This math will be revolutionary to no one, but . . . I realized today that the 90s started a quarter century ago.
In some ways, 1990 seems like yesterday — that’s when I began full-time ministry, when Julie and I moved to the Carolinas, when we were in the early days of parenthood.
And in other ways, it seems like a lifetime ago — I’d never heard of “contemporary” worship, Good Shepherd was only a sign in a briar field, and mullets were still in style.
So as I reflect on the 90s, what are my five favorite songs that give shape to the decade? Do my tastes from yesteryear lean to the grunge sound that launched the 90s or the boy band vibe that wrapped it up? As you’ll see below, the answer is . . . neither.
1. One, U2. Rolling Stone called One both “intimate and anthemic.” What a perfect description of an almost perfect song.
2. Learning To Fly, Tom Petty. Under-rated, under-played, overwhelming. The live version is delicately sublime.
3. Ironic, Alanis Morissette. The best song ever with a Valley Girl imitation embedded in it. Note the 90s pattern of soft, gentle verses followed by LOUD, AGGRESSIVE chorus.
4. No Rain, Blind Melon. The little guitar riff that opens and then drives the song never fails to hypnotize.
5. Hold My Hand, Hootie & The Blowfish. This is probably fresh in my mind because my friend Joey Hopper played it at a funeral of a good friend just last week. It suited the occasion perfectly, as it suits this list as well.