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NPR Music

Through The Decades: The Nineties

Alanis Morissette performs at Aotea square in downtown Auckland in 1999.
Wayne Wilson
/
Getty Images
Alanis Morissette performs at Aotea square in downtown Auckland in 1999.

The '90s were a decade of reflection and reinvention; a decade where the inspirations of the past couldn't be more clear — from R.E.M.'s jangley psychedelic folk and Jon Spencer's propulsive proto-punk to the vibrant R&B of Lauryn Hill and so many others — but the artists of the day were using those influences to create something singular and sublime, something uniquely their own. It was a golden age of hip-hop from Wu-Tang Clan to Ice Cube, it was a decade that saw earnest singer-songwriters like Liz Phair and Lisa Loeb breaking new ground. And it was a decade that gave us unforgettable pop, metal and more. Take a wild ride through the end of a century in our 30-song playlist below:

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