11 Alt-Rock Bands From the 90s We Will Never Outgrow


I have a confession to make: Musically, I’ve never left the 90s. And I don’t mean that in the way you might think: I could do with or without N’Sync and Britney Spears. However, I will forever be jumping up and down to Third Eye Blind at house parties and picking up the microphone to sing Oasis in karaoke bars.

I think I stand with many millennials when I say I was obsessed with these 11 bands back when bell-bottoms were an acceptable fashion choice and won’t stop blasting their music until the style is back (hopefully never, because some things are best left in the 90s).

1. The Red Hot Chili Peppers

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfOdWSiyWoc&w=420&h=315]

We thought we were so hardcore for jamming to “Can’t Stop” and super deep for blasting “Other Side” through over-the-ear headphones.

2. Blink 182

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ht5RZpzPqw&w=420&h=315]

We were convinced “All the Small Things” pretty much summed up our middle school relationships.

3. Green Day

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnQ8N1KacJc&w=420&h=315]

Though Green Day kept going past the 90s with hits like “American Idiot,” we’ll forever know them as the band narrating every slideshow we’ve ever seen with “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”

4. Oasis

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hzrDeceEKc&w=420&h=315]

The lyrics may be cheesy, but let he who hath not belted “Wonderwall” amid a group of drunken freshmen during college orientation cast the first stone.

5. Third Eye Blind

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyjTrwOMSO4&w=420&h=315]

We sang along to “Semi-Charmed Life” with the windows rolled down back when our parents were behind the wheel, and we had no idea what we were saying when we rapped “she comes round and she goes down on me.”

6. Sum 41

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMX2lPum_pg&w=420&h=315]

We totally felt Deryck Whibley’s rage over all the pressure to “become another casualty of society,” since there was that one time we wore all black.

7. The Offspring

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AltMeuPkWRs&w=560&h=315]

Every white guy (and by “guy” I mean “12-year-old boy”) took Dexter Holland’s word as proof that they could be “fly,” even though the lyrics of “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” were relentlessly mocking the man at hand.

8. System of a Down

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUzd9KyIDrM&w=560&h=315]

We had no clue what Serj Tankian was talking about when he wailed “Why do they always send the poor?” but we had a vague sense it was some sort of social commentary, and that made us feel edgy and intellectual.

9. Weezer

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENXvZ9YRjbo&w=420&h=315]

Show of hands if you thought Rivers Cuomo was singing “Your dog is a heartbreaker” until you came face to face with the lyric “your drug” during a game of Rock Band and had to replace your mental picture of a beautiful long-haired golden retriever dashing past all the other pooches with an image of a bottle of pills.

10. Dispatch

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXhqoZ1nEL8&w=560&h=315]

We collectively decided war was not the answer after some guy at summer camp played “The General” on guitar, igniting our political consciousness and our desire to take a shower and shine our shoes.

11. Incubus

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgT9zGkiLig&w=420&h=315]

“Drive” was actually inspirational: “I can’t help but ask myself how much I let the fear take the wheel and steer… but lately I’m beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel.” That is wisdom right there.

And to those wondering where Nirvana and Pearl Jam are, I honestly feel totally okay about not contaminating this list with grunge. Sorry not sorry.