We’re smack dab in the middle of Clueless Week, and to help you get more in the mood of 20 years ago – and get through hump day – today, we’re transporting you back two decades with the power of music.
Songs have this ability to bring you back to a certain time and event in your life, whether it be good or bad. As I was compiling this playlist, I realized that 1995 was one of the first years I became a *fan* of music and certain artists, as opposed to just singing along with songs on the radio. For better or worse, the songs I heard in 1995 helped form my musical tastes today, and help me reminisce about my younger years when my extent of my worries was weather Mrs. Green was going to be in a good mood in class that day or not.
So here are some of our favorite tunes to bring you back to the Clueless era, and get ready to play them on your new-fangled computers and streaming services.
Enjoy the entire playlist on Spotify HERE!
Another Night by Real McCoy
Kids, dance music was big in the 90s. Not EDM music of today with your Calvin Harrises and Aviciis and Tiestos. But electronica, Euro-inspired dance music that The Night at the Roxbury guys would groove to in the clubs. It’s a sound that’s so specifically 90s, and I remember this legitimately being my favorite song that I would write down in personality tests.
This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan
Although this was arguably Montell Jordan’s biggest hit in 1995, I would also argue that it’s a hip-hop classic, and also one of my go-to karaoke songs.
Switch by TLC
CrazySexyCool/Waterfalls was one of the biggest albums of the 90s, with the record over two years on the Billboard album charts. It was a career-defining CD for the ladies, and was basically a soundtrack to my life when I was a kid. In fifth grade, me and three of my friends decided to enter our school talent show, and we decided to do a dance to this B-Side track. As we were practicing in my friend’s basement, I suggested someone move forward during Left Eye’s rap and basically lip sync to it. Since it was my idea, I had to do it. We got like second or third place. I believe we lost to a male-cousin team who lip synced to Ike and Tina Turner’s Proud Mary. One of them was dressed in drag. This was 5th grade.
Always Be My Baby by Mariah Carey
I think I was first introduced to Mariah when I procured Music Box on cassette, and I subsequently got Daydream – I want to say by borrowing it from the library? Anyways, I listened to it non-stop, and Always Be My Baby was probably my fave jam out of hit after hit on that record. Can we just get this Mariah back, please?
Head Over Feet by Alanis Morissette
For a long period of time, I used to tell people the first CD I ever bought was Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. It was a stock answer for anyone around my age, because that’s how big of an album it was. In reality, the first CD I ever bought was Weird Al Yankovic’s Bad Hair Day, strictly because of his parody of Coolio’s Gangster’s Paradise – Amish Paradise. I thought I was cool. Jagged Little Pill was actually a Christmas gift in ’95, and when I eventually got around to listening to it, turns out it wasn’t that bad.
Honorable Mentions: Peaches by The Presidents of the United States of America, Stay by Lisa Loeb, One of Us by Joan Osborne
Wonderwall by Oasis
I was so young, I didn’t even know that none of this made sense. Radio was more segmented in 1995 (before it was all, like, radio conglomerates?) so you had your station that strictly played “alternative” versus those that played pop. It was really tough for us fourth graders who were really into Mariah AND Oasis trying to hover in front of the radio with a cassette tape to record our favorite songs.
Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio
I was obsessed with this song. And like Traci, I was even MORE into Amish Paradise. I thought Weird Al was hilarious, and what can I say, I was going through a phase where I thought the Amish were awesome. But in real life, I lived in a city neighborhood. Some might even call it a Gangsta’s Paradise. By the way, watch Dangerous Minds – the movie this is from – for a very different perspective on 1995 teens than you get in Clueless.
Life, In A Nutshell by Barenaked Ladies
Barenaked Ladies were huge in our area, and with my sibs especially. I’m still jealous that one of my brothers got to hang out with them backstage, and it’s been 15 years. The 1994 album Maybe You Should Drive is filled with 90s nuggets like Alternative Girlfriend (referencing a girl in an all-girl band who has a second-hand futon), Jane (mentioning the fairytale romance between … Juliana Hatfield and Evan Dando, of course. What, you don’t remember that love story for the ages? Evan “Lemonheads” Dando!), and Life, In A Nutshell.
Big Poppa by Notorious B.I.G.
You can’t talk about mid-90s music without mentioning the big players in the rap game: Biggie and Tupac. You know what’s kind of amazing? How old-school 80s, early 90s rap had evolved to this by 1995, and it still sounds like it could be released today, maybe minus the synth.
Here Comes The Hotstepper by Ini Kamoze
I am including this strictly so that I can explain that I just learned last year that the lyrics are NOT “I’m the leprechaun gangster.” But for some cultural context, the horror movie Leprechaun was released in ’93 and leprechauns in general were much more intimidating in the ’90s.
Also, I just learned that this song is called Here Comes The Hotstepper now. Right now. While making this playlist.