20. MMMBop/Hanson: These guys seem to take their one hit wonderness in stride. Unlike many child/teen stars, at least they aren’t constantly showing up on Perez Hilton’s blog without their underpants, or noses that look they’ve just hoovered a bag of Dolly Madison powdered donuts.
19. Sabotage/Beastie Boys: Not the biggest fan of the Beastie’s music, but holy shit was that a funny video, with everyone dressed up in 70s cop gear and huge fake moustaches like outtakes from Starsky and Hutch or Serpico.
18. Enter Sandman/Metallica: A song that made you afraid to go to sleep, and inspired a legion of MLB closers. Between this, and Hell’s Bells, is there anything more badass you can play when you trot to the mound?
17. Say My Name/Destiny's Child: I don’t know that I can have any positive thoughts right now about a group containing Beyonce, after being ground into madness by her ubiquitous DirecTV commercial. (Lemme upgrade ya…shudder….twitch…)
16. U Can't Touch This/MC Hammer: Somewhere, sometime in the past, you probably rolled up the windows…..
And while I don’t have any specific memories about that song, I do about Hammer’s follow up, 2 Legit 2 Quit. At the time, Hammer was a big Deion Sanders and Atlanta Falcons fan, and somehow, that song became the unofficial theme of Jerry Glanville’s band of misfits. They were in a playoff game (rare for the Falcons, I know) and a group of my fraternity brothers came over to watch the game with me a local drafthouse that was showing the contest on their theatre screens. The set up was awesome. Nachos, wings, smoking, free flowing pitchers of beer. As the Falcons scored toward the end of the game, one of my inebriated compatriots jumped up on a tiny table (with one central leg supporting it) to do the “2 Legit” dance. Equilibrium impaired, he came crashing to Earth on top of the other tables, like Evel Kneivel at Caesar’s Palace, pitchers of beer flying everywhere. Ahhh, good times.
15. Under the Bridge/Red Hot Chili Peppers: Sensitive ballad from the guys who painted themselves gold and performed naked with tube socks on their cocks.
14. Vision of Love/Mariah Carey: Remember when she was a “vision of love,” back before Glitter? Back before the I’m-fucking-crazy-with-an-ice-cream-cart-striptease?
13. Nuthin' but a G Thang/Dr. Dre (featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg): Gansta? Ghetto? Gorgonzola? Gandalf?
12. You Oughta Know/Alanis Morissette: I actually watched an entire 30 minute feature on this song the other day. Edgy, angry, bitter and dripping with venom. A definite add to the mythical Ipod. Switch one chromosome from Y to X, and I coulda been singing this shit a couple of years ago. (though off key,and with shorter hair. And I can pronounce “about”).
11. Jeremy/Pearl Jam: Would this be #1 if Eddie Vedder had been married to Courtney Love and taken the easy way out of his marriage? Of course, I was almost married to a Courtney Love type and was thankful for the waiting period on handguns.
10. Nothing Compares 2 U/Sinéad O'Connor: Not since Star Trek: The Motion Picture have bald chicks been so hot.
09. Losing My Religion/R.E.M: My college town band, and favorite band. Top shelf song, though probably not in my top 10 pantheon of REM tunes. Sadly, the cutting edge video for this led to the director being given the reigns to a Jennifer Lopez movie. Has anyone ever suffered through The Cell? Jenny from the Block as a sci-fi shrink who plays in other people’s dreams? Vince Vaughn as an FBI agent? At least they cast Private Pyle as the nutjob.
08. Waterfalls/TLC: More Falcons memories! Andre Rison may have been a douchebag, but did he deserve to have his fucking home burned down by Left Eye? No truth to the rumor that June Jones gave her gallons of paint thinner days before. Also, I found it funny that in the show, one of the commenters said how nice it was that the lyrics were socially relevant, and that pop music was finally not all about “booty.” The commenter who made this observation? One of the dudes from Color Me Badd. Of “I Wanna Sex You Up” fame. Thanks for the insight there, Bob Dylan.
07. Baby One More Time/Britney Spears ...Sweet little Lolita Britney. Back before the marriage to an asshat. Before the drugs. Before the public drunkenness. Back before the adorable little “mistakes.” Before declaring underpants optional and showing her taco to most of the free world. Before banging random strangers. Before wearing her lack of education like a badge of honor. Hey, come to think of it, did Brit-Brit enter the junior skank accreditation program?
06. Sir Mix-A-Lot Baby Got Back: How can you not admire a song with the lyric “my anaconda don’t want none, unless you got buns, hon.” Or a video with the singer on top of a huge paper mache ass, standing in the buttcrack?
05. Vogue/Madonna: Brit, where did you go wrong? Here’s how you parlay being sexy and marginally talented into a fucking career, girl. I’m not ashamed to admit that I have several Madonna albums (hell, even including the underrated partially Sondheim-penned Dick Tracy soundtrack, where this appeared). Nor that I went to see a Madonna concert in college, with a chick that dressed the part with lace and bows from the whole Desperately Seeking Susan phase. Good god, I loved college.
04. I Will Always Love You/Whitney Houston: Dolly can stay in make up and Montgomery Scott engineered bras for a lifetime on the residuals from this.
03. I Want It That Way/Backstreet Boys: Well, at least they beat N’Sync at something.
02. One/U2: Not a big fan of the ballad, but this one, like Wonderwall, is just transcendent. A great frakkin’ tune from a band that’s stood the test of time.
01. Smells Like Teen Spirit/Nirvana: Of course it had to be number one. Still makes you bang your head and scream til you’re hoarse when you listen in the car. Fantastic song, legendary video, and anthem of a generation and all that. Well, whatever. Nevermind.
Well, thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me, dear readers. Hope the countdown has stirred recollections of your own follies, bitterness and misadventures, all set to the soundtrack of our lives. Since I pretty much stopped listening to current music at the end of the 90s, I’ll see you back here at the end of this decade where I’ll count down the 100 greatest sportstalk radio conversations and libertarian rants of the 2000s.
Cheers, and happy new year!