When I celebrated my 27th birthday last week, I immediately came to realize that entering my late 20s was a milestone in itself. I could create an article explaining all of the important lessons or memories I’ve acquired in my life, but that’d be far too time-consuming and while the list would seem infinite, I would deem the purpose of it as pointless – because it hasn’t ended as much as it hasn’t really begun.
But I could reminiscence about all of the songs that stuck and resounded with me throughout those memories, that consoled me through my most difficult times and related to my most indescribable emotions – that aroused my utmost strength and encouraged laughter, smiling even in the happiest of times. Just like many are still processing the fact that 1997 and 1996 babies alike are on the brink of college, us late 80s babies are in our late 20s – some of us married with children and working, while others are Tindering and drunk in “trying to get their shit together.” Nevertheless, here are 27 songs (one from each year of our lives) for you to participate in this nostalgic blast from the past!
1988: “Baby, I Love Your Way” by Will To Power
Memories: Your staple song for every vacay EVER! (even though you couldn’t understand the lyrics or watch the music video…)
1989: “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown
Memories: Your go-to for when someone was starting scrap in the sandbox!
1990: “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” by Michael Bolton
Memories: A tearjerking ballad set to the time Zack and Kelly broke up on SBTB, and Jessie and Slater belted our sorrows out for us. Hearts broke worldwide, even though Michael Bolton inadvertently paved way to the Carlton dance (and we all know that’s Fresh Prince).
1991: “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C + C Music Factory feat. Freedom Williams
Memories: Your jam to dance to (and it was probably only mildly appropriate).
1992: “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
Memories: If you don’t remember 1992’s one-hit wonder “Baby Got Back”, then you most likely weren’t allowed to listen to it – and for good reason. But if you ever watched the Full House episode where DJ and Steve rekindle their love at prom, well…then that’s probably how you know it. Seems like all the blockbusters of music were featured during climatic episodes of 90s dramas…
1993: “A Whole New World” by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle
Memories: Aladdin was everything, and I still duet this tune at karaoke…
1994: “The Sign” by Ace of Base
Memories: The song that commemorated your Ace of Base obsession – aside from your Madonna one, of course. Speaking of Madonna…
1995: “Take A Bow” by Madonna
Memories: Aside from your TLC and Boyz II Men intros, you are now mature enough to comprehend (or recall) the Queen of Pop’s legacy. 7 is the age of reason, after all…
1996: “Macarena” by Los del Rio
Memories: Way before Pitch Perfect perfected “No Diggity” and you didn’t know what Toni Braxton’s “You’re Makin’ Me High” meant (or maybe you did), this 1996 hit was the one to make you dance!
1997: “Wannabe” by Spice Girls
Memories: The late 90s were a defining time period for majority of boy and girl bands, but we can’t forget the Spice Girls – because what would recess be without performing for your entire grade? (I was everyone except Baby).
1998: “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion
Memories: Around the time Spice Girls shaped our preteen years, Leo DiCaprio simultaneously jumpstarted our hormones, and there was Titanic the movie – hence this song. Then bam, puberty! And Leo was splattered all over our walls, long before he made Dadbod cool (our posters prove this).
1999: “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears
Memories: BSB was an option for this entry, aside from N*Sync and 98 Degrees. But before the next fresh slew of girl pop singers, there was Britney – and she stole the spotlight with her pigtails and slinky schoolgirl outfit, months before Christina, Mandy and Jessica were even in the picture.
2000: “It’s Gonna Be Me” by N’Sync
Memories: After N’Sync said “Bye Bye Bye”, they said “Hi Hi Hi!” (lolz) and released this gem. (Don’t worry, we’ll fit BSB somewhere on this list…)
2001: “It Wasn’t Me” by Shaggy
Memories: The reggae ballad that made our 13-year-old hearts lose faith in monogamy – and humanity. Le sigh :(
2002: “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback
Memories: Our love/hate for Nickelback debuts the progression of Canadian music becoming mainstream. Enjoy!
2003: “In Da Club” by 50 Cent
Memories: Here, “Fiddy Cent” takes your “Nickel-back” (ha) and gives you two, er, fiddy cents of mind; which depicts the increase of sexuality expressed by our other fellow 2003 Billboard hit contenders: Beyonce, Eminem, Ludacris, Nelly and others.
2004: “Goodies” by Ciara feat. Petey Pablo
Memories: The perfect blend of “crunk” and showing ya thong in your low-rise jeans, this jam defined your sophomore or junior year in high school.
2005: “Gold Digger” by Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx
Memories: With the release of glorified Kanye West and sugar daddy websites, it make senses that this single – inspired by the benefits of affluence – came out exactly a decade ago!
2006: “Ridin'” by Chamillionaire feat. Krayzie Bone
Memories: Because sometimes Justin Timberlake and Beyonce are overrated (but flawless. Still flawless).
2007: “(Crank That) Soulja Boy” by Soulja Boy Tell’em
Memories: And here’s another song you emulated the choreography to, but had no idea WTF they were saying…
2008: “I Kissed A Girl” by Katy Perry
Memories: Propelling Katy Perry on to the music scene, this was a legendary hit dedicated to anyone girl who smooched another girl in lieu of male attention, anyone who likes kissing girls (and “likes it”) – or anyone in general.
2009: “Whatcha Say” by Jason DeRulo
Memories: An epic remake of Imogen Heap’s 2005 “Hide and Seek”, you could find either version on episodes of Gossip Girl, The O.C. and radio stations/iPods everywhere.
2010: “Love The Way You Lie” by Eminem feat. Rihanna
Memories: Between their fiery personalities, Rihanna and Eminem ideally conveyed the paradoxical tumultuous relationship between Megan Fox’s character and her on(small) screen boyfriend.
2011: “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga
Memories: A few years after being nominated the Princess of Pop, Lady Gaga emerges as a butterfly serenading us with our universal truth: that we’re all beautiful in our own way, regardless of our race, gender, or sexuality.
2012: “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen
Memories: As much as you wanted to get away from this song and everywhere it was playing, that chorus continued to consume a special place in your mind…
2013: “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus
Memories: With its seconding opponent “Blurred Lines”, 2013 was a year of blatant (implied) nudity.
2014: “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift
Memories: The Taylor Swift of all Taylor Swift songs, at least she admits she has a “list of ex-lovers” (who she obviously documents in her songs for creativity purposes).
2015 (so far): “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth
Memories: Honouring the life of Paul Walker in Furious 7 and all of the film series (R.I.P.).