The 90's Billboard #1's Rate (1995-1999): We've come to the end of our road.

...Yep. We're doing this again.


Well well well, hello there again, ladies and gentlementlemen! We sure had a good time with the first round of this rate, didn't we? (Go look at it here.) Ah, it had so many iconic moments - all of us getting to beat up on interchangeable power ballads, many an injustice as beloved classics fell far too early, the steady mowing down of lesser stars for the Big Pop Girls to dominate completely, the number of pages ticking up at an alarming rate... marvellous stuff. It all ended as we knew it would eventually, with Madonna and "Vogue" taking the crown. But, unfortunately, it also featured entirely too much Michael Bolton. Well, the last of those problems will be fixed for this second round, covering the second half of the decade! It promises to be a round that is just as eventful, not least because it is here that you will properly see why I decided to include songs that topped the airplay charts, but not the Hot 100, in this rate. These are the years most impacted by Billboard's rule of not letting songs that didn't have a physical single chart, as physical singles became less and less common in the CD era, and physical releases were often held back in the hope of spurring album sales (successfully, I might add). Really, it was the absence from the list of Hot 100 number ones of three of the songs present here - "Don't Speak", "Torn" and "Iris", each one of them the most popular song in the country by far at their time, and yet all with little to no presence on the "official" chart - that spurred my decision to do that, in order to get a much more accurate picture of what the mainstream of America looked like in this wild decade for music.

Anyway. What is American pop music between 1995 and 1999? Boy, is that the million-dollar question. While the first round was still very much in thrall to the power ballad, adult-contemporary and dance-pop sounds of the previous decade, it is here that the quintessential sounds of the brave new decade truly dominate. R&B takes its place as the biggest mainstream pop style of the 90's, but it has mostly abandoned the new jack swing dance numbers and slick quiet storm ballads of the early 90's, and instead settled into the more familiar hip-hop soul style that would inform it from then on. And with that, of course, comes a much greater presence for rap - we'll get to look at that genre's evolution over the decade quite a bit here, from the bitter East Coast vs. West Coast rivalry that formed when gangsta rap kicked out the likes of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, to the lighter and bouncier "shiny suit" era (largely, at least in this rate, centred around a certain Sean Combs) that became the face of pop-leaning hip-hop. These are the years when "feat." becomes a much more familiar element of song titles, as the two genres cross-pollinate to a greater degree than ever before. Meanwhile, rock has its own interesting interactions with the mainstream; the place of adult contemporary power ballads in the pop ecosystem is mostly taken by the (on paper, anyway) more thoughtful and less overpolished "adult alternative", while alternative rock searched for a new identity in the aftermath of the grunge era and Kurt Cobain's death, eventually finding something of a lane for itself in the sunnier power-pop that is the primary face of pop-rock in the latter part of the decade. In among all this, pure pop had a bit of a rougher time of it, as those styles mostly elbowed it out... well, until the end of the decade, when the Max Martin-driven wave of teen pop hits like a cannonball, as well as a heretofore unprecedented explosion of Latin pop into the Anglo-American mainstream. It's not quite as much a time of radical changes in the entire shape of pop music as the first round... but to say it's without diversity off the back of that? Well, that would be just plain wrong. It's a very interesting time, to say the least.

So what are you waiting for? I'm really looking forward to seeing what you guys have to say about this crop of tunes - both the ones that are as classic now as they were then, and the ones that have aged like milk left in the Sahara desert. After all, I know that these are the years when a lot of you guys grew up, had your good and bad times soundtracked by these songs... and I spent most of them crying, filling up nappies, and making childhood behaviour specialists very concerned (ain't autism fun?). But that don't mean I can't enjoy the ride alongside you, and providing you with plenty of trivia and historical curiosities along the way - particularly when it comes to the lesser-known artists and one-hit wonders, with whom I have always had something of a fascination (indeed, a 90's one-hit wonders rate will be my next project after this). Anyway, there's 83 songs lying before you to stick numbers on, so get cracking!

DA ROOLZ (copied over from the last round)
-Listen to all of these songs, and give them each a score between 0 and 10. Half and quarter points are allowed, but no other decimals, and you can't have decimals over 10.
-You each have access to a single 11 to bestow upon your absolute fave. Use it wisely!
-PM your scores in to myself, with the songs in the order listed in the post below, by MIDNIGHT ON APRIL 14TH. Extensions may be considered in case of a low turnout.
-Commentary is greatly encouraged. Try to beat my wordcount from the Sugababes rate! (In the case of "All Star", please send your favourite meme instead.)
-Try not to rip out your eardrums at some of these...​
Note: An asterisk before a song's name indicates that it was #1 on the airplay charts, but not on the Hot 100.
A percent mark before a song's name indicates that it was half of a double A-side single. For our purposes, both sides have been included to rate.
PS. For the purposes of the rate, any version of the song that you can find on YouTube/Spotify/wherever can be rated; you aren't limited to the ones I've linked here.


(Note: "Candle in the Wind 1997" is not on Spotify. I've also frequently put the album versions on this playlist, rather than the single edits - that way, you can decide which version you'd prefer to rate!)

Creep - TLC
Take a Bow - Madonna
This is How We Do It - Montell Jordan
*I Know - Dionne Farris
Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman - Bryan Adams
*Water Runs Dry - Boyz II Men
*I'll Be There for You - The Rembrandts
Waterfalls - TLC
Kiss from a Rose - Seal
You Are Not Alone - Michael Jackson
Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio feat. LV
Fantasy - Mariah Carey
Exhale (Shoop Shoop) - Whitney Houston
One Sweet Day - Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men

*Missing - Everything But the Girl
Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion
Always Be My Baby - Mariah Carey
Tha Crossroads - Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
%How Do U Want It - 2Pac feat. K-Ci & JoJo
%California Love - 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman
*You Learn - Alanis Morissette
%You're Makin' Me High - Toni Braxton
%Let It Flow - Toni Braxton
Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) - Los Del Rio
*I Love You Always Forever - Donna Lewis
No Diggity - Blackstreet feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen
*It's All Coming Back to Me Now - Celine Dion
Un-Break My Heart - Toni Braxton
*Don't Speak - No Doubt

Wannabe - Spice Girls
Can't Nobody Hold Me Down - Puff Daddy feat. Mase
*You Were Meant for Me - Jewel
Hypnotize - The Notorious B.I.G.
MMMBop - Hanson
I'll Be Missing You - Puff Daddy and Faith Evans feat. 112
*Sunny Came Home - Shawn Colvin
*Men in Black - Will Smith
Mo Money Mo Problems - The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Puff Daddy and Mase
*Semi-Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind
Honey - Mariah Carey
*Foolish Games - Jewel
4 Seasons of Loneliness - Boyz II Men
%Candle in the Wind 1997 - Elton John
%Something About the Way You Look Tonight - Elton John
*Fly - Sugar Ray
*Tubthumping - Chumbawamba

Truly Madly Deeply - Savage Garden
Together Again - Janet Jackson
Nice and Slow - Usher
My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
Gettin' Jiggy Wit It - Will Smith
All My Life - K-Ci & JoJo
Too Close - Next
*Torn - Natalie Imbruglia
My All - Mariah Carey
The Boy is Mine - Brandy and Monica
*Iris - Goo Goo Dolls
I Don't Want to Miss a Thing - Aerosmith
The First Night - Monica
One Week - Barenaked Ladies
Doo Wop (That Thing) - Lauryn Hill
Lately - Divine
I'm Your Angel - R. Kelly and Celine Dion
*Lullaby - Shawn Mullins

Have You Ever - Brandy
Baby One More Time - Britney Spears
Angel of Mine - Monica
*Slide - Goo Goo Dolls
Believe - Cher
No Scrubs - TLC
Livin' La Vida Loca - Ricky Martin
If You Had My Love - Jennifer Lopez
Bills, Bills, Bills - Destiny's Child
*I Want It That Way - Backstreet Boys
Wild Wild West - Will Smith feat. Dru Hill and Kool Moe Dee
Genie in a Bottle - Christina Aguilera
*All Star - Smash Mouth
Bailamos - Enrique Iglesias
Unpretty - TLC
*Mambo #5 - Lou Bega
Heartbreaker - Mariah Carey feat. Jay-Z
Smooth - Santana feat. Rob Thomas
*Back at One - Brian McKnight

Touch Me (All Night Long) - Cathy Dennis
(Yes, you do have to rate this one. Explanation on page 14.)​
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SPECIAL. Touch Me (All Night Long) - 7.760

83. Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman - 2.896
82. I'm Your Angel - 3.974
81. Lullaby - 3.979

80. Can't Nobody Hold Me Down - 4.802
79. Candle in the Wind 1997 - 4.865
78. Fly - 4.870
77. How Do U Want It - 4.943
76. Wild Wild West - 4.969
75. Mambo No. 5 - 4.990
74. 4 Seasons of Loneliness - 5.047
73. Nice and Slow - 5.099
72. Back at One - 5.146
71. One Week - 5.286

70. Slide - 5.318
69. You Are Not Alone - 5.375
68. Water Runs Dry - 5.448
67. Something About the Way You Look Tonight - 5.484
66. I Don't Want to Miss a Thing - 5.646
65. Tha Crossroads - 5.651
64. All Star - 5.656
63. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) - 5.802
62. Let It Flow - 5.818
61. Lately - 5.906

60. All My Life - 5.995
59. Exhale (Shoop Shoop) - 6.000
58. I Know - 6.099
57. Gettin' Jiggy Wit It - 6.130
56. I'll Be There for You - 6.177
55. Men in Black - 6.260
54. Have You Ever - 6.370
53. Because You Loved Me - 6.401
52. Hypnotize - 6.411
51. Sunny Came Home - 6.453

50. Semi-Charmed Life - 6.557
49. One Sweet Day - 6.641
48. Too Close - 6.656
47. You Were Meant for Me - 6.672
46. MMMBop - 6.677
45. I'll Be Missing You - 6.776
44. This is How We Do It - 6.792
43. Angel of Mine - 6.849
42. Smooth - 6.859
41. Iris - 6.974

40. Truly Madly Deeply - 6.979
39. California Love - 6.990
38. Tubthumping - 7.031
37. Livin' La Vida Loca - 7.068
36. Foolish Games - 7.104
35. The First Night - 7.109
34. My Heart Will Go On - 7.145
33. Bailamos - 7.198
32. My All - 7.281
31. You're Makin' Me High - 7.286

30. Mo Money Mo Problems - 7.411
29. Kiss from a Rose - 7.438
28. You Learn - 7.443
27. No Diggity - 7.448
26. Take a Bow - 7.583
25. Honey - 7.646
24. Bills, Bills, Bills - 7.760
23. Gangsta's Paradise - 7.771
22. Always Be My Baby - 7.906
21. It's All Coming Back To Me Now - 8.031

20. If You Had My Love - 8.078
19. Heartbreaker - 8.083
18. Creep - 8.094
17. Un-Break My Heart - 8.141
16. I Want It That Way - 8.224
15. Missing - 8.313
14. I Love You Always Forever - 8.375
13. Doo Wop (That Thing) - 8.505
12. Fantasy - 8.609
11. Unpretty - 8.661

10. The Boy is Mine - 8.697
9. Wannabe - 8.719
8. Baby One More Time - 8.781
7. Waterfalls - 8.865
6. Together Again - 8.917
5. Believe - 9.021
4. Torn - 9.034
3. Don't Speak - 9.125
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Hmm. One of my all-time favorite songs is on that list. Given how unpopular my taste seems to be, I didn't realize it was a #1 of some kind!

I have no idea which song you mean but I'm going to pretend it's "Tubthumping".

(Which I am seriously considering giving an 11 to, by the way. Although, I dunno, "Tha Crossroads" is tempting me a bit... so's "Semi-Charmed Life", actually... and "Gangsta's Paradise"... dammit.)
I have no idea which song you mean but I'm going to pretend it's "Tubthumping".

(Which I am seriously considering giving an 11 to, by the way. Although, I dunno, "Tha Crossroads" is tempting me a bit... so's "Semi-Charmed Life", actually... and "Gangsta's Paradise"... dammit.)

Kii, there's quite a bit of my music taste I don't talk about here for various reasons.

I've never heard of any of those songs you mentioned.

Y'all better not do my favorite wrong.