Kitsch: 15 worst songs of the 1990s

Yup, that’s Aqua. Barbie Girl style!

The only way my friends will let me play my iPod at a party is if they’re feeling whimsical or if they are, in actual fact, asleep. With good reason too, I’ll cautiously admit. It contains abominations of music on there not seen since a tape recorder playing a Billy Ray Cyrus mix tape was eaten by a lawnmower.

So you have to understand when I say I’m talking about the ‘worst’ songs of the 1990s the term ‘best’ is also interchangeable. Like hot chips and party clowns, the music is so bad it’s good.

Rolling Stone Magazine asked its readers for their suggestions to come up with a ‘top 10’ (or bottom 10, depending on how you look at it) and we thought we’d augment that with some of our own suggestions. So it’s kind of like an horrific cyborg of terrible, kitsch, fabulous music from the decade that taste forgot.

We’ll start from the ‘worst’, as decided by Rolling Stone:

1. Barbie Girl, by Aqua.

She’s just a blonde, bimbo girl, in a faaaaaantasy world. This is apparently the worst song of the 90s. I beg to differ. It’s on my iPod and I listened to it as recently as yesterday. I will not apologise.

2. Macerena, by Los Del Rio.

The dance performed by my mum at every social gathering ever. She still fumbles the moves, but not nearly as badly as she does the words.

3. Achy Breaky Heart, by Billy Ray Cyrus.

This slightly boot-scootin’ ballad of heartache (and break) has been an earworm since 1992. That’s almost two decades of sheer awfulness. But don’t worry. Billy gave us Miley Cyrus to atone for his sins. Wait, what?

4. Ice, Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice

He really likes the word ‘ice’. This was a classic one hit wonder rap song about I-still-don’t-know-what. Ice?

5. Tubthumping by Chumbawamba.

He drinks a whiskey drink, he drinks a cider drink. Oh. Get. Out. Of. My. Head.

Hanson. Totally all married now.

6.MMMBop, by Hanson

The three long-haired brothers that sang this ditty are all grown-up now and married with kids. Meanwhile this song lingers in our collective subconscious. I call that fleeing the scene of a crime.

7. My Heart Will Go On, by Celine Dion

And on. And on. And on. But it’s OK because I liked it then and I like it now. Judge not lest ye be judged.


8. Who Let the Dogs Out, by Baha Men

This song is basically one big, lyrical trainwreck of a metaphor for the song itself. Who indeed. (This song was technically released in 2000).

9. I’m Too Sexy, by Right Said Fred

I am a model, you know what I mean? And I do a little turn on the catwalk. Yeah on the catwalk. Bam. Song’s in your head now isn’t it? I’m not complaining.

10. What’s Going On? by Four Non Blondes

Worst? Are you kidding me Rolling Stones readers? I would fight a tiger* to defend the honour of this song. *I’ve just been told fighting tigers is illegal in most states.

11. Around the World, by Aqua

OK, so Aqua could really have their own list. Dr Jones anyone? But this song is an under-represented tune from the oeuvre of their work and I think it deserves better. If you disagree, I challenge you to a dance-off.

12. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Deep Blue Something

As much as I love this song, it is a little like over-hearing a conversation between two school girls. “And then she said, and I was like, and then she said that other thing, do you remember?”

13. Everybody, by The Backstreet Boys

Remember boy bands? Chortle. There was enough boy band hip-thrusting in the 90s to power a fleet of submarines and occasionally everybody stopped to listen to their songs too. I have this.

14. Wannabe, by The Spice Girls

This song was Awful Spice. But I still danced to it, so who am I to judge.

15. You Can’t Touch This, by MCHammer

This song won several awards for creative use of pantaloons, I believe, so don’t be hating too hard.

And that’s the list! Now, we realise when it comes to music one man’s trash is another man’s Lou Bega. Or maybe that’s the same thing. See, it’s all subjective!

Check out a few select videos below to bring back some of those sweet, sweet lullabies.

Now, what would you add to the list? Or what song is on the list but shouldn’t be?