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“What really matters is what you like, not what you are like… Books, records, films — these things matter.”
— High Fidelity

Etcetera

Best Songs of 1993

I have two simple rules when making my "Best of" song lists. First, an artist can't appear more than once. Second, I will not rank my lists. The first rule makes the list-making harder, and the second makes it easier. This paradox creates a happy medium.

For all of 2013, I have been working on lists representing 30, 20, and 10 years ago, along with a list for this year. The weird thing about making these lists after the fact is the use of hindsight, for I have discovered new artists and new songs in the interim years and, in some cases, during this process of trying to fill out a 100-song list.

Even more interesting to me, an perhaps best evidenced in this particular list, is the commingling of pop songs that I'd eschew on a similar list today, alongside obscure tracks—ones I might not never even have heard of back in the day—that have only emerged through time.

Still, what you see below is an honest attempt to assess a year in time, merging the reality of a list made 20 years later with the idea that, had I been able to conceive of such a list not as a 15-year-old, but as the adult I am now, I would have included pop hits and obscure tunes, aging favorites and new artists.

For these year-end lists, I like to undertake the seemingly impossibly task of creating an hours-long mix. The order you see below represents that effort, which you can listen to via Spotify. Sadly all 100 tracks aren't available, but you get the general idea. Track notes to come eventually or maybe never.

  1. Siamese Dream

    Rocket

    Smashing Pumpkins

    Siamese Dream

    Virgin

    Notes

  2. Dig

    Believe

    Dig

    Dig

    Radioactive

    Notes

  3. Last Splash

    Cannonball

    The Breeders

    Last Splash

    Elektra

    Notes

  4. Music

    Do You Right

    311

    Music

    Volcano

    Notes

  5. Tear EP

    Really Drunk

    Lotion

    Tear EP

    Kokopop

    Notes

  6. Foolish

    Kicked In

    Superchunk

    Foolish

    Merge

    Notes

  7. Icky Mettle

    Web in Front

    Archers of Loaf

    Icky Mettle

    Alias

    Notes

  8. Where You Been

    Start Choppin'

    Dinosaur Jr.

    Where You Been

    Sire

    Notes

  9. Transmissions from the Satellite Heart

    She Don't Use Jelly

    The Flaming Lips

    Transmissions from the Satellite Heart

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  10. Kerosene Hat

    Low

    Cracker

    Kerosene Hat

    Virgin

    Notes

  11. Judgment Night

    Fallin'

    Teenage Fanclub and De La Soul

    Judgment Night

    Immortal

    Notes

  12. 14 Shots to the Dome

    Pink Cookies in a Plastic Bag Getting Crushed by Buildings

    LL Cool J

    14 Shots to the Dome

    Def Jam

    Notes

  13. Enter the Wu-Tang

    C.R.E.A.M.

    Wu-Tang Clan

    Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

    RCA

    Notes

  14. The Body-Hat Syndrome

    The Return of the Crazy One

    Digital Underground

    The Body-Hat Syndrome

    Jake Records

    Notes

  15. Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.

    I Get Around

    2Pac

    Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.

    Jive

    Notes

  16. All the Greatest Hits

    Slow and Easy

    Zapp & Roger

    All the Greatest Hits

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  17. Fever for Da Flavor

    Knockin' Da Boots

    H-Town

    Fever for Da Flavor

    Luke Records

    Notes

  18. 12 Play

    Bump N' Grind

    R. Kelly

    12 Play

    Jive

    Notes

  19. Faithful

    Unconditional Love

    Hi-Five

    Faithful

    Jive

    Notes

  20. You're All I Need to Get By

    I'll Be There For/You're All I Need to Get By (Puff Daddy Mix)

    Method Man & Mary J. Blige

    You're All I Need to Get By

    Def Jam

    Notes

  21. Music Box

    Dreamlover

    Mariah Carey

    Music Box

    Sony

    Notes

  22. Free Willy

    Right Here (Human Nature Remix)

    SWV

    Free Willy

    Epic

    Notes

  23. Deep Forest

    Sweet Lullaby

    Deep Forest

    Deep Forest

    Work Hard Play Hard

    Notes

  24. Connected

    Connected

    Stereo MCs

    Connected

    Island

    Notes

  25. Debut

    Big Time Sensuality

    Björk

    Debut

    Elektra

    Notes

  26. SuperPinkyMandy

    Yesterday's Gone

    Beth Orton

    SuperPinkyMandy

    Toshiba Japan

    Notes

  27. Republic

    Regret

    New Order

    Republic

    London

    Notes

  28. Elemental

    Break It Down Again

    Tears for Fears

    Elemental

    Mercury

    Notes

  29. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

    Possession

    Sarah McLachlan

    Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

    Arista

    Notes

  30. The Bliss Album

    Looking Through Patient Eyes

    P.M. Dawn

    The Bliss Album…?

    Gee Street

    Notes

  31. For the Cool in You

    When Can I See You

    Babyface

    For the Cool in You

    Epic

    Notes

  32. janet

    That's the Way Love Goes

    Janet Jackson

    janet.

    Virgin

    Notes

  33. Diary of a Mad Band

    In the Meanwhile

    Jodeci

    Diary of a Mad Band

    MCA

    Notes

  34. Show Me Love

    Show Me Love

    Robin S.

    Show Me Love

    Atlantic

    Notes

  35. Haddaway the Album

    What Is Love

    Haddaway

    Haddaway the Album

    Arista

    Notes

  36. Whoomp! (There It Is)

    Whoomp! (There It Is)

    Tag Team

    Whoomp! (There It Is)

    Bellmark

    Notes

  37. Sons of Soul

    If I Had No Loot

    Tony! Toni! Tone!

    Sons of Soul

    Polygram

    Notes

  38. Tuesday Night Music Club

    All I Wanna Do

    Sheryl Crow

    Tuesday Night Music Club

    A&M

    Notes

  39. People Get Ready

    It's Alright

    Huey Lewis & The News

    People Get Ready: A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield

    Shanachie

    Notes

  40. Ten Summoner's Tales

    Fields of Gold

    Sting

    Ten Summoner's Tales

    A&M

    Notes

  41. River of Dreams

    Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)

    Billy Joel

    River of Dreams

    Columbia

    Notes

  42. Sweet Relief

    Opelousas (Sweet Relief)

    Maria McKee

    Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams

    Columbia

    Notes

  43. August & Everything After

    Anna Begins

    Counting Crows

    August & Everything After

    Geffen

    Notes

  44. Save His Soul

    Letter From a Friend

    Blues Traveler

    Save His Soul

    A&M

    Notes

  45. Go Slow Down

    Go Slow Down

    BoDeans

    Go Slow Down

    Slash

    Notes

  46. Three Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    At Last We Meet Again

    Bela Fleck & The Flecktones

    Three Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  47. Remember Two Things

    One Sweet World

    Dave Matthews Band

    Remember Two Things

    Bama Rags

    Notes

  48. Waiting for the Night

    In a Daydream

    The Freddy Jones Band

    Waiting for the Night

    Capricorn

    Notes

  49. The Samples

    Could It Be Another Change

    The Samples

    The Samples

    Arista

    Notes

  50. God Shuffled His Feet

    Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

    Crash Test Dummies

    God Shuffled His Feet

    Arista

    Notes

  51. Bubble and Scrape

    Think (Let Tomorrow Bee)

    Sebadoh

    Bubble and Scrape

    Sub Pop

    Notes

  52. Wisdom

    Lovers

    David Gray

    Wisdom

    HUT Recordings

    Notes

  53. Anodyne

    Fifteen Keys

    Uncle Tupelo

    Anodyne

    Caroline

    Notes

  54. Sweet Relief

    This Moment

    Matthew Sweet

    Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams

    Columbia

    Notes

  55. Come on Feel the Lemonheads

    Into Your Arms

    The Lemonheads

    Come on Feel the Lemonheads

    Atlantic

    Notes

  56. Exile in Guyville

    Never Said

    Liz Phair

    Exile in Guyville

    Matador

    Notes

  57. Star

    Feed the Tree

    Belly

    Star

    Sixteenth Avenue Sound

    Notes

  58. Frosting on the Beater

    Dream All Day

    The Posies

    Frosting on the Beater

    Geffen

    Notes

  59. Painful

    Double Dare

    Yo La Tengo

    Painful

    Matador

    Notes

  60. Cure for Pain

    Cure for Pain

    Morphine

    Cure for Pain

    Rykodisc

    Notes

  61. Are You Gonna Go My Way?

    Heaven Help

    Lenny Kravitz

    Are You Gonna Go My Way?

    Virgin

    Notes

  62. Blue Light 'Til Dawn

    I Can't Stand the Rain

    Cassandra Wilson

    Blue Light 'Til Dawn

    Blue Note

    Notes

  63. Jazzmatazz Volume 1

    Trust Me

    Guru

    Jazzmatazz Volume 1

    Chrysalis

    Notes

  64. Hand on the Torch

    Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)

    Us3

    Hand on the Torch

    Blue Note

    Notes

  65. Poetic Justice

    One in a Million

    Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth

    Poetic Justice

    Epic

    Notes

  66. Reachin

    Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)

    Digable Planets

    Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)

    Columbia

    Notes

  67. Midnight Marauders

    Award Tour

    A Tribe Called Quest

    Midnight Marauders

    Jive

    Notes

  68. Organix

    Grits

    The Roots

    Organix

    Cargo

    Notes

  69. 93 'Til Infinity

    93 'Til Infinity

    Souls of Mischief

    93 'Til Infinity

    Jive

    Notes

  70. 19 Naughty III

    Hip Hop Hooray

    Naughty By Nature

    19 Naughty III

    Tommy Boy

    Notes

  71. Till Death Do Us Part

    Six Feet Deep

    Geto Boys

    Till Death Do Us Part

    Rap-A-Lot

    Notes

  72. Domino

    Getto Jam

    Domino

    Domino

    Def Jam

    Notes

  73. Lethal Injection

    You Know How We Do It

    Ice Cube

    Lethal Injection

    Priority

    Notes

  74. Doggystyle

    Gin and Juice

    Snoop Doggy Dogg

    Doggystyle

    Death Row

    Notes

  75. Black Sunday

    Insane in the Brain

    Cypress Hill

    Black Sunday

    Ruffhouse

    Notes

  76. Get a Grip

    Livin' on the Edge

    Aerosmith

    Get a Grip

    Geffen

    Notes

  77. Heartbreakers Greatest Hits

    Mary Jane's Last Dance

    Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

    Greatest Hits

    MCA

    Notes

  78. vs.

    Dissident

    Pearl Jam

    vs.

    Epic

    Notes

  79. hey Zeus

    Country at War

    X

    hey Zeus!

    Elektra

    Notes

  80. Recipe for Hate

    American Jesus

    Bad Religion

    Recipe for Hate

    Atlantic

    Notes

  81. Pussy Whipped

    Rebel Girl

    Bikini Kill

    Pussy Whipped

    Kill Rock Stars

    Notes

  82. Gentlemen

    Gentlemen

    The Afghan Whigs

    Gentlemen

    Elektra

    Notes

  83. Chrome

    Crank

    Catherine Wheel

    Chrome

    Fontana

    Notes

  84. Pablo Honey

    Creep

    Radiohead

    Pablo Honey

    Parlophone

    Notes

  85. So That Tonight I Might See

    Fade Into You

    Mazzy Star

    So That Tonight I Might See

    EMI

    Notes

  86. Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?

    Dreams

    The Cranberries

    Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?

    Island

    Notes

  87. Laid

    Sometimes (Lestor Piggott)

    James

    Laid

    Mercury

    Notes

  88. Bang!

    Is It Like Today?

    World Party

    Bang!

    Papillion

    Notes

  89. Born to Choose

    Photograph

    R.E.M. featuring Natalie Merchant

    Born to Choose

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  90. Respect

    Arms of Love

    Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians

    Respect

    A&M

    Notes

  91. Dusk

    Love Is Stronger Than Death

    The The

    Dusk

    Epic

    Notes

  92. Soul to Squeeze

    Soul to Squeeze

    Red Hot Chili Peppers

    Soul to Squeeze

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  93. Porno for Pyros

    Pets

    Porno for Pyros

    Porno for Pyros

    Warner Bros.

    Notes

  94. Candlebox

    Far Behind

    Candlebox

    Candlebox

    Maverick

    Notes

  95. Undertow

    Prison Sex

    Tool

    Undertow

    Grand Master Studios

    Notes

  96. thrall-demonsweatlive

    Mother '93

    Danzig

    thrall-demonsweatlive

    American

    Notes

  97. Songs of Faith and Devotion

    I Feel You

    Depeche Mode

    Songs of Faith and Devotion

    Mute

    Notes

  98. Duran Duran

    Come Undone

    Duran Duran

    Duran Duran (The Wedding Album)

    Parlophone

    Notes

  99. Zooropa

    The Wanderer

    U2 featuring Johnny Cash

    Zooropa

    Island

    Notes

  100. In Utero

    All Apologies

    Nirvana

    In Utero

    DGC

    Notes