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100 Best Rock Songs Of The ’90s You Need To Feel Again

100 Best Rock Songs Of The ’90s You Need To Feel Again

Rock songs of the ’90s were marked by the integration of cutting-edge technology and an intensified focus on social consciousness. All this led to the genre’s evolution, where grunge and alternative rock redefined norms, followed by the fusion of rap-rock, nu-metal, pop-punk resurgence, and the British invasion.

This collection encapsulates the era’s musical kaleidoscope. Join us as we embark on a sonic journey that defined the ’90s and discover the anthems that continue to resonate through time. While we have organized the songs into specific categories, it’s important to note that many carry influences from other genres and could easily fit into multiple categories.

The Top Rock Anthems of the 1990s

The 1990s was a decade filled with diverse and iconic rock songs that left a lasting impact on music history. From grunge, anthems to alternative rock hits and everything in between, here are some of the top rock songs that defined the ’90s:

  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana (1991)
  2. Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden (1994)
  3. Zombie” by The Cranberries (1994)
  4. Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. (1991)
  5. Come As You” Are by Nirvana (1991)
  6. November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses (1991)
  7. Creep” by Radiohead (1992)
  8. Wind of Change” by The Scorpions (1990)
  9. Wonderwall” by Oasis (1995)
  10. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith (1998)
  11. Under The Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers (1991)
  12. Scar Tissue” by Red Hot Chili Peppers (1999)
  13. All the Small Things” by Blink-182 (1999)
  14. What’s Up” by Four Non-Blondes (1992)
  15. Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio (1995)
  16. Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinéad O’Connor (1990)
  17. Enter Sandman” by Metallica (1991)
  18. More Than Words” by Extreme (1991)
  19. Killing Me Softly With His Song” by Fugees (1996)
  20. You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette (1995)
  21. Thunderstruck” by AC/DC (1990)
  22. Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind (1997)
  23. (Everything I Do) I Do It for You” by Bryan Adams (1997)
  24. Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls (1998)

Best Grunge Rock Classics Songs That Defined The 90s Era

Grunge emerged in the late 1980s and gained significant popularity in the 1990s. With bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden at its forefront, grunge introduced a raw, vibrant sound that resonated with a generation seeking authenticity amidst a changing cultural landscape.

  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana (1991)
  2. Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden (1994)
  3. Come As You” Are by Nirvana (1991)
  4. In Bloom” by Nirvana (1991)
  5. Heart-Shaped Box” by Nirvana (1993)
  6. Superunknown” by Soundgarden (1994)
  7. Even Flow” by Pearl Jam (1991)
  8. Pretend We’re Dead” by L7 (1992)
  9. Doll Parts” by Hole (1994)
  10. Them Bones” by Alice In Chains (1992)
  11. Vasoline” by Stone Temple Pilots (1994)
  12. Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains (1990)
  13. Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots (1992)
  14. Today” by The Smashing Pumpkins (1993)
  15. Hunger Strike” by Temple Of The Dog (1991)
  16. Interstate Love Song” by Stone Temple Pilots (1994)
  17. Fell On Black Days” by Soundgarden (1994)
  18. Little Things” by Bush (1994)
  19. No Excuses” by Alice In Chains (1994)
  20. Jeremy” by Pearl Jam (1991)

The Best 1990s Alternative Rock Hits

Immerse yourself in the best alternative rock songs of the 90s that defied convention and captured the spirit of a generation.

  1. Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. (1991)
  2. Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor (1990)
  3. Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers (1999)
  4. Killing In The Name” by Race Against The Machine (1992)
  5. Basket Case” by Green Day (1994)
  6. Always” by Bon Jovi (1994)
  7. I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith (1998)
  8. No Rain” by Blind Melon (1992)
  9. Everlong” by Foo Fighters (1997)
  10. Come As You Are” by Nirvana (1991)
  11. Mr. Jones” by Counting Crows (1993)
  12. Torn” by Natalia Imbruglia (1997)
  13. Song 2” by Blur (1997)
  14. My Name Is” by Eminem (1999a)
  15. Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton (1992)
  16. You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette (1995)
  17. Closing Time” by Semisonic (1998)
  18. Smooth” by Santana and Rob Thomas (1999)
  19. You Get What You Give” by New Radicals (1998)
  20. Loser” by Beck (1994)
  21. One” by U2 (1992)
  22. What I Got” by Sublime (1996)
  23. Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” by Green Day (1997)
  24. Cannonball” by The Breeders (1993)
  25. Just a Girl” by No Doubt (1995)
  26. Hand in My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette (1995)
  27. Push” by Matchbox Twenty (1996)
  28. I Think God Can Explain” by Splender (1999)
  29. Best I Ever Had” by Vertical Horizon (1999)
  30. Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind (1997)
  31. Never Let You Go” by Third Eye Blind (1999)
  32. It Was a Good Day” – Ice Cube (1992)
  33. Jump Around” by House of Pain (1992)
  34. The Boy Is Mine” by Brandy and Monica (1998)
  35. Angels” by Robbie Williams (1997)
  36. Lightning Crashes” by Live (1994)
  37. When I Come Around” by Green Day
  38. One of Us” by Joan Osborne (1995)

Best Heavy Metal Subgenre Hits of the ’90s

This collection delves into the powerful and diverse spectrum of metal, from the thundering rhythms of groove metal to the melodic intricacies of progressive metal, showcasing the decade’s most iconic and influential tracks.

  1. Symphony of Destruction” by Megadeth (1992)
  2. Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. (1992)
  3. Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve (1997)
  4. Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer (1994)
  5. Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls (1998)
  6. Send Me an Angel” by Scorpions (1990)
  7. Don’t Cry” by Guns N’ Roses (1991)
  8. All Apologies” by Nirvana (1993)
  9. Freak on a Leash” by Korn (1998)
  10. Sweet Dreams” by Marilyn Manson (1995)
  11. The Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson (1996)
  12. Paranoid Android” by Radiohead (1997)
  13. Rooster” by Alice in Chains (1992)
  14. Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba (1997)
  15. Nookie” by Limp Bizkit (1999)
  16. Been Caught Stealing” by Jane’s Addiction (1990)
  17. Wait and Bleed” by Slipknot (1999)
  18. Thunderstruck” by AC/DC (1990) 
  19. Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by Smashing Pumpkins (1995)
  20. Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” by Megadeth

Popular Acoustic Rock of the ’90s

Immerse yourself in a musical era where soft rock and alternative elements blend to give rise to a unique brand of pop-rock melodies. Witness how the singer-songwriter tradition of the ‘70s experienced a transformative evolution, shaping rock anthems with poetic narratives that struck a chord with the youth of the ’90s. This evolution of acoustic rock songs brought a fresh sound to the forefront and found remarkable mainstream success, resonating deeply with a wide audience.

  1. Love Will Keep Us Alive” by The Eagles (1993)
  2. Wonderwall” by Oasis (1995)
  3. I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf (1993)
  4. Two Princes” by Spin Doctors (1991a)
  5. Aliveby Pearl Jam (1991)
  6. (Everything I Do) I Do It for You” by Bryan Adams (1991)
  7. Friday I’m in Love” by The Cure (1992)
  8. Bed of Roses” by Bon Jovi (1992)
  9. Scar Tissue” by Red Hot Chili Peppers (1993)
  10. Even Flow by Pearl Jam (1991)
  11. Crash Into Me” by Dave Matthews Band (1996)
  12. Linger” by The Cranberries. (1993)
  13. Lovefool” by The Cardigans (1996)
  14. 1979” by The Smashing Pumpkins (1995)
  15. Far Behind” by Candlebox (1993)
  16. One Week” by Barenaked Ladies (1998)
  17. Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against The Machine (1996)
  18. Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz (1993)
  19. Vasoline” by Stone Temple Pilots (1994)
  20. Let Her Cry” by Hootie and The Blowfish (1994)

More Memorable Rock Songs of the ’90s You Shouldn’t Miss.

Don’t miss out on these other amazing tunes! From the pulsating power of hard rock songs of the 90s to the resurgence of forgotten gems, this collection invites you to relive the era’s diverse sonic landscape.

  1. Sabotage” by Beastie Boys (1994)
  2. Now and Forever” by Richard Marx (1997)
  3. Karma Police” by Radiohead (1997)
  4. Buddy Holly” by Weezer (1994)
  5. All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow (1994)
  6. Mysterious Ways” by U2 (1991)
  7. Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” by Bryan Adams (1995)
  8. Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (1993)
  9. Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen (1994)
  10. Keep the Faith” by Bon Jovi (1992)
  11. Hard to Handle” by Black Crowes (1990)
  12. Shine” by Collective Soul (1993)
  13. Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead (1995)
  14. Celebrity Skin” by Hole (1998)
  15. I Alone” by Live (1994)
  16. Self Esteem” by The Offspring (1994)
  17. Cemetery Gates” by Pantera (1990)
  18. Mama, I’m Coming Home” by Ozzy Osbourne (1991)
  19. Moneytalks” by AC/DC (1990)
  20. Roots Bloody Roots” by Sepultura (1996)
  21. Something to Talk About” by Bonnie Raitt (1991)
  22. Can’t Stop This Thing We Started” by Bryan Adams (1991)
  23. Do I Have to Say the Words?” by Bryan Adams (1991)
  24. Can’t Stop Loving You” by Van Halen (1995)
  25. Somebody To Shove” by Soul Asylum (1992)
  26. Got You Where I Want You” – The Flys (1998)
  27. Candlebox” by Cover Me (1993a)
  28. Jesus & the Mary Chain” by Head On (194)
  29. Feed The Trees” by Belly (1993)
  30. Inside” by Stiltskin (1994)
  31. Theif” – Our Lady Peace (1997)
  32. Photograph” by The Verve Pipe (1996)
  33. Into Your Arms” by The Lemonheads (1993)
  34. The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get” by Morrissey (1994)
  35. Groove Is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite (1990)
  36. No Scrubs” by TLC (1999)
  37. Closer” by Nine Inch Nails (1994)
  38. Cloud Number Nine” by Bryan Adams (1998)
  39. High Enough” by Damn Yankees (1990)
  40. More Human Than Human” by White Zombie (1995)

For more incredible pieces from the ’90s, be sure to explore this additional article: “315 Best 90s Wedding Songs For A Unique Reception Party


How did Rock Music Change in the 90s?

Rock music underwent significant changes in the 1990s regarding musical style and cultural impact. Here are some key developments that shaped rock music during that decade:

  1. Alternative Rock: The rise of alternative rock was one of the defining moments of the 1990s. Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains epitomized the grunge movement with their songs, characterized by their distinctive sound featuring raw, distorted guitars and emotionally charged vocals. These rock songs of the ’90s challenged the prevailing norms of the glam rock scene of the 1980s, bringing forth a new era of authenticity and introspection.
  2. Grunge’s Mainstream Success: Nirvana’s album “Nevermind,” released in 1991, became a cultural phenomenon, propelled by the hit single “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The album’s success signaled a shift from the glam metal and pop-oriented rock of the late 1980s to a more authentic and emotionally charged sound.
  3. Pop-Punk and Punk Revival: The 90s also saw the resurgence of Punk Rock through bands like Green Day and The Offspring incorporating catchy melodies and relatable lyrics into their music. These rock songs of the ’90s fused punk energy with a broader accessibility, resulting in the emergence of the pop-punk subgenre that captured the hearts of many.
  4. Britpop: Across the Atlantic, the UK’s response to the American dominance of grunge led to the emergence of the Britpop movement with its 90’s rock songs. Bands like Oasis, Blur, and Pulp infused their songs with nostalgia and British pride, drawing inspiration from the rock and pop sounds of the 1960s and 1970s.
  5. Post-Grunge and Alternative Metal: As the 1990s progressed, various subgenres emerged that built upon the foundation of grunge. Bands like Bush, Stone Temple Pilots, and Creed developed a more polished and radio-friendly version of the grunge sound, often labeled as “post-grunge.” Additionally, alternative metal bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit combined elements of alternative rock with heavier, more aggressive music.
  6. Electronic Influences: 90s rock songs also incorporated electronic elements into music. Bands like Radiohead and The Prodigy experimented with electronic sounds, leading to the emergence of genres like electronic rock and trip-hop.
  7. Women in Rock: The 1990s saw the rise of influential female rock musicians and bands, challenging the male-dominated rock scene. Artists like Alanis Morissette, Hole (fronted by Courtney Love), and No Doubt (fronted by Gwen Stefani) gained prominence for their unique contributions to rock music.
  8. Diversification of Styles: The 1990s brought diverse rock styles, from moody and introspective to aggressive and experimental. This diversity allowed rock music to appeal to a broader audience and evolve throughout the decade.
  9. Decline of Traditional RockSongs: While rock music was still prevalent in the 90s, it began to face competition from the rising popularity of hip-hop, pop, and electronic music. As a result, rock’s dominance of the musical landscape began to wane, even though it continued to produce influential and iconic artists.

The 1990s marked significant change and experimentation within the rock music genre. The decade’s various subgenres and styles paved the way for the diverse rock landscape that followed in the 2000s and beyond.

The Success of Heavy Metal Subgenres in the ’90s

In the 1990s, heavy metal music underwent a transformation marked by subgenre diversification and shifts in popularity. As alternative rock and grunge took center stage in the mainstream, traditional heavy metal faced a relative decline.

However, the decade saw the emergence of diverse subgenres like alternative metal, nu-metal, and industrial metal, each blending metal elements with alternative, hip-hop, or electronic influences. This diversification allowed heavy metal to maintain a dedicated underground following even as it evolved.

Some legacy acts adapted to the changing musical landscape, while international scenes in Scandinavia, Brazil, and Japan contributed to the genre’s global diversity. While facing challenges, heavy metal continued to evolve, experiment, and resonate within its dedicated community throughout the decade.

Who was the Biggest Rock Band of the 90s?

Nirvana stands as one of the most emblematic rock bands of the 1990s. Led by frontman Kurt Cobain, it became synonymous with the grunge movement and alternative rock explosion of the early 1990s.

Their second album, “Nevermind,” released in 1991, was a game-changer for the music industry, propelled by the iconic single “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The album’s success marked a shift away from the glam metal and pop-oriented rock of the 1980s, making Nirvana and grunge a dominant force in the mainstream.

Nirvana’s impact went beyond music, shaping the cultural and fashion landscape of the decade. The tragic death of Kurt Cobain in 1994 further solidified their status as emblematic of the 1990s rock scene.

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