What are the best pop-rock songs of the ’90s? I am 39 years old. John Ferrara of Trophy Scars (and your favorite band’s albums) is 36 years old. Therefore, we are collectively the penultimate authority on all things ’90s. Look it up.
For this list, we guarantee that we will offend at least 90 of you because we misclassified every single entry. Radical. Shut up, Butt-Head.
"Bittersweet Symphony" (1997)The Verve
SW: Writing this fun article during the un-fun COVID-19 quarantine is extremely bittersweet.
JF: First of all: Fantastic song AND video.
SW: Richard Ashcroft is a badass asshole in the video. He does NOT give a fuck.
JF: This song showcases a beautiful usage of instrumentation throughout. I love The Rolling Stones.
SW: Bet they had a lot of satisfaction with this song’s success, amirite?
JF: Trying to make ends meet, you’re a slave to the money then you die.
"Lightning Crashes" (1994)Live
SW: If you were struck by lightning, you certainly wouldn’t live.
JF: Wrong pronunciation.
SW: Are you a new mother? Why are you crying?
JF: (scoffs) ANYWAY, weird video. I never understood what it was about back then, and I still don’t.
SW: The band’s intentions fell to the floor. (pauses) I love Throwing Copper.
JF: You are not alone. I do, too.
"Mr. Jones" (1993)Counting Crows
SW: Yeah, we stare at the beautiful women. Speaking of which, Counting Crows’ singer Adam Duritz dated both Courteney Cox AND Jennifer Aniston.
JF: He’ll be there for you.
SW: When everybody loves you, you can never be lonely.
JF: We all want something beautiful. Man, I wish I was beautiful.
SW: This song’s melody / lyric combination defines beautiful.
JF: Yeah. Uh huh. Yeah.
"Fly Away" (1997)Lenny Kravitz
JF: Lenny Kravitz is the king of cool and a ripping musician.
SW: Dude shreds. I can’t even go his way.
JF: That’s a good one.
SW: Lenny Kravitz is chock full of good ’90s songs. What an underrated artist. We need to make sure that he doesn’t fade into the sun.
JF: And just listen to that guitar hook… So catchy!
"Two Princes" (1991)Spin Doctors
SW: Speaking of catchy, this one got a princely racket.
JF: That’s what I said now.
SW: I feel that this song was the most popular song on the planet for one month in the early ’90s.
JF: Just go ahead now.
JF: Here’s a theory: MAGIC!’s song “Rude” from 2013 is a delayed sequel to “Two Princes.”
"Semi-Charmed Life" (1997)Third Eye Blind
SW: I can’t hardly wait to discuss this sad sad song with a happy, happy melody.
JF: When I’m with you, I feel like I could die and that would be all right.
SW: Wow. That’s heartbreaking. I want something else.
JF: I wish you would step back from the ledge, my friend.
SW: I didn’t mean another Third Eye Blind song. Goodbye.
JF: (sings) Good byyye.
"Iris" (1998)Goo Goo Dolls
SW: City Of Angels came and went, but this song certainly stood the test of time.
JF: You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be.
SW: John, that’s really kind.
JF: And I’d give up forever to touch you.
SW: Just wash your hands first! All kidding aside, this song is probably the most popular entry to this list.
JF: Beautiful musicianship and unique guitar tunings!
"One Headlight" (1996)The Wallflowers
SW: Jakob certainly furthered the Dylan legacy of beautiful lyrics with this one.
JF: Bringing Down the Horse is one of my favorite records of all time and the production STILL holds up.
SW: Nothing is forever.
JF: Then this song is nothing.
SW: DEEP. I can’t break away from this parade.
JF: Two songs left. One headlight. We can drive it home.
"Hey Jealousy" (1992)Gin Blossoms
SW: And anyway I’ve got no place to go.
JF: Guitar driven perfection pop rock. So pure. I’m jealousy.
JF: You can see I’m in no shape for driving.
SW: I can! By the way, it was difficult picking a specific Gin Blossoms song to add to this list because the band has SO MANY quality bangers.
JF: Agreed. Listen to this aforementioned LP. It would be a new positive experience.
"Losing My Religion" (1991)R.E.M.
SW: Oh no, I’ve said too much.
JF: I haven’t said enough.