122 episodes

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.

60 Songs That Explain the '90s The Ringer

    • Music
    • 4.6 • 624 Ratings

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.

    “Give Me One Reason”—Tracy Chapman

    “Give Me One Reason”—Tracy Chapman

    Rob ranks the books he was forced to read in high school before turning his focus on the greatness of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason” from her 1995 album ‘New Beginning.’ Later, Rob is joined by fellow Ohio native and author Hanif Abdurraqib to discuss why Ohio breeds such great writers such as Tracy Chapman. The guys also get into Chapman’s appearance at the Grammy’s and much more.
    Host: Rob Harvilla
    Guest: Hanif Abdurraqib
    Producers: Jonathan Kermah and Justin Sayles
    Additional Production Support: Chloe Clark
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    • 1 hr 32 min
    The Songs We Didn’t Do (Everyone Yells At Rob)

    The Songs We Didn’t Do (Everyone Yells At Rob)

    Hello friends, and thank you for stopping by for a very special episode of 60 Songs. With just three songs remaining, it felt like a great week to have some of Rob’s favorite guests as well as producers stop by and yell at him over songs that he missed. Enjoy!
    Host: Rob Harvilla
    Guests: Andrew Savage, Yasi Salek, Elamin Adelmahmoud, Alex Steed, Leslie Gray Streeter, Isaac Lee, Jonathan Kermah, and Justin Sayles
    Producers: Jonathan Kermah and Justin Sayles
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    • 1 hr 46 min
    “Hard Knock Life”—JAY-Z

    “Hard Knock Life”—JAY-Z

    Rob looks at JAY-Z’s career backwards this week before reaching the rap legend’s 90’s pop crossover hit, “Hard Knock Life.” Along the way, Rob highlights the masterclass that is Funkmaster Flex premiering Kanye West and JAY-Z’a “Otis” on Hot 97 and much more. Later, the Ringer’s Wosny Lambre joins the show to discuss what JAY-Z’s rise to power in New York in the 90s, the importance of Hot 97 to New York rap, and JAY-Z the hyper-capitalist.
    Host: Rob Harvilla
    Guest: Wosny Lambre
    Producers: Jonathan Kermah and Justin Sayles
    Additional Production Support: Chloe Clark
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    • 1 hr 33 min
    “Black or White”—Michael Jackson

    “Black or White”—Michael Jackson

    Rob reminisces on his time witnessing Janelle Monae perform at South By Southwest in the year of Michael Jackson’s passing, before looking back at the King of Pop’s televised funeral. Along the way, Rob looks back at the height of Jackson’s powers in the '80s as well as a bit more tumultuous era in the '90s. Later, Wesley Morris joins the show to aid in deciphering how to process Michael Jackson’s career draped in success and controversy.
    Host: Rob Harvilla
    Guest: Wesley Morris
    Producers: Jonathan Kermah and Justin Sayles
    Additional Production Support: Chloe Clark
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    • 1 hr 50 min
    “Iris”—Goo Goo Dolls

    “Iris”—Goo Goo Dolls

    Rob looks back at the movie ‘High Fidelity’ and observes the similarities between himself and one of the characters, who is also named Rob. Somewhere along the way, our Rob focuses in on Matthew Sweet, the Knack, Material Issue, and other artists singing power-pop songs about women they usually don’t get in the end. Finally, Rob gives attention to the Goo Goo Dolls and “Iris.” Later, Rob is joined by Niko Stratis to discuss the unavoidable nature of “Iris” while working retail jobs in the ’90s and much more.
    Host: Rob Harvilla
    Guest: Niko Stratis
    Producers: Jonathan Kermah and Justin Sayles
    Additional Production Support: Chloe Clark
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    • 1 hr 29 min
    “Freedom! ’90”—George Michael

    “Freedom! ’90”—George Michael

    Rob looks back at the top five songs that make him still feel like a 6-year-old, before turning his attention to the great George Michael. Along the way, Rob highlights a letter written to Michael from Frank Sinatra with his best dramatic reading. Later, Rob is joined by Rob Tannenbaum to discuss whether George Michael is on the MTV Mount Rushmore, and much more.
    Host: Rob Harvilla
    Guest: Rob Tannenbaum
    Producers: Jonathan Kermah and Justin Sayles
    Additional Production Support: Chloe Clark
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    • 1 hr 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
624 Ratings

624 Ratings

Jpcousinstuff ,

Must listen pod

Don’t stop at 120 Rob.

ACY SG ,

Hilarious and Insightful, A Gift

I heard Rob interviewed on the Rolling Stone podcast and was ambivalent at first, imagining that I would increasingly find his personality annoyingly arrogant and self-satisfied. I was wrong. After I started working through this podcast's episodes, I tuned into Rob's sense of humor and became amazed at the amount of meaning he was wringing out of 90's songs -- both the ones I loved and the ones I didn't. His discussion strikes the perfect balance between analysis, commentary, and personal reflection. I have been listening heavily for the last month and have loved every episode. Some of the interviews fall flat for me, but his analysis never disappoints.

ATXnative1 ,

Not too shabby.

I’m gonna give it 4.5 and round up!

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