The Good, The Bad and the Macarena – Five Summer Songs of the ’90s
Every summer, one pop song emerges as the champion among all others to earn the title of “Song of the Summer.”
There’s a potent chemical formula that needs to tweaked just right to ensure it happens right. The song needs to be catchy. It needs to climb the charts. And it needs to become a cultural phenomenon.
This year, Fun. made an early run for the title with “We Are Young,” but there can be little doubt in anyone’s mind that the reigning champion is Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”
Let’s take a look back at some of the best and the worst songs of the summer from the 1990s.
Los Del Rio – “Macarena” (1996)
This song was like a rash that wouldn’t go away. Accompanied by an equally obnoxious dance, “Macarena” is often considered the biggest one-hit wonder of all time.
Len – “Steal My Sunshine” (1999)
The decade came to a close with this light-hearted jam from Canadian group Len. The song made an impact in the summer of 1999 and the group was never really heard from again.
Mariah Carey – “Always Be My Baby” (1996)
It doesn’t get much more ’90s and summery than Mariah Carey on a tire swing over a lake at night. This song was her 11th chart-topping single. Carey was no stranger to summer-inspired videos. Her 1995 hit “Fantasy” featured the singer on a boardwalk.
LFO – “Summer Girls” (1999)
And then there’s this song. Showing true lyrical genius, LFO sang lines like “Chinese food makes me sick” and “Billy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets.” The song was a smash for them in 1999.
Hanson – “MMMBop” (1997)
The three adorably long-haired brothers broke onto the popular music scene with this catchy song about… uhh… well, nobody’s really sure what this song is about. It was never clear what an “MMMBop” is, though we were told that “in an MMMBop they’re gone.”
TLC – “Waterfalls” (1995)
Despite a some heavy lyrical content and a slower tempo, “Waterfalls” became a mega-hit for the female vocal trio TLC in the ’90s. The song dominated the charts and the video received heavy rotation on MTV, back when the network actually played videos.