Situated between angsty celebrity fanfiction and the entirety of weeaboo culture, nineties nostalgia is high on my list of facets-of-internet-culture-that-fundamentally-upset-me. The “hierarchical” distinction between those born within a few years of each other will never make sense to me and I will never be open to being called a Nineties Baby—unless it’s in reference to the literal years I spent as an infant in 1998 and 99.
This being said, I was (obviously) anything but excited when Charli XCX and Troye Sivan launched their new single, “1999,” despite being a big enough fan of Charli to have seen her twice in concert and fairly tolerant of Troye Sivan’s influence in the music world. “1999” is built upon the desire to retreat into the alleged comforts the ’90s had to offer, despite the fact that both artists were under the age of ten for the entirety of the decade. I’m not trying to delegitimize the validity of childhood experiences, but I was conceptually annoyed by the song’s content. Musically, “1999” could barely muster up enough excitement to be worthy of adding to my “potential bop, mostly a flop” playlist on Spotify. I was inexplicably exhausted by the resurgence of nineties culture. Surprisingly, this changed for me once the duo dropped the song’s music video, a delightful blend of in-your-face allusions with just enough self-awareness to bring it the comical tenderness that the song’s lyrics tragically miss. I still can’t say that I vibe with the song, but I definitely felt warm and tingly while watching the video. Though I definitely didn’t catch them all (three can play that game!) here’s my ~emotional~ breakdown of my top five fun and Furby references that brought Charli the redemption she will always deserve.
5. Steve Jobs
Literally just the black turtleneck.
4. The Matrix
My warmest high school memory is sitting on a basement couch watching The Matrix with my best friend and pretending we really cared about cinematography and Keanu Reeves. Clearly we are film experts, and obviously, the unicorn dream alone made Bladerunner so much more important to legitimizing sci-fi as a genre. And Wes Anderson is the coolest director of all time.
3. Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan
I honestly could care less as to why they chose to recreate this iconic image, but I will forever be grateful they did. Charmed was both the first series I binge-watched and the first series I illegally streamed. Needless to say, learning that my beloved Rose McGowan dated Marilyn Manson was terrifying, yet absolutely essential to the formative years of my childhood. If only the lessons of cheap fabric, bad dye jobs and sheer clothing would have sunk in a bit earlier during my pubescent timeline.
My dad forced me to buy a pair of Skechers in the seventh grade and I never stopped feeling guilty over the fact that I donated them to Goodwill without wearing them once. If you couldn’t already tell, I also sobbed throughout the entirety of Eighth Grade. Love ya, Dad!
1. The Sims
I wasted the entire second half of my sophomore spring pouring my heart and soul into the internet accessible lineage I had created on The Sims mobile app. I wasted the entire second half of my childhood glued to my family’s desktop playing The Sims 3 for hours on end. Although it still hasn’t been decided which was more emotionally or socially destructive, I still look back warmly on these dark periods of my life, not just for the pure joy that God-like control and manipulation can incite. I don’t have much to say on this other than I’m glad other people had just as much fun setting their kitchens on fire as I did.