Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1

Verve Urban Hymns

Welcome back to the third installment of the Rock Czar's top alternative rock songs of the 90s. Over the years this has been easily our most popular list and is by far the one I look forward to compiling most. Culled from my personal collection of around 10,000 of the era's best and most popular rock songs, it ranges from smash singles to overlooked album cuts that every rock fan needs to discover.

With every update I have added another 100 songs. During the last update, seen here, we brought it up to 200 songs and added some important sub genres that helped us portray a more accurate image of the 90s alternative rock landscape. This year we're bumping this puppy up up to 300 songs. I usually make a significant addition with each list as well. After grappling with it for a while I have decided to include some more widely known 'indie' tracks that made an appearance on British/American charts in the 90s.

Since it has been about 30 months since our last update, you'll notice a lot of changes. Some of you will cheer the relative decrease in Alice in Chains songs and grunge in general on this list. Obviously tastes change and certain songs age better. Also, I must admit, several users past suggestions have made it onto this list (if you are one of them, congratulation on schooling the Rock Czar and keep the recommendations coming!). We feel that this list is one of the most accurate, comprehensive and detailed lists of its kind on the Internet. Enjoy, and happy downloading!

Songs 1-10: Simply stated, if you found out that you were dying tomorrow and have never heard any alternative rock songs from the 90s these are the ten songs you need to listen to over and over for the next 24 hours.

Radiohead OK Computer

No.SongArtistAlbumYearLast RankChange
1Paranoid AndroidRadioheadOK Computer19971110
2Bittersweet SymphonyThe VerveUrban Hymns199742
3Smells like Teen SpiritNirvanaNevermind199130
4Say it ain't soWeezerBlue Album19949086
5Karma PoliceRadioheadOK Computer19971-4
6One HeadlightThe WallflowersBringing Down the Horse199660
71979Smashing PumpkinsMellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness1995103
8Down in a HoleAlice in ChainsDirt1992124
9The Man who Sold the World (Cover)NirvanaMTV Unplugged in New York19942819

Songs 11-20: While still mainly blockbuster singles, the next 10 songs dig a little bit deeper and include album tracks by some of the eras best bands in REM, Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins. Also, you'll see a lot of songs that have shot up in ranking since my last update.

R.E.M. Automatic for the people

No.SongArtistAlbumYearLast RankChange
11Find the RiverREMAutomatic for the People19926251
12EverlongFoo FightersThe Colour and the Shape1997164
13LuckyRadioheadOK Computer19977865
14Losing my ReligionREMOut of Time1991151
15All the Small ThingsBlink-182Enema of the State19994025
16CarnivalNatalie MerchantTigerlily19959282
17Only in DreamsWeezerBlue Album199410689
18Under the BridgeRed Hot Chili PeppersBlood Sugar Sex Magik19913416
19Heaven Beside youAlice in ChainsAlice in Chains19955-14
20SomaSmashing PumpkinsSiamese Dream19935636

Songs 21-30: Joining alternative classics like “Self Esteem” and “Mr. Jones” are songs like “The Way” and “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth.” One hit wonders like these two will frequent the list and added some flash in the pan charm to a pretty serious decade.

Offspring Smash

No.SongArtistAlbumYearLast RankChange
21Self EsteemThe OffspringSmash19946948
22The WayFastballAll the Pain Money can Buy199820-2
23DecemberCollective SoulCollective Soul19954623
24Mr. JonesCounting CrowsAugust and Everything After1993328
25MayonaiseSmashing PumpkinsSiamese Dream19934823
27Standing Outside a Broken Phone BoothPrimitive Radio GodsRocket1996292
28Jesus Christ PoseSoundgardenBadmotorfinger19917-21
29Nothing Compares 2 U (Cover)Sinead O'ConnorI don't want what I haven't got1990Newn/a
30Heart Shaped BoxNirvanaIn Utero199326-4

Songs 31-40: The next ten songs are pretty grunge heavy. Two songs each for grunge titans AIC, Nirvana and STP. Though I've tried to be a little more selective on which grunge songs to include, I cannot exclude these essential 6 songs.

Crash Test Dummies

No.SongArtistAlbumYearLast RankChange
31Mmm Mmm Mmm MmmCrash Test DummiesGod Shuffled his Feet19936431
32Come as you areNirvanaNevermind199118-14
33No ExcusesAlice in ChainsJar of Flies19942-31
34LowCrackerKerosene Hat19936632
35You Ought to KnowAlanis MorissetteJagged Little Pill1995449
36A Long DecemberCounting CrowsRecovering the Satellites19965014
37Interstate Love SongStone Temple PilotsPurple19946831
38NutshellAlice in ChainsJar of Flies199413-25
39In BloomNirvanaNevermind199124-15
40CreepStone Temple PilotsCore199223-17

Songs 41-50: “Only Shallow” and “Cool you Boots” from the next set of ten songs are the first few examples of the type of indie rock songs that will now find their homes on these lists. These shoegaze classics had some much deserved chart success (of course mainly in Britain where the charts aren't indie-phobic).

Soundgarden down on the upside

No.SongArtistAlbumYearLast RankChange
41Burden in my HandSoundgardenDown on the Upside19965514
42Cherub RockSmashing PumpkinsSiamese Dream199317-25
43Bullet with Butterfly WingsSmashing PumpkinsMellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness19958-35
44RunCollective SoulDosage19996117
45Only ShallowMy Bloody ValentineLoveless1991Newn/a
46DirtAlice in ChainsDirt1992471
47Tighter & TighterSoundgardenDown on the Upside199610558
48Cool your BootsRideGoing Blank Again1992Newn/a
49Santa MonicaEverclearSparkle & Fade1995512
50What's the Frequency, Kenneth?REMMonster19949141

Songs 51-60: Below you will see several heavyweights from the Isles across the Atlantic that flexed their muscles in the 90s and added a much needed charm and swagger to a genre that people all too often associate with American bands.

AIC Dirt

No.SongArtistAlbumYearLast RankChange
51Would?Alice in ChainsDirt199241-10
52LingerThe CranberriesEverybody Else is Doing it19939543
53WonderwallOasis(What's the Story) Morning Glory?199519-32
54Lucky ManThe VerveUrban Hymns19977117
55DriveREMAutomatic for the People19928025
56Late in the DaySupergrassIn it for the Money1997Newn/a
57Flagpole SittaHarvey DangerWhere have all the Merrymakers gone?1998581
58In the MeantimeSpacehogResident Alien199542-16
59GrindAlice in ChainsAlice in Chains199531-28
60Counting Blue CarsDishwallaPet your Friends199553-7

Songs 61-70: A decidedly mellow series of songs heavy on a TRC trademark... ballads! Also, for one reason or the other, several bands that I don't really like – Living Colour, Goo Goo Dolls, and Megadeth – make their first and only appearance on this list.

Blur Self titled

No.SongArtistAlbumYearLast RankChange
61Song 2BlurBlur199749-12
62Motorcycle EmptinessManic Street PreachersGeneration Terrorists1992Newn/a
63NothingnessLiving ColourStain1993Newn/a
64CalifornicationRed Hot Chili PeppersCalifornication199929-35
65IrisGoo Goo DollsDizzy up the Girl19988116
66Touch, Peel and StandDays of the NewDays of the New199736-30
67No SurprisesRadioheadOK Computer1997Newn/a
68All I wantToad the Wet SprocketFear199145-23
69Rotten AppleAlice in ChainsJar of Flies199425-44
70A Tout le MondeMegadethYouthanasia199463-7

Songs 71-80: Another segment of songs that feature some big time gains from my last update of this list. Most of you will agree that it's about time I give songs like “Killing in the Name of,” “Fake Plastic Trees” and “Fade to you” a bit more recognition.

Toadies Rubberneck

No.SongArtistAlbumYearLast RankChange
72DumbNirvanaIn Utero199343-29
73Killing in the Name ofRage Against the MachineRage Against the Machine199210734
74Hand in my PocketAlanis MorissetteJagged Little Pill199510228
75Fake Plastic TreesRadioheadThe Bends199513257
76Losing a Whole YearThird Eye BlindThird Eye Blind19979620
77Nearly Lost youScreaming TreesSweet Oblivion19928912
78Sour GirlStone Temple PilotsNo. 41999879
79My Love LifeMorrisseySingle1991Newn/a
80Fade into youMazzy StarSo Tonight that I Might See199314969

Songs 81-90: Many veteran rockers have their trademark jams featured on this set of songs, including NIN, Weezer and Third Eye Blind. Sprinkled within we have some pretty unlikely, terrific songs by White Town and a great unknown duet by Dan Wilson and Bic Runga.

Depeche mode

No.SongArtistAlbumYearLast RankChange
81Enjoy the SilenceDepeche ModeViolator199013150
82RhinocerosSmashing PumpkinsGish199110119
83CloserNine Inch NailsDownward Spiral199417188
84Your WomanWhite TownWomen in Technology199738-46
85Take a PictureFilterTitle of Record199911631
86Semi Charmed LifeThird Eye BlindThird Eye Blind199772-14
87Good Morning BabyBic Runga and Dan WilsonSoundtrack: American Pie199911431
88TodaySmashing PumpkinsSiamese Dream199382-6
89Buddy HollyWeezerBlue Album199454-35
90ZombieThe CranberriesNo Need to Argue199411121

Songs 91-100: You would be hard pressed to find a set of 10 more eclectic songs on this entire list. Everything ranging from indie rock, synthpop, metal, grunge, trip hop and punk rock populates this batch of songs.

Pixies Bossanova

No.SongArtistAlbumYearLast RankChange
92Personal JesusDepeche ModeViolator199033-59
93Closing TimeSemisonicFeeling Strangely Fine199888-5
94Crazy LifeToad the Wet SprocketCoil199793-1
95Enter SandmanMetallicaMetallica199159-26
96Bound for the FloorLocal HAs Good as Dead199635-61
97Runaway TrainSoul AsylumGrave Dancer's Union1992981
98JeremyPearl JamTen199116365
99Glory BoxPortisheadDummy1994Newn/a
100Whats my Age Again?Blink-182Enema of the State199912020

300-201 | 200-101 | 100-1


+3 #1 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1doomsdayapocalypse 2011-06-21 13:48
...Your list is alright :lol:
-1 #2 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1The Rock Czar 2011-06-21 22:54
Hey thanks, Doomsday. Get it in now because it's all over in 2012, eh?

-1 #3 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1Alex 2011-09-10 21:20
Quite an interesting list..I agree with much of it except the stuff I don't know very well. It is obviously slightly biased to your opinion of the bands though but that is the case with any list. Very good list. Also I love you for putting 3 Nirvana songs in the top ten :)
-2 #4 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1Nicole 2011-09-11 21:55
Dream Theater "Pull Me Under", Guano Apes "Open Your Eyes", The Scream "Man In the Moon"
+1 #5 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1The Rock Czar 2011-09-11 23:16
Thanks Alex. The list would be boring if it didn't have some personal touches...

0 #6 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1Jeff 2011-09-23 09:47
A list of top alternative song of the nineties that have "All the Small Things" of Blink-182 at no. 15 and for example "Closer" of NIN at 83 have no credibility
0 #7 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1The Rock Czar 2011-09-23 13:53
What really has no credibility are completely unsupported and unmerited statements such as this one. I'd love to rebut you, but unfortunately I have nothing to go off of. Maybe next time you can make a case for yourself??


0 #8 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1Noelle 2011-10-26 20:33
From the 200 list to the 300 list, Smashing Pumpkins lost three songs... What gives?
+2 #9 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1The Rock Czar 2011-11-01 22:57

I can tell you're a Pumpkins fan! What do you mean by this comment??

0 #10 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1Noelle 2011-11-14 22:47
Quoting The Rock Czar:

I can tell you're a Pumpkins fan! What do you mean by this comment??


Hey Czar-
Yeah you caught me. I'm such a fan that I seriously went thru this list counting stuff, lol sigh... Here's how it went: Weezer, Radiohead, and Nirvana went up 4, 2, and 3 songs, while Smashing Pumpkins and Alice in Chains went down 3 each. I was dang dude! not about Alice Chains but about Pumpkins. I was wondering, what inspired you to take Smashing Pumpkins songs off the list ? I know you said you added lots of new music but as a counterpoint, you did add an extra 100 spaces and also raised the other bands I mentioned.
-2 #11 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1The Rock Czar 2011-11-14 23:35

It just worked out like that. When I create these lists I don't devote a specific number of spots or a specific location on the list for any band. I wouldn't read too much into it. I still love the Pumpkins!

+1 #12 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1itchywitch 2011-11-24 09:04
Paranoid Android #1 for me too!
+1 #13 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1The Rock Czar 2011-11-25 00:17
Should be everybody's number 1!

0 #14 HELP cant remember this songsonja 2011-12-12 05:58
Hey, iv had this song at the back of my head for a very long time, but all I can remember was it being probably alternative rock, from.the 90s or early 00s and the film clip had a guy in a room with a small tv singing about a girl.he was watching on tv something about being friends with her or somethinh, please HELP! Thanx, great list btw
0 #15 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1The Rock Czar 2011-12-19 00:45

Drawing a blank. Anyone know what she's looking for?

+2 #16 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1Josh 2012-01-05 22:32
I'm in love with 90s Alternative music. I was born early 90s, but always wished I was born early to fully appreciate the music. This list goes way beyond any others I have ever seen! Thank you so much!
+1 #17 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1The Rock Czar 2012-01-06 01:38

I've always found myself in a similar situation. I was born in the mid 80s but always related really way to 90s alt-rock.

Glad you like it. Rock on.

0 #18 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1juan 2012-01-17 05:55
enjoy the silence 81??? :-*
0 #19 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1Bruce 2012-01-18 21:44
i think shes thinking of electric avenue ;)
+5 #20 RE: Top 300 90s Alternative Rock Songs Part 1andrea 2012-01-21 02:54
Dope ass list! :lol: found sum songs that i forgot about.

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