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9 Pop Songs That Make Us Miss The Late-90s

spice girls

If you’re anything like us, you’ll have those songs that bring on beautiful waves of nostalgia whenever you hear them, and make you think of all the good times when you were a little raver. For us, that’s the way we feel about late-90’s pop music. It was a simpler time, when blue eye-shadow was the pinnacle of fashion, caller ID and Snake on your Nokia were a new phenomenon, and the millennium bug was something to be feared.

To honour this, we present to you (in no particular order) the 9 pop songs of the late-90s, that make us long for choker necklaces, jelly sandals, and most importantly, a time before we had to pay for our own food.

1. TLC with No Scrubs

Oh man, this song and its accompanying video clip has got to be one of the best representations of a turn of the millennium track. It’s got everything: the 90s synth and super punchy snare, background vocals that echo the previously said word in a super sassy way, matching metallic “futuristic” outfits, a flying CGI’d video camera, and a rap breakdown bridge thing (that makes mention of a “digital TV screen”). But poking fun aside, it’s honestly just a really catchy, great tune. Plus it taught us what a scrub is:

A.) a guy who think he’s fly (also known as a buster)
B.) always talking ’bout what he wants but just sits on his broke-ass
C.) a guy that can’t get no love from us

2. Christina Aguilera with Genie In A Bottle

Way before she was a judge on The Voice (US), XTina was a young, spunky, girl next door type… And what better way to show that than a song with the thinly veiled theme of virginity loss – “hormones racing at the speed of light/but that don’t mean it’s gotta be tonight”? The film clip is so 90s that there’s actually a point where she wears a suede tasseled midriff top. That’s right, all those things, in one shirt. She is super cute in this video though, plus the choreographed dance moves turn the fun, chill beach campfire into what looks like a rockin’, synchronised good time.

3. Spice Girls with Wannabe

When Spice Girls released their debut single Wannabe in 1996, it became number one in 37 countries, so there’s no doubt they made a pretty big impact. In fact, this single saw the 5-piece explode into the pop scene, becoming arguably the most well-known pop group of the decade. The film clip has the five girls running around a mansion in colourful, beautifully 90’s outfits, and the message of the song is… Well, either very thoughtful or kind of creepy. Does “if you wanna be my lover/you gotta get with my friends” mean you have to be friends with their friends, or you have to GET WITH (winky face) their friends?

4. Hanson with MMMBop

This song leaves so many questions unanswered. What is an MMMBop? Is it a kind of dance? Is it a feeling? Did no one think it was weird that these three kids/teenagers were giving lifetime relationship advice? Regardless, you can’t really hate this song, it’s just so damn catchy! The chorus is basically gibberish so it’s really easy to sing along to and not have to worry about getting the words wrong, and the film clip… Well let’s just say there’s a shot of the group dancing on the moon, playing superimposed over a clip of a flower growing, AND rollerblading around in baggy outfits.

5. The Backstreet Boys with I Want It That Way

Ah, The Backstreet Boys. Part of the bombardment of boybands that surfaced in the late-90s/early 00s, The Backstreet Boys had girls swooning left, right and centre, and what better way to show that than to put it in a film clip! Yep, amongst other things the film clip for this song features the boys singing amongst a crowd of screaming fans, who are holding placards professing their love, with their private jet in the background, (and that’s not even mentioning the standard matching outfits and synchronised dance moves). This song was certainly a hit, reaching number one in more than 25 countries, and causing heart palpitations for young girls everywhere.

6. Celine Dion with My Heart Will Go On

C’mon everyone! “Eeeeeevery night in my dreams…”. Anyone who was within a 5km radius of a piano during the late-90s probably heard an out of time, one-handed rendition of this song’s melody at least once. As well as being a kind of rite of passage for kids to learn, this song was a massive, massive success. This was thanks in no small part, to it being the theme song for 1997 blockbuster Titanic. With copious amounts of Celtic flute, the song really takes you away to another time. Perhaps to a doomed passenger liner, around 1912.

7. Meredith Brooks with Bitch

Good Ol’ Merry Brooks. She showed us that is was okay to feel like so many things… Like a bitch, like a lover, like a child, like a mother… You get the idea. This song was also featured in the 2000 film What Women Want, when manly man Mel Gibson tries on women’s tights and make up, and sings along with the words. It was a good scene. The song’s lyrical theme fits in well with the empowered women resurgence of the 90s, and it was even nominated for a Grammy!

8. 5ive with If Ya Gettin’ Down

This boyband’s name alone is a great legacy of the nineties and the beginnings of “text talk” (although, technically shouldn’t it be pronounce “five-ive”)? And yes, maybe they rhyme “baby” with “baby” four times in the chorus, but who really cares!? It was the nineties, so as if mandated by law, they’re wearing strange, Matrix-inspired, matching outfits, but it’s all good! We’re not really sure what this song’s about, because it seems to be talking about a different thing each verse, but it sure is funky! Just one thing… Once you hear the whistle in the chorus it’s really hard to un-hear it. You’re welcome.

9. Britney Spears with …Baby One More Time

Who could forget Britney!? Before she was “Britney, Bitch”, Miss Spears was just a regular teenager from Louisiana. Well, a regular teenager from Louisiana with a recording contract, but you get the idea. The video for …Baby One More Time was definitely trying to perpetrate this image, particularly the film clip (which has Spears dancing around a school in a midriff-revealing school uniform, and the fluffiest 90s scrunchies we’ve ever seen). This was the song that launched the pop sensation’s career, catapulting her into stardom, and sparking her almost 20 year career as an iconic pop star.

Yep, the late-90s sure were an interesting time for music. What do think of our list? Anything you’d change? Let us know in the comments below!

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