I take my shower time very seriously. Not only is it the only thing that can really and truly wake me up first thing in the morning, but it’s also a secluded sanctuary of amazing acoustics for me to croon to my hearts content.
Listen, I’m not giving up on my dream to suddenly wake up with a 9 octave vocal range and be performing sold out concerts to fans across the world, any time soon – “Thanks for having me, Japan! I love you too!”
So as a precursor to weekend foolery, I wanted to share with you 10 of my go-to power ballads from the 90’s, guaranteed to make you feel like a bona fide superstar during shower hour…
Before we get started, let me share my definition of what makes up a power ballad?
1 part love drama
1 part corniness/cheese
2 parts hyperboles
1 part soaring vocals
*Dodgy 90’s attire and hair is optional
- “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” – Celine Dion
Thought I was gonna ease you in with something a little tamer and less dramatic? Well think again, chickens! We kick off this list with one of my FAVOURITE tracks to belt out. It’s got everything you would need from a quintessential power ballad (refer back to my power ballad algorithm) and it is just over 6 minutes long.
Methinks you should throw in some theatrical arm gestures and facial expressions, in between soaping your ears. Do Celine proud, you hear!
2. “Water Runs Dry” – Boyz II Men
This song was a freaking problem in Zimbabwe in the 90’s, dominating the charts in 1994 AND 1995 – unprecedented stuff, man. Clearly the drought-filled analogies of this song touched the heart and soul of my people, because LORD, we wouldn’t let this song go.
But do you blame us? This was a choooooooon! It was about love ending but my goodness, it sounded so darn festive! Michael’s gorgeous bass on this track still makes me warm and fuzzy inside…and no, don’t bother trying to sing his part nne. Just stick with Wanya and Shawn’s parts, okay.
3. “How Can We Be Lovers” – Michael Bolton
So a head’s up here, the 90’s was rife with love songs about chaotic situationships. Clearly people were too busy composing melodies to their drama instead of actually addressing their drama, but hey no judgement.
So Sir Bolton (has he been knighted yet) produced this gem that I can do a mean two-step to (with snappy neck action), although I advise against you trying to replicate these moves in the slippery confines of your shower. Just enjoy this upbeat song about how “there’s no communication”.
4. “I’m Goin’ Down” – Mary J. Blige
Let’s slow it down, just a smidgen. Maybe you’ve got conditioner that needs to sit for the recommended 3 – 5 minutes on your head, let Mary keep you company.
This song will always remind me of vocal try-outs for an acapella girl group I was a part of in high school. For some reason, two thirds of the hopefuls chose this as their audition track. About four people in, I was cursing Ms. Blige for ever recording this song – teenage girls can be SO extra sometimes, lol. Anywho, if you need some soulfulness to accompany your soapy suds, this is it.
5. “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” – Aerosmith
I love me some Aerosmith! Honestly, I had a hard time choosing between this track and “Cryin”, but commercial success and appeal won the day. Also, y’all are more likely to know the lyrics to this track because EVERYONE over the age of *counts on my fingers* 25 should know this song.
My favourite part to sing along to is the bridge ‘cause Steve Tyler just starts shouty-singing and I’m here for it.
6. “Always Be My Baby” – Mariah Carey
Of course the songstress with the 7 octave vocal range would make it onto my list. This particular track is one of the few I can sing along to with Ms Carey, from beginning to end, because she has this irritating habit of beginning a song in a normal plebeian range and then being like “deuces biddies!” and taking off into the vocal stratosphere.
The lyrics to this song are all bravado with a truckload of sass. Like, pssssh, who are you kidding? Leaving me? Nah man, you’ll be back! So sing with lots of gusto, capisce!
7. “How Do I Live” – LeAnn Rimes
Whoever has the composition rights to this song made bank in 1997 because LeAnn Rimes, along with the rest of Country Music royalty, decided to cover this track. How do I know this? Because for some bizarre reason I watched that award ceremony that year – it must have been a slow MTV day or something.
Anywho, drawl your way through this beautifully melodic hyperbole of a song…and watch out for those high notes.
8. “Breathe Again” – Toni Braxton
This was the music video that introduced me to the beauty that is Tyson Beckford, mmmmh. It was also the video that saw fit to thrash racial stereotypes about black people and our aversion to swimming pools – although the irony is that Toni didn’t know how to swim (at the time this video was made) and Tyson’s crawl and breaststroke are quite questionable at best, lol.
Song wise, those low, low notes are super tricky. To anyone standing outside your bathroom door, it may just sound like you’re constipated – you’ve been warned. Luckily, the rest of the song soars like a white dove on a warm summer’s day.
9. “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” – Bryan Adams
Ah man, this is such a sweet song! I remember falling in love with it on first listen, despite its super corny lyrics. Throw in that super cool guitar solo (hello, air guitar!) and you can see how this song broke records and probably resuscitated quite a few relationships headed for doom.
This song is about not losing hope and how love trumps everything. If that doesn’t get you revved up to “Seize The Day” then I can’t help you sha.
10. “I Have Nothing” – Whitney Houston
To close out this list I’m going to go with my favourite Whitney Houston track, like ever. Yes, yes. I am aware that “I’ll Always Love You” is the popular choice when it comes to her hits, but I honestly believe that this is the superior song.
Eish, Ms. Whitney you passed from this life too soon but thankfully left us with so many gems. So if you find yourself reflecting on Whitney’s life with your forehead pressed up against the shower tiles and hot tears suddenly happen…have peace that you’re in the solace of your at shower and that your medium-pressure spray can gently wash your tears away.
Best Part of The Song: All. Of. It.
Okay, that’s my list of go-to 90’s Power Ballads to keep you company as you take your extra-long shower (hot water in the geyser, permitting).
Let me know whether any of these songs are faves of yours and/or whether any of them made it onto your “Must Sing In The Shower” list.
Have a great weekend!