Out of all the decades we have done so far, the 1990’s remains supreme by giving us some killer pop artists, the rise of grunge, and (arguably) some of the best artists we know. The impact of the music scene of the 90’s was massive and many artists strive to revitalize the sound that we all know and love. We picked out some of our favorites from the decade and why they happen to be our favorites.
EVANNE: BE MY LOVER BY LA BOUCHE
Be My Lover is a total club banger with amazing vocals, synths, and a beat you just have to dance to. This Eurodance song has clear disco influences, but Lane McCray’s rap honestly just ties the whole thing together so perfectly. This track was featured in Pam and Tommy on Hulu and so it went viral when the series was released and so there are so many fun remixes floating around, but you can’t beat the original. I love to play this song when getting ready to go out with my friends since it just instantly puts me in such a fun and upbeat party mood. While one can argue that the lyrics are quite simple, sometimes you just have to accept it for the vibe instead of the substance. Either way, this is a clear 90’s standout and embodies the youthful energy associated with the decade.
ASHLYN: ANEURYSM BY NIRVANA
I think picking ONE favorite song from the 90’s is a next-to-near impossible task for me. You have artists like The Smashing Pumpkins, The Cranberries, Alice In Chains, Sonic Youth, Deftones, Blur, and Soundgarden all reaching the notoriety they have today, but Nirvana holds a special place in my heart. I really started getting into them in High School, and Aneurysm (alongside most of their songs on Incesticide) take a break from the sound some of their bigger hits off Nevermind share. I could do a deepdive into the songs off this album, but I will always consider Aneurysm to be my favorite. Hearing Cobain come into this weird vocal-fry thing is intoxicating, as is the sheer melodic work done by Kurt, Krist, and Dave.
I could genuinely listen to this song for hours and not get tired of it.
ABEL: HEAVEN OR LAS VEGAS BY COCTEAU TWINS
I could’ve picked a lot of songs from the 90s, but even when I realized that I could pick a Cocteau Twins song it was hard to pick. I decided on Heaven or Las Vegas because I would never skip this song under any circumstance which I can’t say for the rest of their 90’s discography, even though it’s mostly excellent as well. It starts off with no delay, jumping right into action, and immediately grips you with its addicting drum rhythm and guitar. But it’s really once Elizabeth Fraser starts singing when the song absolutely entrances you. The Cocteau Twins use her voice more as an instrument than a lyric deliverer, which is why it’s so hard to understand anything she says on any song. But it doesn’t really matter what she’s saying when the experience of listening to this song is one of the most captivating 5 minutes you can spend on a song.
AUSTIN: BENNY AND THE JETS BY BEASTIE BOYS AND BIZ MARKIE
Biz Markie provides the funk and the feels in this perfect cover of Elton John‘s classic song. Piano and a produced crowd roar fills the ear holes with pleasantry while Biz Markie unintelligibly screams lyrics to the timeless hit. This song played on repeat while I cruised the mean streets of Idaho Falls in my ’97 Honda Civic during High School. The Beastie Boys album ‘Anthology: The Sounds of Science‘ was released in 1999. I am forever a fanboy of B-sides and this song in no exception. The song remained on repeat until I sold the car with it’s faulty ignition to a mentally impaired man and his uncle. I left all of my CD’s in the trunk of the vehicle. I hope somewhere that man is blasting this cover as loud as I once did.
DAYTON: WHAT I GOT BY SUBLIME
What I Got, and the band they wrote were one of the most successful groups of the 90’s. Their music fused reggae, punk rock, and hip hop creating a genre of its own. Sublime was the perfect band for the misfit californian high schooler I once was. There’s something about driving to the beach with the windows down and listening to sublime that soothed my soul then and forever will.
PETAR: GLORY BOX BY PORTISHEAD
One of my favorite genres is Trip-Hop, which is a music style that emerged from Bristol in the early 90’s. Trip-Hop is rooted in Breakbeat music, but where Trip-Hop differs is in its tendency to sample Funk, Soul, Reggae, and Dub, while pulling inspiration from Hip-Hop, Electronica, and Post-Punk. Glory Box, to me, perfectly represents what Trip-Hop is. The song consists of dreamy, ethereal, and melancholy vocals from Beth Gibbons, perfectly reverbed Hip-Hop drums, an eerie string section, and an absolutely beautiful guitar lead guiding the song. The album Dummy, on which Glory Box is featured, won the Mercury Prize in 1995 and was described as “gothic hip-hop” by Rolling Stone Magazine.