Rock in the ‘90s has a reputation of being loud and full of angst. But the decade’s gentler hits, crafted by standard-bearers and up-and-comers alike, reveal the genre’s openhearted side. While artists like Elton John and Phil Collins had crossed over into the classic-rock pantheon by the time the ‘90s started, they kept releasing tracks that showed off their maturity and songcraft. Newer acts took their cues from rock’s prevailing trends: Jangle-rockers like Hootie and the Blowfish and the Gin Blossoms brought indie ideals to the masses; Alanis Morrissette and Sarah McLachlan built mysteries by diving inward, writing disarmingly honest music that spoke to deep feelings; and Red Hot Chili Peppers flipped their funk-rock and incorporated psychedelia’s nuances. Soft rock’s sprawl reflected the decade’s tumult while offering listeners a gentle landing.