My 200 Favorite Songs of the 90s Pt. 1

90sBest

My favorite decade for music means a bigger list when compiling the best. I thought I would have a Top 100 list here but when I pulled out all the songs I had labeled “Awesome” I reached 146. Then I had the bright idea of going through the 275 or so “Great” songs and somehow pluck out four more to get an even 150. It was quickly obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to reduce it to seven. By the time I got through them I had 77 more that I wonder if I should have given the “Awesome” designation to.

1990     1991     1992     1993     1994     1995     1996     1997     1998     1999

1960s          1970s          1980s

Now you know why I don’t rank the year-by-year charts in a hard, chiseled order. Every day brings a different mood. The best song today could be 50th tomorrow, and the 100th song yesterday is in the Top 10 today.

Anyway, I had 220 songs that I wanted on this list and I said “enough is enough”. It was a lot of agonizing making those 20 cuts – and I feel like I left a lot of very popular songs off that 220 to begin with! I mean – how does any list of the greatest songs from 1990 to 1999 not include Enter Sandman, Interstate Love Song, Mr. Jones or I Alone? And even though pop music isn’t really my thing, I do appreciate some of it and the catchier ones I grow to enjoy – so it was actually difficult to give the axe to Wannabe, Freedom ’90 and I Want You. These above seven songs just missed the list and I feel weird about cutting them, but bottom line is – in my mood today if I want to hear one of the below songs versus one of these five songs, I’d go with one of the below songs.

Warning – all of the 200 songs to make this list are amazing. It’s almost impossible for me to say that the song I got at 60 is much better than the one I have at 200. Do you feel my pain?

Update: After going through the decade again for songs I may have missed, I found a few dozen. This includes a handful of gems that should be in this Top 200. So in this revision in April of 2020, rather than knock out the six songs that originally made this list…I expanded to 206 and then added four songs that “just missed” the list to get an even 210.

The songs that just missed the Top 200…

214. Interstate Love Song – Stone Temple Pilots (1994)

213. Mr. Jones – Counting Crows (1993)

212. Enter Sandman – Metallica (1991)

211. Freedom ’90 – George Michael (1990)

210. Eat My Brain – The Odds (1995)

Reminds me of living off campus at the University of Guelph with my house mates, and my ‘weekends’ live-in girlfriend. Fun times. A good, underrated Canadian band.

209. Give It Away – Red Hot Chili Peppers (1991)

I was 17 and in high school when this album came out. One of the better albums of all time. This song was such a huge hit that it’s probably the amount it was overplayed that knocked this down a few dozen spots in my heart.

208. All Mixed Up – 311 (1995)

I’m reminded of living in Guelph, but off visiting a friend out towards Windsor. My shitty old truck broke down outside London. I ended up partying with my sister, who lived in London, that night instead. At the time she was into these guys and got me into them as well. Unique blend of music here.

207. Popular – Nada Surf (1996)

206. One Of Us – Joan Osborne (1996)

205. We’ll Go To – The Tragically Hip (1993)

A very underrated song from Fully Completely. For a while there, it was my favorite from the album.

204. Blue on Black – Kenny Wayne Shepherd (1997)

203. Santeria – Sublime (1997)

202. Possum Kingdom – Toadies (1993)

This song is led by a very strong intro. Just hearing it sets you up to listen to this kind of music.

201. A Change Would Do You Good – Sheryl Crow (1996)

Another strong intro powers this song into my favorites.

And Now, My 200 Favorite Songs of the 90’s (Part 1)

200. Misery – Soul Asylum (1995)

199. The Sign – Ace of Base (1993)

This song reminds me of my 19th birthday and enjoying the bar scene for the first time. It was a good summer.

198. Your Woman – White Town (1997)

197. Automatic Flowers – Our Lady Peace (1997)

196. Cumbersome – Seven Mary Three (1995)

195. Tomorrow – Silverchair (1994)

194. Immortality – Pearl Jam (1994)

193. Thunderstruck – AC/DC (1990)

192. Roam – B-52s (1990)

A guilty pleasure. I just love this song. I love how the women’s voices harmonize. Could listen to it on repeat. Still. Whatever – you have a guilty pleasure too, don’t look at me like that.

191. The Distance – Cake (1996)

190. Loser – Beck (1994)

I was home from university for the weekend. My buddy picks me up, blasts this on his stereo. Promptly backs out of the driveway and into a brand new pickup truck that was parked.

189. Say It Ain’t So – Weezer (1994)

I bought this album because of Buddy Holly, and fell in love with the entire album. And now ironically Buddy Holly was one of the final cuts, missing out on my Top 200 favorites altogether while a slew of their other songs from this CD made it. One of my favorite albums of all time.

188. Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden (1994)

This reminds me of the one summer I went back home from university – after first year. I moved in with a buddy. I worked a lot, but it was a great party summer and I met one of my more serious girlfriends. This song played in the background in our apartment through a lot of this.

187. Zombie – The Cranberries (1994)

186. Supersonic – Oasis (1994)

185. Breathe – Moist (1999)

Canada churned out great music in the 90s. Moist deserves more recognition. If you don’t know this band, give a few of their songs a listen. A few will appear on this list. David Usher, the lead singer, had some solo stuff as well – 2001’s Black Black Heart is a favorite of mine.

184. In The Garage – Weezer (1994)

183. Nothing Else Matters – Metallica (1991)

Maybe Enter Sandman was played too much? I like this one better. Always did.

182. Thank U – Alanis Morissette (1998)

181. Always on the Run – Lenny Kravitz (1991)

I was 17 when this album came out, and I was already in love with his Let Love Rule album. This one solidified Kravitz’s place as one of my favorite artists of all time. Wall-to-wall great. To kick off a career with two albums that are amazing through-and-through is a rare accomplishment.

180. All For You – Sister Hazel (1997)

179. You Learn – Alanis Morissette (1995)

This album came out when I was 21. When I was 22 it was still going strong, because there were so many hits on it that there was a lot of radio play. I loved Jagged Little Pill. Alanis was a very jaded woman in this album – lots of anger and some relationship resentment. And in 1996 I had my big breakup, so…

178. Miss World – Hole (1994)

177. Scooby Snacks – Fun Lovin Criminals (1996)

176. Dissident – Pearl Jam (1993)

Pearl Jam songs from the 90s really grow on you. They start off as pretty good, or even great. And twenty years later they’re amazing. Elite. Genius.

175. Pillar Of Davidson – Live (1994)

One of the most unknown and underrated songs. This is an incredible tune that makes me stop what I’m doing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it on the radio. But the ebbs and flows of this one give me chills.

174. Closer – Nine Inch Nails (1994)

173. Everlong – Foo Fighters (1997)

172. She – Green Day (1994)

Went with the live version for this, because Green Day is great live and actually sound close to the studio version.

171. Nearly Lost You – Screaming Trees (1992)

170. Only In Dreams – Weezer (1994)

Another one from this elite album. Such a good song that until now, 25 years later, I had no idea it was eight minutes long.

169. Drain You – Nirvana (1991)

First appearance on the list, and certainly not their last. Nirvana’s music gets better with each year that passes.

168. Big Me – Foo Fighters (1995)

Nirvan’s drummer, Dave Grohl, started a pretty good band himself and it all started here. Also – hilarious video.

167. Song 2 – Blur (1997)

Everyone knows this song. Still played all the time at arenas and stadiums. Back in ’97, crowds at the club loved it when this one came on. The rock clubs, not the dance clubs (I didn’t frequent those so much).

166. Walking Contradiction – Green Day (1995)

When this album came out, I loved this song. Still do. And the video is funny too.

165. Tubthumping – Chumbawamba (1997)

Even today everyone knows this song because it gets played a lot. Well, you haven’t seen anything. Back in 1997 and ’98, no song on the planet got this much play. It’s the reason this is 158 instead of 58. It’s a great song, if you hear it for the first time. Good blend of styles, upbeat, sticks in your head…

164. Linger – The Cranberries (1993)

163. November Rain – Guns N’ Roses (1991)

This song, at least in my circle of friends, was making the band draw comparisons in legend and popularity to Led Zeppelin and Stairway to Heaven. I didn’t feel that way, but we never found out because G’n R couldn’t hold it together long enough to string together more albums.

162. I Got Id – Pearl Jam (1995)

161. Runaway Train – Soul Asylum (1992)

160. Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) – The Offspring (1998)

159. Jumper – Third Eye Blind (1997)

158. Come As You Are – Nirvana (1991)

157. I Could Have Lied – Red Hot Chili Peppers (1991)

Love this song by the Chilis. I wish it didn’t have the f-bombs so I could play it around my kids.

156. Hole Hearted – Extreme (1990)

I really loved this song back in high school. I enjoyed the guitar, and the way the voices blended in the chorus. I don’t recall anyone in my circle of friends playing or enjoying this song. Perhaps it was too ‘pop’. But I loved it. Still do.

155. Disappear – INXS (1990)

My favorite song by INXS.

154. What Was Going Through My Head – The Grapes of Wrath (1990)

Unless your Canadian, you almost certainly won’t know this song or this band. But it’s an amazing tune (and an even better one is on the way, further up this list). Give it a listen and thank me later. Song starts about 40 seconds in…

153. Celebrity Skin – Hole (1998)

That’s it for Part 1. Next three parts are coming up. Thanks for walking through my history with me.

Part 2 (152 – 103)

Part 3 (102-52)

Part 4 (51-1)

I have a 1990s playlist on YouTube here.

Here are songs 214 through 153…

153 Celebrity Skin Hole 1998
154 What Was Going Through My Head The Grapes of Wrath 1990
155 Disappear INXS 1990
156 Hole Hearted Extreme 1990
157 I Could Have Lied Red Hot Chili Peppers 1991
158 Come As You Are Nirvana 1991
159 Jumper Third Eye Blind 1997
160 Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) The Offspring 1998
161 Runaway Train Soul Asylum 1992
162 I Got Id Pearl Jam 1995
163 November Rain Guns N’ Roses 1991
164 Linger The Cranberries 1993
165 Tubthumping Chumbawamba 1997
166 Walking Contradiction Green Day 1995
167 Song 2 Blur 1997
168 Big Me Foo Fighters 1995
169 Drain You Nirvana 1991
170 Only In Dreams Weezer 1994
171 Nearly Lost You Screaming Trees 1992
172 She Green Day 1994
173 Everlong Foo Fighters 1997
174 Closer Nine Inch Nails 1994
175 Pillar Of Davidson Live 1994
176 Dissident Pearl Jam 1993
177 Scooby Snacks Fun Lovin Criminals 1996
178 Miss World Hole 1994
179 You Learn Alanis Morissette 1995
180 All For You Sister Hazel 1997
181 Always on the Run Lenny Kravitz 1991
182 Thank U Alanis Morissette 1998
183 Nothing Else Matters Metallica 1991
184 In The Garage Weezer 1994
185 Breathe Moist 1999
186 Supersonic Oasis 1994
187 Zombie The Cranberries 1994
188 Black Hole Sun Soundgarden 1994
189 Say It Ain’t So Weezer 1994
190 Loser Beck 1994
191 The Distance Cake 1996
192 Roam B-52s 1990
193 Thunderstruck AC/DC 1990
194 Immortality Pearl Jam 1994
195 Tomorrow Silverchair 1994
196 Cumbersome Seven Mary Three 1995
197 Automatic Flowers Our Lady Peace 1997
198 Your Woman White Town 1997
199 The Sign Ace of Base 1993
200 Misery Soul Asylum 1995
201 A Change Would Do You Good Sheryl Crow 1996
202 Possum Kingdom Toadies 1994
203 Santeria Sublime 1997
204 Blue on Black Kenny Wayne Shepherd 1997
205 We’ll Go To The Tragically Hip 1993
206 One Of Us Joan Osborne 1996
207 Popular Nada Surf 1996
208 All Mixed Up 311 1995
209 Give It Away Red Hot Chili Peppers 1991
210 Eat My Brain The Odds 1995
211 Freedom ’90 George Michael 1990
212 Enter Sandman Metallica 1991
213 Mr. Jones Counting Crows 1993
214 Interstate Love Song Stone Temple Pilots 1994

1990     1991     1992     1993     1994     1995     1996     1997     1998     1999

1960s          1970s          1980s

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