The 49 Best Pop Songs Of The '90s
There's so much to love about the '90s. It was a time when it was perfectly acceptable to wear denim skirts with gigantic flower hats (a la Lisa from Saved By The Bell), everyone was either Team Kelly or Team Brenda, and Jared Leto was just that hot guy from TV who hadn't yet gone "method." (Plus, no one knew that trans fats could kill us yet, so our food all tasted ridiculously delicious!) The '90s were truly a special time, and it's no wonder that we all feel a pang of nostalgia for this decade. Nothing quite brings you back to the good old days like '90s music, and even those of us who prefer far hipper music today have to admit that '90s pop music was some of the best of any decade.
You may not have thought about Savage Garden since the clock struck midnight on the year 2000, but that doesn't mean that hearing "Truly Madly Deeply" won't give you all of the feels if played today. Are you looking to throw a '90s theme party, aka an excuse to finally show off your scrunchy collection? Your party playlist is handled: here is a list of the best '90s pop songs, in no specific order, that will prove to your friends that you're as cool as the Fresh Prince himself.
1. "Nothing Compares 2 U," Sinead O'Connor (1990)
Long before O'Connor was feuding with Miley Cyrus, she was singing this devastating breakup ballad.
2. "Say My Name," Destiny's Child (1999)
The singular-colored living rooms depicted in this video have achieved all of my decorating goals.
3. "The Sign," Ace Of Base (1994)
Do you like green screens, puffy shirts, and inexplicable flag waving? Check out the music video above.
4. "Do Wop (That Thing)," Lauryn Hill (1998)
Have your mother explain what "that thing" is.
5. "No Scrubs," TLC (1999)
The eye shadow game is so strong in this video.
6. "Wannabe," Spice Girls (1996)
It's OK if you have no idea what they're saying after the second chorus.
7. "Jump," Kriss Kross (1992)
If you want everyone to dance at a party, just give them instructions to jump. Real high, because they're so fly.
8. "Don't Speak," No Doubt (1995)
Fun fact: Gwen Stefani stopped aging shortly after filming this music video.
9. "Summer Girls," LFO (1999)
Name-dropping Abercrombie & Fitch evokes a different response today.
10. "Two Princes," Spin Doctors (1991)
This is another song for which you most definitely will need to look up the lyrics.
11. "Livin' La Vida Loca," Ricky Martin (1999)
Anyone else think that the girl Martin's singing about here sounds really freakin' awesome?
12. "You Oughta Know," Alanis Morissette (1995)
Great song, even if it makes us all a little uncomfortable to know that it maaaaay be about Uncle Joey from Full House .
13. "Tearin' Up My Heart," *NSYNC (1997)
This was one of the boy band's earliest singles, and is perfect for karaoke.
14. "Mmmbop," Hanson (1996)
Hanson: the original Jonas Brothers.
15. "Stay (I Missed You)," Lisa Loeb (1995)
16. "Every Morning," Sugar Ray (1999)
Great song to set your alarm clock to so you can wake up with good morning vibes.
17. "Unbelievable," EMF (1991)
This song appeared on the Coyote Ugly soundtrack, so you know it's really, really '90s.
18. "I Want It That Way," Backstreet Boys (1999)
Sorry, Justin Timberlake, but BSB > *NSYNC any day.
19. "Breakfast At Tiffany's," Deep Blue Something (1995)
It's probably not a great idea to base a relationship around your common love of a universally appealing movie, but it's totally a good idea to base a relationship around the love of this song.
20. "The Hardest Thing," 98 Degrees (1998)
This song is proof that Nick Lachey was the most underrated boy bander of the '90s. (Yes, even in a taupe turtleneck.)
21. "I'll Be There For You," The Rembrandts (1995)
It's the Friends theme song! Could it be any more perfect?
22. "The Boy Is Mine," Brandy & Monica (1998)
Not exactly the most feminist song ever, but it has a happy ending where the R&B divas unite to take down the scum they're both dating.
23. "Insensitive," Jann Arden (1994)
The perfect song to listen to after a terrible Tinder date.
24. "Baby Got Back," Sir Mix A Lot (1992)
Absolutely zero shame in shaking it to this song.
25. "Truly Madly Deeply," Savage Garden (1997)
These song lyrics could double as the most '90s wedding vows ever.
26. "Genie In A Bottle," Christina Aguilera (1999)
Try not to be too creeped out by the fact that Aguilera was barely legal when this video came out.
27. "All Star," Smash Mouth (1999)
The water's getting warm, so you might as well swim.
28. "Loser," Beck (1994)
Admit it: You're already nodding your head.
29. "I Swear," All-4-One (1994)
This group never quite reached the Backstreet Boys levels of success, but their perfectly in-sync voices can still bring you to tears.
30. "S Club Party," S Club 7 (1999)
I stand by the fact that there are about two too many people in this band. But still, oh my God, this song is so great.
31. "Ice Ice Baby," Vanilla Ice (1990)
It this song too silly for words? Absolutely. Is it a total jam? Absolutely.
32. "Good Vibrations," Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch (1991)
And then Mark Wahlberg became a movie star.
33. "Step By Step," New Kids On The Block (1990)
They never stop moving in this song. Ever.
34. "Candy," Mandy Moore (1999)
Just because Mandy Moore reportedly hates this song doesn't mean I have to. (Also, 14-year-old Moore was waaaay too young to drive the car she's cruising around in during the video.)
35. "Bitch," Meredith Brooks (1997)
A quick reminder that women have zero obligation to be happy 24/7.
36. "Mo Money, Mo Problems," The Notorious B.I.G.
I don't know about the title, since everything they do in the video seems pretty damn cool. Indoor skydiving? Sign me up, please.
37. "If You Had My Love," Jennifer Lopez (1999)
Sixteen years later, Lopez is still this badass.
38. "One Week," Barenaked Ladies (1998)
Don't even try to sing along to this.
39. "Mambo No. 5," Lou Bega (1999)
Bega got all of the ladies, but only one real hit in the '90s.
40. "You Gotta Be," Des'ree (1994)
Like all the advice your mom gave you wrapped up in one song.
41. "C'est La Vie," B*Witched (1998)
It's impossible to be unhappy while listening to this song.
42. "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It," Will Smith
Watch the video for the pharaoh costume Smith wears at the 1:11 mark.
43. "I Touch Myself," The Divinyls (1991)
For years I thought that this was a Blondie song. It's not.
44. "Sex And Candy," Marcy Playground (1997)
I totally did not appreciate this song enough in the '90s. And I still don't know what disco lemonade is.
45. "Closing Time," Semisonic (1998)
Singer Dan Wilson has stated that this song isn't actually about last call at a bar: it's actually about childbirth and babies. The more you know!
46. "Honey," Mariah Carey (1997)
There's a super fun James Bond theme to this music video. A+, M.
47. "U Can't Touch This," MC Hammer (1990)
A throwback to when this song wasn't primarily used for commercials.
48. "Barbie Girl," Aqua (1997)
This song is still the weirdest.
49."...Baby, One More Time," Britney Spears (1999)
The song may have been released just in time to usher in the new millennium, but ask most '90s kids and they'll declare it the most iconic '90s pop hit.
Now go grab your best Angela Chase-inspired flannel and spend the next few hours in '90s nostalgia bliss.