Revisit the your memories, relive the good old days, or experience them for the first time by hopping aboard our musical spaceship and listening to musical moments created during the 1990s. The last full decade of the 2nd millennium saw the rise of the Internet, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the expansion of the free market, and a period of peace and prosperity for many. Plus it was chock full of some brightly rising stars and some of the very best songs recorded in the history of music (if not the history of man). Without further adieu, here is part one of the Best Songs of the 1990s based upon the music charts, fan favorites, and most of all, the tunes we just can’t get out of our heads after all of these years. Enjoy the time warp!
1. Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit
The anthem of America’s youth was birthed amid screaming guitars, head banging, and flannel when Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and their team of angst ridden bandmates delivered “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The group brought the alternative music scene to new heights with their completely original style and sound in ways completely unmatched by any band. Ever. Cobain’s tragic, much too soon death shrouded the heights Nirvana could have transcended...or did it?
2. Pearl Jam Black
Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready and Dave Krusen pushed the Grunge Movement to a place beyond everyone’s wildest expectations and settled Pearl Jam’s place in eternal superstardom with the release of Ten. Though everyone argues over which song from Ten is the best, beyond the glint and glare of the spotlight of their more popular tunes like “Jeremy” and “Alive,” it was “Black” which brought us to near tears from the very first melancholy chord. That familiar lament of loss with the permanence of sadness has proven this song’s forever pull on the heartstrings.
3. Radiohead Creep
Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, and Ed O’Brien busted their fingers playing English pubs for over 6 years before busting out their initial flop single “Creep.” It took another year and then several months before the best tune about alienation in the name of love ever to pierce the eardrums hit it BIG. In 1993 after much hard work, Radiohead rose to international fame by smash grabbing the attention of every slacker/outsider/angst-and-love-ridden deviant in every listener’s heart. “Creep” is one of the best things to ever come out of the U.K.
4. Cake I Will Survive
Everybody gets burned in love. It’s just a rule you know is true despite the constant urging of the heart. Gloria Gaynor helped everyone push past the fall out with her 1979 hit “I Will Survive.” When the masters of horn infused, genre crossing, sarcastic wit Cake covered the song in 1996, their lyrical alterations combined with John McCrea’s vocals and blast of brass brought a modern edge to a good old song. Gaynor apparently disliked the cover because of it’s profanity but man, Cake’s place as one of the most divine groups of the 90s (and perhaps of all time) is the icing of life.
5. Tonic If You Could Only See
Tonic is like a cold drink on a hot summer day when the one you love is too far away. “If You Could Only See” weaves the story about this with a man who loves a woman. Problem is this man is not supposed to love this woman but he does anyway. Man spends his time with another woman in an attempt to fill the void of the one he’s not supposed to love. Man can’t fully express the feelings involved so he sings about it to climb to the top of music charts. ‘Nuff said.
6. Blur Song 2
“Woo-hoo!” is all you need to hear when an overdriving Blur crashed the silence with screaming guitars in 1997. Intended as a jab to alternative grunge music, Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James, and Dave Rowntree captured irony when the whirl of Song 2 landed at the top of international modern and alternative rock charts. And it’s been “checking heads” ever since. Negativity can instantaneously be reversed in just 2 minutes and 2 seconds. All you have to do is listen.
7. Dynamite Hack Anyway
Post grunge Texan rockers named after a hilarious marijuana smoking moment in Caddyshack sprang to the music scene with the 1998 of their first album, Pillowhead. They had everyone head bangin’ and humming with their guitar laced song about drowning and smoking sorrow over an on and off again thing. When the song was remastered for the 2000 album Superfast, hidden in the back was a powerful, piano version sung by Mark Morris’ sister, Kate. Give it a listen. It’ll blow your socks off.
8. Bush Glycerine
Smokin’ guitarist Gavin Rossdale and his crew including Nigel Pulsford, Dave Parsons, and eventually Robin Goodridge crooned and smoothed to instant success during 1992 with their ultra-sensual “Glycerine.” As the fourth single to their smash album Sixteen Stone, the melancholic, melodic, hypnotic strings of cello and screamin’ guitar landed the group high acclaim, many awards, and of course, the group’s place as one of the best alternative bands of the 90s. A miserable duet between Rossdale and his wife, Gwen Stefani, slaughtered the song in 2012 (if you can listen to the entire song, you are a saint) but the good still remains in the original song.
9. Dinosaur Jr Feel The Pain
Alternative rockers Dinosaur Jr broke onto the music scene wwwaaaayyy back in 1994. With an impressive discography and a sound born from hardcore punk beginnings which evolved to eclectic electric. The 1994 album Without A Sound is one of the best J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph produced. It’s lament-agious chords, is the anthem of the suffering, awareness, and compassion for those who walk between the fine line of apathy and caring too much.
10. Green Jelly Three Little Pigs
When heavy metal and Zoo entertainment collided during 1992, the result was a wild retelling of a literary classic. Shredding guitars and lyrics penned during a “late night drinkfest” between Marc Levinthal and Bill Manspeaker, got the pigs high, Harvard diplomas, a cameo by Rambo, and a bad ass Harley Davidson riding Big Bad Wolf. As one of VH1’s 40 Most Awesomely Bad Metal Songs...Ever, this one is not for kids. But it’s fantastic.