Which decade is Tops for Pops? – the results.

4th place – The 1990s. (27 points)

Most popular: Girls And Boys – Blur.
Least popular: Breathe Again – Toni Braxton.

Unlike the witless puppets of 2004, at least the charts of 1994 can still be credited with some intelligence. Whatever we might think of the offerings by Tori Amos, Blur and Bruce Springsteen, at least they are all, in their own ways, offering something which hadn’t been offered before, and thus stretching the definitions of chart pop.

Would that the same could be said for perhaps the most unmourned genre of the 1990s – the power ballad. With Celine Dion mercifully absent, it is left to Toni Braxton and Mariah Carey to fly the flag for ghastly, torpid, air-brushed, over-egged, fake emoting.

At the same time, dance music (as represented here by I Like To Move It, Renaissance and Doop) had established itself as a regular feature in the Top 10, with many hits having started their lives in what was then a thriving and expanding club scene. The rapid decline of dance music in the singles charts is perhaps the most surprising development of recent years.

But the most prescient of these ten hits has to be Girls And Boys. The glories of the Britpop years were just about to begin. Had our sample been taken from the Top 10s of 1995, 1996 or 1997, I suspect that the 1990s would have placed a lot higher than fourth.

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