For rock fans, the ’90s were an incredible era. There were almost too many great bands exploding; it was tough to keep up with them, and — since you had to pay for albums back then — it was tough on your wallet, too.
But it was worth it. Tons of great new artists were releasing game-changing debuts, like Pearl Jam, Weezer, and later, the Foo Fighters. There were also bands who had slugged it out in the underground for years who were just starting to get mainstream acclaim, like Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Soundgarden.
It was also a time when music videos got a significant amount of airtime on MTV, back when the initials still stood for “Music Television.” And in the ’90s, MTV was taking chances with the bands that they were supporting and the types of videos they were selecting. MTV wasn’t only launching the careers of rock bands, they were also bringing young directors to bigger audiences: Michael Gondry, for instance, who directed the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” went on to direct Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Spike Jonze, who was behind the camera for Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” would later direct Being John Malkovich, Where The Wild Things Are and Her, as well as helping to launch the Jackass franchise. Other big name directors on this list include Anton Corbijn, Gus Van Sant and Samuel Bayer.
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Here, then, is our list of the 10 best songs from that amazing decade. Which are your favorites? See which songs just missed the cut in the gallery below.