25 of the 1990’s Guiltiest Musical Pleasures

As we stretch out and get the feel for this new decade that’s upon us, we thought a look back was in order.

Dust off your Discman (translation for the young crowd: that’s an unsightly, oversized iPod that plays plastic discs called CDs). And while you’re at it, bust out your thrift store flannel, wear your Cross Colours backwards, or slip into your silver rave shirt that makes you look like a human disco ball.

Bow wow wow, yippee yo, yippee yay! Here are 25 songs from the 90s that you love to hate (and secretly love… we’re on to you).

Group A: The 5 Least Intelligible Choruses

You catch a snippet of an unintelligible song on the radio but don’t hear what it’s called or who it’s by. The fragment goes through your head for months, but without so much as one identifiable phrase to guide you, Google search and Shazam are suddenly (and terrifyingly) rendered useless.

Ranked from tricky to mind-boggling, here are our top five choices for least intelligible chorus.

Seriously, we hope this helps.

5. “Good”Better Than Ezra

Year: 1995

Genre: Alternative rock

How It Confounds You: Throwing you off by making every other stanza crystal clear.

Your Google Search Entry: willy+waha+goo

4. “Honey”Moby

Year: 1999

Genre: Electronic dance

How It Confounds You: Repeating the same four incomprehensible lines ad nauseam to rob you of context. And hope.

Your Google Search Entry: honey+sometime “i’m here to help bring me back”

3. “Blue (Da Ba Dee)”Eiffel 65

Year: 1999

Genre: Euro pop

How It Confounds You: Stringing noises together until you’re convinced you hear words.

Your Google Search Entry: “i’m in need of a diet i’m in neeeed of a diet”

2. “In the Meantime”Spacehog

Year: 1996

Genre: Glam rock

How It Confounds You: Making the hook a series of falsetto “oo”s.

Your Google Search Entry: oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo “grieving skies”

1. “Informer”Snow

Year: 1992

Genre: Canadian reggae

How It Confounds You: The Canadians have reggae?!

Your Google Search Entry: leaky+boom+boom -medical -condition

Group B : The 5 Most (Annoyingly) Danceable

No two things speak more to the power of biology than mothers who lift cars off their children and annoying dance numbers: though the mind protests, the body always ends up calling the shots.

With that, here are the five most annoyingly danceable songs from the nineties.

5. “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” – The Backstreet Boys

Year: 1997

Genre: Pop

Why Resistance is Futile: If the song can make the word “yeah” both dynamic and multi-syllabic, just imagine what it’s doing to you.

4. “Macarena” – Los del Río

Year: 1995

Genre: Eurodance

Why Resistance is Futile: The Bo-Diddley beat. It’s the addictive ingredient in everything from “Who Do You Love” to “I Want Candy” to “How Soon Is Now” to “Magic Bus.”

3. “U Can’t Touch This” – MC Hammer

Year: 1990

Genre: Hip hop

Why Resistance is Futile: Because it’s Hammertime.

2. “I’m Too Sexy” – Right Said Fred

Year: 1992

Genre: Pop

Why Resistance is Futile: It’s juuuust sarcastic enough to pass your genuine enthusiasm off for irony. (Enjoy this? MOI??)

1. “Mambo No. 5” – Lou Bega


Year: 1999

Genre: Latin pop

Why Resistance is Futile: You know your name is in there somewhere. It’s just a question of waiting.

Group C: The 5 Most (Hilariously) Epic

Epic song win: “And she’s buying a stairway / To heaven”

Epic song fail: “And oh, how they danced / The little children of Stonehenge”

Moral of the story: There’s a fine line between awesome and fail-tastic. If at all possible, leave visuals out of it.

Here are five nineties songs (and their accompanying videos) whose epic-ness is guaranteed to make you snicker.

5. “November Rain” – Guns N’ Roses

Year: 1992

Genre: Hard rock

What Makes It Epic:

  • The church from Kill Bill
  • The fact that the band looks suspiciously like Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
  • Shredding on the guitar into a sandstorm while performing the splits in leather chaps
  • The guy who dives through a wedding cake after braving 15 whole seconds of rain
  • Axl Rose attempting to act

4. “My Heart Will Go On” – Céline Dion


Year: 1997

Genre: Pop

What Makes It Epic:

  • Distant Celtic flutes
  • Period costumes
  • Kate and Leo
  • The steamed-up window scene
  • The impending deaths of 1,517 seafarers – particularly that guy who ricochets off the propeller

3. “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston

Year: 1992

Genre: R&B

What Makes It Epic:

  • Kevin Kostner
  • Indoor fog
  • A silver bodice from what we can only guess is the future
  • Fisticuffs
  • A katana
  • Ice diving
  • The most famous (and longest?) note in all of Western music

2. “Epic” – Faith No More

Year: 1990

Genre: Alternative metal

What Makes It Epic:

  • The song title
  • Disembodied eyeballs
  • Severe weather patterns
  • Severe sweater patterns
  • Gratuitous explosiveness and paint throwing
  • Zombie arms
  • Slow-motion dying fish set to sad piano

1. “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” – Meatloaf

Year: 1993

Genre: Rock opera

What Makes It Epic:

  • Angst
  • A Klingon
  • Peeping Tommery
  • Trick fortress furniture
  • The smashing of no less than 8 mirrors
  • Stockholm syndrome
  • Spontaneous facial reconstruction

Group D: The 5 Most Likely to Enrage You with Their Catchiness

Let’s just put it this way: if you were in a hellish, Trainspotting-style detox situation, this is what would be stuck in your head.

Here are the five nineties songs that are most likely to enrage you with their catchiness.

5. “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” – They Might Be Giants


Year: 1990

Style: Oddly informative

Attack Strategy: Distraction. It lures you in with novelty and then traps you there with accordion.

4. “Achy Breaky Heart” – Billy Ray Cyrus

Year: 1992

Style: Twang-tastic

Attack Strategy: Attrition. Rather than simply deliver a catchy chorus, Cyrus sings every single stanza to the same brain-eating tune.

3. “I Touch Myself” – Divinyls

Year: 1991

Style: Confessionary

Attack Strategy: Divide and conquer. The promise of illicit details puts you at war with your better judgment.

2. “Wannabe” – Spice Girls

Year: 1996

Style: Really, really insistent

Attack Strategy: Blitzkrieg. The song opens with the chorus, making mental escape impossible.

1. “Barbie Girl” – Aqua

Year: 1997

Style: Parody – we hope

Attack Strategy: Shock and awe. The world still isn’t entirely convinced that this song even happened.

Group E: The 5 Most Likely To Remind You of a Bad Breakup

There’s no pleasure guiltier than arranging the soundtrack to your post-breakup pity party.

For tips on how to best indulge in the glory of your own pathos, look no further than these five nineties hits – conveniently arranged to guide you through the five stages of grief.

1. Stage One: Denial

Song: “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – Aerosmith


Year: 1998

Sample Lyric: “I don’t wanna miss one smile / I don’t wanna miss one kiss”

Sappiness Factors: Violins, unabashedly cheese-ball lyrics, and the very real possibility of turning your pillow into a snot-encrusted blob. That you hug in your sleep.

2. Stage Two: Anger

Song: “Wicked Game” – Chris Isaak

Year: released in 1989, but didn’t become a hit until early 1991

Sample Lyric: “What a wicked thing you do / To make me dream of you.”

Sappiness Factors: Mournful guitar, a chorus that verges on weeping, and the anguish of having known better.

3. Stage Three: Bargaining

Song: “I Swear” – All-4-One

Year: 1994

Sample Lyric: “I’ll give you everything I can / I’ll build your dreams with these two hands”

Sappiness Factors: Harmonizing, celestial declarations, and un-keep-able promises.

4. Stage Four: Depression

Song: “Kiss From a Rose” – Seal

Year: 1995

Sample Lyric: “Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grave”

Sappiness Factors: Flutes, conflicted imagery, and a prom-dance-able 3/4 rhythm.

5. Stage Five: Acceptance

Song: “I’ll Be Missing You” – Puff Daddy and Faith Evans

Year: 1997

Sample Lyric: “Memories give me the strength I need to proceed”

Sappiness Factors: A heart-tugging real-life tribute to the fallen Notorious B.I.G., heavy sampling from “Every Breath You Take,” and the use of positive affirmations.

5 thoughts on “25 of the 1990’s Guiltiest Musical Pleasures

  1. Lindsey says:

    Scarily accurate. I couldn’t stop laughing at the My Heart Will Go On’ video description. “Particularly the man who ricocheted off the propellers” classic(;

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