When you think of the 90s, which great love songs come to mind? The 90s were full of loud, bold new music genres with attitude.
The romantic side of the radio waves didn’t always reach front-page news. But the softer songs and love ballads were still major staples in every 90s music genre.
After all, love will always be the most popular subject for people to sing about.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane!
What Makes 90s Love Songs Great?
If we could make a shape out of what defined music in the 90s, we would use the BOOM! Emoji.
The number of music subgenres exploded. Hip hop and other emerging 80s styles like alternative rock became mainstays. And stars like Shania Twain, Courtney Love, and Jennifer Lopez elevated the status of female musicians worldwide.
With vocal groups like the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys, sweet pop music was alive and well in the 90s. The decade was also huge for country music, with youthful singers like Garth Brooks bringing new life to classic sounds.
At the center of the 90s music boom were the love songs. Whether it was Britpop Band Oasis singing Wonderwall or Whitney Houston belting out I Will Always Love You, love conquered all. 90s love songs are powerful. No matter what genre, singers tended to shout out their message – no holds barred.
Get the candles lit, and your tissues ready. Here’s our list of the greatest 90s love songs.
#7 Nothing Compares 2U by Sinead O’Connor
About the Song: Nothing Compares 2U is one of the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful songs of all time. With lyrics written by Prince and sung by the ever fearless Sinead Oconnor, it’s no wonder the track was a towering success.
A number one hit in 17 countries, Nothing Compares 2U’s commercial success was overwhelming for O’Connor. It seems to have come from another world.
It’s been so lonely without you here
Like a bird without a song
Nothing can stop these lonely tears from falling
Tell me, baby, where did I go wrong
First Appearance: Prince wrote this ballad in 1984 and released it in 1985 with his side project band, The Family. Sinead O’Connor’s cover made its debut on January 8, 1990.
#6 More Than Words by Extreme
About the Song: More than words is one of those slightly cheesy love songs that you can’t help but love. It’s about asking your partner to show their love, and not just say it. Actions speak louder than words.
More than words showcased a softer, rarely seen side of Extreme. This Boston hard rock band kept things bare and straightforward: two harmonizing vocals and one acoustic guitar. The song is often referenced as one of the best hair metal ballads ever.
Hold me close, don’t ever let me go
More than words is all I ever needed you to show
First Appearance: This perfect pop ballad hit the streets on August 7, 1990, as track five on the album Pornograffiti. The song’s popularity exploded after A&M released it as a single on March 23, 1991.
#5 You’re Still the One by Shania Twain
About the Song: You’re Still the One is about a love that beats all odds. Shania Twain cites it as one of the best songs she’s ever written. Inspired by her marriage to producer Robert Lange, the fact that they eventually divorced didn’t tarnish the song’s staying power.
You’re Still the One won awards for best Country Single in both Canada and The U.S. in 1998.
They said, “I bet they’ll never make it”
But just look at us holding on
We’re still together, still going strong
First Appearance: Twain and Robert Lang released this autobiographical love song on Twain’s 1997 album Come On Over. Mercury released it as a single in January 1998.
#4 I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders
About the Song: This kind of song contains lyrics you want everyone you love to say to you. It’s about having your loved ones back through the darkest of times. I’ll Stand By You is a song where unconditional loyalty is declared for all to hear.
Singer Chrissie Hynde was uncomfortable at first about collaborating with outside songwriters. But she felt pressure to write a hit. Chart writers Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg helped Hyde with her mission. I’ll Stand By You hit the top 20 and received appraise by multiple famous musicians at the time.
When the night falls on you
You don’t know what to do
Nothing you confess
Could make me love you less
First Appearance: The Pretenders included this as a track on their sixth album, Last of The Independents, released in 1994.
#3 Iris by Goo Goo Dolls
About the Song: Iris is probably the most well-known song by the American Alternative Rock band Goo Goo Dolls. The song structure is sweet and soothing at first, with a powerful build-up in the chorus.
The lyrics for this torch song were inspired by a story about an angel who must choose between true love and eternal life.
Iris made the top ten worldwide upon release. It remains one of Ireland’s best-selling singles to this day.
And I don’t want the world to see me
‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am
First Appearance: One of several soundtrack songs on our list, Goo Goo Dolls originally wrote Iris for the 1998 film City of Angels. They released it as a single that year on April 1.
#2 (Everything I Do) I Do It for You by Bryan Adams
About the Song: Bryan Adams was already the king of power ballads when he co-wrote this tear-jerker. Michael Kamen and Robert Lang collaborated with Adams on the song for the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
The words describe fighting for the love of your life. Written in under one hour, Adam’s delivery of these simple words is genuinely moving. (Everything I Do) I Do it for You spent sixteen weeks at number one on the UK Charts.
Unless you’re there
All the time
All the way, yeah
First Appearance: This tear-jerker hit the radio waves on June 17, 1991.
#1 I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith
About the Song: Aerosmith’s biggest hit to this day was I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, charting at number one worldwide in 1998. Initially, the ballad was poised to be a radio-only single. But due to its popularity, Columbia Records released it as a single.
Songwriter Dianne Warren wrote this tune after watching a TV interview with James Brolin and Barbra Streisand. Brolin, describing his love for Streisand, said he missed her when they were asleep. Clearly, he didn’t want to miss a thing about her.
While you’re far away and dreaming
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
I could stay lost in this moment forever
Where every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure
First Appearance: Aerosmith composed this masterpiece for the 1998 film Armageddon. Turn it up, and hold your sweetheart close on the dance floor.
Which 90s Love Song is Your Favorite?
We’re a little emotional after listing our greatest 90s love songs. The power and musical variety of the greatest 90s love songs has swept us off our feet.
Which one is your favorite?