Posted by: John Adams | January 31, 2009

25 Songs to Remember the 90’s By: Part 3

15. “Sunny Came Home” – Shawn Colvin

“Sunny came home with a list of names / She didn’t believe in transcendence.”

The mandolin intro to “Sunny Came Home” set the stage for Shawn Colvin’s biggest hit, a haunting tune about a woman who comes home to burn down her own house. The song peaked at #7 in 1997, and Colvin won a Grammy for her efforts.

14. “One of Us” – Joan Osborne

“What if God was one of us? / Just a slob like one of us?”

All my friends had the same question after hearing this song in the spring of ’96 — who sang that “Yeah, yeah, God is great” song?

Not everyone was as impressed–Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, noting Osborne’s open support for pro-choice causes, called the song agenda-driven and said it was “awfully close to the line of Catholic baiting.” Others noted the irony of Christian opposition to a song that essentially hopes for what Christians claim has already happened. God has become human in Jesus Christ. He is one of us.

Despite the initial controversy, Joan Osborne’s pop classic has since solidified its place in pop-culture history. It has made multiple appearances on movie soundtracks, serves as the theme song to TV’s Joan of Arcadia, and Dr. Evil even claimed to have written it in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

13. “A Change Would Do You Good” – Sheryl Crow

“Hello it’s me, I’m not at home / If you’d like to reach me, leave me alone.”

“Soccer mom” entered the national lexicon in 1996, and this song became their anthem. Crow was unstoppable (and unavoidable) that year, scoring four hit singles off her self-titled second album. She has consistently turned out hit singles ever since.

12. “Gangsta’s Paradise” – Coolio

“As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death / I take a look at my life and realize there’s nothing left.”

This ominous-sounding single gave Coolio a hit in the summer of ’96, and gained further recognition due to its inclusion on the soundtrack to Dangerous Minds, a Michelle Pfeiffer movie about a teacher who chooses to move to south-central Los Angeles and teach high school. Weird Al Yankovic gave it a humorous spin the following year with his parody, “Amish Paradise.” (“As I walk through the valley where I harvest my grain / I take a look at my wife and realize she’s very plain.”)

11. “Sex and Candy” – Marcy Playground

“Hangin ’round downtown by myself / And I had so much time to sit and think about myself / And then there she was.”

This song, which really isn’t about sex or candy so much as frontman John Wozniak’s narcissism (“I had so much time to sit and think about myself”), was one of many which filled the post-Nirvana void. The song spent a then-record 15 weeks at #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1998 and had a pretty cool video, which I discovered after seeing it on VH1’s Pop-Up Video (anyone else remember that show?).

The Super Bowl is on Sunday and I’m moving to Kentucky on Monday, so parts 4 and 5 will have to wait until Tuesday.



  1. These posts are so entertaining. Have a good move to Kentucky!

  2. I was wondering where Sex and Candy would place. I’ve got two more songs in mind that I’m waiting to see pop up on the list.

  3. Sorry, Katie. Neither “Barbie Girl” nor Spice Girls made this list.

  4. Haha.. I was in 3rd grade when Barbie Girl came out. 5th grade for Spice Girls. I think that’s enough evidence to prove that elementary school kids enjoy anything!

    I had Sugar Ray and Chumbawumba in mind 🙂

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