If I had to pick just one of my passions as the favourite it would have to be music. As much as I love chocolate, men and gin, I absolutely live and breathe for music. I can’t go a day without listening to something and people often ridicule me for my encyclopaedic knowledge of pop from the 80s onwards. I can reel off all sorts of facts and statistics, such as chart positions, year of release, who wrote the song, number of weeks at number one, etc.
The 80s and 90s were the decades of my youth so perhaps it makes sense that they are the eras I love most for music. Recently I was creating a playlist of 90s songs to bop along to and came across some forgotten gems from the decade that gave us Spice Girls, Take That version 1, and the Vengaboys. This made me think about other slices of pop perfection that have been forgotten or left in the 90s and led to the creation of this list; 10 forgotten pop gems of the 90s.
1. Donna Lewis – I Love You Always Forever
This song was absolutely huge when it came out in 1996, but I hadn’t heard it for years until recently. Listening today it still sounds fresh and has stood the test of time, as I believe all pop gems should. This one-hit wonder was one of the best songs of the 90s.
2. Tamsin Archer – Sleeping Satellite
What a song! Another one hit wonder that was released in 1992, Tamsin actually went on to win a Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough in 1993 on the back of that song and a moderately successful album. Although still making music today, Tamsin has not been able to achieve chart success since the early 90s.
3. Bran Van 3000 – Drinking in LA
There is something about this song that really gets to me. It’s one of my favourites of all time and is another example of genuinely great music standing the test of time. Still sounding fresh 15 years later, Bran Van 3000 were sadly another one-hit-wonder. Do you see a pattern developing here? Drinking in LA originally only reached number 36 in the charts but after being featured on an advert it was re-released and got to number 3. Thank goodness for that, otherwise, the masses may never have heard this amazing track.
4. New Radicals – You Get What You Give
This amazing, but short-lived band released “You Get What You Give” in 1999 and it became a massive hit. At the time I remember someone saying to me that in 20 years’ time that song would be classed as a classic. Fast forward to 15 years later and although an often forgotten song I do feel it is a classic and imagine that many people listening to it for the first time in ages would consider it to be one too. I always thought it was a shame the New Radicals broke up after only releasing one song, but lead singer Gregg Alexander has since written for Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Melanie C, Texas, and… umm… Geri Halliwell. When you look at the list of songs Gregg Alexander has written you begin to see that we have much to thank him for as a creator of multiple pop gems.
5. Neneh Cherry – Woman
Everyone remembers Neneh for her “Buffalo Stance” or “Manchild”, but it’s “Woman” that I believe is Neneh at her very best. I find myself getting lost in “Woman” each time I listen to it. It’s an aural treat. While on Neneh Cherry I will also give “7 Seconds” a mention as it’s an incredibly good song. In fact, I’d say that everything Neneh Cherry has done is great.
6. Jennifer Paige – Crush
Back to the one-hit wonders, this song was everywhere in the late 90s. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t think that song is brilliant. It’s as simple as that really.
7. BBMAk – Back Here
Now I am aware that “Back Here” was a huge hit in the year 2000, but it was actually first released in 1999 so I’ll include it here. I totally had a crush on BBMak back in the day as they were all rather easy on the eye. However, they also had a decent set of songs andI’m not sure if people realise how successful they were in the early 2000s.
8. Hole – Celebrity Skin
Although only charting at number 19 in the UK, this song was actually quite popular in its day. If you forget about Courtney Love’s craziness it’s plain to see what a fantastic lyricist she is. Many of Hole’s songs were feminist commentaries and the band were consistently critically acclaimed. “Celebrity Skin” makes the list of my favourite songs of all time.
9. P.M. Dawn – Set Adrift on Memory Bliss
There is something about this song that makes it still sound fresh over twenty years later. Sampling “True” by Spandau Ballet, P.M. Dawn made it completely their own song and made that groove a classic all over again.
10. Lisa Loeb – Stay
A beautiful song and one that anyone who has wanted a guy to stay can relate too. I always find myself singing this at the top of my voice when I hear it. Simply brilliant.
Listen to the playlist on Spotify
So there you have it; my top 10 forgotten pop gems of the 90s. I could have included many more songs in the list but thought I’d be decisive and stick to ten. I hope you will rediscover these songs after reading the list. They are rather great.