I’ve made no qualms about being influenced by the 90s. The 90s were that time period where we dressed awkwardly, watched crazy movies and a lot of us felt an economic boom. So what else came from the 90s besides those terribly wide JNCO jeans? Music. I still find myself listening to the music from the 90s. From 2Pac and Notorious BIG to Metallica and Nirvana to the Backstreet Boys and Brittany Spears, we had a pretty diverse group of influential music. Todays Top Cat Top 10 will be a celebration of the best and most influential alternative rock music. This list will be strictly Alternative Rock (that means no Hard Rock/Heavy Metal/Nu Metal and nothing thats too ‘poppy’.
10. Foo Fighters “Monkey Wrench”
So, I was a huge Nirvana fan and I felt a little jaded when Dave Grohl broke out on his own and started recording new material with his new band. By the time hits like “Everlong”, “I’ll Stick Around”, “My Hero” and “Monkey Wrench” were getting a lot of air time in my car’s CD player and I was hooked on the new sound. Dave Grohl might always be known as the ‘former drummer for Nirvana’ but Foo Fighters is helping him write a larger legend.
9. Veruca Salt “Volcano Girls”
In the early 90s, women were extremely important to me. As I was watching two beautiful women singing and playing a great song on MTV. The first time that I was introduced to Veruca Salt was by their first single “Seether” but the song “Volcano Girls” from their followup album, Eight Arms to Hold You (produced by infamous producer Bob Rock), hit my cd player and hasn’t left yet. If you’re wondering, the fact that they are gorgeous, was and is just a bonus. 🙂
8. Filter “Take a Picture”
This song is still on frequent rotation on rock radio stations around the nation but it came out in 1999 (makes you feel old doesn’t it). Filter’s “Take a Picture” is supposed to be about the lead singer’s reaction to his negative feelings towards ‘dealing with fans’ but who knows. Frankly I don’t care because the song is still amazing to me.
7. Local H “All the Kids are Right”
SO a guy playing drums and a singer with a guitar wrote a song that is on the list of my most played iTunes songs to this day. Local H started out as a quartet but after two member left, high school friends Scott and Joe continued jamming….just the two of them. They signed with Island Records in 1995 and albums and singles started flowing. The Mid-western boys had a No. 5 single on the US Alternative Billboard chart with the hit “Bound for the Floor” which also plucked my attention string. It wasn’t until the single “All The Kids are Right came flying full force towards my ears and hasn’t let go yet. Such a great 90s band that is still touring and producing good music.
6. Tonic “Open Your Eyes”
Tonic’s platinum selling 1996 album “Lemon Parade” was a huge record for me. The whole album was amazing but “If You Could Only See” and “Open up Your Eyes” were played by me (and still are played by me) on a regular.
5. Smashing Pumpkins “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”
Also known as “the rat in a cage song” by my mother, “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” was my favorite song for a really long time. I still smile every time that I hear it. I listened to the double album “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” so much that my mother started to know the lyrics to “Bullet with Butterfly Wings”. Now if you think you know what funny is, just imagine listening to “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” while your Southern Gospel momma sings along.
4. Seven Mary Three “Cumbersome”
Some people have tried to call Seven Mary Three as a one-hit-wonder and a copy cat of Pearl Jam BUT I absolutely loved Seven Mary Three’s “American Standard” album. Despite all criticism Seven Mary Three’s “American Standard” album achieved platinum status due to their outstandingly beautiful single “Cumbersome”. The album was released while I was in middle school and this song flowed through the headphones of my tape player (and then CD player) and I still love it to this day.
3. Bush – “Machine Head”
So there is a good chance that you’ve heard a song from the 6x multi-platinum album “Sixteen Stone” and there is good reason behind it. It seems like the album produced nothing but chart topping hits. Hits like “Little Things”, “Glycerine”, “Comedown”, “Everything Zen” and “Machinehead” were all on constant rotation on rock radio. Bush has been a mainstay in the rock music scene despite their hits predominately coming from the 90s. Bush still has heavy rotation on rock radio and in my car. 😉
2. Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Okay. So my mom even knows who Kurt Cobain was and could probably recognize the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. I got caught up in the whirlwind of Nirvana fans early on and upon Kurt’s death in 1994, it just fueled my love for Nirvana. I remember trying to catch “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on my favorite radio station’s weekend top 10, so I could record the best possible version of it before I had the CD. Once I had Nevermind in my hands, I played it until I had to buy another copy. I won’t be lying if I said that “Smells like Teen Spirit” is one of the greatest songs of all time.
1. Silverchair “Tomorrow”
Surprising to a lot of people, Silverchair’s “Tomorrow” (and many subsequent Silverchair songs) and among my favorites of all time (not just songs from the 90s). In 1995, “Tomorrow” was the most played song on US modern radio and the trio of 15 year olds were rocking my CD player as well. The song has held its place in my CD player and now iTunes account for all of these years as well as Silverchair’s 1999 album “Neon Ballroom” which featured the hit “Anna’s Song (Open Fire)” which touched on lead singer’s eating disorder that was the result of increased anxiety and my high school anthem “Anthem for the Year 2000”.
Honorable Mentions: Radiohead “Karma Police”, Blind Melon “No Rain”, Primitive Radio Gods “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in my Hand”, Beck “Loser”, Stabbing Westward “Save Yourself”, Candlebox “Far Behind”