1997 seems to contain a fair amount of one-hit wonders as well as the mother of all soundtrack listings. It was also the first year that I watched Buffy and Daria, an excellent year for geek TV; I had a boy try to hold my hand at an all-night youth group thing (…seriously.) and nearly melted into a pile of awkward composed of equal parts mortification and concealer. And thank all that is holy, it was also my last year with glasses. Unfortunately, it was also the same year I discovered layering tank tops. You can’t win ’em all.
“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. I took a metric ton of shit from my friends for downloading this song. When I saw Titanic, I saw the first showing of the day at 11am because I had to get a ride based on my mom’s schedule and ended up seeing it for free because the cashier hadn’t opened the register yet. I also knew a girl who saw Titanic sixteen–one-six, two times eight–times. That says it all about Titanic-mania.
“Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba. It wasn’t until I went to London for the first time in 2002 that I took a drink of real cider. Talk about a life-changer. But in 1997 I couldn’t figure out why they were peeing all over the place. The face of ignorance is so sad.
“MMMBop” by Hanson. Did you know these guys are still touring? Did you know they were actually biologically male? Me either.
“All My Life” by K-Ci and JoJo. They played this song at every dance and as the last slow dance at my 8th grade social the following year, according to my journal at the time. I wore a super-shiny silver shift dress, platform sandals, and went to an actual party afterward. For a geek like me, this was the apotheosis of cool.
“I Do” by Lisa Loeb. Lisa is my husband’s dream woman; the day after he proposed to me he heard Lisa doing a press interview where she stated that she was single again after 12 years of being in a relationship and Tom nearly drove off the road mourning his timing. Anyhoo, this was my favorite released single off the Firecracker album.
“Mo Money Mo Problems” by Mase, Puff Daddy & Notorious B.I.G. A simpler time were those halcyon days when Sean Combs was still Puff Daddy. I love this video. Whatever happened to Mase, anyway?
“3 A.M.” by Matchbox 20. I swear to God, this song is played as much at the radio on certain stations now as it was in 1997. VH1 in particular used to love it on their top video of the week countdowns.
“Building A Mystery” by Sarah McLachlan. In the process of creating this playlist, I had to face some hard truths about the enormity of my Sarah McLachlan collection. I have almost every single album. But she and Surfacing in particular dragged my depressive, malcontent antisocial ass kicking and screaming through the weepiest rollercoaster of my teenage hormones, so for that I will be forever grateful.
“I Want You” by Savage Garden. The playlist is in need of some cheerful bounce so I didn’t include “Truly Madly Deeply.” But one of my favorite moments from junior high was seeing a really popular boy that I won’t name who I didn’t really like singing this song mournfully after an argument with his girlfriend. Schadenfreude!
“All For You” by Sister Hazel. Continuing the upbeat and perky here…whatever it says about me, this is still one of my favorite songs to bellow out in the car.
“Walkin’ On The Sun” by Smashmouth. As inescapable as “All Star” but not nearly as annoying.
“Fly” by Sugar Ray. This song is terrible, and really rather irritating. But Mark McGrath was ALL OVER every teen magazine I ever read (and there were a ton), and I remember that at the time I kind of dug the tattoos. I’m not proud of any of this, guys.
“How’s It Gonna Be” by Third Eye Blind. This was used in some Kevin Williamson production or another; it might have been “Dawson’s Creek” but god knows there were a ton of his scripts flying around Hollywood and North Carolina in the late 90s. (And you better believe that I snapped up all three Scream movies when they were on sale for $7 each at Walmart.) Anyway, I like “Semi-Charmed Life” but this was a good song too, certainly better than “Jumper.”
“If You Could Only See” by Tonic. I’ll say it: I owned Lemon Parade. And all their songs sounded exactly the same. In that regard they were a prototype for Nickelback.
“One Headlight” by The Wallflowers. And furthermore, I’ll say this: I think Jakob Dylan should have had more of a career than he did. Nepotism notwithstanding, I like his voice and I still love this song. And he didn’t look bad in the video, as I recall.