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Wumbo Ranks Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Charts! (Top 100 Artists)

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It's nice to see this all go out on a high note. While the journey is over, I'd like to know where these would land amongst the respective all-time best and worst crowners:


Since U Been Gone

Lose Yourself

The House of the Rising Sun

Come on Eileen



You and Me

Muskrat Love

Harlem Shake

I Don't Care

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Full worst list:



60. "Nothin' My Love Can't Fix" - Joey Lawrence (1993)

59. "It's Been Awhile" - Staind (2001)

58. "Wheels" - The String-A-Longs (1961)

57. "Right Thurr" - Chingy (2003)

56. "Tipsy" - J-Kwon (2004)

55. "Ring My Bell" - Anita Ward (1979)

54. "Lay Down Sally" - Eric Clapton (1978)

53. "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" - Culture Club (1983)

52. "Gimme the Light" - Sean Paul (2002)

51. "Abracadabra" - Steve Miller Band (1982)

50. "Party Like a Rockstar" - Shop Boyz (2007)

49. "You and Me" - Lifehouse (2005/06)

48. "Do That to Me One More Time" - Captain & Tennille (1980)

47. "Norman" - Sue Thompson (1962)

46. "Washington Square" - The Village Stompers (1963)

45. "I Got Rhythm" - The Happenings (1967)

44. "Love Will Keep Us Together" - Captain & Tennille (1975)

43. "Everybody Loves Somebody" - Dean Martin (1964)

42. "Animals" - Maroon 5 (2014)

41. "What You Got" - Colby O'Donis ft. Akon (2008)

40. "Watch Me" - Silentó (2015)

39. "Lay Lady Lay" - Bob Dylan (1969)

38. "Yummy Yummy Yummy" - Ohio Express (1968)

37. "All That She Wants" - Ace of Base (1994)

36. "Sea of Love" - The Honeydrippers (1985)

35. "Glory of Love" - Peter Cetera (1986)

34. "Macarena" - Los Del Rio (1996)

33. "One Call Away" - Charlie Puth (2016)

32. "Juju on That Beat" - Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall (2017)

31. "Baby Don't Go" - Sonny & Cher (1965)

30. "Morning Train (Nine to Five)" - Sheena Easton (1981)

29. "Wildside" - Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (1992)

28. "Get Up and Boogie" - Silver Convention (1976)

27. "Nonstop" - Drake (2018)

26. "I Finally Found Someone" - Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams (1997)

25. "I Don't Care" - Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber (2019)

24. "Winchester Cathedral" - New Vaudeville Band (1966)

23. "Truly Madly Deeply" - Savage Garden (1998)

22. "Go Away Little Girl" - Donny Osmond (1971)

21. "Muskrat Love" - Captain & Tennille (1977)

20. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" - Nicki French (1995)

19. "Tell Me It's Real" - K-Ci & JoJo (1999)

18. "Sexy and I Know It" - LMFAO (2012)

17. "Harlem Shake" - Baauer (2013)

16. "Lean on Me" - Club Nouveau (1987)

15. "Alley Oop" - The Hollywood Argyles (1960)

14. "I Want to Be Your Man" - Roger (1988)

13. "Time Will Reveal" - DeBarge (1984)

12. "A Horse with No Name" - America (1972)

11. "Tonight, Tonight" - Hot Chelle Rae (2011)

10. "This One's for the Children" - New Kids on the Block (1990)

9. "Tie Me Down" - New Boyz ft. Ray J (2010)

8. "I Knew I Loved You" - Savage Garden (2000)

7. "Julie, Do Ya Love Me" - Bobby Sherman (1970)

6. "Pop Champagne" - Jim Jones ft. Ron Browz & Juelz Santana (2009)

5. "How Can I Fall?" - Breathe (1989)

4. "(You're) Having My Baby" - Paul Anka (1974)

3. "The Way You Do the Things You Do" - UB40 (1991)

2. "Alvin's Harmonica" - The Chipmunks (1959)

1. "Playground in My Mind" - Clint Holmes (1973)



Full best list:



"Same Love" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert (2013)

"Wipe Out" - The Surfaris (1966)

"Nothing Compares 2 U" - Sinéad O'Connor (1990)

"Love the Way You Lie" - Eminem ft. Rihanna (2010)

"0 to 100/The Catch Up" - Drake (2014)

"Hit the Road Jack" - Ray Charles (1961)

"Light My Fire" - The Doors (1967)

"Green Onions" - Booker T. & the M.G.'s (1962)

"Celebration" - Kool & the Gang (1981)

"Follow You Down"/"Til I Hear It From You" - Gin Blossoms (1996)

"Fingertips" - Little Stevie Wonder (1963)

"Hurts So Good" - John Cougar (1982)

"Live Your Life" - T.I. ft. Rihanna (2008)

"We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions" - Queen (1978)

"Born to Be Wild" - Steppenwolf (1968)

"Lose Yourself" - Eminem (2003)

"Stir Fry" - Migos (2018)

"Come on Eileen" - Dexys Midnight Runners (1983)

"Breaking the Habit" - Linkin Park (2004)

"Blinded by the Light" - Manfred Mann's Earth Band (1977)

"My Life Would Suck Without You" - Kelly Clarkson (2009)

"I Can't Get Next to You" - The Temptations (1969)

"Check Yo Self" - Ice Cube ft. Das EFX (1993)

"Regulate" - Warren G ft. Nate Dogg (1994)

"Ride" - twenty one pilots (2016)

"The House of the Rising Sun" - The Animals (1964)

"What'd I Say" - Ray Charles (1959)

"Georgia on My Mind" - Ray Charles (1960)

"Roundabout" - Yes (1972)

"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" - James Brown (1965)

"One Week" - Barenaked Ladies (1998)

"Evil Woman" - Electric Light Orchestra (1976)

"Somebody That I Used to Know" - Gotye ft. Kimbra (2012)

"Without Me" - Eminem (2002)

"Since U Been Gone" - Kelly Clarkson (2005)

"25 or 6 to 4" - Chicago (1970)

"Hips Don't Lie" - Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean (2006)

"Stronger" - Kanye West (2007)

"Otherside" - Red Hot Chili Peppers (2000)

"Slide" - Goo Goo Dolls (1999)             

"The Ballroom Blitz" - Sweet (1975)

"When the Party's Over" - Billie Eilish (2019)

"I Touch Myself" - Divinyls (1991)

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" - Nirvana (1992)

"Uptown Funk!" - Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars (2015)

"Smooth Criminal" - Michael Jackson (1989)

"Don't You (Forget About Me)" - Simple Minds (1985)

"With or Without You" - U2 (1987)

"What You Need" - INXS (1986)

"Boogie Wonderland" - Earth, Wind & Fire & The Emotions (1979)

"Won't Get Fooled Again" - The Who (1971)

10. "The Edge of Glory" - Lady Gaga (2011)

9. "Sweet Child o' Mine" - Guns N' Roses (1988)

8. "Hypnotize" - The Notorious B.I.G. (1997)

7. "DNA" - Kendrick Lamar (2017)

6. "Space Oddity" - David Bowie (1973)

5. "Ms. Jackson" - OutKast (2001)

4. "Living for the City" - Stevie Wonder (1974)

3. "Gangsta's Paradise" - Coolio ft. L.V. (1995)

2. "Call Me" - Blondie (1980)

1. "Let's Go Crazy" - Prince and The Revolution (1984)



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Hey guys! One more addition to this project in case you forgot: I am going to be making a list of my Top 100 Musicians and Bands of All Time. Preparing myself to be embarrassed, but hey, I've already done that multiple times over here.

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It's here, it's here, it's finally here! I decided to premiere this on my eleventh anniversary on this danged site, and totally not because I meant to premiere it on New Year's Day and missed my deadline or anything, and wanted 23 more days of wiggle room. What? Quit being so suspicious! Yes, I'm talkin' to you!

Anyway! This is the final capper of my big, giant, stupid music project. I will be counting down my 100 favourite artists of all time in this thread, which I carefully have been curating over the past couple months. I am hoping that this list remains with me for the rest of my life, regardless if I may find new artists to appreciate in the future. I'm 25. Time is running out for me to change my opinion, guys. Well, not really, but I figured this would be a good testament to how my opinions have changed over the years, and hopefully serve as a permanent window into my general music tastes.

With all that said, a few guidelines for how I would appreciate you interacted with this thread:

- Please, please, PLEASE keep the "where is this artist" comments to a minimum.  I promise you, there are literally hundreds of artists that failed to make the cut for me, but could reasonably be considered runner-ups. I do like music. If your favourite artist doesn't happen to crack the top 100, I'm sorry. What I would encourage you to do is, and I'm being genuine here, make your own list! My opinion is not the be-all and end-all of musical taste on SBC, and I'm sure plenty of you are way cooler than me anyway. Have at it! I didn't invent the "Top 100 Artists" trope.

- If you would like to make predictions, guesses, or wishes, that is fine. I humbly request you put them in spoiler tags, as some of you may know my music taste better than others, and I would like this to be as unpredictable an experience for everyone as it possibly can be.

- I will be listing my favourite song by each artist after each entry. I have ranked sixty different billboard year-end charts over the course of six years. Opinions change over time. Anyone who comes at me with "but you ranked x song higher than this one in the summer months of 2017" is going to get a stink-eye from me. And you will feel it burning through your monitor, I promise you. Don't do that.

There! Now that I've finished my tyrannical rant, here we FINALLY go:

Wumbo's Top 100 All-Time Favourite Artists (100-91)



100. Fugees

Greatest Hits (Fugees album) - Wikipedia

Amid the rise of gangsta rap through the mid 90's, there was also a seedy underbelly of "alternative" hip hop. You had your Arrested Developments, your Commons. But none really lived up to the potential for me until Fugees, simply because none had Lauryn Hill. The woman is a master on the mic, spitting dope rhymes and sweet melodies alike. If I dared, I might have just put Lauryn Hill on this list and left the gentlemen out to dry. But I can't deny the harmonies that Wyclef and, yes, Pras brought to the table. Fugees worked best as a trio, and while each of them would go off to have varying degrees of success and failure, the mid-90s were a magical time in which they all came together to record some of my favourite hip hop songs of the 90s.

Best Song: "Fu-Gee-La"





99. Billy Joel

Billy Joel

Billy Joel is that kind of artist who everyone knows is good, but maybe more people have only a passing reference to him than you might think. Nevertheless, he is making this list because of his sheer output of music through the decades and his knack at staying relevant. Unlike so many artists who faded out because their music got old or dated, Billy Joel has near-remained timeless. You could listen to a song like "Uptown Girl" at any point in time and it would still sound as fresh as it did back then. When some artists can't even stay relevant through one decade, you have to give this man credit for making it through three.. Obviously, there are other artists whose music I prefer to listen to more, he's only at #99, after all. But I can't knock the man for maintaining the relevance and timeless quality in his music, and to be fair, it is usually feel-good music, even if it's not always presented that way.  Maybe the legend outweighs the man here, But I'd argue Billy Joel definitely deserves the accolades he's been given by the general public.

Best Song: "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant"





98. Elton John

Elton John - Songs, Movie & Husband - Biography

I group Elton John and Billy Joel together a lot, so it makes sense that they would appear side by side on a countdown like this. Like Billy Joel, Elton John is a timeless, enduring artist who first came into prominence in the 70s. Also like Billy Joel, it took me a while to fully appreciate his gifts to the musical world. I'm not really sure what caused the disconnect; maybe the music just wasn't my style at the time. Maybe I viewed other 70s artists as doing his thing better. But regardless, he did make this countdown, so I'm going to talk about him. Elton John is such a big presence in music that you could do the crappiest caricature of him and still have enough defining features to work out who he is. He is obviously mega talented, with a powerful, emotional singing voice and timeless classics in his catalogue of music. I think what ultimately ends up endearing me to Elton John is bravado mixed with sincerity. Many artists were better at either, but few combine both quite the way Elton John does. He deserves to be the icon he is known as today.

Best Song: "Tiny Dancer"





97. Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) | Twitter

The 90s was not short on soulful female singers filled with angst. And while Sheryl Crow isn't the  cleanest example of this - she has a song that goes "All I wanna do is have some fun", after all - she is certainly one of the most balanced performers of the bunch. Her performances toe the line between fanciful stories about wanting to get some sunshine and diatribes of depression. She's the Lilith Fair performer for everyone. I think what also draws me in is her soothing voice. The sweet songs sound like lullabies and joy rides, and the heart-wrenching ones are even more so. The perfect artist to read comics in bed and eat mold-free French toast to.

Best Song: "My Favorite Mistake"





96. 3 Doors Down

3 Doors Down | MusicWorld | BMI.com

Something you should know about this countdown is that it is going to tap into a lot of nostalgic feelings for me. Thus, you may look at an entry like this and think "Wait, this is above Elton John and Billy Joel?" And what can I say? Yes, yes it is. I don't apologize, and I don't feel any shame. Okay, maybe a little.

But this is not the place for that, so let's talk about what works for 3 Doors Down. Post-grunge is typically looked at as this ugly, borderline unlistenable genre. You think of artists like Puddle of Mudd and Saving Abel and you think "Who could possibly want to listen to that crap?" Well, the answer is me, once upon a time. Okay, not Saving Abel, they were always garbage. But ANYWAYS, post-grunge had a legitimate audience. And for me, the band that truly stood the test of time was 3 Doors Down. Mainly because there was an air of conviction to their performance. Brad Arnold's voice is noticeably "prettier" than a lot of his peers, and he can be a lot more versatile thanks to that. He's able to sound grungy but also have a softer side as well, something that notably, not every post-grunge artist can pull off. Yeah, there are a few duds in the catalogue, but that happens with nearly every band. No one bats a thousand. And for what it's worth, the good songs by 3 Doors Down I honestly find really great, and they hold up today. It's nice to have one souvenir from that era I wouldn't mind showing off.

Best Song: "When I'm Gone"





95. Gorillaz

Gorillaz On World Cafe : World Cafe : NPR

Gorillaz are a musical… thing… that simply commands your attention. It cannot be understated how ambitious an art project like Gorillaz is. It is only due to marvelous minds that it became as revered as it continues to be. Even if you don't like every Gorillaz song out there, and there are ones that don't quite hit the mark, you have to admire the gumption that allows the mythos of a project like this to exist. To not only have a completely animated musical "group" but also for each of them to have distinctive characteristics and personalities? The music almost seems beside the point. It's a good thing the music is so damn good though. A perfect blend of electronic, hip hop, and rock that many fusion artists can only dream of living up to. A true masterpiece of a "band".

Best Song: "Feel Good Inc."





94. Foster the People

Foster the People - Wikipedia

What the hell happened to Foster the People? It's true that the indie rock boom aftermath of 2015 and beyond left a lot of artists like these in the lurch, but I think Foster the People deserved to survive beyond a muted "comeback" in 2018. They seemed to have all the sensibilities of a pop act while still maintaining their indie label to some degree. "Indie" is such a garbage, meaningless term anyway. It just matters to me if the music is good. Which, in Foster the People's case, it absolutely is. They use the technology of today to their complete advantage, creating songs that almost sound otherworldly but still manage to be incredibly catchy. It's like if The Black Eyed Peas used their powers for good. Just a fun, enjoyable group that I wish had more staying power.

Best Song: "Houdini"





93. Kiss

Paul Stanley says the last KISS tour is a victory lap, not a goodbye |  Music | siouxcityjournal.com

You may look at Kiss and see them as a brand more than a band. And you'd probably be right. But I'm going to stand up for their music as well, because they deserve a little more credit than they get. You're never going to find someone who calls them the greatest musicians in rock history, but they manage to carve out a unique identity not only through their makeup but through their sound. They give a perfect combination of glam rock and hard rock through their music, which no doubt fits their image as well. A Kiss party is a fun party.

In order to stand out, showmanship is half the battle, too. Kiss have done the best they can to stand out among the crowd, and clearly it's paid off. How many artists could you dress up as for Halloween and have people instantly recognize who you are? Elvis Presley? Maybe The Beatles? Sure, but those guys were seen as pioneers of the genre, some of the most important musicians who ever lived. Kiss, for all intents and purposes, are just another hard rock band. But they make it work through brilliant design of their image, wild live shows, and a keen awareness of who they are. A rockin' good band with some crazy makeup.

Best Song: "Shout It Out Loud"





92. The Guess Who

The Guess Who - Wikipedia


Every now and then on this list you'll get a lil sprinkling of some Canadian talent. Obviously the American and British artists will dominate because they've dominated the conversation in pop music since forever, but I would be remiss if I didn't carve out some room for some of my home turf favourites. And we start with The Guess Who, a 60s/70s rock band that commanded more versatility than you might think upon first listen. There were very specific categories that you could lump many classic rock bands into, but it felt like The Guess Who dipped their toes into multiple subgenres and blended them together quite nicely. On the surface they appear folksy, but I'd argue they command a lot of psychedelic and even prog influence in some of their best songs. Burton Cummings is a seriously underrated singer, he can liven up a song with the best of them and is quite versatile, from somber crooning to furious frustration. They're actually a Canadian band that you may have heard of over the border, likely due to "American Woman", but they still deserve so much more recognition, if only for completely changing the game for Abbott and Costello routines with their name. All in all, I prefer the Canadian Steppenwolf a little more. Well, fully Canadian.

Best Song: "No Time"





91. Neil Young

Neil Young - Wikipedia

Of course, it would be sacrilege to wax nostalgic about 60s/70s Canadian artists and forget about Neil Young, one of the most revered Canadian artists of all time. His whine might not be for everyone, but you can't deny his knack for sharp songwriting and his ability to amplify it with somber, resonant melodies. There's something about Neil Young that just makes you feel comfy, even when he's singing about the Kent State shooting or a heroin addiction. So maybe he wouldn't want me to call him a "comfy" artist. But I don’t care, I'm a sucker for this kind of music when it comes down to it. It's the stuff I grew up with, hearing it played at a folksy restaurant by a cover artist or falling asleep to the classic rock radio on the long drive home. It's not how anyone would typically come at Neil Young critically, and I do respect him a hell of a lot, but to get on this list all he had to do was sound familiar. Like your grandpa had a music career and was cool as hell. It helps, of course, that his songwriting is consistently on point and he can really rock out when he needs to. Rad, man.

Best Song: "The Needle and the Damage Done"



Well, there you go! Look for a new entry every Sunday until we get to #1!

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90. CCR

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Wikipedia

We're happening to hit a spell of folksy 60s/70s artists right now, so I feel like I should promise you it's not the whole list. (Once you get to #89 your suspicions will be fully unrealized.) But anyway, Creedence Clearwater Revival! No doubt one of the more volatile bands towards the end of their reign, but when they were on top they were just unstoppable. It really feels like these songs just came out of the ground one day, more so ancient discoveries than man-made creations. They're like old blues songs that feel like they've been around forever, yet still feel fresh to this day, with the exception of "Fortunate Son"'s relentless use in every Vietnam War media piece ever. They feel like songs that have just been passed down through time, like everyone knows a Creedence song even if you think you don't. You turn on a classic rock radio once, you've heard a Creedence song. I won't lie and say that my music taste isn't at least partially influenced by what my parents listened to when I was a kid, but I also can't deny the stunning simplicity and yet resonant effect of these songs. Their best songs are the ones which just evoke a feeling of being down on your luck but scraping to get by, grinning and bearing it. A fitting feeling going into their later years, but we don't need to talk about Mardi Gras. Instead, I'll say that Fogerty is the man. His voice, while definitely a grower, is iconic. He adds so much personality to the songs and, to his credit, it really is his band. Were it Joe Schmo singing and writing for CCR, I don't know if they would resonate. Hell, we already have a test run of that with, again, that one album. Still, CCR at their best, that's John Fogerty and the band, are fucking great.

Best Song: "Born on the Bayou"





89. Bon Jovi

March 14, 1983: The Band Bon Jovi is Formed | Best Classic Bands

There! What did I tell you? It's only going to get more insane and embarrassing from here, I'm sure. Though, in a list of Top 100 artists, you can't get much more embarrassing than carving out a spot for Bon freakin' Jovi, even if it is relatively low. Remember when I said that my music taste includes significant remnants from what my parents listened to? Well, my mom is a big Bon Jovi fan, and all these years later, I can't blame her. Hair metal never sounds quite as fun as it does with Bon Jovi. Most of the bands seem way too caked up in their own makeup and hairspray, while Bon Jovi is the hair metal band you could get a beer with at the end of the day. I think, especially with songs like "Livin' on a Prayer", they try to toe the line between the glam and glitz of 80s rock and, say, John Mellencamp. It's not a middle ground that should work but it does, and significantly better than bands like Poison or Warrant ever will. It also helps that Jon Bon Jovi seems like a genuinely nice dude to be around and has eased into a country rocker pretty well. Yeah, they're cheesy. But it was the 80s, a decade filled with cheese. Eventually, you learn to shut up and eat it because cheese is good. So I'm not too cool for Bon Jovi, and I have absolutely no problem admitting that.

Best Song: "Born to Be My Baby"





88. Electric Light Orchestra

Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) Songs. History and Trivia

These guys are lower than I thought they'd be. I bet most of you wouldn't put Electric Light Orchestra and Bon Jovi in the same warehouse, let alone right next to each other. But this is how the list shook out, so here we are. Electric Light Orchestra are a very pretty band. They make lovely songs that I always enjoy listening to. I can't think of an ELO song that I've heard and thought "wow, this sounds like crap, what the hell were they thinking?" As far as I'm concerned, Jeff Lynne can do no wrong. There's something ethereal about ELO's music, otherworldly. So why so low? Well, despite the objective quality of their music, it just doesn't resonate with me like it should. These are very good pop songs in a vacuum, but I would never turn on an ELO song to experience the feels. Unless we're talking happy feels with "Mr. Blue Sky", then all bets are off. They're more like an art exhibit to look at than a musical act to experience. Nothing wrong with that, of course. It got them this far, after all. But ultimately, I just need that "X Factor" that make bands worth coming back to more, and ELO falls a bit short on that front. Still undeniably a wonderful, charming group with plenty of classic songs, and more than deserving of a spot on this list.

Best Song: "Telephone Line"





87. Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel, Now 70, Is Still Making Music and Fighting for Human Rights  | WDET

When making a list like this. tough decisions inevitably have to be made. I WANTED to put both Peter Gabriel and Genesis on this list, but the redundancy just killed me, even though they grew into very different musical acts. If I do put both acts on, what's to stop me from doing the same with other bands? Tom Petty and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers? Gladys Knight and her Pips? Where do you draw the line?

And ultimately, if I had to choose between one of the two, I would go with Peter Gabriel solo. Love ya Genesis, but Peter Gabriel simply scratches those musical itches for me, without sounding like he's explicitly trying to go for mainstream sounds. Which is odd, because a lot of his most revered songs are ballads, something you'd think would get a foot in the door of the Billboard Hot 100. But Genesis had proven to be the mainstay in the mid-to-late 80s. It's a shame, because despite Genesis' big, bouncy pop tunes and soaring choruses, I always found Peter Gabriel's music to be much more resonant with me. There's a weirdness to him, for sure, but there's also a quiet dignity that Genesis just doesn't seem to have. It's like if Genesis dressed up for a party with songs like "Sledgehammer". Or maybe I just like Peter Gabriel's voice more than Phil Collins. That could be too.

There's a more timeless quality to Peter Gabriel's music. Despite everything from the 80s being slathered in 80s to some extent, Peter Gabriel makes his way out of the muck to deliver some really great tunes. They feel like songs that have staying power and aren't stuck in some shitty 80s soundtrack. Which… yes, I am aware of the irony there. But "In Your Eyes" is still a great song, so ignore that. Overall, despite the pop appeal of the latter, I find Peter Gabriel's music easier to go back to and listen to than Genesis. It's the kind of pop music that goes with a nice red wine and a crackling fire.

Best Song: "Red Rain"





86. Janelle Monáe

Lovecraft Country' finale: Janelle Monae virtual reality concert - GoldDerby

Ah, Janelle Monáe: The pop star that never was. And that's a damn shame, because we could certainly use more stars like Janelle Monáe breaking into the mainstream. With the departure of Prince in 2016, it felt like a lot of artists were stepping up to fill the void. And I'd argue that Monáe with her album Dirty Computer in 2018 did more than anyone else to meet that target. Of course, it will be nigh impossible for anyone to fully replace Prince. But to get a fully female perspective with eternal jams like "Make Me Feel" in the mix of pop culture is something to be celebrated. Yeah, full disclaimer: Janelle Monáe is entirely on this list because of one album. It's one of my favourite albums of the decade, and it brought us a lot of what we'd been missing from pop music and R&B the past few years, which was creativity, fun, and bravado. So of course, in one of the sleepiest times for the Billboard charts, Janelle Monáe struggled to find success. Trends are weird. And I don't know how well this album will stand the test of time, but it will always be a firecracker of a moment in an otherwise lackluster year for music, and I have to give Monáe ultimate props for that.

Best Song: "Django Jane"





85. The Cult


Sometimes there's just not much to say about a band that appears on this list other than that they're a rockin' band who has a cavalcade of good tunes to keep me occupied. And that's exactly what The Cult is: a damn good band who know what they're about and have a fiery lead singer in Ian Astbury. "She Sells Sanctuary" is a bonafide classic, and a staple on rock radio for good reason. One of the most recognizable riffs by a band you only tangentially know exists. Yeah, despite their prowess, The Cult never really get mentioned along the giant rock stars of classic rock. Maybe they broke too late, or maybe their music just wasn't resonant enough with the general public. And that can all be true. But what's also true is I have yet to find a dud in their catalogue. There's something about being a slicker, better, more hyped-up version of AC/DC that makes all their music resonate with me. And there's something to the energy consistently emanating out of this band as well; they never sound like they're out of breath or gassed. Every one of their songs is either a runaway train or the most powerful of power ballads, or something in between. But it all rocks, and I'm all for it.

Best Song: "Fire Woman" (I cannot explain the Tommy Wiseau resemblance of the lead singer)




84. Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper - Songs, Poison & Age - Biography

It's funny the way that artists that seemed so dangerous back in the day are cuddly teddy bears now. Hope you die before you get old, and all that. So maybe Alice Cooper was before my time, and I'm not really equipped to understand how instrumental he was in changing the face of rock n' roll. But to my ears and eyes, he seems more like a snotty punk kid than anything, with - dare I say - a little bit more glitz thrown in. And hey, he made the list, so clearly I don't mean any of this as insulting. He has songs called "School's Out" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy", for crying out loud. This is not the guy that's going to come into your home and eat your babies. He's the guy that's going to stay after school for mouthing off to a teacher. He's the John Bender of 70s rock music, and I absolutely love it. It does make the times where he does seem to be going for macabre a bit disingenuous to me, though. He's far more effective playing a little shit, and that's all I need him to be. Everyone has a role to play in music, and Alice Cooper fills his perfectly.

(And yes, I know it's both a band and a person, but you always think of the guy before the band.)

Best Song: "No More Mr. Nice Guy"





83. Boston

Boston | Discography | Discogs

There's much that can be loathed about the bloated arena rock of the 70s and 80s, I'm aware. But I think there's importance in distinguishing between bands like Air Supply who have to borrow their most awesome moments from someone else, and Boston, who are more than capable of being an awesome band on their own. It still strikes me today how cohesive Boston was as a group in the 70s: they seemed like that logical through line between prog rock of the 70s and arena rock of the 80s. Too talented for the latter, but enough mainstream appeal to eclipse the former. They hit that sweet spot of mass audience resonance and pure talent. I can't think of a song of theirs off of their debut album I wouldn't choose to listen to. It is pure rock perfection. Yeah, it's a little cheesy, but I'll take it over a lot of cheese and lack of talent, which was plaguing the airwaves by the mid-70s into the 80s. Incredibly solid group with tons of replay value for me.

Best Song: "Foreplay/Long Time"





82. Lenny Kravitz

Lenny Kravitz on Being Fit at 56: Eat Raw Vegan and Grow Own Food

Lenny Kravitz is the funk rocker that everyone can appreciate. He's the type of guy who will bring on Slash as an assist on one song, and cover The Guess Who on the next. In this way he's also quite versatile, with chameleon skills rivalling Bruno Mars at his peak. But it never sounds inauthentic; Kravitz just seems like a guy who wants to make the music he wants to make. Pretty much all of his songs are great; I think what really ties them together is his versatile voice that can go from crooning to growling in the span of a second, with ever-present funky guitar to back him up. Despite his penchant for sounding like other artists at points, Lenny Kravitz really does feel singular as an artist. It's as though if he existed in this parallel universe, more artists would sound like him. That said, I think it's best that the world has only one Lenny Kravitz. The singularity is part of what makes him special. That's what his mama said, at least.

Best Song: "Fly Away"

…no, no wait, sorry, I mean "It Ain't Over Til It's Over"





81. Alannah Myles

Alannah Myles: albums, songs, playlists | Listen on Deezer

Another Canadian artist that you'd probably only know for one song, if that. Yeah, I don't think Alannah Myles has the same resonance with Americans that even The Guess Who does. Hell, in Canada, I don't think she's really become a household name like some of our other homegrown talents. But I'm here to say that's a shame, because Alannah Myles might be one of the more underrated artists even by Canada's standards. It's like she recorded "Black Velvet" and just went away. She had a little more staying power in Canada, but not by much. So what gives? Beats me. For me, she scratches an itch that not many artists do. There were a glut of female adult alternative performers that made their way to stardom in the mid-to-late 90s, and I like to think of Alannah Myles as the mother to all of them. She made songs ranging from hard rock to soothing crooning, and it's the two sides here that really come together to make an interesting artist. I think I'm starting to find that, particularly with these artists near the bottom of the list, it's versatility that makes them stand out. If you're good at more than one thing without sacrificing either, it makes you that much more special. I should also point out that Alannah Myles makes it work because she has an absolutely gorgeous voice. She has this full-bodied flair to her singing that gives power to whatever she chooses to sing about. And as said before, it's suited for full-on rock n' roll or crooning. The versatility combined with power makes her a true gem, and you should check her out if you're into a bluesy gal with fire in her belly.

Best Song: "Love Is"



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Creedence Clearwater Revival only #90?! They should be somewhere in the forties, minimum! (Although, that's probably my bias from practically being raised around my mom's 1960's music).

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80. Live

Image result for live band

Ed Kowalczyk is a raving madman, and that's the way I like it. There appears to be a growing acceptance of post-grunge bands that many have long accepted as terrible. You got your Nickelbacks, your Creeds. With Creed it's interesting, because in addition to being shitty grunge music, they were also shitty "Christian" music. and I might be able to stand up for Creed wholeheartedly if there wasn't a much better example of quasi-Christian post-grunge in Live. This band takes away any reason to listen to Creed, and that alone should put them on this list.

The problem I have with Creed is they're just not interesting. Connecting your music to Jeezus isn't going to do much for me if the music doesn't move me. Live's music is a lot more out there at points. Ed Kowalczyk can turn from rambling to screaming to strangely calming and soothing, all in a matter of minutes. Do I always know what he's saying? No. But I can't deny the ride that Live albums tend to take me on. You still basically know what you're gonna get, but at the same time there's a lot more variety, and a lot more heart too. I believe every moment of angst that Ed goes through in his songs because it sounds like he believes it. And while their lyrics can get a bit out there, I see Live's music as a theatrical presentation, written by playwrights who might be just a bit too far up their ass, but then again, this music without pretention might be missing the point. It's not like Live can't just go out and rock either; "I Alone" is a fantastic song. So, yeah. Message to take away? Stop listening to Creed and better yourselves.

Best Song: "Lightning Crashes"

I'm also gonna give an honourable mention to "Waitress", which has some of the most batshit lyrics of the 90s and leaves me mystified as to what the point is or why this song was made or god what the hell. Love this band.




79. Avril Lavigne

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Who was your first celebrity crush? I'm not afraid to admit that my 9-year-old self was in love with Avril Lavigne. Something about her seemed otherworldly cool, like pop music could sound like this blew my mind back in the day. And indeed, many of Avril Lavigne's songs hold up. I stand by Under My Skin as being one of my most fondly remembered rock albums of the 2000s. Avril Lavigne tapped into something that not many artists did before Paramore. These felt like real, raw emotions coming from someone so young, and I'm not going to pretend that it's not all manufactured like the Britney Spears and Christina Aguileras were. We've heard enough of those conversations to last a lifetime. But for Lavigne's music to cross the gender barrier and reach me, she has to be doing something right. The fact that each of her singles are absolutely infectious in nature is just a bonus selling point. I think when I first started getting into music, "My Happy Ending" was my favourite song ever. The fact that it still kinda is says a hell of a lot. Love this girl, always good memories whenever I hear her music.

Best Song: From here on in it's going to get harder and harder to choose one song. I already talked about "Happy Ending", but "Don't Tell Me" has probably superseded it at this point. Tough as hell, though. Legitimately five songs just off the top of my head could go here.




78. Pretenders

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Chrissie Hynde is the queen of cool, and The Pretenders are the perfect band to back her. There are various levels of regard people hold new wave bands in, but I eat this up for breakfast. I'm not even sure there's much to The Pretenders other than they're tight, controlled, and absolutely perfect-sounding. This may seem like cynical praise, but it really isn't. I love how focused and slick this band is; it makes it all the more rewarding when they do go a little off the rails and rock out. Even though they do have such a controlled edge to their groove, they still make a wide variety of songs and Chrissie Hynde is versatile enough a singer to sell any emotion. She's bratty and soulful all in one. Underneath all the oversaturation of 80s music, The Pretenders are a good reminder that you don't need a lot of gloss to still sound glamorous.

Best Song: "Back on the Chain Gang"





77. Matthew Good

Image result for matthew good

Much can be said about the Canadian 90s alt-rock scene that never really took off anywhere else. You had a few bands that generated some buzz occasionally, but for the most part this trend was particularly insular to Canadians. And that's a shame, because so many of these bands and artists provided a different flavour that you simply wouldn't get if you just listened to the American mainstream. Enter Matthew Good and his band… the Matthew Good Band. Names are hard. Now, this is an interesting case because I love both Matthew Good's solo work and his band, so it was a conundrum to decide how to credit the music on this list, as putting both on would be hilariously redundant. In the end, I decided to credit the artist solo, but it's worth talking about both. Matthew Good Band had a certain edge to them that also allowed for a surprising amount of soul, which more so defined the man's solo career. It's kind of like growing from a punk teenager into an adult alternative artist. Sounds normally like a recipe for growing into boring, but Matthew Good excels at both through memorable melodies and sharp songwriting, as well as a voice that caters to both styles of music. Some guys just have enough musical talent to carry any sort of genre. Matthew Good may very well be… Matthew Great. Hmm, maybe I should edit that one.

Best Song: "Apparitions"




76. Snoop Dogg

Image result for snoop dogg

I talked earlier about dangerous musicians who turn out to be lovable teddy bears in the end. Is there a better case of this than Uncle Snoop? His personality has been so memed and ingrained in our collective minds that it's difficult to remember that he actually did seem legitimately dangerous at one point. He wrote a whole damn song about his very real murder trial. But the fact is, he's less of a criminal threat than his good pal Martha Stewart, and grew up to be everybody's lovable Snoop Dogg.

There are definitely distinct eras with the Snoop Dogg saga. You have his early days with Dr. Dre where he very much fit the archetype of a gangsta rapper, still standing out with his distinctive voice and delivery. Then you move on to the 2000s where it's not so much about being gangster as just evoking this air of otherworldly cool and chill. This would go on to define Snoop Dogg's further career to a comical degree, as he became Teflon to embarrassment and ridicule. Starring in songs with Katy Perry and Jason Derulo failed to even blemish his reputation. Trying to be a reggae artist failed to halt his momentum. Snoop Dogg is eternal, and he is eternally a chill dude who smokes copious amounts of marijuana. Fo' shizzle.

Best Song: "Gin and Juice"




75. Bruno Mars

Image result for bruno mars

I feel like Bruno Mars shouldn't be on this list. Not because I don't like his music, but because… well, he's not really an artist, at least not like the others on this list. He's a Vegas showman, like Wayne Newton. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but when your best musical asset is your ability to be other people, do you really deserve a spot among other artists with established personalities, particularly if your gimmick has already gotten old two years ago?

Then I listened to "Uptown Funk" again and my criticisms magically vaporized.

Yes, Bruno Mars is very likely the most fundamentally flawed artist on this list, in that he has a lot of songs that I dislike, hell, even entire eras where he was popular I've disliked. And yet he made the biggest heel-face turn simply by refusing to be himself for any longer. I have to imagine that the façade is part of the persona at this point. It's kind of a tragedy, really, to get your best hits by not being yourself. But I can't knock the guy by being really, really, good at being other people. Prince, Morris Day, the god damn Police. It's astonishing just how versatile Bruno has proven to be, and he made some really damn great pop songs while doing it. It's here I realize that Bruno Mars belongs on this list because he's more of a pop music nerd than I am, and he has the musical chops to pull off so many different styles. Gotta respect the hustle if nothing else. Any artist that can recover from making "The Lazy Song" is alright by me.

Best Song: "Locked Out of Heaven"





74. Travis Scott

Image result for travis scott

Yeah, this is another weird one, I'm aware. I feel like I've been tricked into allowing Travis Scott on my Best Artists lists, like his music hypnotized me into putting him here or something. Particularly above other artists who probably deserve the oversaturated recognition more. But I can't help it, man. Something about his vibes are addictive. It's something to just chill out to; it's mind-melting in a non-intellectual way. Nearly every one of his songs is engineered in such a way that it puts me right in the mindset of a hazy, tipsy party. It's very rare for music to be so consistently evocative in the same way. Now, of course, there's the question of versatility which I've highlighted as a specific point of interest when discussing the artists on this list. Well… Travis gets about a C- on that front. Sorry, dude. But hey, a C- is better than nothing, and when he switches it up, it can get amazing. And anyway, lack of variety can be made up for with something that consistently works. And if his eternal ad-libs don't bother me through half a decade of listening to his music, well, he has to be doing something right. Straight up, it's lit!

Best Song: "90210" (ft. Kacy Hill)




73. Charli XCX

Image result for charli xcx

Charli XCX will probably never get the widespread love and acclaim she deserves. But for her to remain an under-the-radar darling while consistently pushing the envelope with new ideas and new music? Hell yeah, I'll take it. Particularly with the album released last year, recorded and released during quarantine, I got to see a side to Charli XCX that really warmed me to her, and I think allowed her to grace this list. She's shown a consistency and a knack for hauntingly beautiful melodies with this album, that complement her more synthpop and bubblier tunes. I dunno, maybe she'll be another Eternal Pop Star of the Future, but I am truly curious to see where she goes from here. An intriguing artist still with lots of potential.

Best Song: "Nuclear Seasons"





72. The Who

Image result for the who


I don't know if The Who are particularly notable in the large lexicon of rock bands today, but they were highly groundbreaking and certainly do know how to rock. When I think of rock n' roll, Keith Moon's crazy antics are something my mind immediately jumps to. It feels like The Who were one of the top tier rock bands of their time for just how loud they dared to be. Even before Zeppelin, even before The Beatles really started experimenting, The Who rocked the joint with songs like "My Generation" which admittedly sound quaint today, but were near revolutionary at the time. They continued to set the standard with songs that would blow the roof off of the place. The energy doesn't just reflect in onstage antics, they effectively convey this in their music as well. It's full of energy bursts and excitement; even the studio versions of their songs sound like a rock concert. The raucous drums, the killer riffs, Roger Daltrey wailing on the mic. What more could you possibly need from a rock band?

Best Song: "Won't Get Fooled Again"





71. Pink Floyd

Image result for pink floyd

It's a shame that Pink Floyd's legacy now has a taint on it from a certain critic of nostalgia, but that shouldn't stop anyone from seriously checking out their music. Indeed, it should encourage them to do so, to spite said critic. But anyway, Pink Floyd simply stand in a class all their own with songs of mystery, dark despair, and melancholy bliss. The perfect band to get drunk to, really. They run the gamut of emotions. There's a certain beauty to their work, it feels orchestral but not fluffy, each decision in their work feels artful. This leads to iconic moments and songs from their discography, from the harsh, angry, sarcastic tones of "Money" to the blissful numbness of, well, "Comfortably Numb". They may have fallen off a bit from their peak, but even their least acclaimed albums have moments in them that just blow me away. Pink Floyd feel like a very important band with every release, one that commands attention. And attention is clearly what they got from me.

Best Song: "Time"



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Happy Valentine's Day! Boy, I sure do LO




70. Garbage

Image result for garbage band

Garbage is basically Pretenders to me, but add a lot of 90s angst to the mix. It comes from an assertion that Shirley Manson is the most effortlessly cool queen of rock of the 90s. All of Garbage's songs feel like an edgy 90s party that you want to be in on. A lot of that comes from Shirley Manson, who absolutely sells every song she is on. I don't think the songs would be nearly as successful without her presence; she adds exactly the level of angst and venom that is needed amid the upbeat, almost bubbly guitars. It's a perfect amalgamation of gritty industrial rock, snotty punk, and danceable pop rock. The late 90s rock band for everyone.

Best Song: "I Think I'm Paranoid"





69. Hall & Oates

Image result for hall & oates

When I was really just starting to get into music, like actually looking back through the decades and all that, my initial conclusion of Hall & Oates was that they were a couple of dorks. I think a lot of that came from Daryl Hall's voice, which to be fair sounds like it's straining most of the time to me still, like if Lou Gramm pulled a muscle. But hey, they made the list and Foreigner did not, so clearly over the years Hall & Oates must have won me over. How? Well, through the late 70s to mid 80s they've remained a highly durable, solid band, which makes it sound like I'm describing furniture. But Hall & Oates really are like that lovely piece of furniture you've kept in your house for years. Not something you think about very often, but you're happy it exists. And I am very happy Hall & Oates exist; they've made quite the handful of lasting, enduring songs in the 80s that have snuck on me with how pitch-perfect they are. Sure, Daryl Hall isn't really my favourite singer, but his voice tends to work with whatever mood they're going for all the same, which is mostly pop with a bit of an edge. I'm talking that kind of "edgy" that keeps you looking over your shoulder, to be clear. Boy, this really sounds like I'm browbeating the group rather than praising them, doesn't it? Let me start over.

Ahem… Hall & Oates are a perfectly solid band with many sneaky good songs. I actually went to see them in concert a couple years ago and it's undeniable just how much they can pump up a crowd. They're just that band that's nice to have around, and nice to remember. Their songs are enduring, and they are all catchy as hell,. There. Is that any better? Geez, you know this project has drained me when I'm trying to compare artists positively to furniture…

Best Song: "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)"





68. Def Leppard

Image result for def leppard

Before I really started getting into music, like when the extent of my music knowledge was listening to the radio, Def Leppard was one of my favourite bands of all time. This seems like an absurd opinion to have now on a band that many would regard as middle-of-the-road at best, but you know what? I'm gonna stand up for them, hopefully better than I tried to stand up for Hall & Oates, sheesh.

Def Leppard are the best example of Mutt Lange being used well. They are a rock band that is actually enhanced by the production value of Mutt Lange, using the fuzzy echoes to pump up their sound. Like I said before, there's nothing wrong with sounding a little cheesy if you can do it right, and Def Leppard just lean into it, particularly with their most successful album, Hysteria. They may not ever be retroactively recognized critical darlings, but something just resonates with me about their music. Again, with a lot of music on this list, this can be heavily influenced by my big dumb-brain opinions as a kid, but there are also plenty of artists I liked then that I can't stand now, so Def Leppard must have done something right to stick in my brain. I think it's the fact that they were always able to teeter on the edge of goofiness without ever really losing their rock side at their peak. You look at a song like "Pour Some Sugar on Me", which is a total goof song that still manages to have a pretty good riff and chorus for people to shout in concert. It's totally ridiculous, but then again, what 80s band wasn't a little ridiculous in the 80s? I say Def Leppard deserves a fair shake for staying true to their sound through the 80s and making song after song that surprisingly endures to this day. We don't talk about 90s Def Leppard, though.

Best Song: "Animal"





67. Pearl Jam

Image result for pearl jam

Pearl Jam is aamuhrahmuhremadiwanabuderenajahmedahna I UHHHHH IM STILL ALIVE. Yes, many a joke has been told about the illegibility of Eddie Vedder's lyricism and voice. I mean, you might get riled up about the kids doing mumble rap today, but that's nothing compared to the advent of "mumble rock" that started in the 90s and carried on to the 2000s. And perhaps no one was more tied to that "hunger dunger dang" phenomenon than poor Eddie Vedder and his marble-mouthed voice. But it's time to separate Pearl Jam from that discourse once and for all, because in the sea of meaningless grunge and post-grunge, Pearl Jam are a damn thoughtful band with plenty of good songs to their name. You might not be able to understand Eddie Vedder half the time, but I'd be hard-pressed to find a song of his where I didn't feel the emotion seeping through all the same. Eddie Vedder is obviously well known for his wailing through his grungy, unintellgible voice, but I think it's important to note that he can be soft-spoken when the situation calls for it as well. That's what I mean by "thoughtful" when I talk about this band; you don't normally hear grunge bands writing songs like "Jeremy" or "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town". Their songs feel a lot more in touch with the world around them and a lot more available to invite commentary. I love grunge music, but sometimes the artists tend to disappear up their own ass and it makes it difficult to root for them at times. Yes, we get your issues, but write about something else. Pearl Jam does just that, and the results are quite successful, even if you can't always understand what he's saying. Pearl Jam very much feel like the observer grunge band, with just enough personal angst to still join the club. A refreshing change of pahmanarogabadahbudiweenodarhmadan EVEN FLOOOW sorry I couldn't resist.

Best Song: "Better Man"





66. Blondie

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Debbie Harry is a glamorous, flawless being. She's like Chrissie Hynde with more glitz, Madonna with more edge. And Blondie is a fabulous band that has a long list of worthwhile songs in their catalog, even if their heyday was cut short by a breakup in '82. They seem like the perfect band to catalog the changing landscape of pop music right from the late 70s to the early 80s. They were the glamorous face of new wave, and deserved to be with the tunes they had to back it up. They seemed very versatile, like a mini-version of David Bowie. They could do hard rock, new wave, disco to some extent, rap…? Okay, jury's out on rap. But nevertheless, they were a versatile, exciting band with a ton of enduring pop songs in their discography. Debbie Harry is a literal goddess. That's all.

Best Song: I promised myself I would stay away from cover songs, but their rendition of "Hanging on the Telephone" is absolutely perfect and is the song that made me really fall in love with the band. So, rule broken.




65. Alanis Morissette

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The most infuriating, frustrating thing about Alanis Morissette is that I can never remember how to properly spell her last name. Other than that, she's pretty much perfect. She represents the absolute best of Canada's contributions to the female-led rock scene in the 90s, and she provides enough bravado and raw emotion to cement her name as a worthwhile artist. That Jagged Little Pill album… man, it should be illegal for an album to be so perfect. It's simply not fair to other artists trying to make their mark. But hey, Alanis deserves it. Her music carries a lot of emotional pathos and colourful lyrics that tell captivating stories. For someone who doesn't get irony in one of her biggest hits, she sure uses it effectively to convey just the right amount of deserved venom. I love that sarcastic edge; it really ties together the facets of her musical personality, sweet yet sour. She certainly doesn't sound like someone to mess with, if her unbridled anger on songs like "You Oughta Know" are anything to go by, so I'd stay on her good side by placing her on all your lists as well. Or, y'know, just do it for the music.

Best Song: "You Oughta Know"





64. Alice in Chains

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It seems odd that I'm putting grunge bands above Pearl Jam in this list after I just gushed about how much their subject matter makes them stand out among the pack. But, truth be told, of the six big grunge bands, the ones I feel were integral to the 90s biggest rock music aesthetic, Pearl Jam ranks sixth, though I still love them a lot. The thing is, while writing songs about other people is nice, and a change of pace from the genre, it's specifically the insularity that does make these moody bands so great. I talked about my desire for these bands to write about something else, but really, when you already have one band doing it, the rest exploring their own psyche for the majority of their discography just makes plain sense.

So we start with Alice in Chains, quite possibly the harshest of them all. Layne Staley's voice is like a freight train that just pierces through on choruses, best capturing an unwashed, howling cacophony that is emblematic of great grunge music. It definitely feels the most outwardly unhinged of the bunch and strikes some powerful chords. It's a shame that Staley died so young and left the band without a rudder. They made an attempt to come back in the late 2000s, but it just wasn't the same. It's like trying to do Queen without Freddie Mercury, or INXS without Michael Hutchence. Both of which also happened. Time is a flat circle. In any case, Alice in Chains are a consistently great band with a fiery presence that makes them stand out even among their grunge peers in the 90s.

Best Song: "Rooster"





63. James Brown


James Brown feels like the beginning of music to me. I know he had his influences too, but it feels like the type of music I really like didn't kick off until he came onto the scene. Simply put, James Brown is funky. Real funky. There's a good case to be made that he is the progenitor of funk music, that's how influential he is. And listening to how advanced he was in the 60s and how everyone else felt light-years behind? Yeah, I can dig it. Basically, without James Brown music might have been more boring on the whole. That earns at minimum a spot on this list. Now, clearly he wasn't the end of the story. But every story does need a beginning.

Best Song: "Cold Sweat"





62. blink-182

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It’s hard to find a more balanced example of pop punk than blink-182. They've certainly had their share of re-inventions, but at their core they're a couple of snot-nosed punk brats that prefer to skateboard rather than incite revolution, which is perfectly fine by me. To me, blink-182 simply is the sound of late 90s/early 2000s rock. It's bubblegum enough that it can be played along Britney Spears on pop stations, but also nasty enough that it might shock your grandmother. Tom DeLonge's whine is simply emblematic of the era, it's basically the perfect voice for this band and this time in rock history. The fact that they were able to make believable pivots into more mature music speaks to their versatility as well. As much as I love their punky, bratty side, their self-titled album in 2003 might be my favourite of the bunch. Nice to see the boys grow up a little, while still retaining their rock edge. A song like "Stay Together for the Kids" is a fantastic tune that only could have been done by this band. It combines real emotional pathos with childlike, bratty innocence. I wouldn't blame anyone who had blink-182 as one of their main bands growing up; this would include my sister who for a solid five years had blink-182 as her favourite band ever. The songs hit hard, man, even the goofy ones. I feel like they get underestimated now as part of this era of rock that was never to be taken seriously, but they had the sound and the simple yet effective lyrics to back their tunes up, to make themselves a surprisingly emotionally affecting and resonant band.

Best Song: "Always"





61. Metric

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Metric is a modern miracle. Their songs are pristine, perfect, and exactly the type of music I eat up for breakfast. So rare is it to find a band that so consistently pushes all of my musical buttons, but Metric do it. From Emily Haines' absolutely angelic yet sarcastic voice, to the consistently catchy synth riffs, to the darkness of the lyrics, to the… to the… hang on, Jesus, I'm losing it just talking about this band.

I have yet to find a bad Metric song. Scratch that. I have yet to find a Metric song below, like, an 8/10. They have this tendency to lean on what has already worked for them in the past, so I can't exactly call them a constantly evolving band. But by the same token, if the shoe fits, wear it. Metric is just plain and simple a band that gives me joy to listen to. I can always use a Metric song to cheer me up, even if the subject matter itself isn't the cheeriest. Music is weird like that. Wonderfully weird. God, it's hard to believe this band only ranks #61. Somehow 60 artists rank above this. It's getting real exciting, folks.

Best Song: "Stadium Love", with a good seven or eight songs right behind it



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I'm almost 20 and a lot of Blink's songs still hit so goddamn close to home and hit me like a truck. Definitely one of my favorite bands, listened to them a lot as a teenager and their music hit so close to home for me then and they do still do now. Can honestly throw on them whenever, too. Not a fan of Matt Skiba Blink-182 though at all, some of the songs are alright but it's way too overproduced IMO and Matt Skiba, while good with Alkaline Trio, is not a good fit for Blink IMO.

Great list as always.

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60. Outkast

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Outkast is what every great hip hop act should aspire to be. Fresh, exciting, innovative, thought-provoking, and eclectic. It's hard to think of a duo in recent memory that inspires so much creativity. André 3000 and Big Boi are magic together; complementing each other on every track they collaborate on. It's no secret that one has eclipsed the other in fame, but let's not forget that they're a partnership for a reason. The player and the poet. They're able to span such vast avenues of hip hop together through their differing styles coming together in electric ways. Never a dull moment with this group.

Best Song: "Ms. Jackson"





59. The Police

Image result for the police

And speaking of duos, let's talk about a trio of talented musicians. That made no sense. Anyway, The Police are certainly one of the more interesting bands of the late 70s. It's hard to pin 'em down; they sound so drastically different from everything else around them. It's like they toe the line between accessible arena rock and edgy new wave. Right in between Genesis and Talking Heads. It looks well on them, coupled with songs that are continually pushed up right to the edge of depravity. Seriously, most of The Police's songs sound deranged when you listen to the lyrics. I don't know what people were smoking to get "Every Breath You Take" as a wedding staple, horrifying even Sting. But a simple stalker anthem like that really only scratches the surface of this band's capabilities to be sneaky creepy. Look at the despondent narrator of "Can't Stand Losing You", or the very nature of their songs to repeat sticky phrases over and over until it sounds downright kooky. Someone belting "so lonely" over and over can't be quite right. But that's what I love about The Police; their ability to be completely off-the-wall deranged in their subject matter while still maintaining enough pop sensibilities to be completely accessible to the everyday listener. It's the best of both worlds.

Best Song: "Message in a Bottle"





58. The Doors

Image result for the doors

To me, The Doors simply are the 60s. Specifically, the drugged-out, dangerously psychedelic version of the 60s. You can keep all your hippy-dippy crap. The 60s is about death and destruction to me. And that's exactly what Jim Morrison's deranged growling and wailing sounds like to me. You don't really hear about The Doors that often when considering highly influential bands, but it's hard to think of a band that was more popular and contributed more to the edginess of rock to come. Maybe The Rolling Stones, but even they never sounded as consistently depraved as these guys did. Music that sounds this downbeat and depressing getting a shot at the Hot 100 alongside wearing flowers in your hair really speaks to the different levels of music listening people had in the 60s. Myself, I'll take The Doors any day of the week. Music to listen to when you've just stopped giving a fuck.

Best Song: "The End"





57. Ariana Grande

Image result for ariana grande

Wow! Okay, that got a little depressing. What say we liven things up with some good old-fashioned pop music? It really does seem like Ariana Grande is the last pop star of the 2010s. Pop has gone in radically new directions, and Ariana has certainly changed her direction has well, but there's no denying that no matter what era, everything about her screams star. Even from her early years, she had an electric voice comparable with Mariah Carey and a dynamite personality. She oozes charisma, even when her songs are decidedly anti-charismatic. She's one of the last traditional pop stars of last decade because her personality and charisma have made her so appealing. And I guess I'm beating around the bush here with all these buzzwords, so let me just say she's super hot. What? I survived almost half the list without being a horndog, I get at least one shot here. Plus, it translates well into her music. Confidence is sexy, and nowhere does Ariana ever sound unsure of herself. Insecure sometimes, yes, but always purposefully. She's a fascinating performer and artist, and even though I'm not too keen on her latest album, I am still excited to see where she goes.

Best Song: "Into You"





56. TLC

Image result for tlc

TLC are my favourite R&B group of the 90s, and it's not close. Something about them always felt so real and raw, particularly when they came into their own on CrazySexyCool. It helps that they have a legit rapper on their side too, rather than a guy who just talks in smooth bass tones like Boyz II Men. Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes is clearly the breakout star of the group, with her quirky flow and personality stealing the show nearly every time she's on the mic. But I can't discount the smooth, syrupy tones of T-Boz and Chilli's voices either. Each of them need each other, and they work best as a trio. They really do function as this unique, distinctive group that is unmatched by others when they're firing on all cylinders. Whether it's social commentary or love jams, TLC manage to knock it out of the park every time with their mature yet creative takes. A real gem of a group.

Best Song: "No Scrubs"





55. The Notorious B.I.G.

Image result for the notorious big

With Biggie, you pretty much always know what you're gonna get. But when what you get is as good as a Biggie song, well, you don't really mind either way. Biggie is simply one of the most consistently great rappers of the 90s. There's not a song of his where I thought he seriously missed the mark. He knew his strengths, and performed to the top of them every time. He had a certain edge to him, but his flow always stayed on level and conveyed appropriate menace and bravado. It's difficult to believe he had his career and died so young, because he sounds so seasoned you'd think he'd been underground for years. That just speaks to his consistency and competence on the mic, never missing a beat. Maybe he's not the most exciting or diverse rapper, but he doesn't need to be. His aura of coolness, prestige, and badassery wins me over every time. It's almost enough to forgive Puff Daddy for being a thing.

Best Song: "Juicy"





54. Nirvana

Image result for nirvana

Another lowballed highly famous act. I mentioned six big grunge acts on this list, and, well, here's the fourth-place finisher. And I love Nirvana. I think they're one of the most interesting and important bands of the 90s. But all the same, there are some who I think do Nirvana's thing better. But you won't see them for a while yet, so let's talk about the hair metal murderers themselves.

Nirvana tapped into something that got out into the mainstream and teenage kids ate up like candy. Nevermind is simply one of the most important albums of all time, and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" one of the most important songs. So rarely do you see an entire musical genre change on the dime of one song, but Nirvana was the one to do it. It changed the landscape of rock as people knew it, with Kurt Cobain screaming bloody murder and Dave Grohl crashing those drums. It really sparked something of a revolution in popular music, where it was finally okay not to be okay. The extravagance and glamour of the 80s was officially over, or at least it had to make room for new faces. Now, I'm not saying there weren't acts like this before Nirvana. Of course there were. But Nevermind really felt like the dam being burst open, and I truly believe it's Kurt's wild personality and riotous lyrics that made the message resonate. I think back to the screeching on "Drain You" or the dullard build-up to the explosive final verse and chorus of "Lounge Act". Kurt Cobain was a superstar, and though he may not have liked it, he certainly knew it and knew how to play with it. It's difficult to say what the music landscape would have changed to had Kurt not died by suicide. But he certainly left a lasting impression on music from his short time here. Rest in peace, Kurt, and thanks.

Best Song: "You Know You're Right"





53. Fleetwood Mac

Image result for fleetwood mac

Is there any band out there whose personal drama got mined into more musical gold than Fleetwood Mac? It's the entire basis of their Rumours album, which, the title is all you need there. Just an incredibly messy band hiding under tons of talent. That's Fleetwood Mac's identity, and I am all for it. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham are two of the most compelling frontpeople in rock music, not least because of their personal drama and transparent sniping on the aforementioned album. But more than that, Stevie Nicks simply has a hauntingly wonderful voice and Lindsey Buckingham is a dependable second voice of the band. They're magic together, obviously, as all messy duos are. Fleetwood Mac are simply a consistently solid band with more tricks up their sleeve than meet the eye. Something about them resonates all these years later, and the songs hold up like they're brand new. Can't think of anyone who would or could dislike this band.

Best Song: "The Chain"





52. Mariah Carey

Image result for mariah carey

You can't talk about Ariana Grande without talking about Mariah Carey, The Elusive Chanteuse. Okay, so maybe she's a bit full of herself. But really, with a voice like that, how could you not be? Mariah Carey has a voice so powerful that it's really become redundant to talk about at this point. Everyone knows that Mariah Carey is one of the greatest singers of our time, but it means nothing if the songs aren't also top-notch, which they are. Always resonant and emotional, Mariah Carey got us feelin' emotions every time. It should be almost illegal for a pop star to be this perfect. Well, outside of one questionable movie. But yeah, Mariah Carey absolutely is the voice of a generation and a clear inspiration for many young artists to come.

Best Song: "Vision of Love"





51. Jimi Hendrix

Image result for jimi hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is just plain cool, man. He glides through his songs so effortlessly it's like he was taught to play guitar from birth. It's remarkable to look back and see just how far ahead of the game Jimi was at his craft. The way the guitar just chugs along on songs like "Manic Depression", or the all-out solo on "All Along the Watchtower". He really sounded like the next generation of rock to come, and I'm sure inspired a lot of guitar virtuosos to hone their craft. A true star and inspiration.

Best Song: "Foxey Lady"



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50. P!nk

P!nk (@Pink) | Twitter

P!nk feels like she should be a more embarrassing artist than she is. On paper, her resume doesn't seem all that impressive. She's an edgy punk girl with questionable forays into black culture who eventually evolved into making the ultimate Mom Music? Yeah, needless to say her career is fraught with half-baked ideas and disappointments. So why rank her on this list at all? Well, for the majority of the 2000s, she just got it. There was a certain edge to her sound that made her more dangerous than Avril Lavigne but still accessible to the modern listener who wants to kick things up a notch. Plus, the woman can fucking sing. Her voice may not be for everyone, but at her peak, she puts full emotion into her vocal range and it just kills every time. I would love to see her live some day; I bet despite her pivot into adult contemporary she would still kill at live shows. So, yeah. Accessible, a little punk, and unabashedly in-your-face and brash for the good part of her career. Fucking great.

Best Song: "Who Knew"





49. Weezer

90s Weezer : weezer

I talked about Bruno Mars being the most flawed artist on this list. I may have to take that back, because we've gotten to Weezer. It honestly surprises me that I've chosen to place Weezer on this list, let alone so high, because I haven't liked their music for years now. I think they've devolved into something completely embarrassing, like a band made up of balding dads going through a mid-life crisis. That "Africa" cover makes me want to tear my ears off. So, why so high?

Well… that first album, man. I can't deny it. It hits all the right notes for me, and might be my favourite album of the entire decade. It feels like a night summer breeze wafting in the garage (which, incidentally, is the title of a song on this album). It's goofy, but not in a way that's completely embarrassing, in a way that's endearing. Weezer used to be really good at balancing their credibility as a band with being a bunch of goofs. They were able to offset their goofiness with a surprising amount of angst. That line has clearly been crossed by this point, but it's one of the things that made them so relatable and enjoyable back in the day.

Sadly, I don't think that Weezer is ever coming back. Maybe, but I doubt it. What I do know is that I can still look at Weezer like I look at The Simpsons, another piece of media that has gone way off the rails into badness in recent years. Remember them for all the good times that they gave me, and their track record before circa 2005 of making dependably good, easygoing rock music that provides enough emotion to hold up on repeated listen.

Best Song: "Undone - The Sweater Song"





48. Heart

Heart Official Website

Ann and Nancy Wilson are a dynamic tandem of sisterhood in rock not yet matched. Also unmatched is Ann Wilson's golden voice which adds so much power to every Heart song. Without Ann, there is no band. They're still quite good individually; that chugging riff on "Barracuda" is one of my go-to kickass guitar rumbles. But Ann is simply a superstar; her voice is so adaptable to any situation the band calls for and runs the gamut of emotions. But you know, just as the band needs Ann, Ann needs the band. I still appreciate her presence on songs like "Almost Paradise", but they were never gonna hold up to a classic Heart song. No chance. Heart is one of those bands that feels like a miracle to have, in a genre that can be as meatheaded as rock, particularly in the 70s, it's nice to have Ann Wilson and Heart provide a breath of fresh air with her piercing vocals coupled with excellent band chemistry and rhythm, and a little crazy as well. Fantastic band, and I don't think they get the proper love and recognition they deserve despite several of their songs as rock staples. It took them until 2013 to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Come the fuck on.

Best Song: "Heartless"





47. Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar Musical Aiming for Broadway | Playbill

But if we want to talk about female-fronted rock of the 80s, Heart needs to step aside momentarily to make room for Pat Benatar. And I still love 80s Heart, despite the clearly different feel it has. But Pat Benatar feels like the appropriate bridge that Heart could have taken to get to the 80s. She's spunky and playful, while still filling the need for those big power choruses. She's basically the perfect 80s rocker chick, threading the line between hard-hitting songs and radio-friendly pop. There's a surprising level of depth to her as well; her ballads never feel meaningless or frivolous. Part of this comes from the intensity and emotion in the vocals, but part of it also comes from the sharp, evocative songwriting. I've never heard a Pat Benatar song where it sounds like she's singing about nothing, and both writer and performer deserve credit here. Like I said, this feels like the logical next step for Heart to take and still maintain all their rock cred. That didn't happen, but at least we got Pat Benatar to substitute and, honestly, probably pull off the role better.

Best Song: "Heartbreaker"





46. INXS

INXS: New Sensation - Rolling Stone

In an era of overproduced cheese, INXS took a slicker approach and became one of the sexiest bands of the 80s. A lot of it comes from Michael Hutchence's captivating vocal performances, but there's also something about that somehow Aussie-sounding guitar that really gets the heart pumping. INXS feel like the very best conclusion of new wave fully embracing pop. You get to keep the slick production while appealing to the masses with good times and sizzling heat. It feels like the perfect music to listen to with sunglasses on. Lots of 80s music feels dated, and this does too to some extent, but I still feel a rush of joy listening to INXS, and they remain one of the best examples of pop rock in this time. Never a miss in their catalog. Supreme stuff.

Best Song: "Need You Tonight"




45. John Cougar Mellencamp

John Mellencamp | John mellencamp, Music love, Singer

Of all the artists on this list, this one surprises me the most. John Cougar Mellencamp, or JCM as I should call him with no immediate comparisons coming to mind, is a real oddball entering into this list. He never really struck me on the surface as anyone remarkable; kind of a middle ground between Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty when looking at artists of Americana. But the more I listen to Mellencamp's stuff, the more I really appreciate it. That middle ground is really something to hold precious and dear; he pulls off his role extremely well. He's got just the right type of voice to pull off the various topics he sings about, whether it's suckin' on a chili dog outside the Tastee Freez or discriminatory urban development plaguing Black Americans to this day. That's not a range everyone can pull off, but Mellencamp is talented enough that he can tackle both with ease. He's really a lot more soulful and thoughtful of a singer than people give him credit for, likely because of artists like Springsteen hogging the limelight. And I like Springsteen fine, but the grandiosity of his big hits gets to be a little much at times for me. Mellencamp consistently plays it cool, and that's what I love about his music. There's very little theatrics; he seems very true to himself and what he writes about. It's that authenticity, particularly in an era of glitz and glamour, that really sticks out to me; I don't think you could ever accuse Mellencamp of "selling out". A dependable artist that has a lot more great music than I initially recognized. Glad I'm able to rectify that now.

Best Song: "Rain on the Scarecrow"





44. 2Pac

Tupac Shakur - Wikipedia

In my best songs list I mentioned how Biggie won the battle against 2Pac. Well, 2Pac wins the war. And I feel kinda bad about using such terms where literally both guys died in violent shootouts. But such were the dangerous times of the 90s rap scene. And while Biggie is a more dependable rapper, 2Pac is definitely more versatile and exciting. There's a certain level of unhinged terror that comes through in his music, yet he is also capable of making uplifting and braggadocious songs too. Feels like the gangsta rapper that dipped his toes into everything and nearly always came out successful. That speaks to his powerful, husky voice being able to communicate a wide range of emotions. One minute he can sound like your dad, the next a violent criminal, the next a partying playboy, the next vulnerable and unsure. He runs the gamut, and is truly a talent we lost way too soon. I would have loved to see how both he and Biggie adapted to the changing sounds of rap by the 2000s. It's a curse we will never get to know, but a blessing that we had both these exceptional talents to write the book of 90s gangsta rap.

Best Song: "Hit 'Em Up" (ft. Outlawz) - with apologies to, well, Biggie




43. Matchbox Twenty

Where Are They Now? : Matchbox 20

I want to reiterate here that this is an honest list, and if I'm going to be completely honest, then some of the picks here are going to be incredibly dweeby. This is one of them, and there's at least one more to come. So, Matchbox Twenty! The favourite band of no one, right? The milquetoast, middle-of-the-road band that never amounts to anything above a low growl? Well, hold on a second.

Not every band has to be loud and raucous to be emotionally affective. It's true that you could likely to go a Matchbox Twenty concert without your ears ringing when you get home. But I think their reputation of blandness is vastly overstated. It's adult alternative music, you either like it or you don't. And if you dig a little deeper, you'll find a lot to like about Matchbox Twenty. Rob Thomas is a severely underrated vocalist; he has just as much angst and emotion in his voice as any grunge singer, but with better enunciation and more poise. He can hold his own in a sneering contest, which is half the battle of a 90s rock band. Seriously, though, Matchbox Twenty have simply been a solid, dependable act with tons of great songs that tend to get overlooked due to incomplete perceptions of the band. Or maybe you just need a better stomach for mid-90s alt rock. Your mileage may vary, but I still encourage you to revisit this band if you haven't. You might just discover a song that sticks with you, or three.

Best Song: "Long Day"





42. Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish is Writing a Book - Billie Eilish Book New Music

The newest pick on this list, Billie Eilish wasted no time breaking through in late 2018-2019 and becoming the next household name of pop. I love that pop music is so much weirder now; it makes for a much more interesting listening experience combing the Hot 100. Billie Eilish feels like the ringleader of a whole new era of pop music that really isn't afraid to pull back the curtain on the truth about teenagers: namely, that they're fucking terrifying. This kooky girl has so many interesting ideas that would have seemed taboo to the pop world even five or six years ago, but she manages to win over the public simply by being the dynamic and likeable personality that pop music wants people to be, just in her own way. The creepiness of her singles is the point, and it's wonderful that we live in a time now where songs like "bury a friend" can become hits.

You could likely credit certain artists with paving the way for Billie, but she feels like a very well deserved end result as well. A little more unhinged than most artists we've seen break through. But Billie Eilish doesn't operate on shock value alone. Her songs can also have a surprising pathos to them; she has a very versatile voice that works to be emotionally affecting and mood-capturing for all her music. Moody. That's a good word to describe her music on the whole. Sad, twisted, creepy, euphoric, dreamlike. Moody. This girl is an absolute superstar, and she's only going up from here. If she doesn't burn out from exhaustion and stardom, that is. Maybe 2020 represented a much-needed break for artists in some respects. What I'm saying is Billie is allowed to pace herself, because she's given us so much already.

Best Song: "xanny"





41. The Killers

Half of The Killers won't be performing on upcoming Wonderful Wonderful  tour | Consequence of Sound

What you need to understand about me is that for me at one point "Somebody Told Me" was just the coolest thing in the universe and The Killers were the most awesome band who ever lived. And by "one point" I mean "from when I heard the song until now". But seriously, what can I even say about The Killers? They just rule, man, particularly that first album which is the peak of 2000s rock to me. Every track perfection. But The Killers have remained in the conversation for years, still, well, killing it with each new hit they release. I don't think they've ever matched the sheer exhilaration I felt with Hot Fuss, but I appreciate them for constantly experimenting and never staying stagnant, shifting with the times to find a sound that is authentically them no matter the era. Brandon Flowers is a killer vocalist that anchors the killer guitars and rhythms. The Killers have basically killed my ability to write in anything other than lame puns. Killer.

Best Song: Can I just nominate the entire Hot Fuss album? No? Fine, you've twisted my arm - "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine"



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I've seen both Heart and Pat Benatar live in concert, and I can say with 100% honesty, that they both absolutely DESERVE to be on this list! I personally would've ranked them higher, but that's probably my 1980's bias talking. Enough said!

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