My oldest niece turned 17 last week, so I thought it would be fun to take a highly-coordinated music video dance down Memory Lane and see what was topping the charts when she was born back in July 1999. I was 16 that summer, so every single song on this Billboard list is permanently burned into my brain, even post-neurosurgery and radiation. High school will do that to you!
DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible if any of these songs get stuck in your head.
1) “Bills, Bills, Bills” – Destiny’s Child
Holy shit, y’all. Remember when Destiny’s Child had four members? And one of them wasn’t Michelle? I bet LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson do. I LOVED this song, and this album (The Writing’s on the Wall). Should I use past tense when I still love this song, and this album?
One of the reasons I love this jam so much is because of the repeated use of the word “trifling” – it’s just fantastic. I think I’m going to start using it as an insult as Bey and Co. do here. Also, there’s this:
Can you pay my bills? / Can you pay my telephone bills?
Can you pay my automo-bills? / If you did, then maybe we could chill.
This video’s particularly interesting in that it’s the first single Destiny’s Child released off their second album, and they hadn’t * quite * yet become The Beyoncé Show yet. Everyone in the group got lots of face time, and Bey even had to do someone else’s hair. Bet that’s the last time THAT’S happened since ’99.
2) “If You Had My Love” – Jennifer Lopez
People – this was J.Lo’s FIRST SINGLE. The woman does not age. This video, however, is one giant slice of 1999. It involves a sweaty creeper who logs onto “Jennifer Lopez Online” via “The Internet” in a room aglow with only a lava lamp (I shit you not). He proceeds to watch Ms. Lopez dance around a home filled with video cameras. Many other people are also watching her, including a young girl, which really ratchets up the creepiness. Two mechanics are so distracted by J.Lo’s hotness that the car they’re working on goes up en fuego.
Somebody throws a giant iMac into a pool; everyone’s wearing giant cargo pants; Latin Dance Interlude!: this pretty much sums up 1999.
3) “Last Kiss” – Pearl Jam
I just can’t with this song. I refuse with this song. I like Pearl Jam – quite a bit, actually. But this song makes me want to injure myself and/or others.
Where OH WHERE can my BAYYYBEE BEEEEE the LAWWWD took her away from MEEEE
Note: This is NOT a Pearl Jam video, in case you have not determined this… it’s a student film. I can’t watch it, because of the song and all, so somebody let me know how it is?
4) “Genie In A Bottle” – Christina Aguilera
And this was Xtina’s debut single! Man, 1999… what a time to be alive.
Of all the teen pop divas that were battling it out in this era, I had a major fondness for Christina because she could actually, well, sing. Britney was/is still Britney, Bitch, but Christina had a lot going for her.
This video is a classic slice of turn of the century teen life. Crop tops, parachute pants, and douche-y bucket hats. Seriously, what the hell were we thinking with those hats?
5) “Livin’ La Vida Loca” – Ricky Martin
This song was EVERYWHERE. Ricky Martin was EVERYWHERE. I feel like “living la vida loca” was one of those phrases that got sucked up by pop culture and bastardized and murdered by overuse, much like “getting jiggy with it” and when Snoop Dogg started adding “-izzle” to things. Everyone from Larry King to Oprah to your grandmother was talking about Ricky Martin. (Grandma saw him on the Today show.)
It’s still really freaking catchy… not gonna lie.
6) “I Want It That Way” – Backstreet Boys
This song is three minutes and thirty-three seconds of PURE POP PERFECTION. I have been caught singing along with this song in a CVS and wasn’t even embarrassed – when this song comes on, you’d better sing along. Show some damn respect.
The lyrics don’t make a hell of a lot of sense, but they’re EMOTING SO HARD. THEY WANT IT THAT WAY. (What, exactly, do they want? I have no clue.)
Tell me WHY-EEE / Ain’t nothin’ but a heartache
Tell me WHY-EEE / Ain’t nothin’ but a mistake
My favorite Backstreet Boy was (is!) Howie… but you’ll notice someone frenetically waving a sign in this video reading “Kisses For Kevin!!!” Who among you liked Kevin?! Show yourselves. (Remember when Kevin wore a man-skirt? And quit the band? ‘Cause I do.)
7) “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” – Whitney Houston
Oh, Whitney. I got really sad watching this… you were so fucking beautiful and talented and tormented. And this song was so obviously about Bobby Brown. Ugh.
That being said – this version is OK, but the remix is the shit.
8) “Wild Wild West” – Will Smith feat. Dru Hill
This song is hideously, shamelessly awful, much like the movie it’s named after. VEVO has decided to make the official music video unavailable in the United States, and for that, I thank them. Instead, here’s an awful live performance at the VMAs where they suckered poor Stevie Wonder into playing.
Fun fact: The lead singer of Dru Hill was Sisqó, of the Thong Song fame. So, THANKS A LOT, WILL SMITH.
9) “Where My Girls At?” – 702
I LOVE this song. I loved it when it came out, and I love it now when it comes on the Throwback Jams stations. 702 does NOT play around. Sample lyrics:
See, he’s my property / and any girl that touch
I might just call your bluff / ’cause I don’t give a fuck
YOWZA!!! This is followed up with a wicked burn:
Who are you to call my cell?
This entire song is a power anthem for the ages.
The video is slightly confusing, though. Upon first glance, it appears that the ladies have just cleared out a Wilson’s Leather store, and then jacked up a Rave for some fetching fedoras and furry shirts. But then… all of a sudden… they’re surrounded by these bizarre, nightmarish Dr. Seuss-looking characters clad entirely in red. It’s really kind of terrifying.
10) “All Star” – Smash Mouth
It’s Shrek! No, not Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell… when I look at him, I think of Guy Fieri. I’m talking about Shrek, the movie! You know… because this song is practically synonymous with it…
I’m NOT a Smash Mouth fan. (Is anyone? Does anyone say, ardently, “I LOVE Smash Mouth. Smash Mouth is my favorite band.”?) But this song in particular drives me crazy, and I’ve heard it entirely too many times in my life.
Smash Mouth is a really stupid band name, by the way. Just wanted to throw that out there.
So there you have it! The Top Ten Songs of the Week Ending July 17, 1999! But wait!
A special gem…
50) “Give It To You” – Jordan Knight
That’s right, friends: Jordan Knight from New Kids On The Block, or NKOTB, or NKOTBSB – however you know him, he’s here with his very own cringe-tastic rape anthem! This song – and its accompanying video – is a personal favorite of mine because it’s DELICIOUSLY awful. I must give a shoutout to my dear friend Deb, because this is our jam. (Yes, I just wrote that. On the internet.)
The video starts with Jordan, in full ’90s chunky knit turtleneck sweater and enormous cargo pants mode, creeping on a girl working at a carnival. Upon showing her this video, my BFF Michele took great offense that the sleeves of his sweater covered his hands. I have to agree with her. But this is the least of Jordan’s crimes in this video.
Jordan keeps thrusting his pelvis at the camera, and every time this happens, I die a little inside.
The object of his affections goes all Sandy from Grease, tarts herself up, and they have a dance battle before Jordan gets to ply his gross trade on her. Fashion crimes ABOUND in this video! (Eagle-eyed viewers may spot a
douche hat bucket hat on one of the dancers!)
The real crimes are the lyrics. Get ready to cringe:
It’s creepin’ around in my head / me holding you down in my bed
You don’t have to say a word / I’m convinced you want this
I literally do not have the strength to talk about everything that’s wrong with this.
Grab a barf bag, ’cause here comes Captain Foreplay:
Anyone can make you sweat
But I can keep you wet
I’m sorry I exposed you to all this. Truly, I am. Please forgive me!
What’s your favorite song on the list? Or the one that fills you with fiery anger? Discuss below!