Fuel 2000's Absolutely the Best of the 90's falls pretty far short of living up to its title, but it does include some of the decade's guiltiest pop pleasures. A strange mix of poppy dance, rap, and alternative rock, the album's lack of grunge, gangsta rap, and many of the other trends that defined the bulk of the '90s music gives it a dorky quality that seems even more dated than it should. Indeed, most of the collection focuses on the singles that clung to the charts before the Nirvana revolution, including Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract," Wilson Phillips' "Hold On," and Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby." Not every song on the collection is quite as cringe-worthy as these, though; Sinéad O'Connor's "Nothing Compares (2 U)" is probably the most lasting song here, while Arrested Development's "Tennessee" and the Rembrandts' "Just the Way It Is, Baby" are both fine artifacts from early-'90s alternative rap and power pop, respectively. The album also includes some later '90s singles, both for better (Everclear's "Santa Monica") and worse (Meredith Brooks' "Bitch" and Marcy Playground's "Sex and Candy"), but its most noteworthy tracks might be those seemingly indestructible singles that, no matter how annoying or overplayed, seem to just keep on keeping on well after their early-'90s heyday. EMF's "Unbelievable," Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby," MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This," Technotronic's "Pump Up the Jam," Enigma's "Sadeness, Pt. 1," and Us3's "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" all may induce feelings of nostalgia or nausea, depending on your mood. Ultimately, Absolutely the Best of the 90's is too scattered to work as a cohesive look at the '90s singles, but it's still a pretty enjoyable collection of some of the decade's one-hit wonders.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares