As a child of the '90s, I am more than a little biased when I say there are some '90s songs that will never get old. Before you judge, remember that one day you '00s kids are going to be writing lists about how One Direction will never go out of style, so don't be so quick to knock my jams. The '90s were an amazing time for all kinds of music. Pop music made a major comeback, rap took over the world, and even country was having a bit of a moment. While I will readily admit that not every '90s song was built to last — die, "Macarena," die! — the decade produced more than its share of classics.
This was the era of Britney Spears, The Spice Girls, Nirvana, and Will Smith — is it any wonder so many people are still singing the songs of those glow stick lit days where pop and rock and roll co-existed in peaceful harmony? There are definitely more than 12 '90s songs that are still as cool now as they were when they first hit the radio, but this dirty dozen of awesome happen to be the best of the best, IMO.
Go grab a comically large scrunchie and your collection of slap bracelets because it is time to go back to the '90s and listen to some sweet tunes.
1. "Wannabe," Spice Girls
Wanna see people dance? Turn on this ultimate feminist jam that no one entirely understands. This is the boppiest, most danceable anthem to female friendship ever made.
2. "No Scrubs," TLC
A song that gave the world the perfect hook to sing at guys with lame pickup lines who think cat-calling is cool will last forever. "No Scrubs" is an eternal reminder that you are worth way more than some jerk. It also happens to be a reminder that TLC was one of the best groups ever.
3. "One Week," Barenaked Ladies
"One Week" is the '90s. With references to The X-Files and Keanu Reeves coming at you with an unparalleled speed, the song is a time capsule for a pop culture obsessed, lovelorn decade of youngsters who talked fast and partied hard.
4. "All Apologies," Nirvana
Named one of the songs that shaped rock and roll, "All Apologies" cultural impact cannot be overstated. Kurt Cobain was a musical genius, and this song is among the finest contributions he made to the world before his untimely death.
5. "Gangsta's Paradise," Coolio
There is something almost mythical about "Gangsta's Paradise." It captures the realities of street life and puts them to a beat that will give you goosebumps every time you hear it.
6. "...Baby One More Time," Britney Spears
Spears arrived on the scene with this timeless pop masterpiece. If you lived through the '90s, then you know the song was inescapable, and yet it is still absolutely mesmerizing to this day. If you want to know why Spears still has legions of fans, just queue up "...Baby One More Time" and bask in the perfection.
7. "Vogue," Madonna
Madonna was the undisputed queen of the '80s, but she ushered in the '90s with "Vogue," which is more of a way of life than it is a song. "Vogue" is not only enduring, it's a killer jam that will still be bringing people to the holographic dance floor in 2099.
8. "Don't Speak," No Doubt
Before she went solo, Gwen Stefani was tearing up hearts with this soul-crushing breakup song. It still has the power to inflict all the pain, but it's also that one song you can't help but belt out in the shower. Musical versatility like that is hard to come by.
9. "You Oughta Know," Alanis Morissette
Has rock ever been so deliciously angry? As long as there are lovers scorned, "You Oughta Know" will endure.
10. "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)," Backstreet Boys
Boy bands made a major comeback in the '90s, but few of them produced a song as effortlessly catchy as "Everybody." The beat is on point, the narcissism is actually endearing, and to this day it is impossible not to start dancing in your seat when it comes on the radio.
11. "Bitter Sweet Symphony," The Verve
Given how many movies have used "Bitter Sweet Symphony" it should be overplayed by now, but it isn't possible to overplay a song as beautiful as this one.
12. "Gettin' Jiggy With It," Will Smith
Admit it, you still love this song. It could not be more '90s if it tried, and yet it is still as fresh and cool as Smith.
There's just nothing that gets a party started like a classic '90s jam.