Friday 14 August 2015

Top 100 Indie/Alternative Songs of the 90s

14th August, 1995. After a war of words and much press hype, the largest, noisiest battle for the number one slot in decades got underway. In one corner were Oasis, the swaggering Manc upstarts who were hardly a household name at the start of the year. Squaring off against them were Blur, the cheeky Carry on Indie band who made a splash in 1994 with Parklife. At stake was the Britpop crown - who would prove to be the biggest name in the new wave of British guitar rock?

In remembrance of those times, I've regressed to my teenage self to give the definitive take on the Indie/Alternative scene of the 1990s. There are a few simple rules I've applied to the list: all music of North American origin are excluded. Yes, it's European-only with, of course, a heavy emphasis on British stuff. So no Nirvana, no Pearl Jam, no Alice in Chains, no Rage Against the Machine. Also, no Garbage either - being three quarters American. Dancey-type stuff has been left out as well - they have their own lists. And no re-issues. Stuff released in the late 80s that only did the business once the 90s were underway - I'm looking at you James and The Stone Roses - are out. But that's all, nothing else!

If you fancy more list mania, here are the top 100 dance songs of the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s, the 2000s, and last of all, the 2010s.

How might your 90s alternative 100 look like?

100. In the Name of the Father by Black Grape (1994)
99. Hidden Agenda by Pitchshifter (1999)
98. Fait Accompli by Curve (1992)
97. Rollercoaster by Northern Uproar (1995)
96. Amnesia by Chumbawamba (1998)
95. Slight Return by The Bluetones (1995)
94. I'll Manage Somehow by Menswear (1995)
93. I'm Free by The Soup Dragons (1990)
92. The First Big Weekend by Arab Strap (1996)
91. Kinky Afro by Happy Mondays (1990)
90. Swallowed by Bush (1996)
89. Pumping On Your Stereo by Supergrass (1999)
88. My Weakness Is None Of Your Business by Embrace (1998)
87. Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Saint Etienne (1990)
86. Wide Open Space by Mansun (1996)
85. Drink the Elixir by Salad (1995)
84. Lava by Silver Sun (1996)
83. Love Is The Law by The Seahorses (1997)
82. Husband by Fluffy (1996)
81. You And I Will Never See Things Eye To Eye by Kingmaker (1995)
80. Saturn 5 by Inspiral Carpets (1994)
79. Sparkle by My Life Story (1996)
78. If You're Thinking Of Me by Dodgy (1996)
77. Hit by The Wannadies (1997)
76. Drop Dead Gorgeous by Republica (1996)
75. Lenny Valentino by The Auteurs (1994)
74. No One Speaks by Geneva (1996)
73. I Don't Mind by Drain (1997)
72. Black Steel by Tricky (1995)
71. Coffee & TV by Blur (1999)
70. Vegas by Sleeper (1995)
69. The Only One I Know by The Charlatans (1990)
68. Connection by Elastica (1995)
67. Girl From Mars by Ash (1995)
66. Becoming More Like Alfie by The Divine Comedy (1996)
65. 15 Years by Levellers (1992)
64. Sparky's Dream by Teenage Fanclub (1995)
63. You And Me Song by The Wannadies (1996)
62. The Patio Song by Gorky's Zygotic Mynci (1996)
61. Mulder and Scully by Catatonia (1998)
60. Lovefool by The Cardigans (1996)
59. Jailbird by Primal Scream (1994)
58. El Presidente by Drugstore feat. Thom Yorke (1998)
57. Ladykillers by Lush (1996)
56. Chasing Rainbows by Shed Seven (1996)
55. Tranquillizer by Geneva (1997)
54. The Day We Caught The Train by Ocean Colour Scene (1996)
53. Caught by the Fuzz by Supergrass (1994)
52. Wake Up Boo! by The Boo Radleys (1995)
51. 12 Reasons Why by My Life Story (1996)
50. Sunflower by Paul Weller (1993)
49. Nancy Boy by Placebo (1997)
48. Who Do You Think You Are? by Saint Etienne (1993)
47. Don't Look Back In Anger by Oasis (1996)
46. Sexy Boy by Air (1998)
45. Everybody Knows (Except You) by The Divine Comedy (1997)
44. Do You Remember The First Time? by Pulp (1994)
43. Female of the Species by Space (1996)
42. Angel Interceptor by Ash (1995)
41. My Favourite Game by The Cardigans (1998)
40. Disco Down by Shed Seven (1999)
39. Punka by Kenickie (1997)
38. Paranoid Android by Radiohead (1997)
37. Walkaway by Cast (1996)
36. A Design For Life by Manic Street Preachers (1996)
35. Too Much Too Little Too Late by Silver Sun (1998)
34. Road Rage by Catatonia (1998)
33. The Circle by Ocean Colour Scene (1996)
32. Song 2 by Blur (1997)
31. King of the Kerb by Echobelly (1995)
30. Live Forever by Oasis (1994)
29. Disco 2000 by Pulp (1995)
28. Screamager by Therapy? (1993)
27. Animal Nitrate by Suede (1993)
26. Ten Storey Love Song by The Stone Roses (1995)
25. Street Spirit (Fade Out) by Radiohead (1996)
24. Yes by McAlmont and Butler (1995)
23. The Drugs Don't Work by The Verve (1997)
22. Little Baby Nothing by Manic Street Preachers (1992)
21. Charlie Big Potato by Skunk Anansie (1999)
20. Ready To Go by Republica (1996)
19. Sonnet by The Verve (1998)
18. Lazy Line Painter Jane by Belle and Sebastian (1997)
17. She's A Star by James (1997)
16. Creep by Radiohead (1992)
15. All Together Now by The Farm (1990)
14. Olympian by Gene (1995)
13. Help the Aged by Pulp (1997)
12. Every You Every Me by Placebo (1999)
11. Hedonism by Skunk Anansie (1997)
10. Motorcycle Emptiness by Manic Street Preachers (1992)
9. Untouchable by Rialto (1997)
8. Not Alone by Bernard Butler (1998)
7. If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next by Manic Street Preachers (1998)
6. The Wild Ones by Suede (1994)
5. Zombie by The Cranberries (1994)
4. Diane by Therapy? (1995)
3. Dark Therapy by Echobelly (1996)
2. The Universal by Blur (1995)

And number one? Well, could it be anything else?


Igor Belanov said...

Hmmm, I know it's each to his own opinion and that, but Common People as the best indie tune of the 1990s? I know the lyrics are clever and it's catchy, but there are many better examples from Pulp's own back catalogue.

Also, 'If you tolerate this..' as the Manics' best song? Probably one of the most insipid I'd have said!

To finish, I may be blind, but I see nothing from the Super Furry Animals there.

Too Q magazine for me.

asquith said...

Also there's a group called Aria that sings in Russian, bugger knows what their songs are about but they are European and released many outstanding records in the 90s.

Anonymous said...

one word: sadgasm

BCFG said...

Digging out my Happy Daze CD I would have included

Big by New Fast Automatic Daffodils
Loaded by Primal Scream
Taste by Ride
Unfamiliar by Ride
Sheriff Fatman by Carter the unstoppable sex machine
Move Any Mountain by The Shamen
Hippychcik by Soho
This is how it feels by inspiral carpets
CircleSquare by the Wonder stuff

Anonymous said...

No Stereolab? Marx'll turn in his grave.

andrew adams said...

Yep, some good suggestions there by BCFG,

I'd add

Where's Me Jumper by Sultans of Ping FC
Kill Your Television by Ned's Atomic Dustbin
Sheela Na Gig by PJ Harvey
Fashion Crisis Hits New York by The Frank and Walters
The Mill Hill Self Hate Club by Edward Ball (best harmonica intro ever)
Love Your Money by Daisy Chainsaw
Enough Is Enough by Chumbawamba
Pimlico by David Devant and His Spirit Wife

and my personal no.1, the gorgeous

White Horses and Shooting Stars by Pullover

Phil said...

The only one I know and My weakness... are good spots, but overall you only scored a circa 20% match* with my record collection, so clearly there's room for improvement. Just from the stuff that I was bothered to rip to my computer - which is a fairly small proportion of my 90s record collection - I'd nominate

Step On
Chemical World
Rock'n'roll star
The stars of track and field
What if... (Lightning Seeds - remember them eh?)
Mao Tse Tung Said (Alabama 3 - one of the first songs I 'downloaded' from that 'Internet')
Brimful of Asha
Karma Police (as well as Paranoid Android)
I think I'm in love (Spiritualized)
Ice hockey hair (SFA)
and, surely irrefutably,
Dry the Rain (Beta Band in "peaking entire career with first song" shock)

*Being a very sad person I gave myself points for every track on the list I've got - 1 point for song 100 up to 100 for song 1 - and added them up; the final total was something like 1070, or just over 20% of a maximum of 5050.