20 Favorite Alternative Rock Songs of the 90s

I compiled this list with the one criteria that I couldn’t include any of the “big” bands of the 90s Rock scene.  So Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, R.E.M., Stone Temple Pilots, Rage Against the Machine, Radiohead, U2, Foo Fighters, and a few others were excluded.  They’re not exactly “deep cuts” and a few of them were big hits, but a few of them have also probably gotten lost in the shuffle.  Almost every time I hear them, I’m transported back to high school.

20. Filter – Hey Man, Nice Shot: Before “Take My Picture” there was this song.

19. Collective Soul – Run: Varsity Blues soundtrack

18. Counting Crows – A Murder of One

17. Barenaked Ladies – Alternative Girlfriend: I love two lines from this song. 1.) “Your parents understand, but you don’t care.” And 2.) Old at being young, young at being old.”

16. The Eels – Novocaine for the Soul: Before I sputter out…

15. The Dandy Warhols – Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth: Heroine IS so passe.

14. The Nixons – Sister: I had forgotten this song and was very happy when I stumbled across it a few years ago.

13. The Presidents of the United States of America – Peaches: Always loved these guys. Hard to pick between this and a few other songs.

12. Schtum – Skydiver: This song makes me think of the Saturday Morning Recovery Show on 94.3 WCYY.

11. The Sundays – Summertime: I wish this band had been bigger. I love the voice of the lead singer. Also great is “Here’s Where the Story Ends.”

10. Local H – High-Fiving M.F.: “Your glory days are over and so’s your stone-washed jeans.” Yeah, take that, hair bands… (NSFW because of language)

9. The Flys – Got You (Where I Want You): For the teens who didn’t watch Dawson’s Creek, this song, for the Disturbing Behavior soundtrack, made us fall in love with Katie Holmes. Also, the rest of their album sounded NOTHING like this song.

8. Butthole Surfers – Pepper: Quiet, loud, quiet loud. “They were all in love with Di and they were doing it in Texas.”

7. Spacehog – In the Meantime: I still don’t understand all of the lyrics, but I love this song.

6. Seven Mary Three – Lucky: “Cumbersome” is a grungier song, but I loved the stripped down nature of this song.

5. The Bogmen – Suddenly: Just a fun, funny song. I shout this one out in my car whenever it comes across my iPod.

4. Soul Coughing – Super Bon Bon: Awesome awesome awesome beat.

3. Everclear – Santa Monica: The best Everclear song. Great guitar riff. And one of my favorites of all time.

2. Rustic Overtones – Iron Boots: Horn section in this song is so awesome. Hard to find a clean version on YouTube because they’re not well-known outside of Maine. But this is easily one of my most favorite songs of all time.

1. Temple of the Dog – Hunger Strike: I said no Pearl Jam and no Soundgarden, but I didn’t say anything about Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell together in the same song. Again, one of my most favorite songs. Ever. Period. Special bonus, I’m posting the music video AND the surprise performance that they sprung on the world a few years back that gave me chills.

~Moose

5 thoughts on “20 Favorite Alternative Rock Songs of the 90s

  1. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, R.E.M., U2, and Foo Fighters had their heydays in the 90’s. No band in these days can match their originality and style of music. I hope they can have a comeback concert here in our country.

    • moosekgj says:

      You’re right, but this list is about the songs and bands that can easily get list in the shuffle if all we remember are Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, REM and U2. They would take up most or all of the top 20 spots. This is for the “also-rans.”

  2. Hey there, great list! I’ve been searching around to see what music I should add to my own 90’s Alternative/rock playlist and as you mentioned, most just come back with bands like Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, REM and Pearl Jam. I mean don’t get me wrong, great bands but I’ve been on the search for not very well known but awesome band. I’m so glad someone like you as gone to put this list together – just what I was searching for. Awesome bands that aren’t just the bands I have stated. And totally agree on you number one, Hunger Strike is a big love of mine! Well done on this playlist, helped a bunch for making mine! :)

  3. Mike says:

    Great stuff brother. Temple of the Dog was my favorite back in the day. Played my cassette over and over. If I could invent a time machine and go back and be in my early 20 in 1989 and live it all again I would. It was a great time to be alive

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