90s Rock music had a wonderful decade in the 1990s. Bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam were dominating the charts at the height of grunge.
Alternative rock also witnessed a rise in popularity, with bands like Radiohead and The Smashing Pumpkins going on to attain mainstream success.
The Definitive Compilation of Rock from the 1990s
If you’re looking for a nostalgic trip down memory lane or a glimpse into the 90s musical landscape, keep reading for our picks of the best rock songs of the decade.
1.” SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT” by Nirvana
Classic Rock from the ’90s Without a doubt, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is one of the most well-known rock songs of the ’90s. Nirvana’s 1991 single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” became an immediate classic and is widely considered a masterpiece of rock music. The song’s extreme distortion and the lyrical content by Kurt Cobain helped define the grunge sound and movement.
2.This is “BLACK HOLE SUN” by SOUNDGARDEN
90s Rock music Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” is one of their most well-known tracks. Written and performed by Chris Cornell, it was released as the first single from their third studio album, Superunknown.
Moreover, this rock song from the ’90s won the Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1995.
The song’s accompanying 90s rock instrumental was nearly as popular as the song itself. The video, which was heavily pushed on MTV at the time, featured the band performing in a field while images of a city being destroyed by a black hole hovered above them.
The idea was that our planet was becoming a black hole and swallowing everything in its path.
3. “ALIVE” by Pearl Jam
90s Rock music The protagonist of the 1991 film “Alive” learns that the man he has always considered his father is actually his stepfather. To comfort herself, she has an incestuous relationship with her kid, who looks like his biological father. Pearl Jam played this song frequently in their early days, and it became a fan favorite almost immediately.
Top-tier, well-known tunes
One of the things that made Pearl Jam so great was their willingness to experiment with different musical styles and aesthetics. “Alive,” which has a darker atmosphere than their previous songs, is a wonderful example of this.
One of the reasons it made our list of the best rock songs of the ’90s is because of the famous guitar solo by Mike McCready.
4.” JUST A GIRL” by No Doubt
90s Rock music No Doubt’s “Just A Girl” was released as the group’s third single in 1995, taken from their self-titled debut album. The ska-punk-reggae tune, co-written by Stefani and Dumont and produced by Wilder, is about Gwen’s experience with sexism. No Doubt’s breakthrough single reached the top ten in a number of countries and was hailed by critics.
5.”Bullet with Butterfly Wings” by the Smashing Pumpkins
The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the most popular alternative rock bands of the ’00s, and their song “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” is a great example of why.
Popular rock songs of the 1990s
The song’s loud guitars and powerful vocals perfectly capture the tenor of the decade in question, the ’90s. It’s no surprise that this rock classic from the ’90s is still a fan favorite today.
6. NOVEMBER RAIN by Guns N’ Roses
“November Rain” is another classic rock song from the early 1990s. One of the most well-known songs by Guns N’ Roses, “November Rain” has been around since 1991. With its sweeping orchestral arrangements and heartbreaking lyrics, “November Rain” is the perfect love and loss ballad, and its emotional punch has made it a classic that will appeal to listeners of all ages.
7. “SEMI-CHARMED LIFE,” by Third Eye Blind
Lyrically sad but musically upbeat, “Semi-Charmed Life” is an anthem for anybody who has ever been bullied or felt like an outsider.
Billboard Hot 100 peaking
90s Rock music When the album was first released in 1997, this song was the first single, and it went on to become a huge success, peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. After some time, the album was awarded platinum status by the Recording Industry Association of America. It’s worth your time to listen to its touching lyrics.
We’ll end with Weezer’s “Buddy Holly,” which is number eight on this list.
If you were around in the ’90s, you’ll surely remember the impact Weezer had. After releasing their self-titled first album in 1994, they quickly became a household name and atop the rock music charts. One of their most well-known and defining songs, “Buddy Holly,” was written by Rivers Cuomo, a vocalist and guitarist for the band.
Hottest record on the Billboard charts
After reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song quickly rose to prominence as one of the decade’s finest rock offerings. The upbeat and buoyant “Buddy Holly” is a perfect example of the Weezer sound. This is one of those songs that you’ll want to play again and over again due to how infectious it is.
9. RADIOHEAD, “FAKE PLASTIC TREES”
The English rock band Radiohead has a song named “Fake Plastic Trees” on their second studio album, The Bends. Originally released as the album’s third single in 1995, Thom Yorke penned “Happiness in Slumberland” to address the negative effects of materialism and consumerism on both society and the environment.
Hit Music of the 90s
As with other Radiohead classics like “Creep,” “Karma Police,” and “Paranoid Android,” this song is often considered to be among the band’s finest. A top rock single of the ’90s, it peaked at #20 on the UK Singles List and also made it onto the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, the New Zealand Singles Chart, and the Canada Rock/Alternative chart.
10. “EVERLONG” – FOO FIGHTERS
The Foo Fighters’ 1997 single “Everlong” was written by Dave Grohl. Singing in harmony with them is a magnificent experience, and the lyrics speak to the joy of feeling so bound to another person that your love for them transcends the physical and spiritual realms.
Grammy Award for Best Rock Song
Rapidly rising in popularity, the song was eventually nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Song thanks to its ability to strike an emotional chord with listeners. It was the band’s anthem in the late ’90s. Grohl’s distinctive singing style and infectious guitar riff make this song a hit. Easily one of the best rock songs of the ’90s, and a staple of any rock fan’s repertoire.