7 Popular Alternative Rock Songs From 1994

Updated on April 29, 2020
Jesse Drzal profile image

The '90s were a fun time to grow up, with some great music to enjoy during formative years.

1994 Alternative Rock

1994 was a nice year for alternative rock with many great songs produced by some amazing artist. While there are, of course, many more songs from that year worthy of mention, this list just serves to highlight some popular favorites from the year that was.

1. ''Sweet Jane'' by Cowboy Junkies

Originally a Velvet Underground song, ''Sweet Jane'' was covered by Cowboy Junkies for their The Trinity Session album. It was later included on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack in 1994, giving the tune new life and reach from the exposure of the awesome soundtrack and film, a definite highlight.

The song has been covered by a number of artists through the years, including Mott The Hoople. Slower in tempo, Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground said the Cowboy Junkies version was his favorite.

Margo Timmins and Alan Anton of Cowboy Junkies
Margo Timmins and Alan Anton of Cowboy Junkies | Source

2. ''Zombie'' by The Cranberries

A huge hit and all over MTV and the radio airwaves in that era, "Zombie'' was a huge departure for The Cranberries. Most known for quieter songs with delicate vocals harmonies, ''Zombie'' was full of rock bombast with crushing slow drums and heavy guitars from the Ireland group.

Being the lead single off of the No Need To Argue album, it was also a protest song being anti-war in nature, referencing the 1916 Easter Rising and other recent Irish war-torn themes.

''Zombie'' video by The Cranberries

3. ''Feel The Pain'' by Dinosaur Jr.

When alternative came knocking on the door of Dinosaur Jr., they were ready to accept the call with the ''Feel The Pain'' track off of the Without A Sound album in 1994. The band had already been at it for years beforehand, with the leader and mastermind J. Mascis honing his chops in the Massachusets scene since 1984 with the band.

''Feel The Pain'' was the first experience with Dinosaur Jr. for many, especially on the strength of the awesome and funny video which featured golf cart and golfing shenanigans around New York City, with great wit and imagination.

''Feel The Pain'' video by Dinosaur Jr.

J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. onstage in 2013.
J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. onstage in 2013. | Source

4. ''Black Hole Sun'' by Soundgarden

This was pretty much the anthem for the summer of 1994 for me and my gang. The hot sweltering heat just meshed with the trippy nature of the music and melodies, coupled with the insane music video that featured a twisted take on suburbia, with Barbie dolls being rotisseried on grills, tweaked out housewives trying to cut live flopping fish, you know, typical nineties stuff that we all loved and enjoyed. If you were lucky enough to experience it.

While Badmotorfinger was the breakthrough album from Soundgarden, the Superunknown follow up really put the band on the map which was most likely the best complete offering from the outfit, in my humble opinion.

Sadly, shortly after this writing, Chris Cornell was found deceased soon after a Soundgarden performance on May 17, 2017. The cause of death was ruled suicide by hanging, and there was speculation from his family as far as the anxiety medication Chris was on as a contributing factor. Chris Cornell was a tremendous musician, singer, and songwriter with amazing vocal talents. R.I.P, Chris, you will be missed.

Chris Cornell live in Amsterdam 2007.
Chris Cornell live in Amsterdam 2007. | Source

''Black Hole Sun'' video by Soundgarden

5. ''Undone-The Sweater Song'' by Weezer

This was the lead single off of the debut self-titled, or as sometimes referred to as the Blue Album, by Weezer. The video is also an early work of video director genius Spike Jonze, shot in one continuous motion, complete with a pack of dogs and assorted hijinx.

Lead singer Rivers Cuomo would wonder why when the band played early gigs in Los Angeles, no one would seem to bother or pay attention, with everyone looking for the next grunge band. This changed quickly after the first album release, which saw the Blue Album quickly gain popularity after the MTV hit video.

The iconic ''Buddy Holly'' video followed inspired by the fifties hit show Happy Days, and then the more serious ''Say It Aint' So''. Being a dork and wearing glasses became cool all of the sudden, and the rest, as they say, is history.

''Undone-The Sweater Song'' video by Weezer

Rivers Cuomo of Weezer
Rivers Cuomo of Weezer | Source

6. ''Fade Into You'' by Mazzy Star

Mazzy Star captured our imaginations and minds with the dreamy ''Fade Into You'' track in 1994. While the moniker ''one hit wonder'' is a term I don't like to use on an artist with substance, it's kind of what Mazzy Star turned into with no real impactful songs after, which is really surprising considering the talent involved.

Still, the song by itself pretty much sums up the decade of nineties alternative with its huge influence, especially the mid-nineties era, and it was used in countless movies and television shows for decades to come.

''Fade Into You'' video by Mazzy Star

7. ''Girl, You'll Be A Women Soon'' by Urge Overkill

This was originally a Niel Diamond song, ironically a very un-alternative artist of sorts. But, Urge Overkill made it work and the song went on to become a staple of nineties alternative and a defining song for the band.

Included on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, it was a huge hit and a key moment in the film, as who could ever forget Uma Thurman seductively dancing around in the famous scene with this tune blaring in the background, forever engrained in our minds and defining an era of great film and music.

Urge Overkill
Urge Overkill | Source

Opinion Poll

What Is Your Most Favorite Song On This List?

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© 2017 The Write Life


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    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 years ago from Norfolk, England

      There's 1 or 2 songs in this list I'm not all that familiar with, but I like The Cranberries one.


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