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Archive for the category “Best Pop Song of the 1990s”

Search for the Best Pop Song of the 1990s: “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes

This is one blog’s search for the definitive “Best Pop Song of the 1990s.” Ground rules can be found here. This will be done by analyzing these songs far more than any song, or thing, deserves to be analyzed. You can find the other entries here.

“What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes
Released June 23, 1993
Reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100

I was a little surprised to see that this song never made it higher than 14 on the Billboard charts, which led me to look at the songs that were number one during the months when this song would have had major airplay. The song “Weak” by SWV was number one for two weeks during this period. SWV! Also, Meat Loaf had the number one song for five weeks in November-December of 1993. I hope you feel shame, 1993.

Anyway, 4 Non Blondes. Here we go:

Twenty-five years I’m alive here still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination
This is one of those classic songs that begins with acoustic strumming tailor-made for any first time guitar player, followed by an electric guitar riff tailor-made for any second time guitar player. I feel like the 90s were full of those. Also, I have spent my entire life believing that the first line was “Twenty-five years and my life is still.” This version makes more sense, but barely.
I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this brotherhood of man
For whatever that means
What does that mean? Seriously. What the hell does that mean?
And so I cry sometimes
When I’m lying in bed Just to get it all out
What’s in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar.

Did Linda Perry just create emo?! Read more…

Search for the Best Pop Song of the 1990s: “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M.

This is one blog’s search for the definitive “Best Pop Song of the 1990s.” Ground rules can be found here. This will be done by analyzing these songs far more than any song, or thing, deserves to be analyzed. You can find similar posts here.

Now a guest post by Zack:

“Losing My Religion” by R.E.M
Released February 19, 1991
Reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100

If there is a “dark horse” for best pop song of the ‘90s, it has to be R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.”

The tune by the Athens, Georgia, band was a surprise Grammy-scoring smash of 1991. Surprising not because the band wasn’t talented, but rather because the song seemed just so unconventional and had such a dramatic tone.

It actually could be considered a great example of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. No, really. Think about it. Have you a better example?

Parts, parts, parts.

Pop music is all about parts, and none of which is more important than the hook. The hook, which is more often than not a catchy chorus, can be the difference between making millions and making rent. Because really, if you think about it, Marcy Playground is definitely not a great band, but does anyone who grew up in the ‘90s not know the lyrics to “Sex and Candy”? Exactly. That group of Minnesota clown shoes raked in dollars hand over fist, all because of that little six-word (I smell sex and candy here) hook.

Parts, parts, parts.

Something else the usual hit pop single has is a “relatability.” For the sake of argument I’ll just reference Marcy Playground again. Who can’t relate to sex? No one, that’s who. Even virgins relate, and maybe to even a more extreme degree than your average slut, because not having sex to a virgin is much more important than getting laid to the average skeez.  And candy? Well, if you don’t like candy, or can’t relate to it, then you suck at life. Period. Read more…

Search for the Best Pop Song of the 1990s: “Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms

This is one blog’s search for the definitive “Best Pop Song of the 1990s.” Ground rules can be found here. This will be done by analyzing these songs far more than any song, or thing, deserves to be analyzed. You can find similar posts here.

Next up:

“Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms
Released in 1993

Reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100

Here we go:

Tell me do you think it’d be all right
If I could just crash here tonight
You can see I’m in no shape for driving
And anyway I’ve got no place to go

Going into this, I do not know a single name of a single member of this band. For that reason, I am going to refer to the character and everything related to this song as a singular Gin Blossom. Mr. Blossom is apparently homeless, wasted, and couch surfing. Mr. Blossom is pathetic.

And you know it might not be that bad
You were the best I’d ever had
If I hadn’t blown the whole thing years ago
I might not be alone

Wikipedia informs me that this song was actually written by the lead guitarist, who was fired shortly thereafter. Is it a good move to fire the guy who wrote your one big hit song even if he is an addict? I’m not so sure. Also, are you proud to tell people you are/were the lead guitarist of the Gin Blossoms? I’m sure it’s awesome in the moment, but would you advertise that now? Again, I’m not so sure. The Blossoms really have me thinking.

Where were we? Oh yea, Mr. Blossom is emoting about blown opportunities and blah, blah, blah.

Read more…

Search for the Best Pop Song of the 1990s: “Mr. Jones” by Counting Crows

This is one blog’s search for the definitive “Best Pop Song of the 1990s.” Ground rules can be found here. Other entries are found here. This will be done mostly be analyzing these songs far more than any song, or really anything, deserves to be analyzed. First up:

“Mr. Jones” by Counting Crows
Released in 1993

Reached #2 on the Billboard Top 40

Here we go:

Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

The stage is set with wonderful guitar chords and Duritz’s chanting.

I was down at the New Amsterdam staring at this yellow-haired girl
Mr. Jones strikes up a conversation with this black-haired flamenco dancer

This song was apparently written by Adam Duritz about himself and bassist Marty Jones of some band called The Himalayans. I prefer to believe that I am Mr. Jones. So, Adam Duritz and I are down at New Amsterdam and I’ve got a black-haired flamenco dancer… Read more…

Search for the Best Pop Song of the 1990s: Ground Rules

***Entries can be found here.

As mentioned yesterday, one innocent text message conversation has led into a never-ending search for the best pop song of the 1990s. For now “Mr. Jones” claims the crown, but a few worthy challengers have been mentioned. I’ve decided it might be fun to take a closer look at some of those mentioned to see if re-listening to one or more of the suggestions will change my mind. First some ground rules for what I mean by “best pop songs of the 1990s”:

  1. This one’s obvious, but it must have been a legitimately popular song during the 1990s. Let’s make the late great Casey Kasem happy and say it must have reached the Billboard top-40.
  2. This one is a little tricky, but no great songs by “legendary” bands. That means no Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, etc. I realize the definition of “legendary” is entirely subjective but so is this entire exercise; and, it’s my blog so deal.
  3. It must be a song by a band. That means no boy groups, Britney Spears (was that the 90s?), or anything like that. We want bands, people. Bands play instruments. We all love “No Diggity,” but it’s just not eligible.
  4. Lastly, this is all in fun, so please no comments or messages about how my choices suck because your choices are better. It’s my opinion and you suck.

So, there you have it. I’m actually really looking forward to this. Many of the suggestions I’ve heard over the past few days I haven’t listened to, or even thought of, in years. Might even have a couple of guest posts if there’s interest.

Carry on.

“Mr. Jones” by Counting Crows

“Hey Jealousy” by Gin Blossoms

“Losing my Religion” by R.E.M.

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