We’re only human, so we’ll never be able to do a fully comprehensive list of every awesome song from the 90’s. Therefore we decided not to try. Instead, we’re presenting you with a series of songs organized in whatever fashion we see fit, with no reference at all to N’Sync-style boy bands, only one Britney Spears reference, and nowhere near enough grunge. Enjoy it anyway.
Quick note: in the interest of making sure the post will load for you before you’re ready to eat your Thanksgiving dinner, we’ve only embedded one video per category. There are links provided to each video. There may be explicit language in a few of the links, so exercise your judgment when it comes to singing along in your cubicle.
Quick note number 2: we’ve skipped a few obvious categories, like “songs about being depressed” or “songs about my dysfunctional family” because that was ALL OF THEM.
Feel free to tell us what we missed in the comments.
Songs that stole iconic beats from older songs and made them way, way better:
Set Adrift on Memory Bliss by P.M. Dawn (iconic 80’s-style background from Spandau Ballet’s “True”)
Hard Knock Life by Jay-Z, obviously referring back to the Broadway musical “Annie”
How did this make it onto the radio?
“Carribbean Blue” by Enya (or really, anything at all by Enya. Not that it’s bad, but how on earth did it make it to the radio?)
Chant – a whole bunch of medieval-style Gregorian chanting by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos from Burgos, Spain. Their album hit number 3 on the Billboard Top 200. Apparently it was supposed to help us all relax.
Yanni – it wasn’t possible to do much of anything with Yanni besides relax, unless it was maybe to go to sleep. No one’s really sure how this got popular outside of yoga classes or massage parlors… but it was. “Live from the Acropolis” hit no. 5 on the Billboard 200, and it’s estimated that the video was seen by half a billion people. That’s billion with a B, everyone.
“Return to Innocence” by Enigma – we’re assuming this just rode the random New Age wave to popularity.
Songs with iconic videos (remember the days when MTV played music?)
“No Rain” by Blind Melon – never forget the little bee girl!
“Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. – gotta love the mandolin.
“November Rain” by Guns N Roses – don’t forget you need a good long break if you want to watch the whole thing
“Hit Me Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears
Hit play and try not to dance, we dare you:
“Jump Around” by House of Pain
“Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C+C Music Factory
“C’Mon ‘N Ride It (the Train)” by Quad City DJ’s
Songs we all wanted to make out to at high school dances:
“I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men
“Kiss from a Rose” by Seal
“Die Without You” by P.M. Dawn
Covers that were way better than the original:
“Killing Me Softly” by the Fugees (originally Roberta Flack)
“Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley (song written by Leonard Cohen and covered by approximately everyone who has ever owned a guitar. Buckley’s is easily the most well known.)
“Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor (this is a Prince song – the “2 U” in the title is the dead giveaway)
“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston (originally Dolly Parton)
Still mad about that breakup:
“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morrisette, which may or may not have been written about Dave Coulier, aka this guy:
“Song for the Dumped” by Ben Folds Five
“Ex-Factor” by Lauryn Hill
“Don’t Speak” by No Doubt
“Sleep to Dream” by Fiona Apple
These ladies are way more awesome than the rest of us:
“My Lovin’ (Never Gonna Get It)” by En Vogue
“Waterfalls” by TLC
“Silent All These Years” by Tori Amos
Pretty sure these were secretly all the same band:
“Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls
“Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms
“All I Want” by Toad the Wet Sprocket
“One Headlight” by Wallflowers
Why were there so many songs about icons from past generations?
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something
“Buddy Holly” by Weezer
“Man on the Moon” by R.E.M.
Canada should apologize for the following:
“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion
“Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” by Crash Test Dummies
(Please note: Canada should also be forced to apologize for Nickelback and Justin Bieber, although neither of those entities started harrassing our eardrums until the ’00s).
Overplayed songs originally from movie soundtracks:
“Stay” by Lisa Loeb (from Reality Bites)
“Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio (from Dangerous Minds)
“Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John
Already listed above because they were EVERYWHERE for years: Whitney Houston singing that Dolly Parton song on the Bodyguard soundtrack; Celine Dion’s overplayed song from Titanic; “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal
You’re welcome for the neverending earworm:
“Barbie Girl” by Aqua
“All That She Wants” by Ace of Base
“Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” by Spin Doctors
“This is How We Do It” – Montell Jordan
“Walkin’ on the Sun” by Smash Mouth
“I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers
It’s a list of 90’s songs, so the following must be included because it’s probably a law somewhere:
“Nuthin’ But a G Thang” by Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
“Regulate” by Warren G featuring Nate Dogg
“Wonderwall” by Oasis (seriously, though, “Live Forever” was a better song)
“Gin and Juice” by Snoop Doggy Dogg
“U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer
“Under the Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers