I think there’s a definite and noticeable sea change in pop between 1997 and 1998/1999. Britney Spears. Destiny’s Child. And the question that all teenybopper girls had to answer, a Sophie’s Choice of pure trash: Backstreet Boys or N*SYNC? There were also a lot of songs that were…I don’t know how to describe it. Perky? Whatever it was, grunge/rock/whatever was not really popular on my stations, nor was it taking up airplay on “Total Request Live!” (exclamation point theirs) There were a few exceptions but mostly it was pretty bubblegum. Hilarious, hilarious bubblegum.
“The Boy Is Mine” by Brandy and Monica. This song is the reason why individual offerings such as “One of Dem Days” and “Sittin’ Up In My Room” were not included on my other posts. It’s basically the corner of 1st and 1st, the nexus of the universe.
“Save Tonight” by Eagle-Eye Cherry. It’s a fairly generic pop song, and here’s where I admit that I couldn’t tell the difference between his voice and Lenny Kravitz until much later. I need my hearing checked.
“I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain. In 1998, “Dawson’s Creek” came out. Unbeknownst to me, it launched one of my favorite workplace distractions, Television Without Pity, but it also caught on in junior high like a firestorm. We had lunchtime privileges for the VCR in one of my teacher’s rooms, and someone always taped it to bring in to watch at lunch. Do you know what a pack of 14 year old girls sounded like when Dawson and Joey kissed at the end of Season 1? My ears are still ringing.
“When The Lights Go Out” by Five. The lead singer’s voice is helplessly lispy. I feel a little bad about laughing at it…but only a little.
“Can I Get A…” by Jay-Z. I am pretty sure that of all the artists in the 1998-99, he and Beyonce are the only ones I still listen to with any regularity. Except for that “Empire State” song. Go away, “Empire State”.
“Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia. Her only other song was included in one of my all-time favorite movies from any time period: Go. “Are you happy now? IS YOUR BRITISH ASS HAPPY NOW?” But this one was the bigger of the two singles and is still in reasonably heavy rotation on the supermarket station. That’s almost like the 9th circle of hell for musicians, isn’t it?
“You Get What You Give” by The New Radicals. I feel a song that mentions Courtney Love excuses me from having to include an actual Courtney Love song.
“Tearin’ Up My Heart” by N*SYNC. I admit it now, because I couldn’t then (at the time I was way too snobby to admit to listening to either band): I was an N*SYNC girl. Remember Justin Timberlake with longish curls? That was before he brought sexy back, bless his unkempt heart.
“Lullaby” by Shawn Mullins. Another WB staple was Mr. Mullins. Everything is going to be okay, guys. The shaggy gentleman says so.
“Kiss Me” by Sixpence None The Richer. This song was used in the horrible/classic She’s All That and the pizzas in the infamous pubic hair scene looked exactly like our cafeteria pizzas. My little (hair)brush with fame.
“I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys. In 1998, my husband saw them play twice in one night as part of his high school’s project graduation party. He can also do the chair dance. We’re waiting to resurrect that one at Maggie’s prom.
“What’s My Age Again?” by Blink-182. These guys were BADASS because they had TATTOOS and were always NAKED. *clutches pearls* Yeah, I was a total innocent then and I’m sort of shockingly naive now.
“….Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears. Before she dated Timberlake, married Federline, had two crotch parasites, a shaved head, and a total fucking breakdown…there was the Catholic schoolgirl uniform. A moment of silence, please.
“Jumpin’ Jumpin'” by Destiny’s Child. “Say My Name” was unquestionably the bigger hit, but I really like this one better. It’s sort of sweetly inoffensive and “Say My Name” will get stuck in your head for days. Weeks. Years. It’s still stuck in mine, actually.
“Slide” by Goo Goo Dolls. Dizzy Up The Girl was comparable to Surfacing for me in terms of angsty teen music. I couldn’t even do that originally, I had to resort to limp-cock pop-rock standards. Regardless, I still enjoy “Slide”.
“Give It To You” by Jordan Knight. This is without a doubt the jewel in my horrible music crown. We have a New Kids On The Block alum. We have implicit and explicit references to bondage and possible non-consensual acts. We have a music video at a carnival. I think there’s a calliope. Friends, even with Celine Dion in this mix, it can’t get any worse…
“Summer Girls” by LFO. …Until you consider “Summer Girls”. It doesn’t have the pseudo-fame factor of Jordan Knight, but it’s still hilariously awful. It’s an early and even worse version of Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” if you can imagine such a thing existing.
“Nookie” by Limp Bizkit. I worked at a water park for a hot five seconds during the summer of 1999, and this song was all my team could sing. All the time. In between Austin Powers quotes. It was exactly as annoying as you’d think, but still fun to sing in the car.
“Mambo Number 5” by Lou Vega. My sister’s name is Erika. We had SO MUCH FUN making fun of her when this song came out because she loved it, specifically because her name was mentioned.
“Heartbreaker” by Mariah Carey feat. Jay-Z. The video includes a giant Coke being dumped onto a douchey-looking Jerry O’Connell’s lap. What more do you want?
“Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” by The Offspring. Go ahead, look twice. Consider your lily ass kicked.
“Guerilla Radio” by Rage Against The Machine. This is the only Rage song I have ever heard. The sound you may have heard echoing across the world was my husband reading that last sentence and slamming his head into a wall.
“Livin La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin. The only season I ever did a sport was track in the spring of 1999 and one of my track buddies LOVED Ricky Martin. I kind of wish I had seen her face when Ricky came out. I suspect it was reminiscent of The Scream.
Tomorrow: the final postmortem on Virtual Insanity: The Series.