgist for my childhood and in some ways, that may sway my opinion (as I didn't yet have the responsibilities of an adult) but to me The Simpsons and the music of that era worked hand in hand in defining how I will always remember the 90's.

In this edition of Replay Thursdays, I'll show the deep correlation between The Simpsons and 90's music videos by spinning classics from that era all while running Simpson clips and 90's music videos to give you that nostalgic kick in the butt. Make sure you play The Simpsons Arcade game or The Simpsons pinball game that Zed*80 happens to house BOTH of! Aye Carumba!

So come out and visit Zed*80 on Thurs Sept. 26th at 9pm for music,games drinks and food (sorry no steamed hams or Mountain Dew).

-Vinyl Villain

Nathan Hunter