The era known as the 1990s was a historic one by any measure. It saw the fall of communism, the purchase of lots of flannel, and the mailing of many unsolicited AOL discs to innocent people’s homes. The decade also brought us timeless music, providing the soundtrack to our lives.
Unfortunately, that soundtrack consisted of many horrible songs, particularly during summer. While there exists a plethora of choices when it comes to the worst music of that decade, there’s something about the summer hits of the 1990s that made them genuinely repugnant. But which ones were the worst?
Come with us on a trip down memory lane and read our list of the worst summer hits of the 1990s. We hope you’ll hate them as much as we do.
1990: ‘Unskinny Bop’ – Poison
The 1990s ushered in a change in popular music. Grunge and alternative were in, and hair metal was out. Sadly, this didn’t happen early enough in the decade to spare us the sound of Poison’s “Unskinny Bop,” which took all four band members to write. Whatever you think of Nirvana and bands like them, they did us all a favor by getting this song off the radio.
1991: ‘Right Here, Right Now’ – Jesus Jones
This one was tough since the summer of 1991 brought us “Unbelievable” by EMF and “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” by Bryan Adams, all terrible songs by any standard. Luckily for them, Jesus Jones released “Right Here, Right Now” at the same time, a song so repetitive and tedious that it’s a miracle it got written, much less recorded, released, and snapped up by millions of consumers, thereby allowing those other songs to escape scrutiny.
1992: ‘Under the Bridge’ – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Some songs are bad enough that you only need to hear them once to condemn them to “worst song ever” status. Unfortunately, sometimes such a song jumps species and transforms from a radio hit into a karaoke hit. This one is a popular choice among drunken frat boys who tragically get hold of a microphone, so run for the exits when that opening guitar starts. Although, to be fair, even the most impaired bar patron on earth can’t sing it any worse than Anthony Kiedis.
1993: ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ – The Proclaimers
This song was recorded in the 1980s, and after it charted overseas, it disappeared. Unfortunately, it came back when it appeared on the soundtrack to the 1993 movie “Benny & Joon.” For some mysterious reason, music consumers in the United States decided that this five-year-old song needed to be played in high rotation, which is the reason you only needed to see the song’s title for it to get stuck in your head all day. You’re welcome.
1994: ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ – Elton John
In the 1970s, Elton John was one of the biggest attractions the world of music had to offer, and he produced songs at that time that were undisputed classics, such as “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” After that, he spent the next two decades systematically destroying the goodwill of his fans by releasing songs like 1994’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” from the soundtrack to “The Lion King.” If you saw the movie theatrically, you could run away as the song played over the end credits, but people listening to the radio at work had to hear this thing several times a day. Where’s OSHA when you need them?
1995: ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ – Nicki French
When it was initially released in 1983, Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was a ridiculously melodramatic and overwrought song that, one hoped, could not be made any worse. Well, in 1995, singer Nicki French said, “Hold my beer,” and miraculously made it even more painful by adding an electronic dance music backing. This was similar to taking some horrible song like Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and adding sirens and jackhammer noises to it.
1996: ‘Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)’ – Los Del Rio
If you ever went outdoors during the summer of 1996, you could not escape the dulcet strains of “Macarena.” Adding insult to injury was the fact that in addition to having to hear the song unrelentingly throughout the day, there were also dance moves associated with it that everyone was expected to know, including you. In a just universe, this situation would have been quickly remedied by the fact that songs based on dances tend to pass like the transient fads that they are, but the likelihood is that as you read this, you remember every dance move.
1997: ‘MMMBop’ – Hanson
Hanson consists of three brothers who were under 18 when they had their big hit “MMMBop” in 1997. On the one hand, they were just kids, and people with a modicum of human decency will want to go easy on them for their youthful indiscretions. Conversely, the song is physically painful to listen to and was ubiquitous in the summer of 1997, so we’re trying them as adults in the court of public opinion. No amount of community service will make us forgive them.
1998: ‘Come with Me’ – Puff Daddy feat. Jimmy Page
Hip-hop artists have sampled rock songs since time immemorial, and when Sean Combs (known at the time as Puff Daddy) sampled Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” the potential for something great was there. The reality, unfortunately, was that the joining of forces between Combs and Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page just didn’t work. It’s also the song where we all learned that as talented as Combs may be, he can’t sing to save his life.
1999: ‘All Star’ – Smash Mouth
The year was 1999. Grunge was over, Woodstock ’99 ended in ignominious fashion, and “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” caused many fans of the franchise to say George Lucas had somehow violated them personally. Worse yet, the abominable “All Star” by Smash Mouth was on the radio constantly, and just when we thought we were safe, it re-appeared two years later on the soundtrack to “Shrek,” so you have to hear it again every time your kids watch it.
Editorial Note: This list was created based on the opinions of the author and editorial team. The choices presented are subjective and can vary depending on personal preferences and perspectives.
This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.
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