I decided to make a list of my ten favorite songs of the 90’s unaware that I would not be content with that. A few days later I had a list of about 300 songs from the 90’s that I love. Narrowing it down to 100 was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done for “fun”. This list is completely subjective and biased. Here are the results. Enjoy!
100. “Parking Lot” – Mineral (1994)
Originally released on a 7” single in 1994, this song is more famously known as the closing track to one of the greatest emo albums of all time, 1997’s The Power of Failing. Click play and don’t you dare stop this song before one of the most incredible sounding guitar parts you’ve ever heard starts at just over a minute in.
99. “Missing Person” – Michael W. Smith (1998)
The opening track to my favorite Michael W. Smith album, Live the Life. The song opens with a nice ambient passage before a killer guitar riff and big drums kick in, followed by great verse and chorus melodies.
98. “Don’t Rush” – Silk (1995)
I joined a Columbia House-type CD Club soon after receiving my first CD player in 1996. Silk’s self-titled album is the one I bought in order to receive 11 more CD’s for “free”. “Don’t Rush” is one of the two or three songs I actually listened to on the album. These are some pretty sexual lyrics for such a young boy to be listening to (I was 13), but I don’t think I really noticed at the time. The reason? This style of down-tempo R&B music sounded SO GOOD to me…and it still does. If the lyrics weren’t so “blush-worthy” this song probably would’ve placed quite a bit higher.
97. “Forever” – PFR (1997)
“Forever” was a new song recorded for The Late Great PFR, a compilation album of many of the bands finest moments. I fell in love with this tune when it was released as a single and played on CCM radio quite a bit. I bought the compilation based on this one song, but I became a fan of PFR for life thanks to there being 15 other fantastic pop-rock songs on the CD to go along with it.
96. “Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley (1994)
Released on Jeff Buckley’s 1994 album, Grace. This is a cover of a Leonard Cohen classic. This song became a pop hit in 2007, ten years after Buckley’s death, from being featured in TV shows like The O.C. and American Idol. It’s probably not even debatable that this is one of the greatest cover songs ever recorded.
95. “Can’t Let Go” – Out of Eden (1996)
Out of Eden’s sophomore album, More Than You Know, was on blast at a youth group event I attended with a friend from middle school. Being the big R&B fan I was at the time, this “christian version” of SWV really caught my attention. I went out and bought the cassette soon after and jammed this thing constantly. There are several enjoyable songs on the album, but this one stands out as my favorite 19 years later.
94. “Street Symphony” – Monica (1998)
The first, but certainly not the last you’ll see of Monica on this list. This may come as a shock to anyone who doesn’t know me really well, but I think Monica is responsible for many of the greatest pop songs of the 90’s. This opening track to The Boy Is Mine is an R&B song with a bit of a symphonic feel, hence the title “Street Symphony”. Charge it to the game, baby.
93. “Can’t Get You Off My Mind” – Lenny Kravitz (1995)
This song is from Kravitz’s album Circus. Of all the artists to make this list Lenny may be my least favorite. I saw the video for this song on MTV, then bought the cassette single, and the rest is history. Despite my struggle to enjoy most of Lenny’s music, I can’t deny this song. Surely the first few lines are among the best Kravitz has ever written.
92. “Let Down” – Radiohead (1997)
My favorite song from what is probably the most important album released in the 90’s, OK Computer. Several songs from this album just missed the cut of being included in my top 100. The very idea of this list ignores Thom Yorke’s suggestion, “don’t get sentimental, it always ends up drivel”, but looking back on songs as great as this one makes it hard to not be a bit nostalgic.
91. “Life’s A Dance” – John Michael Montgomery (1992)
Ah, the joys of making a subjective list. Yes, that’s John Michael Montgomery with a song ranked ahead of Radiohead, but I’m going to blame it completely on that sentimental thing that Thom Yorke warned me about. While it may be considered “drivel” for me to place this song from JMM’s debut album above Radiohead, I can’t deny the fact that I grew up on country radio music…and I LOVE(D) that stuff!