Time can do odd things to music. It can make the initially awful somehow acceptable. How else to explain the current trend of re-examining and re-using music made in the 1990’s? As a corrective to endless nostalgia, people need to remember there was some really, really bad music made back then.
10. Billie – ‘Because We Want To’
A 15-year-old spawn of the Sylvia Young school with a nice sideline in Whitney style ‘grrrr-unts’ unleashed this paedo pop track on an unsuspecting public. Sounding like a chipmunk Bonnie Langford ‘doing pop’ at the end of term show, the chorus was ringtone annoying and slightly menacing, as if a group of Village Of The Damned-style characters were out to get us all. Things got better. ‘Honey To The B’ was a ‘Never Ever’-like choon and ‘Walk Of Life’ suggested a new ‘mature’ direction was there’s for the taking if she wanted it (she didn’t) but this was bloody awful.
AKA ‘The Horns Of Doom’. Terrible chiefly because it began the trend of coffee shop Latin music (‘Mi Chico Latino’!), which reached its awful pinnacle with the Santana comeback album ‘Supernatural’ (don’t call it a comeback, call it massively dull). Also for the fact that the lady portrayed in ‘Livin…’ has some massive mental illness issues. She needs help!
8. The Lighthouse Family – ‘Lifted’
When the first Starbucks opened in the UK in 1998, this was the first track to be piped through the flagship shop. Well, possibly. Drenched in wafts of beige, ‘Lifted’ was an anthem for giving up on life, moving to the suburbs and living your life in conversations about grouting.
7. The Cranberries – ‘Zombie’
A grunge-lite tread through the problems of the IRA with lyrics which were presumably penned by a goldfish (“With the same old team/Since 1916”) and sung by a woman apparently experiencing the most guttural, unrelenting, 72 hour labour you could imagine. Grizzly.
6. Savage Garden – ‘Affirmation’
A puke-inducing, Clinton Cards-guzzling laundry list of Deepak Chopra-lite positivisms. Truly, there’s such a thing as too much therapy.
Limp as a wet lettuce leaf, this attempt to “get some of that Alanis Morrissette money” felt like French And Saunders doing a weak wristed female singer songwriter. Marlin now works in the IKEA HQ masterminding their eventual total invasion of Russia.
…And the End Of Music (otherwise known as nu metal) was upon us. Fred Durst (the worst)’s version of ‘Faith’ was part of a trend of taking pop hits and re-making them by, um, just speeding up the chorus a bit and shouting over them. ‘Ironic’ yes, but also awful.
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3. Fatboy Slim – ‘Praise You’
Mainly because it seemed be everywhere after it was released. On radio, on every goal compilation on Football Focus or replay of Del Boy falling through the bar, ‘Praise You’ was omnipresent. When we hear it now we flinch with the memory of someone doing the ‘big fish/little fish’ dance.
2. Celine Dion – ‘My Heart Will Go On’
A enormo ballad that seemed to take residence in the upper echelons of the chart for most of the 90s (if memory serves us right), Celine’s pan pipe-fronted tune soaked up the collective sadness that results when people go and see a James Cameron film.
1. Wet Wet Wet – ‘Love Is All Around’
Was it because of the dual images of Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell smirking in the video? The cod-folk guitars being plucked in the verses? The strings which descend over the track like a collective red mist? Or Marti Pellow’s vocal style which slightly sounds like he’s having a funny turn. It’s all of the above.