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Party Like Its 1999

Via Lemieux and Roxanne a thrilling new meme. Head over here, punch the year you graduated from high school into the search box, and find the top 100 songs of your graduation year. Ergo, the Top 100 of 1999:

1. Believe, Cher
2. No Scrubs, TLC
3. Angel Of Mine, Monica
4. Heartbreak Hotel, Whitney Houston
5. ...Baby One More Time, Britney Spears
6. Kiss Me, Sixpence None The Richer
7. Genie In A Bottle, Christina Aguilera
8. Every Morning, Sugar Ray
9. Nobody's Supposed To Be Here, Deborah Cox
10. Livin' La Vida Loca, Ricky Martin
11. Where My Girls At?, 702
12. If You Had My Love, Jennifer Lopez
13. Slide, Goo Goo Dolls
14. Have You Ever?, Brandy
15. I Want It That Way, Backstreet Boys
16. I'm Your Angel, R. Kelly and Celine Dion
17. All Star, Smash Mouth
18. Angel, Sarah McLachlan
19. Smooth, Santana Featuring Rob Thomas
20. Unpretty, TLC
21. Bills, Bills, Bills, Destiny's Child
22. Save Tonight, Eagle-Eye Cherry
23. Last Kiss, Pearl Jam
24. Fortunate, Maxwell
25. All I Have To Give, Backstreet Boys
26. Bailamos, Enrique Iglesias
27. What's It Gonna Be?!, Busta Rhymes Featuring Janet
28. What It's Like, Everlast
29. Fly Away, Lenny Kravitz
30. Someday, Sugar Ray
31. Lately, Divine
32. That Don't Impress Me Much, Shania Twain
33. Wild Wild West, Will Smith Featuring Dru Hill and Kool Moe Dee
34. Scar Tissue, Red Hot Chili Peppers
35. Heartbreaker, Mariah Carey Featuring Jay-Z
36. I Still Believe, Mariah Carey
37. The Hardest Thing, 98 Degrees
38. Summer Girls, LFO
39. Can I Get A..., Jay-Z Featuring Amil (Of Major Coinz) and Ja
40. Jumper, Third Eye Blind
41. Doo Wop (That Thing), Lauryn Hill
42. Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...), Lou Bega
43. Sweet Lady, Tyrese
44. It's Not Right But It's Okay, Whitney Houston
45. (God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You, 'N Sync
46. Lullaby, Shawn Mullins
47. Anywhere, 112 Featuring Lil'Z
48. Tell Me It's Real, K-Ci and JoJo
49. Back 2 Good, Matchbox 20
50. 808, Blaque
51. She's So High, Tal Bachman
52. She's All I Ever Had, Ricky Martin
53. Miami, Will Smith
54. Hands, Jewel
55. Who Dat, JT Money Featuring Sole
56. Please Remember Me, Tim McGraw
57. From This Moment On, Shania Twain
58. Love Like This, Faith Evans
59. You, Jesse Powell
60. Trippin', Total Featuring Missy Elliott
61. If You (Lovin' Me), Silk
62. Ex-Factor, Lauryn Hill
63. Give It To You, Jordan Knight
64. Black Balloon, Goo Goo Dolls
65. Spend My Life With You, Eric Benet Featuring Tamia
66. These Are The Times, Dru Hill
67. I Don't Want To Miss A Thing, Mark Chesnutt
68. I Do (Cherish You), 98 Degrees
69. Because Of You, 98 Degrees
70. I Will Remember You (Live), Sarah McLachlan
71. Chante's Got A Man, Chante Moore
72. Happily Ever After, Case
73. My Love Is Your Love, Whitney Houston
74. All Night Long, Faith Evans Featuring Puff Daddy
75. Back That Thang Up, Juvenile Featuring Mannie Fresh and Lil' Wayne
76. Almost Doesn't Count, Brandy
77. Man! I Feel Like A Woman!, Shania Twain
78. Steal My Sunshine, Len
79. I Need To Know, Marc Anthony
80. So Anxious, Ginuwine
81. Faded Pictures, Case and Joe
82. Back At One, Brian McKnight
83. When A Woman's Fed Up, R. Kelly
84. How Forever Feels, Kenny Chesney
85. Amazed, Lonestar
86. Sometimes, Britney Spears
87. Ghetto Cowboy, Mo Thugs Family Featuring Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
88. Out Of My Head, Fastball
89. Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem), Jay-Z
90. Jamboree, Naughty By Nature Featuring Zhane
91. Take Me There, BLACKstreet and Mya Featuring Mase and Blinky Blink
92. Stay The Same, Joey McIntyre
93. Lesson In Leavin', Jo Dee Messina
94. Iris, Goo Goo Dolls
95. Satisfy You, Puff Daddy Featuring R. Kelly
96. Better Days (And The Bottom Drops Out), Citizen King
97. Music Of My Heart, 'N Sync and Gloria Estefan
98. Write This Down, George Strait
99. When You Believe, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey
100. God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You, Alabama Featuring 'N Sync

Like any Top 100 list there's obviously a heavy bias toward commercial crap here, but in retrospect I think it's largely defensible commercial crap except for the 98 Degrees stuff. I had no idea, however, that "Kiss Me" was more popular than "Every Morning," "Livin' La Vida Loca," and "Genie in a Bottle" which I recalled as the truly inescapable songs of the era.

August 30, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (28) | TrackBack

Intended Audiences

Sex differences are clearly a touchy subject, but sometimes its rears its head in unexpected places. Reading Dana Stevens' take on Entourage for example, one is led to wonder why, really, we should care what a woman thinks about the show. If you've seen the program and understand the economics of HBO, it's pretty clear that she's not supposed to like it. In a sense, of course, the intrinsic demographic/genre limitations of the series might be thought to limit its potential to be Great Art, but then again it's silly to equate broadness of appeal with quality. I wouldn't really defend Entourage as truly excellent drama, but I would defend The Wire on those terms and yet -- without making any claim that the difference is necessarily rooted in biology -- I also would expect the vast majority of women to find the show unappealing.

August 29, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Cato The Institute

Folks who watched Rome on HBO last night may have noticed that one of the shows "ripped from the headlines of 2,000 years ago" characters was a fellow named "Cato" -- an aristocrat who pushes policies favorable to the Republic's wealthier citizens but also takes an anti-militarist line. Just like, you know, a certain libertarian think tank. Which is to say that the think tank in question is called the "Cato Institute" -- like Cato the Roman guy -- and not, as so many liberals seem to think the "CATO Institute" which would be some kind of acronym standing for God knows what.

This would be simpler if the Cato Institute were actually named after Cato. Instead, according to the Cato site it "is named for Cato's Letters, a series of libertarian pamphlets that helped lay the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution." Cato's Letters, however, were in the great 18th century tradition of adopting classical pseudonyms in political writing and designed to identify the authors with the Roman Catos. The show portrays Cato the Younger, but his great-grandfather Cato the Elder was also an important politician, though not much of a libertarian (i.e., "His regulations against luxury were very stringent").

August 29, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack


Over at The American Scene their kidding around about the case against the American Revolution. I think I've noted this before, but while the Patriot posture strikes me as eminently justifiable given the realities of British thinking on the issue at the time, it does seem to me that one ought to regret the fact of the War and American Independence. It seems to me that a more conciliatory posture on the part of the British, allowing the colonies to accept some Canada/Australia-esque relationship to the Empire would have produced superior outcomes over the long term. Notably, that kind of super-charged British Empire would either have won WWI more quickly (somewhat superior to the actual outcome) or else felt sufficiently secure to sit the thing out (much better than the actual outcome) or else would have been sufficiently intimidating to intimidate the Germans out of their brinksmanship in the first place (even better).

The X-Factor in this analysis, however, is what the consequences would have been for the fate of slavery in the South....

August 26, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack

I Have Seen The Future...

... and it's rather grim. In the course of making what strikes me as some sound points, Laura at 11D remarks: "I've had a tough day. Ian had four accidents (after two weeks dry)." One imagines that most of our mothers could have blogged something similar at some point during our respective childhoods and that all of us are very glad that such posts do not, in fact, exist out there in the world of Google. Just saying.

August 26, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (33) | TrackBack

Better Condemnations Needed

I always think opportunistic pop culture bashing politicians are curiously unimaginative in their targets. Kanye West's "Gold Digger" strikes me as something that would be a good choice:

18 years, 18 years

She got one of yo kids got you for

18 years I know somebody payin child support for one of his kids

His baby momma's car and crib is bigger than his

You will see him on TV

Any Given Sunday Win the Superbowl and drive off in a Hyundai

She was suppose to buy ya shorty TYCO with ya money

She went to the doctor got lypo with ya money

She walkin around lookin like Michael with ya money

Should of got that insured got GEICO for ya moneeey If

you aint no punk holla

We Want Prenup WE WANT PRENUP!,


It's something that you need to have

Cause when she leave yo ass she gone leave with half

18 years, 18 years

And on her 18th birthday he found out it wasn't his
Does the African-American community really need more anti-marriage messages? Fantasia's "Baby Mama", of course, makes the natural counterpoint. Great songs both, and I wish everyone would leave musicians alone, but if you want to be an opportunist, better that it be done well. Meanwhile, Elbert Ventura in TNR makes the case for à la carte.

August 25, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Brett Easton Ellis

I haven't read Lunar Park yet, but I like all his other books so I'm looking forward to it. I also liked Meghan O'Rourke's brief defense of his general approach near the end of her LP review:

What galls critics is that Ellis doesn't much care for the idea that the novel is a form uniquely equipped to translate consciousness. The most telling piece about Ellis to date is Norman Mailer's essay in Vanity Fair in 1991, which appeared shortly before the controversial publication of American Psycho. First Mailer praises Ellis for taking on "intolerable" subject matter. Then he complains that American Psycho fails because it doesn't teach us something about the mind of a serial killer that we didn't know before: "We cannot go out on such a trip unless we believe we will end up knowing more … of the real inner life of the murderer." [Emphasis added.]

But Mailer's critique leaves out the possibility that there's nothing to be learned by plumbing the "real" inner life of a serial killer—that such a person is a sociopath, doesn't have a conscience, and isn't fundamentally like us. It also assumes that understanding motivations should be the primary accomplishment of a novel. Ellis has never subscribed to this model in the first pace. (His first novel, written when he was 10, was about a man who woke up as a pancake.) His prose is uncomfortable and distinctive. He worships at the throne of stylists like Hemingway, Didion, Beattie. Yet he resists making the art in the work plain. He has a cool attachment to the planes of sentences, but he's just as happy to mess with them, overstuffing them like duck livers. His books invoke the unnerving quality of banal things set against the right backdrop: They're about atmosphere more than anything else. If the substance of Ellis' critiques is not itself all that interesting—the suburbs are boring, models are vapid—the visceral experience of reading them is. Numbness is a feeling, too, and sustained flatness, while not at all naturalistic, has its own impact.

That seems correct to me, although obviously most of the audience for works of fiction is looking for something rather different from their books, and I don't wind up being much of a fiction enthusiast. Greenlanders which I'm just about done with, however, is superb, but, again, it sort of seems like a novel ideally designed to appeal to people who don't like reading novels all that much.

August 23, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (30) | TrackBack

The Road Not Taken

Apparently when I was in Iceland I should have gone whitewater rafting. Too bad. It's unquestionably true, however, that Iceland goes from cool to supercool when you get out of Reykjavik. I'm not really one to wax eloquent about natural beauty, but there's an awful lot of cool shit going down there. As someone or other suggested in comments, I should probably take the chance to visit some of America's national parks out west one of these days.

August 21, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (46) | TrackBack

Even More Photos

I'm back in America, but the photos keep coming. This is a kind of Reykjavik potpurri.

August 18, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (30) | TrackBack

Geysir Photos

I had to shift to another nearby town because, apparently, all the hotels in Reykjavik are booked up. Nevertheless, my fears of internetlessness proved unwarranted since the girl at the desk here gave me some freebie Siminn cards. So here's a photo set of the Geysir area I put together while waiting in the bus station. Now off to see some stuff.

August 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (22) | TrackBack