20 Best Songs of the '90s.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

While I was taking a break to eat some lunch, I decided that I would turn on the TV switch the channel to VH1 and see what the kids are listening to nowadays.  Well, there wasn't any contemporary music but they were doing a show on the 100 best songs of the 1990s.  I watched for a bit and thought, "Hey, I was alive in the '90s, I like music, I bet I could make a better list!"  Now, being the lazy guy that I am, I'm not going to think of the 100 best songs, also I don't think you can fairly compare songs across different genres, so I'm going to do the best 3 to 5 songs or so in the various genres of music I listened to in the '90s.  So here we go!!!

Best Hip-Hop Songs (in no particular order):

Shimmy Shimmy Ya - Ol' Dirty Bastard
I remember the first time I heard this song, I was riding in my friend Scott's little green Ford Festiva.  It was this car that was worth maybe $50 (if one was feeling generous) but the stereo in the back had to be worth $5000.  Anyways, I don't know why I like this song, maybe it's because it has a fun piano line and is really catchy.

Jump Around - House of Pain
This song brings me back to many a highschool dance.  Though I'm sure that it probably brings many of you back to highschool dances.  Now when I look back on it, I don't understand why I used to like going to highschool dances.  I couldn't imagine anything more awkward then a bunch of teenagers trying to attract members of the opposite sex when they're trying to pretend that they're not drunk so they don't get in trouble with the teachers chaperoning the dance.  

Gin & Juice - Snoop Dogg
"Rollin' down the street, smoking indo, sippin' on gin & juice....  Laid back."  That's gotta be one of the classic lines in the history of hip-hop.  This is a great song, especially for when you're rolling down the street, smoking indo, and sipping on gin and juice (which I think is what I did for most of highschool and college).

Sabotage - Beastie Boys
There are a lot of great songs by the Beastie Boys.  I really couldn't think of the one I like the most so I thought I would list Sabotage just because it reminds me highschool.  I'm not sure why it reminds me of highschool but it does.  Either way, it's one of the iconic song of the '90s (well at least for me).

Best Rock Song (Again in no particular order):

Every Rose Has its Thorn - Poison
This song reminds me of running around in my underwear, completely wasted on cheap beer, riding on a bus full of drunken snowboarders on the way to Fernie, BC.  It was a good time.  Also, I think I was the only person on that bus that never threw-up (and I must have had 18 beers on that 6 hour trip).  I did however cut myself pretty badly breaking beer bottles over my head.  I don't know why I did that but hey, I was young, dumb, and full of cheap beer.  What can you expect?  Though at least I was smart enough only to attempt breaking beer bottles over my head rather than larger hard alcohol bottles.  I remember once seeing someone break a Jack Daniels bottle over their head.  They had to go to the hospital later that night.

Killing in the Name of - Rage Against the Machine
Tom Morello is perhaps one of the most innovative guitarists out of the '90s.  He's so impressive that in college my roommate Tino and I ended up modifying our guitars so that we could do the record scratching sounds that Morello does.  Also, how can I not love a band that is left leaning and about tearing down the system?

Ahead by a Century - Tragically Hip
What can I say?  The Hip is Canada's band.  I'm a Canadian.  I love the Hip.  Ahead by a Century might be one of the Hip's most notable songs.  That's all I really need to say.

Dan-Diddle-A-Na - The Smalls
Unless you are from western Canada and into indy music during the '90s, you've probably never heard of the Smalls, which is too bad for you.  The Smalls have to be one of the best bands that Canada has ever produced.  They were always one of those small indy bands that refused to get big and as such they've always been one of those groups that you feel like you have a special bond to.  Also, it was during one of their concerts that I had one of my most memorable misadventures.  It was one of the nights they were playing in the Night Gallery in Calgary and we had gotten ourselves invited to their after-party but I got bitten (yes, you read correctly, I got bitten) but some random girl in the crowd.  And I don't mean like a love nip or something, I got seriously bitten, there was a fair amount of skin that was removed from my shoulder, so I ended up having to go to the hospital to get shots to avoid getting hepatitis or rabies or something equally unpleasant.

Best Dance Song:

Groove is in the Heart - Deee-lite
This song makes me think of the Den, which is the old campus bar at the University of Calgary.  Back when I was in college, all of us would go to the Den on Thursday to get drunk, dance, fight, try to pick-up, and to listen to the great music played by DJ Wah (aka Walter).  It was the dirtiest, stinkiest, and generally grossest bar ever but it was always a good time.  I spent many a night closing out that bar.  And pretty much every night Groove is in the Heart played at least once if not twice.  

The Rockafeller Skank - Fatboy Slim
This is another song that reminds me of hanging out in a bar but this time it reminds me of hanging out in the Republik, which is one of those legendary bars in Calgary.  I must have spent every Saturday for about three years hanging out at the Republik.  I was such a regular that I didn't even have to talk to make my orders.  I would just walk up to the bar and the bartender would just hand me a bottle of Moosehead.  This song also reminds me of my friend Scott who used to dance to this song every single time it played.  I really spent a lot of time in the bar when I was younger....

Best Alt-Rock Song:

Buddy Holly - Weezer
I've never really understood why I like Weezer as much as I do.  I personally think they're kind of pretentious and possibly quite pompous but that said, they still totally rock.  I've liked pretty much every album they've released and I'm totally looking forward to their new album (which actually might be out already, I'm not really sure).

Money City Maniacs - Sloan
I used to totally hate Sloan until I got free tickets to see them one time in college.  They had such a great live show that I figured that I should give them a second chance.  Now, I totally love their music, though I must admit sometimes they're sort of a guilty pleasure.  

Lightning Crashes - Live
Again, I surprise myself by liking Live.  They definitely are a pretentious band with their funny hair cuts and their yoga poses on stage.  However, they really are a good band and Lightning Crashes is one of my favorite songs of all time.  I think in general I have a strange love-hate relationship with alt-rock.  I tend to think that the alt-rock personality is douchey as all fuck but I really enjoy the music.  It always makes me feel all conflicted inside.

Best Metal Song:

South of Heaven - Slayer
This song reminds me of being 14 and hanging out with my friend Jonny, who might be the only person in the world that loves Slayer as much as I do.  I mean, I'm one of those guys, who if I didn't have the good judgment that I do, would be inclined to carve "SLAYER" into my arm and light it on fire.  Slayer is probably the greatest band of all time.  I really think that someone should start a religion where they worship Slayer.  You just need to ask yourself WWSD?

Enter Sandman - Metallica
Okay, I hate Metallica but there are a couple of songs of theirs that I think are terrific.  One is And Justice for All, which is their really good song.  The second is Enter Sandman, while Enter Sandman isn't really a good song, it's a really fun song.  It's a song that's fun to play (especially when you arrange it all folky and for a acoustic guitar).  

Best Punk Song:

...And We Thought Nation States were a Bad Idea - Propagandhi
Propagandhi is another one of those really great Canadian bands that I think is often under appreciated.  They're one of those really great left wing anarchist punk bands.  There aren't many of those around anymore.  Nowadays punk is posture and no substance, which really is how punk started back in the day with the Sex Pistols, the New York Dolls, the Stooges, and the Ramones.  However, Propagandhi is punk in the way that the Clash and the Dead Kennedys.  They're that kind of punk that uses their music as a means to be activists for social change.  Everyone needs to give them a listen.

All Fall Down - Good Riddance
Good Riddance is another great political punk band.  I don't think they're as great as Propagandhi but they really are a good band.  Also they're one of the funnest punk bands to see live, they have a great live show.  All Fall Down is a terrific song about questioning the institutions that act to repress free expression.  Great song.

The Brews - NOFX
This song reminds me of one of my college roommates Joe, who while being an Irish kid from Montreal,  believed that he was a Jewish (or perhaps Hispanic) punk from California.  Also, The Brews is one of those songs that I feel the need to sing along to every time I hear it.  "We're the Brews, sportin' anti-swastika tattoos, oi oi!  We're the boys, orthodox, hasidic, O.G. ois!"  So very good....

Girl with the Flower Tattoo - Down By Law
Down By Law is one of those bands that I'm torn about.  They're one of the progenitors of emo, which I hate with a passion.  Seriously, if there weren't laws against it, I would probably be inclined to kidnap emo kids and lock them in my basement and refuse to let them out until they agree to cut their hair and wear pants that actually fit properly.  I really, really hate emo.  It's the stupidest derivative of punk ever.  That said, Down By Law is a really good band with really great songs.  Oh well....

Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down - The Toasters
Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down might be the best third wave ska song of all time.  It's just full of the awesome, there's not much to say about it.  Here, give it a listen:

Man, that was a seriously long post....


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