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.