90’s culture seems to be making itself known once again, whether it be the good (the Spice Girls reuniting for the closing ceremony of the Olympics!) to the not so good (crop tops). With these developments, I’ve got 90’s pop culture on the mind and that means mainly one thing: music videos.
“Buddy Holly” by Weezer
Oh, this video. This baby was included in the “Fun Stuff” CD that came with every Windows 95 computer system, so I will forever associate it with hours of playing Hovercraft and organizing my room in Microsoft Bob. Weezer performs at Arnold’s, surrounded by the Happy Days gang in a surprising feat of video editing, considering the year was 1995. Definitely one of my favorite videos of all time.
Favorite Part: the climax of the video, in which Rivers Cuomo singing the repeats of “I don’t care ‘bout that” at the end of the song accompany the Fonz’s winning dance competition routine.
“…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears
B. Spears: giving boys and girls unrealistic expectations about private school wear since ‘98. As one of the most iconic videos in popular culture, this one launched Britney Spears’s career as a pop idol. Also, the song launched a billion covers, including one warbled by Chad Michael Murray in Freaky Friday.
Favorite Part: when Britney and her dancers do some sort of weird interpretive dance/prayer circle.
“All the Small Things” by Blink 182
While the naked antics of “What’s My Age Again?” may seem more iconic to some, the sheer mockery that exists in the “All the Small Things” video really stuck with me. The guys of Blink 182 take various aspects of Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Ricky Martin videos and reimagine them in more ridiculous ways starring themselves. This quote I found on a really old MTVNews post while double checking the date of the video’s release really says it all: “We want to do a video that’s like, directly like a boy band video, because we figure we’re just as hot and we look good wet and we dance and we can fit in tight clothes just like everyone else, you know?”
Favorite Part: When the guys are lying down in the sand (a la Christina Aguilera in the “Genie in a Bottle” video) and Mark Hoppus eats a flower.
“Bills Bills Bills” by Destiny’s Child
The original Destiny’s Child lineup stars as sassy hairdressers that are done taking shit from their freeloading boyfriends. Sporting matching outfits with ridiculous cutouts that either feature string or wave patterns in lieu of the missing fabric, these ladies weren’t messing around.
Favorite part: every time the girls say “baller” and pretend to shoot a basket.
“Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” by the Backstreet Boys
The Backstreet Boys’ bus breaks down, forcing them to stay at a haunted house of evil for the night. Brian ends up a werewolf, Nick is a mummy, Howie is Dracula, A.J. is the phantom of the opera, and Kevin is Dr. Jekyll AND Mr. Hyde, with a bangin’ makeup job to go with it. Turns out it’s all a dream–but their bus driver has become a zombie.
Favorite part: I’d have to say the dance routine with everyone dressed in period clothing. And every time the invisible man pokes his face through the screen. And whenever Nick attempts to look hot saying, “Am I sexual?” while dressed as a mummy. I can’t choose. EVERYTHING!
“2 Become 1” by the Spice Girls
For this one, the Spice Girls are singing while dressed in wintry attire (well, as wintry as they can while still sporting crop tops and miniskirts) while city life rushes on behind them. This was my introduction to the Spice Girls and I was immediately fascinated. I’ll always remember that my sister and I thought Emma and Geri were twins because they had the same hairstyles and were dressed similarly. We were young! And very silly.
Favorite part: obviously, it has to be the random deer on the street corner at the end.
“Man! I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain
A gender swap of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video? SOLD. I’m pretty sure the reason this one really stuck with me was her fierce outfit. She wears a top hat! And fringed, beaded gloves!
Favorite part: when she sings “Combing my hair” while stroking the top hat. Silly Shania. That’s not your hair!
“U Drive Me Crazy” by *NSYNC
I can already hear a bunch of people going “What? Are you drunk? ‘(You Drive Me) Crazy’ is a Britney Spears song, not *NSYNC! Quit knocking back the hooch while you write articles.” But it IS. This single was only released overseas and the video was only shown at their concerts. The video fictionally chronicles *NSYNC trying to get signed to a label. There’s a whole lot of *NSYNC dressing in drag, as 80s hair bands, as the Jackson 5, as the Spice Girls, and as a rap group.
Favorite part(s): obviously *NSYNC dressed as the Spice Girls, but also when Justin Timberlake wags his eyebrows suggestively while creepily stirring milk. That’s just not the type of thing that one forgets.
“The Boy is Mine” by Brandy/Monica
Brandy and Monica each sit in their respective apartments and talk about how their cheating whore of a boyfriend is actually theirs. There’s a whole lot of silk comfy-looking jimjams and interesting camera angles for whenever they show that the two girls share a wall. Spoiler alert: the dude goes to Brandy’s apartment later, only to face both girls looking fairly annoyed.
Favorite part: when the girls are sassily singing at one another in the hallway about the fact that the boy belongs to them.
“Heartbreaker” by Mariah Carey
This video has everything. Grease references! A cheating significant other that happens to be Jerry O’Connell! Mariah Carey playing both herself and the bitchy girl she gets into a catfight with! This is what pop music videos should aspire to be.
Favorite part: when Jerry O’Connell get so frustrated that Mariah’s friends are chucking popcorn with him at the movie theater that he retaliates, then just throws the bucket at one of their heads.