The mid-nineties to the early 00s were a magical time to be an adolescent. When I think of this period, I think of bright colors, Nokia phones, itty-bitty tops paired with baggier bottoms, and these. On a more personal level, this time period also conjures up images of riding “the strip” on Saturday nights with friends, hanging out at the TCBY after school on Fridays, and N Sync marionette dolls (I had Lance!). I also think of the music. While some may dismiss much of it as mere blips on the shitty pop music landscape, I appreciate it. Sure, some of it was cheese-tastic, but it was fun and eclectic, charming in its own way. So let’s re-visit some of these gems, shall we?
I became obsessed with this song after hearing it on the preview for The Babysitters Club and was hell-bent on owning it. Children, back the days before MP3s, if you wanted only one song, you had to either a) wait until it came on the radio and tape it or b) buy the entire CD that song was on. And back in the days before Google, the only way you’d know what CD you were looking for was if either you or somebody you knew was a musical encyclopedia. If that wasn’t the case, then it was trial-and-error: buy a random CD by the artist, and hope that your song was on there. Which is what I did. I’m pretty sure I single-handedly boosted The Cranberries’ record sales looking for this damn song, which I finally found on album four or five.
Good–Better Than Ezra
This was another song I wanted after hearing it on the Babysitters Club trailer. At some point, I transferred it from the CD to tape, which I lost, then serendipidiously found again in high school. When I mentioned this one morning to my group of friends before class, my friend Lance said, “I found a blank tape with a Better Than Ezra song on it! I think all tapes automatically come with a Better Than Ezra song.” To this day, I have no idea how I remembered that exchange. (P.S. Does anybody else think it ruins the song just a teensy little bit when he says, “Yeah, that’s right!”at the very end?)
Graduation (Friends Forever)–Vitamin C
So after this song came out, pretty much every graduating class in the goddamn universe named it “their” song. Smart on Vitamin C’s part. What’s a better way to stay relevant long after your musical career is over than to come out with a song so timeless, graduating classes are still calling dibs on it to this day? And this is a random change of subject, but I never got what the chick in video saw in that dope in the orange shirt. He looks like he probably failed his senior year. Twice. Hey, speaking of graduation songs…
Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)–Baz Luhrmann
This is one of those songs I appreciate more listening to as an adult than I did as a teenager. I don’t know, I guess I can relate to much of what the lyrics talk about nowadays. Back when it came out, it just bothered me that it was some dude talking over music.
Steal My Sunshine–Len
I STILL JAM OUT TO THIS SONG AND I MAKE NO APOLOGIES. It’s upbeat, it’s fun, and it reminds me of summer. Boo-ya.
C’est La Vie–B*Witched
This song is so bad it’s good. Matching jeans/jacket combo, high-wasted pants that are triple-cinched at the waist, random dogs, bad choreography, and awful lyrics FTW! I didn’t know Judy Greer did a turn in a girl band back in the day!
Alright, kids, as much as it pains me, I have to stop this memory train. I could add about 50 more songs, but there just ain’t room for all that.What are some of your favorite songs from this time period?