Sunday, February 28, 2021

Adult Alternative Songs, Top 250+: 1990-2021

First posted 2/26/2021; updated 2/28/2021.

Adult Alternative:

Top 250+ Songs, 1990-2021

In 1996, Billboard magazine lanched the adult album alternative (AAA) chart. The radio format is a spinoff of the album-oriented radio stations focused on classic rock from the ‘60s and ‘70s. While artists like Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen are staples of classic rock, their current material was largely neglected by those stations. Alongside these heritage acts, AAA played mainstream-rock-oriented alternative acts like the Gin Blossoms, Goo Goo Dolls, Hootie & the Blowfish, Matchbox 20, Dave Matthews Band, and Alanis Morissette.

In 2017, the DMDB compiled a chart of the top 100 adult alternative songs based on the most weeks at #1, which has since been updated. The ranking includes all songs which spent at least 5 weeks atop the chart.

In 2020, the DMDB created a second top 100 list, this time focusing on songs from 1990 to 1996 which preceded the adult alternative chart, but which fit the format.

In 2021, in honor of the adult alternative chart’s 25th anniversary, Billboard published its list of the top 100 adult alternative songs based on chart performance.

The list on this page combines those three lists, ranking the songs based on their overall Dave’s Music Database status.

1. Adele “Rolling in the Deep” (2010)
2. Gotye with Kimbra “Somebody That I Used to Know” (2011)
3. R.E.M. “Losing My Religion” (1991)
4. Gnarls Barkley “Crazy” (2006)
5. Santana with Rob Thomas “Smooth” (1999)
6. Coldplay “Viva La Vida” (2008)
7. Lorde “Royals” (2013)
8. U2 “One” (1992)
9. Oasis “Wonderwall” (1995)
10. Jason Mraz “I’m Yours” (2008)

11. Goo Goo Dolls “Iris” (1998)
12. No Doubt “Don’t Speak” (1995)
13. Radiohead “Creep” (1993)
14. Green Day “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (2004)
15. Eric Clapton “Tears in Heaven” (1992)
16. Sam Smith “Stay with Me” (2014)
17. Seal “Kiss from a Rose” (1994)
18. Alanis Morissette “You Oughta Know” (1995)
19. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Under the Bridge” (1991)
20. U2 “Beautiful Day” (2000)

21. Beck “Loser” (1993)
22. Pearl Jam “Jeremy” (1991)
23. Alanis Morissette “Ironic” (1995)
24. Coldplay “Clocks” (2002)
25. Kings of Leon “Use Somebody” (2008)
26. Train “Hey, Soul Sister” (2009)
27. R.E.M. “Everybody Hurts’ (1992)
28. Sheryl Crow “All I Wanna Do” (1994)
29. Bruce Springsteen “Streets of Philadelphia” (1994)
30. Snow Patrol “Chasing Cars” (2006)

31. Oasis “Live Forever” (1994)
32. The Lumineers “Ho Hey” (2012)
33. Train “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” (2001)
34. Eric Clapton “Change the World” (1996)
35. Jewel “You Were Meant for Me” (1995)
36. Soundgarden “Black Hole Sun” (1994)
37. U2 “Vertigo” (2004)
38. Oasis “Don’t Look Back in Anger” (1995)
39. Smashing Pumpkins “1979” (1995)
40. The Wallflowers “One Headlight” (1996)

41. Portugal, the Man “Feel It Still” (2017)
42. Pearl Jam “Alive” (1991)
43. Alanis Morissette “You Learn” (1995)
44. Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories “Stay (I Missed You)” (1994)
45. Oasis “Champagne Supernova” (1995)
46. Matchbox 20 “Bent” (2000)
47. Collective Soul “Shine” (1993)
48. Live “Lightning Crashes” (1994)
49. Silverchair “Tomorrow” (1994)
50. Tracy Chapman “Give Me One Reason” (1995)

51. Shawn Colvin “Sunny Came Home” (1996)
52. Green Day “Basket Case” (1994)
53. The Rembrandts “I’ll Be There for You” (1995)
54. Pearl Jam “Daughter” (1993)
55. Stone Temple Pilots “Interstate Love Song” (1994)
56. Joan Osborne “One of Us” (1995)
57. Jewel “Foolish Games” (1995)
58. Mumford & Sons “I Will Wait” (2012)
59. The Fray “You Found Me” (2008)
60. The Cranberries “Zombie” (1994)

61. Weezer “Buddy Holly” (1994)
62. Radiohead “Fake Plastic Trees” (1995)
63. Alanis Morissette “Head Over Feet” (1995)
64. Stone Temple Pilot “Plush” (1992)
65. Sting “Fields of Gold” (1993)
66. KT Tunstall “Black Horse & the Cherry Tree” (2004)
67. X Ambassadors “Renegades” (2015)
68. Counting Crows “Mr. Jones” (1993)
69. Eric Clapton “Layla” (Unplugged version, 1992)
70. U2 “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own” (2004)

71. Phillip Phillips “Home” (2012)
72. The Black Keys “Lonely Boy” (2011)
73. Soul Asylum “Runaway Train” (1992)
74. Coldplay “Paradise” (2011)
75. Hootie & the Blowfish “Only Wanna Be with You” (1994)
76. Green Day “Longview” (1994)
77. Sarah McLachlan “Building a Mystery” (1997)
78. Collective Soul “December” (1995)
79. Coldplay “Speed of Sound” (2005)
80. Lorde “Team” (2013)

81. U2 “Night and Day” (1990)
82. U2 “Mysterious Ways” (1991)
83. New Radicals “You Get What You Give” (1998)
84. Smashing Pumpkins “Disarm” (1993)
85. Pearl Jam “Better Man” (1994)
86. Sheryl Crow “Soak Up the Sun” (2002)
87. John Mayer “Waiting on the World to Change” (2006)
88. Sting “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You” (1993)
89. The Cranberries “Linger” (1993)
90. Goo Goo Dolls “Name” (1995)
91. Matchbox 20 “3 A.M.” (1996)

92. Primitive Radio Gods “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” (1996)
93. David Gray “Babylon” (1998)
94. Pearl Jam “Black” (1991)
95. Florence + the Machine “Dog Days Are Over” (2008)
96. The Black Crowes “Hard to Handle” (1990)
97. Green Day “When I Come Around” (1994)
98. R.E.M. “Man on the Moon” (1992)
99. Bonnie Raitt “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (1991)
100. Imagine Dragons “It’s Time” (2011)

101. The Verve Pipe “The Freshmen” (1996)
102. Elle King “Ex’s and Oh’s” (2014)
103. Milky Chance “Stolen Dance” (2013)
104. Smashing Pumpkins “Tonight Tonight” (1995)
105. Fastball “The Way” (1998)
106. Seal “Crazy” (1990)
107. Live “Selling the Drama” (1994)
108. Bonnie Raitt “Something to Talk About” (1991)
109. Beck “Where It’s At” (1996)
110. Crowded House “Weather with You” (1991)

111. Goo Goo Dolls “Slide” (1998)
112. Sting “All This Time” (1990)
113. R.E.M. “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” (1994)
114. Smashing Pumpkins “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” (1995)
115. Lenny Kravitz “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” (1993)
116. INXS “Suicide Blonde” (1990)
117. Dave Matthews Band “Crash into Me” (1996)
118. Sting with Cheb Mami “Desert Rose” (1999)
119. Spin Doctors “Two Princes” (1991)
120. Train “Calling All Angels” (2003)

121. Alanis Morissette “Hand in My Pocket” (1995)
122. Eric Clapton “My Father’s Eyes” (1998)
123. R.E.M. “Drive” (1992)
124. Blues Traveler “Run Around” (1994)
125. Sheryl Crow “Everyday Is a Winding Road” (1996)
126. Collective Soul “The World I Know” (1995)
127. Gin Blossoms “‘Til I Hear It from You” (1995)
128. Bruce Springsteen “Human Touch” (1992)
129. George Ezra “Budapest” (2013)
130. Hootie & the Blowfish “Old Man & Me (When I Get to Heaven)” (1996)

131. Bonnie Raitt “Love Sneakin’ Up on You” (1994)
132. U2 “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” (1995)
133. Death Cab for Cutie “I Will Possess Your Heart” (2008)
134. Smashing Pumpkins “Today” (1993)
135. Hootie & the Blowfish “Let Her Cry” (1994)
136. Pearl Jam “Just Breathe” (2009)
137. John Mellencamp & Me’Shell Ndegeocello “Wild Night” (1994)
138. U2 “Even Better Than the Real Thing” (1991)
139. Paula Cole “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” (1996)
140. Jack Johnson “Upside Down” (2006)

141. John Mayer “No Such Thing” (2001)
142. Coldplay “Adventure of a Lifetime” (2015)
143. R.E.M. “Shiny Happy People” (1991)
144. U2 “Staring at the Sun” (1997)
145. Radiohead “High and Dry” (1995)
146. The Black Keys “Fever” (2014)
147. Sarah McLachlan “I Will Remember You” (1995)
148. Sheryl Crow “If It Makes You Happy” (1996)
149. Hootie & the Blowfish “Time” (1994)
150. The Cranberries “Dreams” (1992)

151. Jewel “Who Will Save Your Soul?” (1995)
152. Melissa Etheridge “I’m the Only One” (1993)
153. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man “Human” (2016)
154. Paula Cole “I Don’t Want to Wait” (1996)
155. Gin Blossoms “Follow You Down” (1996)
156. R.E.M. “The Great Beyond” (1999)
157. Bruce Springsteen “Secret Garden” (1995)
158. Beck “Up All Night” (2017)
159. Sheryl Crow “Strong Enough” (1993)
160. Mumford & Sons “Believe” (2015)

161. John Mellencamp “Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)” (1996)
162. Alice Merton “No Roots” (2016)
163. Hootie & the Blowfish “Hold My Hand” (1994)
164. Beck “Dreams” (2015)
165. Death Cab for Cutie “Soul Meets Body” (2005)
166. Matchbox 20 “Push” (1996)
167. Sheryl Crow “My Favorite Mistake” (1998)
168. The Black Keys “Lo/Hi” (2019)
169. U2 “Window in the Skies” (2006)
170. U2 “Electrical Storm” (2002)

171. Sheryl Crow “A Change Would Do You Good” (1996)
172. The Lumineers “Ophelia” (2016)
173. Coldplay “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” (2011)
174. Counting Crows “Accidentally in Love” (2004)
175. The Killers “Read My Mind” (2006)
176. Kings of Leon “Radioactive” (2010)
177. Duncan Sheik “Barely Breathing” (1996)
178. Kings of Leon “Waste a Moment” (2016)
179. Vampire Weekend “Harmony Hall” (2019)
180. U2 “You’re the Best Thing About Me” (2017)

181. The Wallflowers “6th Avenue Heartache” (1996)
182. Jack Johnson “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” (2005)
183. Dave Matthews Band “Stay (Wasting Time)” (1998)
184. Michael Franti & Spearhead “The Sound of Sunshine” (2010)
185. Arcade Fire “Everything Now” (2017)
186. O.A.R. “Shattered (Turn the Car Around)” (2008)
187. Sarah McLachlan “Fallen” (2003)
188. Dave Matthews Band “Where Are You Going?” (2002)
189. Collective Soul “Run” (1999)
190. Mumford & Sons “Guiding Light” (2018)

191. Counting Crows “Hanginaround” (1999)
192. Jack Johnson “Flake” (2001)
193. Natalie Merchant “Kind and Generous” (1998)
194. The Lumineers “Gloria” (2019)
195. John Mellencamp with India.Arie “Peaceful World” (2001)
196. Jack Johnson “If I Had Eyes” (2007)
197. Of Monsters and Men “Mountain Sound” (2011)
198. The Black Keys “Go” (2019)
199. Dave Matthews Band “Everyday” (2001)
200. R.E.M. “Supernatural Superserious” (2008)

201. Sheryl Crow “Anything But Down” (1998)
202. Dave Matthews Band “I Did It” (2001)
203. The Lumineers “Stubborn Love” (2012)
204. Jack Johnson “You and Your Heart” (2010)
205. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats “You Worry Me” (2018)
206. John Mayer “Bigger Than My Body” (2003)
207. Jack Johnson “Good People” (2005)
208. The Revivalists “Wish I Knew You” (2016)
209. The Head and the Heart “All We Ever Knew” (2016)
210. Norah Jones “Sunrise” (2004)

211. Bruce Hornsby “Gonna Be Some Changes Made” (2004)
212. Dave Matthews Band “Funny the Way It Is” (2009)
213. K.T. Tunstall “Hold On” (2007)
214. Blues Traveler “Most Precarious” (1997)
215. The Avett Brothers “Ain’t No Man” (2016)
216. Tracy Chapman “Telling Stories (There Is Friction in the Space Between)” (2000)
217. Beck “Uneventful Days” (2019)
218. Spoon “Hot Thoughts” (2017)
219. Paolo Nutini “New Shoes” (2006)
220. Fitz & the Tantrums “Out of My League” (2013)

221. The Strokes “Bad Decisions” (2020)
222. Death Cab for Cutie “You Are a Tourist” (2011)
223. The Lumineers “Life in the City” (2019)
224. White Reaper “Might Be Right” (2019)
225. Death Cab for Cutie “Gold Rush” (2018)
226. Norah Jones “Chasing Pirates” (2009)
227. David Gray “The One I Love” (2005)
228. Norah Jones “Thinking About You” (2006)
229. John Mayer “Who Says” (2009)
230. David Gray “Fugitive” (2009)

231. Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs “Beg, Steal or Borrow” (2010)
232. David Gray “You’re the World to Me” (2007)
233. Leon Bridges “Bad Bad News” (2018)
234. Bakar “Hell N Back” (2019)
235. Family of the Year “Hero” (2012)
236. Serena Ryder “Stompa” (2013)
237. Nathaniel Rateliff “And It’s Still Alright” (2020)
238. Snow Patrol “Crack the Shutters” (2008)
239. Pete Yorn “Life on a Chain” (2001)
240. Snow Patrol “Just Say Yes” (2009)

241. Dave Matthews Band “You and Me” (2009)
242. George Ezra “Blame It on Me” (2014)
243. Ray LaMontagne “Strong Enough” (2020)
244. One Eskimo “Kandi” (2009)
245. John Butler Trio “Better Than” (2007)
246. Milky Chance with Jack Johnson “Don’t Let Me Down” (2020)
247. Dave Matthews Band “Oh” (2003)
248. Gomez “See the World” (2006)
249. The Head and the Heart “Lost in My Mind” (2011)
250. Snow Patrol “Shut Your Eyes” (2006)

251. James Morrison “Nothing Ever Hurt Like You” (2008)


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