The Most Awesome 90s CD Ever
The Philosophy: I made no attempt to balance the mix in terms of when the songs were released. This mix is heavily weighted to the late nineties. I made some attempt to represent various movements in popular music, but in no way attempted to balance by genre. I tried to make a mix where anyone around my age would recognize most of the songs, but the songs selected aren't all the most obvious choices.
Without further ado, here is the CD, featuring bonus capsule reviews of every song.
1) Eve 6 - "Inside Out" (1998)
REVIEW: This song was selected to lead off the CD out of spite, as my friend Rich hates the song. But screw him, this song rules, with a really catchy hook in the chorus plus a memorable music video. 8/10.
2) Monica - "The First Night" (1998)
REVIEW: Still my favorite R&B hit of the 1990's, by my favorite R&B singer of the 1990's, and one of my ten favorite singles of the decade. I guess, in keeping with the general idea of this, I should have included one of her lesser known but still awesome hits, such as "Before You Walk out of My Life" or "For You I Will", but I love this song too much not to include it. 10/10.
3) Counting Crows - "A Long December" (1997)
REVIEW: The Counting Crows were the headliner of the first concert I ever went to (That Dog, Wallflowers, and The Counting Crows). I never really liked them, and I still don't, but this is definitely their best single in my opinion, and one of the better late 90's rock hits. 7.5/10.
4) Better Than Ezra - "Desperately Wanting" (1996)
REVIEW: Maybe not the best song, but it's a fun song and my buddies and I in college liked it. Good enough for me. This was the last song to make the cut. 7/10.
5) Lisa Loeb - "Stay (I Missed You)" (1994)
REVIEW: This was one of the better number one hits of the early nineties, and the sound of the song just basically defines the period. A no-brainer. 9/10.
6) Shania Twain - "You're Still the One" (1999)
REVIEW: Once again, I should have included one of her other hits like "That Don't Impress Me Much" or "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" that has more of a sense of humor. But, I have a huge blind spot for this song. I wanted a representative of country crossover music, and you really can't go anywhere other than Shania for that. 9/10.
7) Madonna - "Secret" (1994)
REVIEW: I'm amazed by how much I love this song, given that it comes during about a 10 year stretch where I didn't like any of Madonna's singles at all and that it comes off of what would otherwise be the worst album of that stretch. Nontheless, it's probably my favorite Madonna single. 9.5/10
8) Jane Child - "Don't Wanna Fall in Love" (1990)
REVIEW: Well, this definitely would have been on my 80's mix if it had been released just one year earlier, but as it is, it can represent the extension of 80's music that ruled the charts for 1990 and 1991. And quite a good representative it is. 8.5/10
9) Sixpence None the Richer - "Kiss Me" (1999)
REVIEW: Screw Sting's "Fields of Gold", this is the best song of all time which mentions barley. I will never understand how Sixpence None the Richer wrote such a brilliant pop song. I have heard many of their other songs, and I can tell you that it's no coincidence or injustice that the only other hit they ever had was a cover song. What a gap between the quality of best and second-best song. Since they were a Christian band, I chalk it up to a genuine miracle. 10/10.
10) M2M - "Don't Say You Love Me" (1999)
REVIEW: Okay, this was cheating. But it did reach #21 on the Hot 100 so that's popular enough to land it on the mix, and there's no way I'm gonna leave out a teenpop hit. Forget Avril, the trend of "confessional rock" teen pop started with this band and this song. One of the most influential teen pop songs of all time. 9.5/10.
11) Aaliyah - "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number" (1994)
REVIEW: The breakout hit and possibly best single of one of the better R&B acts of the nineties. I've always thought she was a bit over-rated by the hipster crowd, and I've always preferred Monica, but I do like Aaliyah, and I do like this song. 8/10.
12) Marcy Playground - "Sex and Candy" (1997)
REVIEW: One of the weirdest top 10 hits of all time, and one of the weirdest videos of all time, but hey it all works. I think most people could have predicted they would be a one-hit wonder after this song, but, hey, it is a good song and a deserved hit. 7.5/10.
13) Jennifer Paige - "Crush" (1998)
REVIEW: Hell, at least Marcy Playground had a couple other songs that made a bit of impact on Modern Rock Radio, even if they had no more mainstream hits. Jennifer Paige is like the ultimate one hit wonder. Storms on the scene with a really good pop song that becomes ubiquitous hit, but then just fades away completely. And it's not like her one song was a novelty song or anything either! She never had another song reach the Hot 100 at all, although she did have one song reach #6 on the Dance/Club Play chart and one reach #34 on the mainstream top 40 chart. Yeesh. Still doesn't take away from the brilliance of this song. 9/10.
14) Reel Big Fish - "Sellout"(1997)
REVIEW: Sorry to all the Mighty Mighty Bosstones fans out there, but this is definitely the best hit of the ska revival, in my opinion. The ska revival wasn't really big enough a movement that it needs a selection on this mix, but this was a great song and I couldn't bring myself to leave it off. 8/10.
15) Ini Kamoze - "Here Comes the Hotstepper" (1994)
REVIEW: Yeah, this song is amazing. While it's admittedly not my favorite genre, this is still my favorite reggae/dance song of all time. 9/10.
16) Janet Jackson - "That's the Way Love Goes" (1993)
REVIEW: Janet is by far one of the most popular acts of the nineties, and I'd be kidding myself if I left her off this mix. And anyways, though I'm not a big fan of Janet's music, this is definitely her best song. 8/10.
17) Natalie Imbruglia - "Torn" (1997)
REVIEW: Oh god, did I love this song when it was out, and I still do. Natalie was probably the most unexpected one-hit wonder in my experience of following the charts. Natalie's still been a great singles artist since this came out, and I'm disappointed that some of her excellent singles that have come out since this ("That Day", "Smoke", etc.) never broke through. "Smoke" in particular is probably one of my five favorite singles of the nineties. "Torn" is the rare case of a cover being far superior to the original, apologies to all Ednaswap fans reading. 10/10.
1) Christina Aguilera - "Genie in a Bottle" (1999)
REVIEW: Well, if you thought there was any chance I wasn't gonna include an example of the late nineties teen dance pop revival, and you thought there was any chance it wouldn't be this song, well, you don't know my tastes that well at all. I gave this song a 10/10 in my review of the number one's of '99, and my opinion on the song has only changed to the extent that I like it even more now than I did then. My favorite music video of all time, and the second best single of the decade. 10/10.
2) Savage Garden - "I Want You" (1997)
REVIEW: Well, Savage Garden's amazing breakout hit doesn't seem to be as well remembered as their dreary ballads which were much bigger hits. For this reason, they have a bad reputation in America now, but they did have some damn fine songs. And this is the best one. 9.5/10
3) The Cardigans - "Lovefool" (1996)
REVIEW: I love The Cardigans. If this was an open mix, where I could include any song, I would have had it be "Erase/Rewind" or "Carnival" or "Never Recover" or any of their several other songs that are superior to their lone hit, but this is a good song, and I'm only including popular songs here. 7/10.
4) Duran Duran - "Come Undone" (1993)
REVIEW: Best single of the decade, absolutely no way was I gonna leave this off. 10/10.
5) Cracker - "Low" (1993)
REVIEW: Early-mid 90's rock is my least favorite movement in music for this decade. Nonetheless, I had to include some song, and it sure as hell wasn't gonna be grunge, so this will do. 6.5/10.
6) LeAnn Rimes - "How Do I Live?" (1997)
REVIEW: Probably reduntant to include both this and "You're Still the One" on this mix, but it bears noting that there is absolutely nothing country about this song except that it is sung by LeAnn Rimes. Well, like the Shania one, I have a huge blind spot for this song, and it made the cut towards the end of the process. 8/10.
7) Len - "Steal My Sunshine" (1999)
REVIEW: A few people from Canada come down, make a song and video that absolutely personify SoCal better than any actual SoCal band ever did, then just ride off into the sunset. I hate the male singer on this song, but I really love the female singer. Once again, having heard a few other Len songs, it's no coincidence this band was a one hit wonder. But this song rules. Also I appreciate the deep lyrical content. 8.5/10.
8) Linear - "Sending All My Love" (1990)
REVIEW: I wanted a representative of early 90's dance on this list. There are other better ones like "Groove is in the Heart" or La Bouche's "Sweet Dreams", but this one is the most underrated. 7/10.
9) Seal - "Crazy"(1991)
REVIEW: This was another easy choice, an absolute classic. Maybe a bit obvious for this project, but I couldn't bring myself to leave it off. 9/10.
10) Green Day - "Basket Case" (1994)
REVIEW: This is still my favorite Green Day song, I remember listening to this with my older brother all the time, back in the day. 8/10.
11) Sarah McLachlan - "Building a Mystery" (1997)
REVIEW: I felt the need to include a Lilith Fair song on this mix, and this one was a no-brainer. This is by far my favorite song by any of those Lilith Fair artists. What a great song, and I was always a big disappointed that none of her other later hits seemed to be nearly as good to me. 8/10.
12) Mariah Carey - "Someday" (1992)
REVIEW: The most underrated Mariah song. This isn't actually my favorite Mariah Carey song, as I prefer "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (second happiest song of all time behind "Walking on Sunshine"), "Emotions", and "Always Be My Baby". But those songs are all still widely beloved, while this one seems to have fallen through the cracks, and I wanted to rectify that in my own small way! And she only oversings it a little bit too! 8.5/10.
13) Annie Lennox - "No More 'I Love You's'" (1995)
REVIEW: Not much to say about this song, except that it's another cover that I far prefer to the original. 7.5/10.
14) B*Witched - "C'est La Vie" (1998)
REVIEW: If you are wondering where my current teen pop/tv/movies fascination has come from, in many ways it is directly attributable to this song as follows. I loved this song when it was out originally, then totally forgot about it for 7 years. Then I was in a hotel room for a Scrabble tournament flipping through the channels when I heard this song. Having not thought about it for a while, I listened to it, and rocked out a bit. Then I decided anything cool enough to have this song in it, was worth watching. That movie was Life-Size, which as previously documented I ended up loving. It's because of that song I watched the movie, it's because of that movie I started watching the Disney Channel, and it's because of such DC stars as Aly & AJ and Hannah Montana that I started listening to teen pop. So, you see, it's all B*Witched's fault. 9/10.
15) Third Eye Blind - "Jumper" (1998)
REVIEW: I really, really want somebody to do a cover of this song, put in proper verses, and cut out the tuneless instrumental rambling. Because, dear God, this song has an amazing chorus. One of my favorite choruses of the nineties. A good enough chorus to land it on this mix. I wish they would replace the rest of it with a better song though. 7/10.
16) Spice Girls - "Say You'll Be There" (1996)
REVIEW: I have really mixed feelings about the Spice Girls. On the one hand they have this song and "Wannabe", and on the other hand they have "Spice Up Your Life" and "2 Become 1" (one of my least favorite songs ever). But the Spice Girls were a big enough phenomenon that they really need a song on this mix, this song is my favorite of the Girls' hits, and it still stands up pretty well today. 8/10.
17) The Verve Pipe - "The Freshmen" (1996)
REVIEW: Kind of a dreary song, but it features a good video, a catchy hook, and, of course, the most difficult to play guitar part of any song ever. I'm ending the mix with this song because it is quite possibly the most "nineties" song there ever was. 7/10.