Pumped Up Hits: 10 songs from the late-’90s that still make us cringeBy John Hendrickson | April 5th, 2012 | 3 comments
A recent Reverb article about the cast of “Glee” covering Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” prompted many comments on social media, both agreeing and disagreeing with the assertion that the song is based around a claw-your-eyes-out hook.
It got us thinking about other songs with similar polarizing hooks that went on to become high-charting singles. Today, we introduce a new semi-regular feature, “Pumped Up Hits,” in which we feature 10 songs from a given era that still make us cringe.
Seeing that many of these songs faded into obscurity almost as quickly as they assumed pop-rock dominance, we chose to feature the songs in a way that nostalgia-seekers are likely to search for them on YouTube (i.e. flawed titles).
10. Meredith Brooks, “I’m A Bitch”
Brooks’ seminal “frig you” to everything under the sun, including herself, offered an edgier and, for lack of a better word, “bitchier” take on the late-’90s Girl Power movement. The song made for some fantastically uncomfortable family car rides and orthodontist visits. And no, it was not an Alanis jam.
9. Barenaked Ladies, “It’s Been”
Canada’s unassuming shlubs took their poor-man’s-DMB style of music to new heights when steely-eyed “other guy” Ed Robertson’s Bone Thugs-esque rapping set a new bar for party tricks, and signified the death of college rock.
8. Savage Garden, “Chikka Cherry Cola”
Before standing with us on mountains, the hardly savage Aussie duo beat us over the head with boulders — like this dancey, pop-rock tongue-twister. Keep pretending like you don’t know every single word.
7. The Verve Pipe, “For The Loff of Me”
We can’t be held responsible if you confuse the Verve Pipe — responsible for this putrid heap of post-Bush-faux-“Glycerine” disaster — with the much-better band of the same era, the Verve. Can’t-be-held-res-pon-si-ble.
6. Better Than Ezra, “Huh-WHA-OW”
Not a whole lot to say about this one, pretty much just them saying “WHA-UH” over and over again. Also, the word “good” appears about 50 times.
5. Vengaboys, “Do-do-do-do-do dooooo doooooo”
This song saw moderate chart success, but found new life in the late aughts as the theme song for some frightening, androgynous dancing loner, star of the long-running Six Flags national ad campaign.
4. Sugar Ray, “Four Post Bed”
Mark McGrath is not a rock ‘n’ roll front man. He is just some dude with frosted tips and beach pebble eyes and a bro-tee who appears on various shows nobody really watches. Also, he tried to give Chris Paul a pound at a recent Clippers game and got denied. Truly an allegory.
3. Aqua, “I’m A Barbie Girl”
Product placement and cadences. What more do you need? How many times per day did you walk around singing “Come-on-Bar-bie-let’s-go-par-ty” in a robot voice several years ago? Exactly.
2. Tonic, “When She Sayassss She Loovves Mehhhh”
Tonic had alt-radio dominance for much of the late-’90s, despite, not a single person owning their records or seeing their shows or being able to name any member of the band. It’s all about the post-chorus break. Wait for it. Wait. Keep waiting. There it is: “When she sayaassss she loves mehhhh…”
1. Eve 6, “Tie Me To The Bedpost”
Chock full of lyrical gems including “Think sick like ginger ale” and “Am I origami? Fold it up and just pretend,” singer Max Collins pries up the floorboards of Axis Mundi to deliver his broetic, dissociative opus on finding nothing except for faith … in nothing.
Kevin Rochford is a New York based writer and office worker.