1990s Song Meanings

The most significant change in the compilation of weekly singles charts took place in 1992 when the historic methods of ranking records by call-outs to record stores and radio stations were replaced by tabulations from digital scans at the point-of-sale. The average total of #1 hits per year dropped dramatically and the genres represented became more inclusive.

The big winner on the Top 40 in the ‘90s was rap/hip-hop and its sibling genre R&B/ dance.

The decade gave us two iconic rappers, linked forever by their tragic murders: 2Pac (Tupac Shakur) age 25 and The Notorious B.I.G./Biggie Smalls age 24.

Female R&B trios TLC and SWV (Sisters With Voices) made strong showings on the Top 40.

In fact…gender-wise females ruled, notably Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, and Whitney Houston. Their combined stats were staggering: 50 Top 10 sides, of which 23 reached #1. They were joined in 1999 by future stars Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

Boy bands became all the rage with teens, the biggest of which was Boyz II Men with eight platinum singles. Joining them by decade’s end were Backstreet Boys and *NSync.

As for rock, most of the action was on the album chart with prominent showings by Nirvana, Peral Jam, Guns N’ Roses, and Red Hit Chili Peppers.

The decade closed out with an explosion of Latin tracks on the pop charts, including “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” and “Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of…).”

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.


All Around The World – Lisa Stansfield

Everybody Everybody – Black Box

Don’t Wanna Fall In Love – Jane Child

Do Me! – Bell Biv DeVoe

Girls Nite Out – Tyler Collins

Giving You The Benefit – Pebbles

How Am I Supposed To Live Without You – Michael Bolton

I Don’t Have The Heart – James Ingram

I Wanna Be Rich – Calloway

I Remember You – Skid Row

Knockin’ Boots – Candyman

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor

Pump Up The Jam – Technotronic Featuring Felly

Round And Round – Tevin Campbell

Romeo – Dino

Rub You The Right Way – Johnny Gill

Suicide Blonde – INXS

The Deeper The Love – Whitesnake

The Humpty Dance – Digital Underground

The Power – Snap!


Humpin’ Around – Bobby Brown

I’m Too Sexy – RSF* (Right Said Fred)

Live And Learn – Joe Public

My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It) – En Vogue

Send Me An Angel – Scorpions

To Be With You – Mr. Big


All This Love – Patti LaBelle

Another Night – Real McCoy

At Your Best (You Are Love) – Aaliyah

Booti Call – BLACKstreet

Bump N’ Grind – R. Kelly

Don’ Turn Around – Ace Of Base

Dunkie Butt (Please Please Please) – 12 Gauge

I’ll Make Love To You – Boyz II Men

It’s Your Birthday – Luke

Pumps And A Bump – Hammer

Regulate – Warren G. & Nate Dogg

The Sign – Ace Of Base


Boombastic – Shaggy

Boom Boom Boom – Outhere Brothers

Old School Lovin’ – Chanté Moore

Party – Dis ‘N’ Dat

Run Away – Real McCoy

This Is How We Do It – Montell Jordan

Tootsee Roll – 69 Boyz

Waterfalls – TLC


A Rose Is Still A Rose – Aretha Franklin

I’ll Be – Edwin McCain

It’s All About Me – Mya With Special Guest Sisqó

Nobody’s Supposed To Be Here – Deborah Cox

One Week – Barenaked Ladies

Rain – SWV (Sisters With Voices)

Romeo And Juliet – Sylk-E. Fine Featuring Chill

The First Night – Monica

Too Close – Next


Don’t Want To Be A Fool – Luther Vandross

Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) – C&C Music Factory Featuring Freedom Williams

Here We Go – C&C Music Factory Presents Freedom Williams And Zelma Davis

High Enough – Damn Yankees

Hole Hearted – Extreme

I Adore Mi Amor – Color Me Badd

I’ve Been Thinking About You – Londonbeat

I Wanna Sex You Up – Color Me Badd

Just The Way It Is, Baby – The Rembrandts

More Than Words – Extreme

Rico Suave – Gerardo

Romantic – Karyn White

Silent Lucidity – Queensrÿch

Strike It Up (Sensitive Mix) – Black Box

The Promise Of A New Day – Paula Abdul

Walking In Memphis – Marc Cohn


Dazzey Duks – Duice

Don’t Walk Away – Jade

If I Had No Loot – Tony Toni Toné

Rhythm Is A Dancer – Snap!

Weak – SWV (Sisters With Voices)

What Is Love – Haddaway

Who Do I Turn To – Chanté Moore

Whoot, There It Is – 95 South

Your Love Keeps Working On Me – Jody Watley


C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train) – Quad City DJ’s

Knock On Wood – Eddie Floyd

Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix) – Los Del Rio

Missing (Todd Terry Club Mix) – Everything But The Girl

Nobody Knows – Tony Rich Project

No Diggity – BLACKstreet (Featuring Dr. Dre)

Sweet Dreams – La Bouche

Twisted – Keith Sweat

Un-Break My Heart – Toni Braxton

Where Do You Go – No Mercy

Everything Falls Apart – Dog’s Eye View

Your Secret Love – Luther Vandross


Barely Breathing – Duncan Sheik

Butta Love – Next

Do You Know (What It Takes) – Robyn

Hard To Say I’m Sorry – Az Yet Featuring Peter Cetera

I Belong To You (Every Time I See Your Face) – Rome

MyBabyDaddy – B-Rock & The Bizz

Summer Jam – Quad City DJ’s

Where Have All The Cowboys Gone? – Paula Cole


24/7 – Kevon Edmonds

Every Morning – Sugar Ray

Lullaby – Shawn Mullins

Sweet Lady – Tyrese

U Know What’s Up – Donell Jones

We Can’t Be Friends – Deborah Cox (With R.L. From Next)