1. Top of the World, by Van Halen
This has always been one of my favorite cheer up jams. Whenever I'm feeling down and low and wanting to feel better again this tune is one of my go-to's. I know Van Hagar isn't considered real Van Halen and to some extent I will agree, but you can't deny that the songs they made when Sammy Hagar was in the band were a lot of fun to rock out to. You just kind of have to separate your mind from any of the pre-existing notions about Van Halen and then you'll appreciate the tunes more.
2. Spoonman, by Soundgarden
I've always dug Soundgarden because while they were big in the grunge era, they had more of a hard alternative rock vibe to their sound. You can tell they wanted to push the boundaries musically while still being more lyrically honest like their peers. This tune in particular shows that. It definitely has a great groove going on to it and I dig just how much of a punch it has. Plus, how many mainstream rock songs that you know of feature spoon playing?
3. Interstate Love Song, by Stone Temple Pilots
I used to hear this song all the time when it was still fairly new all the time on road trips with my mom to and from Michigan as a kid. It might still get overplayed to this day, but for good reason. This tune along with many other Stone Temple Pilots songs seem to have this movement and flow to them that you just don't hear anyone else do, even with all the copycats that are around decades after the fact. It's music that flows through you and makes you want to sway and move.
4. Even Flow, by Pearl Jam
This song is pretty iconic, as it is definitely Pearl Jam's best known song. Definitely has that grungy alternative edge to it while still remaining pretty driving and intense. I love how earthy and rhythmic it is. In a way it kind of reminds me of something tribal - like you would hear in some exotic environment with primitive folk. That kind of adds a sense of rawness and passion that you don't often hear in music today or even back then.
5. Brain Stew, by Green Day
Deviating from grunge a bit, this is probably one of my all time favorite Green Day tunes. It's definitely the simplest in their repertoire. It's just the same few chords cycled over and over and over throughout the entire song. Even in the breakdown parts it's the same pattern but with more intense strumming. I have to give them props for that, though. If they can make something so repetitive so fun, engaging, and catchy then they deserve an award. It's definitely a classic for a reason.