One of the defining things of growing up in the ’90s was the music. Back then we had Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, the Backstreet Boys, and Hanson. The ’90s are two decades away, but as proof of how lasting the music was, many of us can still sing along to the songs even if we haven’t heard them in a while.
Below are some of the songs we sang along to in the ’90s:
1. “…Baby One More Time,” Britney Spears (1998)
Britney Spears was undeniably the biggest pop star of the ’90s. Her entry to stardom? “…Baby One More Time,” her first single from her first album (also of the same name). No one had any idea what the pop princess meant by the phrase “hit me, baby, one more time,” but that didn’t stop the song from becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time. In 2015, the Swedish songwriters Max Martin and Rami Yacoub thought “hit” was American slang for “call.”
2. “Genie in a Bottle,” Christina Aguilera (1999)
The kids of the ’90s were divided between Spears and another pop princess: Christina Aguilera. Those who favored Aguilera’s vocal prowess loved “Genie in a Bottle,” the lead single from the singer’s self-titled debut album. The song was also ranked as one of the best selling singles of all time and catapulted the singer to superstardom.
3. “Waterfalls,” TLC (1995)
The group TLC had a wide repertoire of hits, but one of the songs that truly stood out is “Waterfalls,” a cautionary tale about drugs, HIV, and AIDS masked in a lighthearted tune. The song became an international hit and was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
4. “Wannabe,” Spice Girls (1996)
Way before feminism became a buzzword, the Spice Girls sang about female empowerment in their debut single “Wannabe,” taken from their first album Spice. The song would become the best-selling single by a female group in the world, launching the biggest British pop phenomenon since Beatlemania. The group is also the second best-selling girl group of all time, second only to The Supremes.
5. “I Want It That Way,” Backstreet Boys (1999)
Of course, boy bands were just as active during the era. The most popular? The Backstreet Boys. ” I Want It That Way” may be from the band’s third album but it is one of their most enduring hits, reaching number one in 25 countries and earning them three Grammy nominations: Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. It won Viewer’s Choice at the MTV Video Music Awards.
6. “Wonderwall,” Oasis (1995)
Oasis has achieved much success in music, and the barometer of their success is “Wonderwall,” one of the band’s most popular songs. It has been covered multiple times, from Ryan Adams to Ed Sheeran. Simply type “Wonderwall cover” on YouTube and you’ll see what we mean.
7. “MMMBop,” Hanson (1997)
“MMMBop” may not mean anything but it reached cult status, with ’90s kids singing along to the catchy song. The song is Hanson’s lead track from their debut album Middle of Nowhere, and became the band’s most successful single to date. No one still has any idea what the phrase means (Zac Hanson said it was about the futility of life), but that didn’t stop the song from being declared one of the 100 greatest songs of the ’90s and one of the 100 greatest songs of the past 25 years by VH1.
8. “All Star,” Smash Mouth (1999)
“All Star” is one of Smash Mouth’s most popular songs. It was heavily featured in the 1999 film Mystery Men and it experienced a resurgence when it was used in the Shrek franchise, launching dozens of memes.
10. “The Sign,” Ace of Base (1993)
Like “All Star,” Ace of Base’s “The Sign” is a popular ’90s song that’s experiencing a resurgence in recent years. The song was featured on American Dad, Fuller House (and in Full House), South Park, and of course, Pitch Perfect.
10. “I’ll Make Love To You,” Boyz II Men (1994)
Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love To You” is one of the most romantic songs of the ’90s, with the band’s vocals smoothly serenading the listener with sweet lines. The song spent 14 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, which at the time broke the record for the longest time on the charts. Two years later, they broke their own record with “One Sweet Day,” which spent 16 weeks on the Hot 100.
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