Have you been watching VH1's 100 Greatest Songs Of The 90s all week? I’ve been glued to the goddamn television like Montag’s wife in Fahrenheit 451. I just finished watching the last episode (I have Tivo), and I have to say: VH1 is the Linkin Park of televised list making. There tabulated retrospectives are overblown, whiny, and kind of pathetic.
Hell, I could have made a better ‘Top 100' list using just tracks they didn’t bother to include. Get your shit together, VH1! Here’s a bunch of songs you totally missed...
Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger. Year: 1998: I’m not sick, but I’m not well. And I’m so hot because I’m in hell. A scathing commentary on just how stupid our society has gotten, it was like Mike Judge’s Idiocracy a decade before the film was released. If you don’t believe me, see the line “been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding.” Where It Shoulda Been Ranked: Between 40 and 60.
Closer by Nine Inch Nails. Year: 1994: With a blasphemous, heavily edited video, Trent Reznor’s ode to raunchy, punishing lust was a rally cry for the disenfranchised and downright horny. It got me to buy The Downward Spiral, one of the best albums of the 90s, and it proved dark themes coated with enough pop sensibilities can still sell. Where It Shoulda Been Ranked: Between 20 and 40.
Closing Time by Semisonic. Year: 1998: Rolling Stone once called “Closing Time” the nineteenth most annoying song of all time, but they also haven’t been relevant since Hunter S. Thompson started publishing on his own. I know who I want to take me home, and it’s the cute girl in the corner joyfully singing along. Where It Shoulda Been Ranked: Between 20 and 40.
No Rain by Blind Melon. Year: 1992: People always remember this track for its folksy Beegirl video, but it’s one hell of a pop song. The hook is gentle and breezy, and who can’t relate to “I just want someone to say to me, ‘I’ll always be there when you wake.”? This is easily my favorite song of the 90s, and it is a disgrace this wasn’t included. Where It Shoulda Been Ranked: Between 10 and 20.
Bullet With Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins. Year: 1995: A true Smashing Pumpkins fan will never cite this as their favorite Corgan track, but for those of us out of the loop, it will forever define the band. With vivid, colorful symbolism (see The World is a vampire), “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” angst(ed) its way into the popular culture and stewed for well over a year. Where It Shoulda Been Ranked: Between 60 and 80.
Bawitdaba by Kid Rock. Year: 1998: Over-the-top? Yes. Self-indulgent? A case could be made. A white guy trying to act like a badass? No doubt. I don’t care. This is for the questions that don’t have any answers. The midnight glancers and the topless dancers, the candid freaks, cars packed with speakers, the G’s with the forties and the chicks with beepers. And if you’re not down with that, well, maybe you need to get into the pit and love someone. Plus, Kid Rock gives a shoutout to D.B. Cooper, the most badass human being who ever lived. If you don’t know who that is, google him immediately. Where It Shoulda Been Ranked: Between 60 and 80.
Crash Into Me by Dave Matthews Band. Year: 1996: I hate Dave Matthews Band. I even hate their stupid frat boy fans, but even I can’t deny the awesomeness that is “Crash Into Me.” It’s weird, creepy and downright awesome. Where It Shoulda Been Ranked: Between 80 and 100.
All Star by Smash Mouth. Year: 1999: Yeah, I was briefly sick of it too, but it’s still fun almost ten years later. Try turning this on at a party and looking around. Once one person starts mouthing the lyrics, the whole room will join in. “All Star” is infectious like that, and it was the theme to the underrated superhero spoof Mystery Men. That has to count for something. Where It Shoulda Been Ranked: Between 80 and 100.
What I Got by Sublime. Year: 1996: Easily Bradley Nowell’s biggest hit (sad since he was already dead), “What I Got” is a playful ode to still having love, even if all else is lost. It’s use of CD scratchings was relatively new for non-urban music at the time of release, and it was even featured on one of those Now compilations. Where It Shoulda Been Ranked: Between 80 and 100.
Walking In Memphis by Marc Cohn. Year: 1991: This song is still played constantly on the radio and for good reason. Cohn’s voice is simply beautiful, and the line “Ma’am, I am tonight” still makes me smile. Where It Shoulda Been Ranked: Between 10 and 20.
I could go on and on about other songs which received VH1's meaty shaft, but I’d just work myself into more of a tizzy. Here’s a copy of the underwhelming list.
Which one of the songs I listed was most deserving of recognition?