No, silly, "none of them" isn't an option! You are required to a pick side here, because this? This is important. So, where do you allegiances lie? With "Mark McGrath & Friends," or with Matchbox 20 and their just-announced cruise?
Well, it's worth examining the evidence. Both will take place during colder months of the year, both will last roughly 3 days, both will travel from Miami to Nassau, both cost at least $700 per person. Some might argue that this is far too much money (and about 71 hours too many) for a 90's nostalgia show, others that this is simply the realization of a decade(s)-in-the-making dream. Anyway, the only real differences are in line-up; the "Mark McGrath & Friends" umbrella includes Sugar Ray, Cracker, The Verve Pipe, Smash Mouth, The Spin Doctors, Marcy Playground, the Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon, and "members of" Collective Soul and Live. The Matchbox 20 tour is just... Matchbox 20. So basically, this is a really tough call to make. Or it was, anyway, prior this totally comprehensive guide to personalized 90's cruise selection, based on an elaborate rubric of lifestyle preferences. It's time to choose your fate.
The choice here is simple, and also unisex. Are you a wife-beater person, or a polyester button-down with oddly angular collar person? If the former, go McGrath. The latter, Matchbox. If you're a "tiny necklaces look great on men" person, well, congratulations. You're welcome anywhere.
I remember hearing on VH1 once that Rob Thomas did so much coke in his early career that he "doesn't remember the first 2 years of Matchbox 20." That's a ton of coke! In which case, probably for the best that he doesn't do those things anymore. But, you know, if listening to "3am" still gives you the urge, no reason you can't partake in the privacy of your own cabin.
I think it goes without saying that the other boat should be pretty 420-friendly.
This is actually pretty important. The whole point of cruises, I hear, is to spend the bulk of your time drunk and/or snacking. But mostly drunk. And on a cruise that is specifically geared towards nostalgic adults, as opposed to families? Forget about it.
So, let's see. I'd say fans of both 40s and any gin-based drinks (duh, The Gin Blossoms themselves are on board) should go with McGrath & Friends. Matchbox 20 seems more, I don't know, like an airplane-bottles-of-hard-liquor-furtively-poured-into-a-32-ounce-coffee sort of vibe. If that's your thing, or sounds like it could be, go with that.
Well, the real answer here is "none" or "electronic cigarettes," because no one on this cruise is a rebellious and/or vaguely alt teenager anymore, and you should have quit years ago. But for argument's sake, I'd peg the McGrath & Friends boat as the S.S. Camel Crush. Sure, they weren't around back in the day, but they represent all the options aboard this boat, and anyway, Smash Mouth fans are obviously menthol people. Go with Matchbox 20, if you like, what, American Spirits? Probably American Spirits.
Eh, we can play pretty fast and loose with this one. Vacations aren't the time to be thinking about work! That said, this is a real opportunity for anyone who works in any kind of establishment geared toward tweens and drunk adults — roller rinks, bowling alleys, go-cart tracks, whatever — to mingle with their peers, because every single one of these bands has set a video in at least one of these places at some point in time.
Also, guidance counselors, because let's not forget about that song "The Freshmen." They should head for McGrath's boat. Everyone else can do what they want.
Oh, you are a human adult? Then Smash Mouth should have been a deal-breaker from the fucking beginning. This was all an elaborate ruse to weed you out, and you should be ashamed of yourself. Just look at that guy! And he's not even wearing his signature tiny little sunglasses in this picture. Jesus. So anyway, cruises, the 90's! Have fun hanging out with Rob Thomas, everybody!
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.