60 Songs That Explain the '90s

Music #5

The 1990s were a turning point in music: with the increasingly connected world enabling an unprecedented coalescence of various styles and genres, the decade featured the rapid evolution of sonic artistry — and subsequently shaped the soundscape of eras that followed. Listen along as The Ringer’s preeminent music critic Rob Harvilla curates and explores 60 iconic songs from the ‘90s that define the decade.

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Recent Reviews
  • ExTCOFan
    Too long and too much rambling. Cut down to 30 min and focus on the song.
  • Boo ehh idk
    What could have been….
    The title of this podcast made me so hopeful. What a great idea! Getting to learn about songs from my childhood? That’s awesome! In reality it’s just 45 minutes of the host rambling about his life and things that have nothing to do with the song or the band of topic. Then there may be 10-15 minutes of actual content about the song/artist if we are lucky. I forced myself to listen to 5 episodes. I even jumped around chronologically to see if it go better. It. Got. Worse. I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed in a podcast. Maybe someone will start a new show that’s well written and actually gives us some info on the songs from the 90s. Until then…..
  • envoy510
    What a wonderful podcast
    Pure joy packaged into bite sized pieces. One of my all time favorite podcasts.
  • gladstone73
    More Please
    Thoroughly enjoyable deep dives into music moments from the 90s. Rob does a great job of providing objective criticism while sharing his personal and often hilarious perspective on the song. A related music podcast, Bandsplain, is also recommended
  • wyhomingnance
    Rob, this is my go to podcast while I am working. All of my serious relationships and break ups were in the 90s. I listen to your podcast and then I go and listen to the song by that artist and normally one or two others. Sometimes I listen to the artist that you speak of in the beginning before you actually get to the point, and I love that because it brings up so many great songs for me. I have a suggested songs and I’m not quite sure why it’s not on here already. Do the lyrics moving to the country, Going to eat me a lot of peaches ring a bell? Yes, please. Thanks for the great journalism and research. Nancy
  • cookie1093
    Great podcast
    I love this podcast. I hope it never ends. The host knows a lot about music, and I really enjoy his personal anecdotes and stories. I usually skip the interviews at the end of the podcast, but that’s just me. This is the only podcast that I listen to at 1x speed because of the song clips and the humor plays better at regular speed. Also, I forget which episode it was, but I think the host said no one has ever watched the movie Judgment Night and I’m here to say that I watched that movie all the time when I was younger because of an embarrassing crush I had on Stephen Dorff. Anyway, keep up the good work!
  • Wizdog
    Talks to me
    Rob’s recollection of his feelings from various songs and pop culture gives me those memba berries feels
  • ginarita2000
    I was 15 in 1990
    These songs/stories are like little pieces of my life. I am about halfway through the episodes. I am glad you didn’t stop at 60!
  • msjanellebrooke
    Intros are big part of the fun
    Some reviewers seem to dislike Rob’s intros, but I love them. He intertwines interesting music and pop culture history along with a self-deprecating sense of humor and personal stories. By the time he finally says “my name is Rob Harvilla…”, I feel like I just got a bonus episode that gave me great context for the actual song. I happen to like his idiosyncratic way of speaking—I don’t want to listen to someone who sounds like everyone else. He’s a fantastic writer, and underlying everything in his show is heart.
  • jchris41
    Grew up in 90s
    Just an incredible story telling with Wit and humor Live the Britpop episodes More please! Cheers!
  • mmb1225
    Get on with the show!
    I like this podcast, I do. But it seems like each episode it takes longer and longer to get to the actual topic. On the Natalie Imbruglia episode, I listened to an 18 minute story about the host’s band all to say Torn is a cover. Dude, spare us the inconsequential details. Get to the point already!
  • Johnny Man
    A Joyful Podcast!
    First of all, I thought I knew a lot about music, but I feel like a kindergartner listening to my teacher. The best thing of all is that this will make you laugh out loud…truly, not just as a meaningless lol from a text. It is SO enjoyable! 60 songs turned into 90, but I wish it was 120. Can we do that? Match 120 Minutes maybe? I love this so much!
  • StellarStila
    Reliving the 90’s in the best way possible!
    This podcast won’t be for everyone due to the host’s story-telling style and personal anecdotes. He mentioned his birthday in one episode and I realize I’m older than him by several months and it all makes sense how similar our memories are of that time. Anyway, give it a shot if you love 90’s music.
  • krs121
    Rob Harvilla is the best
    I was in high school in the 90s, but I still don’t know all these songs. It doesn’t even matter if you weren’t even born in the 20th century - Rob is so entertaining. Laugh and learn, people. Love too. 😉 But most importantly, listen.
  • waymoresblues90
    Can’t beat it
    Awesome hearing about all the bands and songs I grew up with. Look forward to each podcast.
  • Junaito17
    Check the running time….
    If it’s under 60 minutes, you will get a well informed, written and presented podcast. If it’s over an hour or 90 minutes or over two hours….expect long anecdotes and tangents that veer away from the topic. Over twenty minutes talking about The Monkees and Weird Al, I forgot the episode was about Prince. Talking about a Goth band from San Francisco doing a cover song, not sure if Chumbawamba was mentioned until, again, 20 minutes into the episode. Please return to talking more about the music and less of a personal biography.
  • maccullen
    Using Foul Language Doesn’t Make You Interesting
    4 stars for the content, 1 star for the dumb language
  • MaineMom14
    Host is insufferable
    Great concept but the host’s mannerisms (for example, repeating words and phrases multiple times like a wannabe beat poet) and tendency to make every episode about his own, often not very exciting, life put me off the show forever.
  • ChicaBond
    So great !!
    Reliving my teen years in a totally new light & remembering Yes, I do remember watching Arsenio Hall introduce PRINCE at the VMA’s. As soon as I heard it on the podcast I was sitting on my living room floor watching our living room huge wooden TV with my eyes glued to that fuzzy screen. haha love this podcast !!
  • Chewy louie
    The best podcast about music
    Rob is hilarious and insightful and clearly loves the music he covers on this podcast. I could listen to him all day
  • Bkng10101
    Excellent listen if you want to remember 90s life
    Totally helps relive music and teen life in the 90s. Rob brings an awesome and unique story telling approach that is very enjoyable.
  • Kirlojo
    Arrogant Music Critic Trashes Music
    The host is probably knowledgeable-apparently he’s a music critic (and very obviously uses “being a jerk” as a crutch)- but it is hard to listen for very long because his condescending, pompous attitude grates on me. It almost seems as if he is a frustrated musician who is using this podcast to trash talk artists who he feels somehow wronged him by having some level of success. But I don’t know enough about him to state that definitively, and his attitude has turned me off enough that I really don’t want to know anymore about him. I’m not one for nostalgia, but I did get a little nostalgic for the days before people with this kind of outlook/attitude had access to broadcasting equipment.
  • ShadowInTheSun
    I love this podcast
    This podcast has simultaneously brought me to a place of hard geeking out, intellectualism, spoken word poetry, and a great indulgence in a long held love of mine, music. I don’t think there’s anything else like it in the podcasting medium. I truly truly truly enjoy listening to the episodes, and learning more about the era that I call my early adolescence and late childhood. Keep up the great work!
  • Poo & J
    Didn’t Deserve Courtney.
    Host came across as condescending towards Courtney Love with his ill timed laughs and off handed comments like “yowza” at the end of the episode.
  • Mr. Yale
    A Massive Disappointment
    I heard about this podcast, just yesterday, on a different podcast (that’s as 2020s a sentence as I’ll ever write), and was really looking forward to it. Three episodes in, I find the host, Rob, to be absolutely insufferable. I was expecting a nostalgic deep dive into the songs and decade I love. What I got was a vanity project, with Rob melodramatically rambling on and on about his individual experiences. I presume “60 Songs” has gone for more than 90 episodes to allow him to talk more about himself. (The expectation that it would be 60 installments, a limited series, was also a draw.) A great idea for a podcast, a poor choice of host. Although it was probably his idea.
  • Pattiecake1311
    One of the best and well-written podcasts I’ve seen in a long time. 💖
  • jellyntoasy
    Courtney love got kurt cobain killed
  • Sarah Sammy
    He sure did try
    Great concept, terrible host
  • Yeti_jones
    F’n fantastic
    This podcast is so refreshing! I came across it recently and I’m so impressed with the quality of the product! Just listen and enjoy don’t even question it.
  • Edouardo Pistol
    Change the host
    I started listening to this because it sounded like a brilliant concept. Within three minutes of the Common People episode (one of my favourite songs ever) I had to turn it off. Who IS this guy? The way he barks endlessly in what seems to be stream of consciousness in an excruciatingly American manner. Jesus Christ. No thanks. I’d listen with a different host maybe. One who took a few breaths between sentences and had a less obnoxious cadence and accent.
  • CosmicDaDa
    Teen Spirt Ep.
  • BDevil15
    This is a mess
    Was excited to listen to an episode about one of my favorite nirvana songs and ended up listening to 10 minutes of talking about someone I’ve never heard of… unsubscribed, rated one star, and wrote this review. Waste of time.
  • dvdjn
    The concept is fun but the execution is brilliant. What could just be a standard list is a show that weaves surprising and sprawling narrative threads around each song.
  • CC in Philly
    Love the music parts, too much autobiography!!
    As someone born in the mid-80s, I really really love the music history parts of this. The way all these songs and artists are contextualized when they were just in the air I was breathing as I figured out pop culture and connected with music as a kid/teen really hits, and connects to deep parts of my little soul and memories. However, I beg of the host to please tighten it up! We made it 17 minutes into the Hootie and the Blowfish ep before the band was even mentioned. This was the first cassette tape I owned (its fine, I was in 3rd grade), and I truly don’t need to know this much about your personal journey as a sports fan/person who lived places and went to high school, especially when there are this many episodes. I am just trying to binge the music parts of this podcast!!
  • Apla222
    Fantastic Show
    Being a 90s kid I love the era, and Rob is a fantastic critic and story teller , and these song stories are told in a way that even my teen kids love it (nsf young kids re:language) - in summary I love this pod, I dare you to even listen to the songs you don’t know because it’s that good
  • rbcham
    Infinitely relatable
    This show speaks to anyone who enjoys 90’s music, but if you were a teenager in the 90’s, you feel it in your soul. Almost every anecdote feels like something you lived. It’s “hey, me too!” and “I remember that!” in the form of a story, a junky LeBaron, teen angst and college shenanigans, and loving The Cars. I learn something new about old songs and artists in every episode. There is always some humor, but tough subjects are handled with sensitivity and grace. I love this guy.
  • AngieMorton
    60 Words to Explain the Podcast
    If you are a Gen-Xer or Xennial and you aren’t listening to this podcast, what are you even doing? Rob weaves a story that more often than not has nothing to do with the episode’s song until suddenly IT DOES (Macarena episode excluded). And you’re not even sure how he did it. Genius. My favorite episode profiles The Chick’s Good-bye Earl (and not just because they were my first concert). On top of the necessary conversations surrounding domestic abuse and the less necessary “haha, killing your ex-husband, funny” is the conversation of true love. Until the episode pointed that out, I felt so stupid to not notice how love SHOWS UP. Even if it’s been however many years and you have to hop a red-eye flight to help your best friend break the cycle of abuse once and for all. May we all have a Mary Ann to our Wanda and may we BE the Mary Ann.
  • NMSS_2002
    BTS of the 90’s
    I started this podcast really late, but I love it. I grew up in the 90’s but had no idea about a lot of the information Rob talks about. We didn’t have the internet at the palm of our hands to have access to the information. I love it, I’m still trying to get caught up. I listen on my way to work.
  • Nicolos1
    I love you. Basically because you’re me. I need more friends like you. Or at least one. I live in Indiana and no one cares about real music like I do. If you ever feel the urge to quit- don’t. You’re great. Bye
  • Troll Patrol Squadron #69
    The 90’s was a fun time and this podcast brings it back for me
  • IAmLiterallyABantha
    The title of this podcast is not accurate
    "60 Songs That Inadvertently Explain the Psyche of an Insufferably Self-Absorbed Middle-Aged White Man Who Grew Up in the Suburbs of the American Midwest in the '90s" might have given me more warning.
  • rpwhardware
    Just a Great F’in Podcast
    Makes you appreciate artists you may not have given a moment of thought to before. Rob is a music nerd but not a gatekeeper. He’s a loveable dork who takes you on a ride. I’ll be sad once number 120 drops. Listen to this podcast.
  • 90s4EVR
    Please don't end...
    This podcast gives me life.
  • SearcingforBrilliance
    It’s sad to realize
    I will never love another podcast as much as I love this one.
  • Ex-Everclear fan
    Fantastic! Love the humor and the references
  • Tza2011
    Excellent wealth of knowledge
    Thank for I found this podcast. As a 90’s kid these episodes are bringing me all the memories and the information is amazing. Will be binging all of them.
  • Tanya MV
    I’m glad this has gone on for more than 60 songs
    I recently started listening to this podcast and it has become my favorite of the week. I’ve been going through previous episodes and the Limp Bizkit one made me laugh out loud several times. I love the way Rob delivers all of the information about the specific artist/song, as well as his own (sometimes self admittedly embarrassing) nostalgic anecdotes every episode. But my favorite parts are each time I hear the start/stop of the tape player.
  • LisaAnn Pizza Pan
    Beautifully and Thoughtfully Done!
    Rob’s recount of personal moments in his life where specific songs are now that memory’s soundtrack is all of us! His deep appreciation for the song and for the band/artist’s origin story, and similarly the evolution of the artist and sound, is palpable in how marvelously each episode is delivered. He is amazing with his narration and storytelling ability. The dry humor is fantastic. I also appreciate how he approaches culturally significant issues and somber issues as it relates to the song’s timing in society. The guests are so knowledgeable and mesmerizing to listen to. Love. This. Podcast!
  • Jcatz3
    Love everything about it!
    I love this podcast so much! I’ve been binging this since December. I’m learning so much about the music I grew up with, and I really appreciate the context that I didn’t have access to at that time. Rob has a perfect voice for audio. His writing and vocal delivery are smooth and evocative; I can picture the scenes he sets from his own experience, while reliving my own experience of the 90’s with all the perspective that comes from being in my early 40’s. This podcast has helped me power through all the planning, traveling, and settling in of my move from northern Virginia to my dream home in the Cleveland suburbs. Ohio, especially northern Ohio, is highly underrated. I’m grateful to Rob and everyone who makes this podcast. It’s been an informative, sensitive, enlightening, and positive delight.
  • rengen69696969
    Holy $#!+ shut up guy
    If you want to hear someone who loves the sound of his own voice and goes on the most self- involved egotistical tangents that have nothing to do with the song in the title - maybe you’ll like this. I hate this podcast - it has such potential only to be completely bungled by this clown. Shame on you Bill Simmons for being like ‘oh yeah this guys good!’ Don’t listen to the HOOTIE and the blowfish episode unless you want to go on the worlds worst journey to nothingness. He doesn’t even TALK about this song!! I hate this guy did I mention that yet
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