November 2009

So, now that we’re a quarter of the way through the Top 200 Songs of the 90s, I thought we’d take a break and feature our Top 25 Christmas Songs as a lead up to the holiday: one per day until Christmas morning. The 90s countdown will resume in January.


#150 – Filter – “Take a Picture” – (1999)

“Take a Picture” was the big hit from the creatively named (or not) Title of Record. I’m super-bummed I couldn’t find the music video for this song on YouTube, because I distinctly remember it and was happy that I’d finally get to see it again after 10 years. Whenever I did see it, it was always back-to-back with “Learn to Fly” by the Foo Fighters and these two songs are always linked in my brain. Filter was originally an industrial rock group, so it’s kind of astonishing that they could release a single that was so successful on the mainstream charts.

#151 – Limp Bizkit – “Nookie” – (1999)

Remember how cool Limp Bizkit was? Remember how cool Fred Durst used to be? Black contact lenses, nu metal, rapcore… yeah. “Nookie” kind of started it all for Limp Bizkit. More singles from Significant Other followed: “Break Stuff” – a song that can go a long way toward improving a bad day. Then there was the much more hip-hop intense “N 2 Gether Now” (my favorite and it features Method Man) and finally the not-much-of-a-song “Re-Arranged.” Yes, Pauly Shore appears in two of these music videos.

#152 – Toni Braxton – “Un-Break My Heart” – (1996)

Braxton’s somewhat husky voice was definitely a departure from most of the pop of the 90s. Judging from the video she fancied herself a Whitney Houston – she wasn’t, but the song was close (as far as success goes). Secrets spawned two other number one hits including “You’re Makin’ Me High” (“Un-Break My Heart” stayed at #1 for 11 weeks). “Let It Flow” was the other – it was also included on the 1995 soundtrack for the film Waiting to Exhale.

#153 – Marc Anthony – “I Need to Know” – (1999)

Is Marc Anthony more famous for A) this song (or any song) or B) marrying Jennifer Lopez? I wouldn’t want to have to answer that in his presence. Anthony’s success was partially a result of the Latin music wave of 1999 but also because his two big singles weren’t really that bad. The other was “You Sang to Me.”

#154 – Quad City DJ’s – “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)” – (1996)

Although being somewhat similar in overall nature, but because they were both released at about the same time, this song was massively overshadowed by the “Macarena.” After viewing just a sample of the video I’ve linked to above, I feel that this song will not be looked too kindly upon by future generations. Oh, and I would be remiss for not recommending their other hit from the same year: “Space Jam.” I’m really not sure what the ‘Quad City’ is, but it sounds like a big-time small-town ATV dealership. The DJ’s also appeared on the 69 Boyz’s 1994 Jock Jams hit “Tootsee Roll.”

#155 – Smash Mouth – “Can’t Get Enough of You Baby” – (1999)

Astro Lounge was another “smash” (thank you) album from the 90s. This song is immense fun and proof that Smash Mouth, when not covering The Monkees, were an awesome band. It sucks that I chose to put at at no. 155, when it should have been about 100 higher. While watching the video, I realized, for the first time ever, that the 90s were actually kinda weird. Why did everyone like colorful wigs and colorful leather pants? This song was featured in the movie Can’t Hardly Wait, which I didn’t see, but would have, had I graduated from high school the year it came out. Another single from this album is the much less fun “Waste.”

#156 – Alanis Morissette – “Ironic” – (1995)

Jagged Little Pill was one of the best albums of the 90s. It spawned 6 massive singles and “Ironic” (the third single from the album) was probably the biggest, although “You Oughta Know” (the first single) may be the best remembered because the lyrics may or may not be about Uncle Joey from Full House (which could cause quite a disturbing image – you’ve been warned). Alanis’ lyrics are always fun and raged-filled. “Ironic” taught me never to fly on an airplane immediately after winning the lottery… wait a few days. The final single from Pill was “All I Really Want” and the lyrics (“slap me with the splintered ruler”) coupled with her crazy-unique voice really make it awesome. And yes, I can call Alanis awesome. Why? Because J.D. made it okay – here is proof.

#157 – Donna Lewis – “I Love You Always Forever” – (1996)

This song from Now In A Minute would have hit number one it the “Macarena” didn’t completely destroy the charts that year. There are two other songs that kind of fall under the mid-90s female-pop umbrella with this one. First, “I Know” by Dionne Farris’ Wild Seed – Wild Flower (1995) and secondly, “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree, from her 1994 album I Ain’t Movin’.

#158 – Next – “Too Close” – (1997)

Rated Next is the name of the album here… and I don’t think it qualifies as clever. Don’t ask me what the hell the first 30 seconds of the music video is: I have no idea (and one of the guys looks like Wayne Brady). This song was (and still is) incredibly slick. I don’t know why, but this song reminds me of “No Matter What” by the surprisingly Irish, Boyzone.

#159 – Tal Bachman – “She’s So High” – (1999)

Tal Bachman’s father, Randy, was an original member of The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive (does that make him Canadian Royalty?). Tal only had this one hit, and I think it’s safe to say that I needn’t add ‘so far’ to the end of that statement. But I don’t think it’s fair that Daughtry has had more hits than Tal had because Bachman is far more talented. But then, so am I.

#160 – Joan Osborne – “One of Us” – (1995)

A nice religious song about God… right?… from the girl with the nose ring? I love the somewhat terrifying Dr. Caligari-like sequence at the beginning of the music video.

#161 – Cher – “Believe” – (1998)

I could not be less of a Cher fan, but when this song came out, I didn’t know who Cher was and I was easily won over by the ridiculous electronic sound of this song. Plus, it was everywhere (and if you didn’t like it when it came out, it was probably because you thought too highly of yourself).

#162 – 98° – “The Hardest Thing” – (1998)

98 Degrees had to suffer as “the other boy band” during the boy band explosion of the late 90s – well, none of them were technically bands. “The Hardest Thing” was the better of their two singles from 98° and Rising. The other was “I Do (Cherish You)” and was the star of the first Making the Video (remember how big that show was?) It had Screech in it. Why? I’m guessing because that was a pop-culture reference that people who watched MTV 10 years ago still understood.

#163 – Bush – “Comedown” – (1994)

Sixteen Stone kind of blends in with all of the alternative rock of the 90s – it doesn’t really stand out. A few of the singles, however did. “Comedown” peaked at #30 on the Hot 100 and “Glycerine” reached #28.

#164 – Natalie Imbruglia – “Torn” – (1998)

This one was terribly overplayed, unfortunately – to almost Aerosmith proportions. There were other singles, but none nearly as popular as this one – however fortunately or unfortunately that may be.

#165 – Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – (1991)

What!? A list of 90s music that doesn’t feature “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at number one (or even the top 150)!? Well, I wasn’t a ‘teen’ when this song was it, So it doesn’t hold the same special meaning for me. I recognize it for what it is and (unlike almost every other entry) nostalgia played no part in this one. If you’ve never heard of ‘music’ before, then you may want to check out “All Apologies,” “Rape Me” and “Heart-Shaped Box” from their follow up album, In Utero. From Nevermind there is also “In Bloom” and “Lithium,” the song mentioned by every ‘Nirvana-freak’ I’ve ever met as their favorite. Ugh, I’m gonna catch flack for this one.

#165 – La Bouche – “Be My Lover” – (1996)

Ah, another embarrassing entry from the ‘I Bought This CD’ file. I distinctly remember them performing on Regis and (Kathie Lee?) and explaining what ‘La Bouche’ meant in French. Wikipedia says it means “the mouth,” but how would I know? “Sweet Dreams” was the title track from the album.

#167 – Meredith Brooks – “Bitch” – (1997)

In these crazy days of FCC fear-mongering where references to the word ‘smoking’ are censored out, it would be a miracle if this song were to be heard over the American airwaves. I still know the chorus by heart.

#168 – Shaggy – “Luv Me, Luv Me” – (1998)

What UB40 was doing ten years earlier really kind of peaked in the mid-to-late 90s and this is one of the best examples of reggae-influenced popular music from the 90s. And it’s yet another example of a soundtrack-sourced song scoring big, this time from the Angela Bassett film, How Stella Got Her Groove Back.

#169 – Jordan Knight – “Give It to You” – (1999)

You’re right, this should have been #201 (at best) but I originally had “Smells Like Teen Spirit” at this spot. Then I thought “how have I ranked a New Kid from the Block ahead of Nirvana?” The ‘hip-hop’ style beat is ridiculous and way over-the-top, but it was 1999. I also can’t go without mentioning fellow New Kid Joey McIntyre and his semi-ridiculous hit “I Love You Came Too Late,” whose music video I remember more than I do the song. Actually, come to think of it, the McIntyre song should be #169, and Mr. Knight should be the honorable mention.

#170 – Chumbawumba – “Tubthumping” – (1997)

I own this CD. I listened to it recently. I got knocked down. I got up again. But really, you have to remember this or at least hearing the word “Chumbawumba” brings back memories – be they horrific or fun. “Amnesia” was also a minor hit.

#171 – No Doubt – “Just a Girl” – (1995)

Tragic Kingdom is one of my favorite albums of all time and it just so happens to come from one of my favorite bands. The great ska beat on this, their first single, is what I’ve come to expect from what is an undeniably kick-ass group.

#172 – The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Puff Daddy, Mase & Kelly Price – “Mo Money Mo Problems” – (1997)

What a fun song – even though it was released after Biggie died and it samples Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.” In spite of these things it stands as one of the defining hip-hop songs from the decade and the music video rivals the previously mentioned Will Smith video for biggest 90s-hip-hop-ness.

#173 – Will Smith – “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” – (1997)

How cool was Big Willie Style? Like it or not, ‘jiggy’ was the word there for a little while. I mean, really, watch the music video and guess the decade it’s from. This album (and this song) really kicked off Smith’s post-Fresh Prince career and made him the superstar that he is now. Don’t forget his first movie-theme/music-hit “Men In Black.”

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