There's nothing like a good decade change to cleanse some of the crap from the previous decade. As disco hit a sudden crash once 1980 rolled around, hair bands and those cheesy synthesizer bands reached a sudden a halt in 1990. A Tribe Called Quest made sure rap wasn't just for radio play and Jane's Addiction changed everything … well, something.
75. Ice, Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice (Rap)90
Hasn’t everyone that’s heard this song repeated a line from it at some point? That’s a win.
74. Crazy – Seal (Pop)90
73. Suicide Blonde – INXS (Alternative)90
72. Enjoy the Silence – Depeche Mode (Synthpop)90
I could’ve sworn this song came out about 5 years earlier. It seems real out of place in 1990.
71. Cradle of Love – Billy Idol (Butt Rock)90
I may be blinded to how good this song really is due to my fond memories of watching the video.
70. Merry Go Round – The Replacements (Alternative)90
69. This Is How It Feels – Inspiral Carpets (Alternative)90
This song has little hints of that “Kids” song by MGMT … very little, but that’s the closest thing it reminds me of. I wonder if MGMT enjoyed their 15 minutes.
68. Bonita Applebaum – A Tribe Called Quest (Rap)90
67. Pollywannacracka – Public Enemy (Rap)90
66. Jingling Baby – LL Cool J (Rap)90
Go ahead baby.
65. Hole Hearted – Extreme (Butt Rock)90
I was always excited that Nuno got to sing on this one, and hearing Gary Cherone nowadays, he probably should’ve sang more often.
64. Disappearer – Sonic Youth (Distorted)90
63. God Walks Among Us Now – Flaming Lips (Distorted)90
62. Mulling It Over – Blues Traveler (Jam Rock)90
This gun nut can wail on the harp like no one I’ve ever heard before. Problem is it’s still just a harp.
61. Cherry-Coloured Funk – The Cocteau Twins (Gothic)90
60. Groovy Train – The Farm (Alternative)90
59. Pause – Run DMC (Rap)90
58. Dirty Looks – Sonic Youth (Distorted Alt)90
57. Shelter Me – Cinderella (Butt Rock)90
Many of these butt rockers start moving towards a rootsier, country blues kind of thing in 1990. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to save them.
56. Kinky Afro – Happy Mondays (Distorted Alt)90
55. Downer – Nirvana (Grunge)90
54. Birdhouse in Your Soul – They Might Be Giants (Alternative)90
There’s this weird “animal” phenomenon that happens in the early 90s between these guys, Phish, Ween and I’m sure others.
53. Ball and Chain – Social Distortion (Hard Rock)90
52. Bathtub Gin – Phish (Jam Rock)90
51. The Ship Song – Nick Cave (Slow Rock)90
50. Tom’s Diner – Suzanne Vega (Pop)90
This song has quite a history, but most importantly, it was best once it was stolen and a beat was added to it in 1990.
49. Classic Girl – Jane’s Addiction (Alternative)90
48. De-Luxe – Lush (Alternative)90
47. Fear of a Black Planet – Public Enemy (Rap)90
46. Five Stop Mother Superior Rain – Flaming Lips (Distorted)90
I’ve never really listened to In a Priest Driven Ambulance before, but I’m starting to learn some of this shit is pretty bad ass. The Flaming Lips are very underrated.
45. Life Goes On – Poison (Power Ballad)90
This is a strange Poison song for me because I didn’t like it back in the day, but now, I love it and it’s hard for me to barometerize because it’s Poison. Every time it comes on my ipod though, I listen to it.
44. B-Side Wins Again – Public Enemy (Rap)90
43. Lawn Boy – Phish (Slow Rock)90
42. Three Days – Jane’s Addiction (Jam Rock)90
41. Cliffs of Dover – Eric Johnson (Butt Rock)90
Before the butt rock era dies, Eric Johnson makes sure he gets in one more “Looks how awesome at guitar I am!” song as Eddie Van Halen did to kick off the era.
40. 911 Is a Joke – Public Enemy (Rap)90
39. Unskinny Bop – Poison (Butt Rock)90
Though the title is complete nonsense and “knocking boots” never turned into doing the “unskinny bop”, I have a rule that I always have to side with the band that digitally added neon laser women to dance along with the singer in the video.
38. Cherry Pie – Warrant (Butt Rock)90
This song is butt rock’s last gasp.
37. Love Rears Its Ugly Head – Living Colour (Alternative)90
This song has aged surprisingly well.
36. Jazz Thing – Gang Starr (Rap)90
I had a post-hearing-Stetsasonic-for-my-first-time hype thing going on here, and unfortunately, they’re not quite as good, or maybe this song just rips off the idea of “Talkin All that Jazz.”
35. Unbelievable – EMF (Pop Rock)90
Always free points for sampling the Diceman.
34. More than Words – Extreme (Power Ballad)90
A lot can be said about this … well, beautifully overplayed Extreme song, but perhaps nothing is quite as interesting as the fact that Aloha Sex Juice (Hawaii’s most popular sex rock act) covered this for the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which is a pretty darn good comedy. For more good comedy, check out this picture:
33. Can’t Do Nothin’ For Ya Man – Public Enemy (Rap)
That’s the way the ball bounces G.
32. Sliver – Nirvana (Grunge)90
31. She’s So High – Blur (Alternative)90
30. Bouncing Around the Room – Phish (Pop Rock)90
Here’s what I love about Phish fans, an interesting fact I pulled of wiki … It's been played live at concerts 27.66% of the time, according to Phish.net.
29. The Humpty Dance – Digital Underground (Rap)90
All you need is a funny nose and a good bass line sometimes.
28. John the Fisherman – Primus (Distorted)90
Expert level. Nailed. I guess Guitar Hero references are sooooooooooo 2008 though (and I never nailed this on expert level).
27. Burn Hollywood Burn – Public Enemy (Rap)90
Chuck always seems to be a good judge of bullshit, aside from his admiration of Elijah Muhammad.
26. Blackman in Effect – Boogie Down Productions (Rap)90
25. Twice as Hard – Black Crowes (Hard Rock)90
24. Push It Along – A Tribe Called Quest (Rap)90
23. Jealous Again – Black Crowes (Hard Rock)90
It’s great to hear rock return to its roots. Between all this hair band shit, alternative jabberwocky and this jam band thing that’s starting to break, it’s great hearing a band with the attitude of “What would Keith Richards Do?”
22. Thunderstruck – AC/DC (Butt Rock)90
I can’t not like a song with a guitar riff like that.
21. The Only One I Know – The Charlatans (Alternative)90
Apparently, in the United Kingdom, they pronounce alternative as “Madchester.”
20. Too Many Puppies – Primus (Distorted Alt)90
Sadly, it’s about war and not about watching a dog give birth.
19. Luck of Lucien – A Tribe Called Quest (Rap)90
18. But Anyway – Blues Traveler (Jam Rock)90
As the new wave of jam bands began to take shape, Blues Traveler, along with Phish and Widespread became one of its leaders.
17. Kool Thing – Sonic Youth (Distorted Alt)90
16. Brother’s Gonna Work It Out – Public Enemy (Rap)90
15. Poison – Bell Biv Devoe (Pop)90
In the late 80s, early 90s this “new jack swing” thing emerged and I haven’t really cared until now.
14. Split Open and Melt – Phish (Funk)90
Points because its Phish’s best recording to date, but much of the groove (which is the best part) seems a bit too much like James Brown for me to give them originality points.
13. She Talks to Angels – Black Crowes (Slow Rock)90
This is the song that made me want to tune my guitar to an open E. (Now let’s just hope some douchebag guitar player doesn’t tell me how you REALLY play it. Why are musicians so annoying?)
12. Can I Kick It? – A Tribe Called Quest (Rap)90
Is it possible that this song is better than Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side?” It’s certainly aged better.
11. Hard to Handle – Black Crowes (Hard Rock)90
This is a fucking great song whether it’s theirs or not.
10. Groove Is in the Heart – Dee-Lite (House)90
I have a feeling this is going to be the best house song I ever hear. They also follow the rule of “Always get Q-Tip on your song” which was started by De La Soul in 1989.
9. Run Like an Antelope – Phish (Jam Rock)90
Most “best of” lists would probably dismiss this song because it’s long winded, and has terrible lyrics. I agree with one of those assessments, but the jam, even in the studio, is too wonderful to dismiss as “long winded”.
8. Stop – Jane’s Addiction (Hard Rock)90
Amidst all this alternative stuff, and fluffly butt rock stuff, Jane’s was the one band carrying on the tradition of great hard rock.
7. Love’s Gonna Get Ya – Boogie Down Productions (Rap)90
Back in the day, I liked song, so I’ve known it for some 20 years. Lately when I’ve heard it, it stands far above anything else I’ve heard by KRS-One.
6. Welcome to the Terrordome – Public Enemy (Rap)90
I once had a “mix” tape that only contained this song. Quite the paradox, eh?
5. The Squirming Coil – Phish (Jam Rock)90
This song hits on all cylinders. It’s not long winded, and yes, the lyrics are a little bad, but they’re much better than most of their songs. Sure it’s not as good live as many of their others, but thus far, one of their best recordings.
4. Mama Said Knock You Out – LL Cool J (Rap)90
I was always on the Kool Moe Dee side of this rap battle, but this was the death blow. After this song, KMD was never heard from again, but had MUCH better sun glasses.
3. I Left My Wallet in El Sugundo – A Tribe Called Quest (Rap)90
When I first heard this song I thought it was terrible, but really dug the new Ratt single, “Loving You’s a Dirty Job.”
2. Reba – Phish (Jam Rock)90
It may require a little patience, but simply put, no other band can do what Phish does in this song. Hell, Phish even has trouble doing it live sometimes.
1. Been Caught Stealing – Jane’s Addiction (Distorted Alt)90
I know “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Alive” are about to bust out in a year, but the change of image on MTV has already begun.