You’d be hard-pressed to find a throughline to the best songs of 1992. The year is the decade in microcosm: Freewheeling, varied, and likely never to replicated. You had grunge giants, black metal pioneers, R&B icons, and pop country stars all releasing some of their best rock. Hip-hop had old-school bigwigs holding their ground, while new school voices like Nas and Wu-Tang Clan began their climb to the top. And there’s also Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, teaming up for one of the most consequential songs in modern history. 1992 had its share of great songs. Here are just a few of them.
Can’t get enough 90s music? Listen to our 90s Music playlist here.
66: Reba McEntire & Vince Gill – The Heart Won’t Lie
Country music superstar Reba McEntire teamed up with Vince Gill for this power ballad of American-sized proportions.
65: Darkthrone – A Blaze In The Northern Sky
Norway is home to a formidable black metal scene, with Darkthrone’s iconic “A Blaze In the Northern Sky” being an undisputed highlight.
64: Unrest – Isabel
Indie rock was short on groove, but Unrest tapped into catchy rhythms to deliver this ode to an ingenue.
63: TLC – What About Your Friends?
An addictively catchy chorus drives TLC’s “What About Your Friends?”, a joyous ode to the people who hold you down no matter what.
62: Soul Asylum – Runaway Train
Although previously known for their midwestern grunge anthems, Soul Asylum found fame and stardom with this mid-tempo ballad.
61: Shirley Horn – Here’s To Life
Jazz pianist Shirley Horn hit a late-career stride in 1992 with “Here’s To Life,” a song that became her signature track.
60: Ride – Leave Them All Behind
Ride began their breakout album with the stunning, “Leave Them All Behind,” a driving shoegaze anthem.
59: Jesus Lizard – Boilmaker
One of the most intense live bands of the era, Jesus Lizard eschewed the sloppy aesthetics of grunge to deliver a tight-fisted musical attack. “Boilmaker” is a prime example.
58: Gin Blossoms – Found Out About You
Equal parts earworm pop hooks and subtle melancholy, the Gin Blossoms found the perfect formula on “Found Out About You,” which made them alt-rock heroes for 1992.
57: Iron Maiden – Be Quick Or Be Dead
Distinctive as ever, this mid-period Iron Maiden banger slams with breakneck rhythms and Bruce Dickinson’s shrieking vocals.
56: Suzanne Vega – 99.9F
Entering the alternative era, the once folky Suzanne Vega manifested a technicolor, surreal anthem.
55: Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy – Television, The Drug Of A Nation
A staple of the early conscious hip-hop movement, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy decry television as a medium and warn listeners about the absence of critical thought.
54: L7 – Pretend That We’re Dead
One of the catchiest singles from the grunge era, L7’s “Pretend That We’re Dead” was a perfect anthem for disaffected youth everywhere.
53: Helmet – Unsung
Forging a post-hardcore aesthetic, Helmet found an entirely new kind of heavy that thrillingly stopped and started on a dime.
52: Neneh Cherry – Buddy X
Neneh Cherry wasn’t going to suffer any fools on her hit “Buddy X,” which takes aim at trifling lovers and toxic machismo.
51: Nasty Nas – Half Time
In 1992, he had yet to drop his career-defining Illmatic album, but the early singles like “Half-Time” show that Nas was already a hip-hop force to be reckoned with.
50: Stone Temple Pilots – Plush
It was their gentle side that ultimately endeared the alt-rock crowd to Stone Temple Pilots, whose “Plush” struck a pensive chord with listeners.
49: The Jayhawks – Two Angels
A slow-burn love song from American roots explorers The Jayhawks, “Two Angels” embodies the band’s elegant charms.
48: Sugar – If I Can’t Change Your Mind
A bright pop song as addictive as the band’s namesake, “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” was a high point from Sugar.
47: The Lemonheads – My Drug Buddy
This dark lament pairs brilliantly with some gorgeous melodies to make “My Drug Buddy” the most complex song of their generally breezy catalog.
46: Sonic Youth – 100%
Sonic Youth exuded downtown New York cool on “100%” and hit the mark with their cacophonous guitar extremes and Kim Gordon’s addictive minimal bass groove.
45: En Vogue – Free Your Mind
The diva quartet hit a high point in 1992 with “Free Your Mind,” a song that tackles inequality and sexism head-on, shattering boundaries along the way.
44: The Verve – Feel
Before the Verve became Britpop contenders, they made epic shoegaze like “Feel.”
43: Dream Theater – Pull Me Under
Prog metal icons Dream Theater rarely got more appealing – without losing their edge – than on “Pull Me Under.”
42: Blind Melon – No Rain
A ubiquitous hit, “No Rain” was everywhere in 1992, in no small part to the song’s video, which barely featured the band themselves.
41: The Cure – Friday I’m in Love
For a band who built their castle on plains of sadness, “Friday I’m In Love” showed the Cure could achieve even greater heights with an unabashed ode to joy.
40: Body Count – Cop Killer
It takes a lot to get a song banned, but the controversy around Body Count’s “Cop Killer” perfectly mirrored the rage in American society.
39: Seo Taiji N Boys – Yo! Taiji
This Korean pop band contained all the fun and excitement of the chart-dominating genre it presaged.
38: Ice Cube – Wicked
Ice Cube goes hard over a classic 90s boom bat beat on “Wicked,” one of his signature solo tracks.
37: Iris Dement – Our Town
On this country ode to the disappearance of small-town America, Dement is nostalgic and direct.
36: Screaming Trees – Nearly Lost You
Mark Lanegan and crew hit their stride on this melodically direct grunge-pop anthem.
35: Lucinda Williams – Lines Around Your Eyes
Lucinda Williams talks about what she likes in a man on the sparkling, upbeat “Lines Around Your Eyes.”
34: Eric B. and Rakim – Know The Ledge
Hip-hop was becoming increasingly detailed in 1992, and Rakim was one of the reasons why, with tracks like “Know The Ledge.”
33: Tom Waits – Goin’ Out West
The outsider iconoclast Tom Waits hit peak cult icon status with his Bone Machine album, filled with fractured, odd tunes like “Goin’ Out West.”
32: Megadeth – Symphony of Destruction
A classic Dave Mustaine riff-fest, “Symphony of Destruction” finds Megadeth in full raging force.
31: Kyuss – Mondo Generator
This desert rock combo minted their own brand of heavy psychedelic rock that’s equally aggressive as it is introspective.
30: Annie Lennox – Walking On Broken Glass
The Eurythmics singer had a hit so inescapable with “Walking On Broken Glass” its melody might just be etched in your brain.
29: Los Lobos – When The Circus Comes
From their masterpiece album Kiko, Los Lobos soared to new heights with dynamic musicianship and heartfelt songwriting.
28: Arrested Development – People Everyday
Arrested Development had a slew of conscious hip-hop hits in 1992, but “People Everyday” was among its biggest.
27: Tori Amos – Winter
A once-in-a-generation sensation, this singer/pianist took the world by storm with her Little Earthquakes album, introducing a quiet power to intimate songs like “Winter.”
26: Faith No More – Midlife Crisis
Mike Patton and crew became de facto art-punk stars but got even deeper into their oddness on their Angel Dust album. “Midlife Crisis” became a defining moment from the increasingly non-commercial band.
25: The Prodigy – Out Of Space
The U.K rave scene was in full swing in 1992, and tracks like “Out Of Space” by the Prodigy were the soundtrack to dance floors and warehouse parties across the globe.
24: Redman – Time 4 Sum Aksion
An East Coast original, Redman combined authenticity, swagger, and street knowledge on this banger from his debut album.
23: Billy Ray Cyrus – Achey Breaky Heart
This country-pop crossover hit was so big it catapulted Cyrus into superstardom.
22: The Orb – Blue Room
The Orb’s “Blue Room” was a 40-minute single that managed to chart in the U.K top ten, courtesy of its enchanting rhythms and futuristic production.
21: Pete Rock and C.L Smooth – T.R.O.Y
Amongst the greatest hip-hop tracks of its time, “They Reminisce Over You” is a warning call in the wake of a lost friend by the iconic duo of Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth.
20: George Strait – When Did You Stop Loving Me?
It would be difficult to find a more authentic voice in country music than George Strait. Tracks like “When Did You Stop Loving Me?” helped solidify his already sterling reputation.
19: Neil Young – Harvest Moon
Few singers can spin a ballad as tenderly as Neil Young, and “Harvest Moon” sits aside his most beloved hits for its warm, personal glow.
18: Black Crowes – Thorn In My Pride
By 1992 the Black Crowes were platinum rockstars ready to prove themselves on their sophomore record. “Thorn In My Pride” helped cement their status as carriers of the classic rock torch.
17: Eric Clapton – Tears In Heaven
A eulogy to his recently departed son, Clapton channeled his grief on “Tears In Heaven,” a moving ode to a love taken too soon.
16: Pharcyde – Passing Me By
The Pharcyde’s unique surrealness made their debut album a hip-hop classic. “Passing Me By” is one of the group’s standout tracks in a record with no skips.
15: Prince – Sexy M.F
Prince had nothing to prove on “Sexy M.F.,” but this exceptional funk tune further cemented his status as one of the greatest musicians of his time.
14: Sade – No Ordinary Love
One of the 90s’ most sensual tracks, Sade sings so smoothly on “No Ordinary Love” her vocals glide over the track like a warm mist.
13: K.D. Lang – Constant Craving
K.D. Lang was already in the public eye by 1992, but “Constant Craving” was the song that launched her worldwide.
12: Gang Starr – Take It Personal
The combo of Guru and D.J. Premier was an unstoppable force on tracks like “Take It Personal,” which showcase their effortless chemistry.
11: Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You
On the soundtrack to the hit film The Bodyguard, Whitney Houston reinvigorated Dolly Parton’s hit for a new generation.
10: Aphex Twin – We Are The Music Makers
Richard D. James’s “We Are The Music Makers” is among the electronic music icon’s simplest and most effective tunes.
9: PJ Harvey – Dress
PJ Harvey was a phenomenon from her first release, garnering adoring fans and critical praise for raw, intimate songs like “Dress.”
8: Pavement – Summer Babe
One of the all-time classic indie rock songs, Pavement hit the perfect combination of shambolic melodicism and detached hipster charm on “Summer Babe.”
7: Beastie Boys – So Watch’Cha Want
In 1992, the Beastie Boys were one of the major trend setters in fashion and music, introducing a funky retro aesthetic to a new generation on tracks like “So Whatcha Want?”
6: Alice In Chains – Would
Alice In Chains had a more ferocious approach than some of their Seattle peers, but the depth of their songwriting touched fans across genres.
5: Mary J. Blige – Real Love
The Queen of hip-hop soul took the world by storm with this mega-hit from her debut album.
4: Wu-Tang Clan – Protect Ya Neck
The Staten Island hip-hop dream team put their borough on the map with their rough and wild debut posse cut, “Protect Ya Neck.”
3: Rage Against the Machine – Bullet in the Head
Zach De La Rocha’s frantic vocals mixed with Tom Morello’s cut-and-mix guitar created a bridge between hip-hop and rock music with thunderous results.
2: R.E.M. – Man on the Moon
In 1992, R.E.M. were at the peak of their commercial powers, and “Man On the Moon” continued their winning streak.
1: Dr. Dre – Nothin’ But A G Thang
The defining anthem of the G-Funk movement, “Nothin’ But A G Thang” introduced the world to Snoop Dogg. Nothing has been the same since.
Can’t get enough 90s music? Listen to our 90s Music playlist here.