Terrible Music From the ’90s We Really Want to Forget


Written by:

With the passage of time, any era in music can be considered a great one, even if most of what was produced was garbage. For example, there is great nostalgia and reverence today for the music of the 1970s based on the timeless music created by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd.


Conversely, that decade also produced lots of terrible music, as every decade has before and since. With that in mind, we turn our attention to the music of the 1990s, a decade now seen through rose-colored glasses as a musical golden age, when in reality, the overwhelming majority of what was released was awful. Here are ten examples from the 1990s that prove our point.

Image Credit: bernardbodo / iStock.

1. ‘Macarena (Bayside Boys Remix)’ by Los Del Rio (1993)

 There was no escaping “Macarena” when it stormed the charts. The original version was released to little fanfare in 1993, but it was the subject of a 1995 remix by the producers known as the Bayside Boys, and that went to number one on the U.S. charts, staying there for 14 weeks. During that time, everyone learned the dance moves that accompany the song, and if you’re of a certain age, you probably still remember them and are not happy about it either.

Image Credit: Amazon.

2. ‘Barbie Girl’ by Aqua (1997)

While “Barbie” was the highest-grossing film of 2023 and was met with nearly universal praise, it had one flaw that cannot be forgiven. It features the song “Barbie World,” a reworked version of “Barbie Girl” by Aqua. The 1997 song is one of the most irritating and insipid things ever recorded, and it makes “Yummy Yummy Yummy (I’ve Got Love in My Tummy)” sound like Beethoven.

Image Credit: Amazon.

3. ‘Ice Ice Baby’ by Vanilla Ice (1990)

Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” samples the bass line from the classic Queen song “Under Pressure.” That’s the good news. The rest of the song comprises lyrics that suggest they were written at four o’clock in the morning on a napkin by someone who had just finished their English as a Second Language coursework. The song was very popular, but sadly, Vanilla Ice could not parlay its success into an actual career, and the song is primarily invoked for its humor value these days.

Image Credit: Amazon.

4. ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ by Billy Ray Cyrus (1992)

Before there was a Miley Cyrus, there was a Miley Cyrus’ father, known to pop-country enthusiasts in 1992 as Billy Ray Cyrus. He’s responsible for “Achy Breaky Heart,” a crossover hit that landed on both the country and pop charts and has been credited with popularizing line dancing among non-country audiences. The song is terrible and an insult to the human ear, but we want to give credit to Mr. Cyrus, who has seemed to be cool with his daughter being vastly more successful than he ever was.

Image Credit: Amazon.com.

5. ‘MMMBop’ by Hanson (1997)

It was 1997, grunge was long dead, and the boy band Hanson became a very popular act on the strength of the single “MMMBop.” The song topped the U.S. Billboard charts and helped establish the late 20th century as the era of bubblegum pop, but it was a dumb song then and is borderline inane now. Go listen to it yourself if you don’t believe us, but really, we’re trying to save you from some pain and suffering.

Image Credit: Amazon.

6. ‘Whoomp! (There It Is)’ by Tag Team (1993)

Admit it – all you had to do was read the above caption for the chorus to “Whoomp! (There It Is)” to lodge itself rent-free in your head for the rest of the day. While we’d like to say that’s the hallmark of a catchy and memorable song, in this case, it’s the hallmark of a song in which four words are repeated over and over again. You may disagree, but at the same time, do you remember anything at all about this song besides the chorus?

Image Credit: Amazon.

7. ‘My Heart Will Go On’ by Celine Dion (1997)

In 1997, the filmgoing public acquired a case of “Titanic” fever, which went on unchecked for a year. Everything about the movie became super popular overnight, including Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” which plays over the movie’s end credits. It’s hard to say if this trite, maudlin song would have become popular on its own without the movie shoving it down everyone’s throat. Still, one thing is for sure – it was as stubbornly immovable from radio playlists as a chocolate stain on an expensive white sofa, and today, people still react to the song’s opening flute strains with growling and rage.

Image Credit: Amazon.

8. ‘The Sign’ by Ace of Base (1993)

This Europop hit scarcely left the radio during its period of greatest popularity, and it reached the top of the Billboard charts in part due to constant exposure on the radio. Or maybe it was the other way around, and constant radio play made it popular. Either way, you could go nowhere without hearing the song, and it wore out its welcome in record time. The band briefly became interesting when it came to light that one of its members, Ulf Ekberg, had been a skinhead in his youth, but he disavowed that part of his past and expressed great regret that he had ever gone down that road in the first place. So kudos for the personal growth, but ugh, that song!


Image Credit: Amazon.

9. ‘Tubthumping’ by Chumbawamba (1997)

Chumbawamba was formed in 1982, and pop hits eluded them for their first fifteen years in business. The music was political and somewhat informed by punk rock, so maybe there was never any intention among the ‘Wambas to court the charts. Whether by design or by accident, their 1997 song “Tubthumping” became a huge hit, although all anyone seems to remember today is the “I get knocked down, but I get up again” bit in the chorus. The band never had another hit, and they broke up in 2012, thirty years after their founding.

Image Credit: Amazon.

10. ‘Smooth’ by Santana featuring Rob Thomas (1999)

Santana, the band, became famous thanks to its electrifying debut performance at 1969’s Woodstock Festival. Sadly, thirty years later, founder and leader Carlos Santana had been dropped from his label and was largely seen as old news. He responded by enlisting a bunch of then-current pop stars to appear on his album “Supernatural,” which included the contributions of Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas on the song “Smooth.” The song was a massive hit and helped “Supernatural” reach number one in multiple countries, and this would all be a happy story if any of the music had been good, which it wasn’t. While it’s always lovely to hear Carlos Santana’s guitar playing, “Smooth” is a subpar achievement for a musician of his caliber, and we urge him to go on an ayahuasca vision quest and relocate his forgotten creativity.

Image Credit: Amazon.

More from MediaFeed

The Most Underrated Films of the ’80s & ’90s

Like MediaFeed’s content? Be sure to follow us.

Image Credit: IMDb.