My top 50 alternative songs of 1990...The Fountain of Youth

Posted by Brad Schelden, July 20, 2020 03:13pm | Post a Comment

Top 50 Alternative Songs of 1990...Part I #41-50

I always live at least half my life in the past. I love nostalgia and music always brings me right back to that moment in time when I first heard a particular song. I can remember that feeling I got from seeing a video for the first time on MTV or hearing a song for the first time on KROQ. I grew up in Los Angeles and KROQ was my everything. I was way deep into new wave and r&b music throughout the 80s. But something changed around 1989. The music changed for sure. Alternative music had fully become a thing in 1990 and had taken over my life. I was already an anglophile because of all the new romantic and new wave music I had been into in the 80s. So that just sort of continued. But I was also excited to finally get into more music coming out of Los Angeles and New York and all over the United States.

I decided to go all the way back to 1990 to start my top 50 songs list. It is hard to belived that was 30 years ago! I had started high school and got a whole new group of friends in 1990. I listened to the radio whenever I could and made mix tapes off the radio. I listened to music often in my drama classroom during lunch with friends. I was in love with cassettes for some reason and also bought new ones whenever I could afford them from Tower Records or the Wherehouse in the mall. Some of my favorites from the 80s will show up on these lists of my favorite songs of the 90s. But so many new bands and artists would be entering my life for the first time. But they would stay there with me for the next 30 years. I never forget an album or song that I fell in love with. They really do stay with me forever. So I hope you can join me on this journey through the alternative music of the 1990s. I really did also enjoy a lot of other genres during these years. I continued my love of r&b throughout these years. These were also some of the best years for hip hop and r&B. These were also the years I got into dance and electronica music which would continue to be a part of my life in the next couple decades. These songs on this list might not be your favorites and you might not even remember them. Music is such a personal journey. But there is also nothing like that feeling when you share that love of a particular song or artist with a friend. It is a special kind of bond when you bond over music. First up is 1990. I will be posting 10 songs at a time starting with #50 so you will have to wait for my #1. Please post any songs you think I am missing in the comments. But I guess you won't know what I am missing until you get to the end!

world party

#50 World Party "Way Down Now" (Ensign)

This song brings me right back to 1990. It was the single from the bands second album Goodbye Jumbo but certainly the first time most of us had heard of them. A perfect psychedlic start to the beginning of the decade. Like the perfect mix of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones but in a modern late 80s/early 90s kind a way.

the heart throbs

#49 The Heart Throbs "Dreamtime" (Elektra)

I can't really get enough of this song. All these years later I can still listen to it on repeat. Sort of like England's version of Concrete Blonde. Spooky and mysterious and dreamy. This song is from their first album Cleopatra Grip. They ended up releasing two more albums after this. This song is one of those perfect transition songs from the 80s to the 90s. Reminds me of a goth band from the 80s mixed with a shoegaze or britpop band from the early 90s.



#48 Candyland "Fountain O' Youth" (Non Fiction)

I never knew much about this band but I always loved this song. This songs just screams out 1990 to me. Elements of British dance and new wave mixed with the sampling of rave songs of the early 90s. Depeche Mode meets the Shamen. It is almost like this band was not quite ready for the 90s but also ahead of its time at the same time.

faith no more

#47 Faith No More "Falling To Pieces" (Slash)

Faith No More was everywhere growing up in California. Los Angeles had Jane's Addiction and The Red Hot Chili Peppers and the bay area had Faith No More. There wasn't really much I liked that was not from the UK in the 80s or the 90s. But I did always love this band. At least after 1989 when their third album The Real Thing came out. How could you not. "Epic" was the song that made me fall in love with them. But this is song that I always like to revisit.

the railway children

#46 The Railway Children "Every Beat Of The Heart" (Virgin)

This is another one of those bands that broke through with their third album Native Place. This really was the year of British alternative music. And there was no going back for me. I loved everythign about bands like this. Nerdy bookish clean cut dudes singing catchy pop songs. Hard to imagine that grunge and grebo were just around the corner. They were like my gateway drug to The Lightning Seeds, The Ocean Blue, The Mighty Lemon Drops & so many more.


the wonder stuff

#45 The Wonder Stuff "Cartoon Boyfriend" (PolyGram)

The Wonder Stuff released their second album in late 1989. The brilliant catchy masterpiece that is Hup! I was obssesed. One of my most played albums of 1990 for sure. I have this whole album memorized and it includes so many amazing songs. "30 Years In The Bathoom," "Can't Shape Up," "Radio Ass Kiss" & "Don't Let Me Down Gently."  Seriously! How is one album so good. "Cartoon Boyfriend" is one of the standouts but this whole album is essential. This album is british atlernative music! Such an exciting time to discover bands like this that would have a lifelong impact on me.


the stone roses

#44 The Stone Roses "One Love" (Silvertone Records)

The Stones Roses put out their debut album in 1989 and changed music forever. I was obsessed with many albums this year. But The Stones Roses album was at the top. I never stopped listening to it. They were just one of those bands like Slowdive and Ride that became one of those bands that I bonded over with friends the most. "One Love" was just like a bonus non album song that the band gave us in 1990. I could have survived on that first album forever but it was nice to have this song as well. I was so in love with the Madchester dance-rock hybrid of the late 80s and early 90s.

the trashcan sinatras

#43 The Trashcan Sinatras "Only Tongue Can Tell" (Go! Discs)

I am truly enjoying my nostalgic trip through 1990. But to be honest I never really left 1990. I just can't really explain enough how magical it was to be at the point where the 80s became the 90s. That magic just never happened again. Cake was the debut album from this Scottish band. It was the continuation of my lifelong obsession with all things Scottish. Just try and listen to this album and not fall in love. So catchy and so brilliant. Like a nice stroll on the beach on the most perfect beautiful day.

oingo boingo

#42 Oingo Boingo "Skin" (MCA)

I liked so much music in the 80s. But I always had my top 10 bands in the 80s that I loved the most. Depeche Mode, The Cure, Love & Rockets, Erasure, Siouxsie & The Banshees, New Order, The Smiths, Duran Duran, The Pixies & Oingo Boingo. Dark At The End Of The Tunnel was Oingo Boingo's seventh album. But still a great album! It included "When The Lights Go Out," Flesh & Blood," "Out Of Control" & "Skin." Danny Elfman and his band knew how to write a catchy song! They were sort of the perfect band for me to fall in love with in the 80s. Weird and catchy and always brilliant. And I think they may have invented Alternative Music.

sonic youth

#41 Sonic Youth "Kool Thing" (DGC)

I was 16 when Sonic Youth's sixth album Goo came out. I don't think I really knew who they were before this album came out. But I immediately thought they were the coolest band. This is another album that has stayed with my my entire life. I went on to see them probably 10 times live over the next decade as they became one of my favorites. This album and this band are just simply essential listening. I can't imagine music without them.

Continue on to Part II...