Best Alternative Songs of the 90’s

The 1990s marked a golden era for alternative music. From grunge to punk rock, alternative rock became an integral part of popular culture and left an indelible mark on modern music.

Here are some of the greatest alternative songs from the 90’s that remain popular today. These tracks are timeless classics and deserve to be celebrated!

In Bloom by Nirvana

The 1990’s was a golden age of alternative music, with many of its songs having an immense impact on modern day. From grunge to punk and ska, there were plenty of incredible alternative hits to enjoy. So whether you’re searching for something new to add to your playlist or want to relive the 90’s with classic gems, we have just what you need!

Nirvana was one of the most influential bands of the 90s. They pioneered grunge rock music and set an example for many other acts to follow in its wake. Their music still inspires listeners today, so it is only right that we recognize their contributions to this industry.

Nirvana’s In Bloom was the fourth and final single from their 1992 album Nevermind, released as a critical success. The track quickly went on to become one of their most renowned songs.

Kurt Cobain once described it as “the most ridiculous pop song I’ve ever written,” yet it managed to gain mainstream success. It became one of the most popular alternative songs during the 90s and is a staple at every Nirvana concert since.

Cobain’s song is an example of his remarkable talent for crafting a catchy, melodic tune while simultaneously expressing himself. Although its lyrics are mysterious and melancholic, they’re captivating enough to make anyone feel something.

This song should be included on any list of the best 90’s alternative songs, and it’s definitely worth adding to your collection! With its nostalgic guitar riff, this track will transport you back to grunge’s era.

Run-Around by Blues Traveler

Run-Around is a song by American jam band Blues Traveler, released in 1994 as the lead single from their album Four. It became their breakthrough hit and reached #2 on Billboard Adult Top 40 charts the following year (1995).

In 1983, The Rolling Stones’ backing band The Jefferson Airplane started performing in Princeton, NJ and quickly gained notoriety as a popular jam band across the city. Their unique blend of blues, reggae, folk, hip-hop and southern rock quickly gained notoriety among alternative audiences.

In the 1990s, this band released three gold albums and their self-titled debut went platinum, cementing them as one of pop music’s most renowned acts. Through it all, they never lost their passion or drive for creating great music.

Singer-harmonica player John Popper recruited friends to form his musical duo. It began with guitarist Chan Kinchla and drummer Brendan Hill, but soon added bassist Bobby Sheehan.

They formed the group out of their shared love of classic rock and roll. Their blend of blues, folk music and rock with harmonica was highly sought-after at that time.

After releasing several albums, the band finally achieved mainstream success with their fourth LP Four. This album produced their biggest hit “Run-Around,” and became their first platinum-certified album.

Travelers Blues, the band’s latest album released July 30th, features them reinterpreting classic blues classics with an energetic edge and rawness. Featuring members of the current Blues Traveler lineup as well as special guests Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Rita Wilson and Warren Haynes on vocals, this record offers fans a rare insight into their creative process.

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Green Day

Through the 90’s, alternative music was an integral part of popular culture. Not only was it seen as a reaction against commercialism in pop music, but also an outlet for people to express themselves. Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit became one of the iconic songs of that decade.

Nirvana’s singer Kurt Cobain had reservations about the song despite its success, feeling that it took away from other songs they had written. Nonetheless, Kurt disagreed and felt it to be too successful.

His wife Krist Novoselic reported that Kurt also felt the song was too similar to other popular songs of the time, such as ‘Drain You’ – a song he composed but didn’t release as a single.

Cobain’s response to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ may not have been entirely negative. Indeed, the song has often been seen as an encouragement for revolutionaries – with Bikini Kill’s slogan of “Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

The 1980s riot grrrl movement, which eventually led to Nirvana’s success, was rooted in anti-establishment thinking and social change. This was one of the reasons ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ gained such global appeal so quickly.

In many ways, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ served as the band’s signature anthem. It defined the grunge scene and gave them the success that would enable them to remain relevant throughout time.

What if Nirvana had taken a different path, moving to California and finding success with an upbeat summery style? A Vimeo user named Sleep Good has imagined just that. Reimagining their classic Smells Like Teen Spirit with major scale chords and alternative rock rhythm, he gives it the feel of 1990’s summer days.

Creep by Radiohead

Creep was Radiohead’s breakthrough hit that set them apart from their peers and cemented their place as one of the premier alternative rock acts of the 90s. It propelled them to worldwide success, cementing themselves as one of rock music’s biggest acts ever.

Yorke wrote the song during a period of turmoil in his personal life, when he was going through an intense breakup with a girlfriend. It expresses both his overwhelming obsession with her as well as feelings of unworthiness and self-loathing.

Though it was only a minor hit in the UK, this song quickly went viral on American college radio and became the unofficial anthem for hopeless romantics across America. The song has since been covered by numerous artists such as Korn and Pearl Jam.

Though Radiohead eventually disassociated themselves from the track, it remains a fan favorite and remains their most streamed song on Spotify.

In September 1992, The song released their most successful single. It reached the top ten of the charts and earned them a Grammy nomination for best rock performance.

Radiohead eventually grew weary of the song and it was ultimately replaced with “The Bends” (1995). Though it remains an integral part of their history, it still holds a special place in their collective psyche.

After all, it set high expectations for their music and they weren’t looking to be defined by it. Indeed, Thom Yorke even revealed his intention of discontinuing live performances once the peak had been reached.

Finally, that day has arrived. Recently, the band performed the iconic song at Coachella in an incredibly powerful and unexpected performance.

Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good) by Skunk Anansie

Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good) is a rock song by British band Skunk Anansie from their 1996 album Stoosh, their second studio album. The track is widely considered one of the band’s finest and enjoys widespread popularity among fans.

In January 1997, the single “Hit Me Harder” by Skin was released and quickly reached number 13 on the UK Singles Chart, earning them silver certification from the British Phonographic Industry for sales and streams exceeding 200,000. It also became a hit in other countries such as Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. Nowadays it remains one of the band’s most beloved songs which Skin often performs during her solo concerts.

Hedonism is an alternative song featuring moderate guitar rock with a strong focus on vocals. Drums and bass are played very tightly, leaving plenty of room for lead vocals. Overall, this track has been well recorded and mastered – it makes perfect dance music as well as being an example of how alternative rock can be made more approachable. If you love 90’s alternative rock songs, Hedonism should definitely be on your playlist; you won’t regret listening! It’s one of my favorites!

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