Call it a nostalgia fetish. We, as Americans, are perpetually wistful for the not-so-distant past, and by no coincidence the '90s are so in right now. Vests, overalls and high-waisted mom jeans are back as fashion trends. At least one of your friends is secretly bingeing Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
The same goes for music. The "I Love the '90s" Tour is rolling through Northern Quest Resort & Casino, featuring a lineup of hip-hop and R&B hitmakers: Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Sir Mix-a-Lot, Color Me Badd and Young MC. In light of this, we've put together a list of musical acts we'd like to see on the next such tour, plus a couple that shouldn't be dredged up. Ever.
THE GOOD: Cake. Maybe you don't know Cake outside of the 1996 single "The Distance" or the 1998 hit "Short Skirt/Long Jacket," but the Sacramento five-piece is, quite simply, one of the least heralded but most important bands of the mid-1990s/early 2000s. Not only does Cake's sound capture the vibe of the times, but singer John McCrea's general disillusionment also bridged the gap between Gen-X slacker musicians and millennial hipsters who still don't think it's cool to like anything. (HH)
THE GOOD: The Cardigans. The Swedish band only ever had one hit in the States, but what a hit it was: 1996's "Lovefool," a swooning, disco-inspired tune that's easily one of the catchiest pop singles of the decade. First Band on the Moon, the album that song appeared on, is also really solid. They may have been a flash in the pan here, but the Cardigans made new music throughout the mid-2000s (their last three albums went to No. 1 in Sweden) and are performing together again following a creative hiatus. And they're not just the "Lovefool" band: They've experimented with alt-rock, country and ambient sounds. Maybe it's time to give 'em another shot. (NATHAN WEINBENDER)
THE GOOD (and probably also a little bad): Ace of Base. They may seem like one or two-hit wonders now, but for several months starting in 1993, the Swedish quartet Ace of Base was inescapable. The Euro-pop tour de force started with "All That She Wants," a simple synth-based tune with a reggae rhythm and that odd, eerie-sounding whistle. Now that we think about it, that describes every Ace of Base song, including the international smash hit "The Sign," which reminds some listeners of a more simple time. For others, it's just an annoying earworm. (HH)
THE GOOD: Fastball. OK, I'll be honest: I only know, like, four Fastball songs. But 1) they're all excellent songs, and 2) that's actually a decent amount of material for one of these tours, where artists are shuffled on and off the stage. This Texas band had alt-rock radio hits with "Out of My Head" and "Fire Escape" in the late '90s, but they're best known for "The Way," an insistent, retro single that's actually a lot darker than it sounds. If that song doesn't send you straight back to 1998, I don't know what will. (NW)
THE BAD: Savage Garden. Some might say they don't write love songs like the Australian pop duo's 1997 hit "Truly Madly Deeply" anymore. Some might say songs like "Truly Madly Deeply" never should have happened in the first place. We lean toward the latter. Savage Garden's signature hit — which has 180 million hits on YouTube today — is sickeningly maudlin. It's our dream, our wish, our fantasy for this drivel to stay in the '90s. (HH)
THE BAD: Limp Bizkit. Do I really need to explain why? (NW) ♦
I Love the '90s Tour feat. Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Sir Mix-a-Lot, Color Me Badd & Young MC • Thu, June 28 at 7:30 pm • $39-$79 • Northern Quest Resort & Casino • 100 N. Hayford Rd., Airway Heights • northernquest.com • 242-7000