My favorite songs from 1996


This was a big year for music in my life.

In 1996 I moved in with my girlfriend in May. At the end of October we broke up – and it was a pretty rocky summer leading up to that. So in the early months, the music was during happy times. In the middle months, we had combined our CD collections to make this one massive collection – and so again, music was a big part. Predominantly alternative. By the end of the year I was a wreck. A Long December really put the cap on this year – and on my rough breakup.

I bought myself a shitty pickup truck (all I could afford) so I wouldn’t be stranded, since she had the vehicle all this time. I couldn’t focus on my final year in University, but still got by. I did lots of traveling home – and back then road trips always meant music. A lot of the songs that came out in the second half of ’96 got plenty of play in Guelph’s The Trashateria when I frequented there in 1997 (I still think of ‘The Trash’ every time Pepper plays). They also got lots of play during my stint as a delivery driver (with my shitty old/new truck). These songs remind me of sitting in my truck waiting for my next call, listening to The Edge. I really fell in love with the MTV Unplugged album by Alice in Chains. Ahead By a Century quickly became one of my favorites from the Hip. And I still think of my ex whenever Santa Monica plays – and my time living in that tiny apartment.

Unlike most rankings, I haven’t been simply tossing these up in a numerical order. Because we can all agree that on some days, certain songs kick more ass than other songs – yet other days they do not. It all depends on mood and situation. A song that is ranked 14th today could very well rank 1st tomorrow – if it suddenly comes on the radio during the perfect moment and I start singing along. So I group them instead of presenting a hard-and-fast order:

Pretty Good
Not Bad
…with some inter-group splitting.

44 Great Songs from 1996

California Love – 2Pac

Let It Rain – Amanda Marshall

Diggin’ a Hole – Big Sugar

Fire Water Burn – Bloodhound Gang

In The Meantime – Spacehog

Greedy Fly – Bush

The Distance – Cake

Naked – Goo Goo Dolls

One More Astronaut – I Mother Earth

Leave It Alone – Moist

If It Makes You Happy – Sheryl Crow

The Good in Everyone – Sloan

Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart – Stone Temple Pilots

Banditos – The Refreshments

The Freshman – The Verve Pipe

If You Could Only See – Tonic

Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman

The Devil in the Kitchen – Ashley MacIsaac

Brenda Stubbert – Ashley MacIsaac

Sleepy Maggie – Ashley MacIsaac

One Of Us – Joan Osborne

Popular – Nada Surf

E-Bow the Letter – R.E.M.

A Change Would Do You Good – Sheryl Crow

Lady Picture Show – Stone Temple Pilots

Springtime in Vienna – The Tragically Hip

One Headlight – The Wallflowers

Crossing a Canyon – 54-40

Over Now – Alice in Chains

The Old Apartment – Barenaked Ladies

Devil’s Haircut – Beck

No Diggity – Blackstreet

Crash Into Me – Dave Matthews Band

Tripping Billies – Dave Matthews Band

Used to be Alright – I Mother Earth

I Want You – Savage Garden

Everything You’ve Done Wrong – Sloan

Wannabe – Spice Girls

Salvation – The Cranberries

Hollywood – The Cranberries

Free To Decide – The Cranberries

22 Truly Awesome songs from 1996

Radiation Vibe – Fountains of Wayne

Pretty Noose – Soundgarden

Heaven Beside You – Alice in Chains

Pepper – Butthole Surfers

A Long December – Counting Crows

Santa Monica – Everclear

Hero Of The Day – Metallica

Blow Up The Outside World – Soundgarden

What I Got – Sublime

Ahead by a Century – The Tragically Hip

Swallowed – Bush

Novocaine For The Soul – Eels

Another Sunday – I Mother Earth

Push – Matchbox Twenty

Off He Goes – Pearl Jam

Who You Are – Pearl Jam

Bulls On Parade – Rage Against the Machine

Burden In My Hand – Soundgarden

Big Bang Baby – Stone Temple Pilots

When You’re Gone – The Cranberries

Open Up Your Eyes – Tonic

El Scorcho – Weezer

You can listen to these great songs as a playlist on YouTube here


Here is the full list…


Awesome – 1 Heaven Beside You  Alice in Chains
Awesome – 1 Pepper  Butthole Surfers
Awesome – 1 A Long December  Counting Crows
Awesome – 1 Santa Monica  Everclear
Awesome – 1 Hero Of The Day  Metallica
Awesome – 1 Blow Up The Outside World  Soundgarden
Awesome – 1 What I Got  Sublime
Awesome – 1 Ahead by a Century The Tragically Hip
Awesome – 1 Swallowed  Bush
Awesome – 10 Novocaine For The Soul  Eels
Awesome – 10 Another Sunday I Mother Earth
Awesome – 10 Push  Matchbox Twenty
Awesome – 10 Off He Goes  Pearl Jam
Awesome – 10 Who You Are  Pearl Jam
Awesome – 10 Bulls On Parade  Rage Against the Machine
Awesome – 10 Burden In My Hand  Soundgarden
Awesome – 10 Big Bang Baby  Stone Temple Pilots
Awesome – 10 When You’re Gone  The Cranberries
Awesome – 10 Open Up Your Eyes Tonic
Awesome – 10 El Scorcho  Weezer
Awesome – 10 Radiation Vibe  Fountains of Wayne
Awesome – 10 Pretty Noose  Soundgarden
Great – 22 California Love  2Pac
Great – 22 Let It Rain Amanda Marshall
Great – 22 Diggin’ a Hole Big Sugar
Great – 22 Fire Water Burn  Bloodhound Gang
Great – 22 In The Meantime Spacehog
Great – 22 Greedy Fly  Bush
Great – 22 The Distance  Cake
Great – 22 Naked Goo Goo Dolls
Great – 22 One More Astronaut I Mother Earth
Great – 22 Leave It Alone Moist
Great – 22 If It Makes You Happy  Sheryl Crow
Great – 22 The Good in Everyone Sloan
Great – 22 Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart  Stone Temple Pilots
Great – 22 Banditos  The Refreshments
Great – 22 The Freshman  The Verve Pipe
Great – 22 If You Could Only See  Tonic
Great – 22 Give Me One Reason  Tracy Chapman
Great – 40 The Devil in the Kitchen Ashley MacIsaac
Great – 40 Brenda Stubbert Ashley MacIsaac
Great – 40 Sleepy Maggie Ashley MacIsaac
Great – 40 One Of Us  Joan Osborne
Great – 40 Popular  Nada Surf
Great – 40 E-Bow the Letter  R.E.M.
Great – 40 A Change Would Do You Good  Sheryl Crow
Great – 40 Lady Picture Show  Stone Temple Pilots
Great – 40 Springtime in Vienna The Tragically Hip
Great – 40 One Headlight  The Wallflowers
Great – 40 Crossing a Canyon 54-40
Great – 40 Over Now Alice in Chains
Great – 40 The Old Apartment  Barenaked Ladies
Great – 40 Devil’s Haircut  Beck
Great – 40 No Diggity  Blackstreet
Great – 40 Crash Into Me  Dave Matthews Band
Great – 40 Tripping Billies  Dave Matthews Band
Great – 40 Used to be Alright I Mother Earth
Great – 40 I Want You  Savage Garden
Great – 40 Everything You’ve Done Wrong Sloan
Great – 40 Wannabe  Spice Girls
Great – 40 Salvation  The Cranberries
Great – 40 Hollywood The Cranberries
Great – 40 Free To Decide The Cranberries
Pretty Good – 64 How Bizarre  OMC
Pretty Good – 64 Lies to Me 54-40
Pretty Good – 64 Love You All 54-40
Pretty Good – 64 The New Pollution  Beck
Pretty Good – 64 Desperately Wanting  Better Than Ezra
Pretty Good – 64 Around The World  Daft Punk
Pretty Good – 64 Follow You Down  Gin Blossoms
Pretty Good – 64 Long Way Down Goo Goo Dolls
Pretty Good – 64 3 AM  Matchbox Twenty
Pretty Good – 64 Hail Hail Pearl Jam
Pretty Good – 64 Everyday Is a Winding Road  Sheryl Crow
Pretty Good – 64 Art School Girl  Stone Temple Pilots
Pretty Good – 64 Gift Shop  The Tragically Hip
Pretty Good – 64 6th Avenue Heartache  The Wallflowers
Pretty Good – 64 The Difference The Wallflowers
Pretty Good – 64 Birmingham Amanda Marshall
Pretty Good – 64 Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)  Backstreet Boys
Pretty Good – 64 Criminal  Fiona Apple
Pretty Good – 64 Right Hand Man  Joan Osborne
Pretty Good – 64 Not An Addict  K’s Choice
Pretty Good – 64 Sunday Morning No Doubt
Pretty Good – 64 Trigger Happy Jack Poe
Pretty Good – 64 Hello Poe
Pretty Good – 64 Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand  Primitive Radio Gods
Pretty Good – 64 Hard to Make A Stand  Sheryl Crow
Pretty Good – 64 Lovefool  The Cardigans
Pretty Good – 64 Incarnate The Watchmen
Pretty Good – 91 Where It’s At  Beck
Pretty Good – 91 Two Step Dave Matthews Band
Pretty Good – 91 I Love You Always Forever  Donna Lewis
Pretty Good – 91 Don’t Let Go (Love)  En Vogue
Pretty Good – 91 Pony  Ginuwine
Pretty Good – 91 Soaked Killjoys
Pretty Good – 91 Govinda  Kula Shaker
Pretty Good – 91 The Beautiful People  Marilyn Manson
Pretty Good – 91 Excuse Me Mr. No Doubt
Pretty Good – 91 Red Mosquito  Pearl Jam
Pretty Good – 91 6 Underground  Sneaker Pimps
Pretty Good – 91 Breathe  The Prodigy
Pretty Good – 91 700 ft. Ceiling The Tragically Hip
Pretty Good – 91 You’re Makin’ Me High  Toni Braxton
Pretty Good – 91 Amish Paradise  Weird Al Yankovic
Not Bad – 106 King of New Orleans  Better Than Ezra
Not Bad – 106 Return Of The Mack  Mark Morrison
Not Bad – 106 Until It Sleeps  Metallica
Not Bad – 106 Say You’ll Be There  Spice Girls
Not Bad – 106 Butts Wigglin’  The Tragically Hip
Not Bad – 106 Apartment Song The Tragically Hip
Not Bad – 106 Un-Break My Heart Toni Braxton
Not Bad – 113 I Cry Bass is Base
Not Bad – 113 Because You Loved Me  Celine Dion
Not Bad – 113 Lie In Our Graves  Dave Matthews Band
Not Bad – 113 Beautiful Freak  Eels
Not Bad – 113 Change The World  Eric Clapton
Not Bad – 113 Ready Or Not  Fugees
Not Bad – 113 Til I Hear It From You  Gin Blossoms
Not Bad – 113 Macarena  Los del Rio
Not Bad – 113 Naked Eye  Luscious Jackson
Not Bad – 113 King Nothing  Metallica
Not Bad – 113 I Don’t Want To Wait  Paula Cole
Not Bad – 113 I Believe I Can Fly  R. Kelly
Not Bad – 113 Neil Armstrong Starkicker
Not Bad – 113 Tumble In The Rough Stone Temple Pilots
Not Bad – 113 Santeria  Sublime
Not Bad – 113 Wrong Way  Sublime
Not Bad – 113 Setting Sun  The Chemical Brothers
Not Bad – 113 Everything and After The Doughboys
Not Bad – 113 Down Together  The Refreshments
Not Bad – 113 Don’t Wake Daddy The Tragically Hip
Not Bad – 113 Put It Off The Tragically Hip
Not Bad – 113 I Don’t Want to Think About It Wild Strawberries

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