Songs from the 90s culminate the decade as an eclectic one in the history of music. It started with grunge and hip-hop before moving into bubblegum pop as the new millennium approached. True music connoisseurs agree that this era, music-wise, was indeed the most diverse to date. Nirvana is one of many mainstream bands that defined this era. Yet, so too are Britney Spears’ early albums from her baby girl phase to later years with more mature work in the 2003’s. Whether you want to groove, sulk, or do both simultaneously, the music from the 90s really sets the mood.
Looking with hindsight on the 90’s decade, BOP Street Records has compiled a tally of the 10 best songs. From Madonna’s “Vogue” to Third Eye Blind and Dr. Dre., this list touches on all the musical highs of the ’90. Every song on this list is ranked randomly for your enjoyment.
Third Eye Blind – “Semi-Charmed Life” (1997)
This song takes you back to those carefree days when life was simple and easy. “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind is an iconic song from the late 90’s that managed to grab the 4th position on Billboard Hot 100. It perfectly captures a carefree summer. The lyrics are about drug addiction. Hearing it on the radio or in your car and sing along (or dance) transports you back to simpler times before social media took over our lives.
Alanis Morissette – “You Oughta Know” (1995)
When you hear “You Oughta Know,” it’s like a slap in the face from your ex. In this song, we see Alanis’s rage at having been cheated on by the man she loves most in all her life. No wonder there’s some grave unsettled business about their relationship remaining unstable for so long.
Christina Aguilera – “Genie in a Bottle” (1999)
The year 1999 was owned by this pop song: ‘I’m a Genie In A Bottle Baby, Gotta Rub Me The Right Way Honey.” For sure, our parents must have found it uncomfortable hearing us belt out this song time and again. This song has many different lyrics that adults could interpret. However, being oblivious of these implications, Genie in a Bottle was loved even more as everyone’s favorite bop.
The Backstreet Boys – “I Want It That Way” (1999)
Growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s, only two bands mattered – *NSYNC or Backstreet Boys. At the same time, both had their own set of great songs (I Want It That Way is our personal favorite). However, both bands had unique styles compared to others.
Whitney Houston – “I Will Always Love You” (1992)
“I Will Always Love You” is an iconic song that was released in 1974. More than one artist has remade the song’s video and sound. The Bodyguard’s Dolly Parton had a completely different version from Whitney Houston’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” The song may be best known for its use as the soundtrack to this blockbuster movie. Yet, it gets stuck inside our heads at all hours of the day.
Fiona Apple – “Criminal” (1997)
“I’ve been careless with a delicate man / And it’s a sad, sad world / When a girl will break a boy just because she can.” With those subtle and profound words, Fiona Apple introduced the world to her debut album Tidal. The album, especially Criminal, was loved by college students riddled with anxiety and pressure. Criminal rose to prominence in 2020 after Jennifer Lopez grooved to it in the starting scene of Hustlers.
Mariah Carey – “Always Be My Baby” (1995)
Mariah Carey seems to be quite underrated. Her songs from the 90s are legendary, and it’s hard for us to choose a favorite because they’re all so good! No matter what we’re feeling or where we are, hearing those opening “do-dos” makes us discover the singer within. She truly deserves future lifetime achievement awards and induction into the Hall of Fame with Always Be My Baby.
Sixpence None the Richer – “There She Goes” (1997)
With the great actress Lindsay Lohan, we all can share a traveling experience while listening to Sixpence’s iconic cover of “There She Goes.” The La’s in the song playing gives young Halle James the feeling on her first visit to London.
Toni Braxton – “Un-Break My Heart” (1996)
Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart” is one of the most iconic heartbreak songs ever created. Hearing the lyrics is like you’re under the musical equivalent of a weighted blanket. It feels effortless as we hear Toni’s rich belted notes with an unmatched music video to go along with it.
Lil’ Kim feat. Puff Daddy – “No Time” (1996)
In the 1990s, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and his crew were the talks of hip-hop in the ’90s. Lil’ Kim has been dubbed one of their most distinctive voices. This song is a bravura showcase for her skills as she raps about what it takes to be an independent woman.
Now it’s time for you to add these 10 songs from the 90s to your nostalgia playlist. Once you’re done, let us know in the comments what you think of them.