While looking into the recommended playlists in my music streaming app, I came across very interesting lists: “Terrible 90s Songs You Still Love” and “Cheesy 90s Crap.” These lists relive the decade’s most influential tracks that made the Billboard Hot 100 and part of what we waited for the DJ to play on the radio.
Aqua. Backstreet Boys, Sugababes, Spice Girls, Christina Aguilera, S Club 7, NSYNC. Whether you admit it or not, they’ve become part of our childhood. It was cool searching for their albums at Tower Records or Sam the Record Man in the middle of summer. And when I get home, I’d use a pen to turn the cassette reel!
Songs continue to define the generation that we belong to. And as I look back at the songs that made me rock my heart out after dinner, and why portable music through the iconic yellow Walkman was a privilege back then, it makes me wonder why I’m still loving some of these songs until today.
The 90s and early 2000s were some of the best years of my life. And while we’ve already lost the playback quality of our prized cassette tapes, I’m glad I can still listen to these songs today in a variety of file formats.
Call these mushy, schmaltzy, cheesy old songs. But I won’t apologize for secretly loving them and the artists. Never.
Hawaiian native Hoku (the daughter of Don Ho who sang “Tiny Bubbles” and “Pearly Shells”) released this upbeat pop track in 2000 as part of Nickelodeon’s film, Snow Day (where the lovely Emmanuelle Chriqui was prominently featured in intercut scenes in the music video). The song was a hit — becoming the 14th best-selling record of 2000 and made it at number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
It became the anthem of teenage girls who’ve had enough of their cheating boyfriends. It was about time somebody their age speak up and let everyone know that they know how to value themselves. Hoku was preaching self-care and self-love back then in an industry where teenage pop stars were prodded to become too sexualized to sell.
Canadian group b4-4’s (later known as Before Four) debut single was catchy and controversial. It wasn’t what the teenage market was expecting from Canada’s answer to Backstreet Boys and NSYNC in the heydays of boy groups.
I can’t believe I was allowed to listen to it when I was a kid but many were dismissing it as inappropriate back then. It was only in 2013 in an interview that twins Ryan and Dan Kowarsky admitted that the song was not the wholesome content that was expected of boppy tracks that were released in the mainstream.
It became triple platinum in Canada and rightly deserves the playback it needs until today.
From all of Shania’s singles, this would have to be my most favorite — and I’m not embarrassed about it at all! Shania has never been this good. It’s just what 1995 needed — an unapologetic track from one of the royalties of country music that’s fun and crazy without being over-the-top. Shania knew how to put her fan’s into the groove with this Billboard Hot 100 hit.
Shania Twain made a dramatic transformation in 2019 when she debuted her new look at the Country Music Awards, complete with pink hair. It was a far cry from the traditional blonde style she had been known for during the peak of her career in the 1990s. Her new look was seen as an empowering statement that expressed her newfound confidence.
Shania's new look has become a symbol of self-empowerment and confidence for many women. Her pink hair has become an emblem of female strength - showing that it is possible to embrace change and reinvent yourself no matter your age or stage in life.
These old songs bring back happy memories and we can’t help but reminisce the decade that shaped our teenage years. I’m glad that they survived the digital shift and still find a place in our music libraries today. Whether you admit to loving them or not, these songs remind us of where we grew up and learned about life.
They are part of who we are now and for that, I’ll always have a special place for them.