Ah, the '90s. Never has a decade sparked such serious nostalgia. The fashion was so-so, the TV was pretty great, and the pop music? Well, that was pretty out of this world. From the rise of groups like the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys to solo artists like Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, you have to admit it was a pretty amazing decade. Sure, there's some pretty okay pop coming out today, but there's such a particular vibe to the songs that came out in the '90s that doesn't really compare to anything else. It's fun, fast-paced, and vaguely dated, but isn't that why it's amazing?
Of course, when it comes to figuring out the best music of the '90s, it's a pretty tall task. There are simply too many amazing songs from all genres to choose from — we're spoiled for choice. But there are a few tracks that stick out even now as ones that truly changed the shape of pop music and are still influencing things in the industry today (at least in my opinion). Plus, they're just still damn good to listen to on your iPod while you're working out, and that's pretty much the criteria I judge all my music on.
"Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot (1992)
I know what you're thinking, but stick with me here. This song was BOMB when it came out, and people are STILL talking about it and sampling it, too (hello, Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" in 2014). If that's not a game changer, I don't know what is.
"... Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears (1998)
Britney Spears is a legend, and when you think of '90s pop, no doubt she's the first artist that comes to mind. Her debut single in '98 set the world on fire... with a love for school girl uniforms, pigtails, and those pens with the furry things on top.
"Vogue" by Madonna (1990)
I know Madonna is a bit iffy these days, but she's a true queen for a reason. She has endless amounts of hits, but "Vogue" is, without a doubt, her best and most iconic track in history. It's a dance, it's a style, it's a way of life. Live it.
"What Is Love" by Haddaway (1992)
If you think this is a strange song to include, you obviously weren't doing THE MOST in the '90s like you should have been. This was on one of my favorite MTV Party To Go CDs, it was used in an episode of My So-Called Life... need I go on?
"Wannabe" by Spice Girls (1994)
Ugh, I miss the days of amazing girl groups, and Spice Girls were the best EVER, no contest. "Wannabe" was life changing to many of us who grew up in the '90s, and everyone had a Spice Girl they most related to (mine was Sporty, for the record).
"You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morrisette (1995)
I know your life was ruined (or made) when you found out that this song is actually about Dave Coulier, but before that, you totally listened to it in your room at top volume whenever your parents just didn't get it (which was pretty often in '95).
"Genie In A Bottle" by Christina Aguilera (1997)
Generally, in the '90s, you were either a Britney girl or a Christina girl. I was the latter, and I remember recording tapes with my middle school friend Christina of us singing all the songs on her debut album, especially this one.
"Barbie Girl" by Aqua (1997)
"Barbie Girl" could only have come out in 1997. Can you imagine if they tried to release this insanity today? It would be laughed off the airwaves. But not in the '90s! Come right in, insane pop music! We love you!
"Always Be My Baby" by Mariah Carey (1995)
This SONG will always be my baby. Ugh, I love it so much, and you know you do, too.