The '90s were a great time for music... at least they were if you were a tween during the era because pop was everywhere. (If you didn't like pop, emo alt-rock and punk bands were also having a moment.) The decade gave the world plenty of unforgettable classics including "My Heart Will Go On" and "Wonderwall," but it also paved the way for a whole lot of songs that will forever baffle every generation that didn't come of age during the '90s, like say, "MMMbop." Only true '90s kids remember these obscure '90s songs, because back then free time consisted of dying of dysentery on The Oregon Trail and listening to the radio. Let's just say, there are precious few songs that slipped passed a '90s kids with a Boom Box/CD player combo.
From Mandy Moore "hits" to the long forgotten Spice Girls singles, these songs live on only in the hearts of those who also remember slap bracelets, Lisa Frank, and Moon Shoes. These songs may not be classics in the traditional sense, but they have their own place in the annals of history. They inspired the occasional sing along and they probably even landed in one teen movie. They endure because '90s kids never say die, and the pop culture of those halcyon days must be remembered. Yes, even "MMMbop."
1. "So Real," Mandy Moore
This one time, Moore tried to be edgy and it was really weird. Hilariously, the video for "So Real" is filmed against the fakest green screen to ever fake. Only the most devoted Moore fans will remember this '99 single, and honestly, that is as it should be.
2. "Counting Blue Cars," Dishwalla
A grungy masterpiece, "Counting Blue Cars" won't sound familiar until the chorus starts. As a kid, you were no doubt impressed by the song's insistence that God was a woman. Sadly, this song is incredibly depressing, but you probably didn't notice back then.
3. "Sunny Came Home," Shawn Colvin
For awhile in '97, "Sunny Came Home" was a staple of Casey Kasem's countdown, and the catchy tune was easy to sing along to. The thing you probably didn't notice then is that Sunny came home and burned down the house her abuser lived in. That kind of makes those group sing-alongs with your friends seem a little bizarre now.
4. "The Hardest Thing," 98 Degrees
If you didn't live through the '90s, you probably have no idea how Nick Lachey happened. In fact, you may even ask yourself why Nick Lachey is a thing. Well, you see kids, he had this boy band called 98 Degrees, and while it wasn't great, it did produce little pop gems like "The Hardest Thing" which is a really jerky break-up song.
5. "I Like It," The Blackout Allstars
No, "I Like It" is not just a song that is inappropriately used in food commercials. It was an actual song that people danced to in the '90s.
6. "Jump," Kris Kross
This song is why Moon Shoes were made. It is impossible to listen to this song without jumping up and down. (Try not to listen to it at your office unless your boss is OK with all of his employees having an impromptu dance party.)
7. "Doctor Jones," Aqua
"Doctor Jones" is basically a '90s masterpiece. It's an homage to Indiana Jones that also happens to be a wonderfully boppy pop jam. This song does not deserve to languish in obscurity.
8. "Tubthumping," Chumbawamba
Turn this song on in a bar full of former '90s kids and it is going down. No one really knows what "Tubthumping" means, but this song is so triumphant it doesn't matter.
9. "Mambo No. 5," Lou Bega
I was always sad that my name is too obscure to be in this song. It was so jazzy and fun, I just wanted to be included. Is that too much to ask?
10. "2 Become 1," Spice Girls
Everyone knows the Spice Girls' big songs like "Wannabe," but '90s kids remember the small numbers too. "2 Become 1" was one of the rare Spice Girls slow songs, and while it's not danceable, it is still a classic.
11. "I Don't Want To Wait," Paula Cole
The '90s would not have been the '90s without "I Don't Want To Wait," but the song is still weirdly obscure these days. Dawson's Creek put the song on the map, and '90s kids made it a hit by playing it at every dance for the rest of the decade.
If you remembered all of these songs give yourself a pat on the back. You are a true '90s kid and/or music aficionado.