Kyle Anderson
May 23, 2014 AT 04:00 AM EDT

1. Third Eye Blind, ”Semi-Charmed Life”
Long before the rise of Heisenberg, crystal meth’s biggest cultural moment was this fast-talking San Francisco response to Lou Reed’s ”Walk on the Wild Side.” B

2. The Verve Pipe, ”The Freshmen”
Neither the best modern-rock track about abortion released that year (see: Ben Folds Five’s ”Brick”) nor the best song made by a ”Verve” band (that would be the Verve’s ”Bitter Sweet Symphony”). D+

3. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, ”The Impression That I Get”
Between the third-wave ska revival and the concurrent swing resurrection, it was clearly lucrative (but still band-geek-level lame) to play the trumpet in ’97. B-

4. Meredith Brooks, ”Bitch”
Lilith’s angriest wood nymph took back the B-word in a perfectly poppy Skechers stomp-along. A-

5. U2, ”Staring at the Sun”
Ah, yes, the U2 identity crisis — in which they tried on Bowie swagger, waved glow sticks, and asked, ”What if we just became Oasis? Would you buy our lemons then?” C-

6. The Offspring, ”Gone Away”
Singer Dexter Holland has always been cagey about this weepy dirge, though he must have gotten over it quick: A year later, he was wanksta-rapping his way through ”Pretty Fly (For a White Guy).” C+

7. Depeche Mode, ”It’s No Good”
But it is good, you resurgent sad sacks! B+

8. Smashing Pumpkins, ”Eye”
This gothy gurgle, which ended up on the soundtrack to David Lynch’s Lost Highway, began its life as a rap beat for basketball star/walking burrito depository Shaquille O’Neal. Dear Internet: Get to work on the Shaqing Pumpkins mash-up album ASAP. A-

9. Tonic, ”If You Could Only See”
In lusting after an older woman, Tonic predicted the rise of cougar culture. You’re welcome, Demi Moore! B-

10. Sublime, ”Santeria”
The popularity of this track must have sparked at least one alarmist local news report about Afro-Caribbean dancing and chicken sacrifices: ”It’s called Santeria, and your children may already be doing it. B

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