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Top 100 Songs From the 90s


These are the 100 best songs from the 1990s. This is admittedly a subjective list based on judgements of quality instead of sales figures or radio airplay. This list should be a great conversation starter and feel free to agree or disagree.

More great pop music:

100. Billy Joel - "River of Dreams"

Courtesy Columbia

For the centerpiece of his last pop album, Billy Joel put together this stream of consciousness, gospel-influenced recording. It spent three weeks at the top of the pop singles chart and is one of the most uplifting hits of Joel's career.

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99. Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories - "Do You Sleep?"

Lisa Loeb - Tails
Courtesy Geffen

Lisa Loeb rose quickly to stardom on the heels of her hit "Stay" from the soundtrack to the film Reality Bites. "Do You Sleep?" is the first hit from her first solo album Tails.

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98. John Mellencamp with Me'Shell NdegeOcello - "Wild Night"

John Mellencamp - Barack Obama Inaugural Celebration 2009
Photo by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Mellencamp and NdegeOcello are one of the matches made in rock 'n' roll heaven. Together they took a Van Morrison chestnut and made it into something transcendent. Turn this one up and try NOT to dance.

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97. Sugar Ray - "Every Morning"

Sugar Ray - Every Morning
Courtesy Atlantic

Sugar Ray's feel-good music is one of the pure pleasures of 90s pop music. This tale about a girlfriend who "has a halo hanging from the corner" of her four-post bed is instantly recognizable and memorable.

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96. Celine Dion - "My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From 'Titanic')"

Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme from 'Titanic')
Courtesy Columbia

This was certainly one of the most over-played ballads of the year. However, if you listen once again, the song is beautiful, and Celine Dion is one of the most reliable voices in the business.

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95. Heart - "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You"

Heart - All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You
Courtesy Capitol Records

Although they are best known for a long string of rock hits, this ballad, written by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, was one of the group's biggest pop hits. The record distinguished itself by generating controversy through its tale of a long night of making love with a hitchhiker. Some feared it encouraged picking up hitchhikers and having casual sex, but at heart it is romantic fantasy straight out of a romance novel.

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94. LL Cool J - "Mama Said Knock You Out"

LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out
Courtesy Def Jam

LL Cool J established himself in the 80s as a top hard-edged rapper while still a teenager. By the end of the decade he had hit the pop charts and was being accused of selling out to pop audiences. "Mama Said Knock You Out" is his response to the criticisms. It's a hard hitting aggressive rap classic that brought together both rap and pop audiences and cemented LL's status as one of the top rap artists of all time.

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93. Presidents of the United States of America - "Lump"

Presidents of the United States of America - Lump
Courtesy Columbia

In the onslaught of Seattle bands after the grunge revolution, the humorous approach of Presidents Of the United States Of America is unique. "Lump" is punk in instrumental style, but it is as insanely catchy as bubblegum pop.

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92. Barenaked Ladies - "One Week"

Barenaked Ladies - One Week
Courtesy Reprise Records

For many, the mileage varied on Barenaked Ladies' breakthrough hit. The pure kinetic energy of "One Week" certainly invigorated pop radio playlists, but a little of the cheeky, self-indulgent humor can go a long way.

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91. Shaggy - "Boombastic"

Shaggy - Boombastic
Courtesy Virgin

Here is where the dancehall sub-genre of reggae broke through to the American pop charts. Shaggy's personal charm shines through in the funky grooves.

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