Do you remember these 10 overlooked 90s songs?
With so much amazing music being made through the 90s, some songs just naturally fall by the wayside.
It’s not that they are bad, they just kinda disappear – maybe because the band broke up, maybe because their newer material was better, maybe it’s just one of those things that can’t be explained.
This Saturday, we’re counting down the 50 best overlooked songs of the 90s. Songs that we loved around the time of their release, but that don’t get enough love these days.
It’s a tricky concept, because what one music fan considers overlooked might be the most played song on the iPod of another. So, even if you haven’t personally overlooked some of these great songs, we’re sure you’ll agree that they deserve more kudos.
Here are 10 examples of songs that will make the countdown this Saturday to get you ready for a serious trip down memory lane.
Make sure you’re listening when Chit Chat von Loopin Stab counts down the list from 1pm.
Whale – ‘Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe’
This slamming track drove the energy levels skyward at many an indie club in the mid-90s. Whale came together more by chance than a grand masterplan. Two Swedish guys met while making a TV commercial, discovered a love of music and decided to collaborate. One of their girlfriends joined them to sing this bizarre, and potentially annoying, 1993 debut single.
It was certainly hard to ignore, with its screaming chorus juxtaposed with Cia Berg’s otherworldly and childlike vocals. It became a European hit, thanks to MTV flogging the video there, and eventually the single was re-issued around the world in 1995. They would tour supporting the likes of Blur and Placebo, but, by 1999, Whale disappeared beneath the surface, leaving behind this raucous sonic blast. – Richard Kingsmill
The Dambuilders – ‘Teenage Loser Anthem’
Electric violin and that cracking guitar riff elevate this song from what might have been an otherwise straight-up meat-and-three-veg indie track, to a corker of an ode to teenage disaffection.
The Dambuilders features the amazing Joan Wasser on violin, who went on to perform as Joan as Police Woman and who famously dated Jeff Buckley around the time this track came out in 1995. I always find myself cracking out some air-violin every time I hear this song. – Meagan Loader
Turnstyle – ‘Spray Water On The Stereo’
Bubblegum anarchy from the suburbs of Perth. Turnstyle made a lot of great music in their short but prolific initial career. ‘Spray Water On the Stereo’ wasn’t necessarily their best song, but it was their best, and most popular, of the ‘90s.
Admirably, they stuck to their guns, never giving way to more po-faced, ultimately cheerless adult pop like some contemporaries. It meant they never quite got the due they deserved, but they brought a lot of joy. – Dan Condon
Gary Clail & On U Sound System – ‘Human Nature’
Francis Leach got me hooked on Gary Clail and the On-U Sound System. I recorded a live set he presented on triple j (on cassette of course) and played this song on repeat in my car until the tape broke.
I was at that point in life when I was wide eyed and eager to learn about club culture, its many fascinating inhabitants and the hedonistic lifestyle that came with it.
It also was my gateway drug to the burgeoning Bristol scene and its pulsating beat still speaks to me of those heady days (and nights). – Myf Warhurst
Angélique Kidjo – ‘Wombo Lombo’
The opening refrain of this vibrant 1996 single from Beninese tour de force Angélique Kidjo is one of the most infectious intros of the decade. That energy isn’t maintained the whole way through, it quickly settles into a deep groove and allows Angélique to knock us dead with brilliant voice of hers. The production has a little of that slinky 90s R&B feel to it and is a great example of how cross-cultural music really came into its own in the 90s. – Dan Condon
Glide – ‘Why You Asking’
Underrated Sydney indie band Glide showcased their lush guitar aesthetic on debut album Open Up And Croon.
Standout track ‘Why You Asking’ is the perfect lyrical response to things not going so well in life – a theme made more poignant by the band’s demise following the tragic death of frontman William Arthur in 1999. – Tatjana Clancy
The Herbaliser – ‘The Missing Suitcase’
Reading like a Hitchcock movie and sounding like a 70s cop movie, it could only have been created by an uber cool London based pair of beatmakers and released on the uber cool Ninja Tune label.
Creating that downright funky groove and bouncy jazz feel was near genius. They did it by sampling old records and blending them with new parts recorded by their own extended band of musicians.
This is from the duo’s third album, 1999’s Very Mercenary. But check out 2000’s Session One for the full, live band version and prepare to really lose it. – Dorothy Markek
Cordrazine – ‘Crazy’
The instant appeal of Cordrazine was that voice of frontman Hamish Cowan. It was like no one else we had heard come out of Australia at the time.
The jazzy lilt and those unbelievable high notes were reminiscent of Jeff Buckley, but there was someone utterly unique about his delivery. It was one of those voices that could not be replicated.
But the beauty of ‘Crazy’ extends well beyond that. It is a perfectly produced song, with tasteful lashings of strings, pattering Rhodes piano and a snare drum that cracks through the beauty of the arrangement and adds a bit of grit to the tragic beauty that abounds. – Dan Condon
Transglobal Underground – ‘Temple Head’
A British band whose singles never charted in the UK or Australia, Transglobal Underground were nonetheless responsible for a credible world music/electronica fusion in the early 90s, and for breaking the career of renowned Belgian vocalist Natacha Atlas.
With its baggy, psychedelic electronics and global instrumentation, ‘Temple Head’ became something of a staple at alternative dance parties, with rave heads lapping up the obvious connection back to the hippy era of the 60s. – Stu Buchanan
Deadstar – ‘Don’t It Get You Down’
Melbourne’s Deadstar formed in 1995 as a collaboration between guitarist Barry Palmer (Hunters & Collectors), singer Caroline Kennedy (The Plums) and drummer Peter Jones (Crowded House).
‘Don’t It Get You Down’ kicks off their second album Milk and is built on their trademark jangly power pop vying with scuzzy garage riffs. Complementing both those conflicting guitar sounds, Kennedy’s delivery is passionate and sexy yet wholesome enough to imitate (as I may or may not have done) without cringing.
Lyrically it’s ambiguous. It confesses to bad choices that will inevitably be repeated: is it about love? Or does it hint at darker patterns of thought or behaviour? Perhaps I’m overthinking it, when I should hit repeat and return to head bobbing loon. – Dorothy Markek