Heads up, Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza — there’s a new player in the music festival game. Except this one’s on a boat, and the charming, frosty-tipped Mark McGrath is in charge. The Sugar Ray front man released the lineup for his Mark McGrath and Friends Cruise, which is essentially a four-day booze fest where Gen-Xers (and some Yers) can take a walk down memory lane with some of the most memorable alt and pop rock bands of the 1990s and early-2000s.
Nostalgia comes at a price though — anywhere from $649.00 to $1,799.00 — so I opted for the much cheaper YouTube tour instead (hey, if you don’t include Sister Hazel, then I have to think twice about these things). Also, seeing as how this is a CS Top 5 and there are ten bands, I had to make some rules to justify cutting out a few:
- If your band couldn’t make it with a full line-up intact, you’re out (sorry, Collective Soul and Live).
- If your band was one of the most annoying bands of all time, you’re out (sorry, Smash Mouth).
- If I still confuse your band name with the band that reminds me of Sarah Michelle-Gellar getting her cocaine cross confiscated, you’re out (sorry, Verve Pipe).
5. Vertical Horizon – “Everything You Want”
Welcome to the “Friend Zone”, Population: You. No song captured the essence of The Zone more than this #1 hit — well, at least since Jermaine Stewart. In addition, it’s just a great pop rock song. Not much else to say.
4. Sugar Ray — “Fly”
I cannot make this list in good faith without including the mastermind behind the Mark McGrath and Friends Cruise. Full disclosure: I saw Sugar Ray live once — the only band on this cruise that I’ve seen in person — and it was legitimately entertaining. I was only 16 years old, so I may have been blinded by youth. Well, that and the countless chicks flashing McGrath from the crowd.
3. Marcy Playground — “Sex And Candy”
It’s unfortunate that the video didn’t match the vibe of the song. If Fiona Apple was making young adolescent males stay up until 2 AM to watch “Criminal” on MTV, you’d think a song titled “Sex And Candy” would deliver similar goods. Guess not. Instead, we’re only stuck with a catchy tune — a tremendous one, at that.
2. Spin Doctors — “Two Princes”
I struggled with this one. I could easily have gone 1B and 1A for the top two slots. The Spin Doctors had two Top 20 singles — “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” was the other — and “Two Princes” somehow remains in our collective psyche (well, at least the nostalgic part) after 22 years. And yes, it has been that long.
1. Gin Blossoms — “Hey Jealousy”
Did you know “Hey Jealousy” wasn’t even close to being Gin Blossoms’ highest-charting single? In fact, it it comes in a distant third behind “Til I Hear From You” (#11 in 1995, off the Empire Records soundtrack) and “Follow You Down” (#9 in 1996), which charted much higher than Jealousy’s #25 in 1992 (some rock movement called “Grunge” was more popular at the time). That being said, if you had to compile a list of the top 25 songs that just scream “THE ’90S!!!”, this almost has to be on the list, right? I’m only slightly less certain about “Two Princes” — not by much though.