Having come of age in my teens and 20’s during the 1990’s I have to admit that I am still sort of living in the 1990’s. No, I don’t wear flannel (anymore), I don’t wear long, grunge style hair (anymore) and I don’t quote lines from the song “Ice, Ice Baby” in daily conversation (wait, I still do that).
So, in honor of “cooking MC’s like a pound of bacon” and those one hit pop wonders who were nothing less than “lyrical poets,” here are the top ten pop one hit wonders from the 1990’s. So let’s get out here. Word to your mother. (Note from your mother: this list makes a great workout or “driving music” playlist for you iPod.)
(Ice, Ice Baby)-Vanilla Ice
This is the rap classic that is the origin of the classic line “word to your mother.” What word that is remains a mystery to everyone besides the lyrical auteur known as Vanilla Ice. Eminem may have more street cred, but this one song has more fun in its pinky finger than all of Eminem’s work combined. This rap classic remains on my Bucket List as the one song I want to perform live at Karaoke as I, unfortunately, know each word (and the dance to go along with it).
(Hold On)-Wilson Phillips
There is no struggle we face in life that cannot be remedied by one listen to this Wilson Phillips self-empowerment classic. I have faced obstacles, tremendous fear of the future and tragic losses with this song always remaining as my constant reminder of the power I possess within. That may sound dumb but the next time you face overwhelming odds, put this song on your iPod and you will realize that if you “hold on for one more day that things will go your way.” Simple but true.
Simply…The…Catchiest…Song…Ever…Recorded. Many also don’t know that there is more to the lyrics than repetition of the word “MmmBop” so here they are, “You have so many relationships in this life/Only one or two will last/You go through all the pain and strife/And you turn your back and they’re gone so fast/So hold on to the ones who care/In the end they will be only ones still there/So when you get old, gray strands in your hair can you tell me who will still care?” Pretty savvy lyric writing for young kids, wouldn’t you say?
(Right Here, Right Now)-Jesus Jones
An excellent example of bombastic 1990’s modern rock that really captures the wonder and awe we all felt with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. Yeah, remember those?
(Jump Around)-House of Pain
A hardcore rap track that was also hugely accessible. I just dare you to try and not “Jump Around” when this song comes on at a party. This song has more rhymes “than they got cops at the Dunkin Donuts.” This is yet another 1990’s rap song that felt the need, lyrically, to send “word to your mother.”
(I’m Too Sexy)-Right Said Fred
The theme song for the vain, vapid and beautiful, “I’m Too Sexy” was meant to be tongue in cheek but wound up being used on all the fashion runways the year it was released. It also contained the immortal line, “I’m too sexy for my cat, oh poor pussy, poor pussy cat.”
(Stay)-Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories
This quietly gorgeous pop number full of longing and loss was unique because it was the first number one hit song ever released by an unsigned artist. Lisa was discovered in New York City by Ethan Hawke and he put this song on the soundtrack to his 1990’s movie “Reality Bites.”
Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)-C & C Music Factory
This immortal dance track contains the classic tossaway “I’m just a squirrel trying to get a nut to move your butt.” This may be the best exercise/dance song ever recorded, so awesome is its ability to motivate and (dare I say it?) stimulate. This song demands that “everybody dance now” and thanks to a plethora of hooks and chest thumping beats we are forced to comply.
Who among us hasn’t been knocked down by life and needed to get up again? This universal anthem of solidarity will raise even the most beaten down spirit. It makes you want to rise up, work with your fellows in the human race and “bring down the man.” Or it makes you want to get really, really, really drunk. Either way, good times are had by all.
(U Can’t Touch This)-MC Hammer
Yes, Mr. Hammer we are all agreed that no one can “touch this.” And who would really want to if it means wearing those nasty parachute pants?