There was something in the musical water of 1994. Let's take another sip.
A good chunk of millennials were either pre-teens or young teens in 1994 — and their budding musical tastes were informed by a wide array of memorable offerings in just about every genre. It was the post-grunge era, and alternative music ruled. But so did R&B, rap (which was getting away from party-anthems and addressing more realistic or slice-of-life tales) and pop-ish singer-songwriters.
It was a year that saw the release of many seminal albums: Green Day's "Dookie," Nine Inch Nails' "The Downward Spiral," Nas' "Illmatic," Weezer's "Blue Album," Hootie and the Blowfish's "Cracked Rear View," the Notorious B.I.G's "Ready to Die."
Aaliyah, Korn, Dave Matthews Band, Brandy, Oasis, Portishead and Marilyn Manson were among the artists who released their first album in 1994.
Below are 20 of the most influential, notable and, well, just downright catchy, songs released two decades ago. And yes, it was agonizing to narrow this down to 20 (sorry, Des'ree! You just missed it).
We're getting a little misty.
1. "The Sign," Ace of Base
To be technical (as one always should when dealing with Ace of Base), this song will turn 21 this year, since it was released in the United States on December 21, 1993. But we'll overlook that since Billboard recognizes it is as the No. 1 song of 1994. Yes, of the entire year. And it also has the distinction of inspiring a "Full House" episode where Stephanie forms the band, Girl Talk. How's that for a very 1994 sentence?
2. "Longview," Green Day
"Dookie" was Green Day's major-label debut, and "Longview" was its first single (it went to No. 1). There probably was no better song in 1994 that captured that "slacker" mentality (pot smoking! boredom! other things we can't say!). It's also likely the best thing ever to come from being high on LSD, as bassist Mike Dirnt said he was doing when he wrote the bass line.
3. "Juicy," the Notorious B.I.G.
Despite a now-unfortunate World Trade Center reference, "Juicy" remains one of the most beloved hip-hop chronicles of all time. Plus, we always gravitate toward a song dedicated to really bad teachers.
4. "Crazy," Aerosmith
Aerosmith unexpected early 1990s renaissance (Aerosance?) was capped with this track and its influential video, which was played roughly 28 times an hour on MTV.
5. "100% Pure Love," Crystal Waters