fbpx

75 Best 90s Songs: Greatest Hit Songs From The 90s

The 90s were the formative years for a lot of different music genres. From the emergence of gangsta rap, alternative rock, and the riot grrrl punk movement to the sweeping changes to country music and pop, it was a decade of perfection (musically speaking). Everyone had some sound to sink their teeth into that fit them.

While it’s impossible to make a definitive list for the era or include everyone’s favorite, we’ll do our best. In this article, we’ll go over 75 of the best songs to come out during the 90s.

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (Official Music Video)

There are so many massive hits from the 90s that it’s tough to figure out where to start. Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit is as good a place as any for it, not only for its smashing success but its impact on the music industry as a whole. Nirvana was among the bands to bring alternative rock to mainstream audiences nationwide, but it was deeper than that. Smells Like Teen Spirit was the first alternative song to cross over and find widespread success. It sparked the ridiculous rise of Nirvana, but it also gave a lot of other alternative bands opportunities as recording studios shifted their focus because of Smells Like Teen Spirit. Once it was released, the entire music industry was changed forever; for that, it’s one of the most important songs in history.

Recommended: Best grunge bands of all time

2. No Diggity – Blackstreet feat. Dr. Dre & Queen Pen

Blackstreet - No Diggity (Official Music Video) ft. Dr. Dre, Queen Pen

Blackstreet’s No Diggity has to be on any list of the best hits of the 90s. While they were a great group on their own, this song saw Dr. Dre drop by to help drop one of the best hip hop songs of the era. From being recognized as one of the best songs of all time to winning a Grammy Award and internationally ending the reign of Macarena at the top of the charts to being the last number one by Cash Box, its greatness is undeniable. 

3. Juicy – The Notorious B.I.G.

The Notorious B.I.G. - Juicy (Official Video) [4K]

Here is the first of a few entries to the list with a claim to being the greatest hip hop song of all time. Everything Biggie put out is legendary, but this rags-to-riches rap chronicle had something about it that set it above the rest. Every major publication that’s done a list of the best rap songs ever, the best songs of the 90s, or even the best songs ever has included it in their offerings, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Juicy fundamentally changed the hip hop scene and was the pinnacle of East Coast rap then. 

4. California Love – 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre

2Pac - California Love feat. Dr. Dre (Dirty) (Music Video) HD

From the East Coast to the West Coast, we go with California Love by Tupac Shakur. Alongside Dr. Dre and a version that includes Snoop Dogg, Tupac led the way for the West Coast rap scene. California Love was one of his absolute best and most famous songs. It peaked on the Hot 100 and was an international number one. It was even nominated for a posthumous Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 1997, one of the few to be nominated posthumously. 

5. Fantasy Remix – Mariah Carey feat. Ol’ Dirty Bastard

Mariah Carey - Fantasy (Remix - Official 4K Video) ft. O.D.B.

Mariah Carey’s original Fantasy was a highly successful single, but the song’s official remix was incredible. Despite her record label fearing Ol’ Dirty Bastard would change her sound too much and the fact that many R&B elements were lost in the official remix, it became one of the best songs of the decade. Pitchfork even ranked it their number-one song on a list of the 250 Best Songs of the 90s. The song was important for the music scene as it was the best example of R&B and hip hop being introduced to the broader world of mainstream pop culture. 

6. Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang – Dr. Dre Feat. Snoop Dogg

Dr Dre - Nuthin' But A "G" Thang [Official Music Video]

Dr. Dre was involved in a lot of the best songs of the 90s, but he owned the early 90s with his debut album, The Chronic. The first single from the album, Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang, was the most successful on the album. Some publications named it the hip hop song of the decade, and even the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame gave it its due. It was selected as one of the 500 songs that shaped rock and roll by them. There’s an argument to be made that it should also be ranked near the top of the best hip hop songs in history. 

7. Say My Name  – Destiny’s Child

Destiny's Child - Say My Name (Official Video)

Leaving out anything the members of Destiny’s Child did during their solo careers, they still rank as one of the best-selling groups of all time, thanks largely to hits like Say My Name. It became the group’s second number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a huge hit internationally. It was also one of those songs that are forever etched into the minds of everyone who grew up during the era. It went on to win the group a Grammy Award, and multiple publications have listed it on their rankings of the best songs of all time. 

8. No Scrubs – TLC

TLC - No Scrubs (Official HD Video)

From one powerful girl group to another, TLC outranks even Destiny’s Child in terms of worldwide record sales, making them the best-selling girl group of all time. “No Scrubs” would go on to become their most memorable hit single, making the term scrub become something that was used worldwide. It sat at the number-one spot on the Hot 100 for four consecutive weeks and won the group two Grammy Awards. 

9. Gin and Juice – Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg - Gin And Juice

Snoop has been featured in a couple of songs we have discussed already, so it should come as no surprise one of his solo songs also makes the list. Gin and Juice was one of the absolute best songs on his debut album Doggystyle, with a chorus that has been sampled and used by artists ever since Snoop dropped this track. It earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Solo Performance as well, but that isn’t what made it great. Gin and Juice became an iconic song of the era and one of the most important songs in the history of hip hop.

10. Hypnotize – The Notorious B.I.G.

The Notorious B.I.G. - Hypnotize (Official Music Video) [4K]

If you didn’t think Biggie would have more than one entry on this list then shame on you. You can make a solid argument that Hypnotize is even better than Juicy, but it’s a tough one to make. It was the first single released from his Life After Death album, the last song to come out before he was killed in a drive-by shooting. In history, it was the fifth song to reach number one on the Hot 100 posthumously and the first song to achieve that accolade in almost two decades (at the time). Easily one of the best songs in hip hop history and one of the songs that defined the 90s. 

11. Closer – Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails - Closer (Live: Beside You in Time - Unedited)

Nine Inch Nails was one of the best alternative rock bands of the era and one of the pioneering industrial rock groups. Closer is their most memorable song to come out in the 90s, which has a lot to do with how explicit the song is once examined with a closer listen to the lyrics. It’s the band’s signature song and one of their most popular. You’ll still hear its sexually-aggressive lyrics on mainstream rock stations today. 

12. C.R.E.A.M. – Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang Clan - C.R.E.A.M. (Official HD Video)

Again, we have a song claiming the title of the best hip hop single of all time. C.R.E.A.M., or “Cash Rules Everything Around Me,” was one of the best songs Wu-Tang Clan has ever released. Coming from the group’s debut album, it was a masterclass in wordplay and showcased the incredible talent of the group. Like much of the group’s work, it received incredible critical praise and accolades among fans but failed to do a lot commercially. That alone is a shame considering the fact that it should be included in any list of the best songs of all time. 

13. What Is Love – Haddaway

Haddaway - What Is Love [Official]

Even more than two decades late, it’s impossible to hear the phrase, “What is love?” and not have someone reply with, “Baby, don’t hurt me.” Haddaway wound up producing one of the best songs of the 90s with What Is Love, a song that would forever be etched into the mind of absolutely everyone who has heard it even a single time and has had staying power in pop culture much longer than anyone would have suspected. 

14. Around The World – Daft Punk

Daft Punk - Around The World (Official Music Video Remastered)

Daft Punk has been around for a very long time, but their debut album had some of their strongest hits. Around The World was released in 1997 as the second single from Homework, quickly becoming one of the biggest club hits in the world. It internationally owned the dance club charts. Overall, Around the World was a song that found beauty in simplicity, showcasing the group’s genius and spawning numerous cover versions in the years since it was released. 

15. Killing In The Name – Rage Against The Machine

Rage Against The Machine - Killing In the Name (Official HD Video)

Rage Against the Machine peaked in the 90s and was instrumental in the wave of punk music that swept the US. Inspired by police brutality and the injustice of the 1992 LA riots, the band produced one of the best angry protest songs of all time, raging against the problems in American society and the military-industrial complex. It was the lead single off their debut album, instantly cementing them in the alternative metal and punk scenes and giving the rap metal scene legitimacy among casual listeners.

16. Sabotage – Beastie Boys

Sabotage (Remastered 2009)

Sabotage is also a bit of a protest song, but it sees the Beastie Boys raging against their producer rather than the government or society. The entire song is a fictitious rant about how their producer is the worst person ever, does nothing but hold them back, and has been actively sabotaging the band. It’s one of the best old-school rap-rock songs and has all the punk energy that made the 90s one of the most transitory eras in music. 

17. Friends In Low Places – Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks - Friends in Low Places

Garth Brooks undeniably owned the country music scene in the 90s. He was one of the biggest stars in music, with that decade helping turn him into one of the top best-selling recording artists in historyFriends In Low Places is one of his most famous songs from the era, and despite us having a plethora of songs to choose from for him, this is the one that still sets boots to tapping on dance floors and has everyone howling along with the chorus today. It was one of many amazing hits for Brooks, having some of the strongest longevity of any country song ever written.

18. Enter Sandman – Metallica

Metallica: Enter Sandman (Official Music Video)

While you might know Enter Sandman as one of the best baseball walk-out songs of all time, thanks to Mariano Rivera, it was one of the songs that made Metalica into the legendary band we know them as today. The lead single of their 1991 album almost single-handedly pushed the album to over 30 million sales and has become a signature song for the band. It was an epic wall of guitars and one of the first songs by the band to actually be mixed in a studio. 

19. Under The Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge [Official Music Video]

The Red Hot Chili Peppers could have several songs on the list, they’re massively successful, but we went with their most successful song of the 90s. Under The Bridge wasn’t just one of their most powerful songs. It’s their highest-charting single of all time, making it to number two on the Billboard Hot 100. It was one of the songs that lifted the band from the alternative scene into the mainstream, becoming one of the greatest songs in alternative rock and giving them one of their first international hit singles. 

20. Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden

Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun

We’re continuing with the alternative rock scene with this one. Soundgarden is another of the best alternative rock bands of the 90s, and Black Hole Sun is their signature song. It owned the alternative charts after it was released in 1994 and would appear on all of the band’s greatest-hits albums. It’s also one of the genre’s most beautiful and haunting songs, with acoustic versions of Chris Cornell’s marvelous vocals coming out in recent years and leaving many audiences speechless. 

21. Alive – Pearl jam

Pearl Jam - Alive (Official Video)

Pearl Jam would become one of the best grunge bands in history, but they got their start with Alive in 1991. It was a big hit in the UK and Australia but wasn’t made available in the US outside imports. What’s crazy is that despite that, it still rose to number 16 on the Album Rock Tracks chart and 18 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. It’s easily one of Pearl Jam’s greatest singles and a song that helped the band reach immortality in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

22. Ruff Ryders’ Anthem – DMX

DMX - Ruff Ryders' Anthem

When DMX dropped Ruff Ryders’ Anthem, nobody expected it to be anywhere near a list of the best hip hop songs of all time, but it proved them all wrong. Its rerelease in 2008 charted better than its original release in 1998. DMX was on the way up at the time, and it was an instrumental song that made DMX one of the legends of the genre. Its music video was just as epic, featuring some of the biggest names in the game at the time, like the LOX.

23. 1979 – Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins - 1979 (Official Music Video)

1979 is still one of the best nostalgic songs out there. The song is a coming-of-age story and is still remembered for its soft vibe and gold-tinged lining. It was nominated for two awards at the Grammys and won at the MTV Video Music Awards, cementing itself as one of the best early alternative rock songs in history. 

24. Killing Me Softly – The Fugees

Fugees - Killing Me Softly With His Song (Official Video)

The Fugees released their version of Killing Me Softly in 1996 and instantly found an international hit. It owned the US Top 40 chart and became the best-selling hip hop song by a group in the UK. It went on to win the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1997 and would be recognized by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of all time. As recently as 2020, it saw a boom in popularity as well, mostly thanks to becoming a viral hit on TikTok. 

25. Supa Dupa Fly – Missy Elliott

Missy Elliott - The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) [Official Music Video]

Missy Elliott’s debut single Supa Dupa Fly was the title track of her debut album, setting the stage for one of the queens of the hip hop scene for years to come. The song was one of the most popular entries on the R&B charts, and its music video was the breakout moment of Elliott’s career.

26. Man! I Feel Like A Woman – Shania Twain

Shania Twain - Man! I Feel Like A Woman! (Official Music Video)

While Garth Brooks owned the male side of the country music genre in the 90s, Shania Twain owned most of the female side. She produced hit after hit, championing and pioneering the pop country niche. You could put a lot of her songs on this list, but this one just had something about it that was utterly infectious. It wouldn’t even be a surprise to hear grown men belting out the lyrics to Man! I Feel Like A Woman as they danced around, and for that, this is the deserving hit on our list. 

27. Hyperballad – Björk

Björk was one of the biggest names in the folktronica scene in the 90s. Hyperballad was universally acclaimed among critics and is widely considered the best song of Björk’s career. It was one of the few hit singles that expressed the dark side of many people’s emotions, seeing the narrator pondering her own suicide and allowing the artist to get out a lot of frustrations and negativity. 

28. One In A Million – Aaliyah

One In A Million is one of the songs that made Aaliyah into a legendary figure today. It owned the R&B airplay chart and did well over in the UK. It sees Aaliyah professing her love to a man who she deems her “one in a million” perfect person. 

29. …Baby One More Time – Britney Spears

Britney Spears - ...Baby One More Time (Official Video)

Britney Spears is an absolute legend of the 90s, owning her fair share of the pop charts during that decade and remaining relevant well beyond that era. Her debut single and the title track of her debut album, …Baby One More Time, is still burned into the minds of 90s kids everywhere. It was a worldwide hit, reaching the top spot in 22 countries and becoming her best-selling single of 1999. It was one of Britney’s favorite songs and one of ours too. 

30. Fuck and Run – Liz Phair

Fuck and Run (Girly-Sound Version)

Liz Phair never released Fuck and Run as a single, but its presence on her 1993 debut album was loved by critics and fans alike. Today, it’s one of her best-known songs and tells the story of a woman waking up after a one-night stand. This song came out before hook-up culture was so prevalent, but even in the 90s, people were yearning for a time when romance and love were more important than casual sex. 

31. My Name Is – Eminem

Eminem - My Name Is (Official Music Video)

Eminem’s My Name Is is sort of a snapshot of the 90s. Of course, the song sees Shady at the peak of his powers, but it namedrops almost every important person of the entire decade. Better than namedropping, the music video for the song sees Eminem impersonating almost everyone he discusses in the song. In addition, the song is attention-grabbing, with one of the most interesting hooks to come out during the decade. 

32. Always Be My Baby – Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey - Always Be My Baby (Official Music Video)

We can’t really talk about the best songs of the 90s without including Mariah Carey somewhere in this list. Always Be My Baby was one of the best songs she put out during that era and a number-one that tied her with Madonna and Whitney Houston for most number-one singles by a female artist. Hugely successful, the mid-tempo song would go on to help cement Carey’s legacy in the music world and earn plenty of accolades for her. 

33. Basket Case – Green Day

Green Day - Basket Case [Official Music Video] (4K Upgrade)

Green Day was another one of the alternative bands to really make a name for themselves in the 90s, with Basket Case even being considered one of the best punk songs of all time. You’ll find it on every list of the best songs of all time as well, so I guess dealing with anxiety and panic disorders is something super relatable. Even as of 2023, it’s still one of the most streamed songs on Spotify.

34. I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You (Official 4K Video)

Whitney Houston was another one of the most decorated women of the 90s, but her soulful ballad I Will Always Love You was one of the best songs she released during that era. It describes the end of a breakup, with Houston telling her partner she would always love them, and it eventually became Houston’s first diamond single. 

35. It Was A Good Day – Ice Cube

Ice Cube - It Was A Good Day

Ice Cube’s It Was A Good Day was a snapshot of life in the inner city neighborhoods of Los Angeles in the 90s. Widely known as one of the best rap songs ever written, it became Ice Cube’s highest-charting single by rising to number 15 on the Hot 100. 

36. Everlong – Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters - Everlong (Official HD Video)

After Nirvana dissolved, many fans were wondering what would come next. They got their answer when Dave Grohl formed Foo Fighters and continued the legacy. Everlong is generally considered the best song the Foo Fighters released during the 90s and originated from Grohl screwing around between takes for Monkey Wrench. A reader’s poll for Rolling Stone ranked it as the best Foo Fighters song ever, and who are we to argue with the fans? 

37. Still D.R.E. – Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg

Dr. Dre - Still D.R.E. ft. Snoop Dogg

We’re still not finished with Dr. Dre or Snoop Dogg. Still D.R.E. marked a return to greatness for Dre as the lead single from his second studio album in 1999. Not only did it mark it, but the song itself also heralded his return to the top of the rap game and would have an enduring legacy. As recently as 2022, it was performed by Snoop and Dre during the Super Bowl Halftime show, highlighting the historical importance of Dr. Dre’s albums The Chronic and 2001

38. Loser – Beck

Beck - Loser (Official Music Video)

Loser was undoubtedly the biggest hit Beck ever recorded, and though it’s musically one of the less-weird songs he produced, he had to include some of his stylistic comedy in it. It was a peek into the mind of a brilliant lyricist and a hit internationally. Overall, it was a massive win for the modern rock genre and was meant as a song to check how well audiences listened to lyrics, as a lot of it is purposefully written ridiculously. 

39. Wide Open Spaces – The Chicks

The Chicks - Wide Open Spaces (Official Video)

We haven’t included enough country songs on the list if we’re being honest, so we’ll make up for it a little here. The Chicks (known as The Dixie Chicks in the 90s) found massive success with Wide Open Spaces. It was a huge crossover hit, spending four weeks at the top of the US Country chart and rising to within striking distance of the top 40 on the Pop Singles chart. It’s been named one of the country songs of the century and would be certified double platinum in the US. 

40. Bidi Bidi Bom Bom – Selena

Selena - Bidi Bidi Bom Bom (Official Music Video)

Selena was one of the biggest names of the 90s. She pioneered the Tejano music craze of the era in the US, bringing a new style of music to many people who had never heard it. Bidi Bidi Bom Bom was a huge crossover hit, taking the top spot on the Hot Latin Songs chart and helping start the Latin pop genre of music. 

41. Say It Ain’t So – Weezer

Weezer - Say It Ain't So (Official Video)

Say It Ain’t So was the last single from Weezer’s debut album, one of their best songs ever. The relatively relaxed guitars of the song hide the deeper sadness and fear in the song. It was one of the best alt-rock songs of the decade, still sees radio play today, and helped turn Weezer into one of the most popular alt-bands of the decade. 

42. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-a-Lot

Sir Mix-A-Lot - Baby Got Back (Official Music Video)

Every list of the best songs should have an entry or two dedicated to excellent posteriors. Sir Mix-a-Lot dropped Baby Got Back in 1992 and caused some controversy with how explicitly he discussed women’s butts, earning a temporary ban on MTV. It’s been remembered as one of the best butt-centric songs in history and set several trends in the 90s. And who could forget an opening line like “I like big butts, and I can not lie?”

43. Vogue – Madonna

Madonna - Vogue (Official Video)

Vogue is a song that has become a trend in house dance music, and the idea of voguing inspired Madonna. This song sees Madonna checking Hollywood stars’ names off a list to spin a yarn about enjoying yourself on a dance floor and losing yourself in the music. It’s one of her all-time best songs, making it onto three of her greatest-hits albums. 

44. Nightswimming – REM

R.E.M. - Nightswimming (Official Music Video) [British Version]

R.E.M.’s Nightswimming was a simple song about a group of friends going skinnydipping. It had a nostalgic feeling that drew in many fans, likely because the song’s story was built off of the band’s experiences when they were just getting started together. 

45. Rhymes Like Dimes – MF DOOM

MF DOOM may be the best lyricist to have ever lived, and it’s a shame that many people haven’t heard of him. He has an impressive discography covering several personas, storylines, and universes (like how Marvel has a cinematic universe). Rhymes Like Dimes is one of his best examples of lyrical genius, a song anyone can listen to and understand without background knowledge of his personas. 

46. Flava in Ya Ear (Remix) – Craig Mack feat. The Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes & Rampage

Craig Mack - Flava In Ya Ear (Remix) (Official Music Video)

Flava In Ya Ear was a massive remix of the biggest names in the rap game at the time. It saw Craig Mack team up with Biggie, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, and Rampage to produce an awesome single that earned a Grammy nomination and found platinum certification shortly after release. 

47. All Apologies – Nirvana

Nirvana - All Apologies (MTV Unplugged)

Nirvana could probably have a lot more songs on the list, even with their short time together as a band. All Apologies was one of their biggest hits outside their breakthrough Smells Like Teen Spirit. The last single for the band with Kurt Cobain still alive and one recognized as one of the songs that shaped rock and roll, a song symbolizing peace and happiness that contrasted the lyrics containing forced apologies. 

48. Tear Da Club Up ’97 – Three 6 Mafia

Three 6 Mafia - Tear da Club Up '97 (Official Video)

Three 6 Mafia is definitely responsible for the destruction of several nightclubs throughout the years, mostly owing to the release of this song. Tear Da Club Up was the lead single off their debut album and was one of the best hip hop club songs of the 90s. 

49. Losing My Religion – R.E.M.

R.E.M. - Losing My Religion (Official HD Music Video)

R.E.M. is back with a song that’s arguably their best single of all time. Losing My Religion would become the band’s highest-charting single and helped them reach a new fanbase outside their unique alternative sound. It won the band two Grammy Awards and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. 

50. You Make Me Wanna… – Usher

Usher - You Make Me Wanna... (Official HD Video)

Usher is another artist who started in the 90s and owned a big chunk of the music industry for a while. You Make Me Wanna came out in 1997 and mixed R&B, soul, and pop music to introduce Usher’s style to the world at large. It was a huge crossover hit that maligned his current relationship in favor of starting a new one with somebody else. 

51. Rosa Parks – Outkast

Outkast - Rosa Parks (Official HD Video)

Outkast has released a lot of hit music, but their most successful single of the 90s was probably Rosa Parks. Named for the famous activist of the civil rights movement, the song earned the duo a Grammy nomination. Despite a dispute with the actual Rosa Parks, it became one of their best songs. 

52. Common People – Pulp

Common People (Full Length Version)

The 90s weren’t just dominated by the US; the UK Had some great bands killing it as well. Pulp released Common People in 1995 as the lead single for their album Different Class. It was met with amazing critical reception and has become known as one of, if not, the best Britpop songs of all time. 

53. Wonderwall – Oasis

Oasis - Wonderwall (Official Video)

Wonderwall is a song that you should expect to hear every single time you come across a guy at a party with an acoustic guitar, but it wasn’t always that way. It was one of the biggest hits of the 90s, giving Oasis one of their biggest American hits. Wonderwall also happened to be fairly easy to play; hence the frat bros picking it up to try to impress girls at parties. 

54. Freak On A Leash – Korn

Korn - Freak On a Leash (Official HD Video)

Korn were pioneers of the nu-metal scene in the 90s and are still legends of the genre today. Freak On A Leash is one of their most successful songs. After it was originally released in 1998, it’s been released a total of 10 times on various compilations and recordings. By 1999, it was everywhere, and its music video won five separate awards thanks to mixing live-action and animated scenes.

55. Tearin’ Up My Heart – *NSYNC

*NSYNC - Tearin' Up My Heart (Official Video)

While K-Pop groups are trendy today, the 90s pop scene is inseparable from Boy Bands. *NSYNC was one of the best, and Tearing Up My Heart helped set them up for success. Coming from their debut album, it would find mixed reviews from critics and rave reviews from fans. It was the perfect snapshot of the boy band’s image—simplistic lyrics and sounds combined with incredible production value and choreography. Ultimately, it was one of the songs that defined the era. 

56. Can I Kick It? – A Tribe Called Quest

A Tribe Called Quest - Can I Kick It? (Official HD Video)

A Tribe Called Quest debuted in 1990 with its album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. The third single from the album happened to be Can I Kick It?, becoming a signature song for the group and earning a place in the pantheon of the best songs to be recorded during the 90s. 

57. Self Esteem – The Offspring

The Offspring were a punk band in an era when punk music was on the rise, but they didn’t find massive fame until their third album SmashSelf Esteem is still one of the best alternative rock and punk songs of all time today. It was a worldwide hit when it was released, and it’s still played on the radio today pretty often. 

58. I Want It That Way – Backstreet Boys

Backstreet Boys - I Want It That Way (Official HD Video)

*NSYNC wasn’t the only boy band that fired up the 90s. The Backstreet Boys were as popular as they were, though this entry is coming from the end of the 90s. I Want It That Way is an iconic pop song that many artists have recorded and remixed in the years since it came out. The pop-punk version of it is especially good, by the way. This one was a number-one single in 25 countries and the group’s signature song.

59. Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) – Backstreet Boys

Backstreet Boys - Everybody (Backstreet's Back) (Official HD Video)

As it says in the song, “Backstreet’s back,” again, baby. Another entry from the Backstreet Boys, Everybody was just as unanimous a hit as I Want It That Way. One funny thing about it, when it was released, the boy band was about to go on their first US tour, so many producers thought it would be odd to have a song about them coming back to appear in concerts. They went with it as a single anyway, and the rest is history

60. Iris – Goo Goo Dolls

Goo Goo Dolls – Iris [Official Music Video] [4K Remaster]

Iris is the song most responsible for the success of the Goo Goo Dolls. It’s one of the best-selling singles in the band’s history and has become their signature song. In general, this power ballad was an exceptional entry from the 90s and got the band several nominations and accolades. 

61. Jump – Kris Kross

Kris Kross - Jump (Official Video)

Jump is an awesome example of young kids making it big in the hip hop scene since the artists were only 12 and 13 when it was recorded. It was Kriss Kross’s biggest hit, an international banger that saw a lot of success in Europe and rose to the top of two Billboard charts in the US. 

62. I’ll Make Love To You – Boyz II Men

Boyz II Men - I'll Make Love To You (Official Music Video)

I’ll Make Love to You was the lead single of Boyz II Men’s second album, and it spent 14 weeks on top of the US Billboard Hot 100. In the 90s, it was literally in the top three of the best-performing songs of the decade and won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. 

63. If It Makes You Happy – Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow - If It Makes You Happy (Official Music Video)

Sheryl Crow’s career may have been on the decline by the end of the 90s, but she still produced some awesome music. If It Makes You Happy came out in 1996 and would become Crow’s last top-ten hit on the Hot 100, spending a total of 27 weeks on the chart. 

64. Tha Crossroads – Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

Eazy-E was the mentor of the group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, but his untimely death caused a lot of grief for them. Tha Crossroads was dedicated to their mentor, a song that was the highest-debuting rap single at the time of its release and became an international hit. 

65. Scenario – A Tribe Called Quest

A Tribe Called Quest - Scenario (Official HD Video)

Busta Rhymes became a huge name in the rap game thanks to his blistering lyrical style, but his time with A Tribe Called Quest set him up for success. Scenario is considered his breakout moment and was included on Time Magazine’s list of all-time best songs. 

66. Creep – TLC

TLC - Creep (Official HD Video)

More than one song has been titled Creep in history, but the best ones are among the best ever. TLC makes its way back onto our chart with Creep, a song about men from the female perspective discussing women who cheat on their partners for attention. TLC was relatively new when it came out, with this being their first number-one single in the US, topping the Hot 100 for four weeks in a row. 

67. Creep – Radiohead

Radiohead may have grown to hate Creep, but almost nobody else has. It was their first and largest hit, one that became so popular they were inundated with requests at every live show to play it. It was an all-time classic song, but the band would eventually refuse to play it at live shows because of how often they felt forced to. Despite that, you’ll still hear it get some pretty frequent play on the radio today. 

68. If – Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson - If

If was a wonderful song that embodied the 90s. It mixed all sorts of genres, from rock to trip-hop and industrial music to hip hop. It was also one of the most sexual songs of the decade, portraying voyeurism throughout its music video and winning Jackson several different awards and recognitions. 

69. Dreams – The Cranberries

The Cranberries - Dreams (Dir: Peter Scammell) (Official Music Video)

The Cranberries are one of the best Irish bands of all time, but they got their start with Dreams. Their debut single would be an international hit, finding a place on the US Billboard Hot 100 and breaking the top 30 of the UK Singles chart. A song about being in love for the first time resonated with fans worldwide and gave them a massive hit at the beginning of their musical career. 

70. Mind Playing Tricks On Me – Geto Boys

Geto Boys - Mind Playing Tricks On Me (Official Video) [Explicit]

Rap and gang banging is very much inseparable in a lot of cases, but rarely do rappers go out of their way to portray the problems with the lifestyle. Geto Boys did it, though, which is one of the reasons Mind Playing Tricks on Me is one of the best hip hop singles in history. The song describes the PTSD, paranoia, and loneliness of life as a gangster and found widespread critical praise when it was released. 

71. Paper Bag – Fiona Apple

Fiona Apple - Paper Bag (Official HD Video)

Paper Bag was inspired by events in Fiona Apple’s own life, telling everyone that hope can often lead to disappointment. During a time of social changes and the uncertainty of entering a new century, it was a relatable song that many loved. 

72. Ex-Factor – Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill - Ex-Factor (Video)

Lauryn Hill’s debut solo album was one of the absolute best albums of the 90s. Ex-Factor saw her at her best, sampling Wu-Tang Clan and talking about former Fugees member Wyclef Jean. It won many awards, including Best R&B/Soul Single – Female at the Soul Train Music Awards

73. Paranoid Android – Radiohead

Radiohead - Paranoid Android

Here’s one for the real Radiohead fans out there. While the band and major fans might malign the success of Creep, nobody questions Paranoid Android. It gave the band their highest-charting song in the UK and would feature on several significant publications’ lists of the best songs of all time. 

74. Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinéad O’Connor

Sinéad O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U (Official Music Video) [HD]

Both Sinéad O’Connor and Prince released a version of Nothing Compares 2 U, and what part is written by which person is sort of up for debate. What isn’t arguable is how amazing Sinéad O’Connor’s version of the song was. 

75. Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill

We end this list with a nod to the punk riot grrrl movement of the 90s and one of the best songs from one of the most popular bands in the movement. Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill was the group’s signature song, an ode to feminism, and a definitive anthem of the movement. It’s one of the best examples of classic punk music and meant more than the commercial success it brought the group.

Leave a Comment