Grab yourself a bag of Doritos 3Ds and lend your ears to these foot-tappers from the ’90s
This week’s Thursday Throwback spotlight falls on the 1990s pop landscape, and the party-rocking tracks from artists whose careers never quite made it past the Millennium.
Proud child of the ’90s Joel Draba-Mann takes a cringe-inducing look back at the decade that gave the world Vengaboys…
Haddaway – ‘What Is Love?’
From the mind of Trinidadian-German Eurodance legend Haddaway came this timeless club-classic. It enjoyed a rebirth thanks to Saturday Night Live‘s “Night at the Roxbury” sketch featuring Chris Kattan, Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey as a trio of drug-fuelled alpha males.
Rednex – ‘Cotton Eye Joe’
Swedish musical pioneers Rednex reworked traditional folk-tune ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ as a fist-pumping dance anthem. Landing in 1994 as part of the debut album Sex and Violins, ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ remains the group’s only hit outside of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, where they still retain moderate success (no really).
Sir Mix-a-Lot – ‘Baby Got Back’
There are two things we know about Sir Mix-a-Lot: his penchant for large posterior and his inability to be dishonest. This anthemic tune arrived in 1992 from the album Mack Daddy and was briefly banned by MTV. In fact, it’s a rather progressive tune, with Sir Mix-a-Lot professing that women needn’t aspire to be like skinny models to score his admiration. OK, not exactly a feminist anthem, admittedly.
Eiffel 65 – ‘Blue (Da Ba Dee)’
Yo, listen up! Here’s a story about a little band called Eiffel 65. This Italo-Eurodance group dropped this club classic ahead of the 1999 album Europop. ‘Blue’ is ambiguously about a guy who may either be feeling blue or is literally blue, a depressed Hulk-alternative if you will. Arguably the founding-fathers of auto-tune and poor-man’s Pixar videos.
Los Del Rio – ‘Macarena’
Arguably Spain’s greatest ever export before tiki-taka football, ‘Macarena’ was a worldwide hit in 1996. This tune about a promiscuous homeless lass is the staple of any school disco/office party, where everyone rolls around on the floor waving their arms, pretending they know the routine.
Deep Blue Something – ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’
This 1995 hit by American rock band Deep Blue Something tells the heart-warming tale of two people stuck in a loveless relationship with their mutual admiration of Audrey Hepburn’s film being the basis of which to keep going. Not exactly a solid grounding for future happiness is it?
Ricky Martin – ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’
Puerto Rican Ricky Martin is the godfather of Latin pop. Without this 1999 hit, there would be no Shakira, Enrique Iglesias or any sensual hip thrusting in anyone’s dance move arsenal. Still remains one of the all-time best selling singles worldwide.
5ive – ‘Everybody Get Up’
Showing us the importance of rebellion and leading the fight against oppressive education systems everywhere was ’90s boyband 5ive. In this track an exam descends into chaos as the boys come across a handy light-dimmer in the wall, which causes everyone to stand on desks, take out their hair-bands and unbutton their cardigans. That’s technology that is.
House of Pain – ‘Jump Around’
If you’re here to get down then you’ve come to the right place. Bearded white rappers House of Pain unleashed this breakout tune in 1993. Now known for causing middle-aged dads to bounce about every time they hear that fabled saxophone shriek.
Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch – ‘Good Vibrations’
Before becoming an Oscar-nominated actor, Mark Wahlberg lived life under the moniker of rap-lord Marky Mark. Chart-topping ‘Good Vibrations’ arrived in 1991 as the lead single for the album Music for the People. A certain kind of musical talent runs in the family, with older brother and fellow actor Donnie starting off in boyband New Kids on the Block.
Snow – ‘Informer’
Bringing the Caribbean-infused reggae genre into the ’90s was Canadian musician Snow. This indiscernible track recounts how Snow ended up in jail due to accusations of attempted murder, after finding himself surrounded by women in a sauna. Plausible stuff.
Macy Gray – ‘I Try’
Another musician who has since made the transition to Hollywood. This 1999 hit by American singer-songwriter Macy Gray is classic singing-in-the-shower material about a girl suffering from attachment issues.
Ace of Base – ‘All That She Wants’
More Swedish dance-pop, this time for reggae-dub group Ace of Base. This 1993 track originated from a taped demo titled ‘Mr. Ace’, which got jammed in producer Deniz Pop’s cassette player, causing it to replay near hundreds of times and becoming ingrained in the poor guy’s mind.
Vengaboys – ‘Boom Boom Boom Boom’
The ’90s, as we’ve found, was the era of Eurodance. Dutch group Vengaboys were the Eurodance group. The aptly named ‘Boom Boom Boom Boom’ led the chart-topping double knockout of successive number ones, along with the equally hype-inducing ‘We’re Going to Ibiza’. Catchy melodies and pounding bass make this hit a first-stop for any ’90s nostalgia fest.
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