Hope you’re ready to feel
Yes, it seems like just yesterday that Radiohead dropped OK Computer (although it seems like a full lifetime since Hanson and Chumbawumba were both relevant. As it turns out, 1997 was quite the year for music, so here’s a quick look at some of the timeless songs that came out back when you were but a wee one and the words “President Clinton” were still a reality.
Puff Daddy/Faith Evans/112 - "I’ll Be Missing You"
After the untimely death of the Notorious B.I.G., no one took the rapper’s death harder than his best friend, Puff Daddy. With the help of Biggie’s wife, Faith Evans, and R&B freshman 112, the Bad Boy CEO brought everyone together for a sorrowful, Grammy-winning rendition of The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.”
Third Eye Blind - "Semi-Charmed Life"
It’s that song that everybody knows but can never remember the name of, and one of the most melodically misleading tunes around. The upbeat instrumentals mask the dark, underlying verses about a junkie’s nosedive into crystal meth addiction, which singer Stephan Jenkins had witnessed happening to several of his friends.
"The Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony"
With a little help from Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, The Verve went on to release one of the most iconic songs (and videos) of the '90s and what was easily their most successful song to come from their four studio albums. In the years since, the English rockers have had their hit covered by the likes of Ace Enders, Mark Hoppus, Madonna, and even Beyoncé.
Aqua - "Barbie Girl"
As annoying as the song may be, there’s no denying that “Barbie Girl” is catchy as hell. Unfortunately, the doll’s creators at Mattel didn’t share the same sentiments and brought on a lawsuit claiming that the lyrics hypersexualized and tarnished the reputation of the beloved children’s toy. The Supreme Court must’ve understood Barbie’s adventure-seeking ways and threw out the case, citing its protection as a work of parody. The music video screams 1997 in a way that's hard to explain, so just watch it.
Usher - "You Make Me Wanna"
Before he became the suave, soulful singer who infamously cheated on his high-profile girlfriend, he was just a sweet, baby-faced teenager who sang about, well, .cheating on his girlfriend. Come to think of it, this was basically foreshadowing his fourth album, Confessions.
Spice Girls - "Spice Up Your Life"
Back when the Spice Girls were filming their MTV movie, Spiceworld, they were simultaneously recording the accompanying album between scene takes and at the end of long workdays. Inspired by Latin salsa and the vibrancy of Bollywood films, the British pop queens entered the portable studio to lay down the feel-good anthem. Not bad for only having 30 minutes to spare.
Blur - "Song 2"
Although the title began as a joke, “Song 2” ended up sticking and became Blur’s most commercially successful song. The track’s grungy bass and “woo-hoo!” hook has been featured in everything from The Simpsons to Charlie’s Angels to the FIFA and Guitar Hero video game franchises, making the British band an international crossover sensation.
Mariah Carey - "Honey"
“Honey” was one of the most defining moments in Mariah Carey’s music career. Not only had she made the smooth transition into the hip-hop and R&B world, but after six studio
98 Degrees - "Invisible Man"
The gentlemen of 98 Degrees don’t receive enough credit for the one thing do better than every other boy band: sing. Their debut single “Invisible Man” was a huge success, even receiving radio play on many urban stations thanks to their signing with Motown. Somewhere along the way, the group was lumped into the pop spectrum alongside *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, but they truly were a cut above the rest.
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Hanson - "MMMbop"
There’s no better way to make someone feel the crushing weight of aging than to tell them that “MMMBop” is turning 20 this year. Though Hanson is permanently emblazoned in our minds as young teens, the trio of blonde brothers has grown up, married and even had kids. Time flies when you’ve got this song stuck in your head for two decades.