Do you remember the halcyon days of 1997? What were you up to 20 (yes, 20) years ago?
If there’s one thing that you’re sure to remember, it’s the music of 1997. Back in those days, there was (what felt like) memorable hit after memorable hit, and if you wanted to make sure you had those hits ready to play, you probably made a mixtape. I mean, you can’t just roll up to a house party and not have the latest jams from Backstreet Boys or Sugar Ray ready to blast on the boombox, right?
Looking to the past, it’s easy to see that 1997 was a big year for music with lots of songs worthy of being put on a summer playlist. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the hits that are not only celebrating a milestone anniversary but have also kept us grooving along in the years since they were released.
1. Aqua, “Barbie Girl”
Nothing says “1997” quite like the inane and totally amazing “Barbie Girl.”
2. Hanson, “MMMBop”
Twenty years later, the meaning of “MMMBop” is still as elusive yet profound as it was when it first hit the airwaves.
3. Sugar Ray, “Fly”
Play this song if you want to remember what it’s like to feel so fly while listening to a song called “Fly.”
4. Chumbawamba, “Tubthumping”
This might be the best song about getting drunk that’s ever been created, TBH.
5. Third Eye Blind, “Semi-Charmed Life”
Life was definitely more charming when this Third Eye Blind song came on the radio.
6. OMC, “How Bizarre”
A one-hit wonder that’s hard to forget.
7. Backstreet Boys, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”
Backstreet Boys came back with a vengeance — and incredible imaginative music video for “Everybody.”
8. Will Smith, “Men in Black”
The song was even bigger than the movie it was named after, mostly thanks to ’90s icon Will Smith.
More: ’90s Nickelodeon Stars Then & Now
9. Usher, “You Make Me Wanna”
Even then, Usher knew how to make smooth and soulful sound so damn good.
10. The Verve, “Bittersweet Symphony”
Arguably the perfect ’90s song.
11. Meredith Brooks, “Bitch”
For the feminist in all of us, a little Meredith Brooks will do the trick.
12. Smash Mouth, “Walkin’ on the Sun”
A little Smash Mouth goes a long way.
13. Gina G, “Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit”
How could we forget this unforgettable one-hit wonder?
14. The Chemical Brothers, “Block Rockin’ Beats”
Play for maximum chill vibes.
15. 98 Degrees, “Invisible Man”
98 Degrees just knew how to croon their way into our hearts.
16. Spice Girls, “Spice Up Your Life”
Because what is a late ’90s playlist without a little Spice Girls in the mix?
17. Sheryl Crow, “Everyday Is a Winding Road”
Sheryl Crow’s poignant and playful ode to the mysteries of life was and will always be a classic.