The Worst Songs of the 90s – The Continuing Saga of a List

All of us 90s children continually wax poetic about how wonderful the music was back in our day, how hideous the pop music is now, the kids just don’t get it…blah blah blah. All of which is true. That said, pop music was alive and well in the 90s too, and there was plenty to make you want to gouge your ears out with a Q-tip. Or a Wax-Vac. The following list is in no particular order and is far from complete, but here is the beginning of one giant waterfall of 90s suckage.

1. Crash Test Dummies, “Mmm Mmm Mmm” whatever

This was the first song I ever passionately, intensely hated. As in, got physically irate when it came on the radio. To this day, people still seem to feel pain every time they hear it. Someone made this track a top 10 hit…I’m waiting for you to ‘fess up, sir or madam, so the stoning may begin.

Quality Alternative: REM, “E-Bow the Letter.” Appropriately mopey, but it has, I don’t know, actual lyrics.

2. Creed, “Higher”

The day this song came blasting off of my father’s motorcycle was the day a bit of my childhood died. The same man who taught me to love the Stones, the Doors, Zeppelin…I could weep now just remembering that fateful moment.

Quality Alternative: Pearl Jam, “Garden.” Overly earnest rock music without the Messiah complex.

3. 69 Boyz, “Donkey Butt” or “Dunky Butt” or whatever it was called.

This little ditty played at my junior prom and was inevitably responsible for the eventual breakup with my boyfriend that night. He was pissed I wouldn’t dance to this song. The guy also thought Duran Duran was the greatest band of all time. Looking back, I probably wasn’t his type.

Quality Alternative: Paperboy, “Ditty.” Dance-able music about sex that didn’t make me want to throw sharp objects at random people.

4. Jimmy Ray, “Are You Jimmy Ray”

Not only did this song belong in 1988, not 1998, but it would have even made children cry in the 80s.

Quality Alternative: Vanilla Ice, “Ice Ice Baby.” Yes, even that was better than Jimmy Ray.

5. Spice Girls, “Wannabe”

Seriously, America? Seriously? I heard this played all over my dorm in COLLEGE, which is when your musical taste is supposed to be at its superior peak. I don’t even have nostalgia for it because that would mean I ever thought these chicks had an ounce of talent.

Quality Alternative: Luscious Jackson, “City Song.” They actually played instruments and could legitimately carry a tune outside a studio. Now THAT is “Girl Power.”

6. Vengaboys, “We Like to Party”

Where do I even begin? Wasn’t this in a Fanta commercial?

Quality Alternative: There isn’t one. Sorry.

7. Donna Lewis, “I Love You Always Forever”

A yearbook entry set to a Casio keyboard. I blame 90210 and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen for this one.

Quality Alternative: Poe, “Hello.” Electronic alterna-pop but with a much stronger female singer.

8. Hanson, “Mmmbop”

These guys almost get a free pass for their later, blues-ier work. Almost.

Quality Alternative: Their later, blues-ier work.

9. Limp Bizkit, “Nookie”

No, Fred Durst. That would imply you were getting any. Besides, Senor Durst once claimed that he “slowed down” his rapping so the “white kids could understand.” Somewhere, Busta Rhymes is giggling uncontrollably.

Quality Alternative: Tool, “Track #1.” Hey, if you’re going to go, go all in.

10. LFO, “Summer Girls”

When you name-check Abercrombie & Fitch, that’s a pretty clear signal that there is nothing funky about you, LFO.

Quality Alternative: Matthew Sweet, “Girlfriend.” Poppy love song without references to horrible, stench-y mall wear.

11. Aqua, “Barbie Girl”

As if Barbie didn’t give people enough emotional scars as children. Thank you, bad Scandinavian pop bands, for tainting my homeland’s musical heritage even more so.

Quality Alternative: See “Quality Alternative” for the Vengaboys.

12. Sisqo, “Thong Song”

I thought he had a lisp. And then I realized there really was a song being played, in public, dedicated to floss for your rear end.

Quality Alternative: The Pharcyde, “Passin’ Me By.” Because THAT’S the hip-hop you should STILL be listening to.

13. Red Hot Chili Peppers, “My Friends”

I hadn’t really been a fan since “Mother’s Milk,” but to hear a guy in his mid-30s whining about his friends…a guy who had once been a funk-garage-rock god…was like listening to your Cosby-sweater-wearing dad wax rhetoric about his wild and crazy Woodstock days.

Quality Alternative: Faith No More, “Epic.” Those guys just always brought it. With the exception of their “Sunday Morning” cover, but that’s another blog.

14. Ginuwine, “Pony”

Just….no. I need a Grumpy Cat meme for this horrific atrocity. There are no words.

Quality Alternative: A Tribe Called Quest, anything. Again, THIS is the hip hop you should still be listening to.

15. Britney Spears, “Baby…One More Time”

This song makes my list because, among other more obvious reasons, I remember exactly where I was the first time I watched this tower of suck music video. Standing in my bedroom at my parents’ house while I was home on break, getting ready for work, I stood there in horror and said to myself, “I’m watching the beginning of the downfall.” Literally, those were my thoughts. And how true they were. Carson Daly was even making fun of how she over-lip-synced. When Carson Daly makes fun of you that blatantly, right off your first single, there is a problem.

Quality Alternative: Juliana Hatfield, “Spin the Bottle.” If you want a little-kid voice coupled with high school lyrics, there’s your girl.

16. Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, “One Sweet Day”

Ironically, a song lamenting death made me want to kill myself.

Quality Alternative: Bone Thugs, “Tha Crossroads.” Something tells me these guys knew a little more about death than Mariah “I Like Butterflies” Carey.

17. Soul Asylum, “Misery”

Granted, Soul Asylum did nothing even worth a passing thought after their debut track, “Somebody to Shove.” Wailing “Frustraaaaaated Incooooorporated,” however, was probably the longest grasp for an angsty grunge straw that I ever heard.

Quality Alternative: Hum, “Stars.” If you want angsty, these grandaddies of emo take the cake made from their own tears.

18. Green Day, “Time of Your Life”

So many ways I want to lash out and punch the crap out of Billie Joe Armstrong, so little time. The fact alone that he stated in an interview that there was nothing more punk-rock than making an unexpected power ballad – that got played on every teen drama and had a JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT show named after it – deserves to have Henry Rollins show up at his doorstep with a club.

Quality Alternative: Bad Religion, “Generator.” Never heard of it? Now you have. You’re welcome.

19. The Offspring, “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)”

*twitch* *twitch twitch* *twitch*

Quality Alternative: The Offspring, “Burn It Up.” The Offspring’s first major label debut, “Ignition,” was actually decent and this song about pyros was pretty decent fun.

20. Timmy T, “One More Try”

Did we all forget about the ear-bleedingly earnest pop singers from 1990-1991? Timmy T was Lord of All That Sucketh during that time, breathy voice and all. Plus, it just reminds me of every middle school dance where I had to sit in the bleachers and watch every other girl get to slow-dance. THANKS, TIMMY T.

Quality Alternative: Was there a decent power ballad during that time period? I’m trying to remember past the Gerardos, Vanilla Ices, New Kids on the Blocks, and MC Hammers of that era.

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About kitkat37

Welcome to my blog! I love photography and typically have an opinion on everything - particularly music - so please take a look around and hopefully find something that amuses you!

Posted on July 29, 2013, in I'm Just Saying...!. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Ok, the fact that you referenced Paper Boy & Pharcyde in the same post is one of the reasons I’ll always love you… (See what I did there). As for Pretty Fly for a White Guy, I think that whole Album was their Record Exec saying “Everybody is going Pop, you need to as well” and them saying “Ok… you asked for it” (Cause “Why don’t you get a job” was equally sucky).

    As for Timmy T’s alternative, the best I can do for you is Damn Yankee’s “High Enough” but I know that is dangerously close to the 80s range. Mr. Big’s “To Be With You” possibly, but it does toe that suckage line.

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