Some days, I get extremely nostalgic about my childhood and formative years in the '90s and early 2000s — the fashions (jelly sandals were a staple), the teen heartthrobs (JTT, I still love you), the games (Tamogotchi, where have you gone?). But nothing really makes you wax poetic more about the past than music. For those of you who share my nostalgia for those times, it's easy to remember some of the more famous pop culture phenomenons in music of the day. Who could forget Britney Spears, the Spice Girls, NSYNC, or Backstreet Boys? No one ever, that's who. And while those bands are obvious hallmarks of the time, the music that really makes me miss the '90s and early '00s are the forgotten artists and songs — the ones that really made an impression for a few days, weeks, or months, and then disappeared into the abyss of music that couldn't quite keep its place on the charts. I'm talking one-hit wonders, people!
Now, I don't mean the songs that we will remember all the words of until the world finally ends, like Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" or Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy." I'm talking the songs that you listened to on the radio in the car, and then promptly forgot about as soon as you got to your destination. The songs that you only remember how much really loved whenever they pop up on the radio again. Aren't those the singles that really remind us what life was like in our past years?
Wallflowers, "One Headlight" (1996)
It's depressing, but really pretty at the same time. I can't tell you how many times I played this song on repeat.
Tweet, "Oops (Oh My)" (2002)
A hit song about masturbation? More power to her.
Deep Blue Something, "Breakfast At Tiffany's" (1993)
Oh, this song. I only truly appreciated it after it was gone.
Fastball, "The Way" (1998)
Isn't this song about a real-life story of an elderly couple who went missing? Really makes it more depressing, don't you think?
Lisa Loeb, "Stay" (1995)
This song is perfect. Craig Robinson knew that, and that's why he parodied it in Hot Tub Time Machine 2 .
T.A.T.U., “All The Things She Said” (2002)
Remember this song? Yeah, it was weird.
Wreckx-n-Effect, “Rump Shaker” (1992)
I don't understand any words in this song besides "Just shake your rump!" And I'm totally alright with that.
Willa Ford, “I Wanna Be Bad” (2001)
The thing I remember most from this song / music video are the inappropriately short booty shorts. My fragile constitution could not handle it.
Evan and Jaron, “Crazy For This Girl” (2000)
My first thought about this song and group during my nostalgia research: "Who?" Clearly, they didn't make that great of an impression.
Lou Bega, "Mambo No. 5" (1999)
Oof. This song is the worst. Better left forgotten.
Duncan Sheik, "Barely Breathing" (1996)
Hard to believe that this guy wrote the music for the hit Broadway musical Spring Awakening. Sheik definitely moved on to bigger and better things than this single.
Semisonic, "Closing Time" (1998)
Another single that got resurrected in pop culture via an opening scene from The Office , this single is at certain times iconic and other times totally forgotten, as all great one-hit wonders usually are.
Kris Kross, "Jump" (1992)
YES. This song still gets me going.
BBMak, "Back Here" (2000)
I only remembered this song because I saw it on Total Request Live and VH1 approximately 398,498,234 times in 2000. It's so perfectly catchy for its time.
Nine Days, “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” (2000)
OK, full disclosure: I completely forgot about this song until I started doing my research for this article. So I guess that actually makes it a perfect choice for this list.
Crazy Town, "Butterfly" (1999)
I never understood this song, this video, or this band. But damn, is it a catchy beat.
Blu Cantrell, "Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)" (2001)
I'm still obsessed with this song. It's on my main Spotify playlist.
J-Kwon, "Tipsy" (2004)
The song that reminded drunk people everywhere how to count.
Macy Gray, "I Try" (1999)
I never understood the appeal of this song when it was first released. I totally get it now, guys. It's brilliant.
Eiffel 65, "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" (1998)
Nope. Nope nope nope. Sorry guys, I should have never brought this out of retirement. Let's send it back immediately.
Eden's Crush, "Get Over Yourself" (2001)
Remember when Nichole Scherzinger was on a reality competition to make this band? And then they released this song and immediately dropped off the face of the Earth?
The Darkness, "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" (2003)
I am genuinely saddened that this band only released one monster hit song, because "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" is incredible.
Nina Sky, "Move Your Body" (2004)
In case this hasn't already been adopted, this song would make for an incredible Zumba routine. Let's keep its legacy alive as a perfect song for fitness.
Tal Bachman, "She's So High" (1999)
So peaceful. So mellow.
Fountains Of Wayne, "Stacy's Mom" (2003)
A classic early-2000s gem.