From fashion to beauty, and even cocktails, 90s and Y2K nostalgia has been building over the last couple of years, including the playlist that keeps guests on the dance floor at weddings.
“Genres go through cycles,” says Evan Tyler, CEO and founder of Starlight Music, who has produced events for celebrity clientele such as Sean Combs, Russell Simmons and Billy Joel. “The last five to seven years, we were seeing more 80s and 90s, and and we're actually even starting to see a little bit of the late 90s, early 2000s start to blend in. It was the pop music of the couple's childhood, that's what they grew up with. So it's kind of engrained into their musical DNA, and it takes them back to that to that.”
While wedding playlists have always typically followed people's age groups (no surprise there), we're seeing more of a focus on childhood music dominating versus what's currently topping the charts, which is vice-versa from what we've seen in the past, thanks to accessibility to listen to whatever we want at any given moment.
“Something will strike in a movie, or even a good commercial — it'll have Semi-Charmed Life by Third-Eye Blind, and then suddenly we get every single client requesting that song,” continues Tyler. “Nineties nostalgia is everywhere right now. It's in advertising. It's in fashion. It's in pop culture. But it's elevated and more in-your-face.”
And perhaps what makes 90s music so special is the musical variety that spread throughout the decade from hip-hop, to rap, boppy pop and ska. “It was all over the place. When people say ‘I like the 90s,' I say, ‘You're going to need to define that for me,'” laughs Tyler. “N'Sync and Britney were at the end of the 90s, and it was backlash from the harder hip-hop and angst rock from the early 90s.”
“Enter Sandman by Metallica, Nuthin' But a ‘G' Thang by Dr. Dre, and I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston were all '92, and then a few of years later, you get Spice Girls in '96,” continues Tyler. “It was a mess musically, and it's amazing to me.”
So if you're wanting to incorporate this diverse decade into your wedding day playlist, try to be specific, but a good wedding band/DJ should be able to help direct you. “I'll give couples examples — what I call the “anthems” of a genre,” says Tyler. “So if they like ‘No Diggity,' I extrapolate that as a band leader and, chances are, you also like This Is How We Do It, No Scrubs by TLC, because they're a genre.”
And while we're certainly seeing a rise in this decade on playlists, Tyler reminds us that it's important to still play to the crowd. “It's always mixed in,” he says, referring to incorporating 90s songs into the reception. “But the after-parties are almost always 90s hip-hop and R&B.”
Regardless if you're walking down the aisle to a string quartet version of K-Ci & JoJo's All My Life or playing 90s nonstop at the reception, we love seeing this musical genre growing in popularity. It's what we want … what we really, really want.
Photo credit: Studio A Images from Divinity and Yani's wedding