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.

 

The Other Top 100 Songs from the 90s – 50 – 41

50 – Story of My Life – Social Distortion

Add one part punk to one part rock-a-billy to one part poetic master. Blend it together, and you create an overall great song. Often one of the bands overlooked by radio, but they were one of the guiding forces through this decade of many giants.

49 – Get Off This – Cracker

I know many people are going to wonder why this song made this list when so many other radio hits did not make the list. This wasn’t even Cracker’s biggest hit. But that wasn’t what the 90s were about. It was always about finding that hidden gem that radio didn’t know about and this song always brought a smile to my face.

48 – Midnight Radio – Big Head Todd and the Monsters

Play this song late at night while you drive down a lonely highway. Make sure to roll down the window and feel the cool summer air race through your hair. Afterwards, you might wonder if this song does not deserve a higher spot on the list.

47 – Insane in the Brain – Cyprus Hill

This track introduced a new style of rap to the world, one laced with a mellow vibe but still had a defiance within its lyrics that made you want to stand up against those who have repressed you. It also introduced to the world one of the most unique voices from the rap world, Mellow Man Ace.

46 – Daughter – Pearl Jam

From a band who made so many great character studies into five minute epic songs, this was one of the best they ever told. It was also the first giant song that proved you did not need a video to be important.

45 – So Watchya Want – Beastie Boys

One of the leading voices in the hip hop market came from three punks from New York. Any time they came out with a new album, the rules of the game would change. This song blended the old school style with the elements of punk rock that allowed bands like 311 and Sublime to follow in this giant’s long shadow.

44 – Say It Ain’t So – Weezer

First, they had us come undone with their sweater song, and then they told us about the greatness of Buddy Holly, but it was the third single from their debut blue album that was the best offering that Weezer gave to us, insuring that they would be a force for many years to come.

43 – Don’t Look Back in Anger – Oasis

Even though the Gallagher brothers always denied the Beatles influence to their music, it was hard not to hear that influence on this track. It is often ignored by the radio so they can overplay another one of their songs, but when the day is done, this is definitely the better of the two tracks.

42 – Bullet with Butterfly Wings – The Smashing Pumpkins

This song displays the raw power that this band had. Not only did the guitar riff recklessly guide you to the inevitable conclusion, but Billy Corrigan’s growling vocals leaves you feeling that you have just been attacked by some strange kind of vampire.

41 – In Bloom – Nirvana

Just because I don’t think “Smells Like Teen Spirit” deserves a place on this countdown does not mean that I do not think that Nirvana should be kicked off completely. There are just other songs I would rather listen to, and this one has always been one of my favorites.

The Other Top 100 Songs from the 90s – 60 – 51

60 – Lucky Man – The Verve

The story of the Verve is one of the saddest from the 1990s. They produced a big hit with “Bitter Sweet Symphony” but never earned a dime from it because the Rolling Stones sued them for copyright infringement. But few people from the United States know about this other song which is just as good from the same album.

59 – Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-a-Lot

Not only does this song have some of the best innuendos and double entendres ever written, but it also has one of the best record scratches ever recorded. It might even be one of the best one hit wonders of all time.

58 – Iris – Goo Goo Dolls

The Goo Goo Dolls were in danger of falling into the same trap that Sir Mix-a-Lot found himself in with their hit, “Name”. This was until they wrote this song for City of Angels, and shot themselves to the next level of rock stardom. It still remains one of the best ballads from the decade.

57 – Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang – Dr. Dre

This song brought gangsta rap to the forefront so even kids from suburbia started to listen to the genre, but it also introduced the world to one of its biggest players, Snoop Doggy Dogg. It remains, to this day, one of the greats from that genre.

56 – Do the Evolution – Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam had stopped making videos, letting the music speak for itself, but when they put out this track, they enhanced its already power with an animated short from Spawn creator Todd McFarlan that showcased the bitter message hidden within its lyrics.

55 – Cannonball – The Breeders

Kim Deal proved to everyone that women could also come up with some amazing bass lines as well as delivering one of the most memorable ones with this gem of a song.

54 – Everlong – Foo Fighters

This song proved to the world that Dave Grohl was not just some drummer, but was a force to be dealt with in the rock world. The music was reminiscent of the 70s, but the music was all 90s.

53 – What I Got – Sublime

Tragedy had come to the band right before they hit it big when Bradley James Nowell, the lead singer, overdosed on heroin. But they were able to pen this blend of rock, reggae and rap that has held up throughout the years to still bring joy to a listener’s heart every time it is played.

52 – I Hope I Just Didn’t Give Away the Ending – New Radicals

Gregg Alexander had produced albums for popular stars before saying that anybody could do the same and went off to prove himself right. When he penned his classic album, Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed, Too, only one of the songs made radio airplay, but each one in its own right was a classic with this one being one the more memorable stories.

51 – Nightswimming – R. E. M.

A simple haunting piano melody is the heart of this song that as soon as you are done listening to it, you want to instantly listen to it again just so you can feel the feeling it invokes again. Why wouldn’t this song make the list?

The Other Top 100 Songs from the 90s – 70 – 61

70 – Mayonnaise – Smashing Pumpkins

Everywhere I went in 1993, Siamese Dream was playing, but it never hit on two of the better songs from the album. This one is one of the greatest that James Iha penned and it might be the reason that it was never played. Billy Corrigan wouldn’t allow it.

69 – Closing Time – Semisonic

I worked in bars a lot through the 90s and knew what it was like to close up shop. No other song put together what that feeling was like than this one hit wonder from Semisonic.

68 – Sweet Jane – Cowboy Junkies

I have a hard time claiming that a remake of a Velvet Underground song could be better than the original, but the haunting vocals that accompany this mellower version of this song makes it a completely different song than the upbeat original.

67 – Runaway Train – Soul Asylum

Music came from many different locations in the 90s, and this breakout hit from the underground band from Minnenapolis stuck out as one of the few yet more memorable ballads from this decade.

66 – Star – The Cult

The Cult was primed to breakthrough with the big hair bands of the 1980s when the bottom fell out in that part of the industry. But this band had enough strength in their songwriting abilities to make the move to the alternative scene and this was the song that finally allowed them to break in the United States.

65 – Love Spreads – The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses were supposed to be the big band to emerge from the second British Invasion laying the groundwork for Oasis and Blur later, but internal conflict caused the band to break up before they made it big. They were still able to leave this song behind before they broke up.

64 – Spiderweb – No Doubt

Before the band decided to go the pop route, they were a Ska band. This song was the best example of what they could do if they stuck to their roots, and is still one of the best party tunes to emerge from the decade.

63 – Wicked Garden – Stone Temple Pilots

Driving guitars, and Scott Weiland’s signature vocals are what makes this song a classic. It was also the surprise highlight from their debut album that took over the airwaves in the early 1990s.

62 – John the Fisherman – Primus

I have always considered Les Claypool the Jimi Hendrix of my generation. He did for bass what Jimi did for the guitar, and this track from the Frizzell Fry album proves why he will always be considered a genius in my book.

61 – Jolene – Cake

Cake has written so many original songs that it is impossible to remembe all the ones that have made it to the radio. Oddly enough, it is not their hits that are their best songs. “Jolene” never gets radio play because it was never released as a single, but it is so good that it is hard to see why it didn’t become one of Cake’s biggest hits.