7 Killer Alternative Rock Songs From 1994
1994 Alternative Rock
1994 was a stellar year for alternative rock with many great songs produced by some amazing artists, right in the heart of a musical awaking of sorts. While there are of course many more songs from that year worthy of mention, this list just serves to highlight some personal 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.
''Sweet Jane'' video by Cowboy Junkies
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.
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 much speculation from his family as far as the anxiety medication Chris was on as a contributing factor, as one of the side effects of the drug he was prescribed is listed as suicidal thoughts and actions. Chris Cornell was a tremendous musician, singer, and songwriter with amazing vocal talents. R.I.P, Chris, you will be missed.
''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
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.
''Girl, You'll Be A Women Soon'' video by Urge Overkill
What Is Your Most Favorite Song On This List?
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