The Very Best Songs of the '90s

There are a wide variety of musical genres represented in the best pop songs of the '90s. The decade began with hip-hop experimentation and the emergence of massive pop superstar Mariah Carey. The decade closed with a surge in teen pop and the arrival of another of the top female performers of all time: Britney Spears.

Top 100 Songs of the '90s

Billy Joel's River of Dreams album cover
Courtesy Columbia

These are the top 100 most representative pop songs of the decade of the 1990s. Use this as your beginning guide to the music of the era.

Top 10 Songs of 1990

Madonna on Stage at the MTV Video Music Awards
Madonna performs her single 'Vogue,'.

Frank Micelotta Archive / Getty Images

In 1990 dance music had recovered from its dive underground in the wake of the end of disco. This was also a golden era of hip-hop experimentation with sampling.

Top 10 Songs of 1991

Marky Mark Performs at Celebre Las Fiestas Patrias '91
Mark Wahlberg (Marky Mark) performing for KIIS FM concert.

Barry King / Getty Images

Manchester, England made its presence known with a new invasion of British artists on the US pop charts. Dance music was about to step aside in favor of a noisier form of popular music.

Top 10 Songs of 1992

Portrait of Nirvana

 davetoaster / Flickr / CC 2.0 

Although grunge stood up and became noticed in 1992, it was also a year in which some of the most enduring pop ballads of recent years were released. This list is an example of just how broad the general public's taste can be in pop hits.

Top 10 Songs of 1993

Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg
Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg.

Jeff Kravitz / Getty Images

The gap between dance-oriented pop music and noisy grunge alternative rock grew even wider in 1993. This made for an exciting tension in the music marketplace.

Top 10 Songs of 1994

Sheryl Crow performing
Sheryl Crow.

Jim Steinfeldt / Getty Images

More traditional rock made itself known in 1994. Melissa Etheridge broke through into the mainstream with her gutsy, raspy voice on "Come to My Window." The Counting Crows introduced their brand of storytelling with the ironic and witty, "Mr. Jones." and John Mellencamp joined Me'Shell Ndegeocello to cover Van Morrison's "Wild Night." Bruce Springsteen's intense, stirring rendition of his smash from that year, "Streets of Philadelphia," would stop the Academy Awards show cold. Beck scored a win with "Loser," and Sheryl Crow had enough fun for all of us with "All I Wanna Do." Madonna whispered a "Secret" to music fans, while they asked the Cranberries to "Linger." When fans weren't listening to moody ballads, they took to the dance floor to the driving beat of Ini Kamoze's "Here Comes the Hotstepper" and R. Kelly's "Bump 'N Grind." 

Top 10 Songs of 1995

Alanis Morissette at the Grammy Awards
Alanis Morisette.

Russell Einhorn / Getty Images

We had never known sheer female rage unleashed on the pop charts like that of Alanis Morissette with her debut hit "You Oughta Know." On the other end of the spectrum, Lisa Loeb expressed a quieter, but not necessarily any less powerful frustration.

Top 10 Songs of 1996

Los Del Rio perform The Macarena
Los Del Rio perform The Macarena.

Evan Agostini / Getty Images

One of the biggest worldwide dance hits of all time, the "Macarena," stands out from the crowd in 1996. However, there are plenty of other top songs to remember from the year including Everything But the Girl's more downbeat, but equally intoxicating dance hit "Missing."

Top 10 Songs of 1997

The Spice Girls pose with a UK flag
The Spice Girls.

Photoshot / Getty Images

1997 is the year in which bubblegum pop suddenly seemed relevant again with the appearance of brother band Hanson and the UK's assertive and bubbly Spice Girls. The death of Princess Diana also generated the world's biggest pop hit single of all time.

Top 10 Songs of 1998

Album art for Madonna - "Ray Of Light"


In 1998 a boy band emerged that will help rewrite teen pop history. In addition, we heard just what powerful music true superstars of dance and hip hop could create.

Top 10 Songs of 1999

Britney Spears performing

Brenda Chase / Getty Images

A female star who would become a true icon in the next decade released the most memorable pop song of 1999. It was also a year in which a legendary pop star introduced vocal technology to the mainstream that would have a major sonic impact in the next decade.