1990 Top Song: Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice

Okay so this was a hard pick from the jump, there were so many good songs in 1990, way more than I initially thought. But Mr. Robert Van Winkle edges out the competition because this list isn’t about the best of the year but the most of the year. And, I ask you, is there any song that ushered in the 1990’s more than this jam? I think not.

Runners Up:

  • Vogue – Madonna
  • Poison – Bell Biv DeVoe (now you know)
  • Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Conner
  • Step By Step – New Kids on the Block
  • How Can We Be Lovers – Michael Bolton
    • I unapologetically love Michael Bolton, I am what the kids call a “stan”. While watching the movie Office Space I fully did not understand why people laughed when the interviewers said that they couldn’t pick a favorite Michael Bolton song. Neither can I, the man’s voice is a masterpiece.

1991 Top Song: Emotions – Mariah Carey

Who were we before Mariah Carey? I’m old enough to remember a time without this seven octave soprano and I choose not to acknowledge it. Also based on the list below everyone was in their feelings in 1991.

Runners Up:
  • I Adore Mi Amore – Color Me Badd
  • Losing My Religion – R.E.M
  • Wicked Game – Chris Isaak
  • All the man That I Need – Whitney Houston
    • If you have never seen her perform this live on Arsenio Hall get yourself to Youtube immediately.
  • Everything I Do (I Do It For You) – Bryan Adams
    • Bryan Adams does not fear a long song title
  • Rush Rush – Paula Abdul

1992 Top Song: Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Once again, there were a lot of amazing contenders for this year but it goes to this grunge staple because it pretty much changed the landscape of popular music in one guitar riff.

Runners Up:

  • Jump – Kriss Kross
  • To Be with You – Mr. Big
  • Achy Breaky Heart – Billy Ray Cyrus
  • November Rain – Guns N’ Roses
  • I Can’t Make You Love Me – Bonnie Raitt
    • We as a society do not appreciate magical unicorn songstress Bonnie Raitt
  • Finally – CeCe Peniston

1993 Top Song: I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

The combination of Dolly Parton’s amazing songwriting and Whitney Houston’s once in a generation voice helped catapult this album to become the best-selling soundtrack of all time. Little trivia for you, Kevin Costner was the one who suggested it to Ms. Houston.

Runners Up:

  • That’s The Way Love Goes – Janet Jackson
  • Two Princes – Spin Doctors
  • I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers
    • This is the best get the karaoke party started jam ever. You’re welcome.
  • It Was a Good Day – Ice Cube
  • I’ll Never Get Over You (Getting Over Me) –Expose
    • Just looking at this song title made me remember my 4th grade heartbreak

1994 Top Song: The Entire Reality Bites Soundtrack

If you did not buy that CD and play it on repeat, change your answering message to match Troy’s you could not hang out with me in 1994. Also, re-watch that movie… she should have picked Michael.  

Runners Up:

  • Shoop – Salt-N-Peppa
  • The Sign – Ace of Base
  • I Swear – All-4-One
  • Shine – Collective Soul

1995 Top Song: I Know – Dionne Farris

Is this the best year in music ever? There’s a good argument to be made here. I chose this bop Farris because it is literally the most perfect song ever created and it was featured on an episode of 90210.  

Runners Up:

  • This Is How We Do It – Montell Jordan
  • Waterfalls – TLC
  • Only Wanna Be With You – Hootie and the Blowfish
    • You owned this album. You loved this album. You still know every word to every song on this album. I see you.
  • I Wish – Skee-Lo
    • Forgot about this lil’ jam, didn’t you?
  • All I Wanna Do – Sheryl Crowe
    • Everyone was legally obligated to own this album in 1995.

1996 Top Song: Macerena – Los del Rio

Look, I’m not happy about this either. But was anything bigger in 1996 than the Macerena? Did Colin Powell dance on live TV to “Ironic”? No, no he did not.

Runners Up:

  • Ironic – Alannis Morisette
    • Nothing in this song is a correct example of irony, which makes the entire conceit ironic. Canadians are crafty.
  • Wonderwall – Oasis
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Deep Blue Something
    • Ahh yes, the basic principal of compatibility.
  • Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman

1997 Top Song: Barbie Girl

Ahhh a sign of things to come. The last of rock radio was in decline, Puff Daddy decided rap was about having fun and the Backstreet Boys cracked the Top 10 for the first time. I thought the pop takeover would be a phase, I was wrong.

Runners Up:

  • Wannabe – The Spice Girls
    • If you want to perk up your day, follow these ladies on Instagram. Their love of Girl Power did not end when the band did.
  • MMMBop – Hanson
    • The toe headed brothers now own a brewery called MMMHops, they win at everything.
  • Where have all the Cowboys Gone? – Paula Cole
  • Tubthumping – Chumbawamba
    • These British anarchists knew how to party

1998 Top Song: Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) – Backstreet Boys

And here we are. I was just the right age to fall into the teeny bopper trap of the late 90’s and early 2000’s but I fought it with every inch of my angsty body. I’ve since come around on these poptarts but at the time I was way “too cool”. This title is still ridiculous though.

Runners Up:

  • All My Life – K-Ci & JoJo
    • On behalf of my 8th grade self who danced with her crush to this song, I thank you
  • My Heart Will Go On –Celine Dion
    • Never heard of it
  • The Boy is Mine – Brandy & Monica
  • Show Me Love – Robyn
    • Robyn has been making wonderful music for us for 20 years
  • Getting’ Jiggy wit It – Will Smith

1999 Top Song: Livin’ La Vida Loca – Ricky Martin

If 1992 was a transition from fun time rock n roll to introspective alternative rock, 1999 was the year we just gave into pop beats and didn’t ask any questions. Ricky Martin was handsome, naturally charming, a pretty good singer and was a great showman, he was the perfect host for pop music’s new party.

Runners Up:

  • …Baby One More Time – Britney Spears
  • Believe – Cher
    • If I were going to be any celebrity I would want to be Cher.
  • Smooth – Santana Ft. Rob Thomas
  • Save Tonight – Eagle Eye Cherry
  • Doo Wop (That Thing) – Lauren Hill
    • If you were a woman between the ages of 13 and 40 in 1999, you owned a copy of this CD
  • Bug a Boo – Destiny’s Child
    • This song has the most 90’s references the 90’s ever 90’s.

Thank you for taking this journey back through the 90’s with me. You know what else happened in the 90’s? The release of the original WubbaNub Giraffe