Welcome

I guess you are here because you have discovered one of my books and enjoyed it enough to find out more about the author, me. Either that or you’re a potential employer who is investigating me to see if I would be a good fit for your organization. In which case, surprise, I write books as well as teach. Some might look at that as a bad thing, and if so, please explain to me how.

For whoever finds my site, I want to welcome you, and also allow you the opportunity to follow me on a regular basis. Anybody is welcome as long as you keep your posts appropriate, and respect the other followers to this site. As long as everybody follows those two simple rules, I won’t have to kick anybody off. Let the friendly banter begin.

I am hoping to create an interactive site that everybody can enjoy. Of course, I will keep you up to date on the latest writings coming out of my head, and I will also let you know when and where I will be in the world, so someday you might be able to meet me in person. Most people regret that decision, but who knows, maybe you’ll be in the minority.

I will also tell you about my world-wide travels as this is something I do on a regular basis. I’ll show you pictures from places I have been (this one is from Dubrovnik, better known to fans of The Song of Ice and Fire as King’s Landing), and tell you the exciting stories that happen to me along the way. You are also welcome to ask me any questions you may have about the place I have been, and I will try to answer them in a timely manner.

I know it all sounds amazing, and I can see you wondering why you haven’t been a part of this fantastic experience so far, but let me tell you about the most exciting part of following this site – the interactive part.  You were probably wondering when I would get to that part I had promised you earlier. Well, I plan to create a list every month, and I want you to participate in its formation. I do love countdowns, but I am always disappointed in them. So I have decided to take matters into my own hands. You will be able to post your top ten of each monthly list and at the end of each month, I will comprise the total list to give you the countdown for that subject. Look for each new subject on the first day of each month, and the final list of the previous month by the fifteenth.

Otherwise, it is very nice to have you a part of this experience, and I look forward to all of our future posts together.

Cabbie Logic

I must be growing up because I went on my first ever business trip. Through my years in education, I have been out many times with my students on Experiential Education trips, but I never really considered them business trips. Those kinds of trips require me to get all dressed up to meet colleagues so we discuss the matters important to our profession. I didn’t have to put on a tie and present myself in a professional manner on the EE trips, nor did I have to network with people and do the all important dinners afterwards. My most recent trip was my first time to have this kind of experience and I was lucky enough to have Singapore be my first stop in the land of adults.

I attended the reThinking Literacy conference held on the UCW Southeast Asia campus. It was a refreshing look at the way people view different forms of media and how it is being used to influence the masses. During this day and age, it was a particularly relevant topic especially when the keynote speakers discussed the ways producers of media have gotten selective with their audiences in order to deliver the messages they know their consumers want to hear. Of course, we have heard this message before and we believe that we are not a person that can be so easily influenced by this type of propaganda. We are more intelligent than that. And if that is true, then let me ask when the last time you spent some time watching or reading the media that you disagree with? If you can’t think of a time when you did, then the information you consume might be influencing your thinking and you might not even know that it is doing this.

Don’t worry you are not alone. I used to believe that I was above the influence of the news I watched and read. I believed that I could make up my own mind, and I was not being told what to think all the time. I believed that I could watch it with a critical eye. It was my choice to believe the same kind of things that they were telling me to believe. That was until I learned a little from the cabbies in Singapore.

Yes, there is a certain kind of wisdom that can be found from a conversation from the people that drive other people around town. They really know the place where they live better than anybody else. They are in touch with the pulse of what makes the place tick, and they are not afraid to tell you what they think. I got into a conversation about various world leaders with a cabbie on my third day in town. We started off by discussing one of the most recently elected to office presidents, Moon Jae-In, and how he impressed the cabbie by the way he was willing to come to the table to talk with Kim Jong-un.

The driver also told me about his opinion of other presidents, and prime ministers. This list of the ones he admired included Lee Hsien Loong and Donald Trump. This surprised me a little bit because I have not run into many people on my extensive travels through southeast Asia that admire the current president of the United States. In fact, most jokes I hear from people from various nations include the punch of Donald Trump. In the past, I would have made an instant judgment because this person did not agree with my way of looking at the world, but this time I held my tongue and listened to what he had to say.

I learned a lot by just listening.

The cabbie liked both of these men because of their abilities to grow the economy. They were also able to keep the people of their nations safe from the terrorists coming from the Muslim communities. It was really hard for me to not correct this individual that terrorism do not only come from Muslims, and not all Muslims are terrorists, but I was getting an education at this time, and it was important that I listened. The language barrier between us caused poor communication, and he was never going to listen to the opinion of a foreigner; whereas, by listening to his beliefs, I was able to see what issues were important to him.

I might not have agreed with his perspective and the handling of these issues has been done well by the current President of the United States, but I couldn’t deny that this was an issue that kept this cabbie up at night. Maybe if other politicians listened to this base instead of ignoring it, then maybe they could come up with a solution that would be something I would be more comfortable with and would avoid the racist, single-minded attitude spreading all over the world.

It was really interesting to hear that these same concerns were also taking place in this small city/state. It is one of the economic powerhouses in the world, and because of the British colonialism this community is a collection of a variety of people from all over the world. Where were these ideas coming from? It probably had something to do with the media being pushed out to the community, and if I spent some more time watching it I might have gained a new perspective on their thinking. But I only had cabbies to talk to instead.

The next cabbie took the crew I was with down to Arab Street. This is one of the bigger tourist spots in Singapore. It has a lot of great shops and a variety of restaurants that reminded me of a cleaner version of the Sojo district in Hong Kong. The journey to get there was just as eye opening as the one I had taken earlier in the evening. This time the revelation came from a conversation I was having that excluded the cabbie.

I was talking about past relationships with a colleague of mine, and he had mentioned something about his ex-husband. The cabbie had picked up on this. As I sat in the front seat, I had the prefect view to watch his eyes grow really big.

“Ex-Husband?” he questioned.

Once again this reaffirmation that Singapore was not the most progressive thinking country presented itself. The difference between this type of discrimination and the other was we couldn’t ignore it this time around. At first, my friend tried to correct himself by stating that he meant to say ex-wife, but this line correction was not really working. He finally just admitted who he was and answered any questions that the cabbie had about him and his life. On the other hand, we asked about the laws in Singapore and the attitude of people towards gay rights. It was an educational experience for all involved, and I do think that a new respect for both sides was reached during that cab ride, but the only way for that to happen was by first engaging in conversation.

I don’t know if it was the type of education that the reThinking Literacy conference was speaking about, but an important nugget was still there. My education on this trip was about digging through the onslaught of what we receive daily to digest and how we discover the truth of the matter through all of that noise. It really begs the question if we should be consuming all of that media in the first place. Instead, should we take the time every once and awhile to sit down with that stranger who sit across from us at the bar and have a conversation with them? What will we learn from those conversations? What will they learn? How will the world grow from having a healthy discussion? Is this what we are missing in our societies today?

Honestly, I don’t know.

Maybe, you could tell me.

This post brought to you by Tag: A Cautionary Tale by John Collings available at Amazon.com. Now on sale in the Kindle store for only $3.29.

The Real Bali

Why doesn’t anybody ever pick up an orange and bite into it right away? Because the skin is inedible. You must peel through that layer before getting to the juiciness underneath it. The same can be said about Bali, a small island near the equator in the southern hemisphere. When I first got there, I thought of it like any other country whose major economic power comes from tourism. The roads were crowded with shops selling various forms of artwork, saris, and trinkets to take home so you could remember your time on the island. Restaurants claimed to serve local cuisine as well as westernized food, so if you ever felt the need for a slice of home you could have it in the same place where the others would have the opportunity to experiment with the world flavors. On the surface, it looked like any other vacation destination that would have a couple of places that you needed to go to, but would allow enough relaxation so you could unwind from that long flight before getting back on another plane to go back home again. But I learned that I needed to peel back the layers.

That’s why I would recommend if you ever find yourself in Bali to veer off of the main drag to see what the place really has to offer. Most of the times if you are in a country who is not an economic powerhouse, I would not recommend doing this unless you knew where that would lead, but Bali has a different feel to it. You are not really experiencing the place if you stay where all of the tourists hang out. There is a lot of beauty to the country that you have to look for, and then you will really have an amazing experience.

Bali’s culture is seeped deeply in the Hindu religion. In fact, when the island was first growing, the Hindus brought their faith with them and created thousands of temples so they could celebrate it. Some of these temples are rather large; whereas, others are hidden behind secret doors down strange alleys. The one thing that is consistent with all of them is that the beautiful art work that gives you respect for the faith which inspired it. It is a place reminiscent of an Indiana Jones movie. The culture begged for me to learn more about it, and the further I delved into the corners of Bali, the more intricate the statues became. Some peeked out from the mountains, while others were covered with so much moss from the hills around the towns that it made me wonder how long they had been there and why had humanity forgotten about them.

It made me start to wonder which had come first, the works of masterpieces, or the nature that the gods created around those structures because this is the other side of Bali that is wonderful to discover the further you walk away from the beaten path. It is a tropical paradise. I was lucky enough to find myself there in May which would be a lot like November for those who live on the northern part of the world. Because it is so close to the equator, it never gets too cold, but it stays warm enough during this time of the year that you are never in need of pants. This is the perfect time to explore those expansive forests.

But when I did that I discovered something else about this amazing island. It was almost impossible to escape from some indication that man is lurking someplace around the corner. Most of the time this type of exposure would annoy. Hiking the hills of Colorado, I am always mad when I come across the signs that someone had been there before, but in Bali, this did not disturb me as much. The footprint left behind by man had a certain amount of respect with the place where it was left behind. There was a harmony that went along with the natural landscape, making me feel as if man had found a way to live in harmony with nature.

It could be seen in the way they grew their gardens. Rice fields were carved into the sides of cliffs, and laid far behind the facades of the towns, but these fields that supplied the people with their major source of food did not feel intrusive. Instead, it became just a natural part of the landscape much like the statues and temples that were hidden throughout the whole of the countryside. It just became a part of what Bali was all about.

The people of Bali were able to take this even further to make the landscape in their backyards into a great spectacle. They are able to shape it into something that is both relaxing and contemplative at the same time. This is where the real Bali lies. It was a place that allowed me to unwind, to take those principles of losing one’s self in nature and by doing so finding one’s true self to the extent I have always wanted to achieve. The place behind the façade of this country is the place where I was able to lose my façade for a while and connect with myself.

This is what Bali was for me. Most of my wanderings happened in the small mountain town of Ubud, and I would recommend that you take the time to find yourself there at least once in your lifetime, but do not just spend a quick time to do it. It takes some moments to shed the worries that come with your normal life. You need that time to forget about those worries, and Bali is great because you don’t collect more in the process. It was exactly what I needed during this stressful time of the school year, and I am glad that I got to enjoy it.

It allowed me to look at the horizon again with vigor and excitement. It allowed me to feel the tension that was wrapped up in my shoulders slowly relinquish its hold on me. It allowed me to feel at harmony with my own nature.

Thank you, Bali.

This post brought to you by Tag: A Cautionary Tale by John Collings. Now only $2.99 in the Amazon Kindle store.

Why Travel?

I was walking in the village of Te Van, Vietnam working my way to the start of my trek through the muddy hillsides covered in rice patty fields when I looked over at the man walking next to me. We started a short conversation because he heard me speaking English with a typical American accent. I found out that he was from Chicago, and even though he was surprised that I lived in Seoul, South Korea it didn’t take long to realize that I really was from Colorado. He and his family had been traveling through Vietnam for the last couple of weeks and remarked that we were the first people from America that he had come across. I told him that it is not an unusual thing to experience when traveling the world. Rarely, do I run into other Americans, and as of late, if I do, they usually happen to be part of the international teaching community like me. Americans do not typically travel outside of America.

Part of this is because America is a vast land with so many amazing places to visit that it shouldn’t be a big surprise that they wouldn’t think to visit places so far away. Proximity plays a big part in the equation too. It takes a long time stuck in the cramped spaces of an airplane to get to the place where you are going and then when you get there you get to experience jet lag for a few days before you can truly enjoy yourself. Americans have been known to travel to Mexico, Central America and the islands in the Caribbean because they are closer, and I have not run into many Australians or New Zealanders while traveling through Europe for pretty much the same reason. Lastly, there is this aspect of being comfortable. When you go to a different country, there are many cultural and language differences that you have to overcome in order to truly enjoy yourself. It causes a lot of stress for a moment that should be relaxing. Why would anybody want to do that to themselves?

Most of the time when people think of vacation they think of the moments when they can get pampered and leave their troubles behind. They want to find that expansive beach that looks out over the ocean so they can bask in the sun with a good book. They want that neon colored drink with the fat straw, heavy pour, and plastic umbrella. They want that soft bed with the towels folded into a swan and covered with rose petals. This way they can forget about their complicated lives for awhile and truly enjoy themselves. Why complicate things by learning about a new culture at the same time?

Actually, that is the thing that excites me the most with travel. I want to experience new things, and see a new perspective on the world. As the world moves closer to hiding themselves behind their secure borders, I would prefer to see how the rest of the world is living, and try to gain a different understanding of the people from different cultures. Yes, I do enjoy being pampered from time to time, but that is not the main focus of my travels.

Many Americans will find the all-inclusive places along the beach in other countries that allows them to enjoy this carefree life, but is that really getting out of their comfort zone. It is just another representative of America on a distant shore. In order to really experience that culture, the people need to leave the confines of their safe hotel and walk out on the streets of the place where they are visiting.

This can be a very scary endeavor. The streets on Ha Noi are a great example of this. People in this great metropolis need to get from one place to another just like in any other city, but they do not usually do it by car. Instead, many of them purchase motorbikes to trek across town. They don’t only take themselves, but they will load up their whole family on these bikes. There were many times that I saw a dad guiding the bike through the busy streets of town with the mom sitting sidesaddle on the back while holding on to a new born baby as the younger brother bounces up and down on the father’s lap. They weave their way through the traffic that is not dictated by any traffic lights, so there is always a blending of hundreds of bikes, cabs, cars, and trucks at every intersection with each one of them vying for the position that will allow them to get to their destination, and they let others know of their presence by continuingly honking on their horns. It creates a crying cacophony of music that lets people know they are in Ha Noi.

But one must look beyond the traffic if they really want to see the heart of the place they are visiting, and Ha Noi really has a heart to it. Once I ventured out of the streets of the old quarter, I found Hoan Kiem Lake. This is probably the most touristy place in the whole city. Restaurants and bars circle the lake, and if you are really adventuresome you can check out a water puppet show. I decided to visit the temple on the small island in the middle of the lake instead.

This is the place where I was able to put the noise of the city behind me and find some peace. The tranquility here allowed me to collect myself and really start to understand the culture of Vietnam. It was also the place where one of the country’s greatest myths played out. The name of the lake translates to “The Lake of the Returned Sword”. The legend goes that in the 15th century, Le Loi, on his way to becoming the emperor of Vietnam, was gifted a great sword named Heaven’s Will by the turtle god that lived in the lake. Le Loi used the sword to defeat his enemies and gain control over Vietnam. He returned to the lake and was once again visited by the turtle god asking for the sword back. After thanking the turtle god for the use of the sword, he returned it to him and the turtle brought it back under the lake where it is supposedly still buried today.

I had never heard of this story before, but it showed me that no matter where I travel in the world, the people have great stories that help give their culture shape and depth. It also showed me that no matter where I went, the stories might have their own unique twist to them but essentially they are the same. This story reminded me of Excalibur and the lady of the lake. This story reminded me a lot about the world. Though we may wear different clothes, pray to different gods, and eat different foods, we still value the same ideas held up with our heroes, and when we dig through all the superficial stuff, we are still the same underneath it all. It is easy to forget this when we stay safe in our home clutching on to our national pride.

I have started to realize that this is one of the main reasons that I travel.

But there are other reasons as well.

My travels also takes me to some of the most amazing sites this world has to offer. I have traveled to many National Parks in the United States. I have roamed over the vast fields filled with animals in Africa. I have studies the great cathedrals in Europe. And I have been to many of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each time I visit one of these places, I am awed by the natural beauty, and Halong Bay might top the list as one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen. Any visit to the northern part of Vietnam has to include a cruise on this bay, and I would recommend going for at least three days and two nights.

This bay supports almost two-thousand tree clad islands. Some of them are so small that they will only support one or two people; whereas, others are so large that they have oyster farms, or beaches, or hidden caves on them. The cruise I went on took me to some of the better ones while giving me the opportunity to swim in the ocean, kayak to a hidden hideout of the Vietcong soldiers during the Vietnam war, and take a hike to the top of one of the tallest islands so I could survey the expanse of this wonder. This best part of this adventure was I got to do it from the comfort of a small ship that served amazing meals next to a well stocked bar. During the night, they taught us how to squid fish, and in the morning they showed us some Tai Chi.

With all of these experiences and views that are offered on an excursion like this why would I want to sit at home and see the same thing over and over again? I once had a student of mine tell me that a trip like this was not worth it because he could go online right now and experience the same thing through the free pictures that he found there, but I know from experience that these pictures do not do a place justice. Going out there and seeing the majesty of these islands and enjoying them from the comfort of a patio on a small ship is completely different from scrolling through pictures on Google image. I get to breathe in the fresh air. I get to taste the salt on my lips. I get to hear the gentle waves crash against the ship. It is the whole experience that makes it amazing, not just the view.

But this isn’t the only reason I travel.

Hidden in the clouds next to the border of China is the small mountain town of Sa Pa. This place shows the diversity Vietnam has to offer and reminds me a lot of the smaller towns in the hills of Colorado. There were a couple of streets where all of the restaurants situated themselves, and a market place was built, dedicated to creating and selling various handwoven items. It is an amazing process to actually see. Women, living in the hills, will gather hemp which they will constantly be threading together to make into a durable thread. This thread will then be dyed with a color created from the flowers growing all over the hills. It will then be woven together to turn into bags, pillowcases and shirts. They are beautiful pieces of art that are a huge part of the economy of this small town.

I learned even more about it when I ventured out of this small mountain town and spent a night in the village of Te Van. Many travelers will come out to these villages to stay at a home stay, and then hike between the villages to stay at another home stay. When I first heard about this cultural experience, I was really excited. It sounded like a place where you would stay with a family from the village, learn how to cook their traditional foods, and enjoy their company for as long as you stayed there. But this was not the case.

It felt more like a hostel that was built around somebody’s home. They supplied us with a bed in the corner of the house that was sectioned off from the rest of the people by a blanket tied to a rope. They did cook a nice meal for us, but it was not the most memorable one I had on this voyage. The thing that made it great was the company I got to share it with. I met a nice family from Switzerland, and a happy couple from Australia, but once again my friends and I were the only ones from America staying there for the night.

Even though I did not get the experience I wanted from the home stay, it does not mean that I did not enjoy my time there. I did get to go on a long hike through the hills. It started on day where the rain had pounded the fields early in the morning, and we each had to pay ten dollars a piece for a guide. At first I thought the price was a little steep, but I soon learned why it cost that much to make the hike through the mountains.

The path through the rice patty fields and bamboo groves was carved from the mountains, and because of the rain had turned into mud. This would not have been a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that we were not traveling on a flat road. The path took us up through the hills only to bring us back down again. The guide was able to navigate these paths without too much difficulty to get us to the next village with ease.

Each one of us also found a companion hiking with us. At first, I thought that they were just ladies who were being nice to hike with us through the hills as they made their way to wherever it was they were going, but I soon noticed that every time we stopped to take a break, they would stop with us. Eventually they helped us move through the muddy trails by holding our hands, especially when it got steeper. They carried this big basket on their backs and never slipped once which made me feel like a total scrub, considering I grew up in the mountains and usually have sure footing when I am in them. This is when it started to dawn on me that this is where our money was going to. After I considered that, the price of the guide did not seem that outrageous.

Of course, when we made it to the next village, before we sat down to lunch, the ladies convinced us to buy some of their wares they were lugging on their backs. How could I say no, after all they did to help my friends and me make it through the mud. I do have to warn others who might want to make this voyage though. As soon as I bought one thing from the kind lady that helped me, it signaled to all others in the area that I had money and they swarmed me with requests about buying their wares as well. It is really hard to tell a ten year girl who is holding up a bracelet she supposedly made that you don’t want to give her any money, but in the long run, she will never be able to improve her lot in life if she continues to peddle products on the street instead of being in school where she belongs. It broke my heart to see it but I knew it was the right thing to do. The older ladies trying to get me to buy things didn’t get the same kind of sympathy, plus I didn’t have enough money to buy something from all of them.

We eventually got back on the path and it took me to one of the most beautiful spots I had seen on the whole trip, a waterfall that wove its path down the tall mountain. An outcropping of rocks allowed for a relaxing spot where I could lay out and listen to the rush of water as it passed by. It allowed me to clear my mind and absorb all of the things I had experienced and comes to terms with it as it related to my life. Sometimes, I get so wrapped in my daily duties that I completely forget about my place in the world. I start to think that I hold a greater importance than I really do, but there is a whole world of people out there believing the same thing, and we can’t all be right. Sometimes I should just decompress to recognize that my problems are smaller than the ones that others are experiencing and the little things that I make a big deal about, I have no control over and they should be rushed away like the water pouring over that outcropping I found on that sunny day. I just need to enjoy the moments as they are presented to me.

This is the real reason that I travel.

So I respect my fellow traveler from Chicago who took his family out on an adventure far from the comforts of the United States. He came to the same realization that I did that there is more to this world than what can be found in the confines of the country we grew up in, and it is important to see them. It gives a true perspective of the world we live in and to our own lives. My hope is that more people take this risk so the world we live in becomes a smaller place, and we can start to heal the wounds that are dealt between us.

Go Travel.

 

Brought to you by Tag: A Cautionary Tale.

Available at https://www.amazon.com/Tag-Cautionary-Tale-John-Collings-ebook/dp/B01GOVCELQ/

 

The Other Top 100 Songs from the 90s – 10 – 1

10 – 21st Century Digital Boy – Bad Religion

In a decade where punk rock ruled, this song was the one that defined them all. It had the foresight that great writers such as George Orwell and Aldous Huxley had when predicting the future. It is hard to imagine that this song was written over twenty years ago but predicted where we are today. Probably the most underrated song of the decade.

9 – Hook – Blues Traveler

Blues Traveler was the jam band that paved the way for every other jam band. In fact, John Popper was known to play on many of the other band’s tracks that allowed them to break through, most notably Dave Matthews Band. This song was the pinnacle of their music in the 90s and it had to be released twice before it hooked people, but it is the intense rambling of lyrics at the end of this song that makes it one of the best of the decade.

8 – The Day I Tried to Live – Soundgarden

I have always loved Chris Cornell’s vocals but it is never better than it is in this song. Combined with the carpe diem lyrics, it makes not only a great song to listen to, but also a great philosophy to live by. I have also always thought it was one of the best examples of drums to come from this decade.

7 – Closer – Nine Inch Nails

There was not one person that was alive during the 90s that was drawn to this song the instant it was released. The creative use of sound combined with biting guitars, and a mind warping set of lyrics created an unforgettable song. The video was also disturbing, even if you did not see the unrated version.

6 – Know Your Enemy – Rage Against the Enemy

“Land of the free/ Whoever said that is your enemy.” Do I need to say any more. The truth stings sometimes, but being in a mosh pit while the unique guitar work adrenalizes you makes it all worth while. Definitely one of the best political songs ever written.

5 – California Love – 2Pac

The hard edge to the beat and the musical quality behind the lyrics made this an unforgettable song. By far, the best rap song ever written. It combines the grittiness of gangsta rap with an incredible beat. Nobody has ever been able to match the power behind this song, and I don’t know if they ever will.

4 – Black – Pearl Jam

Many people would claim that another band should be considered the band of the 90s, but I would disagree. Pearl Jam broke the rules of how to promote itself, went against the norms for the sake of their fans, and delivered great music time and time again. Just look at their staying power and you will be able to recognize how important they actually are. This song is their best out of their hole catalogue and I am positive that many Pearl Jam fans would agree with me.

3 – Heart Shaped Box – Nirvana

I actually really hated Nirvana during the 90s. Most of their music did not really move me. It wasn’t until I heard this song on the radio and did not know that it was from them that I understood their importance. This is a great song, and if given a chance to listen to this or “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, I would easily pick this one.

2 – Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead

This song hits me to the core. I can’t hear this song without feeling pain and anguish but at the same find a glimmer of hope somewhere in there that lets me know that everything will somehow be okay in the end. It has been connected to some of the most significant moments in my life, and I will always believe that this song has more power behind it than the other song that people credit to this band.

1 – Under the Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers

It might seem a little cliché to pick this song as number one, but it is so honest and truthful about the life Anthony Kiedis experienced that you cannot help to hear this song and feel the same pain that he felt. It is the vulnerability behind this song that I think defines the decade the best because that was what it the decade was about, honesty. Ask anybody that credits that decade as their decade and I think you will find that they agree.

The Other Top 100 Songs from the 90s – 20 – 11

20 – Soma – The Smashing Pumpkins

It might be the English teacher in me, but this song about the drug from Aldous Huxley’s novel about the world we live in really hits home with me. I loved it the first time I listened to it, and I have never gotten bored with every time I get to listen to it again.

19 – My Name Is – Eminem

A complete unknown who burst on the scene towards the closing down on the century, Eminem would eventually become the star that we know him as today, but it started off with this raunchy, obnoxious track that was fun and at the same time brilliant.

18 – Breathe – Prodigy

A few bands emerged quickly during the start of the electronic movement in music, and Prodigy was the one that demonstrated the most power with this song with hypnotic beats yet with still enough of an edge to make the blood in your veins to pump faster.

17 – Hey Man, Nice Shot – Filter

The bassline from the very start of this song gets me excited to hear the rest of it, but when I first heard the song I had no idea what it was about. When I found out it was about Robert Dwyer, the power behind the song became more meaningful. It is a song that should be played at a lot of politician rallies today, and maybe they will get the hint that they should start working for us and not themselves.

16 – Been Caught Stealing – Jane’s Addiction

When the 90s started, Jane’s Addiction was already well established in the underground rock clubs, but it was this song that brought them to the limelight. It also set the tone for the rest of the decade as this was the song that allowed so many other alternative artists to break through to the mainstream.

15 – Song 2 – Blur

If you would ask me who won the British Invasion medal for being the best rock band, Oasis or Blur, I would have to give it to Blur. They pushed the boundaries with their music more than Oasis did and this is the best example of how it can be done and still be commercially viable.

14 – Jeremy – Pearl Jam

This was the song that caused Pearl Jam to decide to no longer make any music videos because it pushed them into a place in the music world where they no longer felt comfortable, but was it really the video that did this or the power of the song that went with it? Jeremy’s story is tragic and one that we will never be able to forget thanks to this song.

13 – Paranoid Android – Radiohead

Radiohead produced another great groundbreaking video with this song, but the song itself took you on a journey. Often hailed as the “Bohemian Rhapsody” of the 90s, the three movements of this song blend so well together that takes the song from just another pop tune to an epic musical experience rarely reached in songs.

12 – Drown – The Smashing Pumpkins

Finding the complete version of this song is difficult because it is not on any of the greatest hits the band has put out. Instead, you need to look for the soundtrack to Singles which is the only place where the song first got released, but it is well worth the search because this is by far the best song the Smashing Pumpkins ever wrote.

11 – Tennessee – Arrested Development

This song always felt like summer. Every time I hear it I want to just go outside and have a backyard bar-b-q with a few of my closest friends. The mellow vibes makes your head bob up and down as the corners of your mouth push out to a smile.

The Other Top 100 Songs from the 90s – 30 – 21

30 – Charlie Brown – Widespread Panic

On the surface this might appear to be just another song playing tribute to Charles M. Shulz’s most iconic cartoon character, but a closer listen will reveal that there is a darker tale behind this song from one of the 90s greatest jam bands.

29 – Doo Wop – Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill changed the rap game with the release of The Miseducation of. It showed that soul could blend with rap to create an amazing sound and women didn’t have to be nasty in order to sell records. “Doo Wop” was the song that set the standard is still one of the best dance tunes out there today.

28 – Longview – Green Day

This song just proved that no subject was taboo during the 90s. Also, outside of San Francisco, it was the introduction to a band that would make a huge impact on the rock with world. The bassline is also one of the most original in all of pop music.

27 – Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve

Even though they never made a dime off of the song, there is not one person that does not think that the simple cello melody does not belong to this band. It is the perfect song from the 90s to show the unfounded bitterness that many people felt during the decade.

26 – Yellow Ledbetter – Pearl Jam

If you get to see this band live, this is the song that they end more than half of their shows with. Half way through the iconic guitar melody that Mike McCready plays, he will bust into another classic rock tune. I have versions of him playing music from the Who, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, all of which shows that this song belongs up with the likes of the classics. The strange thing about the song is it never appeared on an album except for some obscure greatest hits.

25 – River of Deceit – Mad Season

If you have never sat down to listen to the only Mad Season album out there, you are missing one of the best albums ever made during the 90s. It features some of Layne Staley’s best vocal recordings as well as bringing in some of the biggest musicians from the Seattle area such as Mike McCready, John Baker Saunders, and Barrett Martin. This is the most haunting and greatest song off of the album.

24 – You Get What You Give – New Radicals

This was the only big hit from this band, and it is still unforgettable. It features a catchy piano melody and lyrics that rip into the decadent behavior of some of the bigger pop stars of the time. It is a great representation of what a person can do if they put their mind to it, and it is even better when Gregg Alexander ran away from the limelight after it became such a success.

23 – Sabotage – Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys picked up their instruments for this song to prove to the world that a rap song could have original music with it. The screaming lyrics were a lot of fun as well. Bring in one of the best videos ever directed by Spike Jones and you have one of my favorite Beastie Boys tunes.

22 – Lie in Our Graves – Dave Matthews Band

What I love the most about the Dave Matthews Band is the fact that their early lyrics represented this Carpe Diem mentality. They begged for you to go out and live your life before it was gone, and this was one of the best examples of that philosophy. I also really like the ending of the song; it has such a joyous spirit behind it.

21 – Hunger Strike – Temple of the Dog

What happens when you combine two of the greatest grunge bands, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden, together? You create a super group that nobody else will ever be able to match again. Add in the fact that you have two of the best vocalists, Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell, and you would be amazed at well these two harmonize together.

The Other Top 100 Songs from the 90s – 40 – 31

40 – Basket Case – Green Day

From the opening shout to the very last moment Billy Joel Armstrong finishes quickly strumming his guitar there is nothing else you can do but sing along because this is really a song about you, whether you want to admit it or not.

39 – Karma Police – Radiohead

Once again,, Radiohead stunned the world by demonstrating that they could combine an awesome song with an amazing video. Both of them left you wondering what you had just experienced which proves why this band was on the top of the music ladder during the release of OK Computer.

38 – Killing Me Softly – The Fugees

This is another of the remakes to appear on the list, and once again it might have been an improvement on the original. Even though Lauryn Hill delivered the lyrics with as much soul as the original, it was the additions of the words, “One time, two times,” which made this version stand out from the original.

37 – Hurt – Johnny Cash

Even though the previous song on this list took a great tune and reintroduced it to the world, Johnny Cash took this Nine Inch Nails song and shot it into the stratosphere. He recorded this song shortly after June Carter’s death and you feel the same pain he felt as you listen to the track.

36 – Jimi Thing – Dave Matthews Band

This band not only had hit records during the 90s, but they sold out concert after concert due to their jazzy fusion of rock music. This song is one of their staples during their live performances, and each time it is a little different. To be able to create such a song shows that it deserves this place on the list.

35 – Sober – Tool

What Dave Matthews Band is to jam bands, Tool is to prog rock. They put on memorable shows, and create amazing songs that push the boundaries of music. They also make some unforgettable videos that feature the songs and not the band. This song was the first one that sent them down the path to the creativity we all now get to enjoy.

34 – No Excuses – Alice in Chains

Written during a time when the band had a difficult time getting Layne Staley to the studio, they were still able to put together enough songs to out an ep that included this track. The song really highlighted their ability to harmonize as well as presenting another great song from their catalogue.

33 – Criminal – Fiona Apple

This girl stunned America when she demonstrated that somebody so young could have so much soul in her voice and write music with such adult themes. The video that accompanied this song just added a new level to the song when it showed Fiona Apple felling regret among the ruins after some party.

32 – Self Esteem – The Offspring

Another great song depicting the truth of what it was like being a college student in the early 90s. We all struggled with our self-esteem and this song just demonstrated the lengths we were willing to go through in order to battle with this disorder

31 – Killing in the Name of – Rage Against the Machine

Add some of the most original guitar riffs with a social conscience and you have Rage Against the Machine. You can’t help but to feel the anger anytime you listen to any of the tracks from their debut album, and this is one of the songs packed with the most anger.