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Top 10 Pop Songs From the 1990s

VO: Emily Brayton
Script written by Nathan Sharp While grunge, alt-rock, and hip hop dominated the more alternative areas of music, 90's pop had just as much to offer Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Pop Songs From the 1990s. For this list, we're looking at our favorite pop songs released between 1990 and 1999. While covers are accepted, we are not counting re-recordings for this list, so as beautiful as Elton John's “Candle in the Wind 1997” is, it will not be included. Also, in order to be included, the single’s retail release has to land between 1990 and 1999. Special thanks to our user smokygurl for suggesting the idea on our interactive suggest tool at http://www.msmojo.tv
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Top 10 Pop Songs From the 1990s


While grunge, alt-rock, and hip hop dominated the more alternative areas of music, 90's pop had just as much to offer. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the top ten pop songs from the 1990s.

For this list, we're looking at our favorite pop songs released between 1990 and 1999. While covers are accepted, we are not counting re-recordings for this list, so as beautiful as Elton John's “Candle in the Wind 1997” is, it will not be included. Also, in order to be included, the single’s retail release has to land between 1990 and 1999.

#10: “How Do I Live” (1997)
LeAnn Rimes


In a rare move, there were actually two versions of “How Do I Live” picking up airplay in 1997. Originally written for the movie “Con Air”, Disney executives found LeAnn Rimes’s version too “poppy,” so they had fellow country artist Trisha Yearwood re-record it with a more contemporary country sound. Rimes' version, however, was released to pop markets where it quickly became a success. The song stayed on the Billboard chart for sixty nine weeks and remained in the top ten for thirty two. Yearwood's version, meanwhile, hit 23 on the charts before her label stopped supporting it, fearing it would hurt her album sales.

#9: “Barbie Girl” (1997)
Aqua


Let's not kid ourselves, “Barbie Girl” is far from a masterpiece, it's doubtful it's anyone's favorite song, and it's not very likely to be played at clubs anymore but damn, is it fun! From Lene Nystrøm’s plasticy singing to the bouncy beat, this song is pop 101, but who says that's a bad thing? It's a fun, catchy tune that you can blast with your friends, and singing René Dif’s iconic line “come on Barbie, let's go party” will never not be fun. It reached #1 aroundthe world and became Aqua’s most recognizable song, well ahead of... their many other songs. Sure it's a cheese fest but don't pretend it isn't one of your guiltiest of guilty pleasures.

#8: “Un-Break My Heart” (1996)
Toni Braxton


The song that can make anyone weep, “Un-Break My Heart” is a sorrowful ballad that became one of Braxton’s most beloved hits, even if she did originally pass on it. After some convincing, Braxton warmed up to this Diane Warren-penned song and even earned a Grammy Award for her trouble. The song remained at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for eleven weeks and became one of the decade's biggest hits. Braxton’s vocals are absolutely heartbreaking, and as depressing as the experience is, it's hard to not love this song. It's beautiful and tragic in all the right ways, and is easily one of Toni’s finest moments.

#7: “Wannabe” (1997)
Spice Girls


You know what everyone wanted in 1997? More Spice Girls. Already a summer hit in Europe in 1996, this song washed up on North American shores in the winter of ‘97 and spread across North America like a plague. The lyrics evoke themes of independence and it quickly became a Girl Power anthem throughout the world even if no one knew what the hell “zigazig-ing” was. While the Spice Girls never quite matched this level of success again, they didn't need to, as they had successfully entered the zeitgeist and left a lasting impression. Seriously though, what is zigazig-ing!?

#6: “I Want It That Way” (1999)
Backstreet Boys


And now, one of the world's most popular boy bands, a cornerstone of late 1990s pop music. Despite bad hair, questionable clothing choices, and odd attempts at moustaches, the Backstreet Boys were a global phenomenon, and this song is one of their catchiest and most recognizable. The lyrics are sweet and endearing, and the music takes you to a peaceful place, evoking a soft, mature sound for the band which suits them just as well as their more upbeat tracks. The song was a worldwide hit, peaking at #1 in over twenty five countries and reinforced their status as music’s hottest act while allowing them to continue on their path to world pop domination.

#5: “One Sweet Day” (1995)
Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men


Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men were at the top of their game in the mid 90s so it was only natural they'd capitalized on their successes and join forces. Creating one of the most memorable songs of their respective careers, thesong's lyrics are both gorgeous and heartbreaking, but the contrasting vocals are seemingly meant for each other. It spent sixteen weeks at #1, becoming the longest-running number one single in Billboard history, a record that it still holds to this day, signifying the song’s power and the hold that it had over the public.

#4: “Vogue” (1990)
Madonna


The Queen of 80s pop proved that her transition to the new decade would be as smooth as butter. The Material Girl vogued her way into the 90's dropping this single in March of 1990 and watched as it peaked at the top of thecharts in over thirty countries. Influenced by the disco styles of the 1970s, Madonna created a fantastic dance-house track that helped establish what dance music would become throughout the decade. Madonna not only brought “vogueing” and house music into the mainstream, she briefly made disco cool again and created one of the best music videos of all time.

#3: “My Heart Will Go On” (1997)
Celine Dion


Recorded as the love theme from “Titanic” and recorded in just one take, this Celine Dion classic is arguably one of the greatest movie themes of all time. While an instrumental version serves as the movie’s score throughout various scenes, the song itself is both heartbreaking and uplifting, perfectly coinciding with the themes of the movie. While some may argue that it's too slow and overly dramatic, there's no denying the immense popularity and success that the song saw in the late 90s. It is now one of the best-selling singles of all time, having sold over fifteen million copies, and has become one of Dion’s signature songs.

#2: “I Will Always Love You” (1992)
Whitney Houston


First released as a country single in the '70's by its writer, Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston's R&B infused version became one of the greatest cover songs in music history. Houston showcases her powerhouse vocals throughoutthe song, reaching heights that other singers can only dream of, proving herself to be one of the greatest vocalists of all time. The song was a massive commercial success, spending a then-record fourteen weeks at number one and was certified 4x platinum only two months after its release.

Before we take a look at our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Livin’ la Vida Loca” (1999)
Ricky Martin

“Waiting for Tonight” (1999)
Jennifer Lopez

“Believe” (1998)
Cher

“MMMBop” (1997)
Hanson

“The Sign” (1993)
Ace of Base

#1: “...Baby One More Time” (1999)
Britney Spears


In the 1990's Britney Spears was just an ambitious 16 year old former Mouseketeer with a dream. In the age of pop groups like Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, and NSYNC, Brit became a solo powerhouse with this song. It reached number one in every country that it charted and singled out Britney as a cultural phenomenon, helping to pave the way for other successful teen pop solo artists like Mandy Moore and Christina Aguilera. Her powerful vocals compliment the energetic sound of the production to create a true 90s classic, filled with catchy hooks and a memorable chorus that made her a superstar in the process.

Do you agree with our list? What pop song from the 90s is your personal favorite? For more bouncy top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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