Best of the ‘90s, a second look: The singles

Before I had the awesome job of writing for ESDM, Premium Hollywood and Bullz-Eye, I ran Dizzy Heights, which was effectively an email list. A guy I know named Brian helped build a web site for me, but after a while I let it fall into complete disarray. I can’t even find my own site anymore. (Seriously, I tried finding it on Google, and it doesn’t come up.)

At the turn of the last decade/century, I decided to assemble lists – because that’s what I do, make lists – of my favorite albums and singles of the ‘90s. In order to spread the love around, I tried to limit certain albums to either the Singles list or the Albums list. There are exceptions to this, obviously, but I didn’t want both lists to be mirror images of each other.

In retrospect, this decision resulted in some highly questionable selections.

Top 20 Singles of the Decade
20) “We Let the Stars Go,” Prefab Sprout (1990).

Oh, dear. I still love Jordan: The Comeback, but there is just no excuse for this.
19) “Female of the Species,” Space (1997).
This still gets regular play Chez Chauffeur, but wait until you see the list of songs I left off the list to make room for this one. You’ll want to slap me.
18) “Water from a Vine Leaf,” William Orbit (1993).
Ugh. What in the hell…
17) “Creep,” Radiohead (1993).
At last, one that doesn’t totally embarrass me.
16) “April Fools,” Rufus Wainwright (1998).
I still love this song, but my obsession with Wainwright, I hate to say, is waning. Enough with the show tunes already. Get back to writing pop songs, you big girl.
15) “Been Caught Stealing,” Jane’s Addiction (1990).
One of the coolest things at my wedding was when we played this. “I’ve been caught stealing, once” – everyone holds up a finger – “when I was five” – everyone holds up five fingers. It’s the little things in life.
14) “Enjoy the Silence,” Depeche Mode (1990).
The dude from Linkin Park recently remixed this (and did a mighty fine job, I might add), and all I could think was, “If Linkin wrote songs this good, I might actually like them.” As it is, they don’t, so I don’t. Now if only Depeche Mode themselves could write songs this good anymore.
13) “Driving,” Everything but the Girl (1990)
I loves me my Tracey Thorn. The first half of the ‘90s was a rather emotionally turbulent one, meaning that Everything but the Girl was very much the soundtrack of my life. I don’t miss those days, though I miss Everything but the Girl. Come back, guys, please.
12) “Block Rockin’ Beats,” The Chemical Brothers (1997)
Boom shacka lacka lacka lacka. With the Chemicals, once again you know it’s on.
11) “Unfinished Sympathy,” Massive Attack (1991)
I love Mezzanine and all, but Massive Attack will never again make anything as good as this.
10) “Setting Sun,” The Chemical Brothers (1996).
When they talked about dance music being the new rock & roll, this is what they meant. Pity that whole “new rock” thing began and ended with this song.
9) “The Rockafeller Skank,” Fatboy Slim (1998).
Fuck. I’m an idiot.
8) “Paranoid Android,” Radiohead (1997).
I read that some people did a study by playing Radiohead songs to a group children and asking them to draw. Everything the kids made said “SAD SAD SAD.”
7) “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” Propellerheads (1997).
I really, really miss these guys.
6) “Song 2,” Blur (1997).
Come back, Graham. The band needs you more than they’ll ever admit.
5) “Connection,” Elastica (1995).
Why is it that only the good bands make two records and break up? Pssst, Linkin Park: here’s your chance. Go out while people still give a damn about you. Please?
4) “Common People,” Pulp (1995).
Good enough for William Shatner, good enough for you.
3) “White Lines,” Duran Duran (1995).
Should have put “Ordinary World” here, like I originally planned.
2) “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana (1991).
15 years on, and I still crank the ever loving shit out of this song whenever it comes on.
1) “Cowboys and Angels,” George Michael (1990).
Betcha didn’t see that one coming, did you?

Back to that whole slapping-me-silly part. Here are the songs I left off the list to make room for Prefab Sprout, Space, and William freaking Orbit:

“Bitter Sweet Symphony,” The Verve
“There She Goes,” The La’s
“Getting Away With It,” Electronic
“Laid,” James
“Step On,” Happy Mondays
“Soon,” My Bloody Valentine
“Papua New Guinea,” Future Sound of London
“In Yer Face,” 808 State
“Linger,” The Cranberries
“Frozen,” Madonna
“Black Hole Sun,” Soundgarden
“Battersea,” Hooverphonic
“Me and My Big Ideas,” Tears for Fears
“Constant Craving,” kd lang
“The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Sinead O’Connor
“Geek Stink Breath,” Green Day
“Something’s Always Wrong,” Toad The Wet Sprocket
“Killing In The Name,” Rage Against The Machine

Like I said, I’m an idiot.

Coming soon: Albums of the ‘90s. Nowhere near as embarrassing as my Singles list, though I should be chained and tortured for my #2 album.


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