Sunday marked the 15th anniversary of Christina Aguilera’s debut single, “Genie In a Bottle.” Yes, it’s been 15 YEARS since "Genie In a Bottle" was released. How is that even possible? It seems like just yesterday I was doin’ the awkward side step to that song at a middle school dance! Ah, memories. Since “Genie In a Bottle’s” release, Aguilera has gone on to do such notable things as: record my life anthem, “Dirrty,” rock ass-less chaps like it was her job, make this legendary face (and also this one), leave the house dressed as America’s #1 sewer rat, and totally screw up the lyrics to the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, launching one of my favorite Internet memes of all time. It’s been an amazing 15 years.
In all seriousness, I love Xtina in spite of (or perhaps because of?) her insane diva behavior. “Genie In a Bottle” is a killer pop song, even today. When that opening piano kicks in, I immediately lose all control of my body and begin to DANCE like nobody is watching. I’m talking kicks, spins, offbeat snapping — the whole bit. Released on June 22, 1999, “Genie In a Bottle” spent five consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Aguilera a household name in the United States and across the globe. Actually, come to think of it, 1999 was also just a really good year for pop music in general...
So, in honor of the 15th anniversary of “Genie In a Bottle,” let’s take a look back at nine of the most memorable number-one songs from 1999...because there are so many nines. It only makes sense.
Britney Spears — “…Baby One More Time”
I was sitting in my 6th grade English class when I heard “…Baby One More Time” for the first time. We were doing some sort of “Show & Tell”-esque activity and a girl brought in the CD single and a boom box so that she could play the track for the class. “I’m, like, so obsessed with this song,” she gushed. Bless her. After one listen, I was, too.
Cher — “Believe”
I didn’t know who Cher was when “Believe” was released, but something about her astonishingly deep robot voice captivated me. “Who is this stylish cyborg?” I wondered after seeing the music video for the first time. A little while later, I discovered that she also sang the song that wakes up Bill Murray every morning in Groundhog Day. Connections! Strangely enough, this is still pretty much the only Cher song that I know.
TLC — “No Scrubs”
I remember that I was determined to learn Left Eye’s verse during “No Scrubs,” but I’m not sure that I ever succeeded. Oh, and I desperately wanted a ride on that giant metal swing that Chili hangs out on in the song's super futuristic music video. It looked like so much fun!
Ricky Martin — “Livin’ La Vida Loca”
When I saw the “Livin’ La Vida Loca” music video on TRL for the first time, I was SHOCKED. “Why do some men like to have women pour hot candle wax all over their chests?” I asked my mom one day. Thanks for that memory, Ricky. (Note: This scandalous scene is now only included in the Spanish version of the video for some reason.)
Mariah Carey — “Heartbreaker”
“Heartbreaker” is one of my favorite Mariah Carey songs. The music video where Carey dances around in a skimpy hot pink crocheted top and then kung fu fights herself in the bathroom is pretty amazing, as well.
Monica — “Angel of Mine”
“Angel of Mine” will forever be associated with slow dancing for me. You know, the kind of slow dancing you did at middle school dances where both you and your partner stretched out your arms in front of you as far as they would go, barely touched, kept your eyes glued to the floor, and rocked side to side like two bashful zombies. So romantic.
Santana — “Smooth"
“Smooth” was just the beginning of Santana’s 1999 radio domination (“Maria Maria” followed shortly after). I recall having mixed feelings about “Smooth’s” massive success, because while I liked the song quite a bit, so did my dad. This unnerved me. I mean, we hardly ever got to listen to MY radio station in the car, but now my dad liked the same song that I liked?? How far would this madness go?
Will Smith — “Wild Wild West”
Considering Will Smith’s Wild Wild West theme song owes basically all of its melodic appeal to Stevie Wonder’s 1976 hit, “I Wish” (it also borrows from rapper Kool Moe Dee’s 1987 song of the same name), I’m kind of surprised that it made it all the way to number one. Not gonna lie, I still jam to it every now and then.
Enrique Iglesias — "Bailamos"
The verses to “Bailamos” are pretty forgettable, but that chorus is absolutely massive. I usually just mumble until I get to the “BAILAMOOOS!!!” part, which I belt out with the power of a thousand suns. I love a good song I can scream along to.
Aw, we've reached the end. What a wonderful trip down memory lane! Be sure to give "Genie In a Bottle" a commemorative spin today — you won't regret it.
Image: RCA Records; aguileradaily/tumblr