Absolute Radio presenters reveal their favourite songs of the 90s

See all of their top tracks now

My Favourite 90s
Author: Scott ColothanPublished 27th Aug 2020
Last updated 27th Aug 2020

As part of the tenth birthday celebrations for Absolute 90s, our esteemed presenters have been getting nostalgic and cherry-picking their favourite songs of the 1990s.

On Sunday night (30th August) at 8.30pm on a very special one-off show called My Favourite 90s on Absolute Radio, Dave Berry, Leona Graham, Bush & Richie, Ben Burrell, Sarah Champion, Danielle Perry, Jay Lawrence, Claire Sturgess and Sophie K will all be revealing their biggest anthems of the decade.

The presenters will all be regaling stories about why each particular song is important to them and, of course, we’ll be hearing the sublime tunes themselves.

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To celebrate My Favourite 90s, below are all of our presenters’ choices in full including Britpop legends like Blur, Oasis, Supergrass and Pulp, rock legends Nirvana and AC/DC, dance titans The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy, the mighty heads Portishead and Radiohead, and many more.

You can also check out our other Absolute 90s 10th anniversary features right here:

The greatest female musicians of the 1990s

The 20 greatest one-hit wonders of the 1990s

The best movie soundtracks of the 1990s

Andy Bush’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Andy Bush's favourite 90s songs

The Charlatans – ‘Weirdo’ (1992)

Andy Bush: “2000 years ago, when I was in a band, I was a bass player, and I remember sitting on the floor in the lounge with (TV show) The Word on and this band were playing live. I was trying to work out the bass line for it by trying to watch the bass player (Martin Blunt) in this band and work it out for myself. Still to this day it’s just one of the best bass lines... EVER!”

Manic Street Preachers – ‘You Love Us’ (1991)

Andy Bush: “I love the Manic Street Preachers, they’re great. But my favourite Manic Street Preachers era was them right at the beginning when Richey (Edwards) was in the band. They were quite scary and edgy and punk rock. I remember watching, I can’t remember the actual TV show, but it was one of those late-night Channel 4 things about bands, and I remember the Manics walked onto the stage, they looked like The Sex Pistols, and they immediately opened up with ‘You Love Us’. Honestly, I’d never heard anything like it.”

Blur – ‘Tender’ (1999)

Andy Bush: “This track is one of my favourite songs from the 90s because it doesn’t sound kind of anything like what this band are famous for. It’s a beautiful bit of guitar. I’m going to say this right now, Graham Coxon is probably one of the indie guitar heroes that doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He’s an amazing guitarist, he’s written some of the most awesome lines you’ve ever heard in 90s music and beyond. This is just a lesser spotted beauty from Blur, ‘Tender’.”

Richie Firth’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Richie Firth's favourite 90s songs

Cast - ‘Fine Time’ (1995)

Richie Firth: “I will always have a soft spot for this band because they were the first band I saw live at our student union when I went to university in Bournemouth. First year of university, first year away from home, first year of freedom, always a precious memory if you choose to go and do that with your education. Cast were the first big band to come down during my first term of university and play our student union. It was a sweat pit, it was sticky floor time and this was a fine song from them – ‘Fine Time’ from Cast!”

Manic Street Preachers - ‘La Tristessa Durera (Scream to a Sigh)’ (1993)

Richie Firth: “Oh, it’s so hard to pick a song to represent a decade that is one of my favourites, but I’m going to go for a song I used to burn out on my CD Walkman. This was when I had finished my GCSEs and in that long summer before you get the chance to set off on your A-Levels, you’re heading to work or whatever, and I picked up myself a summer job working as a groundsman for the local cricket club. My job was to sit on the heavy roller and roll the wickets – yes, no jokes, I wasn’t the roller itself, I was the one sat on it. I sat there with my heavy roller and I sat there with my CD Walkman and I must have burnt a hole in this CD. I loved it; this is Manic Street Preachers and ‘La Tristesse Durera’”

Republica ‘Ready To Go’ (1996)

Richie Firth: “Do you know what? It might not even be one of the best songs of the nineties. I’m not saying that for a million years. But it evokes memories for me, it evokes memories of the England football team – they were great, they were fantastic – but it wasn’t easy to watch them because it was all on satellite tele. So you’d have to go over to the student union bar, you’d all be crammed round and, at the time, Sky Sports used this song to introduce England matches. Then they went off to an ad break and they’d come back and this music would come back on. So this memory is engrained with good times in the pub watching football in the nineties. It’s Republica’s ‘Ready To Go’.”

Sarah Champion’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Sarah Champion's favourite 90s songs

Nirvana – ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ (1991)

Sarah Champion: “I have to say the 90s were the glory days for me. The college days, the uni days, pound a pint nights down the union – all the joys of adulthood and none of the real responsibilities, and just so many songs that have incredible memories for me. Formative memories, really. And this song in the early 1990s when I was a teenager myself just massively resonated – full of raw emotion and all just around a few chords.”

Pulp – ‘Common People’ (1995)

Sarah Champion: “I just had to pick a Pulp song as one of my favourites from the 90s. I remember buying the ‘Different Class’ album – me and a few mates clubbed together because we were all penniless students – but wow was it worth every penny. Then we went to see Pulp at Wembley Arena in 1996 I think and to this day it remains one of the greatest gigs I have ever been to. We were all down the front all completely crushed and massively dehydrated but Jarvis Cocker, he’s just such a great showman. I’d have happily picked any track from ‘Different Class’ but in terms of an era-defining classic it had to be ‘Common People’.

Supergrass – ‘Alright’ (1995)

Sarah Champion: “I’ve always loved how specific songs can take you back to a specific time in your life, an exact moment. More than anything else for me, music is just so emotive in that way. This song always takes me back to Wednesday nights in our student union, it was a night called Club Sandwich and me and my mates would go every week and pick up a couple of cans of Red Stripe on the way there and get far too sozzled for a school night and just jump about on the dancefloor singing into each other’s faces like the lyrics were written especially for us.”

Leona Graham’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Leona Graham's favourite 90s songs

AC/DC – ‘Thunderstruck’ (1990)

Leona Graham: “I’m going to start with a song from ‘The Razors Edge’ by AC/DC, which was their twelfth album. At a time when we thought they couldn’t get any better, they released ‘The Razors Edge’ and the opening track was ‘Thunderstruck’ so you can imagine my delight when I heard that song because it’s absolutely explosive track. So, that brings back some great memories for me from the start of the nineties.”

Ocean Colour Scene – ‘Hundred Mile High City’ (1997)

Leona Graham: “Onto the mid-nineties now, and we were really into Ocean Colour Scene – when I say ‘we’, I mean me and a friend of mine used to go to festivals and gigs together. We saw them live a few times and one of their best tracks was ‘Hundred Mile High City’. Loved that song, loved that band and it really takes me back to a wonderful time of gigging and going to amazing festivals.”

The Levellers – ‘One Way’ (1991 & re-released 1998)

Leona Graham: “My third track is one that I was into in the latter part of the decade. I was living in Brighton at the time working at a local radio station, and I hung about at a pub called The Sutherland Arms, and it also happened to be the local pub of The Levellers, who lived just around the corner from it. So, it was just a match made in heaven, we liked drinking, we loved music, I was on the radio, they were a band and all of the punters in this pub were instant fans of The Levellers because we hung about them. We used to go round, see them performing live and just having a fantastic time. So The Levellers really remind me of the nineties and particularly the song ‘One Way’.

Dave Berry’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Dave Berry's favourite 90s songs

Blur – ‘Song 2’

Dave Berry: “I’d like to pick one of my favourite songs from the nineties based on the psychology of why people buy things. Now, I’m no expert in this field, but something occurred to me when I was working in a clothes shop in the late 1990s. I worked out that I could sell guys shirts, jackets and even trousers by subliminally slipping a certain song onto the speakers in the shop in South East London. A chap would slip a jacket on and be stood in front of a full length mirror and then a young me would slip behind the till and to where the CD changer was and I’d press play on a song and the song would start to pound out of the speakers. A powerhouse of a song. A shot in the arm of pure adrenaline of pure ‘oh, I look good in this jacket, oh the girls are going to like me’. And, of course, that helped me sell more clothes which made be earn more commission, which added to how much beer I could buy. So effectively I owe that band a pint. That band was Blur and this is ‘Song 2’.”

Paul Weller – ‘You Do Something To Me’ (1995)

Dave Berry: “Choosing a favourite song from the 90s is a bit of a double-edged sword because what I’m going for is a song that reminds me of heartbreak. My first heartbreak, which I think for anybody is the one that you remember the most. I go back to 1995 and I was going to a club every Friday night called Popscene, which was an indie rock n’ roll night. That was where I clapped eyes on someone who I won’t name because I know she’s married now with children and it would be embarrassing for everyone involved… but it was kind of love at first sight and then she ended up giving me the elbow for the affections of a guitarist in a band. I kind of ended up going around to my friend’s house, his parents had decided to debunk for the summer to the Isle of Skye, and they just left us the house. This was meant to be party time, but I would just lock myself in his room and I would listen to this song over and over again. Even now when I hear it, it can bring a small tear to my eye.”

Radiohead – ‘High and Dry’ (1995)

Dave Berry: “I’m going to turn my attentions to seeing something with my actual eyes, hearing it with my very ears and being there. I am so pleased when I look back on my life that I can say I was at Glastonbury Festival in 1997. My job at Glastonbury wasn’t just to be a festival goer and party hard, I was there working selling odd coloured paraphernalia to unsuspecting hippies in stripy hemp jumpers. As a reward for working there, I was given my ticket but I was given an afternoon/evening off and I chose the Saturday because I got to see Ocean Colour Scene and Ray Davies and Dodgy, but it was all just leading up to the main event when I got to see the mighty Radiohead. It’s strange because listening to the band talking about their appearance at Glastonbury in 97 apparently it was fraught with all kinds of technical issues and they didn’t really enjoy it at all. If you ask anywhere that was there in the crowd, we had the most fantastic time, we really did Thom (Yorke). If you’re listening to this, you did ok kid, I promise you!”

Ben Burrell’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Ben Burrell's favourite 90s songs

Oasis - ‘Slide Away’ (1994)

Ben Burrell: “My first choice is a song taken from one of the greatest debut albums of all time in my opinion (‘Definitely Maybe’). I remember vividly listening to Oasis and their first two albums specifically for the first time; it was on a really long car journey. I’d been aware of Oasis for quite a while, you couldn’t help but be aware of Oasis if you grew up in the nineties, my brother who was four years older than me was really into them and I used to hear ‘Live Forever’ being played in his room and he had pictures of Liam (Gallagher) on his wall, and you’d see Liam on TV and I remember reading about them in the paper all the time. I wasn’t really into their music – I hadn’t sat down and listened to their music. But we took a really long journey from where we lived on the south coast right up to Loch Lomond for a family New Year’s thing. It was a long car journey and there wasn’t much to do, so my brother gave me a tape because I’d just got a Walkman, and on the first side was quite a few of the songs from ‘Definitely Maybe’ and on the second side was ‘Whatever’ and some songs from ‘What’s The Story (Morning Glory)?’ I didn’t know it at the time but that car journey via my brother completely shaped my musical taste. It got me into bands and guitar music. Obviously with those first two Oasis records there’s quite a few references to The Beatles and other classic British bands like The Who and T Rex. It was a great introduction in hindsight. This song ‘Slide Away’ didn’t really stand out in the first couple of listens but as I’ve listened to ‘Definitely Maybe’ more over the years, this has risen to the top. This is my favourite song from that album. WHAT a song this is!”

Radiohead - ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ (1995)

Ben Burrell: “This is born a little bit out of a lost summer. We moved around a fair amount when I was younger with my dad’s job. So every three or four years we’d move somewhere new – I’d have to go to a new school and make new friends. Which was fine, but it meant that every time we did move I’d have a summer before school started where I’d just be on my own. It meant that I got to listen to loads of music, and I remember one summer listening back and discovering The Clash and The Sex Pistols and Stevie Wonder and Kate Bush all in one summer. This summer though when I discovered Radiohead, they had just released a new album and it started a little bit of interest in them (for me). I’d heard so much about them. Just like with Oasis, I was aware of them but I went back and discovered their back catalogue and I was so, so excited about the music they had made. I think they’ve made better records than this – I think ‘OK Computer’ and ‘In Rainbows’ maybe top it – but this album ‘The Bends’ holds a special place in my heart because at its core it’s a classic rock record really; it’s got big guitar solos, big melodies, it’s ever so slightly cheesy but it’s really intelligent and layered at the same time. This song (‘Fake Plastic Trees') in particular was straight away one of my favourites and I still love it to this day. I love the lyrics of it, I love the melody, I love Thom Yorke’s performance, I just think it’s an incredible rock ballad.”

The Divine Comedy – ‘The National Express’ (1998)

Ben Burrell: “My final choice is a bit of a strange one for me personally because unlike Oasis or Radiohead this is not from a band or artist that I love, or have seen live loads of times and bought all the records. I saw (Neil Hannon) perform this song live and I always feel like music is really good at capturing a particular moment or place or time in your life and this definitely did that. I’d just left school and along with two of my mates I went to a music festival in Barcelona called Summercase and saw some amazing live music. It really was that kind of end of an era thing where you were going from a school kid and becoming an adult, and I was moving to a new place once again. So I was waving goodbye to my schoolmates and moving onto somewhere completely new and this trip was a last hurrah for us before going on to do different things. The festival itself ran from 9 in the evening to 6 in the morning, so we were in the middle of the night watching this band and it was just incredible. I remember watching it and just thinking we’re probably never going to hang out in the same way again. Whenever I hear this song it transports me straight back to Barcelona watching The Divine Comedy do ‘The National Express.’”

Claire Sturgess’ favourite songs of the 90s:

Claire Sturgess' favourite 90s songs

Portishead – ‘Sour Times' (1994)

Claire Sturgess: “In the early 90s I was hypnotised by what was coming out of Bristol at the time, trip-hop. Not so much coming out in a blaze of glory but more a sultry swagger of indifference. Trip-hop bands were just so cool, and boy did they know it. I was never quite cool enough to be officially into trip-hop but I did adore it. Massive Attack, Tricky, and Portishead. The song I’ve chosen features on their debut album ‘Dummy’ – everyone loved ‘Dummy’, it would of course go on to win the Mercury Prize in 95. This band were influenced by movie soundtracks of the 60s and 70s, lots of scratchy samples and Beth Gibbons’ vocals which are so light and sad and forlorn and fragile, I just adored her voice. There are so many tracks I could have picked from the 'Dummy' album but I’ve chosen ‘Sour Times’, and still to this day it sends shivers down my spine.”

Radiohead – ‘Just’ (1995)

Claire Sturgess: “I could have picked any of the tracks that appear on ‘The Bends’ like ‘Fake Plastic Trees’, ‘Street Spirit’ and ‘High & Dry’, or ‘My Iron Lung’, which I love and even the opener ‘Planet Telex’. But I’ve gone for ‘Just’ because I love the aggression in this song, the urgency of Jonny Greenwood’s guitar and the sneering of those opening lyrics, “Can't get the stink off / He's been hanging around for days.” Do you think I might have had boyfriend trouble in the 90s?! This song was great for releasing like a pressure valve. I felt, and I still always feel, elated when I hear it. If you’ve not seen the video for ‘Just’ please go and watch it now, and when you do – I’m quite jealous actually if you’re watching it for the first time – but when you’ve watched it come back to me and tell me what you think is happening, because I’ve been discussing this video with people for decades and I love hearing other people’s theories. Also, when we see the band peering out of the window and you see Ed O’Brien in his sunglasses, I have to admit I’ve always had a crush on him and I still do after re-watching it. ‘Just’ by Radiohead is a 90s classic."

Pulp – ‘Common People’ (1995)

Claire Sturgess: “If we’re talking the greatest songs of the 90s, we have to include a Britpop song don’t we? But is it going to be Oasis or Blur? I’ll let my Absolute Radio colleagues fight over those two, but I’m going to go for Pulp who released their ‘Different Class’ album at the height of Britpop in 1995. What I loved about Jarvis (Cocker) was he was socially aware, but his lyrics were funny and mischievous, and he was gangly and awkward and nervous on stage and Pulp gigs were the coolest gigs ever. Just hearing this particular song transports me straight back to Camden – I know they were from Sheffield – but at the height of Britpop we were all in Camden; I was living there at the time and the smells of kebabs, the chips and the cider and hearing Pulp’s ‘Common People’ transports me straight back to the 90s. Happy, happy memories. Definitely one of the songs of the decade.”

Matt Dyson’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Matt Dyson's favourite 90s songs

Beastie Boys ‘Intergalactic’ (1998)

Matt Dyson: “One of their best ever songs from 1998 from their album ‘Hello Nasty’. I’ve been a fan of the Beastie Boys throughout their career, from their early laddish rocky days under Def Jam. The two surviving members of Beastie Boys were talking (in a documentary) about how they really hated their first album and they really wanted to move away from it. That’s what I like about the way as I’ve grown up with them their sound has changed and developed, they’ve added new things and changed with the times, which I think most bands need to do to stay fresh and relevant. ‘Intergalactic’ from ’98 was just an amazing tune, an amazing video too with the fisheye lens and the boys wandering around in boiler suits. An amazing song that really reminds me of the late nineties. The lyrics are amazing – ‘I’ll stir fry you in my wok / like a pinch on the neck from Mr Spock’ – some genius from the Beastie Boys! The robot sounding voice at the start, he’s saying ‘another dimension, another dimension’ over and over again, for me it always sounded like ‘I’m having a big s word'. See if you can hear it yourself!”

Underworld - ‘Born Slippy .NUXX’ (1996)

Matt Dyson: “One of the biggest dance tracks of the nineties. There’s not many songs where I can remember where I was the exact moment when I first heard it, but this is one of those songs. I was at university up in Scotland in Stirling, I was round at a friend’s flat and we would always have a bottle of Buckfast before heading to the union. We were getting pretty loaded… and a guy called John Brownlee who we used to knock about with fancied himself as a hard house DJ and one day he took out of his record bag a brand new track by Underworld. There was a lot of excitement at the time because the Trainspotting film was about to come out and this was our first taster of the soundtrack for the film. We sat down and he put it on his decks and we listened to it for the first time and we were simply blown away. I hadn’t been massively into Underworld before this, but this is just one hell of a banger from one of the best soundtracks to a film in the 90s.”

The Chemical Brothers ft. Noel Gallagher – ‘Let Forever Be’ (1999)

Matt Dyson: “Back in the 90s when I was in university up in Scotland we used to go clubbing me and my friends, some of my friends from Nottingham would come up with my brothers as well and we’d all go out and have big weekends in Glasgow and Edinburgh going to clubs like The Arches, Colours and The Tunnel. Dance music was an important part of my life and on my student radio show – thankfully no tapes still exist – I would play a mix of my favourite music. There was a lot of Pulp, and Gomez and Oasis and dance music like Daft Punk and Roni Size and The Chemical Brothers. Imagine my delight when Oasis linked up with The Chemical Brothers?! It was manna from heaven for my young ears! There were Noel Gallagher vocals on setting sun which came out in 96, which was an amazing tune, but it got even better in 99 when they collaborated again on ‘Let Forever Be’.

Matt Forde’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Matt Forde's favourite 90s songs

Oasis – ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ (1995)

Matt Forde: “One of my favourite tracks of the 90s is ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ by Oasis. It is one of the best songs ever written. It’s the first song that I loved on a first hearing, usually it takes me a while to get into songs. I tend to get into bands a bit later than everyone else because songs have to grow on me, I have to hear them over and over again. I remember being on the school bus and listening to the radio and I remember hearing the opening chords (that sound like) ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon but once that electric guitar comes in and that soaring start… I as thinking ‘This is the best song ever written!’ I remember hearing it on the school bus in the morning and then in the afternoon someone in the library humming it to themselves. It was everywhere. With Oasis for me, it always comes back to ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’.

4 Non Blondes – ‘What’s Up?’

Matt Forde: “Given that I’m a big Oasis fan and into Britpop and indie, I really should have chosen ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ by the Verve or something like that but this song really reminds me of a really specific summer – the summer of 1993. This is so sad (laughs), but me and my sister went to Holland for three weeks without our mum because the local Salvation Army in Nottingham did an exchange program basically for disadvantaged kids to be able to go abroad, and we stayed with this family in Holland and it was the longest three weeks of my life! We were both completely wracked with homesickness, we really missed our mum. It’s pathetic looking back on it but this song had just come out and I think they’re Dutch (sorry Matt, they’re American) and we stayed in a part of Holland called Friesland and all I remember about that summer is Nottingham Forest signing Stan Collymore, missing my mum and this song being on the radio, and eating loads of chocolate spread.”

Chris Martin’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Chris Martin's favourite 90s songs

Monaco - ‘What Do You Want from Me?’ (1997)

Chris Martin: “I don’t know whether you experience was much like mine growing up in suburbia, but the record shopping options in Watford was pretty much Virgin Megastore. I spent every penny I earned just buying records, CDs – five for £30 rinsed my bank account every time it was on! I remember one half term when I was quite a young teenager, me and my friends went out there and we all bought a single, which is all we could afford at the time, and I remember I was absolutely mesmerised by Monaco ‘What Do You Want from Me?’. I had no idea it was Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order who was responsible for that bassline that introduces the whole thing. I didn’t appreciate at the time how weird and rare a bass solo is in a record. I think I was already a bit of a nerd by this stage, I think I’d memorised what everyone in our group had bought and had them catalogued in my brain… I had a little bit of glee when Monaco charted higher than anything they’d bought! Because first of all it was like ‘my choice is right’, it was validating, and secondly it was like ‘yeah mine is the most guitar out of the bunch’. Remember those days when guitar records could chart highly in the Top 40?! Anyway, it remains a fantastic single!”

Manic Street Preachers – ‘A Design For Life’ (1996)

Chris Martin: “I cannot understate the importance of the Manic Street Preachers in my life growing up. If you’re a kind of bookish nerd, they are the bookish nerd’s band particularly if you’re a miserable one at that. All their albums are filled with quotes and book recommendations, and places for you to try and learn more and find out more about. Different ways of thinking and different ways of being understood as a bit of an outsider. A very easy entry point into the Manics in the mid-90s was the phenomenal album ‘Everything Must Go’ and it was from there my love was spawned – I wanted to know more about this band who managed to tread such a fine tightrope between anthem and misery. I ended up getting ‘Generation Terrorists’ and then ‘Gold Against The Soul’ and then ‘The Holy Bible’, and that was it, I was hooked for life into this band. But the gateway forever will be the very first time hearing ‘A Design For Life’. It’s very rare remembering the first time you hear a song but I remember making breakfast on our old kitchen and the radio was on and whoever was on the breakfast show that day introduced this song by the Manic Street Preachers. I turned the radio up and I thought ‘This is incredible!’. And it hasn’t aged a day, I still think it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded.”

Foo Fighters – ‘Everlong’ (1997)

Chris Martin: "I remember being a kid and my dad used to drive us to pick mum up from work at the weekend. I remember parking up waiting for her and seeing this beige fly poster and it had this futuristic looking ray gun and it said ‘Foo Fighters’. I was like ‘what does that even mean?’ and then lo and behold you’re listening to the Evening Session in the week and you hear what the Foo Fighters are and you’re thinking ‘this is amazing’. And then Dave Grohl gets to album number two with ‘The Colour & The Shape’ and ‘Everlong’ can’t help but hit you like a ton of bricks. It is his masterpiece. To this day it’s the best song Foo Fighters have ever written. There’s something about – something about the way it just picks you up and carries you on a momentum that is utterly irresistible and lifts you with a chorus that you just want to scream at the top of your lungs. It is pure euphoria from start to finish.”

Danielle Perry’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Danielle Perry's favourite 90s songs

Bj?rk – ‘Venus as a Boy’ (1993)

Danielle Perry: “Looking back at some of my records from the 1990s, it really evokes some memories doesn’t it? The first one I want to talk about in Bj?rk. ‘Venus as a Boy’ which landed right in the middle of Britpop. It was amazing her arrival onto the scene when she came out with ‘Debut’ that incredible record… ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ it’s almost like a musical number, it was actually a cover. But ‘Venus as a Boy’ had this sway to it that when you go and see her live she just really rolls with the music. That was the start of the love affair I had with Bj?rk, I was lucky enough to see her at the Royal Opera House with Chris Cunningham, who is a hero of 90s music videos and visuals, he did the visuals that night, and it was so, so good. Then I started a love affair with Iceland and I kept going back and listening to her music and no surprise came when I decided to write my dissertation at university on Bj?rk because there’s something quite spellbinding about the music she’s creating.”

Supergrass – ‘Moving’ (1999)

Danielle Perry: “Another record I’d like to talk about from the 1990s is Supergrass and ‘Moving’. There’s something about this record, and I recently saw them perform at Ally Pally just before lockdown, they got in that reunion tour just in time. It was such a marvellous night and it was Gaz’s (Coombes) birthday and we went to have a few drinks after. The way the song starts, there’s no intro, it’s straight into that really interesting dissonant chord – it’s a really unusual start to a song, and really emotive and everyone singing along when you see it in the live a capacity. Then suddenly it just changes and the energy builds and builds, and throughout the song it gets lusher and lusher with the string. I just think it’s an absolutely brilliantly written song. And this band live by the way, are still knockout!”

The Prodigy - ‘Breathe’ (1996)

Danielle Perry: “This was the first time that I’d really experienced anxiety and a little bit of fear in the sound of music because it’s pretty gnarly stuff! After The Prodigy’s (1992 album) ‘Experience’, which is a really beautiful bookend and bookmark of what music was doing at the point in history, then coming out with ‘Breathe’ and that really iconic music video. When I saw them at Glastonbury in 97 there was atmosphere there and there’s something so exciting about that when you saw them live and you’re in the crowd, just the way people were reacting.. it was life-changing.”

Sophie K’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Sophie K's favourite 90s songs

Oasis – Champagne Supernova (1995)

Sophie K: “Have you ever had a song that seems to flash you back to an emotion but you can’t attach any specific memories? This is that song for me. For some reason it takes me right back and gets me super emotional. When I try and think what it is, my brain gets flooded with all these memories like trying to rewind a cassette tape because it had looped and you’re trying to rewind it with a pen. It reminds me of trying to sneak Taboo from my grandma’s alcohol cabinet, it reminds me of having a crush on a boy who lived around the corner and really slowly walking past his house when I went to the bus stop just hoping that he would notice me. I just remember thinking my parents were the oldest people and just didn’t understand anything or anybody or how difficult my life was.”

Massive Attack – ‘Teardrop’ (1998)

Sophie K: “This song always takes me back to a sleepover I had when I was young. I remember we were all staying round one of my mate’s houses and she loved ‘Teardrop’ but a dance remix. She always had the tape playing. She said to me ‘Sophie, we really need to sort out your eyebrows’ and all the girls were laughing and she took out these tweezers and started plucking at my eyebrows. This song was playing in the background and I remember going home to my grandma the next day and my grandma being absolutely mortified – I don’t remember ever seeing her that disappointed in me apart from when I maybe burnt a hole in the carpet. She said, ‘what have you done to yourself?!’ My friend had plucked my eyebrows until I had this thin slither – it looked like I was constantly surprised – right at the top of my eyebrow arch. She said, ‘you’re going to regret that one day’ and do you know what, she was right. Grandmas are always right.”

Third Eye Blind – ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ (1997)

Sophie K: “This song reminds me of an American high school I never went to but always dreamed that I would go to one day. I had this image of skating in on my skateboard and being really cool but uncool because the cheerleaders didn’t like me. I didn’t go to an American high school, I went to school in Huddersfield so life was completely different. I do remember going out in Huddersfield and taking a rickety old bus into town and went into one of the two record shops we had and I bought the Third Eye Blind album. I felt so cool, so edgy and I was like ‘yeah, I’m such a muso!’ Little did I know this was one of the most famous songs in the world at the time.”

Dan Noble’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Dan Noble's favourite 90s songs

Nirvana – ‘About A Girl’ MTV Unplugged version (1993)

Dan Noble: “It’s one of the songs that came from the MTV performances, and in my opinion the best one – it came from Nirvana. I love Nirvana, we all know their grungy ‘Nevermind’ is a work of art but ‘MTV Unplugged’ is so special, it’s so raw and organic, you really get to hear everything. You get to hear how impressive Kurt’s vocals are and also what I love about it is the contrast been their unplugged session and every other live performance… on the videos for this you see Dave Grohl hitting the drums so quietly, it’s like he’s drumming at night trying not to wake the neighbours. And then the iconic cardigan Kurt Cobain was wearing – only he could pull off a cardigan and still look rock and roll.”

Oasis - ‘Rock N’ Roll Star’ (1994)

Dan Noble: “Oasis’ ‘Definitely Maybe’ is one of the best debuts of the 90s, and, to be fair, it’s one of best albums of the 90s. ‘Rock N’ Roll Star’ is such a bold way for a new band to open an album, it’s done so rarely as good as this. I never got to see Oasis live but I have been lucky enough to see Liam Gallagher live though. I saw him last year opening his show with this song and it felt like the closest I was going to get to seeing Oasis live – it gave me something if a glimpse of what it must have been like. Listening to this I can just picture Liam walking up to the stage, possibly with a tambourine in his hand, he’s got his microphone a little too high up… and this is just iconic; Oasis ‘Rock N’ Roll Star’.

Pulp - ‘Babies’ (1992)

Dan Noble: "Pulp are one of my favourite bands from the decade and one of my favourite bands of all time. I love the fact that they look like a bunch of outsiders and they embrace that. I love that when they perform live Jarvis Cocker has got some really interesting moves. If you check out the footage of Pulp at Glastonbury online when they played ‘Babies’, you can see what I mean about the dance moves but also look at the crowd shots; if there’s a tall guy in a bucket hat that’s Stephen Merchant! It’s a great example of Jarvis Cocker’s lyric writing, his storytelling – this is a story that I can’t quite relate to, but it definitely makes me think of my angsty teenage years.”

Jay Lawrence’s favourite songs of the 90s:

Jay Lawrence's favourite 90s songs

Blink-182 – ‘What’s My Age Again?’ (1999)

Jay Lawrence: “Let’s be honest, choosing the best song of the nineties and the songs that mean the most to you is always going to be a really hard thing to do. For a lot of people, the 90s soundtracked them growing up, so for me I’ve got to look back and think about a band that really changed my music tastes. I didn’t really know much about them until mates got me onto them, and it sort of meant I listened to them and then I listened to bands that sort of sounded a bit like them. I really got into that genre of music (pop-punk). That and the fact they were just a fun band to listen to, and they’re a fun band to watch. Blink-182’s ‘What’s My Age Again?’ is a ridiculous song in all senses. It’s ridiculous because it’s an amazing song, but it’s also because it’s a ridiculous song in nature – you listen to the lyrics, it’s absolutely ridiculous. Definitely one of my favourites from the 90s.”

Cornershop – ‘Brimful of Asha’ Norman Cook remix (1997)

Jay Lawrence: “I’m going to go a little leftfield with this one. A lot of people of course will be thinking of Britpop when they think of the 90s. They might be thinking about grunge, even the best hip-hop to have ever been made was made in the nineties. In the nineties there were so many one-hit wonders. Now I love a good one-hit wonder purely because the whole nation goes wild for it and then the band, or the artist, just disappear. Quite sad from their point of view but the song always survives. ‘Brimful of Asha’ is an amazing one-hit wonder and a song that I still listen to regularly."

The Smashing Pumpkins - ‘Tonight, Tonight’ (1995)

Jay Lawrence: “When I was growing up in that decade my mum always said to me ‘James, I’m sure you learn more through The Simpsons than you do through school’. I think The Simpsons kind of taught you quite a lot - probably stuff that you didn’t need to know, probably stuff that you shouldn’t know, but still they taught you quite a lot. One thing that they did do was introduce a band to me – this is very embarrassing, this is not the coolest thing to say but I’m going to say it regardless – one thing they did do was introduce The Smashing Pumpkins to me. There was an episode where Billy Corgan and co. were playing a music festival and at that point being the young Jay, I hadn’t heard of them. But it meant that I started listening to a band that doesn’t really sound like any other band in the best possible way.”

Ross Buchanan’s favourite song of the 90s:

Ross Buchanan's favourite 90s song

Nirvana – ‘Lithium’ (1991)

Ross Buchanan: “Now, I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, pardon the pun, not to take anything away from the modern day artists and streaming, but there’s something so much more intimate about growing up and being introduced to your favourite bands and artists in a strictly physical way. For me, in the 90s, it must have been my sixth or seventh birthday when I got my first CD Walkman. My brother and sister shared one of those incredibly 90s CD racks that fit really nice into the corner but looked absolutely terrible. I remember them sorting their records in alphabetical order, admiring their craft work... taking their CDs out one by one, giving them a listen and then deliberately returned those CDs back to the wrong places to sort them out the next day. However, some of those CDs were strictly forbidden in my household because I was too young and my parents thought they could protect my innocence from fart jokes of early Green Day, the naked at every opportunity from Blink-182 and the rowdiness of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That ‘Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics’ sign still haunts me to this day. But that didn’t stop me and sneaking naughtier albums into more PG friendly boxes like Nickelback or Incubus became a really popular pastime of mine. Listening to the radio and watching music channels was also allowed and that’s how I was first introduced to Nirvana. Obviously, just like everybody else in the 90s, it was the riff of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ that hooked me in but then I’m pretty sure I both idolised and fancied Kurt Cobain for moshing in that dusty, dank room with his greasy floppy hear and moth-bitten T-shirt. He was just godly. From there I nicked ‘Nevermind’ from my siblings’ CD rack and I don’t think I ever returned it. Not to say I don’t fully appreciate music in the present day, but there is nothing like connecting with your first record and you’re young an impressionable. What a time to be alive!”

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