This here's another short one, but I'm surprised how much I mined out of the first one with one glance at Fugazi's lyrics so here we go:
So we start with another blast of sincerity from Nation of Ulysses, an anarcistish emo/punk band from D.C. with their song Today I met the girl I'm gonna marry. Although this could also be an example of irony since they were quite supportive of Binki Kill, the famous riot grrrl band who eventually moved to D.C. from Washington. Either way, it's a passionate, desperate yelp for love and justice.
Next is Samiam with Clean, this one being a bit more brooding and angsty in the Nirvana sort of vein. Nowadays, everyone says the band's popularity was based on marketing and well, alas, that is true in the case of the grunge genre which they ultimately became a part of. Nonetheless, a glance at the lyrics shows that there's a tiny influence from Nirvana's Lithium, displaying that sort of everyday moping around the house feeling burnt out kind of mood:
Now, onto Jawbox which is slightly more intellectual as opposed to Lithium or Clean as it explores a relationship between two people, one person of which feels a sense of pity and sympathy for the other.
you put yourself right over
though you don't think i understand
this sudden awkward rupture
this stuck-unhealing fissure
no love could possibly withstand
and i'd never say
it doesn't mean that much to me
to see you struggle free
This half sarcastic half sincere delivery really defines the tone of the first half of the decade; many romantic comedies of the era like Reality Bites or Singles tried and failed to mix existential dread with the wry observations of shows like Seinfeld. Yet, in the end, everything came out as insincere and smarmy with only the music and surprisingly, Children's shows like Pete and Pete or even Ren and Stimpy pulling this off the best.