Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Top 100 Songs Of The 90's Part 4 (24 - 1)

24. Pantera - "Cowboys From Hell"

I don't think i'll ever get sick of the guitar riffs in this song. Simply remarkable. Pantera was part of the rush of metal groups who were buried under the hair and glam rock of the 80's who finally emerged victorious in the early 90's.  The group suffered from many internal problems and squabbles between band mates and struggled to get through the decade eventually permanently dissolving in the early 2000s.

23. Lenny Kravitz - "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over"

People tend to forget about Lenny Kravitz when it comes to great artists from the 90's. Here was a guy who would tell it like it is and also knew his way around a guitar. "It Ain't Over 'til It's Over" is his shining moment. Written during his ongoing rocky relationship with Lisa Bonet, the song has Lenny's heart spilled all over it and I think many of us can relate to the message. Is it just me or does he look hung over in the video?

22. Stereophonics - "Hurry Up And Wait"

This list was not easy for me....I have several regrets and mistakes as I look back on the songs gone by. I knew early on that Stereophonics would be high on the list, but one of the toughest decisions was selected which track to include. I hope I did right thing.

21. Blur - "There's No Other Way"

Long before "Song 2" Blur were a mainstay atop the UK charts. Their second release from their 1991 debut was a groovy throwback song that was a mixture of alternative and dance. Blur struggled to break through in North America, their toiling and patience would soon pay off when the 'yanks eventually noticed them in 1997.

20.  Rammstein - "Engel"

I love the momentum of this song. It's almost impossible not to get primal and show your appreciation for the metal infused "Engel" through slam-dancing and moshing. Geesh, it's people still mosh anymore?

19. Green Day - "Bab's Uvula Who?"

This is the Green Day I miss. I don't even miss their Dookie days. Insomniac will forever be the superior album in my opinion. I have no clue as to what the title means, but the raw, unforgiving punk moment that is etched in time that is "Bab's Uvula Who?" trumps anything Green Day has done before or since.

18. Toad The Wet Sprocket - "All I Want"

Pay mind to the fact that there is no "and" in there. Toad The Wet Sprocket were silently amassing a large and loyal following during the nineties. I'm sure they would all cry blasphemy for me choosing "All I Want" over "Walk On The Ocean"  or "Something's Always Wrong" but you cannot deny as soon as you hear this song, you smile. It awakens something inside you, something that made you glad that you were young and free in the 1990s.

17. Everclear - "Santa Monica"

Simple chords. Easy to remember lyrics and slightly spoken vocals. That with the combination of Art Alexakis' bleached hair, there is little more to add here that could scream more 90s. Oakley sunglasses maybe. Interesting side note here in 2005 lead man Alexakis filed for bankruptcy after owing over 2 million in tax debt. He sold the rights to his songs to cover the costs.

16.  The Verve - "Bittersweet Symphony"

This song was supposed to turn it all around for The Verve....who had to add the "The" in front of their name because a jazz record company was already using Verve. The song is a fantastic piece of music, the music and even the video is immortal in the memories of young teens who could watch it almost every hour on MTV or MuchMusic. Sadly, the legal problems continued for The Verve who used an orchestral version of a Rolling Stones for the main hook of the song, but they neglected to get permission. Almost all of the royalties to the song had to be handed over to The Rolling Stones former manager. Talk about bittersweet.

15. Social Distortion - "I Was Wrong"

One of music's last true punks Mike Ness started Social Distortion back in 1978 and are damn near untouchable as far as respect from fellow musicians goes. The list of prominent Social D fans goes from Neil Young to Tom Waits to Metallica. Proving that they still had some fire left in 1996 they released White Light, White Heat, White Trash which was a much more introspective album than previous efforts and came off completely honest and brutal. "I Was Wrong" is undeniably catchy and infectious. It was the song that started me on the path to lifelong Social Distortion fandom.

14. Neil Young - "Harvest Moon"

Neil Young is sometimes referred to as the Grandfather of Grunge, mainly because he is a known influence to many prominent 90's bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Kurt Cobain referenced a Neil Young song in his suicide note, a fact that Neil rarely addresses out of sheer respect. 1992's Harvest Moon is seen as a sequel to Young's legendary 1972 album Harvest. Though it's not grunging too much the title track is a sweet love song, pure and true.

13. Massive Attack - "Angel"

Massive Attack were leaders of the trance and electronic genre in the late 80s and 90s. They often incorporated various instruments and multiple vocalists on their albums. "Angel" features reggae singer Horace Andy and only actually uses 2 chords. It relies on sounds and effects to entice the listener along. A beautiful song in every aspect.

12. "Brick" - Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five was actually a trio and rose to fame near the draw of the nineties. Known for his quirky lyrics "Brick" is actually quite a sad song. It deals with the singer of the song taking his girlfriend to have an abortion and as it appears, it doesn't get much better for the couple after that.

11. Metallica - "Hero Of The Day"

Metallica took a lot of flack in the late 90's. From cutting their hair, to taking on Napster, to releasing albums that were far from 'thrash' it's a wonder Metallica didn't just dig their heads into the sand and come out in the year 2000. I'm glad they didn't. Their 1996 album Load is what started it all for me. Not just being Metallica's biggest fan, but my whole love affair with music. My wingman when times were hard, my copilot on long winter road trips. Even when it came to picking up a guitar and creating my own music it was Load at the journey's first step. The album's triumph is it's sixth track "Hero Of The Day". There is little to say about the song that can't be summed up by listening to it, but try to shut everything else out. There's a message in this song that each one of us can connect with.

10. Stone Temple Pilots - "Interstate Love Song"

Here we go. The top ten.

Stone Temple Pilots get thrown into the Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Bush all sound alike discussion quite often. Which is said before many bands were signed in the 90's (and always) because studios were after a certain sound. The sound that was sought after was the grungy, quasi-mumbly alt-rock. The a song like "Interstate Love Song" comes along and dear forget everything else the band ever did for 3 and whatever minutes. That guitar riff is pure magic and Scott Weiland actually sounds like he's having fun for once. If I wrote a song like that, I guess i'd be happy too.

9. Tool - "Sober"

I've talked about Tool's brilliance before and believe me they will be included on my Top 100 Songs from 2000-2009 list. "Sober" blew my mind when I first heard it. How do you describe music like this? It isn't simply music, is it? The song sucks you in and stops you from what you're doing, but once you get deeper and hear the magnificent guitars and relentless drumming you're glad it did. I should mention the video as groundbreaking for it's most Tool videos were.

8. Nirvana - "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle"

I'm sure many of you speculated which Nirvana song would rank the highest and it wasn't easy. In Utero has always been my favourite Nirvana record, no question, but there are so many classics on there. "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle" just seems like a song that's uniquely Nirvana's. It comes from a different place than other songs, almost like it was thought up carefully and with intent. That chorus is fantastic as well.

7. Jeff Buckley - "Hallelujah"

One of music's all time greatest covers. A legend covering a legend. Jeff Buckley brings a haunting stillness to Leonard Cohen's timeless words. It's a song about love, but one can't help feeling cold. Hallelujah is a word of joy, so why does it invoke tears? The fact that Buckley is alone with his performance save perhaps the ghosts from his past, reveals why he now owns "Hallelujah".

6. The Verve Pipe - "The Freshman"

To this day The Verve and The Verve Pipe make people confused. Which band is which? It seriously wasn't that difficult to figure out. "The Freshman" goes down as one of the best songs of the 90's, but sadly The Verve Pipe amounted to little else. It's of small concern as this song can be listened to at anytime and i'm sure it makes a new fan every minute.  The lines are blurred as to which events in the song are based on truth or not. As most great songs usually are, this one is left ambiguous.

5. Third Eye Blind - "Semi-Charmed Life"

I held on to this song for a long time...the more I thought about it the higher it kept climbing. It really is one of those timeless 90's songs that you can enjoy no matter how many times you hear it. The energy level is consistent and it's a song about sex and drugs cleverly masked under upbeat music and near falsetto vocals. Third Eye Blind could be one of the 90's most under appreciated groups, though no single ever topped "Semi Charmed Life" they continued to release solid albums into the 2000s.

4. Dave Matthews Band - "Crash Into Me"

Perhaps on of Earth's sweetest songs. All elements of the Dave Matthews Band come together to form a song so near perfect it's often dismissed as a dream. As a guitar player one of my quests to was to conquer this song...I think I did it once in my younger days, but I'd be arsed to try and have a go at it today. It's another kind of perverted song under the guise of a sweet love song, as it seems to be about a voyeuristic peeping tom.

3. Radiohead - "Street Spirit (Fade Out)"

The crescendo from my favourite Radiohead album The Bends. It's ethereal and a musical juggernaut. Thom Yorke puts on one of his finest earlier vocal performances while the band does a great job at maintaining the songs pace until it's epic climax. Even Radiohead knew they had no way to top it, so they included as the final track of the album.

2. Pearl Jam - "Black" 

As personal and autobiographical as Eddie Vedder's words can be there is one song that he remains sly and elusive about: "Black". He has opened up in recent years and began performing it again, but in it's infancy the song was reserved for those who owned Pearl Jam's perfect album Ten. The song is so popular because it seems to be about the universally relatable topic of relationships gone awry. Some of Vedder's finest word play can be found in "Black". "I Know someday you'll have a beautiful life. I Know you'll be a star in someone else's sky, but why can't it be in mine?" Why is it just #2 and not #1? As great a song as "Black" is there are some cases where you just can't listen to's almost too personal. It was a close race though.

1. Foo Fighters - "Everlong"

Here it is. The best song of the Nineties. The Foo Fighters came out of Nirvana's collapse. Drummer Dave Grohl got his chance to for the band he'd always wanted and play some songs that just wouldn't work under Nirvana. While his first album was a good introduction 1997's The Color and The Shape is where he became the ultimate front man. "Everlong" is bliss. It's a song that you can let loose and get sweaty to, but also it's so easy to feel what Dave is singing about. Loving someone through the worst times of your life and that being enough to carry on. Thats what the song means to me. Acoustic or electric the song always gives me chills. It's got heart. It's got balls. It's true Rock and Roll in a time when many thought the very ideal was invalid. We will never get sick of "Everlong". It will always be.

I think I hate this list already.

It almost killed me. I may need some time off from the blog for a while.
But please think of some lists you'd like me to do. Or spend some time rereading some of my old ones

Thanks again to all those who read these!

I don't do them for myself...these lists all exist in my head...I do them for everyone else!

Long Live 90's music!


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