Category Archives: Lists

The 90 Best Songs of the 90s (Part 2)


Jesse is a cofounder of even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

No time for fancy intros today! You’ve seen the first 40. Let’s just get right to next 40! Take it away, nerds:

The 90 Best Songs of the 90s (Part 2)

Continue reading The 90 Best Songs of the 90s (Part 2)

The 90 Best Songs of the 90s (Part 1)


Jesse is a cofounder of even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

We here at can get down with a good list, but we’ve never attempted one quite so expansive before: a list not just of a band’s best songs, but the best songs of an entire decade: the ’90s, which have been experiencing a major nostalgia boom over the past five years or so, and which we hope to cash in on in a major way with this very undertaking; we just haven’t worked out the specifics of how that will work. In the meantime, you can send us personal checks.

While we wait for those to clear, let me reiterate: yes, this is the biggest list project yet undertaken by this organization. As it turns out, though, even a big list of 90 songs can feel too short when you’re dealing with a whole and particularly eclectic decade. Over 500 songs received votes, and plenty of favorites were left off the final list. Participants were asked to send their ranked lists of the 40 best songs of the ’90s, and the votes (weighted by ranking) were diligently counted in Excel to come up with the list that kicks off today. No adjustments were made for any reason beyond math. No fudging the rules to include a song by a particularly important artist or to cut down on the number of songs by an over-represented ones. This is the list of 22 children of the ’90s, though many of us approach that designation from different ages, directions, and backgrounds.

Today we’ll unveil songs 90 through 51. Tomorrow, we’ll hit 50 through 11. And on Thursday, we’ll get to the top ten. Look for other Best Songs of the ’90s content on all week, including our biggest podcast ever where a bunch of us got together to hash out this list.

And before we get started on list itself, I’d like to introduce your Best Songs of the ’90s voters. The panel included beloved mainstays, editors, and contributors whose biographies and past contributions are available at the click:

Chris Adams
Sara Batkie
Jeremy Bent
Jason Forman
Jesse Hassenger
Craig Iturbe
Rob Kuczynski
Marisa LaScala
Sabrina Lauzon
Bennett Morrison
Nathaniel Wharton

Plus these great people I’ll introduce here:

Shelly Casper is an artist, photographer, and teacher.
Sara Ciaburri is a librarian and former DJ.
Kerry Cullen is a fiction writer and editorial assistant.
Derrick Hart is a music fanatic and librarian from Boston by way of Upstate New York.
Michelle Paul is Director of Product Development at Patron Technology.
Lorraina Raccuia-Morrison edits textbooks and makes pottery.
Cristin Stickles is a book buyer for McNally-Jackson who makes New Jersey look good.
Erin Styne is a teacher and mother.
Alex Templeton is a middle school teacher, voracious reader, and writer in Philadelphia.
Bayard Templeton is a teacher, Mets fan, and theater enthusiast.
Jennifer Vega is a birder, administrator, and Mariah Carey scholar.

I am especially proud of two things about our contributors:
1. The gender makeup is majority female.
2. None of us are professional music critics.

Now then:

The 90 Best Songs of the 90s (Part One of Three)

Continue reading The 90 Best Songs of the 90s (Part 1)

Top 6 90s Soundtrack Albums Featuring Elastica


Rob is one of the founders of He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of

I spent a lot of time preparing for our top songs of the ’90s list by just trying to remember all the songs I heard in the ’90s. Unlike when I put together a list of my favorite songs of the ’00s, I couldn’t just consult my iTunes/ history. With CDs often priced in $15-20 range, teenagers like me in the pre-mp3 ’90s absorbed music through a disparate collection of sources: the radio, MTV, going to shows, browsing record stores, and many, many tapes (be they mixed, dubbed, or recorded from the radio).

One of the most popular delivery methods of popular music in that bygone era was the movie soundtrack album. While some movies still market soundtracks like they did back then (YA movie adaptations spring to mind), they definitely aren’t the original popular music delivery system they were back in the day. The episode of Parks & Rec where Millennial April is disdainful of Gen-Xer (and avowed Letters to Cleo fan) Ben’s collection of soundtracks on CD wounded me to my core.


I wanted to write something authoritative about how special soundtracks could be in the ’90s, but this list is the most I’ve ever agreed with a list on the internet that I didn’t contribute to. I didn’t want to be redundant, so I decided to narrow my focus a little, to just soundtracks featuring the band Elastica.

Why Elastica? To me this group of (mostly) women who kicked out late-70s/early-80s-style post-punk blasts of sound a decade before it was trendy again were the coolest band on earth in the ’90s. They also happened to show up on soundtrack albums as much as anyone else in the ’90s, and I wanted to celebrate them because none of their songs made our list of the top 90 songs of the 1990s.

This list only includes soundtracks where Elastica is included on the album. It was always annoying when a song appeared in a movie but not on the soundtrack and vice versa, but that’s a rant for another time.  The albums are ranked on three criteria, weighted on a case-by-case basis according to my whimsy:

  1. How good the movie is
  2. How good the Elastica song is
  3. How good the rest of the soundtrack is


6. Nowhere (1997)

What is this movie?
Wikipedia says it’s the final chapter of director Gregg Araki’s “Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy.” The box cover says it’s “90210 on acid.” I literally just discovered it existed when putting together this list so that’s all I got.

How is it?
I haven’t seen it, but if Akari’s other Teenage Apocalypse films are as unfunny, bleak, and heavyhanded as The Doom Generation (which I have seen), I’m in no rush. The trailer seems to confirm my suspicions.

What is the Elastica song?
“In The City” which as far as I can tell first appeared on this soundtrack. Unfortunately, the pile of scholarly research about Elastica I was hoping to reference for this piece doesn’t actually exist so I can’t be sure.

How is it?
It’s pretty good! Clocking at a tight 90 seconds, this ditty about ambivialance over a potential relationship would be right at home on Elastica’s classic self-titled debut. Points off because I was kind of hoping it was a cover of The Jam song with the same name. As much as I like Elastica, the Jam song is better.

How is the rest of the soundtrack?
Like a lot of compilations, it’s a mixed bag. Hole’s atonal, anti-rape culture screed “Dicknail” reminds me of when Morrissey plays “Meat is Murder” live in the sense that it’s both preaching to and turning off the choir at the same time. There’s also a 311 song that sounds like a parody of a 311 song and a Daft Punk remix of a Chemical Brothers song that’s so boring I don’t believe either group was actually involved. Bright spots include some dreamy-sounding tracks by Catherine Wheel and Lush as well as a Chuck D solo joint that’s a few years ahead of its time.


5. Suburbia (1997)

What is this movie?
Richard Linklater’s adaptation of Eric Bogosian’s play of the same name. It follows a group of (you guessed it) slackers over (you guessed it) the course of a single night. For the movie, Linklater transplanted the action to a suburb of (you guessed it) Austin, Texas.

How is it?
I don’t know! I feel kind of bad about my glib description above, but it’s interesting to remember there was a time when Linklater was a promising young filmmaker and not the acclaimed auteur he is today. It’s also weird how the director who made Boyhood made so many movies before that take place over the course of 24 hours or fewer. I’m trying to say I haven’t seen this or very many of Linklater’s films in general and I’m trying obfuscate that fact by making fun of him. This one isn’t entirely on me as the film is not widely available. It’s never been released on DVD or Blu-Ray. However, I am more familiar with Bogosian’s work on Law & Order than I am with his plays, so there’s a strong case to made that I’m the problem.

What is the Elastica song?
“The Unheard Music,” a cover of an X song featuring Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus

How is it?
So freaking good! Despite the fact that Malkmus and Elastica frontwoman Justine Frischmann retain the original’s boy/girl vocal interplay and melody, it sounds like an entirely different (and much more interesting) song. One awkward trivia tidbit about Elastica is that they were accused of plagiarism more than once by bands that obviously influenced them, like The Wire. However, I always thought what they did was different enough to constitute original work. It’s interesting here to hear them strip away X’s rockabilly roots and replace it with Wire-style robotic noise. Also, it reminds of my favorite songs on The Menace, Elastica’s underrated second (and final) album.

How is the rest of the soundtrack?
It might be good. Like the movie itself, it’s surprisingly hard to find. It doesn’t seem to be digitally available anywhere. Like, you can’t buy it on iTunes or the Amazon MP3 store, let alone stream it. Sonic Youth scored the film so there are a bunch of their songs in addition to Beck, Superchunk, and other things you would expect to find on there. A definite strike against the album is the cover, which is the only one on the list to not have the names of the bands. That was always an important piece of information when making soundtrack purchase decisions.


4. Mallrats (1995)

What is this movie?
Kevin Smith’s followup to his classic no-budget debut Clerks (which almost received an NC-17 rating for its bawdy dialogue) follows some aimless twentysomethings as they try to win their girlfriends back during a hi-jinks filled day at the mall.
How is it?
I don’t know, but not because I haven’t seen it. I loved this movie as a teenager so much it felt like it was made for me. But much like my own attitudes and brand of humor from that era, I worry that Smith’s movies are a little on the juvenile side and haven’t aged well. I’m afraid to rewatch them and have them tarnish my memories.
What is the Elastica song?
“Line Up,” the first track from their self titled debut

How is it?
It’s great, but there’s not much to say about a song you already know.

How is the soundtrack in general?
Not bad! Like the movie itself, I had a lot of trouble properly rating this one. It is strangely, almost equally, divided between previously released songs (like “Line Up”) and  brand new tracks. New songs included an OK Bush song, a pretty good Belly ballad, and “Suzanne” by Weezer. “Suzanne” is not the best Weezer song of the ’90s (according to our list), but with its Beach Boys harmonies, crunchy guitars, and soaring solos, it may be the platonic ideal of a Weezer song.

The Mallrats soundtrack also had the very ’90s feature of breaking up the songs with tracks of dialogue from the movie. I consider this a plus.


3. Dead Man On Campus (1998)

What is this movie?
MTV Films’ attempt at a National Lampoon/American Pie style comedy with their first R-Rated feature. Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tom Everett Scott play college freshman who try to find a third roommate to commit suicide so they don’t fail all their classes.

How is it?
It’s bad! In the next entry I will refer to The Craft as good for what it is. Dead Man On Campus is not even good for what little it is. I think I laughed at one joke. While I was surprised to find Gosselaar had actual comic timing, there are so many bad performances from actors I generally like that I assume the director is to blame. Reread my plot synopsis. It’s actually dumber than that if you watch the whole thing. This movie’s release was timed with the start of the college school year, specifically right when I went to college for the first time. This was aimed right at me and missed completely. This is all compounded by the fact that as an MTV film, it was the recipient of of a large cross-promotional effort that was inescapable if you watched MTV at all.

What is the Elastica song?
“Human,” which would later show up on The Menace

How is it?
I feel like I’m not qualified to say. This came out during the five-year gap between Elastica’s only studio albums, so I was hungry for any Elastica at that point. It was dark, mid-tempo, over three minutes long, and introduced some new textures to their sound, so it showed some growth for the band.

How is the rest of the soundtrack?
About as good as a compilation with a Creed song can be. It was exec-produced by The Dust Brothers and put out by DreamWorks. This lead to some interesting choices like including songs by Self and Creeper Lagoon (two bands I loved at the time, but never got their due). I actually like Marilyn Manson’s cover of David Bowie’s “Golden Years.” This came out right around Mechanical Animals, which also sported a noticeable 70s Bowie influence. What I’m trying to say is that there were a few months in 1998 where I kind of liked Marilyn Manson. The highlight of the soundtrack for me is Blur’s “Cowboy Song,” where Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon give into to some of their worst musical instincts (falsetto, slide guitar) but come up with a genuinely fun song. Bonus points to whomever at DreamWorks thought it would be cute to put former couple Frischmann and Albarn’s bands back to back on the tracklist.


2. The Craft (1996)

What is this movie?
A supernatural thriller about teen girl outcasts who become witches to deal with problems of adolescence but end up turning on each other.

How is it?
Good for what it is: a campy romp. Fairuza Balk gets a career-defining role. It plays as much as a superhero movie as it does a horror film. If that sounds like your type of thing, you would probably enjoy it. I do fear, however, that people who loved it growing up now overestimate how good it is in adulthood (much like another movie of the era starring Robin Tunney and having a memorable soundtrack, Empire Records).

What is the Elastica song?
“Spastica,” a B-side from the “Connection” single

How is it?
It’s a B-side for a reason. A pretty cool chorus without many lyrics, a pretty cool bass line, and some digs at a guy. Kind of a by-the-numbers Elastica song, but not fully baked. It would have been a weak point if it was included on one of their albums. Also, maybe just don’t use the word ‘spastic’ in this day and age unless you’re referring to very specific medical conditions.

How is the rest of the soundtrack?
Underrated! I don’t know why I don’t hate Love Spit Love’s cover of “How Soon Is Now” like most Smiths fans, but I enjoy it! I even enjoy Our Lady Peace’s cover of “Tomorrow Never Knows.” I even enjoy Our Lady Peace’s cover of “Tomorrow Never Knows.” That is not a typo; that sentence is there twice for emphasis. Letters to Cleo and Heather Nova also do surprisingly not-bad covers. It’s rounded out by a very ’90s list of artists including Jewel, Matthew Sweet, and Tripping Daisy.


1. Trainspotting (1996)

What is this movie?
Danny Boyle’s pitch black comedic adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s classic novel about a group of ‘friends’ in Edinburgh who use any vice (but mostly heroin) to fill the void.
How is it?
A testament to how good this film is: I sometimes faint when having blood drawn, but I will watch this movie full of graphic depictions of people shooting up heroin at least once a year. Funny, well-acted, inventive, and real, it’s amazing how rewatchable a film with such dark subject matter is.

What is the Elastica song?
“2:1,” from their self-titled debut.

How is it?
It’s good, but notable for being maybe the only downtempo Elastica song from their early period. Also, it’s a bit of a bummer that this is a reused album track as opposed to something new. That being said, it perfectly scores a montage in the back half of the film.

How is the soundtrack in general?
Would it be hyperbole to say it is the most culturally significant movie soundtrack since Saturday Night Fever? Yes, but I’m saying it anyways. It was instrumental to popularizing britpop outside of Britain. The inclusion of “Lust For Life” introduced Iggy Pop the musician to a generation that just knew him as Nona Mecklenberg’s father on The Adventures of Pete and Pete. Unlike a lot of soundtracks of the time, the songs were really used as score and it was done to perfection.

TV on the Silver Screen

Nathaniel cofounder Nathaniel moved to Brooklyn, as you do. His hobbies include cutting up rhubarb and laying down. His favorite things are the band Moon Hooch and custard from Shake Shack. Old ladies love his hair.

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With Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation arriving in theaters this weekend to great buzz, let’s talk about the best film adaptations of TV shows.

Continue reading TV on the Silver Screen

Best of 2014

Nathaniel cofounder Nathaniel moved to Brooklyn, as you do. His hobbies include cutting up rhubarb and laying down. His favorite things are the band Moon Hooch and custard from Shake Shack. Old ladies love his hair.

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Here it is, you’re one stop place to see all of’s Best of 2014 posts!


We wrote about 14 of our very favorites here, including not-so-usual suspects like We Are the Best! and Obvious Child.

Our very favorite movie of the year, The Grand Budapest Hotel, deserved its own write-up.

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies was never in contention for our Best Of list, but it does have the most variety in animals that are ridden, so we did a podcast about it.


We counted down the top ten best TV shows. This year will be remembered as a year of comedy!

We provided alternatives for those who are so sick of hearing the rest of us gush about our No. 1 pic.

We noted that Comedy Central has really been living up to its name lately.

We lamented that no one else was watching Peaky Blinders (well, at least one of us complained about that).

We recorded a podcast about The Newsroom. How that show smarmed its way into a best-TV round-up is anyone’s guess.


We crowned St. Vincent’s St. Vincent as the best album of the year, doing a track-by-track analysis of her greatness (and also a quick study of her magnificent hair).

We also celebrated four other albums as the best of the yearTeeth Dreams by The Hold Steady, The Voyager by Jenny Lewis, Complete Surrender by Slow Club, and Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs.

We called out the best-of-the-best, our very favorite songs from our very favorite albums, including “Blue Moon” by Beck,  “Goshen ’97” by Strand of Oaks, “Nothing but Trouble” by Phantogram, “Lazerray” by TV on the Radio, “Seasons (Waiting on You)” by Future Islands, “Your Love Is Killing Me” by Sharon Van Etten, and “Lights Out” by Angel Olsen.

We stumped for our favorite songs that didn’t come from our favorite albums, including “I’m Not Part of Me” by Cloud Nothings, “Bury Our Friends” by Sleater-Kinney, “Water Fountain” by tUnE-yArDs, “Mr. Tembo” by Damon Albarn, “Lariat” by Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, “Bright Eyes” by Allo Darlin’, “Backseat Shake Off” by The Hood Internet, and “Scapegoat” by The Faint.

Is there a Spotify playlist for all this?” you ask. Of course there’s a Spotify playlist.


Rob picked out the best of ourselves, with his favorite contributions from the gang here at

The Best of Will Forte

Nathaniel cofounder Nathaniel moved to Brooklyn, as you do. His hobbies include cutting up rhubarb and laying down. His favorite things are the band Moon Hooch and custard from Shake Shack. Old ladies love his hair.

Latest posts by Nathaniel (see all)

The SNL “Best of…” compilation was long the best way to see old sketches or relive your favorite characters and cast members. In the days when you had to just wait and hope for an older episode to show up in reruns, “Best of”s were a terrific way to get a sense of just what was so great about folks like Gilda Radner or John Belushi. And as the show continued into the salad days of VHS and DVD, over two dozen “Best of” compilations were released, covering many cast members and a handful of classic hosts. Sure, even in their heyday these compilations didn’t cover every deserving cast member (would that we had “The Best of Jan Hooks” or “The Best of Bill Murray”), but not long after they’d left the cast you could get DVDs of “The Best of Jimmy Fallon” and “The Best of Chris Kattan,” so it stings a bit that (the fantastic) Amy Poehler was the last cast member to date to receive the “Best of” treatment. Since then, a number of cast members who absolutely merit a compilation have left the show, but it seems like the decline of the home video market and (supposedly) easy online access to sketches from throughout the show’s history has conspired to put an end to the practice. For fans of the show, it’s kind of crazy that there hasn’t been a “Best of Kristen Wiig” or “Best of Bill Hader.” But we here at are going to do our part to correct the situation (or at least to offer suggestions; c’mon, Broadway Video/NBC/whoever should be doing these! we’ll do the work!). The project here is to provide at least a rough simulation of a “Best of” compilation, with a sampling of signature characters, memorable or iconic sketches, as well as a couple of Weekend Update appearances. Because of the spotty availability of sketches online, I’m going to list the preferred “Best of” sketch and, if necessary, providing an alternative that you can check out online.

First up, to celebrate a cast member who is enormously beloved among (at least parts of) the offices and to get you ready for Sunday’s hotly anticipated premiere of The Last Man On Earth, we’re offering our suggestions for “The Best of Will Forte.” Continue reading The Best of Will Forte

The Ten Best Parks and Rec Episodes


Sara is big into reading and writing fiction like it's her job, because it is. That doesn't mean she isn't real as it gets. She loves real stuff like polka dots, indie rock, and underground fight clubs. I may have made some of that up. I don't know her that well. You can tell she didn't just write this in the third person because if she had written it there would have been less suspect sentence construction.

Parks and Recreation made an inauspicious debut on April 9, 2009 as a potential heir to the throne of NBC’s only big hit comedy at the time, The Office. This was only fitting as the two shows shared a creative team (Michael Schur and Greg Daniels) and a similar mockumentary format. But throughout its seven seasons, Parks and Rec remained the little show that could: underperforming in the ratings (never, in fact, outrating its well-sampled pilot episode) but beloved by critics and loyal viewers. And in retrospect, that seems right. As can often be in the case in the actual government, the best work done on television is dependable, less flashy, and ultimately rewards the long game. Should Leslie Knope and company ever get to see the show that’s ostensibly been made of their own lives, I’m sure they’d be proud. It’s been a wonderful six years and in honor of this week’s series finale, we’re counting down the top ten best Parks and Rec episodes, as chosen by Sara, with our litany of Parks and Recreation fans on the roster ready to chime in via the comments section.
Continue reading The Ten Best Parks and Rec Episodes

The Worst SNL Characters of All Time


Jesse is a cofounder of even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Saturday Night Live celebrated its fortieth anniversary over the weekend with a three and a half hour special full of clips, former cast members, special guests, music, and, of course, recurring characters. As much as the show gets credit for its political and celebrity impressions, pioneering fake news, and occasional forays into edgy music, what most people associate with SNL is its four decades’ worth of characters and catchphrases. Most of the ones revived for the special were respectable (Wayne’s World; What Up with That; Stefon); a few were unnecessary (Garth and Kat). But any longtime SNL fans probably maintain a mental list of the recurring bits that they never ever want to see again (and will probably see again, even if the cast members in question are gone, during compilations, anniversary specials, and when those cast members return to host). It’s an inevitable byproduct of (a.) having recurring characters at all and (b.) doing recurring characters often as a clear concession to casual fans. Not everyone watches SNL every week and even fewer people have been watching it every week for decades.

But some of us do and have and this is my list of beloved recurring characters I absolutely despise. To keep it a little positive — it’s the show’s birthday, after all — I’ll suggest alternatives for all of the hacky, overplayed, irritating torture I’ll be discussing. I considered an accompanying list of my favorite recurring characters, but we’re already working on a Best of Will Forte post. That’s basically the same thing.

Feel free to chime in with your own least-favorites, or to defend these terrible sketches, in the comments.
Continue reading The Worst SNL Characters of All Time

The 11 Best Sleater-Kinney Songs of All Time


Jesse is a cofounder of even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Sleater-Kinney woke up from a ten-year nap (during which Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker, and Janet Weiss all accomplished more than any of us have in our lives so far) and reformed properly this year, with a recorded-in-secret new album No Cities to Love and a tour that just started this week and will continue into the beautiful spring. To celebrate this and our last month or so spent playing No Cities endlessly, the Sleater-Kinney core — that is, the editors and writers who have tickets to see Sleater-Kinney at the end of this month — put together our aggregate and completely definitive list of the band’s top eleven songs.
Continue reading The 11 Best Sleater-Kinney Songs of All Time

The Best Movie of 2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel


Jesse is a cofounder of even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

I mentioned yesterday that there was a great variety of movies on the five different lists submitted for our Best Movies of 2014 poll. That’s true, but at the same time, one movie ran away with the top spot in a decisive victory: Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel didn’t just appear on every list, it ranked first on three of them and within the top five on all five lists. Rather than figure out who should write about this movie, then, we decided to talk about it together. Here’s on our collective favorite movie of 2014:
Continue reading The Best Movie of 2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel