Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Charli XCX ft. Troye Sivan – 1999

We love hate have mixed feelings about the ’90s…


[Video]
[4.76]

Tobi Tella: I wasn’t even alive in 1999. Neither of the artists behind this were over the age of 7, but that doesn’t mean they can’t channel the feeling back to the audience. It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t here for 1999, the song manages to make me feel the same playful nostalgia as it does for people who were. I think this is a lot more clever than it seems on the surface (a Charli staple). Also closest I’ve ever come to liking Troye Sivan, so points for that!
[8]

Alex Clifton: There’s so much that I want to say — about the power of nostalgia, about the fact that the 1990s have come to signify for millennials the last full safe time we had before 9/11 and global wars and financial catastrophes, about how delightful it is to hear queer boyhood represented through Troye’s fantasies of Justin Timberlake, about how incredibly loving the video is with its treatment of ’90s fads, about how catchy that Eurodance piano is (my ultimate weakness!), about how I’ve not been able to get this out of my head for a week — but all that pales in comparison to one thing: I no longer have to fight Ed Sheeran. Charli did it for me. This is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.
[10]

Vikram Joseph: The deep and widening chasm that Charli XCX has forged between her mixtapes and her singles is remarkable and quite possibly unprecedented. She’s found a way to explore the extremities of her musical identity — glitched-out, bracing, exhilarating avant-pop at one end, tongue-in-cheek strobe-lit bangers at the other. Firmly in the latter camp, “1999” is remorselessly daft — in its wildly misplaced nostalgia for a year in which the contributing artists were 7 and 4 respectively, and with an interpretation of the boundaries of the year 1999 loose enough to make Anne-Marie blush. But the minimum you’d expect from Charli is fun, and this is fun. There’s pinball synth-bass, stabs of nu-Balearic piano which actually sound like 1999, and Charli taking a ride through her old neighbourhood (erm, the genteel Hertfordshire market town of Bishop Stortford). Troye Sivan, god love him, doesn’t do a great deal, but makes up for it in the video with his Leonardo Di Caprio makeover (although Charli’s Steve Jobs steals the show). It’s not her best single of the year (hello, “No Angel”!), but it’s a party.
[7]

Thomas Inskeep: Sung by a pair of people who barely lived through ’99 whose only vision of the year is from Britney Spears videos or something. The thudding Eurodance beat doesn’t help.
[1]

Anthony Easton: You can tell a lot about someone when they tell you what their favorite Britney single is. “…Baby One More Time” is the answer for people who do not understand the era’s nihilism was really “Toxic.”
[3]

Crystal Leww: I am known to be a Charli XCX stan at times, but so much of her output could use a clear filter of quality control. No one is willing to admit it, but this is a cheap version of the critically-derided “2002,” which in the face of this comes out sounding like a straight up banger. This is pandering, aesthetic-driven nonsense, and I wish that someone could tell every (extremely talented) artist involved in this to cut it out.
[2]

Joshua Minsoo Kim: “2002” for people who consider themselves real pop music fans.
[3]

Iain Mew: 1999 is a more evocative phrase, time, everything, to refer to than 2002. “1999” actually sounds like a version of 1999, albeit one via Calvin Harris. “1999” is right on time for doing Rina Sawayama but with subtext turned into text. At the broadest scale, “1999” works. But that can’t take it far without the details working too, and they don’t. Air guitar on the roof is no better than dancing on the hood of an old Mustang at sounding like anyone involved is actually invested in the memory.
[5]

Will Adams: This gets one point on “2002” for at least getting the year of “Baby One More Time” correct, but that’s it. If Charli XCX and her co-writers unabashedly don’t give a shit about the lyrics reflecting her or Troye’s own experiences, then whatever. But that’s not the problem with “1999.” As with “2002” and “Big When I Was Little” and “I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker” before it, the problem with this type of nostalgia-dump song is that it resorts to historical flattening in the hope that you’ll relate to something, anything, but leaving nothing but emptiness. This isn’t Charli’s fault, of course; this is the way our pop culture memory works. Just as YouTube Rewind agonizingly recaps the most inane moments of each year, entire decades — the ’90s and the ’80s and the ’70s — have been compressed into single nuggets of memory via VH1. There’s no effort to incorporate the nostalgia into anything resembling human; instead these songs and shows rely on signifiers to evoke a feeling of escapism, but there isn’t any. Charli’s gone on record numerous times about how much she hates “Break the Rules.” I’ll give that Sucker hasn’t aged very well and comes off as a cautiously fun album plagued by major label stipulations. But as far as music cynically made to relate to as many people as possible goes, is this much different?
[2]

William John: I didn’t give any points to a song with a very similar conceit to “1999” earlier this year, mostly because I found the way the said conceit was represented, in that case, wholly unconvincing. Nostalgia for childhood’s alleged simplicity, especially when it’s flaunted vapidly, isn’t my favourite pop songwriting trope. I think the difference between “1999” and “2002” — aside from 3 — is that I can believe that Charli XCX — who’s genuflected to Britney in interviews and on social media since the early days of her career — was enthralled by “…Baby One More Time” as a seven year old, and that there is a true romance in reminiscing for that time. On the other hand, I still find the notion of Anne-Marie dancing in a forest to songs that did not yet exist too ludicrous to swallow. There’s also a good sense of camp to “1999” that I’m endeared by — frantic house piano stabs, hurried and dramatic mumbling from Troye Sivan, bratty babbling at the end of the second verse — and Charli’s always charismatic vocal, which seems to be elevated rather than diminished by AutoTune, provides further gloss. 
[7]

Katherine St Asaph: In 1999, Home Improvement was about to end and thus Jonathan Taylor Thomas was past his MTV prime. The last time JTT was on MTV, in 1997 for the due-for-a-reboot Rock N’ Jock Basketball, Troye Sivan was two, at least a decade too young for a breathy sharp-focus “and he’s right there” musical-sexual fantasy. But it doesn’t matter, since the video director can’t tell “JTT” from “JT” and dresses Troye up like Justin Timberlake instead. That’s about the level of detail we’re dealing with here. Like “2002,” “1999” presents a flimsy version of its year, free of rock, R&B, and non-Eminem rap. Absent, too, are the massive hits from 1999 that are still influential today: “No Scrubs” (Raye fodder, shape of “Shape of You”); “Believe” (autotune ur-text, delivered by the beloved star of Mamma Mia 2); “All Star” (except every meme goes different), or a certain other famous song, re-released in 1999. Did Prince’s estate object? I’m assured there are lawyers and musicologists approving these major-label nostalgia grabs, so the credits are weird. Charli’s interpolation of “…Baby One More Time” is the exact same interpolation as “2002” in word count and similarity to the original melody — none, probably on purpose — but this time the writers aren’t credited. Nor is Max Martin, who suggested to Charli that brilliant lyrical addition that’d soon show up in an Anne-Marie song; our supposed all-seeing chessmaster of pop is actually two thousand and late. But the writers we do have are Oscar Holter and writer Noonie Bao, a Cameron’s Titanic-sized step up from Benny Blanco and Ed Sheeran. And crucially, their song isn’t nostalgic for 1999 but for 2009: the year of steely electropop, of “Sexy Bitch,” Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams,” Kid Cudi’s “Day ‘n’ Nite,” Lady Gaga and Keri Hilson’s silicone-sleek voices, and Charli’s own pop demos on MySpace. That nostalgia, I share. Extra point because Troye pre-emptively clowned this with his “2012 Song” and “2013 Song.”
[6]

Nicholas Donohoue: If there is one strength to the paper-thin “2002,” Anne-Marie at least kept her nostalgia fixed to a year she was indeed in youthful longing for. This however does not change the fact that the early 2000s suck, while the late ’90s were… maybe not great, but there were things to form strong attachments too (hence why the ’90s kids memes did have such an overlap with people whose formative years were not in the ’90s.) On that alone, “1999” has the better reason for existing. It’s also better production, more exact references, a pophead’s dream pairing… and yet, at the end of it all, even pretending to be in 1999 sounds more exhausting than joyous.
[4]

Alfred Soto: If Sivan and Charli want to evoke those frisky go-go late Clinton years, they could use tougher beats and something else besides that jackhammer piano. Sivan himself is light as meringue, so I assumed he and the sentimentality would be a better mesh. Charli, who boasts the more powerful voice, has proven impervious to nostalgia — I can’t imagine her in any era but the present. On the evidence of the friction-free songwriting she provides no convincing reason to go back either. 
[3]

Edward Okulicz: The narrow focus in Charli XCX’s memories doesn’t bother me so much — if she was 7, she’d remember the hits of 1999 that were most to her liking, and Britney and Eminem are pretty obvious standard-bearers. What bothers me is the sheer banality of her writing and the hyperactive but bland performance. She doesn’t create something compelling by evoking these artists, she’s just using them as a soundtrack within her narrative of the most clichéd childhood memories. Adult life is complicated and childhood was carefree! How interesting. There’s no real excitement in her nostalgia for the pop of yore or any sense of longing for simpler times. It’s just Charli XCX Doing Charli XCX with her 5am Party Voice with a tepid verse from Troye Sivan. I bet the two of them would have the time of their life driving around at night pumping “…Baby One More Time,” and I would definitely watch that on YouTube sooner than listen to this.
[4]

John Seroff: Charli’s “Focus” might end up being a top ten single of the year for me, and Sivan’s Timberlake thirst is kinda cute, but the emblematic lyric “no money / no problem / it was easy back then” is the sort of flimsy, privileged, rear-view optimism I imagine Republican party nominees of 2040 running on; lest we forget, ’99 was months after the lynching of Matthew Shepard. Additional points docked for the video’s T-Boz and Chilli erasure, daring to co-opt a title that Prince owns outright, and for mostly forgetting to make the song to accompany this meme.
[2]

Jessica Doyle: American Beauty was rancid from the get-go: Chris Cooper’s character was a collection of nasty stereotypes, Annette Bening’s character was one nasty stereotype, and the movie concluded by asking you to feel good about the guy who decided not to sleep with his teenage daughter’s vulnerable best friend. Why taint your exercise in nostalgia with callbacks to the likes of that? Or, for that matter, anything about 1999 from the point of view of a gay man: the best case for the year is that it wasn’t 1998 (the year Matthew Shepard was murdered) or 1996 (the year the Defense of Marriage Act was passed) and, hey, only 15,000 deaths in the United States from AIDS that year! (2015: less than half that.) And again: hasn’t the whole point of all the conversations of the last five years, all the call-outs and call-ins and cancellations and general spread of bad feelings, that we might know better and do better? That we should? That as fashionable as it is to run around declaring how terrible everything is (we were doing that in 1999 too, trust me), a sense of perspective is not only wise but necessary? What’s the exercise in shallow self-indulgence and pointlessness: “1999,” or all the rest of it?
[0]

Taylor Alatorre: One of the songs that defines my memories of the ’90s is “Wanna Be a Baller,” released as a single in 1999. Lil’ Troy was the Dirty South DJ Khaled, assembling four Houston rappers whose skills ranged from dependable to middling, and one local hook singer who with six resonant lines cemented his immortality. Of course, when the song was crossing over to the Dallas-area pop stations that year, I didn’t know any of this; I was 6 years old and most of my music came from Radio Disney. Yet there’s something primordial in my attachment to this song about blunt wraps and 20-inch rims, as if it imprinted on me the first time I heard it. Did that happen when my dad left the dial on KISS-FM for a few minutes too long, or was it so ubiquitous at the time that it simply permeated the North Texas air? At its core, “1999” is a song about listening to “Wanna Be a Baller” (or “…Baby One More Time,” or “My Name Is”) and imagining yourself as being much cooler back then than you actually were. Yes, of course Troye Sivan wasn’t actually fantasizing about MTV heartthrobs as a preschooler, and I at least hope Charli wasn’t really playing air guitar on the roof, but that’s the entire point. It’s not about actual childhood memories but rather the mediation of those memories through years of identity formation and constant social conditioning. There’s a reason they both pronounce it “ninety-ninety-nine,” because Ninety-Ninety-Nine is a time and place that doesn’t exist; it’s anything you want it to be. In that sense it’s pandering, but the Mustardized house-pop production makes that clear from the outset. This is a populist, revisionist dance party where everyone (within a certain age range) is invited, no matter how early they fell asleep on Y2K Eve. You don’t need to believe in the Fourth Turning to realize that someone was going to make this song eventually. Don’t be mad at these guys just because they got there first.
[9]

Joshua Copperman: Fun fact — The Simpsons jumped the shark the day after I was born. I’ve spent my adolescence and early adulthood around people being nostalgic for the ’90s, where apparently everything was great. According to Steven Hyden, writing half-ironically, “Bill Clinton was getting blown in the White House, and the majority of Americans didn’t care because they were in such a good mood.” James Murphy made fun of those with borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered ’80s, and now it’s the ’90s turn. And that’s when this song goes from kind of cute to horribly depressing. Charli XCX is compelling when she sounds like “the music of the future,” and Troye Sivan has been rightfully acclaimed for capturing what it’s like to be a queer young man right now. But “1999” looks to the past in a way that becomes even worse when it turns out Max Martin suggested the reference to his own song, so now it’s just Martin self-flagellating over glory days in the form of people half his age. Besides, in 1999, Charli was seven, Troye was four, and I was two. At least everyone who wrote “2002” was in the age range. It’s an ode to a past we were never in, released in a present that’s coming undone for queer people in front of our faces, and a song that won’t be remembered in the future even if we get one.
[3]

Jonathan Bradley: I’m exactly the right age to purse my lips at a Baudrillardian rendering of a time period I encountered second by second and not as simulacra, but I’m also exactly the right age to remember how much Bowling for Soup’s “1985” sucked. Imagine I weren’t so churlish: this has a better hook than anything Charli’s recorded since “Break the Rules” — though that says more about her recent quality than that of this song.
[4]

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Charli XCX is a pop accelerationist, taking the core of every piece of nostalgia-pop of recent vintage (“Hey, the past was good! Don’t you remember these things from then?”) and stripping away all pretensions to something more. The result is compelling and sickening all at once– it’s simultaneously in on its own joke (Charli does a Michael Jackson impression, briefly, and Troye’s dramatic, showstopping bridge ends with him repeating the phrase “right there” until it looses itself from all meaning) and too deeply enmeshed in the pursuit of pop success to actually critique it. On the whole, though, “1999” works, ingratiating itself to you by virtue of its sheer persistence in the pursuit of a flimsy past.
[7]

Danilo Bortoli: In 2011, Simon Reynolds published Retromania, a study on the effects of nostalgia on popular culture. I remember the conversation surrounding it on Twitter and Facebook and the many different reactions people had while confronting it. Streaming services were in their infancy and social media itself looked, in comparison, still threatened by our old iterations of blogs. Seven years on, Simon Reynolds’s book reads as a nonsensical rambling. Partially because it ignored the fact that the internet is irony; partially because it ignored the internet itself. There are many things Retromania got wrong, but the most patent has to do with our supposed addiction with nostalgia. Instead of Reynold’s own version of aura (a hidden, metaphysical entity forcing us to look at the past hopefully), there is an outspoken preference towards nostalgia which is linked to the internet itself. That explains the absurd nature of PC Music’s existence since 2013, the rapid rise and fall of vaporwave, those infinite Bandcamp subcultures, our own concept of “bedroom pop,” and so on. Nostalgia is no longer a feeling towards something; it acts as a disposable being entirely. Whereas Retromania pictured nostalgia as an involuntary reflex, history proved there is fun in messing with the past. Which brings us to “1999”: Charli XCX’s past relationship with PC Music proved she is self-aware to the point of parody. But “1999” is actually self-aware of its self-awareness. It’s shameless. It’s idiotic, yet it is full of life (other peoples’ lives). It thrives on the gamification of its own references (incredibly, I do not want to listen to “Baby One More Time” right after the chorus). In a way, “1999” is as if the internet had turned itself into a pop song — and, sure, the masterpiece of a video does not let me lie. It’s a testament to the power that pop music has always held: the power to brilliantly and shamelessly regurgitate ideas,  tear apart worldviews, shape narratives and, more importantly, offer relief and distraction. Nostalgia, as we see, can be distracting, but, as said, “1999” acknowledges its embarrassment. Mainly because these things are circular: Charli XCX is not the first to present you to things you joke about with your friends in your living room. Yet “1999” sounds and feels like an Event. The point where and when the internet, the only place nobody cares what you think of nostalgia, is condensed in a pop song, and the zeitgeist rests now again updated. The rare moment we shall say, in all caps: I LOVE POP MUSIC. 
[10]

Reader average: [6] (15 votes)

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39 Responses to “Charli XCX ft. Troye Sivan – 1999”

  1. I didn’t put this in my blurb because it was already too long, but the main reason why this works where “2002” didn’t is because “1999” is focused on drilling down a specific type of nostalgia, whereas Anne-Marie’s song switches back and forth between different modes of nostalgia so frequently that it ends up evoking nothing beyond itself. The weird time skip from 11 to 18 years old takes away any sort of immediacy and brings to mind the horrors of Lukas Graham. “1999” has its share of vapid lyrics, but one lyric – “does anyone remember how we did it back then?” has more to say about how nostalgia actually works than the entirety of “2002.” And while Eurodance was at least something that was still around in the late 90s, all the references in “2002”‘s chorus can’t hide the fact that it’s very clearly a 2018 Ed Sheeran joint.

  2. before anyone asks I know Julia Michaels also worked on “2002” but Ed Sheeran was mostly responsible for pushing it as a single, and I think for the interpolation chorus as well.

  3. i love everyone’s take but especially katherine, who caught that it is indeed JTT and not JT! (my first celebrity crush!) and further that really just nails how this song is both a good mimic of memory (unreliable) and a bad monument to a fixed moment in time

  4. mostly surprised only two people mentioned prince!

  5. I love everyone’s writing here (and Taylor OTM here with analysis of how this works vs “2002”); I should also mention that I really honest-to-god hate overdrawn nostalgia for the 90s, so I was extremely surprised that I love this song in particular.

  6. testing a theory here: did everyone who reviewed this and was eighteen and over in 1999 dislike this song? were all the good reviews from folks 25 and under? no shade, just curious.

  7. what if you are neither of those things

  8. I’m the same age as Charli, so nah

  9. #BornIn1995

  10. I love 90s nostalgia and I don’t like this song.

    Contra the saying about the 60s, if you remember the 90s, you were probably there, and you also don’t want anyone younger than you remembering it.

  11. I am also the same age as Charli #1992

  12. 1997 and moderately positive on this– unclear what this means for the correlation

  13. LMFAO will with the I <3 the 70's shade. When i was a kid i watched that show for every decade they did.

  14. Born in ’93 but I’m not predisposed to liking 90s nostalgia, because I think venerating it as a time of unrivaled peace and prosperity is just as dangerous as doing so for the 50s (and possibly more so, given that the 90s still has somewhat of a bipartisan appeal to it).

    That said, nobody gave “Summer of ’69” shit for not talking about the Cambodian bombing campaign, so I’m not going to fault Charli and Troye for failing to mention, like, the Financial Services Modernization Act.

  15. a time of unrivaled peace and prosperity

    I’ll see Katherine’s surprise at just two Prince references and raise my surprise at no Battle in Seattle references (in the blurbs, not the song).

    I am old enough to remember 8-Track Flashback.

  16. I’m also in neither of John’s groups so I guess my score fits

  17. Didn’t have time to review this but I love it because it actually sounds 90s. Charli has been saving pop music for the past couple of years tbh.

  18. Better than Bowling for Soup’s “1985”, not as good as Aqua’s “Back to the 80s”.

  19. That said, nobody gave “Summer of ’69” shit for not talking about the Cambodian bombing campaign

    I think it’s because quite a lot of people had already worked out that the song wasn’t actually about 1969.

  20. When I heard this on the car radio at the weekend my first thought was ‘but this doesn’t sound like garage at all’ – dance pop in 1999 for me was Shanks & Bigfoot, Basement Jaxx, Oxide & Neutrino. All aboard the Vengabus, dudes. (Full disclosure: I also listened to the Stereophonics and Counting Crows a lot in 1999, it was a troubling year in many respects.)

  21. I’m really confused by the idea that this sounds ‘90s? I hear Katherine’s 2009 touchstone, but I can’t think of anything that was around at the time that sounds like this. (Maaaaaybe the synths are a bit at the more bougie end of garage, but the drums are so wrong.) Pop was doing the big shiny Cheiron sound or S Club bubblegum, dance was big budget trance or 2-step or Eurocheese, rock was in bedroom mode or shiny Warped/Family Values, rap was Dre, Swizz, Cash Money. What do y’all hear?

  22. (And now I’m wondering who the 1999 equivalent of Charli was, and what she would have sounded like. Could the pop landscape of the time have accommodated her?)

  23. i think part of what makes me like “1999” is that it doesn’t sound at all like 1999 but it does sound vaguely like what someone who wasn’t really alive/fully aware in 1999 would think it would sound like

  24. maybe this is why lol old people don’t like it

    In my heart I am still on the Vengabus

  25. “what if you are neither of those things”
    certainly not suggesting that group doesn’t exist but – based on my SJ writer xls – there’s certainly some correlation.
    anyways, weird that such a minor (imo) song spilled so much ink!

  26. Switched on Pop came out with a great episode on this song dissecting the 90s-ness (or lack of it) and the way that music this year has been approached 90s nostalgia (yes, 2002 is covered); I listened to it yesterday after I’d done my review and it was pretty eye-opening, especially with some comparisons to actual Britney. http://www.switchedonpop.com/charli-xcx-and-troye-sivan-love-the-90s/

  27. tbh I chose 2009 because it fit better thematically but this also sounds like Disclosure’s “White Noise”

  28. Lots of good points here. Really liked Taylor’s blurb even before I got to the mouseover.

    One thing I’d note is that only one of the five people involved in performing or writing this is American (Leland), so to whatever degree it actually represents a memory bound by specific time or geography, it probably won’t be an American one.

    I’ve also realised that this is a more overdone “Acceptable In The 80s”, which Calvin Harris always said was essentially meaningless, but, no doubt helped by a video with appropriately vapid, absurdist representations of particular ideas about the 80s, has soundtracked LOL 80s montages ever since. Canny guy.

  29. Oh and I figure that “1999” is for people born in 2002; “2002” is for people created in a lab last week.

  30. Yeah, it doesn’t sound like an American’s 1999 but it sure as heck doesn’t sound like an Australian’s, and I doubt it sounds like a Brit’s either. I guess maybe Troye could have had an interest in the 90s and looked up who were the hot boys on TV and in the teen girl magazines at the time. I worked in a newsagent’s (newsstand for Americans haha) from ’99 to ’02 and used to read just about every non-pornographic magazine on sale from front to back, and I do still remember there being some JTT, but there was a lot more James Van Der Beek and Joshua Jackson as far as Which TV-Star Boy Is The Cutest. Despite all this, I never developed a taste for pretty boys.

    Around this time was when I finally got access to pay TV and more channels and and thus could finally watch Top of the Pops, and also frequently consumed a made-for-Japan UK chart show called Beat UK (of which the internet remembers very little), and so I consider that for a non-Brit I was fairly switched on to UK pop trends, and this isn’t the 1999 I absorbed from slavishly following the UK charts, which is very very similar to Kat’s memories above. (also, it sounds nothing like “…Baby One More Time” as j.brad points out, and if it sounds like any Eminem single — which it doesn’t, really — the closest would be “Without Me” from 2002 but even then the beat is totally anachronistic there too).

  31. Idk the chorus sounds very 90s to me, it has the same bouncy energy and similar-sounding synths to “Barbie Girl” and other europop songs from that period.

  32. Whoops just realized “Barbie Girl” came out in 1997 not 1999.

  33. For my two cents, I’m way too tired at an abundance of self awareness which 1999 almost by definition has to base itself. To get slightly rockist, I kind of like when a song about nostalgia can be about the nostalgia, and not the periphery. Also, 1995 baby here and this song made me wield a walking stick yelling at the youths to get off my existential nonexistent lawn.

  34. …Baby One More Time is a far better song than Toxic, and this is a hill I absolutely will die on

  35. fun song but i’m pretty sure charli like consciously copied kimbra’s “90s music,” which managed to make nostalgia something haunting and way more meaningful, and was well reviewed by some people on here. it’s worth revisiting.

    http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=11437

  36. fun song but i’m pretty sure charli like consciously copied kimbra’s “90s music”
    http://www.thesinglesjukebox.com/?p=11437

  37. Late to all of this, but: 28, vividly remember the American pop of the late ’90s and like this song (though I’m still waiting to ever really care about Troye Sivan, ever); this does not sound ’90s to me in any real way; even as someone deeply skeptical of nostalgia, I found the video delightful; this is so much better than “2002” that I just can’t countenance a comparison; this is a spectacular set of blurbs and comments. Good work, all!

  38. Long time no comment — so I’m going through controversy ratings for this year and uh, this is the most controversial song we’ve had since 2010! Weirdly, overall this is our LEAST controversial year, with the most consensus ever, I think. Will let you know when I’m done.

  39. Ah hadn’t updated 2017(!) with the bonkers Taylor Swift score (33 contributors broke my weighting system) so that one is our GOAT…er COAT? But this is still #1. I was born in 1984 and I’d give it a 6 but I’d give “2002” an 8.