Revisiting songs and lyrics of a decade | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 10, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 10, 2018

Revisiting songs and lyrics of a decade

The Nineties as a musical era started late and ended early — kicked in by the scritchy-scratch power chords of "Smells Like Teen Spirit," ushered out by the doomy piano intro of ". . . Hit Me Baby One More Time." Anti-pop defeated by pop — full circle, all apologies.

You've heard the story.

—           Rolling Stone on the music of the '90s.


While I was listening to Rimes to repeat for the umpteenth time, a thought occurred to me. I have already talked about what the nineties music was to me, but sheer number of music that was present at that time sometimes hides away the true gems I hold dear. Perhaps, today, I will list down what I feel are the greatest songs, and small excerpts of their lyrics of the nineties. The dearth of male artists is unavoidable; fruity songs by boy bands do not qualify as good lyrics. So, apologies if your favourites are excluded.


So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind

Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time

Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial

For what it's worth it was worth all the while

It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right,

I hope you had the time of your life.

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

— Green Day


Green Day's sound is often compared to the first wave punk rock bands; this was written to distinguish it from the rock of the '90s. The song speaks of the "still frames in your mind" — something the selfie generation may never even stop to ponder on.


Is she perverted like me?

Would she go down on you in a theater?

Does she speak eloquently

And would she have your baby?

I'm sure she'd make a really excellent mother

You Oughta Know

— Alanis Morissette


The ultimate breakup song of the generation, a stark outburst followed by love lost and dreams shaken. Alanis was in a rage on the dejection, something Adele re-addressed decades later — soft in tone, but the words as blunt as Morissette.


Sorry I never told you

All I wanted to say

And now it's too late to hold you

'Cause you've flown away

So far away.

One Sweet Day

—Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men


Remnants of a time when Mariah was…mmm…Mariah and spirituality was okay in mainstream music. Spirituality is also to be found in other songs —


Well I've never prayed

But tonight I'm on my knees yeah

I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me, yeah

I let the melody shine,

Let it cleanse my mind,

I feel free now

But the airwaves are clean and there's nobody singing to me now

Bittersweet Symphony

—The Verve


Little precious has a natural obsession

For temptation but he just can't see

She gives him loving that his body can't handle

But all he can say is "Baby, it's good to me."

One day he goes and takes a glimpse in the mirror

But he doesn't recognize his own face

His health is fading and he doesn't know why

Three letters took him to his final resting place

Y'all don't hear me


—           TLC


Perhaps the most misunderstood lyrics of the decade; while for years this was a song for the dance floor, TLC describes a mother-son relationship, and the perils of their time with such brilliant use of metaphors  — drugs, HIV, et al. Poetry at its finest.


Oh, baby, baby

The reason I breathe is you

Boy, you got me blinded

Oh, pretty baby,

There's nothing that I wouldn't do

It's not the way I planned it

...Baby One More Time

—           Britney Spears


Guilty pleasure!


Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m.

And talked a little while about the year

I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower,

Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her

And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe

Maybe this year will be better than the last

A Long December

—           Counting Crows


Adam Duritz, the lead singer, could not have said it better: It's all about looking back…and seeing changes happening, and for once…looking forward and thinking, ya know, things are gonna change for the better…- 'maybe this year will be better than the last.'


Don't believe in fear

Don't believe in faith

Don't believe in anything

That you can't break

Stupid Girl

— Garbage

The oft repeated chorus just hammered one thought and only. Garbage claimed they "take pop music and make it as horrible sounding as we can." Maybe we need some more of this Garbage.


There's no escape from love

Once a gentle breeze

Weaves it's spell upon your heart

No matter what you think

It won't be too long

Til your are in my arms

Underneath the starlight, starlight

We'll be lost in the rhythm, so right

Feel it steal your heart tonight.

Can't Fight the Moonlight

— LeAnn Rimes


She stole the hearts with her re-rendition of Blue, but it was the moonlight that we could not fight.


There's far too much to take in here

More to find than can ever be found

But the sun rolling high

Through the sapphire sky

Keeps great and small on the endless round

It's the circle of life

And it moves us all

Through despair and hope

Through faith and love

Till we find our place

On the path unwinding

In the circle

The circle of life

Lion King Sound Track

—           Elton John


Reminiscent of a childhood spent in innocence, The Lion King was the Disney movie, Elton John the iconic songster teaching us how life comes to a full circle.


...people believe that they're

Gonna get away for the summer

But you and I, we live and die

The world's still spinning round

We don't know why...


...Some day you will find me

Caught beneath the landslide

In a champagne supernova in the sky

Some day you will find me

Caught beneath the landslide

In a champagne supernova...

Champagne Supernova

— Oasis


We were high and quite often. There is one certainty in life, no matter how cool it sounded,

Champagne Supernova is one trip we don't want to visit.


I get knocked down, but I get up again

You are never gonna keep me down

I get knocked down, but I get up again

You are never gonna keep me down

I get knocked down, but I get up again

You are never gonna keep me down

I get knocked down, but I get up again

You are never gonna keep me down


— Chumbawamba

Nonsensical…and we love it!


Photo: Collected

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