NME '90s

Venerated British rock rag NME has already named its 100 top tracks of the ’70s and ’80s, and the magazine has now cobbled together a similar list for the ’90s. It’s hard to argue with the #1 choice. Radiohead, Blur, and Oasis, with three songs apiece, show up more often than anyone else. And even though it has some obvious problems — “Don’t Speak” over “Nuthin But A ’G’ Thang”?!? — it’s still a pretty great list of songs overall. Check it out below.

100. Coolio – “Gangsta’s Paradise”
99. Black Grape – “Reverend Black Grape”
98. Paul Weller – “The Changingman”
97. Snoop Doggy Dogg – “Who Am I? (What’s My Name)”
96. New Radicals – “You Get What You Give”
95. Guns N’ Roses – “November Rain”
94. Leftfield – “Open Up”
93. James – “Laid”
92. Dr. Dre – “Nuthin’ But A ’G’ Thang”
91. Pulp – “Babies”
90. A Tribe Called Quest – “Can I Kick It?”
89. Belle & Sebastian – “The Boy With The Arab Strap”
88. Metallica – “Enter Sandman”
87. Manic Street Preachers – “A Design For Life”
86. Oasis – “Wonder Wall”
85. Sonic Youth – “Sugar Kane”
84. No Doubt – “Don’t Speak”
83. Happy Mondays – “Step On”
82. 2Pac – “California Love”
81. Ride – “Vapour Trail”
80. Beta Band – “Dry The Rain”
79. Deee-Lite – “Groove Is In The Heart”
78. The KLF – “What Time Is Love?”
77. Air – “Sexy Boy”
76. Primal Scream – “Come Together”
75. Hole – “Celebrity Skin”
74. New Order – “Regret”
73. Sinead O’Connor – “Nothing Compares 2 U”
72. Cornershop – “Brimful Of Asha (Fatboy Slim Remix)”
71. Wu-Tang Clan – “Protect Ya Neck”
70. Radiohead – “Creep”
69. Björk – “Hyperballad”
68. The Chemical Brothers – “Hey Boy Hey Girl”
67. Tricky – “Hell Is Round The Corner”
66. Brandy & Monica – “The Boy Is Mine”
65. U2 – “One”
64. Missy Elliott – “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”
63. Spiritualized – “Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space”
62. Pearl Jam – “Alive”
61. The Lemonheads – “It’s A Shame About Ray”
60. The Breeders – “Cannonball”
59. Green Day – “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)”
58. The Cure – “Friday I’m In Love”
57. Elliott Smith – “Needle In The Hay”
56. Ol’ Dirty Bastard – “Got Your Money”
55. The Fugees – “Ready Or Not”
54. Lauryn Hill – “Doo Wop (That Thing)”
53. Elastica – “Stutter”
52. Nirvana – “Lithium”
51. The Stone Roses – “One Love”
50. Supergrass – “Caught By The Fuzz”
49. R.E.M. – “Losing My Religion”
48. Blur – “For Tomorrow”
47. House Of Pain – “Jump Around”
46. Saint Etienne – “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”
45. TLC – “No Scrubs”
44. The Beastie Boys – “Intergalactic”
43. Blackstreet – “No Diggity”
42. Beck – “Where It’s At”
41. The Charlatans – “The Only One I Know”
40. Super Furry Animals – “If You Don’t Want Me To Destroy You”
39. Boo Radleys – “Lazarus”
38. Julee Cruise – “Falling”
37. Daft Punk – “Around The World”
36. Mazzy Star – “Fade Into You”
35. Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue – “Where The Wild Roses Grow”
34. Portishead – “Glory Box”
33. The Prodigy – “No Good (Start The Dance)”
32. The Smashing Pumpkins – “1979″
31. Massive Attack – “Unfinished Sympathy”
30. Underworld – “Born Slippy”
29. Blur – “Girls And Boys”
28. Foo Fighters – “Everlong”
27. PJ Harvey – “Down By The Water”
26. Warren G – “Regulate”
25. The Verve – “History”
24. Kelis – “Caught Out There”
23. Jeff Buckley – “The Last Goodbye”
22. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – “Into My Arms”
21. Oasis – “Live Forever”
20. Green Day – “Basket Case”
19. Ash – “Girl From Mars”
18. Blur – “Song 2″
17. Weezer – “Buddy Holly”
16. Eminem – “My Name Is”
15. Radiohead – “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”
14. Suede – “Animal Nitrate”
13. Primal Scream – “Loaded”
12. Madonna – “Vogue”
11. The Verve – “Bittersweet Symphony”
10. Rage Against The Machine – “Killing In The Name”
09. McAlmont & Butler – “Yes”
08. Daft Punk – “Da Funk”
07. The Beastie Boys – “Sabotage”
06. Oasis – “Supersonic”
05. Manic Street Preachers – “Motorcycle Emptiness”
04. Radiohead – “Paranoid Android”
03. Suede – “Stay Together”
02. Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
01. Pulp – “Common People”

To check out the complete article, head over here.

Comments (122)
  1. 90. A Tribe Called Quest – “Can I Kick It?”
    45. TLC – “No Scrubs”

    Why would I even bother with the rest of this list? All I have to do is go straight for No Scrubs, note what is beneath it, and then dismiss everything.

    Also, Bon Iver is too high.

  2. Hell yea, Blackstreet is on there. Never heard of the rest of the list tho.

  3. It’s useless nitpicking entries or omissions but I’m surprised One Headlight by the Wallflowers didn’t make this list. In terms of mainstream American rock in the 90s, few songs were better or more popular.

  4. um …nine inch nails?

  5. Dude, To Here Knows When by mbv made the top forty in the UK. How is it not on this list? That’s why when people make these kinds of lists, if they find themselves repeating artists, they might want to go back and think about who they forgot.

  6. jeff buckley – “the last goodbye?”

    come on now.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • yeah… i own the dvd, and the song is tracklisted on there without the superflous “the” in the title… as it is on literally every other buckley release, official and bootleg (except for being called “unforgiven” on the sin-e album). if jeff says it that way during the dvd show, then ok, whatever. it’s not the actual title of the song.

        as for brad pitt being a fan, that’s cool, i never knew that. and as for bon iver, uh, yeah, he’s good i guess. not sure what your point is on that one.

        listen, if you’re gonna act like a dick, at least have a clue as to what the fuck you’re talking about.

        • haha, dude, ALL You said was “JEFF BUCKLEY, LAST GOODBYE, WHAT?!?!” PERIOD. now, i wish i were psychic but i’m not, but normally if someone comments that stupidly they normally have no clue to who the person really is, and i’m still confused to what YOUR point was then to even say a word? You’re mad they listed the song as Last Goodbye vs the original oldschool pre-recorded name?? ohhhhh K? this is clearly pointless.

          • nope, you’re confused again. i’ll make this simple:

            never once, until now, have i heard the song called “THE last goodbye.” it’s always been “last goodbye,” and you’d think that NME would get that right. to me, it’s no different than if they’d given the top song to “those common people,” “a paranoid android,” or “it sure does smell like teen spirit in here.”

            and yeah, we’re in the realm of pointlessness now. but it’s no reason to be an asshole.

  7. lololol this list is the fucking worst.

  8. *Sarcastic post sarcastically complaining about how people complain about lists*

  9. i guess they really don’t give a fuck about American indie rock … pavement, built to spill, superchunk, etc.
    oh well

  10. ctrl+f, type “311″

    not found


  11. I figured it was going to be “Common People.” I wanna write academic essays on how fantastic a pop song that is.

  12. I’m so happy that I scrolled down to number one and it was Common People and not Smells Like Teen Spirit.

    • Because it’s different or unexpected? If NME wanted so badly to give #1 to a British band they could have at least given it to Radiohead. “Common People is a fine pop song, but it is no better than most other fine pop songs was not really all that significant to the progression of music except for that group of people who were dying to hear what the cure would sound like if they had a sense of humor, which admittedly is a very large group of people.

      • Of all the problems with this list, Common People had little impact on the progression of music is not one.

      • First, because although Smells Like Teen Spirit was a defining song of the nineties, I don’t think it was the best of Nirvana’s songs released in the 90′s, let alone of the decade, thus I get tired of seeing it on the #1 spot of lists. Second, I think Pulp is really under-recognized by most mainstream folk as an amazing band and perhaps I am just high off the fumes of their recent Coachella show. Finally, I cannot argue with you about the greatness of Radiohead. This is not my list, and since I didn’t make a reference to Radiohead in my post, all I can say is, yes Radiohead is amazing…but that still doesn’t take away my happiness for seeing Pulp at number one.

        • Alright so it was the “I’m glad to see some else at the top of the list just for the sake of seeing someone else at the top of the list” effect. As long is it’s recognized haha. I don’t really care it that much it’s just kind of annoying when magazines put someone at the top of the list just because they aren’t “that band” or “that song” that’s always on the top of the list. I remember a guitar magizine put Van Halen ahead of Hendrix and they literally said it was because everyone was expecting Hendrix and that reasoning is just kind of lame. My view is if you feel the need to avoid putting that generally accepted best something at the top of the list then you should just avoid making a list that has been made so many times that people know what to expect at the top of the list.

      • The two Radiohead picks aren’t better than Common People

        • umm, even Jarvis would agree that Paranoid Android beats the FUCK outta Common People, as good as CP is in the straight-up poppy vein….it’s kinda not even close. light poppy anthems do not trump artistic genius amazing musicianship and amazing vocals…THORRY:)

  13. Fusing this list with my Unsubscripticon

  14. Lush – “For Love”, anyone?

  15. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  16. Oh wait, just saw No.62. Lament withdrawn.

  17. i’ve been saying “common people” — likely my favorite song ever — is the greatest song of the ’90s for years, so kudos to NME for getting that one right. “protect ya neck” should really be higher though, “song 2″ is faaar from blur’s best song of that particular decade, & nirvana’s “aneurysm” is a blatantly retarded omission…….otherwise, not a terrible list.

    • actually, i’m going to revise my statement to read: “common people” at #1 may be the only salvageable part of this list….no MBV, pavement, GBV, nothing from the elephant 6 collective, no magnetic fields (not a single entry from 69 love songs!), no flaming lips, belle & sebastian at 89 & nothing from If You’re Feeling Sinister…maybe “the best british-leaning tracks of the ’90s” would have been a better title. otherwise, fuck off.

  18. I like that Super Furry Animals are represented, but kind of a strange selection. Guerrilla was released in 1999, and has three or four better tracks than the one they chose.

  19. No Pavement?? What about Kyuss or Tool? They had some good songs. I also remember a song by Jane’s Addiction called ‘Three Days.’ That was released in the 90′s, wasn’t it?

  20. The 70′s and 80′s lists were alright, but seriously? No Pavement, My Bloody Valentine or Neutral Milk Hotel?

  21. Buddy Holly over Say It Ain’t So? … Get real (to use a suitably 90s expression)


  23. another bullshit top from NME. And no Depeche Mode? Seriously??

  24. Where the FUCK is OutKast?

    • I don’t want to kill your comment here, but not only do they not have OutKast, but they got no Goodie Mob, no I Got 5 On it, no Funkdafied, no Passin’ Me By, no Slam, no They Want Efx, no Daisy Dukes, no Rumpshaker. Wasn’t the 90′s the era of rap singles? They have one Wu-related track. What happened to Liquid Swords, Only Built, Tical?

      It’s great that they included Dr. Dre, Snoop, 2Pac, and Eminem. I mean California Love is the best Mad Max allusion in the history of video/really shitty rap track with the “artists” phoning it in for cash. Where are MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice? Where the fuck is Whoomp! There It Is? Not to mention Weird Al’s parody of Gangsta’s Paradise.

      • You’re totally right; for a decade that gave us some of the best hip-hop we have today, this list is criminally, disgustingly, unbearably light on the rhymes. Shit, I can forgive the lack of The Luniz or Das EFX, but every single fucking person I knew owned a copy of Aquemini (maybe even two), and Rosa Parks was required listening for every car ride.

  25. Fiona Fucking Apple

  26. That one song from that band I like isn’t on the list? This is pure shit. What a bunch of losers you are NME.

  27. I don’t think NME has ever had a very good ear for American rock/indie music.

    • In fairness it works the other way around too, with American publications or websites giving precedence to American acts. Even taking that into consideration though, this list is still fucking tragic.

  28. No Pavement, No MBV = no fucks given about this list. Only one Beck and Smashing Pumpkins too.

  29. NME = No Musical Expertise

  30. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  31. Where is “I Want It That Way”?

  32. West Coast gangsta rap really got snuffed on this list. Sure Coolio is on there, but no Pac or Biggie?

    • Never mind it’s on there as 2Pac, and I didn’t see Snoop on there. If this was a list of Hologram performed songs of the 90′s though they would be much higher.

      • Dude, you just blew my mind. I can’t tell if you can’t read, are being sarcastic, still railing against holograms, still trolling for bottom 5 votes, or all of the above.

        • mainly sarcastic, but really didn’t see that pac was on there when I first read through the list. And yes I realize Biggie was east coast.

          • I’ve never understood why being from a particular coast was so important to rappers and their fans. I guess that makes people from the Midwest totally uncool. I, however, am originally from the East Coast (Virginia), so I guess that makes me very impressive to Biggie fans.

  33. Started laughing at No.100 and had barely stopped by the end.

  34. Where’s The Clash?

  35. Not only does NME not know good american music in the 90s, they can’t even pick the best songs by Blur, who are pretty much 90s British royalty . You have 4 great albums by Blur in the 90s (i’m excluding Leisure for obvious reasons) and you pick three clunkers (For Tomorrow isn’t too bad, but still). But I’m sure two songs by something called “Suede” are way better than anything by Blur.

  36. all i can say is, this list just smells like too many damn horse tits

  37. NME forgot one of the best bands ever, Garbage.

    Also I can’t believe they didn’t put and Depeche Mode songs on their top…

  38. Pixies, JAMC, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Wonder Stuff, Pavement, Morrissey….these artists were very active during the 90s IMO.

    • For whatever reason, it seems that most publications tend to think the Pixies only had two notable albums in “Surfer Rosa” (1988) and “Doolittle” (1989), so I was not that surprised by their omission.

      Personally, I love both of their 1990′s albums (“Bossanova” and “Tromple Le Monde”) and think they deserve the same level of respect as Surfer/Doolittle, but the hive-mind conclusion tends to be that the later albums lacked too much of their early manic-energy and became too much of a Black Francis solo project (again, I disagree).

  39. This list, like the last one, is all kinds of wonky. So, like I did last time, I’m just going to pick out on thing that caught my eye and comment on that…

    Big ups for including ANY Prodigy song that is NOT Firestarter or Smack My Bitch Up. No Good, Start The Dance is a SOLID electronic classic from a solid electronic album. For me, Music For The Jilted Generation was SOOOO much better than Fat Of The Land. I’d been listening since Experience was still only available as an import and I thought for sure they would be much bigger shortly thereafter. I was off by one album.

  40. “REBEL GIRL” by Bikini Kill. That song fuckin’ kicked open a door.

    I feel like Tori Amos deserves a spot on here. “Cornflake Girl” is a steamroller of a song. And don’t even get me started on “Winter”.

    In short, I hate everyone.

  41. ‘Supersonic’ charts higher than ‘Live Forever’? Bullshit.
    And why is their no Oasis in the top three!

    Top 2 are definitely correct though.

  42. i try to stay away from cursory statements regarding tastes and preferences but If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next is hands down Manic Street Preachers greatest song–and it didn’t even chart.

    props to Sugar Kane at #85 though.

  43. interesting, the test of time…

    higher than the sun by primal scream was considered the best song of 1991 by the nme. yet, it was completely forgotten in this (dull) list. check the end-year list: http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/1991.html

    the drowners by suede was, according to nme, the best song of 1992. stay together was the 26th best song of 1994. make your own conclusions.

    1994. Oasis had two songs on the end-year top-3: Cigarettes & Alcohol at #2 and Live Forever at #3. Supersonic was at #13. check it out: http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/1994.html

    1995. Pulp had two best songs in the top ten. Sorted for E’s and Wizz at #3 and Common People at #8. Reverend Black Grape was the best song of 1995, according to the british publication. In this new list, this song is at #99.

    Aphex twin’s window licker was #1 at the 1999′s end-year top of nme. how can this song had not resisted to the test of time? (skrillex, anyone?): http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/1999.html

    i find this new nme list completely irrelevant. when i want to recall the essence of the past i look for what was written back then.

    i’m glad diablo cody picked up teenage fanclub’s the concept for the script of young adult. i had forgotten that song and how brilliant it really is. it’s 1000 times more important for me to remember that teenage fanclub were huge in 1991 than to have a boring list of 100 songs, just because.

  44. I cannot believe they left out Mozart’s Requiem (1791). This list heavily favors the 1990′s and disregards the existence of music in the 90′s of prior centuries. I am extremely disappointed.

  45. crabtron  |   Posted on May 17th, 2012 +3

    DJ Shadow – “Midnight in a Perfect World”
    Massive Attack – “Teardrop”

    And why even bother having “Hyperballad” on their at all if it’s just going to be buried back at 69? “Hyperballad” and “Common People” should switch places.

    What’s annoying about NME is not what they do like, so much as what they don’t like. Green Day’s on there? Fine, whatever. But no MBV, no Aphex Twin, no Neutral Milk Hotel? Some of my favorite music comes out of the UK, but along with it comes some of the worst music journalism.

    • crabtron  |   Posted on May 17th, 2012 +1

      Shit, I got so worked up that I used “their” when I meant to write “there.” I haven’t made that mistake in years. And so the streak comes to an end. Fuck you twofold, NME. You make a mockery of the ’90s, then you take away my one remaining bit of dignity.

  46. How anyone can take a list that includes Gangster’s Paradise, yet no Biggie seriously is beyond me. NME is brilliant for British Indie, but is otherwise shit. It’s like Black people didn’t exist to them in the 90′s or something.

    NO OUTKAST!?!?!? WTF. You want to know how you find out if someone knows sweet Fuck All about music? Ask them what is the best Outkast album. If they don’t saw Acquemini, they don’t know shit, and are basically posuers who got on board with Hey Ya.

    Basically, EVERY song on Acquemini > Gangsta’s Paradise, which is a song that white people think is hip-hop while black people laugh their assess off.

    • Yeah, I’m sure I’d have little problem making a Top 100 Hip-Hop songs from the nineties and Gangster’s Paradise would be nowhere near it.

  47. This being NME, I’m surprised at the lack of U2 songs – only saw “ONE”. The 90′s were the best period for them.

  48. i went thru this list yesterday, it’s hilariously ridiculous. to put a suede song THAT high? and to make it an obscure one…to pick that horrid wannabe Butler and whoever track…just classic trying-too-hard to surprise n wow the kids by not being predictable…even though 1/2 the list WAS.

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