8 '90s Rock Band That Were Edgy Enough To Be Cool But Tame Enough To Please Your Parents

The '90s was a beautiful time. The '90s gave us brown lipstick and plaid and all things grunge. The '90s also gave us great boy bands and rock bands, two things that mainly consisted of the same constituent elements (i.e. a group of male musicians). However, the two couldn't be more different. Rock bands were about edge and grunge and raw sound, the boy bands were about choreography and baby faces. As a largely mainstream and mediocre kid of the '90s, I obviously loved the boy bands. But a time came around where I wanted a bit more. Enter these 7 tame '90s rock bands that were edgy enough for me but inoffensive enough for my parents.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying these guys didn't rock pretty hard musically. These bands probably made up the core of your 'rocker' phase in the '90s and early '00s if you were anything like me. However, these bands were just a touch tamer, a bit more relatable, if you will, than say the Nirvanas or Alices In Chains of this time period.

As you can tell by this list, my rock music tolerance and knowledge is pretty low so I apologize in advance for any egregious crimes I may commit against the rock genre. However, this is a listicle about tame '90s rock bands, not an expert case study in the field of the rock genre so please, go easy on me here people.

Vertical Horizon

VerticalHorizonVEVO on YouTube

Vertical Horizon was the classic '90s band where someone would say their name and I'd be like, "wait, who?" Then you'd explain to me that they're that band that sounds like they should be on the American Pie soundtrack who sings that "Everything You Want" song.


WeezerVEVO on YouTube

Weezer always seemed kind of like the rock band equivalent of the nerdy kid who always gets ultimate wedgies in movies about high school.

Fall Out Boy

FallOutBoyVEVO on YouTube

Fall Out Boy belongs to one of my favorite categories in rock music. They are core members of the "Bands Who Utilize Unnecessarily Long Song Titles To Seem Provocative." Also in this category: Panic! At The Disco.

Eagle Eye Cherry

EagleEyeCherryVEVO on YouTube

Eagle Eye Cherry is one of the bands that probably had a wonderful, expansive discography but I wouldn't have known because I explicitly jammed out to "Save Tonight" on repeat.


blink182VEVO on YouTube

I don't think there is a band out there who evokes more nostalgia in me than Blink-182. "What's My Age Again?" never fails to instantly transport me back to being a teenager in the early '00s. It just feels like childhood, you know?

Goo Goo Dolls

Goo Goo Dolls on YouTube

I'm just going to say it: the Goo Goo Dolls were pretty soft. I mean, their band name was the Goo Goo Dolls, for heaven's sakes. It seems like a no-brainer that this band is going to be pretty family-friendly. Side note: if you're ever feeling down, go get in your car. Turn on "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls. Scream the lyrics (and I do indeed mean scream) at the top of your lungs. Weep if you must. I swear you will feel better. This quick trick has gotten me through more than one emo spell.

Third Eye Blind

uesertest on YouTube

Third Eye Blind, obviously, wins this list. Third Eye Blind is another band, like Blink-182, the just oozes nostalgia out of every note of their music. Third Eye Blind was accessible and lighthearted in a "movie montage of high schoolers getting out of school for summer" type of way. However, masquerading behind the light, upbeat sound of their songs there lies a much darker meaning. I mean, "Semi-Charmed Life" is about doing meth. Seriously. One of the lines is "Doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break." Excellent job at being subtly edgy, Third Eye Blind. My mom never even noticed.