While mainstream rock in the decade was dominated by the loud sounds of grunge, the 10 best indie acoustic songs of the 90's prove that a lot of the real innovation was going on in the much quieter underground. Indie rock really came of age in the decade, and the 10 best indie acoustic songs of the 90's run the range from beautifully languid instrumentals to intense balladry. Here they are, the 10 best indie acoustic songs of the 90's.
- "Two-Headed Boy" by Neutral Milk Hotel – The centerpiece song of the masterpiece "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" album, "Two-Headed Boy" is an intensely sexual ballad that tops our list of the 10 best indie acoustic songs of the 90's. Raw emotion comes from just a voice and an acoustic guitar, setting up the splendid beauty of the album to follow.
- "Needle in the Hay" by Elliott Smith – Well-known for its use in "The Royal Tenenbaums," punk rock troubadour Smith's most enduring song is next on our list of the best indie acoustic songs of the 90's. It is a hushed, dark, lovely and terrifying little song.
- "Jesus Christ Was an Only Child" by Modest Mouse – This funky song, thrown together with voice, acoustic guitar, and fiddle, is one of Modest Mouse's 90's best. It proves a song need not be electric to be electrifying.
- "June on the West Coast" by Bright Eyes – This Dylan-like ditty from Conor Oberst helped announce Bright Eyes as the newest young talent in indie folk. It is one of the 10 best indie acoustic songs of the 90's.
- "Black Soul Choir" by 16 Horsepower – This entry on the list of best indie acoustic songs of the 90's is a gospel-tinged country barnburner, led by the banjo and voice of the inimitable David Eugene Edwards. Many of Edwards' songs could fight for a spot on this list.
- "Over Your Shoulder" by Calexico – An instrumental simple in execution but epic in sweep, "Over Your Shoulder" is the Latin-indie band's entry on our list of the 10 best indie acoustic songs of the 90's. It seems built for film soundtracks.
- "No Name #3" by Elliott Smith – Smith has a second song on the list because he was the king of indie acoustic songs in the 90's. This track from his first solo album "Roman Candle" is heartbreaking in its fragile beauty.
- "The Accidental Protege" by Death in June – Dark neo-folk with gothic overtones, this song from the fiercely independent Death in June is definitely one of the best indie acoustic songs of the 90's. Death in June collaborator David Tibet follows him on the list below.
- "A Sadness Song" by Current 93 – Tibet's Current 93 project offers soulful, apocalyptic folk that is sad and simple yet wonderfully haunting. "A Sadness Song," one of his best, is the second-to-last entry on our list of the best indie acoustic songs of the 90's.
- "Sugar Never Tasted So Good" by the White Stripes – A rambling, acoustic blues from Jack and Meg White, from their debut album, closes out our list. It came at the end of the decade and signaled the future of indie acoustic songs to come.
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