My favorite songs from 1996

Posted: April 14, 2018 in Rankings


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.


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
Great – 21 California Love 2Pac
Great – 21 Let It Rain Amanda Marshall
Great – 21 Diggin’ a Hole Big Sugar
Great – 21 Fire Water Burn Bloodhound Gang
Great – 21 Greedy Fly Bush
Great – 21 The Distance Cake
Great – 21 Naked Goo Goo Dolls
Great – 21 One More Astronaut I Mother Earth
Great – 21 Leave It Alone Moist
Great – 21 If It Makes You Happy Sheryl Crow
Great – 21 The Good in Everyone Sloan
Great – 21 Pretty Noose Soundgarden
Great – 21 Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart Stone Temple Pilots
Great – 21 Banditos The Refreshments
Great – 21 The Freshman The Verve Pipe
Great – 21 If You Could Only See Tonic
Great – 21 Give Me One Reason Tracy Chapman
Great – 38 The Devil in the Kitchen Ashley MacIsaac
Great – 38 Brenda Stubbert Ashley MacIsaac
Great – 38 Sleepy Maggie Ashley MacIsaac
Great – 38 Radiation Vibe Fountains of Wayne
Great – 38 One Of Us Joan Osborne
Great – 38 Popular Nada Surf
Great – 38 How Bizarre OMC
Great – 38 E-Bow the Letter R.E.M.
Great – 38 A Change Would Do You Good Sheryl Crow
Great – 38 Lady Picture Show Stone Temple Pilots
Great – 38 Springtime in Vienna The Tragically Hip
Great – 38 One Headlight The Wallflowers
Great – 38 Crossing a Canyon 54-40
Great – 38 Over Now Alice in Chains
Great – 38 The Old Apartment Barenaked Ladies
Great – 38 Devil’s Haircut Beck
Great – 38 No Diggity Blackstreet
Great – 38 Crash Into Me Dave Matthews Band
Great – 38 Tripping Billies Dave Matthews Band
Great – 38 Used to be Alright I Mother Earth
Great – 38 I Want You Savage Garden
Great – 38 Everything You’ve Done Wrong Sloan
Great – 38 Wannabe Spice Girls
Great – 38 Salvation The Cranberries
Great – 38 Hollywood The Cranberries
Great – 38 Free To Decide The Cranberries
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 – 90 Where It’s At Beck
Pretty Good – 90 Two Step Dave Matthews Band
Pretty Good – 90 I Love You Always Forever Donna Lewis
Pretty Good – 90 Don’t Let Go (Love) En Vogue
Pretty Good – 90 Pony Ginuwine
Pretty Good – 90 Soaked Killjoys
Pretty Good – 90 Govinda Kula Shaker
Pretty Good – 90 The Beautiful People Marilyn Manson
Pretty Good – 90 Excuse Me Mr. No Doubt
Pretty Good – 90 Red Mosquito Pearl Jam
Pretty Good – 90 6 Underground Sneaker Pimps
Pretty Good – 90 Breathe The Prodigy
Pretty Good – 90 700 ft. Ceiling The Tragically Hip
Pretty Good – 90 You’re Makin’ Me High Toni Braxton
Pretty Good – 90 Amish Paradise Weird Al Yankovic
Not Bad – 105 King of New Orleans Better Than Ezra
Not Bad – 105 Return Of The Mack Mark Morrison
Not Bad – 105 Until It Sleeps Metallica
Not Bad – 105 Say You’ll Be There Spice Girls
Not Bad – 105 Butts Wigglin’ The Tragically Hip
Not Bad – 105 Apartment Song The Tragically Hip
Not Bad – 105 Un-Break My Heart Toni Braxton
Not Bad – 112 I Cry Bass is Base
Not Bad – 112 Because You Loved Me Celine Dion
Not Bad – 112 Lie In Our Graves Dave Matthews Band
Not Bad – 112 Beautiful Freak Eels
Not Bad – 112 Change The World Eric Clapton
Not Bad – 112 Ready Or Not Fugees
Not Bad – 112 Til I Hear It From You Gin Blossoms
Not Bad – 112 Macarena Los del Rio
Not Bad – 112 Naked Eye Luscious Jackson
Not Bad – 112 King Nothing Metallica
Not Bad – 112 I Don’t Want To Wait Paula Cole
Not Bad – 112 I Believe I Can Fly R. Kelly
Not Bad – 112 Neil Armstrong Starkicker
Not Bad – 112 Tumble In The Rough Stone Temple Pilots
Not Bad – 112 Santeria Sublime
Not Bad – 112 Wrong Way Sublime
Not Bad – 112 Setting Sun The Chemical Brothers
Not Bad – 112 Everything and After The Doughboys
Not Bad – 112 Down Together The Refreshments
Not Bad – 112 Don’t Wake Daddy The Tragically Hip
Not Bad – 112 Put It Off The Tragically Hip
Not Bad – 112 I Don’t Want to Think About It Wild Strawberries


1990       1991      1992      1993     1994     1995     1996

1960s          1970s          1980s          1990s


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