September 11, 2009

Good Taste in Bad Music — The Nineties

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I’ve noticed a theme in my writings for the Sun thus far this year. And it goes a little something like this (which, by the way, is a line from an Aaron Carter song): ahhhhhhhhhhhh! Holy f-ing shit! I have to join the real world so soon! Ahhhhhhh! Etc., etc., many exclamation points … you get the drill. I have decided the best way to deal with this is just not to think about it, as you might have gathered from how much I have done about applying to jobs and grad school, or studying for the GREs. Hint: it rhymes with hero. And it’s like the opposite of a hero. And I’m pretty sure that’s a line from Disney’s version of Hercules. Many inadvertent and ridiculous song references today. Odd.
In any case, being an almost-college-graduate has got me thinking about the good old golden days of middle school, and all the things about my very ’90s childhood that I loved. Ninja Turtles for example. Also Pogs, Polly Pocket, Captain Planet, Jump Rope for Heart, Animorphs, Nick at Nite!, Spaghetti-O’s, the Baby-sitters’ Club and my junior high anthem, “The Graduation Song.” You probably remember this song. You know, the sappy Vitamin C ballad adored by middle schoolers everywhere and dedicated 2 oh so many BFFs 4ever! “As we go on, we remember / all the times we had together / as our lives change, from whatever / we will still be friends forever.” That is some quality lyric-writing there people.
So what does this have to do with music column 76 Trombones, where we pride ourselves on despising the Top 40 and being only slightly pretentious indie-cool? Well, my childhood is about to officially end (or did that happen already? My continued fixation with the Redwall series and Disney Channel original movies suggests that no, it has not). Therefore, anyway, I must reminisce. And the other day, my mention of “The Graduation Song,” and yes that is actually the title, sent my friends and I full-on down memory lane into the land of really, really terrible, but much loved … bad ’90s songs. We spent several hours YouTubing music videos of every single horrendous ’90s song we could think of, in a heated search for the worst song ever made. In other words, today at 76 Trombones we are embracing horrible music. We hope you find it as hilarious as we did.
Now, to be fair, some bad ’90s songs are legit classics. You can’t dismiss such awesome middle school line dances as “The Macarena” and “Cotton-Eyed Joe” for example. “Truly, Madly, Deeply” by Savage Garden will always seduce me into singing along, as will “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)”, and Britney’s “Baby, One More Time” (though that might jump into the early 2000s … oops). Let me tell you about some of my absolute favorite worst songs though. Please note, the goal here is for you to say something along the lines, “Oh my god, remember that song? We used to love that song!”
Perhaps one of the most classic is the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe,” which took my elementary school by storm, and created all sorts of young girl jealousies about who got to play Baby Spice. Also worth a listen would be the Backstreet Boys. Since I’m having a hard time picking a favorite worst song, I’m just going to include the entire Millenium album in here, the original party like it’s 1999 (because it is!) music. “Larger than Life,” “I Want It That Way,” “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely,” take your pick. Remember to sing along like you’re the sexiest boy band going.
A close personal favorite of mine was Lou Bega’s “Mambo Number 5.” And I’m serious here people. I LOVED this song —knew all the words, and am pretty sure I made up a dance to go with it at some point. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, everybody in the car, come on lets drive, to the liquor store on the corner / I want some gin and juice but I really don’t wanna beer bust like I had last week / I must stay clean ‘cuz talkins cheap / I like Angela, Pamela, Sandra, and Rita, and as I continue, you know they’re getting’ sweeta.” I did that from memory. The music video to this song is, by the way, much more scandalous than you would expect it to be. Other super-duper sibling sing-along favorites include Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping,” and Little T and One-Track-Mike’s “Shaniqua,” which all three of the Woodward children can still sing along to perfectly.
The ’90s also spawned some legitimately ridiculous songs, three of which I have categorized here for you as some of the worst songs ever. Hansen’s “MmmBop.” Simply impossible to forget those three effeminate boys with their un-changed voices singing made-up scat lyrics. Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.” I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world … you know? Possibly this was supposed to be some sort of failed social commentary. Possibly Aqua was smoking waaaay too much reefer. And the winner, you ask? The worst song ever? Okay, it’s probably not the worst song ever, but it is pretty damn bad. I’ll just name it for you and let you remember your own good times: “Who Let The Dogs Out?” by the Baha Men. Peace out, dogs!

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