Sunday, 16 March 2014

Rob Reid's Top 90 Alt-Rock Songs Of The 90's (Part 2)

Tag Team back again!! We're gonna keep rolling through Robbo's favourite Alt-Rock jams of the 90's. Things are getting pretty serious here...a few bands we haven't mentioned make their first appearance and a few that were featured heavily in part one gone to the showers. Rob's Top 90 Alt-Rock Songs Of The 90's. Part II!

60. "King Of New Orleans" - Better Than Ezra

Not sure if underrated is the right word here, maybe often overlooked. Better Than Ezra were responsible for a multitude of memorable tracks in the 90's. Releasing 4 albums in the decade, two of which were damn near flawless. 1993's Deluxe was perhaps their most acclaimed and 1996's Friction, Baby was their most popular. Partly because of "King Of New Orleans" and another track that perhaps will get a mention later.

59. "Counting Blue Cars" - Dishwalla

Doesn't get more mid-90's edgy than a song questioning God's sexual ambiguity by a band named after a product hocked on midday infomercials. California's Dishwalla had mediocre success outside of this hit. "Counting Blue Cars" gained the band plenty of worldwide attention, but they really failed to duplicate it's fame.

58. "All That You Are" - Econoline Crush

Probably the band's most successful single to date. If you've listened to any rock radio station in Canada in the last 15 years you've heard this song. I guarantee it. Man just watched a few moments from the video... how often was that one played on Much Music? Good times..

57. "Open Up Your Eyes" - Tonic

Also known as the song with the guys roller skating in it. Tonic got their start in 1993 in California and by 1996 their album  Lemon Parade had started to cause a stir. Though Tonic were never massively popular, they quietly earned Grammy nods and had Radio's most played song of 1997 in the album's second single "If You Could Only See"

56. "Dammit" - Blink 182

Punk kids learning to play guitar in the 90's probably had this one on repeat trying to replicate that blazing opening riff. "Dammit" is the song that put Blink 182 on the map with it's catchy hooks and hilarious video. It was music anybody could enjoy.

55. "Runaway Train" - Soul Asylum

A Runaway train is a great way to describe Soul Asylum's potential in the 90's. Behind the success of this single we all thought we'd be hearing much more from the group. After their 1998 album Candy From A Stranger failed to make any significant waves they were dropped from their record label. It would be 8 years before they reunited and released music again. By the way, this is one of the most iconic videos of the 90s and has a separate version for UK and US releases.

54. "To Be With You" - Mr. Big

I thought this was an 80's song for sure, but there it is released in 1991. Maybe the last of the big hair metal bands and squeeked in right before a band called Nirvana entered the 90's scene and laid waste to all the flashy, spandexed remnants of the decade before it. Great song though, soft, sweet and some excellent guitar work.

53. "Sunday Morning" - No Doubt

No Doubt's second appearance on the list and another song from Tragic Kingdom. "Sunday Morning" was released as a single in 1997 and the album came out in 1995. Is there any wonder left why it was one of the 90's best selling albums? No doubt.

52. "Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)" - Incubus

From Rob himself: "This was one of our jam songs for the band. It was great how every instrument kind of gets added one at a time and each part is very complimentary and fun to play." I wasn't the biggest Incubus fan in the 90's but they are one of Rob's favourites, it's great being introduced to new music. You can really tell that this album (S.C.I.E.N.C.E) was the right bridge between Fungus Amongus and Make Yourself.

51. "Tonight, Tonight" - The Smashing Pumpkins

One of the most magical and awe-inspiring tracks off of Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness is "Tonight, Tonight". It's pacing, orchestration, dream-like lyrics and of course the video, made it stand out among not only the other songs on the album, but other 90's songs released around the same time. No shock to see why they were one of the decade's most popular groups.

50. "Automatic Flowers" - Our Lady Peace

Though there were many great albums released by Canadian groups in the 90's, few were bigger than 1997's Clumsy by Our Lady Peace. Everybody had a different favourite song of the record. Apparently the band went out to a cabin to write the songs for Clumsy and when they got stuck or tired, they took to the frozen lake for a few rounds of hockey. Thats how you make an iconic album in Canada.

49. "Santa Monica" - Everclear

Some bands new how to keep it simple and sometimes that formula worked like gang busters. Everclear's "Santa Monica" employs a basic guitar hook and verse/chorus/verse system and to this day is one of the most memorable songs from the 90's.

48. "The Difference" - The Wallflowers

Bringing Down The Horse was the name of The Wallflowers' breakthrough album. When this band first came out there was a bit of hype circling them because of the fact that lead singer Jakob Dylan was the son of legend Bob Dylan. That fact was quickly brushed aside when it was discovered that their musical styles are vastly different in many ways. "The Difference" is a good example of that. Straight forward rock, feel good music and truly an entire band effort.

47. "Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm" - Crash Test Dummies

Did this song ever stand out in the Nineties. With it's bizarrely awkward title, storytelling lyrics and the distinct baritone vocals of Brad Roberts. This song was perfectly parodied by Weird Al Yankovic as "Head Line News". When your song gets "Weird Al'd" you know you've made it.

46. "Right Here, Right Now" - Jesus Jones

The 80's is typically known as the decade that gave us the most one hit wonders, but that doesn't the 90's was without it's share. Jesus Jones were a group from Britain that fused the electro-pop sound of the 80's with the guitar driven rock that was making a comeback in the early 90's. "Right Here, Right Now" is a song that is often overlooked. A great track though that sometimes is still used in political campaigns.

45. "Friday, I'm In Love" - The Cure

We've reached the half way mark! The Cure were another English band that were huge in the 80's. As the 90's turned The Cure didn't do the drastic and radically change their look or style, but kept making the great music they were known for. 1992's Wish is my favourite album from The Cure, so I was glad to see it represented here.

44. "Bittersweet Symphony" - The Verve

Adding that dreaded article to their name was not the only bit of legal turmoil that befell England's The Verve. After the release of their biggest hit "Bittersweet Symphony" they were forced to relinquish all the profits the song had made because they had used a sample from "The Last Time" by The Rolling Stones. Though the band had originally negotiated the use of the sample, it turned into an ugly legal battle which The Verve subsequently lost.

43. "Let Her Cry" - Hootie & The Blowfish

Hootie & The Blowfish were always great at the 'relationship advice' song. I'm assuming because most of these experiences they are singing about are probably experiences the band members actually had. "Let Her Cry" stands a little to the left form the other singles off of Cracked Rearview.  It's a bit darker, a bit sadder. A bit better.

42. "The Oaf" - Big Wreck

Big Wreck's first single off their first album In Loving Memory Of was "The Oaf" also known as "My Luck Is Wasted". When I first saw the group live at Edgefest in 1999 singer Ian Thornely said this song was about "Chewy, chewy, caramel". Yeah, I didn't know what it meant then and I still don't. Great track though.

41. "My Own Worst Enemy" - Lit

This was a great song. Released near the end of the decade in 1999, great energy and a quasi-punk song about getting drunk and being generally self destructive. Wouldn't expect much else from a band who's name is a synonym for getting tore up. They didn't have many more popular songs outside of this one. I'm going to search out some more recent Lit songs...i'm curious now.

40. "Mr. Jones" - Counting Crows

When some ape-human hybrid digs up a time capsule from the 90's 400 years from now there it will be. Nestled beside an orange-haired troll doll and a pack of Power Ranger pogs will lie a cassette tape. It will be all black with a piece of worn masking tape. Scrawled across the masking tape will be two simple iconic words from the decade where Alt-Rock was born: Mr. Jones

39. "Long Way Down" - Goo Goo Dolls

I'm convinced now that the Goo Goo Dolls are legit. Though they may have suffered some of the same 'dumb band name-itis" that sunk Hootie and lead singer and song writer John Rzeznik openly suffered from bouts of writer's block, they have a long back catalog of fantastic tunes. Track one side one from that famous album A Boy Named Goo we find "Long Way Down". Here it rests at #39

38. "Inside Out" - Eve 6

Y'know sometimes you just gotta let the music speak for it's self. I think that's what i'll do here. Though I can say this song is the first time I remember hearing the term SoCal.

37. "Everything To Everyone" - Everclear

It seemed when I was growing up everyone owned a copy of Sparkle & Fade. I personally felt Everclear's next album So Much For The Afterglow was their best effort. It branched out musically in multiple directions, but also kept some of the old Everclear charm we loved. "Everything To Everyone" was the bouncy, first single from that album.

36. "Today" - The Smashing Pumpkins

While we're on the subject of which albums were more definitive for their artists, go ahead and grab 20 people and ask them which was their favourite Pumpkins album. Guarantee you'll get 20 very different and firm responses. While I believe the discussion should be between Mellon Collie and Siamese Dream, don't forget about Adore released in 1998, it has some killer tracks. "Today" is from my favourite one though Siamese Dream

35. "Take A Picture" - Filter

Quite a few Filter fans that I know can't stand this track and almost refuse to acknowledge it. I guess it was a bit of a genre shift from their previous efforts but it's a catchy, chilled out song that really defines the 90's for many people.

34. "One Headlight" - The Wallflowers

The song that opened up many an ear to the ol' Wallflowers. It's about not getting all the help you think you'd need to get through a situation, like having one headlight on your car. Radio stations played the crap out of this song and a video was made even though it was never officially released as a single.

33. "Good" - Better Than Ezra

Better Than Ezra's first major label single and it made it #1 on the Modern Hot Tracks in the US or whatever. Deluxe really was a fantastic album and should be included when talking about must-own records from the 90's. Outside this song Deluxe also has "Porcelain", "In The Blood" and "Coyote" all great songs.

32. "December" - Collective Soul

Man, sometimes I can't get enough off the syncopated riffology from the 90's. Collective Soul would definitely have their own chapter in that Anthology. "December" came from their self-titled album in 1995 which was really the peak  of the mountain for them. I mean yes they had a few other great slbums, but how can you compare to the record that also had "Gel", "The World I Know", "Smashing Young Man"...i'm getting tired typing all these see what I mean

31. "My Friends" - Red Hot Chili Peppers

One Hot Minute was the illegitimate bastard child of RHCP albums, and many fans and listeners treated it as such. Gone was guitarist John Frusciante while he was confronting his demons (drug problems) and in was Dave Navarro. While Navarro fit right in with the band on a lifestyle and personal level, he was not the axeman Frusciante was. "My Friends" was a gentler and more melodic song than other Chili Pepper efforts, but also had whimsy and showed a different vocal style of Anthony Kiedis. It was their first #1 Billboard song and a personal favourite of mine.

Part 2 is in the books!

Only part one remains! What bands are left? Which song will be #1?

Check back soon to find out!!


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