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Fred's Either Positive or Negative Ramblings on Entertainment (Topic: Best/Worst Songs of 1995)

Joe Biden

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Hit it.

If you were to judge by my worst list, you would think that 1995 was one of the worst or less important years for ‘90s music. So I think it’s only fair to be able to combat that theory with the 10 best songs this year had to offer.

Just because this year hasn’t lived up to my previous expectations doesn’t automatically mean it was all terrible. In fact, I consider the songs on my Top 10 (or even Top 20, if we’re allowed to go that far) to be some of the most treasured songs the decade had to offer. So why waste any more time on this preamble? Let’s count down…



When planning out my Top 10 list, I was expecting it to be mostly songs I’ve heard from the year before this project. I have next to no knowledge about this song or its artist……but I love it.

10. “Here Comes the Hotstepper” – Ini Kamoze

Regardless of the quality any year of music may be, good or bad, there is just one thing that’s worth it: Finding hidden gems like this song here. I mean, lyrically, it might not be amazing but to that, I say who cares? This song has a groove that a lot of the boring stuff this year lacked and to me, I think that’s enough for me to call this one of the best songs of the year.


Black country! That is a sub-genre that’s rarely talked about. Mostly because it doesn’t really exist outside of Kane Brown and country/hip-hop crossovers. Even on those songs, the white guys are performing the country music. Maybe country is just one of those genres that belongs to white guys and white guys only.

But there was one musician this year that made me so happy to dispute that fact. That man is Darius Rucker and his group, Hootie & the Blowfish.

9. “Only Wanna Be with You” – Hootie & the Blowfish

Okay, maybe calling them “country music” is a bit of a stretch. There is a clear distinction between this song and “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”, make no mistake. Still though, there’s a clear aura of country encompassed in what is primarily an AC-friendly rock tune. Which is not always an insult as long as you do it right, and I believe Hootie and the Blowfish did it right.

I know there are people out there who usually dismiss these guys as cheeseballs, mostly poking fun at their name as well as their next album, Fairweather Johnson. Don’t consider me as one of them though. They may not be spectacular or groundbreaking but they still knew how to make respectable music and out of all the Cracked Rear View singles this year, this one was the standout.

This, to me, defines what Hootie and the Blowfish desired to be: A fun and carefree pop-rock band making happy rock music with a few country elements embedded in. Yes, the song does gets corny at times, especially the line where Darius Rucker states that the Miami Dolphins make him cry, but I’d be willing to forgive this song’s corniness when the rest of the song sounds pretty damn good. You can call me a fool but I will still defend these guys as being one of the rootiest bands of the ‘90s.


After discussing a genre that was mostly white, I think it’s fitting we follow that up with a genre the African-American community ruled throughout the ‘90s. And representing the genre is none other than The Notorious B.I.G. in his biggest year ever.

8. “Big Poppa” – The Notorious B.I.G.

People who hate The Notorious B.I.G. may as well shut up and don’t bother having an opinion. The ‘90s had a whole history of hip-hop artists from Heavy D to 2Pac and out of all those artists, Biggie still remains my favorite out of all of them. While I do like other artists from that field, none of them were as good at mastering the craft as Biggie was.

I liked just about everything the man was featured on this year but “Big Poppa” is the best example of them all. The beat itself revolves around an old Isley Brothers song and Biggie is just swagging throughout the whole song, matching the beat with a flow no other artist could even match. It definitely goes along with “Hypnotize” and “Juicy” as one of my favorite songs.

Sadly, we don’t get a lot of rap songs like this anymore because of his death in 1997, which is still tragic to this very day. Is it any wonder why 1997 was a depressing year for music?


Don’t think I’m going to make this best list and not mention the best girl group of the year.

7. “Creep” – TLC

When you’ve got a group as talented as TLC were, you have to wonder why others like MoKenStef, Monica, or Brandy even bothered trying. This song was TLC at their most controversial and by far, at their best here. I don’t normally put songs about cheating or infidelities on my best lists but sometimes, I have to make a few exceptions when the song’s this good. Definitely helps that this was inspired by infidelity issues T-Boz had with her old boyfriend.

Of course, this subject matter was controversial amongst the group, especially Left Eye, who adds in a verse about safe sex issues in a different version of the song. It’s at least fair that every member of a group gets their way when recording a song, right? This wasn’t the only stance on social issues the group wasn’t afraid to take in 1995 but we’ll get to that song way later in the countdown.

It would feel wrong to not put this song on a best list of mine. It is a true highlight in TLC’s discography and another reason as to why TLC ruled 1995.


Female rockers weren’t hard to come by this year. You’ve got upcoming new rockers like Sheryl Crow, acts from the previous class of music like The Pretenders, and….Natalie Merchant, I guess?

But on this Top 10, I only had room for one of them, and the spot is going to who I feel was the most underrated of them all.

6. “I’m the Only One” – Melissa Etheridge

If proven by my #10, I love doing these projects to discover hidden gems. However, I also love doing these to re-discover songs I haven’t heard in a long time. About 10 years later, this song aged perfectly. I absolutely love this song now.

For those who don’t know this about me, I’ve had an experience with crushes before. Most of the girls I’ve met and got so emotionally attached with all turned out to have boyfriends. Jealousy is a terrible feeling to have and it ends up having a negative effect on your life. I’ve always felt like I’m the only one who really knows how to treat a girl right and for once, I’ve found a song that actually says this that doesn’t sound terrible (Looking at you, Batter Danny Ken).

I guess the sole difference between this song and “Treat You Better” goes beyond Melissa Etheridge not sounding like a douchebag throughout the song. She sings the chorus with so much soul, passion, desperation, and anguish, that you know she’s the only one who’ll live, sacrifice, and die for you. It is a spectacular song that means a lot more to me than it has before and it didn’t even hit the Top 5. Take that as proof as to how great this list is.


I can’t believe I did two ‘90s retrospectives before and haven’t mentioned Mariah Carey in both of them.

Yeah, I admit I’ve been unfair to Mariah Carey during my history of doing these retrospectives. She has come close when I did 1991 and 1999 but during those years, I just happened to find more exceptional songs in those years for her to make a best list of mine. I certainly do acknowledge her as the Queen of Pop in the ‘90s though and I wish I had an opportunity to place her on one of my best lists.

Well, since I missed opportunities at the beginning of the ‘90s and the end of the ‘90s, I think all it took for me to get into her music was to meet her halfway.

5. “Fantasy” – Mariah Carey

I do give some of her earlier songs credit for being the starting point of a superstar in the making but in my opinion, this song and “Always Be My Baby” were the songs that really transcend her into being a pop superstar for years to come. But “Always Be My Baby” didn’t chart this year so let’s talk about the song that did.

I know it’s not my #1 but I’d be hard-pressed to find a song this year that made me feel this happy. It is the personification of the ecstasy you feel when you’re in love. I feel like if I fell in love again, I would happily walk down the street with this song in the background. This song is an absolute joy to listen to.

…okay, now for the main reason this is on my list.

Yeah, surprise. Hip-hop had an influence on this song’s position on my list. I will say this though: Even though I do like the remix better, I think the song still holds up on its own, ODB or not. It makes an excellent use of that Tom Tom Club sample and improves on that song a whole lot.

I know I’ve neglected Mariah Carey many times during my history of these retrospectives but this is one of those times where she deserves to be mentioned on my best list. Great song from an excellent performer.


I think I’d be beating a dead horse if I didn’t give this song an introduction like the others haven’t been doing. I think I have a saying for this. When it comes to introducing songs that really don’t need an introduction themselves…

4. “This Is How We Do It” – Montell Jordan

I kind of feel bad for Montell Jordan as an artist. I feel like he’s one of those artists that get shelved as a one-hit wonder despite having many hits after this one. At the same time though, when this is your #1 hit, how higher can you go? This is a masterpiece in the new jack swing genre. Many will go to other songs like “Motownphilly” or “No Diggity” when it comes to discussing that genre and I don’t disagree, but this will always be the new jack swing song to me.

I honestly think it’s impossible to really analyze this song any further. I know it’s good, everyone knows it’s good, and the ones that don’t clearly need to listen to the song above. There is a reason why it’s my go-to song when it comes to Friday night parties.



I’m more of a music buff than a movie buff so I couldn’t really tell you whether or not I liked Batman Forever. Hell, even if I was, I have my reasons as to why I refuse to watch a Schumacher Batman movie.

Okay, for real, was this meant to be a family-friendly film? For fucks sake, Schumacher.

Still, one possibly bad film always has a silver lining to it. Whether people liked Batman Forever or hated it, we can all agree it had one hell of a soundtrack hit.

3. “Kiss from a Rose” – Seal

Seal was an artist I felt was too underrated during the ‘90s. Just like Montell Jordan, he’s had a string of hits and was only known for one song in 1995. But while Montell has just that one song, Seal has an entire discography of great songs. This song is more than great though. It is phenomenal. I can see why people loved it so much, even if it had to take a Batman film to make this song popular.

There’s actually a history behind this song dating back to 1987. Seal wrote that song and considered it to be one of his biggest embarrassments and forgot about it until the recording of his second album in 1994. He showed the tape to Trevor Horn, released it as a song, included it on the Batman Forever soundtrack, and the rest became history. Just goes to show you even your biggest mistake can also be your best one.

I know I’m not one to place low-key ballads this high but there are times where you need to make an exception, and when you have such an interesting performer like Seal behind that song, you know it belongs on a best list. What a win for Seal and a win for Batman.


I’m probably going to disappoint people by saying this wasn’t my #1 song.

Trust me when I say that it was very tempting and when it came to my top 2 songs, they are basically tied. Even in a Top 5 list where all songs could easily contend for the #1 spot, it was these two songs in particular that stand out on there.

But just because it’s not my #1 does not mean I’m going to pass up a chance to talk about the biggest song of the year, and rightfully deserved.

2. “Gangsta’s Paradise” – Coolio featuring L.V.

I was born four years later so I couldn’t tell you how the general public of 1995 felt about this song, but if I were alive back then, I would be pleasantly surprised to learn that this was the biggest rap song of 1995 and one of the biggest of the decade in general. In an era where many people most likely looked up to Snoop Dogg or Biggie in terms of hip-hop superstars, it’s Coolio of all people with the biggest song of the year.

Not to say there’s anything really wrong with those two artists. After all, I did place the latter artist on my best list as you can see above. But those two artists mostly represented how cool the gangsta life was. We really needed a song to illustrate how rough the gangsta life can be as well, and it came from Coolio of all people. The man who rapped the Kenan & Kel theme one year later.

Of course, I also have to give L.V. some credit on the chorus too. That is one earworm of a chorus and it transcends this song into an even memorable masterpiece.

I cannot praise this song enough. Mostly because I have to save even more of my praise for the #1 song of this list so I’m just going to close off this analysis with a huge understatement: It’s paradise.


If you could tell by my Top 5, this was a great year for hit songs. Out of all the 10 songs from the Top 10 this year, 6 of them made my best list and that makes for an above average Top 10. So I guess it is only fitting that I conclude this list with another #1 hit.

And you all might know what it is right now. The one and only Jason Waterfalls.

1. “Waterfalls” – TLC

It takes one hell of a gut punch to beat out “Gangsta’s Paradise” for my favorite song of the year and “Waterfalls” did more to fulfill that purpose. I did say both of my Top 2 are basically tied for my favorite song of 1995 but why does TLC edge out Coolio? It all comes down to importance.

It was the 1990s. The crime rates weren’t exactly different from the way things are now. Most of the time, AIDS/HIV was a huge epidemic going around due to people having unprotected sex. The world was not so different back then. Which is why we really need more songs like this to re-humanize the world. To make a change in a much more violent and depressing world right now.

I realize that this could also apply to “I Believe”, a song I put on my worst list. The difference between that song and “Waterfalls” is that “Waterfalls” displays that message without any religious undertones about how “God is love” or “God will save the world”. No, this is a song that’s addressed to everyone, basically saying “Don’t do anything that’ll kill you or get you arrested”, and with the state the world is in right now, we could really use this message right now.

Even without the message, “Waterfalls” still holds up as one of those just perfect ‘90s songs. Every TLC member kills it here, especially Left Eye’s verse at the end. Her death in 2002 is still tragic to this day and I still recognize her as one of the defining talents of R&B from the ‘90s. This is a perfect song to an imperfect year like 1995.

I may have stated this year’s music was less than meets the eye but if that same year can make songs like this and “Gangsta’s Paradise” into #1 hit songs, then maybe it deserves much more credit than what I’m giving right now.




1.    “Waterfalls” – TLC
2.    “Gangsta’s Paradise” – Coolio ft. L.V.
3.    “Kiss from a Rose” – Seal
4.    “This Is How We Do It” – Montell Jordan
5.    “Fantasy” – Mariah Carey
6.    “I’m the Only One” – Melissa Etheridge
7.    “Creep” – TLC
8.    “Big Poppa” – The Notorious B.I.G.
9.    “Only Wanna Be with You” – Hootie & the Blowfish
10.    “Here Comes the Hotstepper” – Ini Kamoze

11.    “You Don’t Know How It Feels” – Tom Petty
12.    “Run-Around” – Blues Traveler
13.    “One More Chance” – The Notorious B.I.G.
14.    “Keep Their Heads Ringin’” – Dr. Dre
15.    “December” – Collective Soul
16.    “All I Wanna Do” – Sheryl Crow
17.    “I’ll Stand by You” – The Pretenders
18.    “Hold My Hand” – Hootie & the Blowfish
19.    “I Know” – Dionne Farris
20.    “Red Light Special” – TLC
21.    “Player’s Anthem” – Junior M.A.F.I.A. ft. The Notorious B.I.G.
22.    “Dear Mama” – 2Pac
23.    “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” – U2
24.    “Freak Like Me” – Adina Howard
25.    “Strong Enough” – Sheryl Crow
26.    “Like the Way I Do” – Melissa Etheridge
27.    “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” – Method Man ft. Mary J. Blige
28.    “Scream” – Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson
29.    “Roll to Me” – Del Amitri
30.    “I’ll Make Love to You” – Boyz II Men
31.    “Let Her Cry” – Hootie & the Blowfish
32.    “Feel Me Flow” – Naughty by Nature
33.    “No More I Love You’s” – Annie Lennox
34.    “1st of tha Month” – Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
35.    “I Wish” – Skee-Lo
36.    “Good” – Better Than Ezra
37.    “Shy Guy” – Diana King
38.    “On Bended Knee” – Boyz II Men
39.    “Sugar Hill” – AZ
40.    “You Gotta Be” – Des’ree
41.    “Brown Sugar” – D’Angelo
42.    “Boombastic”/”In the Summertime” – Shaggy
43.    “You Want This” – Janet Jackson
44.    “Every Day of the Week” – Jade
45.    “Water Runs Dry” – Boyz II Men
46.    “Give It 2 You” – Da Brat
47.    “Can’t You See” – Total ft. The Notorious B.I.G.
48.    “Run Away” – Real McCoy
49.    “Constantly” – Immature
50.    “I Miss You” – N II U
51.    “The Rhythm of the Night” – Corona
52.    “Turn the Beat Around” – Gloria Estefan
53.    “Misery” – Soul Asylum
54.    “Runaway” – Janet Jackson
55.    “Thank You” – Boyz II Men
56.    “Brokenhearted” – Brandy ft. Wanya Morris
57.    “Ask of You” – Raphael Saadiq
58.    “Carnival” – Natalie Merchant
59.    “Secret” – Madonna
60.    “Before I Let You Go” – Blackstreet
61.    “100% Pure Love” – Crystal Waters
62.    “Tell Me” – Groove Theory
63.    “In the House of Stone and Light” – Martin Page
64.    “I Wanna Be Down” – Brandy
65.    “Cotton Eye Joe” – Rednex
66.    “Short Dick Man” – 20 Fingers ft. Gillette
67.    “This Lil’ Game We Play” – Subway ft. 702
68.    “Every Little Thing I Do” – Soul for Real
69.    “Best Friend” – Brandy
70.    “Come and Get Your Love” – Real McCoy
71.    “This Ain’t a Love Song” – Bon Jovi
72.    “’Til You Do Me Right” – After 7
73.    “I Can Love You Like That” – All-4-One
74.    “Freek’n You” – Jodeci
75.    “You Used to Love Me” – Faith Evans
76.    “I Live My Life for You” – FireHouse
77.    “Always” – Bon Jovi
78.    “Candy Rain” – Soul for Real
79.    “You Are Not Alone” – Michael Jackson
80.    “I Got 5 on It” – Luniz
81.    “The Sweetest Days” – Vanessa Williams
82.    “As I Lay Me Down” – Sophie B. Hawkins
83.    “If You Love Me” – Brownstone
84.    “Another Night” – Real McCoy
85.    “Believe” – Elton John
86.    “Sukiyaki” – 4 P.M.
87.    “Back for Good” – Take That
88.    “Colors of the Wind” – Vanessa Williams
89.    “Someone to Love” – Jon B.
90.    “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” – Bryan Adams
91.    “Hold On” – Jamie Walters
92.    “He’s Mine” – MoKenStef
93.    “Take a Bow” – Madonna
94.    “Dream About You” – Stevie B
95.    “I Believe” – Blessid Union of Souls
96.    “Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)” – Monica
97.    “Baby” – Brandy
98.    “Tootsee Roll” – 69 Boyz
99.    “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” – Van Halen
100.    “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Nicki French


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