Ah, the 90’s! Back to the decade of VHS tapes, cassette players, Bop It’s, and Tomagotchi’s. A joyful time where kids didn’t stare at their iPhones like zombies, but instead rode their bikes and sprayed each other with Super Soakers. A time where collecting Beanie Babies and Pokémon Cards was cool, Nintendo 64 was awesome, and Furbies scared the crap out of you. A time when Lindsay Lohan was a good actress (and innocent) in The Parent Trap, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were everywhere, and Kel influenced you to drink orange soda. Feeling that wave of nostalgia now? Good. It’s not going away just yet, because there’s one key thing from the 90’s that’ll enhance it even more: music! Whether you were born in the 90’s or grew up as a kid in that decade, these top 10 songs will instantly reconnect you to your childhood.
#1. “…Baby One More Time”- Britney Spears. This was Britney’s first single from her debut 1999 album Baby One More Time. Whether you hate Britney now, have out grown her, or don’t care, you can’t deny that this song is the trademark song of the 90’s, and also the one that jump started Britney’s career. She first started as the innocent girl next door (or does that schoolgirl outfit in the music video say differently?), and now she’s one of the most iconic pop stars in the world with a mature new look. This catchy song went platinum after staying on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 consecutive weeks, and was even nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance! Sure, Britney’s voice hasn’t always been the strongest against her fellow pop stars, and it’s a bit nasally even today, but the beat of the song is so darn catchy that you can’t help but party like it’s 1999! (Prince couldn’t have said it better himself).
#2. “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” – Backstreet Boys. Forget about ‘N SYNC, the Backstreet Boys dominated the late 90’s! You know you were jamming in the back of your car when this was on the radio! This was released in 1998 as the band’s 4th single from their U.S. debut album Backstreet Boys. What’s funny about this song are the lyrics before the chorus: “Am I original?” “Yeah.” “Am I the only one?” “Yeah.” “Am I sexual?” Wait, what? Was there any reason that needed to be in the song? And how did I get away with singing that as a 7 year old? I’m surprised my mom didn’t flip out when she heard that. I definitely didn’t know what the heck I was singing, so I made up the words, “And I set you up,” in replace of it. Am I the only one who did that?
#3. “Wannabe” – Spice Girls. Way to go Spice Girls for promoting friendship and girl power for everyone! You can’t think of the 90’s unless you think of this song. You just can’t. It would be an insult to the best girl group of the 90’s. Released in 1997 as their debut single from their 1996 album Spice, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks straight. A funny thing about this song is the chorus, where the girls say, “I wanna really really wanna zigazig ha.” I don’t even know what that means, but it was really fun to say! Apparently, Scary Spice and Baby Spice wanted to put a rap near the end of the song and came up with the line “zigazig ha.” It was definitely creative and went with the bouncy, up-tempo song.
#4. “Genie in the Bottle” – Christina Aguilera. Most of the good songs from the 90’s seem to be lead singles from a debut album, and this song is no exception. “Genie in the Bottle” was released in 1999 from Christina’s self-titled debut album, Christina Aguilera, and stayed at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 consecutive weeks. Like Britney Spears, this song skyrocketed Christina’s career and made her into the well-respected artist we all know today. Even as a kid, I don’t know how I managed to listen to this song with all the hidden innuendos: “I’m a genie in the bottle, you gotta rub me the right way.” It’s pretty clear now what that means, but as an 8 year old, I only focused on the music.
#5. “MMMbop”– Hanson. The three blond boys! That’s what I called them as a kid, and still like to call them. These blond boys are actually brothers and have names: Isaac, Taylor, and Zac Hanson. Hate it or love it, you know this song is an icon of the 90’s. It was everywhere! On the radio, in the grocery store, and even in the mall; you couldn’t escape it, except if you’re like my one friend who claimed she never heard “MMMbop” in her life. This song was their lead single from their 1997 debut album Middle of Nowhere, was nominated for a Grammy for Record of the Year, and was #1 for 3 straight weeks. This is another song where I make up the words: “Mmmbop, I lick-a-top, I do-wop.” It sounds better than, “Mmmbop ba duba dop, ba du bop,” right?
#6. “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” – Eiffel 65. Who the heck is Eiffel 65? They’re an Italian Euro-pop group, that’s who. “I’m blue, da ba dee da bu die, da ba dee, da bu die.” That should bring back your nostalgia, because that’s most of the song anyway. There is no way you can remember the 90’s and not think of this song. A song about a blue guy, in a blue house, with a blue car? And everything he sees is just blue? That’s memorable! This song is a single from Eiffel 65’s 1999 debut album Europop and reached #6 in the U.S.
#7. “Barbie Girl” – Aqua. Aqua is a Danish-Norwegian Europop group. If nothing on this list brought back your love from the 90’s, then this surely will! “You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere/ Imagination, that is your creation,” has to be one of the most memorable lines. Of course the song is about Barbies; that’s what she’s talking about! It’s not another cleverly put together sexual innuendo that went over my head! This song was stuck in my head all the time, and no wonder it did because it peaked at #7 on the Hot 100. “Barbie Girl” was released in 1997 from their album Aquarium.
#8. “Torn” – Natalie Imbruglia. Everyone knows this song: “I’m cold and I’m ashamed, lying naked on the floor.” Questions that come to mind: Why is Natalie naked? And better yet, why is she naked and on the floor? Why not somewhere normal like her bed? This song was released in the U.S. in 1998 from her album Left of the Middle and became an international hit. “Torn” was also Grammy nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It peaked at #1 on the Hot 100 and stayed there for 14 consecutive weeks.
#9. “Men in Black” – Will Smith. One of the most clean cut rappers in the U.S., Will Smith blew up the 90’s with this song! If you never watched Men In Black when it came out, you had to have heard the song. What better way to remember your childhood then with the Fresh Prince? Released in 1998, the song was #1 on the Hot 100 Airplay and even won a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance! When listening to this song, I would think of my own parodies for it: “Here come the men in yellow, eating a pot full of jell-o.” Or another one: “Here come the men in green, walking around and acting mean.” I thought of these parodies with other kids, so we thought we were all…uh…pretty clever.
#10. “My Heart Will Go On” – Celine Dion. This song is definitely a classic of the 90’s! It’s Celine Dion’s biggest hit and one of the best selling singles of all time! It was #1 for 10 weeks on the Hot 100 Airplay. It’s hard to get a song out of your head for 10 weeks straight, so you had to have heard it growing up. When you think of the 90’s you have to think of Celine Dion, and especially this song, because it is just that powerful and great.