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.
Canadian rapper Snow scored a hit with "Informer" in 1993. Born Darrin O'Brien, his recordings combined reggae with rap. The first single lifted off his debut album 'Twelve Inches Of Snow' helped break down the resistance to rap. It reached #1 in America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. In the UK, the single peaked at #2.
COME AS YOU ARE Nirvana
'Nevermind' was unleashed in 1991. The following year, "Come As You Are" became the 2nd single issued from the watershed recording. At the time, grunge was taking hold in pop culture, fueled by the immense success of Nirvana's album.
Red Hot Chili Peppers developed its own distinctive sound which is often categorized as funk metal. "Give It Away" drew from heavy metal, hard rock, funk, rap, R&B and indie rock. Although its 1991 parent album 'Blood Sex Sugar Magik' was the band's 5th studio release, this was the record that parachuted the RHCP into the mainstream pop arena.
SEXY BOY Air
"Sexy Boy" is a brilliant moment in European dance music. French duo Air threw in ingredients such as ambient, trip hop, electronica and a distinct fuzztone effect to construct an aural delight. The track was included on its 1998 'Moon Safari' album. The lead vocal is deceptive: while it sounds feminine, it is in fact performed by the male members Jean Benoît-Dunckel and Nicolas Godin.
WHERE IT'S AT Beck
Beck incorporates numerous samples on "Where It's At", his 1996 self-penned single. It was the lead single from the critically lauded release 'Odelay'. This was the result of his teaming with producers The Dust Brothers. The alternative rock / funk song collected a Grammy.
GONNA MAKE YOU SWEAT C+C Music Factory
As dance music gathered momentum in the early 1990s, the C+C Music Factory assembled elements of house, rap, funk and hip hop to construct the hit "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)". The 1990 hip house anthem featured the mighty vocals of Martha Wash. Freedom Williams provided the rap. In the US, the track reached #1 on the R&B, Dance and Pop charts. The C+C referred to writer / producers David Cole and Robert Clivillés.
Irish rock outfit U2 dropped one of the musical highlights of the 1990s with "One". It remains one of the best recordings served from the world's top group at the time. Bono's lyrics are enhanced by his vocal approach. The other 3 members provide gravitas to the track with their musical input. The single raised funds for A.I.D.S. charities. It was lifted off the band's 1991 album 'Achtung Baby'.
The eponymously -titled debut album from alternative / indie rock group Garbage was released in 1995. "Queer", its 3rd single, further showcased the ethereal power of Shirley Manson's lead vocals. Drummer Butch Vig shines in his additional role of producer.
REGULATE Warren G & Nate Dogg
The spotlight discovered Warren G and Nate Dogg thanks to the gangsta rap hit "Regulate". Featured on the soundtrack for the 1994 US sports film 'Above The Rim', it remains a pivotal G-funk staple. The single peaked at #2 in America and #5 in Britain.
ICE ICE BABY Vanilla Ice
At the commencement of the 1990s, rap was still struggling to cross over to the mainstream. A handful of exceptions did, however, make inroads. Although it is the target of much derision today, there's no denying the immense sales and popularity of Vanilla Ice and his smash "Ice Ice Baby". Attitudes thawed towards rap when Robert Van Winkle became the first white rapper to score global success. He owed much of his hit's success to the bassline from Queen and David Bowie's 1981 #1 "Under Pressure". Nevertheless, Ice's debut album did sell in excess of 7 million copies. The single reached #1 on the American, British and Australian charts in 1990. He paved the way for other white rappers, most significantly Snow and Eminem.