Most people who grew up in the early '80s were lucky enough to witness MTV's revolutionary images but for many of us, who were just in grade school at the time, the cutting-edge visuals that appeared before us were too conceptual for us to comprehend.
It wasn't until the early '90s (when we were allowed more TV time) that we could really sit and process the music videos, and were able to differentiate our musical tastes. Also, by this time MTV's original programming had began to launch several new shows, so MTV wasn't just a musical haven but was slowly becoming a mecca for all things cool and thought provoking.
So while the generation before us had Michael Jackson's “Thriller,” we had yet to experience high-budgeted, mega, videos until way later. And that was just the beginning.
5. MTV's House Of Style
Whether you're liked Cindy Crawford or not, you cannot deny the hugeness of the “Supermodel” that dominated the '90s. This show introduced many teens to a fashion world that we had no idea existed. Instead of begging mom to buy us L.A. Gear sneakers, we, now, sought to express our individuality and instead craved to wear a range of looks from platforms and bell-bottoms, to Doc Martens and flannels.
It's rotating figures, like that of designer Todd Oldham who was featured teaching DIY styles, became generators to the millions watching and helped us be more creative as a whole.
4. MTV's Weekly Video Countdowns
This is around the we began to get addicted to MTV, not really to see every video that was “hot” that week, but mostly to see where our favorite artists ranked alongside the rest. Though things really spiraled out of control when MTV began airing special countdowns on the weekends. And by special we mean, “The Best 100 Videos of The Year” and so on. We didn't realize we were video junkies until several years later when we found hand-written lists of these countdowns with stars on the side indicating our favorite artists, and highlighting how many times they appeared in the countdown. Such nerdery!
3. The Real World San Francisco
Although “The Real World San Francisco” was the third season installment of MTV's reality series taking “complete strangers” and putting them in a house together, this, by far, was the only RW with such an incredible group of people that completely fascinated us in every sense of the word. The prior casts in New York and L.A. dealt with more day-to-day issues that arise with roommates. But in San Francisco we were introduced to such a contrast of personalities and backgrounds that every conversation was pretty profound, especially “Pedro,” a gay man living with HIV.
2. Guns N' Roses “November Rain”
Guns N' Roses ruled the early '90s with their music videos, but “November Rain” was the reigning choice, hands down. The debut of this video was monumental not only because of the grand scale of the musical score and the set design, but it, in many ways, propelled the band, mostly Axl, to an almost untouchable sense of rock stardom. It's as if they were the Gods of MTV, and they could do no wrong, until Axl inevitably lost it.
1. Kurt Cobain Dead News Report
During 1994 we were at that crucial stage of adolescence. Then it felt like we constantly teeter-tottering between worshipping our favorite bands as deities and trying to figure out who we were and what this music really meant to us. Back then, if you loved a song, the music and the video certainly didn't just sound like a good song. It was a lot more important than that.
It wasn't until the announcement of the death of Kurt Cobain that reality really suck in. We weren't kids anymore.