If you’re like me (and may the supreme power help you if you are), then you’ve grown up shaking your rump to some legendary cheesy pop songs of the 90’s. Ahh the tumultuous days of youth. Was there any decade with music better than the 90’s? Oh but there actually was NOT. The very fact that I am still obsessed with that decade leads me to a life-changing, path-breaking, literally drop-you-baby-and-pay-attention kinda conclusion. And that is –
I’M A 90’S BAYBEH!
Do I ever stop talking about the 90’s? No I do not. I mean I still remember when Geri left the Spice Girls. That’s not normal right? And the very fact that I write this blog gives me the fantastic opportunity to shove some 90’s cheesy pop gems down your throat! Although the 90’s saw some of the greatest artists/vocalists of all time creating legendary pieces of work (Hellooo…Alanis Morisette, TLC, Boyz II Men, Whitney Houston, Jewel, George Michael, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Garth Brooks, Celine Dion, Shania Twain etc etc etc ), the decade would also be remembered for some of the cheesiest pop tunes that made the world dance, and then collectively puke bile at the thought of doing so a decade later! The ‘Boyband’ reached cult status, with The Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, N’Sync, 911, 98 Degrees, Westlife, No Mercy etc. relentlessly unleashing mush-pop that made toddlers, pre-teens, teens, tweens, men, women and post-menopausal grandmas go BONKERS. And then there were ‘Girlbands’ like the Spice Girls, B*witched, All Saints etc who gave estrogen aka ‘Girl Power’ a whole new dimension. And then there were pop-groups like Aqua, Vengaboys, Solid Harmony and Steps, with a mixed line-up of girls and guys and gays to make everyone and their grandma happy.
So here’s a list of 10 tracks (in no particular order) that gave the extra cheesy pepperoni pizza with extra cheese and an extra helping of extra cheese a run for its money. I loved them while growing up, and I know you did too. So stop trying to pretend that Metallica, Pink Floyd and Nirvana was all that you cared for, while you secretly shamelessly listened to ‘Doctor Jones‘ by Aqua on your disc-man, while ‘Quit Playing Games With My Heart‘ by The Backstreet Boys was your anthem while you tried to be all cool back in school by showing off your collection of rock/metal cassettes and CD’s.
1. Aqua – Barbie Girl
When Bubblegum Euro-pop group Aqua dropped their signature single ‘Barbie Girl‘ in 1997, the unsuspecting world in its entirety did not realize the estimate of the manically mind-blowing madness that was about to unfold. The so-popular-your-grandma-had-a-copy album ‘Aquarium‘ topped almost ALL the charts worldwide, relentlessly unleashing single after single that went platinum and multi-platinum, including the insanely infectious ‘Doctor Jones‘, ‘My Oh My‘ and ‘Lollipop (Candyman)‘ among others, eventually selling a whopping 15 million copies of the parent album worldwide. With an overdose of cheesy-ness that we all devoured, and double meanings galore (You Can Brush My Hair, Undress Me Everywhere), ‘Barbie Girl‘ was EVERYWHERE. Parodied mercilessly, and occupying high positions of charts like The 100 Worst Songs Ever, or Most Annoying Songs Ever, as well as invoking a lawsuit from Mattel for tarnishing Barbie’s image, this song was the ultimate cheese-fest! And yet the song alone managed to sell 8 million copies around the world, topping every chart possible, and also making it to the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, a feat that was almost impossible for a Euro-pop group back in the 90’s. For me, this song (along with most of the songs on the list) is nostalgia supreme, it reminds me of school days and obesity and stuff that you would want to know but I couldn’t publish here. In case you’ve
been oblivious to everything that’s essential in the world missed out on this amazing piece of history by band members Lene, Rene, Claus and Soren (who had become household names thanks to their names being mentioned before EVERY Aqua video), here you go!
2. Steps – Say You’ll Be Mine
Steps were pretty much an ABBA rip-off, and after 14 consecutive top 5 hits on the UK Top 40 as well as major hits in Europe and Asia, it was evident that the band had established a strong fan-base worldwide. Although it probably surprised the band members themselves when after regrouping in 2011 (after exactly a decade of them disbanding) for a reality docu-series, their loyal fans showed them major love, as their new album featuring their biggest hits called ‘The Ultimate Collection‘ debuted at # 1 on the UK Top 40, becoming their 3rd album to do so. And why wouldn’t we love Steps? After Aqua opened the doors for bubblegum Eurodance-pop to become mainstream, Steps followed it up with their set of relentlessly infectious singles like ‘5, 6, 7, 8‘, ‘Tragedy‘, ‘Heartbeat‘ etc., which firmly entrenched them in the cheesy-pop genre. My personal fave Step song is the mush extravaganza ‘Say You’ll Be Mine‘ from their second album ‘Steptacular‘. Super-cheesy and all kindsa cute, the song had a video to match, with the band acting out scenes from equally mushy movies like ‘Titanic‘, ‘Armageddon‘, ‘There’s Something About Mary‘, ‘Romeo And Juliet‘, ‘Batman Returns‘ and ‘Austin Powers‘. Have a look!
3. The Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way
OMG. I can’t even. Where do I? No. How? Sigh. Y’all know the drill when a BSB song comes on the radio or on TV right? The fact that I had cousins and friends who would reach medically unsound levels of excitement when these boys would start lamenting was not even funny. I would mostly loathe these diabetic coma inducers, but an occasional BSB song was fun. Sort of. And since this is a cheese-fest, why not include ‘I Want It That Way‘? Apparently the guys are heading back to the studio for another new album after their somewhat-semi-successful collaboration with New Kids On The Block. Here’s to more sugary sweet melodies from the boys!
4. Spice Girls – Wannabe
I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah
So who was your fave Spice Girl? Aw come one now, I know you all adored one of them secretly while you were busy explaining to the world how moved you were with Kurt Cobain’s music while Ginger Spice was your secret idol. DUH. Mine was Posh Spice aka Victoria Beckham. And the madness that came along with them was unprecedented. Mel C, Mel B, Victoria, Emma and Geri broke records worldwide selling over 80 million records and topping every chart on the planet with Girl Power, becoming one of the most successful groups of all time. 2012 will see the girls, umm women, reunite once again before the Olympics. The world just cannot have enough of them! With teeny-pop classics like ‘Viva Forever‘, ‘2 Become 1‘ and ‘Stop‘ that were instant hits, it was ‘Wannabe‘ that changed the face of pop music forever.
5. Los Del Rio – Macarena
The fact that this song spent 14 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100, one of the longest stays ever, speaks volumes about what kinda stuff we were digging back in the day. And it just goes to prove that artists like LMFAO topping the charts these days is nothing new at all. And be honest here people, did you understand ANYTHING as far as the chorus was concerned apart from when the two grandpa-ish horned up men aka Los Del Rio screamed ‘EEEEHH MACARENA‘ ? Didn’t think so.
6. Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
Look, even the rickshaw-pullers here in India know this song by heart. Although this isn’t your regular boy/girl band pop fest, this ballad undeniably deserves a special mention here. I, along with the entire milky way, was mesmerized by Celine Dion and the Titanic and Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio and the whole ‘the old lady dropping it in the ocean‘ extravaganza in the end. I’m willing to go out on a limb here and admit I CRIED during the damn movie (in my defense I was 13 and obese and suffered from flatulence and self-esteem issues, so go jump off a cliff). So it was almost impossible to not love a regal looking Celine Dion singing a ballad of epic proportions standing right on the Titanic. So in awe were we, that we overlooked the lyrics of the song, which in all probability were written by either a cardiac patient (We’ll stay forever this way, You are safe in my heart, And my heart will go on and on), or by someone clearly having issues with sleep (Every night in my dreams, I see you, I feel you, That is how I know you go on). Pure poetry. But back in 1997, this song really was the best thing that could have EVER happened to us. Apart from the New Zealand Charts where the song peaked at # 2 (they clearly weren’t connoisseurs of sugary confections), ‘My Heart Will Go On‘ topped EVERY chart in the world. It’s love, you guys. It’s blind. And it’s most certainly deaf.
7. Whigfield – Sexy Eyes
Did you know that Whigfield’s real name is Sammy Charlotte Carlson? And that she’s also known as Naan these days? #randomtrivia. Well back in 1996-97, Europop was gradually making waves all around the world, and Whigfield was one of the pioneers of the sound that would be evident in the music of majorly successful groups in later years like Aqua and Steps. It’s funny to see Europop and dance music dominating the charts today, where as Whigfield had already been there done that 15 years ago. A comeback on the cards mayhaps? Either way, ‘Sexy Eyes‘ was huge in most parts of the globe, and one of her biggest hits. Fun and cheesy, just the way we loved it!
8. Chilli feat Carrapicho – Tic Tic Tac
Another one of those songs that I could not comprehend, but that definitely didn’t stop me from getting down and giving my arse a royal shake. Brazillian band Carrapicho and Chilli’s ‘Tic Tic Tac‘ became quite a craze, with the choreography being copied by everybody who had viable body-parts. A smash summer anthem all around the world!
9. Vengaboys – We Like To Party
Eurodance group Vengaboys would probably be known best for the insane number of mindless, explicit as well as cheesy pop gems back in the day, and I’m pretty sure all of us have danced to or brought a Vengaboys CD that’s prolly lying somewhere in the attic. The group had a cult following in Europe and Asia, and they sold out records and tours before you guys got the chance to say ‘Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom’! Here in India, Vengaboy’s ‘The Party Album‘ outsold every Indipop album back in 1998, and I pretty much remember ‘We Like To Party‘ being played on every radio station and TV channels by the hour. Anything cheesier than this song? That damn VENGA-BUS in the video!
10. Gina G – Ooh Aah…Just A Little Bit
With lyrics like ‘Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit‘, you really expect a song to NOT be a hit back in 1996? #fail. Gina G’s insanely addictive single topped the charts worldwide and pushed George Michael’s ‘Fastlove‘ from the # 1 spot on the UK Top 40. Fair enough, cause for some incredibly unknown reason, I still feel this song and occasionally give it a listen. #reductive?
That’s 10 of the cheesiest pop gems of the 90’s y’all! I grew up with them, and now that I’m all grown up, classy etc., these songs do invoke a great deal of nostalgia. I’m pretty sure it does to you too! There’s nothing quite as fun and cheesy like some good ol’ 90’s pop to make you feel good!