My music taste has changed over the years. Rappers replaced boy bands and rock bands replaced rappers. There are some throwback songs I still listen to on a regular basis, but there are plenty I’ve forgotten and haven’t paid attention to since I was 12. Since it’s my birthday this month I decided to look back at songs I was obsessed with at one point. These are songs I thought were so amazing I would listen to them forever. Get ready for a wave of nostalgia!
“Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” – Will Smith
If you asked me who my favorite rapper was in the late 90s, my response would most likely be Will Smith. All because of this song. Looking back on it, the whole thing is kind of silly, but I can get why I liked it so much. It’s fun, catchy, and still makes you want to copy Smith’s dance moves (even though they weren’t that great). This single, along with the equally fun “Miami,” is what prompted me to buy the album Big Willie Style. Though I haven’t listened to it in years, I remember thinking it was hella cool. Perhaps I’ll need to revisit it some day…
“All Star” – Smash Mouth
This was my top song for about two years. It was all over the radio and Nickelodeon and I loved every minute of it. I don’t even remember that it appeared on the soundtrack for the mediocre film Mystery Men. All I cared about was that it was catchy, easy to remember, and fun to sing. I don’t think the song is terrible now, but I definitely overdid it. It makes me nostalgic for a time when Nicktoons ruled the airways and buying the latest Beanie Baby were my only worries, but I don’t listen to it so much anymore.
“Every Morning” – Sugar Ray
Honestly, any song by Sugar Ray would work here, but I think this one was my favorite. This was one of those songs I jammed out to in my mom’s car on the way back from my uncle’s house. No matter how shitty I was feeling, Sugar Ray were there to pick me right back up. There was even a point when I wanted their album (I never got it, btw). Not only were they cool, but frontman Mark MacGrath was hot or at least I thought so at the time. I still love their songs and they still know how to put me in a good mood, but I’ve moved on to better bands.
“No Diggity” – Blackstreet
I have no idea what it was about this song that made me dance and bob my head so much. Something about the intense piano riff and the chorus of “no diggity” stuck in my head. Even now it’s still one of my favorite throwback songs from the 90s. The “Hey-yo” part was infectious and the video with the puppets was just weird. (Why were they puppets?) Of course I had no idea what the song was about at the time and now I have no idea why my mom let me listen to it so much.
“Drive” – Incubus
This was one of my first forays into rock music or at least I thought so at the time. “Drive” was the first song I ever heard by Incubus and I was addicted to it. I just loved singing the chorus as loud as Brandon Boyd did. When I got older, it was this single that convinced me Incubus was worth getting into and I don’t regret it. It’s still one of my favorite Incubus songs and I still sing the chorus as loud as I can. Also, I had a little crush on Boyd. I should’ve expected that since he was shirtless in the video.
“No Scrubs” – TLC
As I revealed in my CrazySexyCool review, TLC were my absolute favorite girl group before the Spice Girls. I loved them even more when they released this snarky, catchy song. When this song hit, all the girls in my class sang on the school playground with the faintest idea of what a scrub actually was. Another reason I loved the song so much was Left Eye’s verse. She was always my favorite in the band, so I sat and practiced her rap to impress everyone at school. It’s still a great song and I’m glad I never got rid of my Fanmail album.
“All Day” – Lisa Loeb
The adorable Lisa Loeb is most remembered for her single “Stay ( I Miss You),” but I’ll always remember her for this song straight from the Rugrats Movie Soundtrack. I can’t remember where I first heard the song, but I went crazy for it. Not only did I buy the soundtrack just for it, I even started wearing my hair in loop braids like she does in the video. I even stole a pair of my mom’s glasses because they looked like hers. I was completely enamored with her and the song. I still think she’s adorable as hell and the song has aged rather well.
“Mambo No 5” – Lou Bega
I’m not even ashamed I liked this song so much. I even recorded it off the radio just to hear it daily. I can’t really explain what it was about it aside from it’s an earworm of a song. Even now it’s still a lot of fun. I remember there being a Disney version with Mickey Mouse, which was just ridiculous and couldn’t top the Bega version. And yes, I did try to fit my name in the song somewhere and it never worked. It’s probably better that I never figured it out.
“Bring it All” – Blaque
It seems back in the 90s I was a sucker for girl groups. I even had the terrible Dream album; I don’t even want to go there. But this was another one of those groups where I rushed to get the album. They had a good number of hit songs, like “808,” but this is the one I still love. And yes, it is because it features JC Chasez AKA my favorite member of Nsync. Honestly, he’s the best part of the song, which is why it’s a shame the video doesn’t feature him singing the verse. Similar to TLC, rapper Natasha was my favorite from the band and oddly enough Left Eye was her mentor. Unfortunately, she passed away also. Kind of weird.
“Heartbreaker” – Mariah Carey
Since my mom had all her albums at the time, I was a bit of a Mariah Carey fan back in the day. I was amazed she could hit those high notes and even asked my mom “How does she do that?!” There’s no doubt about the amount of number one hits she has, but this one captivated my young heart. The video was funny, Mariah sounded great, and the song was fun to dance to. This was another one of those times I begged my mom to get me the Rainbow album just so I could listen to this on repeat. In case you were wondering, no, I never got it. And just for the record, I don’t think Ariana Grande is the next Mariah Carey.
“Ride Wit Me” – Nelly
In the early 2000s as the boy band phase disintegrated, I got more into rap and Nelly was at the forefront. I actually followed his career up until Sweat/Suit. Though I don’t listen to him anymore this will remain my favorite song of his. This is another one I can’t explain aside from I thought Nelly was cool at the time. Plus, it was fun to yell “Ay, must be the money” during long car rides. Of course since I was used to the clean version of the song, I was in for a shock when I got the unedited album. Oops.
“Party Up (Up in Here)” – DMX
Before he got in trouble repeatedly for petty crimes, DMX gave us one of the best songs of the 2000’s. The song is just so damn infectious, especially with the memorable chorus of “Y’all gon make me lose my mind/up in here/up in here.” It’s funny the song became so popular since the clean version was made up of random sound effects, like DMX barking and for some reason I loved it. Every time it came on the radio, I cranked it up slightly annoying everyone in the car. It’s this song that made DMX one of my favorite rappers at the time, even though I didn’t really like his other songs. Listening to it now, it’s still a great track and one I won’t hesitate to turn the volume up.
“If I Ever Fall in Love” – Shai
I realize I was way too young to really understand what the song was about, but when I was 11 this song blew me away. I loved the harmonies, the singing, and the fact it was acapella. At the time, I didn’t know many groups who did that and thought Shai was pretty special. I still think it sounds good as hell years later, but as someone who was into bubblegum pop at the time, I don’t understand how this song became one of my favorites.
“Candy Rain” – Soul For Real
I think I first heard this song on Nickelodeon when they played the video between shows and it was too damn catchy not to fall in love with. Sure, they had dumb dance moves, weren’t the best singers, and seemed to be going for a Jackson 5 thing, but for a small time in the 90s, it was the best thing I ever heard. Since it was released in 1994 it foreshadowed my love of Nsync and BSB that would come later in the decade. Guess I’m a sucker for five guys harmonizing.
“Jump” – Kriss Kross
No matter what decade it is, the media is always floored by kids who can rap. In comes Kriss Kross, two boys who decided wearing their pants backwards was hella fly. This is another song I’m not really sure how I got into. Maybe it was the simple command of “jump jump” I found so intoxicating. It’s easy to follow and something I knew how to do. I’m sure part of the reason I liked the song was the duo made a cameo in Michael Jackson’s “Jam” video. If Michael Jackson thought they were okay, then they were okay in my book too. Now, the song reminds me of the loss of Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly, who died in 2013. R.I.P. Kelly.