Throwback Thursday: 1999

The music of 1999 shows the century coming to a close in grand style, as if to say the next year the party will be over, oops, out of time, so this year we better party. Latinx artists were crossing over to the mainstream pop chart. Cher and Santana, who first charted in the 1960s, scored the biggest hits of their careers. Artists who made their chart debuts include Eminem and Britney Spears. Pure pop exploded, though the charts made room for country, hip hop, electronica, and big beat. As one who values diversity, I loved hearing all these different genres and styles bump up against each other on the radio. Here are 30 prime examples of the music that hit in 1999.

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My Top Songs Of 2020

I’m not going to write an essay about 2020. That’s been done elsewhere and I have nothing to add to the conversation. Though the three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote, “stink, stank, stunk,” there were some bright spots. Here are 85 things that brought me joy. Happy New Year, everyone!

  1. everything i wanted – Billie Eilish
  2. WAP – Cardi B feat. Megan Thee Stallion
  3. deathbed (coffee for your head) – Powfu feat. Beabadoobee
  4. Savage – Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyoncé 
  5. Stay High – Brittany Howard
  6. Dynamite – BTS 
  7. Shameika – Fiona Apple 
  8. Tap In – Saweetie feat. Post Malone, DaBaby & Jack Harlow   
  9. Delete Forever – Grimes
  10. Mariners Apartment Complex – Lana Del Rey   
  11. Polyaneurism – of Montreal  
  12. Didn’t Want To Be This Lonely – Pretenders  
  13. Stupid Love – Lady Gaga
  14. Call My Phone Thinking I’m Doing Nothing Better – the Streets feat. Tame Impala 
  15. Surrender – Will Butler  
  16. JU$T – Run the Jewels feat. Pharrell Williams & Zack De La Rocha 
  17. BLACK PARADE – Beyoncé 
  18. Lifetime – Romy 
  19. Fool’s Gold – Lucy Dacus 
  20. Identical – Phoenix  
  21. ilomilo – Billie Eilish  
  22. Hallelujah – HAIM    
  23. Quarantine Boogie (Loco) – Walter Martin    
  24. Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America – the 1975   
  25. Texas Sun – Khruangbin and Leon Bridges 
  26. Ghosts – Bruce Springsteen 
  27. Settling Down – Miranda Lambert  
  28. He Loves Me – Brittany Howard  
  29. Pictures of Flowers – Jess Williamson feat. Hand Habits 
  30. The Valley of the Pagans – Gorillaz featuring Beck   
  31. my future – Billie Eilish    
  32. hot girl bummer – Blackbear  
  33. Drinks – Cyn   
  34. I disappear in your arms – Christine & the Queens  
  35. Say So – Doja Cat 
  36. Sea Salt & Caramel – Dent May  
  37. Gaslighter – The Chicks  
  38. 4 American Dollars – U.S. Girls 
  39. No Time to Die – Billie Eilish  
  40. Murder Most Foul – Bob Dylan 
  41. Lockdown – Anderson .Paak     
  42. When the Way Gets Dark – Lucinda Williams  
  43. Straight to the Morning – Hot Chip feat. Jarvis Cocker   
  44. Sleep at Night – The Chicks    
  45. Jason – Perfume Genius    
  46. Black Qualls – Thundercat feat. Steve Lacy & Steve Arrington   
  47. Smiley Face – Duck Sauce  
  48. Blinding Lights – the Weeknd   
  49. Country Radio – Indigo Girls      
  50. One and Done – Bright Eyes    
  51. Hole in the Bottle – Kelsea Ballerini with Shania Twain     
  52. Bluebird – Miranda Lambert   
  53. FTP – YG      
  54. You Can’t Rule Me – Lucinda Williams      
  55. Don’t Wanna – HAIM     
  56. Rager teenager! – Troye Sivan    
  57. SUGAR – BROCKHAMPTON    
  58. Bad Decisions – the Strokes    
  59. Miracle of Life – Bright Eyes feat. Phoebe Bridgers 
  60. Dora – Thierra Whack   
  61. On the Floor – Perfume Genius     
  62. Don’t Stop – Megan Thee Stallion feat. Young Thug         
  63. Front Lines – Conway the Machine  
  64. xanny – Billie Eilish      
  65. On My Own – Shamir       
  66. Without You – Perfume Genius       
  67. Why I Still Love You – Missy Elliott     
  68. The Streets Where I Belong – Annie        
  69. Leader of the Delinquents – Kid Cudi     
  70. Song 33 – Noname     
  71. Anthem – Father John Misty  
  72. Lilacs – Waxahatchee  
  73. Body Memory – Jess Cornelius  
  74. Come Thru – Summer Walker with Usher    
  75. Aries – Gorillaz feat. Peter Hook & Georgia  
  76. Riding Solo – Hinds      
  77. Cool Off – Missy Elliott       
  78. Sweeter – Leon Bridges feat. Terrace Martin 
  79. Video Game – Sufjan Stevens     
  80. Love Is a Drug – Empress Of          
  81. Kyoto – Phoebe Bridgers   
  82. ATM – Too Free  
  83. Momentary Bliss – Gorillaz feat. Slowthai and Slaves     
  84. Harlem River Blues – Steve Earle         
  85. In My Bones – Jacob Collier feat. Kimbra & Tank and the Bangas

Throwback Thursday – 1999

Eminem has often been accused of being homophobic. Maybe it’s because he rapped “I’ll still be able to break a motha-fuckin’ table over the back of a couple of faggots and crack it in half.” Maybe it’s because he rapped “My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge / That’ll stab you in the head whether you’re a fag or lez.” And “All you lil’ faggots can suck it / No homo, but I’ma stick it to ’em like refrigerator magnets.” And “Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy / You witnessing massacre like you watching a church gathering taking place-looking boy / ‘Oy vey, that boy’s gay,’ that’s all they say looking-boy / You take a thumbs up, pat on the back, the way you go from your label every day-looking boy.” And “You fags think it’s all a game.” Anyone can see how the artist born Marshall Mathers got labeled a homophobe, even if he pretends he doesn’t see it.

So it’s ironic that in his first hit single, the song that put him on the map and into the international consciousness, the music bed is based around a sample from an openly gay singer-songwriter.

“My Name Is” became Eminem’s first single to crack the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #36. Its music is taken from a 1975 release called “I Got the…,” written and performed by Labi Siffre. Siffre, who was born in England in 1945, says he knew he was gay since age four. He met his life partner, Peter John Carver Lloyd, in 1964. They remained a couple for 49 years, until Lloyd’s death in 2013.

Before Siffre would allow Eminem to use the sample, he made the rapper change some of the words on “My Name Is.” The lyric “My English teacher wanted to have sex in junior high / The only problem was, my English teacher was a guy” became “My English teacher wanted to flunk me in junior high / Thanks a lot, next semester I’ll be 35.” The lyric “Extraterrestrial killing pedestrians, raping lesbians while they’re screaming, ‘Let’s just be friends!’” became “Extraterrestrial running over pedestrians in a spaceship while they’re screaming, ‘Let’s just be friends!’”.” Said Siffre, “Dissing the victims of bigotry – women as bitches, homosexuals as faggots – is lazy writing. Diss the bigots, not their victims. I denied sample rights till that lazy writing was removed. I should have stipulated “all versions” but at that time knew little about rap’s “clean” & “explicit” modes, so they managed to get the lazy lyric on versions other than the single and first album.”

For Throwback Thursday this week, Tunes du Jour revisits some of the musical highlights of 1999, kicking off with Eminem’s “My Name Is.”


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