I’m just gonna warn you in advance: “Achy Breaky Heart” is on the Honorable Mentions list.
Do I think it’s one of the best songs of 1992? No. Do I think it’s a curse placed upon mankind in retribution for our many, many sins? I’m not ruling it out. It’s an extremely bad song and we, as a species, have done a lot of bad stuff.
So why did I put such an absolute travesty of a song on what’s supposedly a list of the best tracks of 1992? Because there’s a lot of bad stuff happening these days and, out of a sense of petty retribution, I want to throw a little back by putting that song in all your heads. I apologize but that’s what you get, the world.
Update: It’s the top six now. I forgot Rage Against the Machine came out in 1992 and “Killing in the Name” is one of my all-time favorite songs so I had to make a rare correction. I’m sure you understand.
Sir Mix-A-Lot — “Baby Got Back”
I unironically love this song and I don’t care what you think. I even love it more than the acoustic Jonathan Coulton cover. It’s tacky, and it’s kinda dumb, but it’s so sincere. And I appreciate that.
Also it gave us the phrase, “36-24-36? Maybe if she’s five-three.”
L7 — “Pretend We’re Dead”
It’s a deep cut! It’s been a while since we’ve had a deep cut.
I’m an avowed fan of and advocate for women who rock, and I also thoroughly enjoy especially heavy grunge, so L7 has to be included. They’re also extremely punk rock; in 1992 frontwoman Donita Sparks dropped her pants on live TV and threw her tampon into a crowd in retaliation for throwing mud at her.
Listen to the song, is what I’m saying. It’s a band you should be more aware of.
House of Pain — “Jump Around”
Rather than describe this song you’ve undoubtedly heard at countless miserable middle school dances, I offer a piece of trivia: One of the three members of House of Pain is Everlast, who did the very-different-than-this song “What It’s Like” later on in the ’90s.
Another fun fact? This came out the same year as “Jump” by Kris Kross. Unfortunately not the same year as “Jump” by Van Halen, which was already nine years old.
Ice Cube — “It Was a Good Day”
I picked this over Dr. Dre’s “Nothin’ But A ‘G’ Thang” partially because it’s a better song, but also partially so I can give you more trivia: Ice Cube’s good day was January 20, 1992.
Ice Cube himself disputes this, saying the titular good day is entirely fictional, but I don’t buy it. For example, he says he got a triple-double, but why would he make up that he tracks rebounds and assists in pickup basketball games? I don’t even know why he would admit it let alone lie about it.
Rage Against the Machine — “Killing in the Name”
I wrote this edition very late at night and managed to forget that this song came out. Major oversight on my part, yes, but I made a rare edit to fix it. Credit goes to my friends Geiiga and Robin for pointing it out.
Whitney Houston — “I Will Always Love You”
All due respect to Dolly Parton but I think even she’ll agree that Whitney’s cover is better than her original. I mean, come on. Like “Blaze of Glory” and Young Guns II, this song is so good justifies the entire existence of the movie it was written for.
Right Said Fred — “I’m Too Sexy”
Kris Kross — “Jump”
En Vogue — “My Lovin”
REM — “Everybody Hurts”
The Cure — “Friday I’m In Love”
Sophie B. Hawkins — “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”
Beastie Boys — “So What’cha Want”
Billy Ray Cyrus — “Achy Breaky Heart”
Alice in Chains — “Down in a Hole”
Soul Asylum — “Runaway Train”
Dr. Dre — “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang”
Follow editor Daniel J. Willis at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.