The Other Top 100 Songs from the 90s 90 – 81

90 – Slide Away – Oasis

Before Oasis remade the Beatles song that they never wrote, they had a whole album full of edgier tunes and epic rock masterpieces. The name of the album even had more creativity behind it than the one that broke them, Definitely Maybe. This track from the album was one of the catchier songs that even made it on to the radio even though it clocked in at over six minutes.

89 – Waterfalls – TLC

In an age when gangsta rap and ballads ruled the R & B charts, this gem came out that blew them all away. Not only was it an amazing tune, but it had a social message to it that forced you to listen.

88 – Ray of Light – Madonna

During the 80s, I could be often heard talking about how Madonna had destroyed music and she was nothing more than an image selling sex, and I wished she would just go away. But then I heard this song and I couldn’t deny the creative genius that went behind it. It was the perfect dance song to help usher in the age of electronic music, and it was pretty awesome to dance to at the same time.

87 – Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind

Right when you started to think that alternative music was losing its edge because it was being taken over by big music corporations, Third Eye Blind came out with this song. It had a fun beat to it, and I remember playing it at many weddings because of guests requesting it, but I always had a smile on my face when I played it. Listen to lyrics some time and you will understand why.

86 – Unbelievable – EMF

Before the alternative music move really took off, a song from the genre would find itself on mainstream radio. The punky rock tune from the English band EMF was one of these songs. To this day, I want to get up and dance every time I hear this song on the radio.

85 – Better Man – Pearl Jam

Some people might claim that Pearl Jam, not Nirvana, was the most important band from the 90s. They had a music style all their own with a front man whose growling vocals were the most original since Robert Plant. Combine in the fact that his lyrics rival those of Bob Dylan’s and you have a force to deal with. This is one of those songs that present a picture of a character that only Eddie Vedder could write about. It has also become the sing-along at every one of their concerts.

84 – Otherside – Red Hot Chili Peppers

When the Red Hot Chili Peppers released Californication right before the end of the century, they were already a force to be dealt with, but people wondered if the best material they had written had already come. This was before John Frusciente rejoined the band, and Anthony Kiedis reached a new level with vocals. This track highlights both of their achievements in one of the beand’s best songs.

83 – November Rain – Guns ‘n Roses

Guns ‘n Roses will always be known as the band that created that bridge between the big hair bands of the 80s to the more substantial music of the early 90s, and this ballad was part of that connection. It went against the rules of radio airplay time by clocking in at almost nine minutes, but still had the solos and mighty vocals reminiscent of the time when rock held little substance. Without this song, a lot of the songs on this list would have never been heard.

82 – Just – Radiohead

If you have never seen the video for this song, go watch it on YouTube right now. It tells a story that will have you scratching your head for months. Add into that, one of the gritiest guitar rifts ever, and you have one of the best songs from any decade that nobody has ever listened to.

81 – 911 is a Joke – Public Enemy

Before “Cop Killer”, this song put to the forefront one of the biggest problems in America still persisting to this day. Public Enemy always had a social and political voice, and this song highlighted it better than any of their others.

The Other Top 100 Songs from the 90s 100-91

I recently viewed VH1s top 100 songs from the nineties and was a little offended that they think that the 90s was filled with a bunch of one-hit wonders. There was not one artist on the list that appeared more than once, and I thought this was absurd. I also hated the way that I knew what the top song was going to be long before it was ever revealed. It seems that the powers that be believe that Generation X can be summed up in one song by Nirvana, and somehow this band never produced another song worthy of note. So I went on-line to see what other people thought, and the lists were similar without many surprises, so I wanted to propose a list of the top one-hundred songs from the 90s that weren’t titled “Smells like Teen Spirit”. Keeping in true 90s fashion, the list that is presented is not always mainstream, and might have a few entries that you might not agree with but I don’t care. There is a bigger picture that needs to be made, and a message for all from my generation needs to hear. So here is the start of the list:

100 – Cantaloop – Us3

How can you go wrong with a great beat, smoothly delivered raps, and music from Blue Note records. This was destined to be a hit that still brings back memories of summer sunshine, and happy parties.

99 – Corn Flake Girl – Tori Amos

Tori Amos shocked the world with her song about her and a gun, but it was this song that really stuck with me throughout the nineties. Its catchy beats, and dark lyrics still haunt me to this day. Plus you never get to hear it on the radio anymore, so when you do hear it, it brings you back to the moment when this song was everywhere on the radio.

98 – Sex and Candy – Marcy Playground

Yes, the 1990s produced some one-hit wonders that everybody thought would be bigger based on their first offering. “Sex and Candy” was one of these songs, and even though it was the only true hit from the band, it was too good of a song to exclude it from this list.

97 – One Headlight – The Wallflowers

The big rock stars from the 60s had children who were starting to come of age during the 1990s. Many of them tried to follow in their parents’ footsteps with limited success. Jakob Dylan decided not to use his father’s name as he made his name in the world. Of course, it only took one hit before that idea disappeared and everybody started to see this young man emerge from his father’s shadow. This song was the most memorable, even breaking into some of the hard rock radio stations that stayed clear away from anything belonging in the alternative market.

96 – Kiss from a Rose – Seal

It took a movie for this song to finally take off, but the vocal arrangement is still outstanding and makes you want to hear more as soon as the song closes up. It simply a heart wrenching song that will never be forgotten.

95 – Are You Going My Way – Lenny Kravitz

The music from the 90s was not only about the music. It was also about the music videos being produced. It was the golden age for this medium, and this Lenny Kravitz track was the perfect example of how good a music video could be. Everybody wanted that room in their basement, and the Hendrix guitar rifts that went long with the song made this the best track he ever produced.

94 – Lightning Crashes – Live

Throwing Copper was the album that never went away as it produced hit after hit and this was probably the biggest one among them. It is hard to forget this song even after the first listen.

93 – Virtual Insanity – Jamiroquai

Another example of how a video could really sell a song. I remember watching it over and over again trying to figure out how they did it. Now that I know, it isn’t that exciting, but it still looks really cool. Add one of the funkiest songs from the 90s to it and you have a recipe for success.

92 – Crackin’ Up – Revolting Cocks

Before electronic music became a mainstay this song hot the airwaves. It was usually regulated to the late night rotation and the video played on 120 Minutes a couple of times, but this was the experimental music that made the nineties the nineties.

91 – Sweet Pain – Blues Traveler

Before their fourth album came out, Blues Traveler was already creating a strong following with their previous albums and the one that was probably the most underrated was Travelers and Thieves, but this album contained an amazing gem with the great ballad.

Books to Get You in the Halloween Spirit #1 – Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre by H.P. Lovecraft

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It really doesn’t matter which book of H.P. Lovecraft you pick up, they will all be a collection of short stories that when put together will tell a greater tale of horror that makes you wonder about the world that we live in. The mythology he has created touches upon the darkest part of humanity and leaves enough of it unexplained to send your mind reeling to fill in the blanks. He understood the concept of fear better than any other writer out there, and he exploits that feeling in each of his readers. Lovecraft understood that fear begins with what we don’t know, so the mythology he created is always shrouded in mystery. The creatures of your nightmares always stand on the edge of your perception, but anytime you look to see what they are they disappear. It is the masterful turn of plot that allows your imagination to run away with what you do not know is there. This philosophy works perfectly for everybody who reads his stories because H.P. Lovecraft knew that what scared one person did not necessarily scare another, but that feeling of fear is within each and every one of us. By bringing us to the edge of that fear, and then letting us supply our own horror, he was able to tap into each individual’s nightmare. These are not stories to be read for the light of heart, but they are worth it if you want explore that darker side of your soul.

Books to Get You in the Halloween Spirit #2 – Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

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Only two writers have been able to achieve such a horror in my adult life that I have had such terrible nightmares in the middle of the night that I have woken up in a cold sweat willing to take the risk of keeping my eyes open until the comfort of the morning sun relieves me from the horror that is somehow wrapped around my brain because of their prose. Obviously, the number one person on this list will be one of those writers, but the other one is one of the best satirical voices of this era, Chuck Palahnuik. Haunted is the story that he wrote that gave me these tremors. Now, I will place the disclosure before I continue on with my discourse about his brilliance that what he wrote is not for the feint of heart, and if you are young, there is no way that you should ever consider reading this book. Keep in mind, I am an adult who enjoys exploring the dark side of the soul, and this book gave me nightmares. Just imagine what it will do to an individual who is not ready for these ideas. If you are still curious I would suggest you read “The Nightmare Box” first before you explore the rest of the book. It is in the middle of the book, and it is okay to read that first because the book is actually a frame story, much like a haunted version of The Canterbury Tales. Palahniuk wrote a series of stories that are tied together with one common idea in this book, and some of them are so dark and disturbing that you will start to wonder if they are really about you. “The Nightmare Box” gives you a glimpse of what will happen to you if you believe you are strong enough to look into all of these stories. They are not your typical horror tales of monsters lurking under the bed. Instead, they are the monsters haunting us from the inside. If you believe that you are strong enough to take that peek into the Nightmare Box, then start back at the beginning, but understand that what you see there you can not take back. Reader beware, this is one of the most horrifying experiences of your life.

Books to Get You in the Halloween Spirit #3 – The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

the-monstrumologist

A lot of the books that I have included on this list so far have been pretty obvious, so it is probably pretty surprising that I would include a book that many people have never heard of and at such a high position on the list. But that is the problem with this book; more people need to know about this story. Around the turn of the nineteenth century in New England lived a man who studied the monsters of the world, and used his knowledge of them to keep the rest of society safe. The sad thing is his decisions have caused the death of many of the loved ones around him including his father and his faithful apprentice. Because of his guilt, he takes his deceased apprentice’s son as his new ward even though he is barely a teenager. When a gravedigger shows up at his house in the middle of the night with the corpse of a anthropophagi (see Shakespeare’s Othello for a description), a story starts to unravel that will leave you breathless. The book asks the question of what a monster really is and how we can decide for ourselves. Mix in some incredible language, dynamic characters reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and some daddy issues and you have one of the best horror novels ever written. It has won the Michael Prinz award for literature and has spawned one of the most unique series ever written. You can not pass up this book because it will instantly become one of your favorites. Some day when they get around to making it into a movie, you will be able to say you knew this story when it was the incredible book that it is now.

Books to Get You in the Halloween Spirit #4 – The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

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I used to teach a horror literature class, and I would start the year off by talking about the history of this genre. Even though there were some instances of horror before Edgar Allan Poe sat down to craft his unique brand of literature, most modern writers of this genre can trace their roots back to this man. His exploration of the gothic side of our nature and the things that haunt us the most have created some of the most iconic moments in all of literature. His poetic ability also creates a melancholy mood while lyrically creating a sound unique to his style. When thinking of the month of October, Edgar Allan Poe’s name is synonymous with all of the classic creatures that decorate people’s houses to let us know that this holiday is just around the corner. With stories such as “The Cask of the Amontillado”, “The Tell Tale Heart”, “The Fall of the House of Usher”, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, and “The Masque of the Red Death”, people would have a hard time making an argument why Edgar Allan Poe’s complete works should not be included on this list.

Books to Get You in the Halloween Spirit #5 – The Shining by Stephen King

the-shining

You knew that Stephen King would make this list somewhere. What would a list of books about getting in the Halloween spirit be without his name. Some might not agree with the selection of the book that I chose. They might think that there are many more scary stories that he has written and this is the obvious choice. But stop for a second, and think about where I come from. This story speaks to me at another level than any of his other books. Being trapped in a Colorado snowstorm is something that has always terrified me. Going stir crazy because of the lack of alcohol and any outside contact is another thing that speaks to me. Add in the fact that it is set in one of the creepiest hotels I have ever spent the night in makes this story really come to life. Yes, that is the Stanley Hotel on the cover of this book, and it really does exist in Estes Park, Colorado. It is still open and for a few extra dollars, you can spend the night in Room 237. They will even run the Stanley Kubrick film twenty-four hours a day on their television station, but still reading the book is scarier than the vision that this director had for this horror classic.