When Things Feel Shitty, Just Send Your Kitchen Back to The 90s & 00s

When Things Feel Shitty, Just Send Your Kitchen Back to The 90s & 00s

Liner notes from Chef Kevin Tien's kitchen mixtape.

March 28, 2018
● 2 min read
When Things Feel Shitty, Just Send Your Kitchen Back to The 90s & 00s

When Things Feel Shitty, Just Send Your Kitchen Back to The 90s & 00s

Liner notes from Chef Kevin Tien's kitchen mixtape.

March 28, 2018
● 2 min read
By Michelle Matvey | Image by ChefsFeed

Sometimes, we want to go back to the golden era of earnest boy bands. Of astronomical pop stars, angsty grunge, and groundbreaking hip-hop.


We want to go back to the 90s and stick around through the good bits of the 2000s—curse a few scratched CDs, and then return to whatever social experiment we’re living in now.

While we modern citizens may seem like the jaded, cynical cousins of our cheerful selves of 20 (!) years ago, we can still appreciate a good banger or two. We asked Chef Kevin Tien of D.C.’s Himitsu to make us a kitchen mixtape, and in pure 90s fashion, he brought the JAMS. Below, a few selections.

First up, Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Tien would like to add: “Michelle Pfeiffer, man.” For those who missed Pfeiffer’s sultry cameo in the single’s music video, head on over to the Internet (the one you’re currently on) and rewatch it. Verdict: yes to Michelle Pfeiffer. Cool as a cucumber, and so nineties.

Next, another heavy-hitter, “Waterfall” by TLC. Not just a fun sing-along, folks. This song has depth. Pathos. Ethos. Dare we say LOGOS? Let’s also take this moment to recognize TLC’s still incomparable fashion sense. Baggy silken pants, suspenders, and crops are all back, so we’ll give everyone a minute to dig out that weird plastic choker you wore everywhere back then.

After getting out the feels, Tien turns to the batshit EDM leanings of the decade to amp back up. Darude’s Sandstorm, in particular, evokes the chef’s free-wheeling high school era spent in a  Honda Civic. Batshit EDM and Honda Civics = a timeless pairing! This song is over the top the way a glazed donut mercilessly swaddling an overcooked burger patty is over the top, but for a teenage boy, it’s basically Mozart. Speaking of Mozart for teenage dudes, how about some Blink 182, right? Can’t forget the godfathers of snarky pop-punk-rock, leading the masses of peach-fuzz sprouting angsty teenage boys everywhere. Tien’s anthem was “The Rock Show.” Everyone has their favorite Blink song, and this one does it for the chef.

Fun-fact: Tien’s break-up song of choice is No Doubt’s perennial favorite and poster song for the alt genre’s aesthetic mishmash of ska, pop, and punk, “Don’t Speak.” This might be the most upbeat break-up song ever selected? If you hear the sugary warble of Gwen Stefani, look out. Moving on.

Next we have The Ying Yang Twins, with "Wait (The Whisper Song)." This song’s popularity may have only been possible in 2005, but we’re glad it happened. Tien, a self-described “fan of whispering,” digs it for thematic reasons.

The era wouldn’t be complete without he-of-the-former-ramen-locks, Justin Timberlake, and his solo hit, “Cry Me a River.” After JT shed the boyish trappings of N’Sync in favor of a moody, rain-soaked music video featuring glass mansions, several shirtless babes, and a black hoodie, all 90s kids collectively shivered, innocence lost. This song is still good and harks back to the glory days of JT/Timbaland collabos.

Also featured on Tien’s epic playlist? Lenny Kravitz, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Al Green, Taylor Swift (guilty pleasure), Kygo, Mumford and Sons, and George Michael. It lives in full glory on our Spotify page.


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