At the close of the 90s, music geeks had a pretty good idea how the decade’s legacy would shape up. Nirvana, the most commercially successful and artistically daring band of the Alternative Nation Top 40 explosion, would be to the 90s what the Beatles were to the 60s. Bands like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam might have some influence on future artists, but a future re-evaluation of their unchallenging grunge would likely minimize it. Pavement and Sonic Youth would continue to be touchstones for music geeks, sustaining a certain brand of angular underground indie rock.
And of course we were wrong. As I pointed out in my Third Eye Blind preview in this week’s List, a band that at the time seemed destined for the tiniest of footnotes in rock history (and perhaps a place on those “one hit wonders of the 90s” comps you see for sale in gas stations) is considered by a lot of millennial musicians and fans to be one of the decade’s best and most influential acts. And Blink-182 are still a bigger direct influence on emo than Sunny Day Real Estate and the Get Up Kids combined.
Sure, you might say, we’re talking about kids in bad emo bands. A bunch of suburban teenagers who’ve gravitated toward a formulaic, overproduced sound are of course going to appreciate formulaic, overproduced bands. Well, after the jump I’ll show you a video of Surfer Blood (Pitchfork score for Astro Coast: 8.2) and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Pitchfork score for their self-titled album: 8.4) covering Lit’s bro-pop classic “My Own Worst Enemy.”