Monday, July 28, 2014

10 Songs From the 90's You Probably Forgot Existed

I absolutely love the 90's. It's my favorite decade by a long-shot. I've said multiple times on various places that what impresses me the most about the 90's is the fact that the most popular music and films also were (most of the time) the most critically adored. Think about the most popular things of the 70s and 80s and you'll see how rare this is. However for every amazing song and artist that has stood the test of time and remains popular 20-25 years later there's plenty of great songs and artists that we completely forgot about. Here's ten of my favorites.

10. Dog's Eye View Everything Falls Apart

For a brief period of time this was my favorite song. What's most impressive about that I had no clue who the artist was for at least a month, all I knew was that I heard the song on the radio once and for 20+ years haven't been able to get the chorus out of my head.

9. Coolio C U When You Get There

This was Coolio's last pseudo-hit single. It's actually one of his best songs but sadly it's one of the only decent songs on an otherwise lackluster (and more unforgivably… long) album. This also predates Vitamin C's sampling of Panchelbel's Canon in D by three years. That's gonna count for something right?

8. Lisa Loeb & the Nine Stories Do You Sleep?

I might be the only person who heard this song before Stay (I Miss You). I have a bizarrely specific memory of this song. When I was kid and my parents first got MTV I'd wake up super early on Saturday mornings and end up watching Oddities: The Head, The Brothers Grunt and the MTV Top 20 Countdown. This song is one of the only songs that I distinctly remember being on the countdown. I'm sure there's a few that I could simply guess were on the countdown by thinking of hit songs from 1995 but this is the only video I 100% remember on that list.

7. The Rentals Waiting

I remember the first time I heard Friends of P I couldn't wrap my head around the song or the video. I always thought Waiting was far more marketable but at this point the closest thing to a claim to fame it has is being in Joe's Apartment (yea I know… that's one hell of a stretch). It wasn't until years later with the help of the internet I found out this was a side-project of Matt Sharp (formerly) of Weezer fame.

6. Semisonic Singin in My Sleep

In my last Second Spinning article I mentioned that this was the song that got me really into SemiSonic.  I still think this is the better single but obviously the world remembers Closing Time and this catchy track has just disappeared from the memory banks of everyone except a singular weirdo in PA.

5. The Space Monkeys Sugar Cane

I fucking LOVED this song when it came out. I asked for the Space Monkeys album for my birthday and my parents got it and dear god did I hate that CD. There was one other song I dug (Acid House Killed Rock N Roll) but hated the rest of the album. Eventually I sold it to a used CD store, over the years I still think about Sugar Cane and how much I love the song. It appeared a decent handful of teen flicks from the late 90's and it really is a catchy little track. I just checked Amazon and the albums is available used for a penny, maybe it's time to buy it and give it another chance.

4. Better Than Ezra At The Stars

This was one of the last Better Than Ezra hits (it might actually be their last hit… there's a good chance I'm the only one who remembers the song Extra-Ordinary from their following album and just assume it was a hit). Better than Ezra was a weird group, I loved their singles and then bought their albums and was almost ALWAYS disappointed. When I think of this song I always think of this cassette tape I had (I probably still have it) of songs recorded off of y100 (the local alt-rock station at the time). All these years later this song still makes me feel something in my heart when the chorus hits. I'm not sure what that feeling is, probably just nostalgia, but it hits me every damn time.

3. 1000 Clowns (Not The) Greatest Rapper

The only reason I know this song was because of the Box, and even then it wasn't that popular of a song. I don't know who the two or three people were who ordered this song were but I'm eternally thankful towards them. As far as I know there was never an official 1000 Clowns album (god knows I looked) and the song only existed on the Good Burger soundtrack. I still try to force this song down people's throats by randomly playing it at parties just to watch the looks on their faces as they all slowly remember that this song existed.

I just checked out the 1000 Clowns wikipedia page (yes they have one), turns out not only did they have one album but they're originally from Philadelphia. So that's pseudo-cool.

2. Marvelous 3 Freak of the Week

This is the strangest story I have for any song. In the late 90's I had a friend who would make me burnt CDs. He was the only person I knew who (a) knew about things like Napster and (b) had a CD burner (those were simpler times). MTV used to do a thing about "BuzzWorthy" songs where they would play a 10 second clip of a video that they thought would be a huge hit. This was a BuzzWorthy song… but I don't remember them ever playing the fucking video! I loved the 10 seconds I heard in the clip so when I was making a list of songs for my friend to burn on my next CD I put this on the list. I ended up loving the song. I need to actually pick up the full album one day and see if the rest of it is as good as this song. If you've never heard the song before listen to the song and tell me it's not completely and totally infectious.

1. Black Lab Time Ago

This is my 90's nostalgia song. There is no song from this decade that reminds me of the summers in the 90's quite like this Black Lab song. Shit it's basically the inspiration for me doing this list. There's a good chance I would have forgotten this song years ago if it wasn't for the cassette tape with that Better Than Ezra song. When I first got my license in 2004 I had an old Buick LaSabre that only had a tape-player. Thankfully I had stacks of old cassette tapes. I remember the first time this song came on in my car. I was overwhelmed with nostalgia. I shit you not… I might have cried a little bit. Not like a full out sobbing but this song brought back wave after wave of positive memories that I missed the simple times.

In the summer my family basically lived at my cousin's pool house. They had this gorgeous outdoor pool, with a big deck and a huge grill and outdoor sound system. Y100 was always on and this song was on CONSTANTLY. I simply can't hear this song and not think of a long time ago (hehe) when I believed anything was possible. I've heard one other song by this band (Tell me what to say on the Can't Hardly Wait soundtrack) and I have no interest in tracking down their other songs. Regardless if this is their best song or their worst song… no song of theirs will ever hold the level of importance to me that this song manages to.

Matt Kelly is the host of the popular podcast The Saint Mort Show, a frequent contributor to, the founder of Chords for Cures and the co-writer/co-director of the upcoming comedy Describing the Moon.

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