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.

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