Classical Jazz '05



SOP - 90s Music Canon

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Bob Tozier Artist: Bob Tozier
School: North Allegheny

Matt Daniels, editor of the publication The Pudding, wanted to find out what songs from his youth would last into the future. So he designed a study that would test if Gen-Z had a grip on 90s culture. Hundreds of thousands of participants provided over 3 million data points. Daniels parsed through the data for insights. Sadly, the majority of his most beloved songs have not survived even one generation. Though most had been forgotten, he found that just a few songs had staying power across generations — what he defined as the emerging 90s music canon. Find out what songs make it and which have fallen to the wayside. 
Spice Girls - Wannabe 
Mariah Carey - Fantasy!
Lou Bega - Mambo #5
Los Del Rio - Macarena
Boys II Men - Motown Philly
Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You
Savage Garden - I Want You
The Barenaked Ladies - One Week
Jewel - You Were Meant For Me
Jennifer Lopez - If You Had My Love
Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On
Britney Spears - Baby One More Time
Smash Mouth - All Star
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit 


  1. What songs do you think have lasted a generation or more?
  2. Why do you think a song will last?
  3. Do you have a favorite song from the 90's? Why?


The Pudding’s study on Defining the 90s Canon
Take The Pudding’s quiz  yourself
How did you do? 
  • (17:00) Age plays a factor
    • under 5
    • 7~11
    • AGE 13
  • Are there other factors?
  • (21:30) Sounds that are specific to a decade can play a factor
  • (25:30) The top 5 90s Canon
    • Songs that have been promoted through mega movie hits
    • Songs that have been promoted through Sporting Events
    • 90s music may have a specific happiness or earnestness
  • (32:00) Can this data be wrong? 
  • (32:00) Your parents will influence you
  • (33:00) Geography/Country
  • (33:00) Gender and race
  • (34:00) "But What if We Are Wrong?" - Chuck Closterman
    • Cultural values of the future culture
    • A good example is BACH
  • A shift in sound styles
  • (35:30) Mega hits don't always reflect the ability to remember a song
  • What, from today, will stand the test of time?
  • When you write music, what can you do to help your song stand the test of time?


Clay Sheleheda from: North Allegheny - posted: September 16, 2020

1. Definately songs like Hey Jude that are made by bands that everyone know are big hits still. 


2. A song could last becuase it has a really good earworm or a good hook that can pull the listener into the song. 


3. My favorite 90s song is probably either Check the Rhime by A Tribe Called Quest, or I Want You by Savage Garden. These two songs stick out to me becuase Check the Rhime got me into listening to Hip Hop and I Want You is just a fantastic song.  

Sophia Elliott from: North Allegheny - posted: September 16, 2020

1.) Many Beatles songs have lasted generations. 

2.) I think a song lasts because of appeal to many people, I think music can be unifying and that can make it last. Everyone knows the Beatles, they have thoughtful lyrics and more simple songs everyone can enjoy.

3.) Mambo No. 5 because it's funny to me. 

Rohan Puri from: North Allegheny - posted: September 16, 2020

1. Most Michael Jackson songs, Careless Whisper - George Michael, Jump - Van Halen, Theme from Jurassic Park - John Williams, Star Wars Main Theme - John Williams and many more

2. Nostalgia - allows people to revisit their childhood by listening to those songs. 

3. Remember the Time - Michael Jackson

It is one of my favorite MJ songs - fits the vibe of the 90s. 

Grace Elliott from: North Allegheny - posted: September 16, 2020
I think someone like Jacob Collier will stand the test of time. He is just undeniably brilliant and a universal artist. I believe song lasts when it connects with people. It has to connect with someone emotionally and evoke some sort of feeling in people. When writing music, just try to write something that will connect with people and make someone feel better or stronger.

Bri Cobbey from: North Allegheny - posted: September 16, 2020

1. never gonna give you up, toxic'll last because it works with every generations style/relevance. 

3.I like either Fade to Black by Metallica or Roads Untraveled by Lincoln Park.


Hunter Badamo from: North Allegheny - posted: September 16, 2020

1. Wonderwall by Oasis

2. Catchy and fits the mindset of the youth at the time. Nirvana was about letting your spirit free, bands in the 60s were about being peaceful and protesting the war.

3.  Come As You Are by Nirvana. I love the riff and the song's roots are about being your true self, with that fantastic hard rock layer over top that Nirvana always gives.

Nick Brar from: North Allegheny - posted: September 16, 2020

1. Between the songs that were listed I believe that All Star, Smells Like Teen Spirit, I Will Always Love You, and Macarena have lasted a generation or more. Although these songs were all created and released in a previous decade, they have barely gone down in popularity and in how well-known they are worldwide.

2. A song that will last a generation must gain a lot of traction and be something special. This is because if it is like any other song being released, people will not pay special attention to it and it will be soon forgotten.

3. One of my favorite songs from the 1990's is Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot. This is due to its comical lyrics and catchy beat. Listening to the song makes me want to start bobbing me head and sing along.  

Olivia Belcher from: North Allegheny - posted: September 16, 2020
My favorite song from the 90's is Smells Like Teen Spirit. I like it because it has a fun, steady bassline, and my dad used to play it a lot while I was in middle school.

Josi Pietrzyk from: - posted: September 17, 2020

1. I'm not gonna lie, I don't know very much about 90s music, but I do know Brittney. So, I would day that some good ol' Baby One More Time will live on.

2. I think that it will because Brittney is totally iconic and no one will ever forget that baby voice.

3. My favorite song from the 90s is for sure the pirates who don't do anything silly song from Veggie Tales.

Vaishnavee Sundararaman from: North Allegheny - posted: September 20, 2020

1.  Probably Bohemian Rapsody and lots of Jackson 5 songs(Who's loving you, I'll be There, ABC, etc.)

2. I think a song will last because of the tune and the words.  It should also make the person hearing it feel something each time.

3. Whitney Houston-I Have Nothing

I love this song because of how Whitney has soo much control over her belting voice(like going to F#5 without making it sound hard).  I also love the lyrics in general because she is able to make the listeners feel what she's feeling during the song. 

I think that this was a very iconic song of the 90s. 

Kate Patterson from: North Allegheny - posted: October 12, 2020

1. Songs by Elton John, the Beatles, Madonna have lasted a long time and stayed popular. 

2. Songs last a long time either because they are catchy or have a good message

3. I like a lot of Weezer's music 

Kassi Barry from: North Allegheny - posted: October 27, 2020

1.) Many Leann Rimes music has lasted thus far
2.) I think music lasts because it is unique and has a very distinct sound. I think most music can last, but some will dissappear over time.
3.) I really don't have specific song but I really enjoy Nirvana

Nicholas Palermo from: North Allegheny - posted: October 29, 2020

I think the Beatles has lasted a generation

Beatle songs have a timeless sound.

My favorite song from the 90's would be "When I Come Around" by Green Day. 

Eric schaefer from: North Allegheny - posted: November 2, 2020

1. There are so many 70's songs that will be popular forever. 

2. Songs that have a deep meaning in that time period, or just have a catchy melody are some of the reasons they will be around forever.

 3. I think "Smells like teen spirit" by Nirvana is my favorite 90's song and i think it will be popular for a long time.

Nathan Lam from: North Allegheny - posted: November 10, 2020

1. I want it that way - Backstreet Boys, Always be my Baby - Mariah Carey, My Heart will go on - Celine Dion, All Star - Smash Mouth
2. I  believe a song will last through generations because it has lyrics that are fairly easy to remember and catchy melodies that are hard to forget.
3. My favourite songs from the 90's are Creep - Radiohead and End of the Road - Boyz II Men. I really like the use of chords in Creep, especially the placement of the minor chords which sometimes makes them seem major and vice-versa. I find End of the Road to be pretty catchy. 

Reka Gotz from: North Allegheny - posted: November 10, 2020

1. The Birthday Song, symphonic music, a lot of classical

2. I think a tune lasts longer without lyrics because popular themes and trends change over time. 

3. I like a lot of 90s rap and soul - Erykah Badu, Lauren Hill, etc

Julia Maletta from: North Allegheny - posted: November 10, 2020

1.) I believe that bands/artists like Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, etc. have lasted many generations

2.) If a song appeals to multiple audiences while still having a more specific feel to it

3.) Two of my favorite 90's songs are Creep by Radiohead and I Don't Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith because I grew up with both those bands and learned to appriciate their meanings more as I got older

Sophia Elliott from: North Allegheny - posted: November 11, 2020
Jingle bells is a song that has lasted generations. I think universality( if that's a word) and versatility can make a song last. 

Anna Bansemer from: North Allegheny - posted: November 11, 2020

1. I think one hit wonders such as (867-5309)/Jenny and Somebody that I used to know can last for generations. Almost everyone knows Jenny and its an 80s song!

2. I think all catchy songs will last. When you are a parent or babysitting a couple of kids and play a catchy song, its bound to get stuck in a kids memory.

3. My favorite song from the 90s would be Lithium by Nirvana 

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