What exactly is defined as a hot pop star? Is it someone with incredibly good looks? Or how about someone who knows how to dig deep into their own soul in order to produce some of the angriest songs in history (or the most touching, and heart-breaking songs in history)? With today’s social media overtake, hot really is a subjective word, since the world has so many different variations of taste. With that being said, no one can deny that the former 90’s era helped introduce the world to some of the hottest acts to ever set the stage on fire. From famous pop princesses to soulful, passionate songwriters, this list will take a deeper look at some of the hottest pop stars made famous to the world from the 90’s. Feel free to let us know who you think was omitted on this list and deserves a spot as one of the hottest 90’s pop stars.
10. Alanis Morissette
Before her breakthrough hit “Jagged Little Pill”, Alanis Morisette had already established herself in the entertainment industry. First as child actor on the popular 80’s show You Can’t Do that on Television, and then as a pop-dance princess in Canada. To say that her previous work was vastly different from “Jagged Little Pill” is an understatement. Dark, angry, thoughtful and full of brilliance, every lyric was written by Morissette, who also helped co-write the music. Songs like “You Outta Know” became an anthem for jilted lovers everywhere, while others such as “Ironic” really made you think (especially on whether or not she used the word ironic in the correct way).
9. Lisa Loeb
When you think about it, singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb should have been a bigger name in the music industry. With her cute face, signature glasses and all around great voice, Lisa Loeb should have been huge. But hey, she still did pretty good for herself, so what do we know. Loeb came onto the scene thanks to Ethan Hawke, who was her across-the-street neighbor at the time. When Hawke made Reality Bites, he included Loeb’s song “Stay (I Missed You)” on the soundtrack and even directed the video. The song was a huge hit, and even if you don’t remember her other songs, this is one beautiful tune that you can never get out of head, no matter how hard you try.
Though her relationship with fellow artist R. Kelly took the spotlight away from her budding career, Aaliyah was still able to carve a name for herself thanks to her soulful voice and the talents of producers Timbaland and Missy Elliot. Not wanting to be limited to just singing, the girl with the silky voice appeared in both Romeo Must Die and Queen of the Damned. Even if one of the movies wasn’t that great (we will let you decide which one), no one can deny that you simply couldn’t take your eyes off of the young performer. Sadly, Aaliyah tragically died in a plane crash in 2001. Though she was only 22, Aaliyah left a big mark on the music industry.
7. Sarah McLachlan
These days you can’t hear a Sarah McLachlan song without thinking about those animal cruelty commercials. You know, the one that shows all the horrible things that have been done to pets while “Angel” plays in the background? The one that always makes you cry no matter how strong you pretend to be? But at one point in her career, McLachlan was one of the queens of 90’s songwriting. The beautiful McLachlan had a voice that entranced many, with her CD landing on even the most unexpected of shelves. Even hardcore college jocks had to admit that her looks weren’t the only reason they owned her CD’s.
6. Liz Phair
A beautiful young woman who didn’t mind putting her naughty thoughts into her music; what’s not to like? Liz Phair was never shy when it came to opening up her sexuality, and songs like “Flower” were laced with such blunt honesty that it was hard not to notice Phair when her debut Exile in Guyville was introduced to the world in 1993. It is still considered one of the best albums ever made, and helped land Phair on the cover of Rolling Stone. Phair followed up Guyville with the certified gold Whip-Smart, though she never truly reached a wider audience until 2003, when her single “Why Can’t I” made the Top 40 airwaves.
5. Sheryl Crow
Though Sheryl Crow had been around during the 80’s as a backup singer to acts such as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Belinda Carlisle and Don Henley (as well as releasing a duet with Kenny Loggins), the gravelly voiced songstress did not truly make waves until her smash hit “All I Wanna Do” made a big splash in 1994. Not only did she release two other major hits from the same album, Crow also went on to win three Grammy Awards in 1995: Record of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Female Vocal Performance. Even through a number of obstacles, Crow is still out there giving it her all, and was recently spotted singing the National Anthem during the Democratic National Debate on CNN.
4. Paula Cole
Where exactly have all the cowboys gone? That is the question that Paula Cole asked in her smash debut single; a song so catchy and vibrant that it earns the singer a spot on this list. Even the hottest of singers have trouble getting self-published albums noticed, but the beautiful Cole seemed to buck the trend when she released This Fire, in 1996. Though “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone” reached number eight on the Billboard Charts, it was her next single, “I Don’t Want to Wait”, that shot Cole into infamy. She can thank the show Dawson’s Creek for that, since the popular teen drama decided to use the song for its main theme.
3. Mariah Carey
When the sexy, beautiful and extremely talented Mariah Carey, first graced the music scene in 1990, people were probably expecting just a pretty decent singer. What they probably didn’t expect was someone whose octave range could put some of the best to shame. It was that combination of beauty and talent that led to six straight number ones on her self-titled debut album, as well as the only act to have a song stay number one for sixteen straight weeks. While her movie career didn’t quite take off as planned, Carey still managed to hold a highly regarded place in music history.
2. Christina Aguilera
With a certain other blonde singer making a splash during the 90’s, it was going to take something pretty special besides good looks to get people to notice them. Luckily for Christina Aguilera, she had a voice that made her more than just a pretty face. Utilizing a growl that people twice her age wish they had, Aguilera forcefully sang her way to a number one debut album and three number one hits. Her Spanish language album Mi Reflejo, which was released a year later, sold over three million copies as well. Now you can find Aguilera coaching hopeful singers on the hit NBC singing competition, The Voice.
1. Britney Spears
Despite how you feel about her actual signing talents, no one can deny that Britney Spears is the epitome of a 90’s Pop Icon. Considered one of the most successful teenage artists of all time, Spears put her athletically toned body to good use during her concerts, creating stage products with intense choreography that would leave people breathless. Far from a one hit wonder, the “Oops I Did It Again” singer would continue to drop hit after hit, and not even her highly publicized troubles could keep this pop princess down. That is why Britney stands alone at the top of this list.
Who would you add to the list?