10 Huge Hits From The 90s That Didn't Survive The 90s

The 1990s was a decade defined by its vast musical landscape, with chart-topping pop, hip hop, rock, grunge, and alternative hits shaping nearly every aspect of a generation. However, amidst the plethora of unforgettable tunes that stood the test of time, there lies a dumpster fire of once-massive hits that, thankfully, failed to extend their reign beyond the decade. In this retrospective exploration, we revisit 10 colossal tracks from the 90s that, despite their initial meteoric rise, ultimately succumbed to the passage of time, leaving behind only the smoldering ashes of their former glory.


If you're feeling inexplicably compelled to subject yourself to hearing these songs again, you can open up our Spotify playlist here.


"How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" - Michael Bolton (1990)

Michael Bolton's mullet and soulful crooning reached the pinnacle of emotional resonance with "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You." Released in 1990, this heart-wrenching ballad struck a chord with sophisticated Gen-X normies worldwide, ascending the charts and becoming a staple for anyone nursing a broken heart. Despite its initial popularity, the song failed to maintain its relevance as the decade progressed and made this brand of ballad less and less palatable to what was becoming a very youth-led decade of music.



"Right Here, Right Now" - Jesus Jones (1991)

With its hints of electronica and plaintive, infectious energy, "Right Here, Right Now" by Jesus Jones captured the essence of early 90s, pre-Nirvana alternative rock/pop. Bursting very suddenly into the mainstream in 1991, the song became an anthem for a generation caught in the throes of social and political change. However, as the decade trudged only a year ahead and musical tastes evolved, Jesus Jones found themselves overshadowed by emerging genres, relegating "Right Here, Right Now" to an overplayed relic of its time.


"Everything About You" - Ugly Kid Joe (1992)

Ugly Kid Joe's goofy pop-metal anthem, "Everything About You," stormed the airwaves in 1992, channeling the same energy that gave us "These Boots Are Made For Walking," but turning it into a decidedly different end result. With its sorta-crooned, and sometimes-rapped vocals, the song became an emblem of rebellion for kids that had grown tired of the pop du jour, but couldn't quite get on board with legitimate heavy metal. Despite its initial surge in popularity, Ugly Kid Joe struggled to maintain their popularity in the fast-changing landscape of early 90s rock music, and "Everything About You" gradually faded into cringe-y obscurity.



"Informer" - Snow (1993)

Few songs encapsulate the early 90s quite like Snow's "Informer." Released in 1993, this reggae-infused track dominated the charts with its tongue-tieing and distinctive patois-laced vocals. Despite its massive success, "Informer" failed to establish Snow as a lasting presence in the music industry, and the artist quickly faded from the spotlight. While the song remains a quintessential relic of its time, it's now likely to be found exclusively on throwback playlists and at 90s-themed parties.



"Bump n' Grind" - R. Kelly (1994)

R. Kelly's "Bump n' Grind" was an undeniable force in the realm of 90s R&B, dominating airwaves and dance floors upon its release in 1994. With its sultry vocals and infectious groove, the song became an instant classic, earning widespread acclaim and securing its place in the annals of music history. However, as the decades shifted and public sentiment toward the artist understandably pulled a complete 180, "Bump n' Grind" found itself falling out of favor, its once-massive popularity eclipsed by the jaw-dropping controversy surrounding its creator.


 ...they've earned their place in the hall of fame, positioned somewhere between Spice Girls, frosted tips, and dial-up internet.


"Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?" - Bryan Adams (1995)

Your mom probably had a crush on Bryan Adams when he struck gold once again with his heartfelt ballad "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?" With its soul-stirring lyrics and Adams' signature raspy vocals, the song captivated mostly-adult audiences worldwide and soared to the top of the charts. However, as the 90s drew to a close, Adams' brand of rock-infused balladry fell out of favor with mainstream audiences, and "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?" gradually faded into the background. Honestly, it's a miracle that our generation afforded Adams another chance, after the epic bombardment we collectively received from his previous hit, "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You." If you know, you know.



"Because You Loved Me" - Celine Dion (1996)

Celine Dion's powerhouse vocals propelled "Because You Loved Me" to the top of the charts in 1996, solidifying its status as a quintessential 90s ballad. The song, with its heartfelt lyrics and soaring melody, became an anthem for middle-aged moms across America. However, as the 90s gave way to the new millennium, Dion's brand of sentimental balladry fell out of vogue, and "Because You Loved Me" gradually lost its prominence in the collective musical consciousness. Though it may remain in rotation on nationally-syndicated radio dedication shows targeted at lovelorn boomers, it has thankfully remained there for the last few decades.



"MMMBop" - Hanson (1997)

Hanson aggressively assaulted our collective eardrums in 1997 with their annoyingly infectious hit "MMMBop," capturing the hearts of preteens and parents of preteens worldwide with their catchy melody and youthful charm. The song's sickeningly saccharine scatted chorus made it an instant sensation, catapulting the band to international fame seemingly overnight. However, as the novelty of their bubblegum pop sound wore off, Hanson struggled to maintain any mainstream appeal, and "MMMBop" gradually faded from the airwaves. Despite its initial success, the song now serves as a nostalgic relic of the 90s, fondly remembered by those who grew up singing along to its infectious chorus - and derided by those that can't even think about it without it being stuck on repeat in their head for the foreseeable future.



"I'm Your Angel" - R. Kelly and Celine Dion (1998)

It's maybe no surprise to find that these are the only two artists to make the list twice. After all, as much as Dion's popularity and success did indeed rage on for another decade or more, her powerhouse vocal performances already felt a bit out of step with emerging musical trends, even as early as the late 90s.

R. Kelly is a completely different story. His inexcusable actions over the years are wholly to blame for his absence of enduring legacy, proving that if the crimes are terrible enough, it is indeed difficult to separate the art from the artist.

"I'm Your Angel," the duet between the two, soared to the top of the charts upon its release in 1998, showcasing the over-the-top vocals of both artists. With its stirring melody and heartfelt lyrics, the song became a staple on radio playlists and wedding receptions alike. However, as the new millennium dawned, tracks like this just couldn't compete with a new crop of artists and subgenres destined to dominate the airwaves. Though it may remain a cherished memory for fans of 90s pop ballads, the song's once-ubiquitous presence has certainly diminished over time.



"Wild Wild West" - Will Smith featuring Dru Hill and Kool Moe Dee (1999)

Will Smith's "Wild Wild West," featuring Dru Hill and Kool Moe Dee, was a monumental chart-topper that accompanied the release of the action-comedy film of the same name in 1999. However, despite its initial success, "Wild Wild West" potentially surrendered its enduring legacy to over-saturation. The movie and the song were both inescapable at the time, due to a heavy-handed marketing campaign. It's no wonder those of us that grew up with it had little desire to drag it with us into the next decade.



As we chuckle (or wince) at the ghost of these forgotten jams, let's also raise a glass to them. While these hits may have slipped through the cracks of time, they've earned their place in the hall of fame, positioned somewhere between Spice Girls, frosted tips, and dial-up internet. So, here's to the hits that couldn't quite make the cut – may they live on forever in our boxed-up CD collections, or our Spotify throwback playlists.


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