I swear i'll be writing more in 2014

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Top 110 Songs of 1994

The Top 110 Songs of 1994

Before I begin, '94 is the last year of grunge … but why?  Well, here's 5 Reasons

5.  Bands like Weezer and Green Day took elements of the style and turned them into a more poppy but yet still alternative rock that trendy music fans gravitated towards because they outgrew their flannel. 

4.  Alice in Chains put a string arrangement in a song.  I shit you not. 

3.  The Cranberries took their stab at the genre and released "Zombie" which would have been terrible if it wasn't so funny. 

2.  Pearl Jam's "Immortality" may not have been a Cobain eulogy, but was in fact a grunge eulogy, as Pearl Jam never really had another good song since. 

1.  Kurt Cobain died. 

What's new in 1994?  Indie isn't exactly a new genre, but with Pavement and Built to Spill being as good as the major label bands now, I have to give it a category even though it doesn't really describe the type of music, unless under-produced sloppy rock is a genre.  I kid because I love. 

110.  Cigarettes & Alcohol – Oasis (Hard Rock)94

Ugh with these guys.  The most over-hyped band in the history of music.  I was smart enough to ignore their existence in the 90s but now I’m giving them their fair shake.  They’re not horrible, but they’re really not any better than say … Green Day or about 5 million other bands.  I'm glad their popularity was brief. 

109.  Brother John – Blues Traveler (Jam Rock)94
108.  Root Down – Beastie Boys (Rap)94
107.  Only a Broken Heart – Tom Petty (Alt-Country)94
106.  Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill (Punk)94
105.  Julius – Phish (Rock)94
104.  Laugh as the Sun – Rusted Root (Jam Rock)94

It’s hard for me to take this drum circle with an acoustic guitar seriously, but at the same time, some of their songs are a lot of fun and remind me of simpler hippie times. 

103.  Grace – Jeff Buckley (Alternative)94
102.  Hook – Blues Traveler (Jam Rock)94
101.  Bug Powder Dust – Justin Warfield (Rap)94
100.  Drive On – Johnny Cash (Country)94
99.  Miss World – Courtney Love (Grunge)94

Her grunge opportunities really, how would you say, opened up in 1994. 

98.  The Source – Built to Spill (Indie)94

Here’s a good example of early Built to Spill franticness.  This is why we love them as sloppy as this song is. 

97.  Scent of a Mule – Phish (Bluegrass)94
96.  Joppa Rock – Ween (Slow Rock)94
95.  Tremor Christ – Pearl Jam (Grunge)94
94.  B-Boys Makin With the Freak Freak – Beastie Boys (Rap)94

I’m not a huge fan of this song but it’s aging better than most rap songs from 1994. 

93.  N.Y. State of Mind – Nas (Rap)94

It’s kind of fun to watch rap slip into that dark tunnel of hate er, um gangsta.  This is a good song ‘n all, but it was another step towards me to stop listening to rap for several years at the time. 

92.  You Don’t Know How It Feels – Tom Petty (Rock)94
91.  Salvation – Rancid (Punk)94

It’s incredible how big Green Day got doing punk in this era but nothing for Rancid … okay, maybe not. 
This song sounds like it could’ve been released in the late 70s, early 80s, early 90s or yesterday.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad. 

90.  Doll Parts – Courtney Love (Grunge)94
89.  Seether – Veruca Salt (Distorted)94

You name your band after an obscure Chocolate Factory character, you get on my list. 

88.  Last Goodbye – Jeff Buckley (Alternative)94
87.  Rocks – Primal Scream (Hard Rock)94
86.  Airplane – Widespread Panic (Jam Rock)94
85.  Juicy – The Notorious B.I.G. (Rap)94

The “blowing up like the world trade” lyric will keep this song famous forever.  Biggie was like Nostradamus, had Nostradamus already witnessed a less tragic version of one of his bold predictions and that prediction coming true on a larger scale. 

84.  California (all the way) – Luna (Indie)94
83.  To Find a Friend – Tom Petty (Pop Rock)94
82.  I Stay Away – Alice in Chains (Distorted)94
81.  Ain’t Life Grand – Widespread Panic (Jam Rock)94
80.  Not For You – Pearl Jam (Grunge)94
79.  Zombie – The Cranberries (Grunge)94

You know when the Cranberries are trying to do a grunge song, it’s time for the genre to end.  No wonder Cobain died in the 94. 

78.  Give It Up – Public Enemy (Rap)94
77.  Plateau – Nirvana (Alternative)94
76.  Eugene’s Lament – Beastie Boys (Instrumental)94

I always feel comme-ci comme-ca with Beastie Boys instrumentals, but this one stands above the rest, though I prefer combined with "Flute Loop."

75.  Last Night – Pearl Jam (Grunge)94
74.  Numb – Portishead (Trance)94
73.  Big Dipper – Built to Spill (Indie)94
72.  Crawling Back To You – Tom Petty (Alt-Country)94
71.  Bodhisattva Vow – Beastie Boys (Rap)94

I always prefer all B-Boys rhyming, but the monks giving back-up vocals on this make it. 

70.  Jimi Thing – Dave Matthews Band (Jam Rock)94

Nothing ages as poorly as a horn solo unless it’s jazz.  Trust me on this. 

69.  Interstate Love Song – Stone Temple Pilots (Grunge)94
68.  Jailbird – Primal Scream (Hard Rock)94
67.  Pay No Mind – Beck (Slow Rock)94

I’m finding out there’s some sort of Beck vs. Ween rivalry I never knew existed.  I prefer the Flaming Lips vs. Ween rivalry, but hell, we can throw Beck in there too, but it’s easy to see he’s had the most success. 

66.  Big Poppa – The Notorious B.I.G. (Rap)94

I was out of the rap game by now so I missed out on the whole Biggie/Tupac thing, and I’m glad I did. 

65.  Satan’s Bed – Pearl Jam (Hard Rock)94
64.  Don’t Shit Where You Eat – Ween (Alt-Country)94
63.  What’s the Frequency Kenneth – REM (Distorted)94

Go Michael Stipe and the gang!  I never knew REM could turn it up a notch. 

62.  Supernova – Liz Phair (Indie)94
61.  I Am a Scientist – Guided By Voices (Indie)94
60.  Beunos Tardes Amigo- Ween (Folk)94

Sometimes you just don’t know if these guys are serious or completely mocking, and that’s one of the things that makes them so good. 

59.  Axilla Part 2 – Phish (Hard Rock)94
58.  March of the Pigs – Nine Inch Nails (Industrial)94
57.  Car – Built to Spill (Indie)94
56.  Take Me Away – Ween (Rock)94

Here’s a good example of Ween being normal.  Like the rest of their styles, they do “normal” very well. 

55.  Redemption – Johnny Cash (Folk)94
54.  Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Nirvana (Folk)94

This song goes back, way back.  This is a great origin story.  Here’s the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Pines

53.  Dancing Nancies – Dave Matthews Band (Jam Rock)94
52.  Black Holed Sun – Soundgarden (Grunge)94

I don’t know if it’s measurable, but this has to be the most played video on MTV in 1994 right?  I almost remember how much it was overplayed more than I remember the actual video or song which means I’ve probably never turned off a video on MTV more than this one. 

51.  Runaround – Blues Traveler (Pop Rock)94
50.  Bewitched – Luna (Indie)94

It’s almost like the Velvet Underground are making a comeback. 

49.  Cornflake Girl – Tori Amos (Slow Rock)94

If you ever have a chance to see an all-male band cover this song, take special note of the singer when he sings the line, “Never was a cornflake girl.”  It’s priceless. 

48.  Flute Loop – Beastie Boys (Rap)94
47.  Girls and Boys – Blur (Synthpop)94

Just when you think synthetic pop music is gone forever, Blur brings it back, and it’s actually pretty good. 

46.  Sour Times – Portishead (Trance)94
45.  Time to Move On – Tom Petty (Alt-Country)94

So I completely forgot about Uncle Tupelo (whoops), but Tom Petty’s Wildflowers album deserves a little credit for helping the alt-country genre take off.   Many of these songs are beautiful. 

44.  Typical Situation – Dave Matthews Band (Jam Rock)94
43.  Let the Train Blow Her Whistle – Johnny Cash (Country)94

Is this song all about him saying “Let her blow” or am I just really immature? 

42.  Lake of Fire – Nirvana (Folk Rock)94
41.  Beercan – Beck (Distorted)94
40.  Undone (The Sweater Song) – Weezer (Hard Rock)94
39.  Spoonman – Soundgarden (Grunge)94
38.  Ten Storey Love Song – Stone Roses (Alternative)94
37.  Voodoo Lady – Ween (Psychedelic Rock)94

Ween finally starts writing with some consistency on Chocolate and Cheese, though a better album title would have been, Ween: We’re Not Just Gas Huffers Anymore

36.  Buddy Holly – Weezer (Hard Rock)94

I’ve heard a few tracks off of the new Buddy Holly cover album and I have to say the Modest Mouse cover of “That’ll Be the Day” is the best.    

35.  You Don’t Love Me – Dawn Penn (Reggae)94

I’m not sure if this is as great of a reggae song as I think it is, or I’m just excited to hear the genre again on these lists because it’s been so long. 

34.  Better Man – Pearl Jam (Rock)94
33.  Closer – Nine Inch Nails (Industrial)94
32.  Lifeboy – Phish (Bluegrass)94

Is it still bluegrass if it moves really slow?  This is one of Phish’s more serious moments and a great preview of Billy Breathes. 

31.  The Man Who Sold the World – Nirvana (Rock)94

The best bands always do covers as an homage to the bands that laid the groundwork for their existence.  The worst bands are the ones who never do covers because they’ve already drowned in pretentiousness. 

30.  A Girl Like You – Edwyn Collins (Alternative)94
29.  Friendly Advice – Luna (Indie)94

What I like about indie rock breaking out in the early 90s is some of these bands jam but don’t have that hippie hop as their contemporaries do. 

28.  Glory Box – Portishead (Trance)94
27.  My Names is Jonas – Weezer (Hard Rock)94
26.  Stab – Built to Spill (Indie)94
25.  Love Spreads – Stone Roses (Hard Rock)94
24.  Alright Hear This – Beastie Boys (Rap)94
23.  What Would You Say? – Dave Matthews Band (Jam Rock)94

I couldn’t believe I heard this on the radio on the way to my grandparent’s house on Christmas Eve 1994. 

22.  Down With Disease – Phish (Hard Rock)94
21.  It’s Good to Be King – Tom Petty (Slow Rock)94

When this song came out, I wasn’t too down.  Now it seems like some of TP’s finest work.  I’m starting to think he may have been doing heroin when he recorded Wildflowers because it’s so good. 

20.  Roses are Free – Ween (Psychedelic Rock)94

This is one of my favorite holiday songs. 

19.  Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley (Folk)94

Perhaps his version is better than Leonard Cohen’s because he does away with Leonard’s annoying gospel choir. 

18.  Don’t Fade on Me – Tom Petty (Folk)94

I read that many of the leftover recordings for Wildflowers (probably Petty’s best album) we’re used for the soundtrack for She’s The One.   I may have to listen to that one now.  

17.  Distopian Dream Girl – Built to Spill (Indie)94

I don’t know if it’s a simple matter of underproduction, but B2S sounds lazier than most bands, but not in a bad way.  This song has the same tempo as Phish’s “Sample in a Jar” but seems to care less about itself even though it’s probably more intricate with better lyrics.  

16.  Corduroy – Pearl Jam (Grunge)94
15.  Ecstasy – Rusted Root (Jam Rock)94

1994 through 1996 are my long hair hippie years so there may be a tinge of bias towards some of these hippie songs of that era.  This was one of the best. 

14.  Last Dance With Mary Jane – Tom Petty (Rock)94

It must be fun to write a song that gets covered by nearly every single “Acoustic Guitar Guy.”

13.  Longview – Green Day (Punk)94

Beside from them stealing the guitar hook from Poison’s “I Want Action” I can accept Green Day’s existence.   It’s almost as if they took some concepts of grunge and added in some power pop punk to make a killing. 

12.  Protection – Massive Attack (Trance)94

There’s a beautiful assortment of effects on this one and effects aren't that big yet, I mean, Radiohead still hasn’t done anything really that good. 

11.  Get It Together – Beastie Boys (Rap)94

Here the B-Boys follow one of the golden rules of early 90’s music, always get Q-Tip to rap with you and it will make your song infinitely better.  This song is just more proof of the theory. 

10.  Bring the Pain – Method Man (Rap)94

I always liked Missy Elliott’s version of this, and in rap terms, it’s not even a cover even though it has the same beat and same name.

9.  Jesus Don’t Want Me For a Sunbeam – Nirvana (Celtic)94

Some songs get into the canon of classicity by appearing in a movie, an example would be a song off of a Quinton Tarantino soundtrack.  These covers on Nirvana’s unplugged album should be treated the same way.  I feel bad for having to use this version instead of the Vasoline’s, but I’m not sure people other than Nirvana apparently cared about them. 

8.  Cut Your Hair – Pavement (Indie)94

Slowly I’m started to understand Pavement.  Very slowly. 

7.  Sure Shot – Beastie Boys (Rap)94
6.  Waterfalls – TLC (Rhythm & Blues)94

It was impossible for me to like this song back then because well, it was TLC.  How can one enjoy a band where one of the singers wears a condom on her eye and burned a football player’s house down? 

5.  Immortality – Pearl Jam (Grunge)94

Whether it’s about Kurt or not doesn’t really matter because it’s about the down side of rock stardom.  Fame’s backside is an ugly place. 

4.  Burn – Nine Inch Nails (Industrial)94

Not even close to being one of NIN’s more popular songs, but it’s my favorite.  This is a great post break-up song.   It actually makes you mad enough at the person who may have just broken your heart that it helps get you over them.  Maybe that’s the whole point of industrial music. 

3.  Wildflowers – Tom Petty (Alt-Country)94

Is it at all possible that this is Tom Petty’s BSE?  It must be. 

2.  Sample in a Jar – Phish (Hard Rock)94

When Phish released Hoist, they stopped recording long progressive, and unfortunately creative songs.  That being said, some of the results we’re great (AND UNDER 5 MINUTES!). 

1.  Sabotage – Beastie Boys (Rap Metal)94

Nathaniel Hornblower was right to protest this not winning the best video of 1994 on whatever show that was, but by protesting it wasn't he giving respect to whatever pseudoevent that wasn’t fair enough to give this video the award?  I mean, REM?  Are you freaking kidding me?   

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