back to start
In 1999 Limp Bizkit were the stadium-packing, multiplatinum, trend-setting pied pipers of bro-ville. At the front of all that was Fred Durst; Yankee-hatted, soul-patched and full of the kind of rage we all feel when our favourite scent of AXE is sold out. By the end of 1999, Durst would be appointed Senior Vice President of A&R at Interscope, temporarily becoming one of the most powerful people in rock.
Around the mid-90s, the Backstreet Boys led the frosted-tipped charge back to the charts for boy bands. N Sync, 98 Degrees, O Town, Boyzone, Westlife, B44 and the rest followed suit and by 1999, the charts were so plugged up with boy bands, you could see Lou Perlman’s horrible grin from space.
Expensive, greedy, violent and completely out of touch, Woodstock 1999 was a perfect reflection of the music industry that year. Woodstock 99 went down as a weekend where money-grubbing vendors and promoters created the ideal breeding ground for riots, sexual assaults, and raging fires. It's a blueprint for everything you DON’T do when organizing a festival.
By the late Spring, “Livin' La Vida Loca” was unleashed on the world and we all agreed: it was super catchy. Then by mid-summer, we were through tapping our feet. We politely informed “Livin' La Vida Loca” that we were ready to move on. “Livin' La Vida Loca” disagreed. By the fall, the opening notes made us dig our own nails into our arms, hoping to stay focused on the reality “Livin' La Vida Loca” had now begun to warp. By the end of the year, "Livin' La Vida Loca" sounded akin to chants of villagers in a Lovecraft novel. No longer a song, “Livin' La Vida Loca” surely existed to awaken an ancient evil long thought vanquished. We have never been the same since.
In 1999, the New Year’s hype hit fever pitch. We had the Backstreet Boys’ Millenium, Robbie Williams’ “Millenium”, Will Smith’s Willenium, Silverchair’s “Anthem for the Year 2000” and countless more. For the most part, music videos painted the whole experience as either an expensive party you weren’t invited to or the dawning of the apocalypse. Few (if any) songs addressed the millions who spent their NYE watching CNN and eating a whole Deep & Delicious cake. Luckily, we’ve all learned our lesson and there’s NO WAY we’re falling for that shit in 2999.
Hey ”Black Magic Woman” is dope as hell and Carlos Santana is a brilliant guitarist. But in 1999, he said “fuck it I want a bigger house” and Supernatural was the result. Supernatural is chock full of songs that are on loop forever in your dentist’s office, in line at the supermarket, accounts receivable and the food court. Having heard it as many times as we have, “Smooth” has become the musical equivalent of bedbugs.
“Blue” was written and produced by two guys who probably click their pens through a meeting. Every second of this song is agony.
Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5” was a throwback, catchy, and was inoffensive enough to wind up on every radio. It was a cornerstone of a year filled with earworms that would never leave your brain, no matter how many years of therapy you sat through.
Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 4.10.18 PM
On New Year’s Eve, Sisqó released the video for “Thong Song” – the final song released that year. But it wasn’t just the last song of 1999, it was also the last song of the 90s and the 1900’s. And the first song of the 2000s. Let that sink in for a second. We signed off with “she had dumps like a truck, truck, truck/thighs like what, what, what/baby move your butt, butt butt.” Fire track for sure, though.
As 2014 ends and we all compile best-of lists, remember: even if 2014 didn’t produce your all-time favourites, it could have been worse. So much worse.
Take 1999 for example. It’s astonishing that one year could have been responsible for this many cringe-worthy moments, but 1999 is like going through your high school yearbooks and being reminded of the one year you were obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons or did that embarrassing thing with your hair. Instead of trying to forget it, let’s flip through the pages, have a good laugh and do our best to never do any of this shit again.