Ladies and gentlemen, our journey through the 90s is coming to a close. I’ve spent nearly a year going through every Billboard Year End chart of the decade that I was born in and chose and tore apart around 100 songs that I considered to be the worst in their respective years. And I think it’s appropriate that I follow that up with this list, counting down the 100 best songs of the decade. Now, this list will be huge, so I hope you’re making yourself comfortable while reading this, and it will be split into two parts with 50 songs each. Now let’s talk 90s music itself, which, for the most part, represented youth and attitude. Grunge, alt-rock, and other rock subgenres satisfied those wanting their dose of rock. Hip-hop was at its golden age at this time, containing some of the genre’s most celebrated records and gaining notoriety thanks to gangsta rap. R&B, reggae, and other genres made by predominately black artists were also huge and, at certain points, re-appropriated. Teen pop and other music catered for younger audiences were also prominent. Also successful were house, techno, adult contemporary, and country. Now that we got that out the way, let’s get into the list.
Here’s one of my more “controversial” choices. Now I’ve already did a Target Practice on Smash Mouth’s All Star, so if you got time, check that out. Now I’m fully aware that this song is stupid. I mean, the writing is basically a bunch of nonsense that was probably done with mad libs. But the instrumentation is pretty kick ass and there’s a certain charm to Steve Hardwell. A friend of mine’s said that he’s willing to forgive bad writing if the song sounds good and while I don’t particularly agree with that mindset, All Star is one of those cases where it makes sense for me since the writing isn’t offensively or incompetently bad. I loved this song since I was a kid and I still love it now.
In a genre like hip-hop, where things get really intense, you need some levity away from the seriousness and need a sense of humor. Here comes Biz Markie with his only hit single Just A Friend, where he tells a story about a chick he met at a rap concert and he wants to get to know her more, but there’s a problem; she’s seeing another dude and she tells Biz that he’s just a friend. At the climax of the song, Biz decides to pay this girl a visit to her college dormroom where he discovers her kissing another man. Heartbreak ensues. The framing of this works perfectly. Biz doesn’t come off like an idiotic dickbag, he’s fully aware that this chick is full of shit when she tells him that she’s not seeing anyone. Add in some pretty good, catchy production and Biz hilariously singing off-key on the chorus and you got yourself a hip-hop classic.
In Bitch, Meredith Brooks embraces her womanhood, both the positives and the negatives. She’s letting some guy know that she can be sweet and nice and she can also be a bitch (hence the title), so he might as well deal with it. This song also rocks hard with its instrumentation, though some people have mentioned that it sounds a lot like Alanis Morissette and, yeah, I can hear it, but who cares? The song is still awesome.
I think this is the best time for me to clear up a misconception: I don’t hate ballads, just the boring, uninteresting ones that doesn’t illicit any emotional response from me and just wastes my time. I Can’t Make You Love Me is not one of those ballads. In fact, it’s amazing. The instrumentation sounds great with the smooth piano and keys levitating the whole while Bonnie Raitt sings about a relationship that’s clearly coming to an end, but it’s all on good terms and is probably for the best for both parties. Plus, Bonnie sounds great here. Beautiful and relaxing. No wonder a bunch of people covered it.
Philadelphia is a landmark film for the 90s, dealing with the two hot topics of that decade, homosexuality and AIDS. For the movie’s soundtrack, the studio hired The Boss himself Bruce Springsteen to write a song and it’s a fantastic one, too, as Bruce sings about being at a low point where you’re not sure what to do next. The context of this song fits perfectly within the theme of the Philadephia movie and it also stands on its own as its own separate entity. The instrumentation, though it doesn’t sound like a typical Springsteen record since it’s rooted in a muted synth and some dusty drums, is excellent, but you all knew that since it’s Bruce friggin’ Springsteen. Great song spawned from a great movie. You have to hear it and see the movie if you haven’t seen it already.
I’ll admit I haven’t listened to much Queensryche, but if Silent Lucidity is any indication, then I have some digging to do. The instrumentation is great, having some of the best parts of progressive rock, starting off with an acoustic guitar and then transitioning into a sweeping orchestra combined with some metal guitars and drums. Plus, we get a great vocal performance from Geoff Tate as he sings about being in a dream-like state. This song kicks a ton of ass and I look forward to hearing more Queensryche.
One of the more heartfelt songs on this song comes from Boyz II Men with A Song For Mama, a dedication to all of the mothers in the world and a tribute to the group’s own mothers. It’s a song that will warm the hearts of even the toughest souls. The guys all sound great vocally as usual and they sell the sentiment very well and it’s all done over production that, in spite of being a bit dated, fits the tone of the song and sounds great. It’s just a beautiful song overall and perfect for Mothers’ Day.
Now for some obscure 90s party jams, this one is courtesy of Zhane pronounced Jah-Nay (which, funny enough, is the name of their debut album). This is Hey Mr. D.J. and it’s a great party jam. The production is guaranteed to get people dancing with its electric piano melodies, the sticky bass, and thumping drums. The girls of Zhane are damn good singers as they use this groovy song to their advantage vocally. If you’re a DJ who needs some quick throwbacks to play while at a gig, this is your song.
Even though I’m not the biggest Mariah Carey fan, I have to admit she made some excellent records back in the 90s and this is one of them. Fantasy shows that Mariah can do other types of songs other than big ballads. She still flexes those amazing vocals over this upbeat happy production that samples Genius Of Love. Fun with sampling. Meanwhile, Mariah is singing with glee about the overwhelming feeling of love and how it can feel like a fantasy. Plus, the song has a remix with Ol’ Dirty Bastard that I always prefer listening to because ODB is awesome.
No Diggity by Blackstreet is the textbook definition of 90s cool. The production is smooth and catchy with the piano and drums. Every time that piano riff occurs, I pretend like I’m the one playing it. The guys of Blackstreet brings more smoothness to the song with their swagger as they hit on chicks and they sell their coolness perfectly. Add in verses from Dr. Dre and Queen Pen and you got yourself a smash for both hip-hop and R&B audiences. No diggity, indeed.
Now we’re at Mariah Carey’s debut single Vision Of Love, which tells us what to expect from this talented woman later on. The song is a very late 80s-early 90s ballad, but it has much better instrumentation than songs like it at the time of its release and has aged better than those songs, plus, there wasn’t a lot of singers like Mariah, whose voice could destroy entire countries with one swoop. Her five-octave range is fully displayed on a song whose content has more than one interpretation. Is she singing about a lover or is she singing about God? Who knows? The song is still amazing, no matter what.
Anyone remember that Kraft Crumbles commercial that had “They’re Crumbelievable?” Yeah, that was a variation of this song from British band EMF called Unbelievable. This song is the ultimate 90s banger. The beat combines alternative rock with house music to generate tons of energy for one to go crazy to. There’s also some samples thrown in that adds more energy to the song. Be honest; any time that chorus came around, you said “OH!!” along with Andrew Dice Clay. There’s not much to the writing, but I don’t care. This song just goes H.A.M. and every element works.
Oh, 90s dance music. You’re so fascinating, you magical pot of weirdness. It’s like a sneak peek into another world, a world with no worries and no shame. Anyways, Rhythm Is A Dancer by Snap!. Everything that I like about dance music of the time is in this song. The production is energetic and hits harder than Saitama of One Punch Man. The synths are epic, the bass is pumping, and the drums are popping. This is what I want great dance music to be, just tons of energy. The female vocalist isn’t given much to do, but she adds some more energy to this already great track. Definitely a must-have song on your workout playlist.
Going through the 90s, I rediscovered my love for alternative rock. The Goo Goo Dolls may have a silly name, but their music is awesome and Slide is no exception. This instrumentation rocks on all levels with the electric and acoustic guitars played together with the drums. Johnny Rzeznik, the frontman of the Goo Goo Dolls, said that the song tells the story of a teenage girl from a strictly Catholic family who gets pregnant with her boyfriend and they’re both contemplating on what to do next. Should they run away and raise the kid on their own or should they get married? If you’re someone who wants to get into alternative rock, then check out the Goo Goo Dolls. You won’t regret it.
This is probably one of the most cleverly-written songs on this list. Courtesy of Blues Traveler, Hook is a song that makes fun of the repetitive nature of popular songs and is a great satire of pop music, pointing out that an artist would sing a bunch of nonsense and the listener would still like it as long as there’s a catchy hook along with a simple melody or chord structure. And the instrumentation is kept pretty simple just to sell the satire even more, even though it’s still good instrumentation. I can just picture some gullible pop music fan enjoying Hook while John Popper is secretly laughing at them for proving his point. And the fucked-up thing is that this shit is still relevant today. Now I really want somebody to make a modern day version of Hook that can apply to today’s trends.
In spite of his death, 2Pac still lives on in his music. The dude obviously lives in a studio due to the amount of songs he recorded that weren’t even released, one of them was a feature on Scarface’s Smile. Pac takes up the majority of Smile, making a lot of people (myself included) believe that it was his song. Anywho, this song is probably one of the more optimistic gangsta rap songs out there as it reminds the listener that in spite of the struggles one might go through (especially as a young black male from the ghetto), there will always be better days ahead and it’s best to face the odds with a smile. And this attitude is reflected perfectly in the writing. Scarface is basically the wise OG who knows about the streets and has seen the negativity that it creates that sucks in anyone who gets caught up. Songs like this are needed in a genre where negativity is endorsed constantly.
Even though he hasn’t reached the heights of success that he did in the 80s, outside of those child molestation allegations, Michael Jackson has been doing well in the 90s, releasing more great music like Scream, his collaboration with younger sister Janet. This song is basically one big middle finger to the tabloids and media who keeps dogging him with rumors and bullshit and won’t quit bugging him. The ferocity in Michael’s voice shows that he’s had it with their crap and isn’t taking things sitting down. Janet being in the song adds some extra edge as she takes her brother’s side and will put those who question him in check. The production fits the motif of the song, being more aggressive and in-your-face. Oh, and the music video is pretty awesome as well.
Did I ever mention that I’m a huge TLC fan? Because I am. I enjoy nearly every song from them, one of them being What About Your Friends, which is basically dealing with the aftermath of becoming famous where you start getting paranoid about people who’ll take advantage of you and you start wondering if the people who you’re down with have your back through thick and then. The production is a bit dated, but it’s not horrible. In fact, it’s actually pretty good and the same goes for the girls. Definitely one of TLC’s best singles.
Before doing songs with Katy Perry and Big Time Rush, Snoop Dogg was one of the biggest new faces of hip-hop music in the 90s thanks to stealing the show on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic album and then destroying the competition with his debut Doggystyle. Out of that album comes these two classics Gin & Juice and What’s My Name. The beats on both songs were done by Dr. Dre and they’re awesome. They’re funky and they slap. Gin And Juice tells the story of a day in Snoop’s life that ends with a house party. What’s My Name is basically a reintroduction to Snoop Dogg himself as the first single off of Doggystyle. Snoop isn’t the best rapper lyrically, but he has a great flow and one of the coolest voices in hip-hop, riding every beat he gets on effortlessly. A shame that he’ll never top himself since he’s now evolved into a self-parody of himself.
Oh, Aaliyah. How we’ve missed you. Back in the 90s, Aaliyah was a star in the making as her angelic voice combined perfectly with hard-hitting beats for some amazing tracks like Are You That Somebody. This song was produced by Timbaland and it showcases his best qualities as a beatmaker with an infectious bassline and energetic percussion. Plus, Aaliyah sings with her beautiful voice to some guy who has his eye on her and they wonder if they’re the right person for each other. This song was a huge transition for Aaliyah, whose previous music was written and produced by R. Kelly. Teaming up with Timbaland helped change her sound into something more unique that has yet to be recreated and establish Aaliyah as one of the best in R&B.
Eric Clapton has one hell of a career, working with damn near everyone in rock music. He was in the Yardbirds, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek And The Dominoes, etc., and that’s not even factoring in his solo career. The guy a tremendous amount of success. In the 90s, his big hit is the somber Tears In Heaven. It was written after the death of Clapton’s infant son and it’s a real tearjerker. The sadness that he felt that day is very present in his performance. It’s a powerful sentiment that hits you in the guy every time. If you’re not left teary-eyed after hearing this, are you even human?
When it comes to rap groups in the 90s, none of them were more naughty than Naughty By Nature. They’ve contributed to some great tracks in the 90s and their best one is O.P.P.. Using a beat that utilizes a sample of The Jackson 5’s ABC (fun with sampling), Treach flexes his rap skills to ask people if they’re down with O.P.P.. O stands for other and P stands for people, but they don’t tell you what the last P means, meaning it can have several meanings depending on who you ask. Is it pussies, penises, properties, pizzas, WHAT?! Whatever the song is about, it’s still a great hip-hop song to keep the party going.
Well, what do you know? A song about closing time, a time where the bar or club is about to close and everyone’s heading home anticipating the upcoming hangover in the morning. And it’s a great song. Courtesy of Semisonic, Closing Time is the perfect song to end a night on with its rocking instrumentation that has the most recognizable easy-to-play piano riff ever. And Dan Wilson doesn’t sound bad either. Just another example of the greatness that is 90s alternative rock.
Don’t Wanna Fall In Love by Jane Child is one of those songs that sounds very 80s, which makes sense since a lot of early 90s songs has more 80s sounds. Anyways, I think is is probably one of the more underrated songs of its time. It’s so incredibly cheesy and dated, especially with its synth-heavy production, but I love it so much. Jane Child gives a song that details how love can be painful and cut like a knife, hence, she doesn’t want to fall in love. Plus, this song was sampled for this great song as well.
Madonna didn’t just have a great 80s, she’s also had a great 90s as well in spite of a few bumps on the road. She continued making more provocative pop music through the decade. including these two songs Deeper And Deeper and Rain. The former song is pretty much an upbeat sex song with some excellent house production with some disco elements and inspiration and a great vocal performance from Madonna herself. It works SO much better than Gina G’s Ooh Aah… (Just A Little Bit). Rain is one of the best ballads Madge has ever made with its more eclectic trippy production, amazing vocals, and lyrics likening rain to love and wanting the rain to wash away pain and any negativity. It’s one of my favorite Madonna songs and it’s definitely worth checking out.
Ahh, another nostalgia bomb for me. Those who aren’t familiar with R&B music probably haven’t heard this song. For those poor souls, allow me to introduce you to Maxwell and Fortunate, a great song where a guy is grateful for his wife or girlfriend for being in his life. Maxwell is now happier thanks to this woman and he’s fortunate because she could’ve chose anyone else to be in a relationship with and she chose him. Throw in some really smooth and sexy R&B instrumentation and you got yourself this amazing slow jam.
Linger is a ballad from Irish band The Cranberries where Dolores O’Riordan expresses the feeling of being in love and how one can be so enthralled by it. Dolores’ voice isn’t the best, but it works perfectly for this song, which also has some great instrumentation, from the textured acoustic guitars to the string section. It’s a more subtle sound that doesn’t go for bombast, but just the simple things. A great song Linger is.
I wonder how many people realize how young Usher was when his career started. When he released You Make Me Wanna, dude was still in his teens. That’s amazing. Anyways, on to this song. The production is rooted on an acoustic guitar, which I’m strangely a sucker for when it comes to R&B songs, and it’s about a love triangle between Usher, his current girlfriend, and his female friend who is so beautiful that it’s making him contemplate leaving his current girlfriend for her. Now, given to a less-talented artist and/or an incompetent writer, this might be a douchey thing. But the writing and framing works perfectly as Usher is shown as conflicted with his feelings and doesn’t want to hurt his girlfriend emotionally. He knows what he might do will probably be horrible and he’ll probably have regrets afterwards, but he can’t lie about how he’s feeling. And that’s why this song works.
Hello, Alanis Morissette. Was hoping to run into you. And of course, we run into her highest charting single to date with Ironic. This is one of the more polarizing songs where people either like it or hate it. Guess which group I’m in? This lyrics has a bunch of random scenarios and describe them as ironic. Honestly,…
An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay
It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late
Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think
Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids good-bye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
“Well, isn’t this nice.”
And isn’t it ironic, l don’t you think
If you asked me, I would have called them fucked up. Now there’s been debates about whether the scenarios used in the song are ironic or not and I think they are (look up situational irony). Outside of the writing, the instrumentation is awesome and Alanis herself is awesome. Ironic is a much better song than some people give it credit for, but it’s not Alanis’ best song. No. That goes to…
… this, the lead single from Jagged Little Pill, You Oughta Know, where Alanis lashes out at an ex-boyfriend with the ferocity of a lioness on her period. You can feel the ferocity in her voice as she contemplates on a nasty break up and wonders what her ex’s life is like without her. She’s pissed and is out for blood and the instrumentation fits perfectly with its rocking guitars and drums. Did you know that Flea and Dave Navarro were involved in the production of this song? I might do a full Musical Appreciation on one of Alanis Morissette’s records someday,but all I can tell you now is that there isn’t that many singer-songwriters like her.
The ultimate ass anthem and probably the only good song about butts that I’ve heard. Baby Got Back is just a fun song with an energetic beat and some impressive rapping skills from Sir Mix-A-Lot, who’s definitely entertaining. The song is a celebration of women with large posteriors, but it also has some social commentary about society’s standards of beauty and is very critical of the media pushing one body type and proclaiming it as the only way women can be beautiful. Sir Mix-A-Lot, you clever sneaky bastard. Let’s hope nobody samples this song 20 years later to make a godawful pile of shit. Looking at you, Nicki Minaj.
Next, we got this blues-rock number from Tracy Chapman called Give Me One Reason. Paired with a bluesy guitar riff, dusty drums and bass, the instrumentation is simple and effective, plus, there’s that guitar solo. In the writing of the song, Tracy and her partner are at the end of their relationship and she wants them to give her a reason to stay with them. At the end, the partner says that because they love her and that’s about it. Yeah, there’s a lesbian undertone of the song, though Tracy has been coy about her sexuality. Still, Give Me One Reason is pretty damn good.
I still stand by the opinion that We Didn’t Start The Fire is a bad song, especially for a talent like Billy Joel. I Go To Extremes, on the other hand? Good song. The instrumentation is great and it ranks among some of Billy Joel’s best. The song deals with a manic-depressive, though Joel has stated that it was an apology to his then-wife of the time. Thinking about it and looking through the lyrics, I can see that. I Go To Extremes is another one of Billy Joel’s classics.
And we get some more greatness from Boyz II Men with their debut single Motownphilly. This is New Jack swing at its peak creatively with its banging beat that’s guaranteed to get people on the floor dancing. In the song, Boyz II Men express their Philadelphia pride and they let us know how they started off as a group, going backstage to a New Edition concert and singing for the group. These dudes’ harmonies are on point, especially in the interlude. This song would begin a career of many great R&B tracks for the rest of the decade.
Lisa Loeb’s Stay (I Missed You) is the first number one single by an independent artist and it’s a damn good song. We get some gentle folk-influenced instrumentation and Lisa trying to fix a shaky relationship with her boyfriend. Even though they’re drifting farther apart from each other, they want things to work out between them. If you’re into female singer-songwriters, Lisa Loeb has done some other good songs that I think are worth checking out with a quick YouTube search.
One of the best summer songs of 1999 comes courtesy of Canadian band Len and their only hit single Steal My Sunshine. This is a perfect summer song with its laidback production that flips More More More, a disco song by Andrea True Connection. Fun with sampling. The brother-sister duo of Marc and Sharon Costanzo do an excellent job with this song even though most of the writing is gibberish and Sharon is much better since Marc sounds like he has a cold. Steal My Sunshine is the ultimate nostalgia bomb for me and it remains on constant rotation on my playlist.
You know what was a great band back in the late 90s? Third Eye Blind. They have some damn good songs; Never Let You Go, Jumper, How It’s Going To Be, and also Semi-Charmed Life. The instrumentation is simple pop rock, but it kicks ass and it’s memorable. Stephan Jenkins is also pretty good as a performer. Yet in spite of the song’s more upbeat nature, the lyrics have a darker meaning. Basically, it’s about a junkie doing crystal meth and going batshit insane. Crazy, I know. Third Eye Blind are definitely a band worth checking out for some more 90s rock.
Bitter Sweet Symphony is probably one of the most recognizable Britpop songs of the 90s mostly due to the instrumentation. Its symphonic string arrangement (sampled from a orchestral cover of a Rolling Stones song) combined with rocking instrumentation makes for a swooping listening experience. The Verve deals with wanting to be an individual in spite of having to live a life of redundancy and repetitiveness being like millions of other people. Good song overall.
Before becoming a movie star, Ice Cube was best known for his more political-social commentary on black America and the hip-hop industry. Funny that his biggest hit, It Was A Good Day, is neither of those things. It’s more of a feel-good song describing a good day in the hood. No drama, no gang shootings, no harassment from the police, just Cube chilling, driving around, playing basketball with the homies, a booty call, and (for some strange reason) a Goodyear blimp that reads “Ice Cube’s A Pimp.” The hood isn’t always a war-zone, good days exist as well. And the production fits this song like a glove, smooth and laidback, something that can be played at summer BBQs. Ice Cube definitely knows how to play the game.
I feel like Coolio doesn’t get the credit he deserves because people are way too focused on his hair. It’s a shame because the guy has made some damn good music and he notched a bunch of hits under his belt, his biggest one being Gangsta’s Paradise. The beat is haunting and atmospheric with those strings and the church choir, plus, it samples Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise. Fun with sampling. Meanwhile, Coolio kicks knowledge about how people in the inner city live, describing the harsh choices that young black men face on a day-to-day basis in order to survive, doing things that will haunt their lives forever, all because of an environment that creates these circumstances and of course, L.V. encapsulates all of that tension in a powerful eerie hook. If you want a more detailed analysis of the song, check out Rap Critic’s review of it. All I can tell you is that Gangsta’s Paradise is a perfect encapsulation of where hip-hop and black America was in the 90s, much more so than most records released at its time.
In 1995, Joan Osborne released One Of Us, a song that ponders the question few people ask, “what would God be like if he was one of us?” Basically, she wants to know if God was just a mere human like the rest of us, what would he be like. Trying to humanize God probably isn’t the best idea since it’ll piss off religiously sensitive folks. Still, One Of Us is a well-made song with some pretty good rock instrumentation and an impressive performance from Joan herself.
In the late 90s, the Latin explosion occurred where we started seeing hits from Hispanic artists and one of the best things to come out of that is Bailamos by Enrique Iglesias. The production is amazing with all of the Latin-flavored acoustic guitars and percussion combined with some string arrangement in the background. Meanwhile, Enrique sings to a woman and asks her if she wants to dance with him into the night. The song has both English and Spanish lyrics, the perfect way to crossover with two different audiences. The music he would make in the 2010s will suck ass, but his other works are pretty good for the most part, especially Bailamos.
The queen of hip-hop soul herself Mary J Blige. Though I’m not exactly a fan, she has made some great music that can’t be denied and Real Love remains one of her best. Its slamming hip-hop beat combined with MJB’s soulful voice creates a jamming New Jack swing sound perfect for parties as Mary is still finding a guy who she’ll love and who will love her back. Luck hasn’t been on her side, but she keeps persevering and continues to search for that real love. An R&B classic that represents the decade it was made in well and a must-have for black parties.
Sometimes, you don’t need much to make a good song. You can make gold out of the basics and that’s why Crush by Jennifer Paige is a great song for me. It’s pretty much a basic pop song and it works extremely well. Its instrumentation is a simple acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and percussion with some synths while Jennifer deals with a guy who has a crush on her (duh). This song proves that sometimes, all you need to make a great song is the bare necessities. That’s an amazing feat.
Whenever I want to feel cool, this is one of the songs that I would play. Return Of The Mack by Mark Morrison has this aura of cool that just gravitates me towards it and it starts with that beat. It has that hip-hop/R&B hybrid sound that’s perfect for going out for the night. Meanwhile, Mark Morrison with his cool singing voice expresses the frustration he feels after his woman broke his heart and they call it off. Mark returns back to his player ways back when he was single and now has a heart of steel, vowing to never let this shit get to him. It’s one of the ultimate post-break up songs where you pick yourself up after falling and keep going and it’s a great party jam as well.
Yeah, this song was released in 1989, but it reached its commercial peak in 1990, so it counts. So the late Luther Vandross gives us this amazing slow jam Here And Now. The production hasn’t aged that well since it is late 80s ballad cheese with those keys and drum machines, but I can get over it, it’s not bad at all and it gets better by the second chorus when the backing gospel choir kicks in. Luther himself sounds amazing with his more soulful voice as he vows to give his undying love for his woman as long as they live. It’s an amazing love song from a voice who left us too soon.
Doing this list, I knew that there’s bound to be some artists who will have multiple entries, one of them being Janet Jackson. I’m a big fan of hers. She was responsible for some of the best pop music of the 80s and 90s, with both fun party jams and sexy slow jams. Hell, I think she’s the true Queen of Pop (no offense to Madonna). Any Time, Any Place might be one of the sexiest songs she’s ever made and it’s about boning in public. Yep. But with her sultry voice, she sells it and it makes you want to grab your partner and start doing it in the parking lot or something. And the production. Absolutely perfect. It’s more downtempo with the hazy synths and subtle keys and it sets the mood perfectly. Basically, a great example of how to make a sex song.
If you’re making a party playlist based on songs from the 90s and you don’t have Groove Is In The Heart in there somewhere, remedy that before you get slapped. Not only is Deee-Lite’s only hit the quintessential party song of the 90s, but it’s the perfect representation of dance music of that decade period. Mixing house and funk together into a musical Reeses, this production is just a blast, rooted in Bootsy Collins’ bass. The break downs in this song are excellent and provides something new. Lady Miss Kier, Deee-Lite’s leading vocalist, sounds great and has a lot of presence and charisma. And we also get a rap verse from Q-Tip. Yep. A Tribe Called Quest’s own Q-Tip. What else can I say about this song? It’s just fun.
Sometimes, even the best want to have fun and 2Pac shows that in I Get Around, a laidback party song where Pac is just letting loose with no worries. This production is great and it matches with 2Pac’s rapping. Yeah, it is about him banging a bunch of chicks and not settling down, but it’s 2Pac, the dude has a lot of charm and charisma and he pulls this off way better than most rappers. It was also cool to hear a verse from Shock G and Money B from Digital Underground. It’s a shame that Pac isn’t around with us because who knows where he would’ve gone next had he lived?
There have been cover songs that are so great that they eclipse the original more. Examples include Johnny Cash doing Hurt and Annie Lennox doing No More I Love Yous. This is easily one of the Top 5 best cover songs ever. Annie just blows this song away vocally and makes it her own with her voice. And the production works to her favor as well, being all eerie and atmospheric with some great vocal melodies. I went and listened to the original song and it was weak as fuck. I mean, the writing was good, but everything else in the song sucked. And leave it to Annie Lennox to make it better. Plus, I buy into the feeling of love being gone more with her than David Freeman. Let’s hope nobody messes up this masterpiece.