1994 in popular music – musical hell, heaven or purgatory?

Nothing cures a pesky bout of writer’s block like a good old-fashioned Inter-web meme!I stumbled across one today on a blog that is full of crap.  So like the lemming I am, here we go:

The gag here is that you travel to musicoutfitters.com and enter the year you graduated high school into their search engine. It gives you a list of the top 100 songs for that year, based on some super-secret algorithm. If you didn’t graduate high school, just have a friend read the list to you.

Then you mark up the list: bold for the songs you like, strikethrough for the songs you hate and underline your favorite. The ones you don’t care about, just leave be.  So let’s step into the wayback machine for 1994 and have at it!

1. The Sign, Ace Of Base
2. I Swear, All-4-One
3. I’ll Make Love To You, Boyz II Men

4. The Power Of Love, Celine Dion
5. Hero, Mariah Carey
6. Stay (I Missed You), Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories
7. Breathe Again, Toni Braxton
8. All For Love, Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting
9. All That She Wants, Ace Of Base
10. Don’t Turn Around, Ace Of Base
11. Bump N’ Grind, R. Kelly
12. Again, Janet Jackson
13. I’ll Remember, Madonna
14. Whatta Man, Salt-N-Pepa
15. Wild Night, John Mellencamp and Me’shell Ndegeocello
16. Without You / Never Forget You, Mariah Carey
17. You Mean The World To Me, Toni Braxton
18. Can You Feel The Love Tonight, Elton John
19. The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, Prince Symbol
20. Fantastic Voyage, Coolio
21. Baby I Love Your Way, Big Mountain
22. Regulate, Warren G and Nate Dogg
23. If You Go, Jon Secada
24. Back and Forth, Aaliyah
25. Now And Forever, Richard Marx
26. When Can I See You, Babyface
27. Please Forgive Me, Bryan Adams
28. So Much In Love, All-4-One
29. Shoop, Salt-N-Pepa
30. Any Time, Any Place / And On And On, Janet Jackson
31. Shine, Collective Soul
32. Said I Loved You…But I Lied, Michael Bolton
33. Return To Innocence, Enigma
34. All I Wanna Do, Sheryl Crow
35. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, Crash Test Dummies

36. Can We Talk, Tevin Campbell
37. Funkdafied, Da Brat
38. I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), Meat Loaf
39. Gangsta Lean, Drs

40. Because The Night, 10,000 Maniacs
41. Cantaloop, US3
42. Whoomp! (There It Is), Tag Team
43. Come To My Window, Melissa Etheridge

44. Stroke You Up, Changing Faces
45. I’m Ready, Tevin Campbell
46. 100% Pure Love, Crystal Waters
47. Anytime You Need A Friend, Mariah Carey
48. Because Of Love, Janet Jackson
49. Linger, Cranberries
50. Loser, Beck
51. Found Out About You, Gin Blossoms
52. Gin And Juice, Snoop Doggy Dogg
53. Never Lie, Immature
54. Streets Of Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen
55. Getto Jam, Domino
56. Endless Love, Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey
57. I Miss You w/ Aaron Hall 58, Understanding, Xscape
59. This D.J., Warren G
60. Cry For You, Jodeci
61. Keep Ya Head Up, 2Pac
62. Who Am I (What’s My Name?), Snoop Doggy Dogg
63. Another Night, Real McCoy
64. Your Body’s Callin’, R. Kelly
65. Tootsee Roll, 69 Boyz
66. I Can See Clearly Now, Jimmy Cliff
67. Never Keeping Secrets, Babyface
68. Crazy, Aerosmith
70. At Your Best (You Are Love), Aaliyah
71. Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through, Meat Loaf
72 Amazing, Aerosmith
73. Always, Erasure
74. Groove Thang, Zhane
75. Dreams, Gabrielle
76. Mr. Vain, Culture Beat
77. Mary Jane’s Last Dance, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
78. Anything, SWV
79. Beautiful In My Eyes, Joshua Kadison
80. Stay, Eternal
81. Flava In Ya Ear, Craig Mack
82. U.N.I.T.Y., Queen Latifah
83. Prayer For The Dying, Seal
84. Secret, Madonna
85. Here Comes The Hotstepper, Ini Kamoze
86. Everyday, Phil Collins
87. Don’t Take The Girl, Tim McGraw
88. Got Me Waiting, Heavy D and The Boyz
89. December 1963 (Oh, What A Night), Four Seasons
90. Indian Outlaw, Tim McGraw
91. Always, Bon Jovi
92. I’m The Only One, Melissa Etheridge
93. Back In The Day, Ahmad
94. Love Sneakin’ Up On You, Bonnie Raitt
95. I’ll Take You There, General Public
96. Always In My Heart, Tevin Campbell
97. What Is Love, Haddaway
98. And Our Feelings, Babyface
99. Bop Gun (One Nation), Ice Cube
100. I Wanna Be Down, Brandy

Oh man, I am depressed. I remember thinking back in 1994 that the radio was not the place for me, and I was right. I can appreciate a FEW of these songs more now than then. “December 1963″ is more fondly remembered because I don’t hear it every two hours. For those of you who think you’ve caught a type, this is the updated, dance-ified version, not the Four Seasons original.

The 1994 list is notable for containing “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf, easily one of the twenty worst songs in the history of recorded music. Not that Ace of Base and Mariah Carey didn’t try to crack that list, however.

The only songs in this list that I would say have stood the test of time so far are “All I Wanna Do” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” is a sweet song, but a novelty. “Wild Night” is one of the higher quality songs on the list, even though I’m not a huge fan of it.

What strikes me about this list is not the songs I like or even the ones I hate, but the ones I’ve never heard or don’t even remember. Of course, in 1994 I was starting to come out of my lifelong metal phase and moving to my prog rock phase. If it wasn’t Rush, Queensryche or Genesis I wasn’t much interested that year.


Nevertheless, some really good music did come out in ’94. Here is a partial list of some albums that saved my senior year:

Amorica – The Black Crowes
Cleansing – Prong
The Division Bell – Pink Floyd (yes, Gilmour haters, I like this one)
Dummy – Portishead
I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times – Brian Wilson
Ill Communication – Beastie Boys
Jar of Flies – Alice in Chains
Live at the BBC – The Beatles
Mind Blowin’ – Vanilla Ice (just seeing if you’re paying attention)
No Quarter – Jimmy Page & Robert Plant
Parklife – Blur
Pulp Fiction Soundtrack
Purple – Stone Temple Pilots
Superunknown – Soundgarden
Wildflowers – Tom Petty

So there you have it. Not a bad crop of albums, really.  I mean, it’s not Da Brat, but it’ll have to do.

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