With the news that Nickelodeon will be re-airing classic 90s shows like Clarissa Explains It All and The Adventures of Pete and Pete, I’ve decided to take another look/listen at some of the television theme songs that defined Millennial childhoods.
Polaris – Hey Sandy (The Adventures of Pete and Pete)
Polaris, a side-project of college rock band Miracle Legion, were basically the house band for the surreal Nickelodeon dramedy, performing much of the show’s original music. “Hey Sandy” is a jangly, pre-grunge tune that may actually be about the Kent State shootings (what!). Pete and Pete is also notable for its famous guest stars, most of whom were not so notable to your 10-year-old self, like Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, LL Cool J, and Michael Stipe.
The Presidents of the USA – Cleveland Rocks (The Drew Carey Show)
In the third season, the Drew Carey Show featured a new theme song: a cover of Ian Hunter’s 1979 “Cleveland Rocks.” While more famous for songs like “Peaches,” “Lump,” and their cover of “Video Killed the Radio Star,” the PUSA bring their usual post-grunge spin to the anthemic classic.
Rachel Sweet – Theme to Clarissa Explains It All (Clarissa Explains It All)
Rachel Sweet had a bit of a pop career in the 80s before retiring from the music business, and she also composed this totally 90s theme song classic. The nonsense vocal samples – “na na na,” “way cool,” “all right all right,” “just do it” – sound like Casio keyboard samples. That didn’t stop it from defining the early 90s for most of our cohort.
Splendora – You’re Standing on My Neck (Daria)
As Nickelodeon fans grew up, they found a welcoming home at MTV. If Clarissa was more sarcastic, she’d be Daria. The show, originally a spin-off from Beavis and Butthead, far surpassed its sophomoric origins and became the biting high school satire that still holds up today. Splendora might have peaked with this song, but they’ll live on in the hearts of Generation Y cynics forever.
[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Splendora-Youre-Standing-On-My-Neck.mp3″ text=”Splendora – You’re Standing On My Neck” dl=”0″]
I’d forgotten how great that full Drew Carey sequence was. I loved Five O’Clock High, but you can just tell that so much work went into this one.