13 '90s Songs You'll Remember Until You Die, Even If You Wish Otherwise

There was something about the music of the ‘90s that, no matter how old you got, some of it just got stuck in your head. It could be that so many of the most popular songs of the decade were released when you were in your most formative years — things like that have a tendency to stick around, you know, for nostalgia’s sake — but I also think there’s something about some ‘90s songs that, for whatever reason, you’ll remember until the day that you die.

It’s not that you necessarily want to remember all of these songs, but because of some combination of how popular they were at the time, how many times you’ve listened to them on repeat, and how formative they were to your musical education as a kid, there will be no way for you to forget these ‘90s songs. If you think you can, good luck. Because the minute I hear the first notes of these songs, I can sing the rest word-for-word without the song even playing.

These are the songs that everyone who was alive in the ‘90s will remember until the day that they die. Some of them really were that good, and the rest of them — god bless ‘em —were just too overplayed to ever forget.

1. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” — Nirvana

NirvanaVEVO on YouTube

It was the beginning of the decade, and depending on how old you were at the time, this song came into your life right when you needed it, or a bit later when you hit teenagehood and knew exactly what Kurt Cobain was singing about.

2. “… Baby One More Time” — Britney Spears

BritneySpearsVEVO on YouTube

The beginning of an era of pop that would never die, Britney Spears broke into the ‘90s with some of the decade’s best hits — and this is definitely one of them.

3. “Wannabe” — Spice Girls

SpiceGirlsVEVO on YouTube

An anthem for friends everywhere, this song from the second wave British invasion had everyone singing along.

4. “I Want It That Way” — Backstreet Boys

BackstreetBoysVEVO on YouTube

Not only will you remember this song until you die, you will also remember the first time you laid eyes on Nick Carter and understood what the birds and the bees were all about.

5. “You Oughta Know” — Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette on YouTube

The reason you will remember this song until you die may or may not be because you still, on occasion, scream-sing it with your very best friends.

6. “I Will Always Love You” — Whitney Houston

whitneyhoustonVEVO on YouTube

Epic. Classic. Iconic. This song is everything the decade was about: Powerful voices and songs you would never forget.

7. “Waterfalls” — TLC

TLCVEVO on YouTube

This song packed a powerful punch, and a message that no one who listened to it would ever forget.

8. “My Heart Will Go On” — Celine Dion

CelineDionVEVO on YouTube

Admit it: You sang this at the top of your lungs for all of 1994. Well, at least when you weren’t in the theaters seeing Titanic for the seventh time in a row.

9. “Basket Case” — Green Day

Green Day on YouTube

Guys. Remember mosh pits?

10. “Tubthumping” — Chumbawamba

ChumbawambaVEVO on YouTube

You probably love and hate this song at the same time. Love it for all the memories, hate it for all the middle angst it brings to the surface.

11. “Ice Ice Baby” — Vanilla Ice

vanillaiceVEVO on YouTube

What would you have done if someone had told you back in 1991 that this Vanilla Ice fellow would one day go on to have his own home improvement show? HGTV, what?

12. “Semi-Charmed Life” — Third Eye Blind

uesertest on YouTube

Listening to this song makes me want to part my hair down the middle and put on an oversized sweater and jeans the color of the mid-day sky.

13. “MMMbop” — Hanson

HansonVEVO on YouTube

Not only a song you will remember until you die, but a serious celebrity crush you will remember until you die. Which Hanson brother you loved the most revealed sooooooo much about your character.

So enjoy these memorable throwbacks. It’s not like you could have ever forgotten them anyway.