1. Go to www.popculturemadness.com.
2. Pick the year you turned 18
3. Get yourself nostalgic over the songs of the year
4. Write something about how the song affected you
5. Pass it on to 5 more friends
I'm not sure I'll be able to pull off step 3, though, because the songs of 1997 sucked. In fact, the shittiness of pop music during my stint in college (although I didn't realize how bad it was at first, as the better songs of previous years had yet to go out of radio rotation) was a big part of why I stopped paying attention to pop/rock and started getting into classical and jazz, which then led to prog rock and further afield. It wasn't until the last year or so that I started listening to contemporary rock again, and even then I'm pretty thoroughly disconnected from what gets played on the radio and MTV. I regret nothing.
So, instead I'll just skip ahead to step 4 (using the popculturemadness list):
1. Aqua - Barbie Girl
I didn't think this song was all that bad at the time (partly because I interpreted the lyrics as being fairly cynical). Not all that memorable though.
2. ESPN Presents Jock Jams
The hell? That's a compilation album, not a song!
3. Spice Girls - Wannabe
The song that ended it all. The first really clear sign that the popular music world had swung away from the introspection and emphasis on credibility of the grunge/alternative era into full-blown moron pop. Britney Spears didn't come out until a couple of years later, but the music world had already been lobotomized for her arrival.
Also, I had a roommate with a girlfriend who absolutely adored the Spice Girls, so I couldn't escape this bullshit.
4. Chumbawamba - Tubthumping
A song I thought was decent at first, but got played to death.
5. Savage Garden - To The Moon And Back
6. Usher - You Make Me Wanna
7. Blackout All-Stars - I Like It Like That
8. Az Yet - Hard To Say I'm Sorry
I can honestly say I can't remember any of these songs. I know I've heard at least one song by Savage Garden, but damned if I can recall what it was.
9. Dave Matthews Band - Crash Into Me
I actually liked DMB's brand of folky-jazzy pop, and had a copy of their "first" album, Under the Table and Dreaming (still do, someplace). By the time this came around, though, their stuff had settled into a numbing sameness (even despite a "controversial" move to electric guitar). This is another track that got played over and over until I got sick of it. And really, lyrics like "crash into me, and I'll come into you" aren't nearly as witty as they were trying to be.
10. Tim McGraw & Faith Hill - It's Your Love
Country was off of my radar then and remains so.
11. DJ Kool - Let Me Clear My Throat
Shit, this was from '97? Damn. I assumed it was from the '80s or maybe early '90s, back when rap was allowed to be silly and lightweight and sans thug posturing. This is a fun, if disposable, track. But I didn't even know it existed back then...I didn't encounter it until years later.
12. Bob Carlisle - Butterfly Kisses
13. LeAnn Rimes - How Do I Live
14. Freak Nasty - Da' Dip
15. Sugar Ray - Fly
A pretty good track, actually. However, the reason it was good was the black guy, who it turns out wasn't even part of the band! Nothing else they ever did was even tolerable.
16. Puff Daddy & Faith Evans - Missing You
17. Spice Girls - 2 Become 1
This was the slow one, I think. A Spice Girls track at any other tempo would suck as hard.
18. Hanson - MMMBop
The results of Partridge Family incest. It seemed like everybody hated this song, yet it was an enormous hit. Why?
19. Seal - Fly Like An Eagle
I don't even remember him covering this. I do recall "Kiss From a Rose", though, which I kind of liked.
Skipping a few more I don't remember...
25. Counting Crows - A Long December
Actually, one of their better songs. Not saying much because I really didn't like them in the first place, but I can listen to this song every once in a while without being irritated.
26. Wyclef Jean - We Trying To Stay Alive
I liked the Fugees, but damned if I can remember this.
27. Third Eye Blind - Semi Charmed Life
Blah song by a blah band. I always got these guys mixed up with Matchbox 20 and Ben Folds Five.
Skip a few more...
31. Sublime - Santeria
Their second weakest hit song, which got played to death.
32. Mariah Carey - Honey
I vaguely remember there was some sort of big deal about this at the time. It may have been regarding her husband or boyfriend or something. Couldn't have had anything to do with the music, because c'mon, it's Mariah fucking Carey. Video had her in a swimsuit lounging around a mansion, IIRC.
34. Beenie Man - Dancehall Queen
Never heard it. I do own a Beenie Man album from later, though. "Art and Life", which has some good tracks on it. Too bad he's an asshole.
35. Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Impression That I Get
Not a bad song. The "third wave" ska fad got really tiresome really quickly, though.
37. Blur - Song 2
Finally, a song I honestly really like! "NOW I FEEL HEAVY METAL!"
38. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Love Rollercoaster
Another good one! Sure, it's just a cover, but I really liked this track. Good video too.
40. 311 - All Mixed Up
Aaaaand we're back to sucking. 311: artificial Beastie Boys substitute for people too stoned to tell the difference.
44. Sarah McLachlan - Building a Mystery
Good but not great. I like McLachlan's voice, but this is the only track of hers I can name without Googling.
47. Sublime - Wrong Way
Sublime's #1 weakest hit song. Just terrible.
48. Fiona Apple - Criminal
Most of my friends hated Fiona Apple, but I thought this song was actually pretty good. She's got a good voice, and I like the piano. The video, on the other hand, was lame. It has her in lingerie and bathtubs writhing around and feeling up other women, but all I can think of when watching it is "Damn, that girl needs to eat a sandwich." Also, the pink CGI blob that comes out of a dish soap bottle near the end to the "place in France where the naked ladies dance" theme is totally out of place.
50. Prodigy - Firestarter
I'm a firestartah, I'm an instagatah! LOVED this when it came out, even if Breathe was the better song, and got the album, and even the CD single (which had remixes). I thought their other hit from that album, Smack My Bitch Up, was crap, though.
54. Sheryl Crow - If It Makes You Happy
Just as shitty as everything else she's ever done. They still play this thing on KFOG, which is a mark against a station I otherwise usually like.
61. The Cardigans - Lovefool
Here's another good one. Actually, this whole album (First Band On the Moon) was very strong. Bonus points for the hilariously stylistically wrong cover of Black Sabbath's Iron Man.
64. The Verve Pipe - The Freshmen
I hated this song passionately from the first time I heard it. So earnest, so self-serious, so vapid. Worst song of '97, which is saying a lot.
67. OMC - How Bizarre
I'd forgotten about this. Now I can at least remember the lead singer's delivery of the title phrase...but nothing else about it.
72. Squirrel Nut Zippers - Hell
Great, weird, upbeat song about punishment in the afterlife. The Zippers were kind of like the second coming of Oingo Boingo, all quirky lyrics, cheerful darkness, and rockified Cab Calloway swing. It seemed designed to be turned into an acid-tinged Fleischer Studios cartoon (which they actually kind of did with the video to a later track, The Ghost of Stephen Foster). It's too bad the band fell apart (partly due to stupid litigation: they had permission from the makers of Nut Zippers candy to use the name, until it was bought by another company, which promptly sued them).