Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Top 100 Songs Of The 90's Part 3 (50-25)

50. Blind Melon - "Change"

People have called Blind Melon a one hit wonder, which makes me re-think that label completely. Sure Blind Melon's only song that hit the charts was "No Rain" but they've had many moments of brilliance and countless great songs. Many are more enjoyable than "No Rain"...."Change" for example. Lyrics from this song were used as Shannon Hoon's epitaph.

49. Sponge - "Have You Seen Mary?"

There's undeniably something about girls named Mary. I'm not sure if it's because the name fits effortlessly into lyrics, the name itself is common or merely the fact that girl's named Mary tend to have attributes that compel musicians to scribe about them. Denmark's Sponge were weak to one Mary's powers. Lucky us.

48. Primitive Radio Gods - "Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand"

This song i'm sure gets attention from the younger audience not only for it's absurdly long title, but what the heck is a phone booth?? As I mentioned one hit wonders earlier this was a notable one from the 90's. Peaking at #10 Primitive Radio Gods wouldn't be heard from again....which is a shame. The song is etheral, dream-like and calming. It samples B.B King's "How Blue Can You Get?" Something not many artists outside of hip-hop were doing at the time.

47. Naughty By Nature - "Jamboree"

Most historians will glaze over "Jamboree" in favour of Naughty By Natures other staples "OPP" or "Hip Hop Hurray". "Jamboree" always had the more instant classic feel for me. It felt like i'd be listening to it decades after it's 1999 release date and I am.

46. R.E.M. - "E-Bow The Letter"

An album that is often missed when thinking about great releases from R.E.M is New Adventures In Hi-Fi. It showed maturity and began R.E.M's journey of independence. Making music and creating the albums that they wanted to. "E-Bow The Letter" exemplifies that perfectly. A beautiful piece of music overlayed with words that Michael Stipe initially intended for his friend River Phoenix before his death in 1993.

45. Santana - "Put Your Lights On" Feat. Everlast

Santana staged a much welcome comeback in the late 90's but thankfully he knew well enough that the landscape had change and didn't try to squeeze a six minute guitar solo in between Barenaked Ladies' "One Week" and Marcy Playground's "Sex & Candy". What he did provide us though is a musically diverse album that incorporated some talented and extremely willing guests on each track. Everlast must have been the favoured son as "Turn Your Lights On" was the album's nadir and is still haunting this many years later.

44. Gin Blossoms - "Found Out About You"

Doug Hopkins was a tragically lost soul. Suffering from depression for much of his life he dreamt of getting a gold record. After receiving one for "Hey Jealousy" he destroyed it after only 2 weeks. In 1993 we killed himself after one of many stints in the hospital. He brilliance hasn't gone unnoticed however, unlike so many talented musicians. His gift for crafting songs could have had it's roots in a troubled past. Whatever the case 'Found Out About You' remains one of the Gin Blossoms' best.

43. The Offspring - "Gone Away"

The Offspring's 1994 album Smash put these guys in the stratosphere. Everyone had a copy, in some cases people had two. Front to back a definite must own from the nineties. The follow-up to that album Ixnay On The Hombre wasn't as well received, but it did yield The Offspring's most impressive song to date. "Gone Away" took the swing from cranked up skater-punk jams into a cry to the sky lament to one of life's harshest lessons. Dexter Holland rarely talks about the inspiration to this track, but if their anything what the lyrics suggest, I think he's entitled to that.

42. Blues Traveler - "Runaround"

From a sombre song of the 90's to one of my top picks for a great pick-me-up on a Monday morning. This song often gets mistakenly credited to Hootie & The Blowfish or Counting Crows. Blues Traveler were from New Jersey and had the distinction (and great boon) of having John Popper as their front man. An imposing figure physically, but he had a unique voice and to this day one of the most proficient and prominent harmonica players out there.

41. Lisa Loeb - "Stay"

Loeb was a virtual unknown musician living in New York City in the early 90's. Her big break came when a friend of hers gave a copy of her song "Stay" to Ben Stiller who was working on the film Reality Bites. The song was used at the end of the movie and was included on the soundtrack. As a result the song skyrocketed to the the #1 position on the charts. Making it the first time an unsigned artist hit #1. Who was Lisa Loeb's friend who got this ball rolling? Ethan Hawke.

40. Our Lady Peace - "Naveed"

I wonder if anyone will call me on this.

39. Wilco & Billy Bragg - "California Stars"

When the great Woody Guthrie left behind annals of unfinished songs. Lyrics without music. Billy Bragg got together with Chicago band Wilco, picked them up, dusted them off and finalized Guthrie's legacy on the album Mermaid Ave. "California Stars" is one of those stars I can listen to on repeat for hours. I can't imagine anyone being in a bad mood when this song is going.

38. Smashing Pumpkins - "33"

Melon Colie & The Infinite Sadness was definitely the Pumpkins' opus. It was really the first double album to gain major recognition from the 90's and while the highlighted songs like "Bullet With Butterfly Wings", "Zero" and "1979" got more attention there were plenty of songs behind the curtains I felt were more worthy. Among them "By Starlight", "Farewell & Goodnight" and "33". "33" is a dream of a song, unlike anything heard of before or since. Just a delight to listen to. The video appears to be shot intentionally choppy, when it's really a series of photographs all strewn together.

37. Better Than Ezra - "Desperately Wanting"

Better Than Ezra's homage to fraternities was one of those forgotten gems from the 90's. Had a great initial run but then quickly vanished under the more favoured single "King Of New Orleans". A song like this can bring right back to a better time, like the singer is harkening back to his younger days.

36. Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Scar Tissue"

I was never really much of a Chili Peppers fan. They had some good songs, but I felt their greater material were either covers or released in the 80's. Though not exactly a comeback album, Californication saw the return of guitarist John Frusciante and with the mediocre One Hot Minute in the past RHCP were back in everyone's heads.  With those infectious little solos that get more complex with each pass and a perfect vibe to close out the 90's "Scar Tissue" was the perfect shot in the arm the Chili Peppers needed to keep them going through the next decade.

35. Fiona Apple - "Criminal"

So much potential summed up in one exquisite song. Her sultry, yet brash voice. The slow, tumid cadence of the instruments. The overlaying sexuality of the entire song..."Criminal" is a delight from the 90's that I will be listening to for many years to come. Sadly, Fiona's career suffered many pitfalls and she has since dropped off the map. I'll cover those in a future post.

34. Metallica - "Nothing Else Matters"

This song was not initially intended for a Metallica album. As singer/rhythm guitarist James Hetfield was talking to his then girlfriend over the phone he was plucking an acoustic guitar with his one free hand. The more he played the less he paid attention to the voice on the other end and focused on what would eventually become one of the greatest ballads from the 90's. James thought about saving the song for a solo album, but thankfully it was included on Metallica's 1991 legendary Black Album.

33.  Bush - "Swallowed"

It always seemed Bush were fighting for their own survival throughout the 90's. Like there was always some factor working against them and someone was just willing to see them fail. Razorblade Suitcase was the last solid effort from the English quartet and the lead off single was pure alt-rock delight. As soon as the opening sounds of "Swallowed" begin you're instantly taken back to those first few times you sat down and watched the video. Those were simpler times weren't they?

32. Oasis - "Don't Look Back In Anger"

During the studio sessions for What's The Story? (Morning Glory) Noel Gallagher threatened his brother that he would sing lead vocals on one of the songs that would become hits...he gave Liam the choice to pick either "Wonderwall" or "Don't Look Back In Anger". "Wonderwall" was a song Noel wrote as a profession of love to his future girlfriend so of course Liam chose that one in spite of his brother. I think Noel won out "Don't Look Back In Anger" has always been the superior song.

31. Rage Against The Machine - "Born Of A Broken Man"

Nearing the end of the decade and consequently the end of a millenium many bands were releasing important and beautiful albums. Rage Against The Machine were no exception. The Battle Of Los Angeles was a perfect record from start to finish and it would turn out to be the last full album of original material that Rage would release as they would break up in 2000. "Born Of A Broken Man" is one of those deep tracks that is a favourite at Rage shows and never seems to get old. Love the guitar part at about 3:30.

30. The Roots - "You Got Me" feat. Eykah Badu

There is little rap more delightful than intellectual rap. Words that seem to be written with a deeper purpose than just to shake some booty or establish a pecking order on the charts. The Roots are a Grammy Award winning group from Philadelphia that formed in the late 80's. "You Got Me" is a great song that takes a darker look at relationships and the flow of the song pulls us in and we just need to know how the story turns out. Erykah's addition just makes the song that much more timeless.

29.  Pearl Jam - "Alive"

In to the top 29! Here we go! Pearl Jam's Ten was not just a great record. To this day I can't be sure that Pearl Jam were alone in writing it. From start to finish it seems to be from another existence...we listeners get but a mere glimpse of what's waiting for us on the other side of the afterlife's curtain. When it's over we aren't exactly sure what we just heard, but we know we've been changed. "Alive" is perfection in 50 different languages. Eddie and co. were in top form when this song came about and this isn't even PJ"s highest charting song!

28. Sublime - "Santeria"

It's difficult to describe Sublime because there isn't really anything to compare them to. It was the genius of Bradley Nowell and his easy living mentality that made Sublime so impossible to ignore. Sadly he'd never live to see the true success of the group as he overdosed days before the release of their self-titled album's release which saw Sublime finally break in to the consciousness of the masses.

27. Goo Goo Dolls - "Name"

This song might be higher than some would have anticipated, but admit it, when this song comes on the radio you ask everyone to be quiet. Or you wish you hadn't quit trying to learn the acoustic guitar when you were 13. Or you wish you hadn't blown it with that girl with the curly brown hair. Or you wish you could go back to when you were young and give it one more shot.

26. The Watchmen - "All Uncovered"

Us Canadians had nothing to lose when we threw our hats into the musical arena. The Watchmen had everything to gain after they released this gem back in 1994. It's what most 90s songs and every Canadian song should aspire to be. Simply joyous.

25. Hayden - "The Hazards Of Sitting Beneath Palm Trees"

Songs need not be complex, showy or heavily produced to be meaningful. Canada's Hayden understands this perhaps better than most. His 1998 album The Closer I Get is pure art. It should be hung on walls and taught in schools. "Hazards Of Sitting Beneath Palm Trees" is a delightful track that freezes a moment in time that most people can relate with. The ending of the song is pure genius. I wish I thought of it.

Monday, 15 October 2012

The Top 100 Songs of the 90's Part 2 (75-51)

75. Weezer - "Butterfly"

Some of you might be thinking i'm intentionally trying to be obscure with these picks. For example i'm including Weezer's "Butterfly" first instead of say "Buddy Holly" or "Say It Ain't So" those are great songs, but at the end of the day i'd rather listen to this gem off of Pinkerton. It's not quirky and proudly geeky like most Weezer songs, just a sweet stripped down acoustic jam.

74. The Chemical Brothers - "Setting Sun"

The 90's brought about the rise and fall of many diverse musical genres. A typical mixed cd of songs from the decade sounds like a sampler from every different rack at the record store...which is what the 90's was. A little bit of everything. Techno saw it's setting sun and time in the spotlight near the end of the decade. Groups like The Prodigy, Daft Punk and England's Chemical Brothers were the bands that found the most exposure. "Setting Sun" is an infectious groove that can be slam danced to or merely absorbed through a set of headphones. The video is pure 90's smorgasbord as well.

73. The Cranberries - "Dreams"

Starting out their music career as The Cranberry Saw Us these lads and lass from Ireland thankfully shortened their name and released their debut in 1993. "Linger" perhaps found them more success but to me "Dreams" was a better song to showcase the group's sensibilities.

72. U2 - "One"

Often hailed as U2's best song "One" came about just as the group was struggling through a tough recording session. Feeling as though they have done all they could as band together U2 considering breaking up. A few days later The Edge came in and began playing "One". It rejuvinated them completely. There are 3 versions of the video for this song. I've chosen the slow motion buffalo version...just different and more iconic

71. Method Man - "You're All I Need To Get By" ft. Mary J. Blige

Method Man initially gained notoreity among the hip hop community as part of the now legendary rap collective known as The Wu-Tang Clan. He stood out immediately and eventually would also record several solo albums. "All I Need" was a track featured on his 1994 album Tical and it was remixed a year later as a duet with Mary J. Blige. The song has been unstoppable since even winning a Grammy.

70. At The Drive-In - "198d"

Written about drummer Tony Hajjar's grandmother who was buried in a mass grave in Lebanon, "198d" comes off the 1999 EP Vaya. At The Drive-In were not about finding fame and fortune, as it is they split up in 2001 just as heads were really beginning to turn in their direction. From the ashes of At The Drive-In came Sparta and The Mars Volta, neither band truly matched the sheer unique energy that could be found in ATDI performances and even on their records. "198d" is a special piece of music and At The Drive In deserve much more attention than they got.

69. James - "Laid"

Where some bands are named like a sports team or given some sort of deep name that invokes serious thought. Other bands are named like children, like Manchester's James. The simplicity in this song is staggering but it's a perfect example of 90's college pop/rock. The right amount of androgyny and sexual interplay makes "Laid" a song from the 90's that will live forever. Sadly James did not.

68. Oasis - "Live Forever"

Love or hate Oasis...I can understand both parties....but you can't deny the songwriting talent of Noel Gallagher. He was typically overshadowed in the group by his brash brother Liam and the two often clashed, but when they worked together beauty was made. "Live Forever" was off their 1994 album Definitely Maybe and is often hailed by critics as their shining star. We'll see if Oasis don't pop up on this list again...

67. Bush - "Glycerine"

Here in Canada Bush were known as Bush X until early 1997. Originally a Canadian group from the 70's used the name Bush and finally allowed Gavin Rossdale and co. to use the name after donating money to a charity. "Glycerine" while shockingly simple and repetitive put England's Bush on the rock map. They would release 3 albums in the 90s before dropping off in early 2001.

66. Third Eye Blind - "Jumper"

Third Eye Blind's 1997 self-titled debut was one of the best debut albums of the 90's, in fact it was pretty much a must own album from the 90's period. "Jumper" is the type of song that stays with you long after you hear it, which is kind of the point of the song. Everyone carries around some kind of deadweight. An ugly past if you will, and the sooner you shed that scar, the happier we'll all be.

65. Metallica - "The Unforgiven"

Taken from the now legendary Black Album (though it's actually Metallica's self-titled album) "The Unforgiven" took the rock epic to new heights. From the trumpet opening, the classical guitar picking and the booming, thunderous verses it helped the Black Album go platinum 15 times over.

64. Pearl Jam - "Mankind"

One of Pearl Jam's most off beat songs off one of their lesser known albums is also on of my most favourite. "Mankind" can be found on 1996's No Code. It features guitarist Stone Gossard on writing duty, lyric duty and he even sang lead vocals, but it's got some kind of throwback appeal to it. Like it was written decades ago and found on an old reel to reel tape, which Pearl Jam than found and restored.

63. The Beta Band - "Dry The Rain"

Credit the 2000 film High Fidelity for bringing The Beta Band back in to the limelight. A scene which takes place in a record store...heck half the film takes place there...features store patrons swaying to lovely sounds of "Dry The Rain" which can be found on either their 1997 EP Champion Versions or more easily on the 1998 compilation album The Three EPs which melts three smaller albums into one.

62.  Beastie Boys - "Sabotage"

Was never really a huge fan of The Beastie Boys, always thought they rehashed the same formulas again and again in their songs and used tired and cliched sophomoric themes to sell records. But goddamn, you one cannot deny the shear power in "Sabotage". The song literally speaks for itself. Perhaps one of the most recognizable videos from the 90's as well.

61. Tool - "Hooker With A Penis"

It's easy to see why this one never really made the journey to mainstream radio and television. Imagine Casey Kasem doing his countdown "...and now coming in all the way up to number 61. "Hooker With A Penis" by Tool so grab someone you love and turn the music up..." hahah doesn't really translate well in written form. This song is one of Tool's best. An assault of bass, pounding drums and killer guitar. Love the message as a straight shot to not only the music industry but the loud, ignorant critics who don't realize which machines they are also a part of.

60. The Pixies - "Gouge Away"

This song exemplifies why The Pixies were so influential to many bands in the 90's. They had a style that lured you in with accessible hooks and melodies then blow you away with screaming guitars and and yelling vocals. Those bands that looked up to The Pixies may have known how to market their sound better, but they definitely weren't as raw and emotional as them.

59. Notorious B.I.G - "Big Poppa"

Everybody knows the stories from Biggie's last days and how he was a victim (allegedly) of the 90's Coast Wars in some circles of the hip hop community. This song shows how his death was even more unfortunate than the obvious reasons. His skills were impressive and had a unique style that made even non-rap usuals take notice. Like myself.

58. Incubus - "A Certain Shade Of Green"

Incubus' 1997 album S.C.I.E.N.C.E was a unique blend of rap, funk, electro, heavy metal and even a little bit of jazz which the members were able to sew together wonderfully without it sounding like audio excrement. "A Certain Shade Of Green" uses typical Incubus allusions to conspiracy theories and predictions about the end of the world, but it's too funky a song to sit and worry about that sort of thing.

57. Soundgarden - "Burden In My Hand"

Let's see so far we've got most of our 90's staple bands covered. Nirvana? Check. Smashing Pumpkins? Check. Pearl Jam. Check. Soundgarden....and CHECK.

56. Korn - "Blind"

Korn have a large catalog of songs to pick from on this list. From their self titled debut in 1994 to even the oft overlooked Issues in 1999 the albums Korn made in the 90's were near flawless, but I keep going back to Life Is Peachy the masterpiece released in 1996. "Blind", while today may seem contrived or overplayed, is still what Korn is all about. Combining earth rumbling metal sounds, a dash of funk and vocalist/lyricist who has seen things passed his short time on this planet is what helped Korn take the helm of the nu-metal movement in the 90's.  Expect them to appear when I do the Best Songs of the 2000s as well.

55. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - "The Impression That I Get"

One of the best bands to come out of or perhaps endure the ill-advised and short lived revival of the swing music in the mid-late 90's were The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Featuring a super quick opening riff and one wordy chorus, it was perhaps these features and of course the dancing guy which helped "The Impression That I Get" stand out from the crowd.

54.  The Lemonheads - "Into Your Arms"

Perpetual alt-indie band The Lemonheads once shared a quite prestigious record with U2 when their song "Into Your Arms" was #1 on the charts for nine weeks. I originally wasn't going to include covers, but this one is pretty obscure (The Hummingbirds did the original in 1990) and the Lemonheads' version is clearly the proper way the song should be done.

53. Tom Waits - "Hold On"

I've talked about Waits' brilliance before and actually have a whole list on him. So I won't go to far into this one. 1999 album Mule Variations check it out. "Hold On" #53

52. Nirvana - "Oh, Me"

Again with the covers. This one was taken form Nirvana's now mythical Unplugged album released in 1994. This one probably wouldn't have made it so high if I had never heard The Meat Puppets' original, for Nirvana to hear a song like that and make some so special they truly deserve #52.

51. Moist - "Leave It Alone"

A little Canadian content here. Where Moist's debut Silver made ripples 1996's Creature made waves. A giant leap forward for the Vancouver quintet. "Leave It Alone" was their "Stairway To Heaven". A Cleverly crafted song that took the listener on a journey and go more twisted and complex as it swooned to it's perfect guitar riff crescendo at the end.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Top 100 Songs Of The 90's Part 1 (100-76)

It's October! The best month of the year as far as i'm concerned. Not too hot not too cold...a plethora of seasonal colours everywhere you look. Also, it happens to be the month that my birthday is in. So I thought i'd give you all a birthday present to help you celebrate. The 90's was when many of us came into music and in reality the 90's had a very distinct style and feel to them and a lot of that had to do with the music. This wasn't easy...and I have a feeling as soon as I post this list i'll want to change everything. Enough stalling, here now the Top 100 songs from 1990-1999. Happy Birthday to me!!

100. Bjork - "Hyperballad"

We start with her Strangeness, Bjork. Being hailed as Iceland's greatest musical export Bjork hasn't been without her share of controversy. Her songwriting and talents have never been in question. "Hyperballad" is a haunting new look at being a relationship. Finding time away from everyday comfort to just destroy something beautiful

99. Alanis Morissette - "Uninvited"

Alanis' undeniably brilliant debut came in 1995 with the release of Jagged Little Pill. The album was everywhere and earned her 4 Grammy awards, 5 hit singles and worldwide recognition. Obviously fans and critics alike were waiting with baited breath for her follow up. In 1998 she released "Uninvited" for the City Of Angels soundtrack, a song that would later be featured on Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. I loved her first album, but it didn't feature anything of this calibre in my opinion. Slightly darker, slighty more mature and slightly more jaded...which makes "Uninvited" a listening experience worth repeating.

98. The Cure - "Cut"

Perhaps known more as a band of the 80's The Cure's success did not stop once the 90's rolled around. Overshadowed by the single "Friday, I'm In Love", "Cut" is an intense and powerful rock song featured near the end of their 1992 album Wish. Not only does it exemplify the continued desperate lyrics of Robert Smith but also the masterful proficiency The Cure had at their instruments.

97. John Hiatt - "Cry Love"

John Hiatt is a seasoned veteran out of Indiana. He's had his songs covered by artists like Three Dog Night, Willie Nelson, Jewel, Iggy Pop and Eric Clapton. His crowned jewel, in my opinion, opens up his thirteenth studio album Walk On. "Cry Love" is an uplifting, almost gospel infused pop gem. There is no denying his love for his music when he belts the chorus at the top of his lungs. Got to love the ukelele as well.

96. Rage Against The Machine - "Down Rodeo"

There has never been nor will there ever be a band like Rage Against The Machine. Uniquely belonging to the 90's Rage released 3 studio albums until disbanding in late 2000. Front man Zach de la Rocha stated that the 4 members' ideals had changed over the years and Rage needed to end. Evil Empire was the album that launched Rage Against The Machine headlong into the very system they were trying to avoid. "Down Rodeo" is a remarkable specimen of the energy, conviction and anti-establishment mentalities one could expect from a Rage song.

95.  Smashing Pumpkins - "I Am One"

Known as The Smashing Pumpkins' first came off 1991's Gish. It's an interesting song not only because it avoided overexposure in the spotlight, but it's one of the few Pumpkins songs to give writing credit to guitarist James Iha. Shortly after Billy Corgan would assume full control of writing every song on the albums even going as far to re-record tracks originally laid down by other members of the band. Regardless, "I Am One" has a great feel...every instrument is featured wonderfully and I love how the song builds to a climax.

94. Manic Street Preachers - "Motorcycle Emptiness"

"Motorcycle Emptiness" comes off Manic Street Preachers' debut album Generation Terrorists. It's partially inspired by the book Rumble Fish and a poem by Welsh poet Patrick Jones. As a whole it's a great 90's track with an infectious guitar hook and many memorable lines. Darkness would befall the Manic Street Preachers in 1995 when their rhythm guitar player Richey Edwards vanished. It is thought he deliberately ran off at his own decision. He has yet to be found. In 2008 his family had him officially declared dead.

93. The Tragically Hip - "Nautical Disaster"

Kind of unknown hit for The Tragically Hip, nowhere near as popular as "New Orleans Is Sinking" or "Ahead By A Century". After repeated listens "Nautical Disaster" is a greater song than most in the Hip catalouge. The lyrics are intentionally ambiguous and slightly hidden under amped up instruments. Frontman Gordon Downie asked his grandfather to tell him something he remembered from fighting in the second world war. The results were haunting and used as lyrics to this song.

92. Yo La Tengo - "Autumn Sweater"

Yo La Tengo formed in 1984 and still perform music to this day. Their name means "I Have It" in Spanish in case you were wondering and perhaps their best album was released in 1997. I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One is wildly praised as their finest and most coherent album. "Autumn Sweater" is a sweet and shy ballad that combines many delightful elements and weaves a romantic tale from a simpler time.

91. Creed - "My Own Prison"

Perhap's Creed's finest moment was sadly their first. No artsy circle jerks, no musical tricks. Just a brooding, pounding rock song borne to bang heads. I think Creed's down fall had a bit to do with their failure to get into new territories. Most of their songs after 'My Own Prison' seemed like alterations instead of independent pieces.

90. Bad Religion - "A Walk"

The 90's saw a revival of the punk movement that was born in the late 70's and early 80's. Though it never truly disappeared through the 1980s bands like Rancid, The Offspring, NOFX, Pennywise brought it to new heights through the 90's. A big part of that was the record label known as Epitaph started by founding member of Bad Religion Brett Gurewitz. Though "A Walk" does come off Bad Religion's first CD with Atlantic records.

89. Radiohead - "Stop Whispering"

The Pixies were one of the most influential bands of the 90's though they never really found fame until years later. That mostly has to do with the bands they inspired raving about them and covering their music. Radiohead's Thom Yorke was a huge Pixies fan and recorded "Stop Whispering" as a tribute to them. Though not a Pixies song it is definitely on track with their style.

88. Duncan Sheik - "Barely Breathing"

I don't care how many times this song was played in 1997 when it was released, it's fantastic.  Duncan has a very unique voice that stands out in a overcrowded genre of mumbling "talkers" and the production just screams 90's here. Though it seems Duncan Sheik is destined to be a one hit wonder "Barely Breathing" is a great song to be known for.

87. Live - "All Over You"

Live are another group that seemed were unstoppable in the 90's but slowly became disconnected when the turn of the decade came rolling by. Throwing Copper was Live's critically acclaimed juggernaut of an album. Topping charts and critics lists' worldwide, even the songs deleted were great! "All Over You" is a relentless assault that is lightly dusted with sexual energy, like most Live songs. Some may criticize it's repeating lyrics, but that's one of the main reasons this song has become timeless.

86. Spin Doctors - "Two Princes"

Who doesn't hear that opening drum roll and get instantly teleported to the first time you heard this song? Or a time when this was your jam? I wore the tape out on Pocket Full Of Kryptonite I played it so often. Spin Doctors were another group who failed to strike gold twice, but this song is so legendary and so respected from the 90's era I'm sure they don't mind.

85. The Dandy Warhols - "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth"

Warhols singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor wrote this about one of his ex-girlfriends who became a heroin addict while on tour with the band. Instead of writing a sad lament about her, he put it in a happy pop song and mocked her in the chorus.

84. Soul Asylum - "Summer Of Drugs"

I wasn't sure about including covers on here, but changed my mind when I realized that some are just too damn good not to include. Soul Asylum recorded "Summer Of Drugs" for Sweet Relief an album designed to raise funds for Victoria Williams. Williams was a respected songwriter and singer in California, but never had huge success outside of her circles. She had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and couldn't afford health care for the treatment. So a gathering of artists banded together and recorded versions of her songs for a benefit album. Soul Asylum chose "Summer Of Drugs" and knocked it out of the park.

83. Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

There is no denying that this is a fantastic song, but I don't think it's Nirvana's best. It's also not the best of the decade, but because of the sheer impact it made upon it's release back in 1991 it can't be ignored. Cobain got the idea for the song's title while at a party and saw written on the wall "Kurt smells like teen spirit". He included it as the title without realizing it was a brand of deodorant. Every element of this song has became engrained in the folklore of 90's culture. The recording process, the writing process and even the video who's simple concept became the framework of 90's videos to come.

82. REM - "Nightswimming"

The 90's brought out the best of Georgia's REM. Automatic For The People combined many different styles of REM's music. "Nightswimming" recalls moments from the band's youth. Innocence. Harmless fun. Some people felt it was possibly about homosexuality and the time before AIDS was a real issue. Either way a beautiful chorusless song. And oddly a song where the lyrics came long before music was assigned to it.

81. Silverchair - "Pure Massacre"

This one gets forgotten about a lot when discussing great 90's tracks. Silverchair were Australia's answer to Nirvana. Sadly after Nirvana made it big, every record label was looking to sign the next long-haired, disenchanted grunge trio and Silverchair naively signed a terrible contract. Their first album Frogstomp was a delight, but subsequent records were not given the proper time frame and were pumped out faster than they could be absorbed. Thankfully songs like "Pure Massacre" still hold up in this day and age and can remind us of the rage we had in our youth.

80. Del Amitri - "Always The Last To Know"

Known more for their later hit "Roll To Me" Del Amitri were a Scottish band who enjoyed a few years of success on American airwaves. This song follows formulaic 90's pop sensibilities but it's the catchy guitar riff and silky smooth voice of Justin Currie that gives it a slight edge over some of the others.

79.  Ben Lee - "Cigarettes Will Kill You"

It's almost an offense to listen to this song with the inane racket of keyboard typing over top of it. Ben Lee is another Aussie on the list with eight studio albums to his name and a few acting roles as well. "Cigarettes Will Kill You" has a great retrospective feel to walking along to the song with everything in your past behind you trying desperately to catch up. Lee describes the song's title like a bad relationship that you keep going back to expecting it to get better but always getting hurt.

78. Matthew Sweet - "Sick Of Myself"

One of the truest, most honest love songs from the 90s. Matthew Sweet i'm sure loves October as well because his birthday is in it too (it's actually the same day as mine). Sweet has made a steady career of guitar driven, honest pop songs. "Sick Of Myself" is no exception EXCEPT the guitar playing is brilliant in this! Not just the solos but even the underlying rhythms. Takes me back.

77. Collective Soul - "Precious Declaration"

One thing that Collective Soul always brought to the party was a catchy, amped up guitar riff. It's like they couldn't let a song get to album without it. We all appreciate it CS. "Precious Declaration" came in the late 90s but there is no sound on Earth like that opening guitar. It sounds like Zeus himself is playing it with a lightning bolt. Once you hear the riff after all there is no turning back.

76. Alice In Chains - "Nutshell"

We're all having a little too much fun at this point. We can't forget that the 90's weren't fun for everybody. My favourite Alice In Chains song comes in at #76. From the Jar Of Flies EP released in 1994 "Nutshell" is a sobering and dark look into the mind of Layne Staley. The song is about dealing with untruths and winding up alone. Chillingly foretelling as Layne Staley would die in 2002 of an overdose. The last person to see him alive was his friend and former bass player Mike Starr who walked out after an arguement. Allegedley Staley's last words were "Not like this man, not like this"

That's it for part one!

Keep checking back for parts 2,3 and 4 where I will name the best song of the 90's!!

Johnny Zhivago