P-Mag Nostalgia Project: 1990 with Hillary

Welcome to the ’90s! My fashion and musical preferences are still stuck in the ’90s, so I’m excited that I get to ring in the decade. Bring on the plaid flannels and alternative rockers!

Pmag Nostalgia Project Banner for 1990

[fancy_header variation=”orange” textColor=”#000000″]Music[/fancy_header]

Musically, 1990 was a great year no matter what genre you preferred. The top five songs on the Billboard chart for 1990 were:

[fancy_numbers variation=”orange”]

  1. Wilson Phillips, “Hold On”
  2. Roxette, “It Must Have Been Love”
  3. Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U”
  4. Bell Biv Devoe, “Poison”
  5. Madonna, “Vogue”


Who among us wasn’t Vogue-ing in 1990? Being that I was 12, I was a huge New Kids on the Block fan, but I also loved Wilson Phillips, Phil Collins, Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, the B-52s, Aerosmith, Tom Petty, and Mariah Carey. (Maybe a little Michael Bolton too. I was 12!) My favorite video of the year was probably George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90.”

Everyone also spent way too much time that year trying to learn all the lyrics to “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” It frightens me how much of them I still know by heart all these years later. (It also frightens me that it’s been 23 years!)

And let’s not forget, 1990 was also the year of Vanilla Ice. I probably shouldn’t admit how much time my neighbors and I spent trying to sing and dance to “Ice Ice Baby.” Listening to it again recently tells me why we stuck to the first part; I had no idea he was singing about drugs and guns later on!

1990 was also the year that Milli Vanilli won the Grammy for Best New Artist and then had it summarily revoked when it was revealed that they were lip-syncing. Oops!

[fancy_header variation=”olive”]Movies[/fancy_header]

A lot of popular movies came out in 1990 as well. The highest grossing films were:

[fancy_numbers variation=”olive”]

  1. Ghost
  2. Home Alone
  3. Pretty Woman
  4. Dances with Wolves (which won the Best Picture Oscar)
  5. Total Recall


My favorite movie of the year was The Hunt for Red October. I even tried to read the book, but that was a bit much for 12-year-old me.

I suppose this is where I have to admit that I’ve still never seen some of the most popular movies that came out that year. Like Home Alone.

Or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Or even Edward Scissorhands!

[fancy_header variation=”orange” textColor=”#000000″]Television[/fancy_header]

A lot of popular TV shows debuted in 1990, including:

[fancy_list style=”star_list” variation=”orange”]

  • Twin Peaks
  • In Living Color
  • Northern Exposure (my favorite!)
  • Law & Order (bum-BUM!)
  • Tiny Toon Adventures
  • Beverly Hills, 90210
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air


[fancy_header variation=”olive”]Books[/fancy_header]

It was also a great year for literature. True, I was mostly reading Sweet Valley High and The Baby-sitters Club, but it was also the year we read The Hobbit in 7th grade English class, and some of my friends and I swiped our mom’s copies of Clan of the Cave Bear and its sequels to giggle over the sex scenes. Some of the most popular new releases were:

[fancy_list style=”star_list” variation=”olive”]

  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  • Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  • The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (the first book of one of my favorite series, though I didn’t start reading it until a few years later and it didn’t wrap up until a couple months ago!)
  • Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss


[fancy_header variation=”orange” textColor=”#000000″]In the News[/fancy_header]

[fancy_list style=”star_list” variation=”orange”]

Pale Blue Dot picture of Earth
Pale Blue Dot.
Image courtesy NASA via Wikipedia


[fancy_header variation=”olive”]Personal[/fancy_header]

1990 was a year of highs and lows for me. Both of my grandfathers died unexpectedly; one due to a blood clot after prostate surgery and the other from a heart attack. My family spent spring break in the Bahamas, but had to cancel a planned trip to Glacier National Park and Banff. At some point in 6th grade I decided I wanted a perm; I looked like a cross between Little Orphan Annie and a poodle (darn, I don’t seem to have any of those pictures scanned). I made the 7th grade volleyball team even though I played with more enthusiasm than skill. I was a green belt in karate, but was increasingly annoyed that the boys were taught new skills much more quickly than I was and I quit soon after. I lost some friends who turned out not to be very nice people (but who is in junior high?), but made new friends who I liked better (and I’m lucky enough to still like some of them).

Published by

[E] Hillary

Hillary is a giant nerd and former Mathlete. She once read large swaths of "Why Evolution is True" and a geology book aloud to her infant daughter, in the hopes of a) instilling a love of science in her from a very young age and b) boring her to sleep. After escaping the wilds of Waco, Texas and spending the next decade in NYC, she currently lives in upstate New York, where she misses being able to get decent pizza and Chinese takeout delivered to her house. She lost on Jeopardy.

4 thoughts on “P-Mag Nostalgia Project: 1990 with Hillary”

Leave a Reply