Having been born at the very beginning of the 90s (the most peaceful decade of the 20th century), it was inevitable that I grew up listening to the music that was pumped into my developing brain day in and day out. The 90s certainly was a great time for music. Especially with the advent of Norwegian Black Metal and Floridian Death Metal. But as I didn’t discover that type of 90s music until much much later in the 00s, it’s inevitable that I had my personal favourite pop songs.
Most 90s pop music consisted of manufactured boybands and girlgroups or football obsessed Britpop bands who popularised the lad culture now plaguing our universities. But out of all the slimy auto-tuned bullshit I had to wade through every day at school, I’ve finally gather together my personal gems of 90s pop.
Any other 90s kids reading this are in for one heck of a nostalgia trip if I’ve included any lost memories.
20. Witch Doctor by Cartoons
This is the first in a long list of catchy tunes which were used in the soundtracks of some very bad movies. The Dutch novelty band covered this Chipmunks classic for the Rugrats Movie back in 1998. Anyone attending a sugar fuelled school disco back then would have heard this ultra camp Europop tune.
19. Lovefool by The Cardigans
Again, another tune used to sell another shitty film. Baz Luhrmann's atrocity of Romeo and Juliet will forever be remembered for two things. 1, Leonardo Di Caprio stealing teenage girls' hearts by dying; and 2, this memorable love anthem.
18. Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer
I never thoughts I'd include a Christian Rock band in any of my playlists. Unless, of course, they're a Christian Rock band who ditch their 'Jesus is hip' image for once and write a fairly descent tune which leaves an eight year old boy thinking about girls for the first time ever.
17. Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65
This is one of the best Eurodance tunes to ever hit the airways. Interestingly, there's much speculation over whether the guy's singing: 'Da Ba Dee, Da Ba Die' or 'I Will Bleed, I Will Die.' A dance tune that inspired early Emo? I'll leave you to decide.
16. Believe by Cher
Having worked for a gay news group, it's inevitable I had to write about the exploits of the most notorious of all LGBT icons. This is one of those tunes I've had stuck in my head for as long as I can remember, and to discover it was by such an artist, it deserves all the more credit.
15. We’re Going To Ibiza/Boom Boom Boom Boom by Vengaboys
This is the only tie of the list, but not the first band to feature more than one song. Vengaboys, for me, put the Netherlands on the Europop map. They also interested me in Ibiza...before discovering later what vile, crude and pathetic excuses for party-goers inhabited its resorts. There's one holiday destination to ignore. And Boom Boom Boom Boom will stick in your head forever, but looking back on this as an adult - you'll be quite amazed at just how subtly these guys really were in their anthems. (Plus look out for the Bill Clinton reference in the Ibiza video).
14. Goodnight Girl by Wet Wet Wet
One of many examples of 'One Hit Wonderland' material for Todd in the Shadows to check out in later episodes. These guys had a couple of hits which were so-so, but they're best remembered for this very heartwarming ballad. And for being one of the few boybands with long hair too.
13. Stay Another Day by East 17
This is the best Christmas song ever. Why? Because it isn't about frigging christmas! Here's to the political rappers who put Walthamstow on the map.
12. Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio
I've never been a fan of rap music, but this was one of the two hip hop tunes that i've learnt all the words to. The other comes later, in tribute to one of the best TV sitcoms of all time.
11. Barbie Girl by Aqua
If you thought Cartoons were camp enough, you've seen nothing yet. Here's to the campest Europop groups who ever graced the airways. And actually made me want to play with Barbie dolls on more than one occasion.
10. Cotton Eye Joe by Rednex
A Swedish Europop groups covering a traditional US folk song from the deep south. Now, I have seen everything.
9. C’est La Vie by B*Witched
Once again, this very catchy number will make your jaw drop when you realise just how adult themed the 'teen pop' of your generation was.
8. Men In Black by Will Smith
The first good song to be featured in a good movie on this list. If you were raised in the 90s then you certainly watched The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and followed the exploits of the first kid friendly rapper as he took on the final frontier and kept our planet safe from illegal aliens. Thank you Mr Smith.
7. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve
As far as I'm aware, the only descent Britpop tune.
6. Truly Madly Deeply by Savage Garden
Australia's prime contender in the ongoing pop chart battle. These guys feature twice in this list, and that certainly is an achievement. Here we have one of the finest, and most minimal, love ballads of all time.
5. Save Tonight by Eagle Eye Cherry
Another one hit wonder for our friends on ThatGuyWithTheGlasses to check out. Sweden certainly gave us some good 90s tunes, with Black Metal, Rednex, and now this long lost gem of pop rock.
4. MMMBop by Hanson
Frankly the most surreal pop tune I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. And I must thank these three brothers for making male androgyny the symbol of pre-1998 hipsters. If only they'd kept it up longer. I had no idea they were still touring until very recently. Hope they still play this at the gigs.
3. To The Moon And Back by Savage Garden
And now for the most ambitious and most clever pop tune of the 90s. Alienation is a theme you'd expect to find in most alternative rock and metal blasts. But our boys from Aus. really made the loser kids feel better after a hard day at school. You're not alone guys. Solidarity forever.
2. Where I Find My Heaven by Gigolo Aunts
This has to be the most obscure song I've put on this list. And it is also the last good song to be featured in a good movie. I grew up in the heyday of Jim Carrey, therefore I saw his hilarious flick: Dumb and Dumber. What makes a good film is not just the writing, storytelling, acting and visuals; but a damn good soundtrack. And out of all the good pop rock included on that soundtrack, here's to the best of the best.
And my Number One, best 90s pop song is...
1. Iris by Goo Goo Dolls
Holy frigging god is this one damn good acoustic tune. Ironically it was used to market one of the worst films of the decade - the only redeeming feature was Nicholas Cage being...Nicholas Cage. But this tune, by one of the finest pioneers of good Alternative Rock kept me going through some of the bleakest of times. And just look at the video and listen to the way the vocals are cried out in a fashion that just screams '90s'! in your face. This song also holds a world record for being one of the bestselling rock tunes of all time. Goo Goo Dolls were originally, a committed Punk Rock band who wanted to bring acoustic melodies to the underground rock scene. And they certainly picked the best song to do just that. Such a simple tune but every lovesick teenager will relate to it. That's one of the best achievements of post-80s pop rock.