90. “Nobody Knows” – The Tony Rich Project (1996)
From the album Words, this was Tony’s only big hit, but it was a pretty great one. On Babyface’s LaFace Records, he pretty much showed Babyface how it’s done with this smooth R&B slow-jam. If you had asked me shortly after this song came out what my favorite song of the 90’s was, there’s a good chance I would’ve said this one.
89. “Lakes of Canada” – The Innocence Mission (1999)
I first fell in love with this song when I came across Sufjan Stevens’ cover of this while watching videos of his on YouTube. I stumbled upon The Innocence Mission’s album Birds of My Neighborhood in a used bookstore and was very excited to see “Lakes of Canada” on the tracklist. The original version certainly didn’t disappoint and has become my “go-to” when I want to hear this song.
88. “Treasures In Heaven” – Burlap to Cashmere (1998)
This beautiful tune comes from one of my favorite albums of the 90’s, Anybody Out There?. This whole song is great, but I was always especially attracted to the bridge when Steven Delopoulos sings to “stop dancin’ with your head”. As a teenager who knew that something wasn’t quite right in my head, but unaware that I was battling with OCD, that line really resonated with me.
87. “If We Were Lovers” – All Star United (1999)
International Anthems for the Human Race was full of songs so catchy even my southern-gospel-loving mamma was glad when I popped this cassette in. I could’ve included many songs from the bands first two albums on this list, but this catchy and nostalgic sounding jam is the only one to make the top 100.
86. “Eyes of My Heart” – John Elefante (1997)
I don’t think I realized John Elefante was the former singer of the band Kansas when I bought his solo album, Corridors. All I knew was that I loved hearing this song on CCM radio, and I needed the album. This type of soft-rock isn’t usually my thing, but this whole album is really solid.
85. “Until I Fall Away” – Gin Blossoms (1992)
New Miserable Experience was an album I didn’t own until the 90’s were long gone, but it sure doesn’t feel that way considering how familiar half of this album was to me when I got it. Many of the pop-rock tunes on this album were inescapable radio hits in the early 90’s, and while all of those songs are excellent, this one is especially moving.
84. “Lost the Plot” – Newsboys (1996)
Is there any doubt that the great Steve Taylor is responsible for Take Me to Your Leader being the best album the Newsboys ever released? Taylor co-wrote the lyrics on this song, and on most of the album, and he’s one of the most original artists the CCM scene has ever had. Not to give Taylor all of the credit here, the Newsboys have crafted a brilliant slow-building rock song that’s just as good as most of Taylor’s solo work.
83. “Jonah” – Grammatrain (1997)
When I first started getting really interested in music I relied on CD sampler’s to help me find new stuff. One of the first sampler’s I ever bought, if not THE first, had a couple songs on it that made this list. The first one is this song from Grammatrain’s Flying album. The singer/guitarist in this band, Pete Stewart, would go on to record many of my favorite songs over the next several years with his solo project, Tait, and The Accident Experiment.
82. “Cemetery Gates” – Pantera (1990)
Maybe I’m just a sucker for ballads, but this is easily my favorite Pantera track. Cowboys from Hell marked Pantera’s shift into a heavier groove-metal sound, but you wouldn’t know it from this song alone. The part at the end where the high pitched screams of Phil Anselmo are matched by Dimebag Darrell’s guitar blows my mind.
81. “What If Uncle Ben Had Lived?” – Poor Old Lu (1996)
I first knew of Aaron Sprinkle from his production work on many of my favorite albums of the 2000’s. I first knew of his brother, Jesse Sprinkle, from his drumming on Dead Poetic and Demon Hunter albums. Poor Old Lu had long dissolved before I found this gem on A Picture of the Eighth Wonder, but it certainly makes me excited that the brothers are in a new band together called Blank Books.