Like A Moth To A Flame, I Like The Way You Work It, You Were Meant For Me. Yeah, 90’s.
The 90’s is arguably the greatest decade of music. As someone who has grown up as a lover of music and was even called a “walking radio station” growing up, this decade alone has given me so much nostalgia and memories of a time where music was great and had meaning and flavor to it. The music today pales in comparison to the amazing and one of a kind songs that the 90’s really put out, and I wanted to take all of that joy and put it into a short but sweet list of what I think are the 20 best songs. After watching VH1’s version of this, I had to make a rebuttal as some they got right and some they got dead wrong (“I Want It That Way” at #3? Girl Bye!) Everyone has an opinion about what they think is the best, so please sound off and let me know what you think.
20. Ace Of Base- “The Sign”
It really is hard to believe that no matter how hard you fight it, Swedish pop has a way of coming into your lives and making you belt out a synth-heavy tune while jamming in your car or dancing at the club. Ace Of Base did that and more, with their #1 hit song “The Sign” in 1994. The album of the same name was also the #1 best selling album of the year and Billboard’s #1 song as in a midst of R&B megahits from Boyz II Men to All 4 One as an example. Ace Of Base proved to not be one hit wonders with follows up from the album such as “Don’t Turn Around” and “All That She Wants” but pretty much anyone can tell you that when you say the name “Ace Of Base” generally this song comes to mind. Delicious swedish pop- eat it up.
19. Brandy & Monica- “The Boy Is Mine”
The 90’s was known for many different types of genres, most notably R&B throughout. Brandy & Monica were two of the hottest female R&B artists at that time, spawning solo hits like “One Of Dem Days” and “Sittin Up In My Room”. But when it came time for them to duet on a timeless tale of two women fighting over one men, the chemistry was undeniable. “The Boy Is Mine” became one of the biggest songs of 1998, winning Brandy & Monica their first Grammy award and spending an unprecedented 13 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100. It also had a fantastic music video with actor Mekhi Pfeifer being the man in between and ultimately being the one left alone. Both these women are crazy talented and this was pure serendipitous when they put their sultry vocals together.
18. Notorious B.I.G. Featuring Total- “Juicy”
Certain music artists, including ones on this list, will always have the “Could’ve Been” factor, meaning what could they have been had they not passed away so suddenly. Notorious B.I.G. is a classic example of that. Biggie catapulted to fame in the mid 90’s with this track and one of the most recognizable lines in hip-hop history- “And if you don’t know, now ya know”, which has been used in several songs since then. In his short career he put out two flawless albums- “Ready To Die” and “Life After Death”, both chock full of massive hits but when you think Biggie overall, you think “Juicy”.
17. Jewel- “You Were Meant For Me”
Alaskan native Jewel dropped her first album in 1995 with “Pieces Of You”, but it didn’t necessarily go anywhere chart wise until the second single was released- the painfully softly sung “You Were Meant For Me”. The angst from her voice with the strums of her guitar mixed with a simple yet beautiful video put this easily in my top 20. It really is a song you can never get tired of, and it makes me yearn for why she still isn’t as big of a star as she was back then.
16. Sarah McLachlan- “Building A Mystery”
Staying on that Lilith Fair tip is Sarah Mclachlan, who released one of the best albums of the 90’s in “Surfacing”. The phenomenal album was catapulted by its first single “Building A Mystery”. Sarah described the song as this- “Basically about the fact that we all… have insecurities to hide, and we often do that by putting on a facade.” She also goes on to say that “Unfortunately, if we just be who we are, that’s usually the more attractive and beautiful thing”. It is such a simple yet beautiful track when it gets down to it and one of my favorites that she has ever released.
15. No Doubt- “Don’t Speak”
Ska had a huge influence in the 90’s, and Gwen Stefani was its true queen in every sense of the word. No Doubt was like a semi lighter version of the band Garbage, and had so many funkadelic tracks to go along with. “Tragic Kingdom” remains one of the best albums of the 90’s IMO but “Don’t Speak”, which details the breakup of her and another band member, is simply divine with its rock edge and fantastic lyricism. Gwen For Life.
14. Janet Jackson- “That’s The Way Loves Goes”
Janet reigned supreme in the 90’s with two massive albums and hits galore. Her best is “That’s The Way Love Goes”, one of the best smooth jams the music industry has ever seen. At the helms of producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis lies this beautifully sung and melodic hit detailing the intimacy one person has with another. The video itself also introduced us to a future superstar in the making- Jennifer Lopez. In a standout of standouts for Janet, this one takes the cake.
13. Spice Girls- “Wannabe”
You would’ve had to have been in a coma or dead in the mid to late 90’s to not know who the Spice Girls were. One of the biggest girl groups of all time, they won the hearts of millions (and me) with their debut single “Wannabe”. I still to this day don’t get the “If you wannabe my lover, you gotta get with my friends”, but whatever it made for a gigantic pop track and put them on the lips of millions of adoring fans. POSH SPICE GET OVER YOURSELF AND REUNITE WITH THEM SO THEY CAN DO ONE MORE TOUR. Thanks girl.
12. Whitney Houston- “I Will Always Love You”
I’ll make this simple. The best song to ever be a remake of an original (Dolly Parton). One of the best songs from a soundtrack to be ever made (The Bodyguard). The highlight of her illustrious career and proof that Whitney will go down in history as of the greatest to have ever existed. RIP.
11. Blackstreet featuring Queen Pen & Dr. Dre- “No Diggity”
Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” is just one of those damn songs that if you are ever at a slow party and the music aint what it supposed to be, you simply play this track and see everyone do a 180. Mixed with sick hip-hop beats, two great rap sessions by Dr. Dre and Queen Pen and smooth 90’s R&B vocals turns this track into a bonafide hit and one of the biggest tracks of 1996. Still timeless to this day. Shawty get down.
Check back here for part two tomorrow!!!