Adult conversation in the new millennium is more or less snarky references to the culture of our youth—the ‘90s. But you can only make fun of Urkel, POGS, and other things you loved for so long. Try and spice things up by ironically referencing these ‘90s musical acts that don’t get ironically referenced nearly enough.

The Heights

heights.jpgBackground: At the height of the grunge era, 1992, here came along this band that sounded like the Jets if they did Christian rock, but that looked like a grunge band, because they wore flannel shirts. But really the Heights are a fake band, made for a Fox primetime soap called The Heights and also they had a saxophone player—the last band to have a saxophone player. The Heights’ ballad “How Do You Talk to An Angel” went to #1. They were just attractive young people who lived in a cool old warehouse trying to make it man, so they practiced in that warehouse a lot.

How to reference: Whenever you are inside of, nearby, or on top of an old warehouse, as this is where all parties in cool neighborhoods in big cities take place, point out to the assembled guests that that is the very same warehouse where the Heights got their start. Then sing Saigon Kick’s “Love is On the Way,” claiming that it is the Heights’ “How Do You Talk to An Angel.”



jodeci.jpgBackground: One of the many, many, many sexually aggressive, all-male R&B singing groups in the early ‘90s (H-Town, Silk, Public Announcement), Jodeci was especially prone to melisma, plaintive moaning, and whipping themselves into a frenzy over you, girl. Music videos and live performances invariably climaxed with Jodeci taking off their already poorly-buttoned shirts so as to show off their abdominal muscles and the tops of their underpants, so as to better seduce you, girl.

How to reference: When in a strip club and you are being badgered by overeager strippers trying to talk you into a private dance, turn them down and remark to your friends that “Those girls wanted to get naked quicker than those chicks in Jodeci.”


sagat.jpgBackground: He did that song “Funk Dat,” in which he complained in a slam poetry style (it was the style at the time) over a jazzy hip-hop beat, about mundane things that pissed him off—homeless people asking for change, repetitive radio playlists, and other amusing '90s frustrations. At the end of every verse, he’d say, in a cathartic and dismissive—but radio-friendly way—”Man, funk dat!”
 Sagat was an Andy Rooney for the streets, by the streets.

How to reference: Replace all profanity and expletives in your life with “Man, funk dat!”

Jeremy Jordan An Aryan Ubermensch pretty boy and teen idol, Jordan had a hit song called “The Right Kind of Love” from the Beverly Hills, 90210 soundtrack. 

How to reference: Whenever you hear a song in public, say, like Tori Spelling often did in an oft-repeated, pre-credits moment on Beverly Hills, 90210, as she cued up “The Right Kind of Love on the Peach Pit’s jukebox: ”Jeremy Jordan? Alright!” You must do this literally any time you hear any music played anywhere.

P.M. Dawn

pmdawn.jpgBackground: These two dudes were chilled-out, hippie, Spandau Ballet-sampling socially conscious rappers in touch with Jesus, Buddha, and, if they played their cards right, Christina Applegate. So pensive that they made Arrested Development look like the Wu-Tang Clan, they had rap songs that went well with candle-making, such as “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” and “Looking Thru Patient Eyes.”

How to reference: “I am happy with my religion, but thank you for the booklet. Hey, aren’t you P.M. Dawn?”

Jon Secada

secada.jpgBackground: Former backup singer Secada fled the Miami Sound Machine once it became a cult of personality to serve Gloria Estefan and her bland solo career. Because he was vaguely exotic and looked like a soap opera actor, Secada had a bunch of soft rock hits, torch songs sung with a passionate and weepy tone so as to be histrionic and ridiculous, but also with a hint of Miami Beach greasiness. He was Michael Bolton in breathable fabrics. If you took khaki pants and made them into a TV station, it would be VH1, and then if you took VH1 and turned it into a human, that would be Jon Secada.

How to reference: “It’s gonna be fine. Stop crying, Jon Secada.”


jordy.jpegBackground: Jordy is a Guinness record-holder for youngest musician to ever chart a single. He was a four-year-old French toddler when his rapped/sung (in French) single “Dur Dur D’Etre Bebe” was a worldwide hit. The title translates to “It’s Tough Being a Baby,” which isn’t even true. As any four-year-old will vehemently insist, four is not a baby - four is a big boy.

How to reference: Most people will only vaguely remember “Dur Dur D’Etre Bebe,” and only that it was sung by a toddler. If you are anywhere between the ages of 18 and 35, people will believe you if you tell them that you are, in fact, that little French kid who did the rap song in the ‘90s, but that you’ve now retired from music.