90s Icon
World Events

Music Poster Books

Check out ChuckyG's reviews of books about concert posters and other music picture books.

Top Ten Songs of the 90s

90s Icon
70s Top Songs
80s Icon
80s Top Songs

What are your top ten favorite songs from the 90s?

    By: Ben Lucchese
    • 10. Backwater by The Meatpuppets
      What a cool and catchy song this one was. I have a buddy who actually got the album and said it wasn't too good but this song was rad. I always loved the two lines, "There's a blood that's running through the ceiling/And a knife to open up the sky's veins". So descriptive. This was definitely a song that defined a year of my life.
    • 9. Killing in the Name Of by Rage Against the Machine
      Rad, rad, rad. Who hasn't been pumped up by this song? Who hasn't screamed, "F*** you! I won't do what you tell me!" at the top of their lungs? Who hasn't tried to figure out what Zachary De La Rocha says after "Those who died are justified"? (It's "For wearing the badge, they're the chosen white" by the way.) I've heard many "Most Influential Band" discussions and these guys are strangely missing. Look at rock nowadays and it is all Rage-style rock rap with less brain. These guys were innovative and put a whole bunch of message into every one of their songs.
    • 8. Lightning Crashes by Live
      Man these guys talk about a woman's placenta falling to the floor and make a beautiful song out of it! That, to me, is something to say about this song. But even more so is the subtlety of this song. The work on this song is primarily done by Ed Kowalczyk's stellar vocals but the instruments add a great undertone to the pain he feels. I totally get into this song whenever I hear it. All my feeeling coming back again, like a rolling thunder chasing the wind.
    • 7. Sabotage by Beastie Boys
      They were the true white rap group with a legitimate edge. They tested different sounds and were having fun the whole way. I never was a real big fan of the Beastie Boys and I really can't say that this song is one of my favorites of the decade but when paired with its video how can anyone resist but sayint that this was one of the true gems of the 1990's. Directed by a young Spike Jonze (later director of such cutting edge films as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation) this video is truly one of the more unique experiences I've ever had. The Beastie Boys are all dressed as cops in an homage to the cop shows of the 1970's. I love the look of the video combined with the music, and I don't believe I'll ever see a video again where the band seems to have had such a good time making it. Rent the Beastie Boys Anthology on DVD, it is awesome.
    • 6. She Don't Use Jelly by Flaming Lips
      Guts. Pure guts. These guys are always pushing the limits and they get away with it. One of the more hysterical moments of the 90's was when these guys played on 90210. I don't think the producers had even heard the song, they were just running their fingers over Billboard and said, "These guys look like their getting popular let's book them". Cut to the taping of the show the same producers going, "We booked these guys? What have we done?". Besides their stint with Brandon, Steve and the crew, these guys did their own thing and became famous for it...right on.
    • 5. Drive by R.E.M.
      Off of Automatic For The People this song didn't receive as much attention as it should have. It is so intense yet at the very same time so subdued. Michael Stipe is the master at getting the most out of every one of his words. This song was on the same album as Everybody Hurts so most of the attention went to that tremendous video and song rather than this one which was also a great piece of work.
    • 4. The World That I Know by Collective Soul
      What teen series on television didn't swoop this one up upon hearing its violins and accoustic guitars? This song was an automatic tear jerker especially when paired with its video which presents a man almost about to give up on life while the band watches on like guardian angels until he realizes that he is not alone in the world. I would definitely argue this as one of the top three songs of the decade if it were not for those already there.
    • 3. Even Flow by Pearl Jam
      Grunge once again yet the video alone tells the whole story. Eddie Vedder crawling his way to a ledge above the audience and then hurtling himself into the arms below...awesome. I wish people could retain spirit like that. Now Eddie seems too disillusioned and seems to hate the spotlight. But this song was so powerful especially on that last chorus following the solo section.
    • 2. The Fly by U2
      Achtung Baby's release all but sealed U2's destiny as a band that could traverse the decades. Look at their subsequent fall in popularity and then recent surge once again with All That You Can't Leave Behind. The Fly (not as well known as Achtung Baby's One, or Mysterious Ways) is an underappreciated song on this masterpiece of an album.
    • 1. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
      The obvious yet deserving number one. It's like saying Dark Side of the Moon is the greatest album of the 70's, it just was. Nirvana's first nationally released single exploded through the charts like a rocket because of its dissonance with the glam bands of the time. Open the garage door and out comes grunge like a beat up Ford Pinto with a jet strapped on its roof.

    The 90's were my decade. I'm 24, I lived them, I love the music and the world will never be the same. The 90's were about revolution and then funneled into the corporate control of the late 90's till now. Why does MTV no longer play full videos? Why do they no longer play videos at all? Question the music being offered now, Kurt is rolling over in his grave. Who are these people being compared to Shannon Hoon or Layne Staley? What kind of person compares Wes Borland to Kim Thaylil of Soundgarden? We escaped from the grasps of glam rock only to be bound in the chains of Boy Bands. Die American Idol die! Remember when Real World was cool because it was fresh? Aaaaaaaah! I need Doc Brown to pull up in a suped up Delorean and wisk me back to 1992.
    By: Niz
    • 10. Wind of Change by Scorpions
      Reminds me every time of the Berlin wall falling. Just sneaks in at 1990 ;)
    • 9. Halcyon On and On by Orbital
      Very underated group. This track is like floating on air. Great atmosphere, great bass line, soothing vocals.
    • 8. Connected or Step it up by Stereo MC's
      Underated, but still full of talent.
    • 7. Ebeneezer Goode by The Shamen
      Just a whole lotta fun!
    • 6. Breathe by The Prodigy
      People bag the album this song was on, but no denying that Breathe is a dead set hit, and what a twisted film clip. One of the great electronica groups who grew into something else along the way.
    • 5. Killing in the Name Of by Rage Against the Machine
      A band with so many good tracks, every ones a winner, but this one is the original and the best.
    • 4. One or Even Better than the real thing by U2
      Hard to compare these 2 tracks but theyre both off the same great album. The Oakenfold remixes of EBTTRT are fantastic.
    • 3. Teardrop or Angel by Massive Attack
      Fantastic group with so many great songs
    • 2. Come Out and Play by Offspring
      Another band with a great sound. Reminds me of so many summers behaving badly
    • 1. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
      Honestly didnt like Nirvana at the time, but have come to like them alot since, the definition of the 90's sound

    Id nominate Elevation or Beautiful Day by U2 but it missed out on the 90's by just 10 months :( Theres probably many im forgetting, so many great artists, not enough spots!
    By: Amber K.
    • 10. One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey
      its beautiful
    • 9. Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton
      It makes me cry.
    • 8. Building A Mystery by Sarah Mclaughlin
      i love the lyrics its creepy beautiful
    • 7. One Of Us by Joan Osbourne
      great lyrics and sound!
    • 6. The Living Years by Mike And The Mechanics
      I love this song. Its sooo sad.
    • 5. I Love You Always Forever by Donna Lewis
      what a romantic song and soo pretty.
    • 4. Who Will Save Your Soul by Jewel
      Wow this song had meaning, it takes my breath away.
    • 3. You Oughta Know by Alanis Morrisette
      Awesome song
    • 2. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve
      This song had gorgeous meaning and sound. The lyrics"you try to make ends meet your a slave to the money ,then you die." are the epitome of good songwriting. Who could forget the violin in it either.
    • 1. Counting Blue Cars by Dishwalla
      To me this song is awesome. It embodied a lot of the 90's sound to me. The lyrics were touching even though I don't really know how they fit together.

    The 90's were awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!
    By: Matt
    • 10. Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind
      I can listen to this song forever =P
    • 9. Enter Sandman by Metallica
      If you haven't heard this song, you're either from another planet, or live in a cave... with internet access.
    • 8. With Arms Wide Open by Creed
    • 7. The Distance by Cake
      This is just a great fun song :)
    • 6. Dammit by Blink182
      They knew what they were talking about on this one.
    • 5. Fight For Your Right (To Party) by Beastie Boys
    • 4. One Week by Barenaked Ladies
      Wicked tune. Kind of got *really* overplayed, but I enjoyed it
    • 3. All For You by Sister Hazel
    • 2. Good Riddance by Green Day
    • 1. One Headlight by The Wallflowers
      Good easy listening. What I like to call a "good thinking song"

    By: Nao-chan
    • 10. Laundry Room by Nirvana
      We start good with an even better band, Nirvana. Laundy Room is not very "polished" as a song, but the lyrics are just so real.
    • 9. Don't Speak by No Doubt
      I just like this type of song. Plus who doesnt love Gwen Stefani.
    • 8. The Real Folk Blues by The Seatbelts
      Composed by Yoko Kanno... What more could you want in a song? besides me loving every work of Yoko kanno, this is like the the whole orchestra-jazz ballad mixed together for a very very beautiful messy ballad. And everyone loves it. Is on japanese but still, the lyrics are beautiful. ?
    • 7. Duvet & Rain by Boa
      Both song by Boa. "Duvet" is just very lyrically intriguing. Basicly it could be described as an emotional breakdown over the end of a relashionship. (And you dont seem to understand/A shame you seemed an honest man/And all the fears you hold so dear/will turn to whisper in your ear) And then "Rain" is more of a slow hunt ballad about this girl who is obsessed with sex, and for some reason commits suicide. (Suicide is rain in pain/falling into gutters they splash their remains)
    • 6. Subhuman by Garbage
      .... "bite the sacred apple, suck the poison, enjoy the taste"
    • 5. Criminal by Fiona Apple
      Horrendously catchy, and who can beat the first line ("Ive been a bad, bad girl") I could relate a lot to the song itself, maybe thats why I like it so much.
    • 4. Miss World by Hole
      "Im miss world/somebody kill me/kill me pills/no one cares, my friends" "I make my bed I die in it" A lot of suicidal thoughts here folks.
    • 3. Pennyroyal Tea by Nirvana
      This was the song that made pennyroyal famous, yay!!. Ever since Nirvana did this song on their Unplugged In New York act, pennyroyal is getting more recognition. For those who dont know, Pennyroyal is a natural aborticifent. Ancients used it for abortion. It also cleanses the body, and if your not pregnant it can be very good to you.
    • 2. Komm Susser, Tod by Loren & M*A*S*H*
      This is a song about very much suicidal thoughts, and death itself. in the end the song gets very cherry, wich can mean the happyness in death. ("It all returns to nothing"
    • 1. Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana
      Hey, number #1 must be a Nirvana song,ne? I think this is the ultimate declaration of love put into music. I mean, ("i wish i could eat your cancer when you turn black")

    By: Jay
    • 10. Memory Remains by Metallica
      cool old chick
    • 9. Pretty Noose by Soundgarden
      Actually the whole album is awesome but I'm out of room
    • 8. Carolyn's Bootie by Presidents Of The Usa
      On the single to lump
    • 7. Jeremy by Pearl Jam
    • 6. Twist by Korn
      Deep and meaningful lyrics!
    • 5. Repeat by Grinspoon
    • 4. Man That You Fear by Manson
      Ok, weird but very nice song
    • 3. Oh Me by Nirvana
      Very mellow (on unplugged)
    • 2. Forgiven by Ben Harper
      Not sure of the year but powerful song.
    • 1. Shake Hands With Beef by Primus
      wicked base riff, and for sure the best song on the brown album

    By: Greg
    • 10. Faith by Limpbizkit
      In my opinion the band that defined 90s rock...and ironically its an 80s cover.
    • 9. The Way by Fastball
      Somehow..This was addicting to me
    • 8. Bleed by Soulfly
    • 7. Securition by Fear Factory
      Quite possibly the best hard rock song of the 90s that no one had the chance to hear
    • 6. Smash Your Enemies by Hatebreed
      For all you hardcore fans out there!
    • 5. Freak On A Leash by Korn
      Quite possibly the best korn song, and a great video as well.
    • 4. Whatever by Godsmack
      Who didnt like this one?
    • 3. Bored by Deftones
      My favorite band, probably their most well known song
    • 2. What I Got by Sublime
      Great one to sing along to
    • 1. Beautiful Disaster by 311
      Had to have something from these guys

    These songs are in no particular order. I just looked down my cds, and wrote what came to mind.
    By: Z
    • 10. Lithium by Nirvana
    • 9. Yellow by Coldplay
    • 8. Wonderwall by Oasis
    • 7. Mmm mmm mmm mmm by crash test dummies
    • 6. Jeremy by Pearl Jam
    • 5. Creep by Radiohead
    • 4. Night Swimming by R.E.M.
    • 3. Tonight Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins
    • 2. Debaser by Pixies
      Not sure if it's nineties but can't be far off .
    • 1. It smells like teen spirit by Nirvana

    By: Colin Of The North
    • 10. Today by Smashing Pumpkins
      Great Band. Great song.
    • 9. Gone Away by The Offspring
      Every song on Ixnay on the Hombre was good, but this was the best.
    • 8. Under The Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers
      Their breakout song; the one that made them awesome.
    • 7. When I Come Around by Green Day
      Who diddn't hear this song 1,000 times on MTV?
    • 6. Take A Picture by Filter
      Filter Barely squeezed this one in before 2000, and rightfully so. This is definitely a 90's song.
    • 5. Ants Marching by Dave Matthews Band
      Just one of the great songs they did before Dave turned into the weak cream puff he is today.
    • 4. Champagne Supernova by Oasis
      "Oasis is the greatest band since the Beatles." -- Will Farrell
    • 3. Abuse Me by Silverchair
      Silverchair seemed to die off with their second album, but this still rocked. I always thought they could beat up Hanson.
    • 2. Desperately Wanting by Better Than Ezra
      I remember runnin through the wet grass... I remember myself with my feet up ont he couch listening to this over and over on the radio.
    • 1. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve
      The definition song of the late 90's, plus the theme to Cruel Intentions.

    Honorable mention to Phish and others who filled the void left by Grateful Dead.
    By: ConstantDreamer
    • 10. Lithium by Nirvana
      Based on reading other lists, I know I'll be killed if I don't put a Nirvana song on here, and my favorite so happens to be Lithium.
    • 9. Creep by Radiohead
      The fact that this was my personal theme song for awhile elevates it to a higher plane.
    • 8. Rooster by Alice in Chains
      I have a weakness for ballads performed by grunge bands, but there's no denying the passion in Layne Staley's voice here.
    • 7. Jeremy by Pearl Jam
      This song's timeless message, catchy chorus, and controversial video make it Pearl Jam's best.
    • 6. Creep by Stone Temple Pilots
      Few bass lines stand the test of time like the one in this song's chorus.
    • 5. Pull Me Under by Dream Theater
      It's tempting to fill this list with Dream Theater songs. This song was their breakout hit and one of their best.
    • 4. Hurt by Nine Inch Nails
      One of the saddest hits of the nineties, along with Pearl Jam's "Black" (which barely missed this list).
    • 3. Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden
      The video is a true classic, and I think this song epitomizes grunge-post-Cobain.
    • 2. No More Tears by Ozzy Osbourne
      I think of it as the "song of ecstasy". I'm weird, I know.
    • 1. Voices by Dream Theater
      A true epic song, with haunting metaphoric lyrics and an ambience of despair.

    I can't believe nobody else put No More Tears. Perhaps they forgot that it came out in the 90s.

    Previous List or Next List

    This page currently edited by: ChuckyG. Past editor: CeramicsFanatic

We also have pages on this topic devoted to the 80s and 90s

Would You Like To Add Something We Missed?

Please use the submission page to submit information to be used on this page.

The Official amIright
Misheard Lyrics Book

Hold Me Closer Tony Danza and other Misheard Lyrics

Email Siteowner, Privacy Statement

Copyright 2000-2012, by Charles R. Grosvenor Jr.