Caffe` Latte` presents…
Many new sub-genres were launched during the 1990s as hybrids of various styles were fused to create innovative new sounds. Females infiltrated the once misogynistic world of rap as it evolved into hip-hop. New Jack Swing gave way to New Jill Swing. Grunge exploded around the world. The music industry grappled with dwindling sales and the threat of piracy. Here are the 200 songs that mattered most -in terms of lasting impact, influence and enduring quality- in the final decade of the previous millennium.
BILLS, BILLS, BILLS Destiny's Child
Destiny's Child hit the charts in 1997 with the single "No, No, No". The following year the female trio issued its self-titled debut album. As the 90s neared its end, the group scored its 1st #1 single: "Bills, Bills, Bills". Led by Beyoncé, Destiny's Child was positioning itself to dominate music in the next 2 decades.
In the decade of experimentation involving musical hybrids, "Porcelain" remains a gorgeous aural achievement. With minimal lyrics, Moby seamlessly incorporated a myriad of sounds. The trip-hop electronica track is the perfect chill-out song. It was lifted off Moby's 1999 album 'Play'.
MR. WENDAL Arrested Development
Arrested Development represented a watershed in alternative hip hop when the group broke through in 1992."Mr. Wendal" dealt with the issue of homelessness. In that same year, the single was lifted off the rap group's '3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days In The Life Of Arrested Development' album. The track was penned by pivotal member Speech.
Blur evoked memories of The Kinks' brand of clever lyrics as leaders of the 90s Brit-pop movement. The group was involved in a rivalry with contemporaneous band Oasis. Led by singer Damon Albarn, the Blur hit became a UK anthem in 1994.
HUMAN BEHAVIOUR Bjork
Few recording artists have remained as unique as Icelandic performer Bjork. Her international debut album was launched in 1993. The musician had previously fronted The Sugarcubes. "Human Behaviour" still stands out. Written by Nellee Hooper and Bjork, its percussive beat drives the mighty track which includes elements of art rock, tribal house and alternative pop.
BASKET CASE Green Day
Green Day's 1994 'Dookie' album ushered in a new direction for alternative rock that was swiftly adopted by the mainstream. The group's accessible tracks such as "Basket Case" saw it spawn numerous imitators.
DOO WOP (THAT THING) Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill gained respect for her vocal skill as a member of The Fugees. In 1998, the female singer / songwriter unleashed her solo debut album 'The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill'. Its 1st single was "Doo Wop (That Thing)". Hill's style consisted of ingredients such as neo-soul, hip hop and contemporary R&B.
INSANE IN THE BRAIN Cypress Hill
1993 saw Cypress Hill revolutionize hip hop with its 'Black Sunday' album and lead single "Insane In The Brain". The L.A. group fused rap with heavy metal and reached #1 on the US Album Chart.
...BABY ONE MORE TIME Britney Spears
While radio and rock fans were busily celebrating grunge, hip hop and alternative rock sounds, bubble gum pop and teen idols were pushed aside. Popular culture's cyclical nature saw a revival for the latter in the late 1990s. Groups such as Boyz II Men, *N Sync and Backstreet Boys laid the groundwork. Along came Britney Spears and teen pop re-positioned itself for a renaissance. Her 1998 debut single "...Baby One More Time" shot to #1 in America, Britain, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Spears' long string of chart singles continued for years. Many teen pop artists followed in her wake.
Instrumental to the genre's resurrection was the savvy songwriting of Swedish producer Max Martin who created scores of hits for many pop artists.
FAKE PLASTIC TREES Radiohead
The 1995 single "Fake Plastic Trees" hinted at what was to come from the band Radiohead. After attracting the spotlight with "Creep", 2nd album 'The Bends' reflected the group's transition. Its innovative approach to song structure would bear fruit on the follow-up 'OK Computer'.