Throwback Thursday: 1994

Nineteen ninety-four was not one of rock and pop music’s pivotal years. I didn’t realize how lackluster it was until compiling this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist. I always begin such lists with a look at the pop charts of the year being spotlighted. What a sad state of affairs they were in 1994! I found around 15 good songs that peaked in the top 40 that year, and included all of them in this list (except for Ƭ̵̬̊’s “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” which is not on Spotify). A few great songs came close to making the Top 40, such as Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” (peaked at #41) and The Breeders’ “Cannonball (peaked at #44). More great (mostly “alternative”) tracks would have made the Billboard Hot 100’s top 40 if not for Billboard‘s archaic rule that in order for a song to be eligible for the Hot 100, it needs to be commercially released as a single. Record companies stopped releasing many singles in the late 80s so as to force consumers into buying more profitable full-length albums. What that means is the Hot 100, which was supposed to represent the 100 most popular songs in the US, did not represent the 100 most popular songs in the US. And what mad the top 40 in 1994 was a lot of wussy drek. And Kurt Cobain died in 1994. Not a good year for music. Here are its gems:

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Throwback Thursday: 1999

The music of 1999 shows the century coming to a close in grand style, as if to say the next year the party will be over, oops, out of time, so this year we better party. Latinx artists were crossing over to the mainstream pop chart. Cher and Santana, who first charted in the 1960s, scored the biggest hits of their careers. Artists who made their chart debuts include Eminem and Britney Spears. Pure pop exploded, though the charts made room for country, hip hop, electronica, and big beat. As one who values diversity, I loved hearing all these different genres and styles bump up against each other on the radio. Here are 30 prime examples of the music that hit in 1999.

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