It’s time to party like it’s 1999 (again), people. Our survey now closes out the 20th century with 15 songs, including the longest gap between an artist’s first and last #1, the longest gap between an artist’s first charting single and their first #1, and the first #1 to feature Auto-Tuned lead vocals.
In retrospect, the Latin sound really was big this year, which no doubt contributed to Santana’s comeback being the huge phenomenon it was. I cast my vote for him easy - “Smooth” is one of the few songs from ‘99 that holds up and still gets airplay these days, and Rob Thomas’ vocals are great.
For me, though, the two songs that best defined 1999 are ones that never made it to #1 on the Hot 100, but were in heavy rotation on MTV and often scored highly on TRL - “My Name Is” by Eminem (peaked at #36) and “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrmann (peaked at #45).
Ah, yes, “Believe.” The song that inflicted obvious autotune on us for the first time. Cher has earned herself a seat in Music Hell for doing that, right next to Donna Summer (she earned hers for doing a twenty-goddamn-minute version of “McArthur Park.”)
That song was popular even in Mexico. I remember living there, and a cousin visited, and I said to him, “There’s this clever, funny rap artist on the radio lately – know anything about him?” He replied, “Oh, you must mean Eminem.” I said, “No, that’s not his name…something with an S…” He laughed – and I learned that “Slim Shady” was just a pseudonym/alter ego.
I had to vote for Britney, with JLo finishing second in the world-famous Ponch8 Music Rating System. The excellence of Santana was partially negated by Rob Thomas. Eminem’s “My Name Is” would have been an easy choice for the win if it had reached #1.
Cher finishes dead-ass last. I hate that fucking song.
Unfortunately yes. That song might be even worse than “Believe.”
I think I must have recently travelled here from a parallel universe identical to ours in every way except that that song never existed, because I had never heard or heard of it until a few months ago.
Interestingly enough, in that “catchiest songs of all time” list I linked to in the thread on 1996 (where “Wannabe” was declared the catchiest/most quickly recognizable song of all time), Mambo #5 was the runner-up. You should be thankful you missed it. I was living in Europe at the time, and it you just couldn’t get away from that damned song. I don’t know if it was as bad here in the US.