I know I’m a little late to this party, but even though I’ve been grooving along to “1999” in the car for months now, I caught its brilliant video for the first time only the other day.
If you’re old enough to remember 1999 (check!), and especially if you spent lot of time watching MTV back then (check!), this glorious, joyful, light-hearted pastiche will bring back plenty of fond memories.
Goodness knows how much time was spent doing the research for the “1999” video, much less actually shooting it, as there’s only a few seconds of each tribute to a big tune, film, headline artist or other cultural icon from that year before we’re introduced to another well-known reference to the year in question.
We’ve got the scene on the bow from Titanic…a reference just about everyone will get…but we also get nods to TLC’s “Waterfalls”, The Spice Girls, The Backstreet Boys, Eminem in his “Slim Shady” era, Justin Timberlake in the NSYNC years, The Matrix, the famous rose petal scene from the film “American Beauty” (was that really 20 years ago?), Steve Jobs with one of the blue iMacs and a classic Nokia 3310 mobile phone, just like the one I had at the time.
I’m sure there’s plenty more in there too, but I was catapulted back and forth between 1999 and the present day so many times in the course of a three minute pop video that I felt like Dr Who with a really bad hangover by the time I got to the end. So I probably missed some.
I know what you’re going to say…you thought we were all about song lyrics round here, so why am I going on about the music video?
Because it’s so utterly brilliant, quite frankly. A real nostalgia-fest for those of us who remember the fireworks going off to signify the start of the new millennium.
The strange thing about “1999” is that I’ve got so many fond memories of all the groups, personalities, songs and movies referenced in the video, even though that year was possibly one of the worst of my life.
Two jobs came to an end in quick succession and I was dumped from a relationship which had lasted through most of the 90s…not the greatest year of my life by any objective standard. I was glad when the New Year fireworks brought 1999 to an end and wiped away the last traces of a year I’d rather forget.
But, on the plus side, I got to spend a lot of time in front of MTV that year enjoying some top tunes. So it wasn’t a complete bust.
In those days, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez from TLC, The Spice Girls singing “Say You’ll Be There”, The Backstreet Boys’ dance moves from “I Want It That Way”, the Real Slim Shady and, of course, Britney Spears with one of the biggest songs of all time, “…Baby, One More Time” were my closest companions in my darkest times.
As they were all on heavy rotation on MTV, I absorbed them all and could probably take you through all those videos frame by frame even today, 20 years later.
The video for “1999” was, for me, like seeing some dear old friends again I haven’t seen for years. I welcomed them all back with open arms, even though I know they were Charli XCX and Troye Sivan dressed up really.
I just wanna go back, back to 1999
Take a ride to my old neighbourhood
I just wanna go back, sing “hit me, baby, one more time”
Wanna go back, wanna go
And in a funny way, I do. I loved seeing all my “old friends” again and remembering the time we spent together…
Yeah, I just wanna go back
Nike Airs, all that
CD, old Mercedes
Drive round listening to Shady, like, oh
Never under pressure, oh
Those days it was so much better, oh
Feelin’ cool in my youth, relaxin’
No money, no problem
It was easy back then
And, you know it was. Even though I didn’t think it was the greatest year of my life at the time, I can watch the “1999” video’s fast-paced trip through the music and culture of the last year of the old millennium and remember every single one of them positively.
As you get older, people say your mind plays tricks on you.
I’d never really thought about this before, but maybe 1999 wasn’t nearly as bad a year as I’d thought before watching this video.
How can a year be all that bad if I’ve got a barrage of fond memories of time spent with old friends which can keep me company 20 years later?
OK, they might have been lying dormant amongst a collection of much stronger memories of the bad times I went through around the turn of the millennium.
But the truth is I must have been carrying a raft of great memories from 1999 with me right through the intervening years, without realising it. The positive memories of 1999 were there all along, just waiting for me to re-discover them, courtesy of Charli XCX and Troye Sivan’s brilliant video.
Seems my mind can play a lot more tricks on me than I ever thought it could…
Maybe 1999 was the greatest year of my life after all…
“1999” is one of those songs that makes much more sense after you’ve seen the video. If you can remember that long ago, I guarantee this will bring back some great memories.
I’ve always enjoyed the lightheartedness Charli XCX brings to her songs, although I’d never pegged Troye Sivan in quite the same way. But I take my hat off to them both for a brilliant song, which they both co-wrote…along with Brett McLaughlin, Oscar Holter and Noonie Bao…and its even more brilliant video.
I know it’s only late January 2019, but Charli XCX and Troye Sivan’s video for “1999” is already my top pick for video of the year…take three minutes out of your day to watch this. If you remember that far back, I can guarantee you’ll love it too…
The video is below, but if you prefer you can listen to the track on Spotify here… https://open.spotify.com/track/05mAIVLkIWc2d1UBYZBCp8
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