Top 10 Videos That Defined The OG TRL

Today, a new generation of kids will be introduced to Total Request Live, a fan-voted music video countdown show on a network that’s become known for not showing music videos. Of course, for millions of millennials across the country, TRL is a trigger for a time in your life where you either watched it religiously, or didn’t give a shit about the most popular TV show amongst your peers.

For me, I fell into the first category, making it a point to be sitting in front of the TV home alone at 3:30pm, relaxing after school and hoping my faves would make the countdown. I taped it when I wasn’t home, voted multiple times on the phone and online, and true story: was even the “TRL Fan of the Week” in 2002. Carson Daly said my name, my profile was featured on the website, and I use it as the one-line bio for my internet profiles.

Carson Daly not only hosted the show and introduced all the videos, but he interviewed the hottest stars in not just music, but TV, movies and more in the heart of Times Square. Today, Carson is a permanent fixture a few blocks away at The Today Show and the hosts of the new TRL are DC Young Fly, Tamara Dhia, Amy Pham, Erik Zachary and Lawrence Jackson, who are all apparently people that would entice the kids to watch TRL. Oh, but that’s not all. The revamped TRL also includes “content creators” Liza Koshy and the Dolan Twins, while Eva Gutowski, Gabbie Hanna and Gigi Gorgeous will be the show’s social media correspondents. Because it’s 2017. Again, I had to vote for music videos via telephone.

I might be slightly out of touch with the youngins these days and not recognize a lot of the artists on TRL’s new countdown, but what I can tell you is that our TRL featured iconic artists and music videos that defined a generation. Here’s (my) list of top 10 videos that made a huge impact on the show and will always be remembered in the TRL era.

10 – Ricky Martin, Livin’ La Vida Loca

Ah, the song that introduced the Latin heartthrob to anyone that wasn’t a Menudo or General Hospital fan. He was sexy, his songs were catchy, and his bon bon shook that made women (and men) fall intro a trance. Livin’ La Vida Loca is arguably Ricky’s biggest hit, but it helped also reintroduce Latin music into the mainstream again, with stars like Marc Anthony, Shakira and Enrique Igelsias becoming chart-toppers too. The video was a staple on TRL and even won Best Pop Video and Best Dance Video (because there’s a lot of dancing?) at the ’99 VMAs.

9 – Limp Bizkit, Nookie

I admit it: I was a teenybopper. I had an aversion to rock bands (white guys), but jumped on the bandwagon if said rock bands were featured on TRL (or were liked by the boys I had crushes on in middle school). Nookie of course was one of Limp Bizkit’s biggest mainstream hits, but it was also their first number one video on the TRL chart, and I still think Carson Daly had something rigged to get his pal Fred Durst on the show.

8 – Destiny’s Child, Survivor

Destiny’s Child had been around long before Survivor – in fact, the first iteration with Letoya and Latavia made the rounds early on with hits like Say My Name and Bills, Bills, Bills but they hit the jackpot when Michelle came in and because DC3 as we know them today. Survivor was all about strong independent women, and the camo lewk was one that many teen girls attempted to create.

7 – Christina Aguilera, Come on Over

You know what MTV should actually reboot? Making the Video. I specifically remember Xtina giving us a behind-the-scenes look for this music video, which made it all the more exciting to watch when it was on TRL. This era was prime time for pop princesses like Christina, which is why it’s hard to choose just one for her on this list. Genie in a Bottle? Yup. What a Girl Wants. Yessir. Dirrrty? Mhm. I really miss the late 90s.

6 – Kid Rock, Bawitdaba

Listen, I hate that I have to even put Kid Rock anywhere on the blog but here we are. This song still makes no sense to me, but it was catchy and crossed the line of rock/metal/rap that the TRL generation hadn’t really seen before. It deserves a spot on this list, and now I’m done talking about Kid Rock.

5 – Blink 182, What’s My Age Again?

TRL was the accessible way for non-pop pop stars to make it in the mainstream, and Blink 182 took advantage of this by parodying all the pop stars who topped the TRL list. It was meta and it worked and was one of the most iconic videos (I know I keep saying that, but it’s true) of the TRL era.

4 – Britney Spears, Lucky

The real pop queen deserves multiple spots on this list, so like Christina, it was difficult to choose just one. Lucky featured Brit as a Hollywood star who, while she seemed happy, wealthy and healthy on the outside, wasn’t so much on the inside. #2007. I think this best describes the fame that came with her being one of the biggest stars to come out of the TRL era.

3 – Eminem, The Real Slim Shady

There weren’t many (if any) shows in the late 90s/early 2000s that allowed Eminem to be played next to Britney Spears in a daily countdown, but that was also the magic of TRL. Eminem (another one of Carson’s cronies) blew up during this time, and over the course of the decade the show was on, Em was number one nearly 100 times with various songs, so it was clear Slim Shady was the real deal.

2 – *NSYNC, Bye Bye Bye

I have only listened to Bye Bye Bye maybe like 10 times max in my entire life. Why? I was a teenybopper/Backstreet Boys fan who refused to hear *NSync’s biggest hit. I’d turn the station or channel any time it was on and have legit sat down at a wedding because it played at the reception (that happened this past June). But real recognized real. Boy bands dominated TRL, no more so that BSB and *NSync. I couldn’t tell you anything about this video because I’ve never watched it, but I CAN tell you I’m v familiar with the gif of JT as seen in the above still. V FAMILIAR WITH JT.

1 – Backstreet Boys, I Want It That Way

Am I biased? Yes. But am I wrong? Probably not. IWITW is easily the boys’ biggest hit and it was the song that started the mania. By the time their Millennium album released, IWITW was already a huge hit, and to celebrate, BSB took over TRL – and so did their fans who took over Times Square. It was insane. But it also showed the power that fans had over this show. TRL was ours. We felt like we had power in what we wanted to see on TV. We got to see our heroes either on TV or in person with some sort of weird ownership that we hadn’t felt before. And for the next generation’s sake, I hope they feel the same way too.

11 VMA Moments That Shaped My Adolescence

OMG U GUYZ THE MTV VMAS ARE THIS SUNDAY WHO ELSE IS EXCITED?!?!

Not me. But there was a time when that was me. When I was prime MTV target demographic, when I was impressionable and bought any artist that made it to the top 10 on TRL (see: Limp Bizkit and P.O.D. CDs in my childhood bedroom). Those formative years when I was a tween and eventual teen who was thriving at Backstreet Boys concerts and making websites on Geocities. Growing up, I was a teenybopper. I’m not gonna be ashamed about it. That’s just who I was. I was the girl who thought MTV was the coolest, the mecca of where all the celebs and musicians were featured. And the VMAs were my Super Bowl.

Back then, all my faves were either nominated, performing, or presenting, so it made sense that I was tuning in like a Michael Jackson popcorn GIF every year. And there were plenty of popcorn-GIF worthy moments that happened on the VMAs when I grew up. These are iconic and unforgettable performances – clips that takes me back to that time in my life when superstardom was out of reach and not a tweet away. Here are some of the MTV VMA moments that shaped my childhood. It’s crazy to think that Katy Perry and co. might have that same effect on tweens at this year’s ceremony. Guys, we are so old.

1994 ♦ Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley Make Out

Isn’t it weird to look back and think that the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s daughter was married to the King of Pop? Like, what even did they pay the music gods to get that love connection? Apparently not enough since their marriage didn’t last that long. However, this kiss is burned in my brain for eternity.

1995 ♦ Courtney Love bombs Madonna’s interview

I remember watching this live and having NO IDEA what was going on. But I don’t think Courtney Love did either. She wasn’t doing great at the time, but nevertheless, this is still rude. But alas, makes for great TV. Remember Kurt Loder? He is also part of my adolescence, which would be a weird thing to say to him IRL, I think.

1998 ♦ Mariah and Whitney Double Up

At the time this aired, I legit thought this was real. Like they definitely accidentally wore the same dress to the VMAs. I was concerned. Of course, it’s just a bit. I love bits. And I love Whitney Houston. Prince of Egypt forever.

1999 ♦ Diana Ross, Lil’ Kim and Lil Kim’s Lil’ Kim

Lil’ Kim’s outfit was outrageous then, and it continues to be even to this day. The 1999 VMAs were (and maybe continue to be?) my favorite VMAs ceremony of all time, and this is definitely one of the reasons why. I admit, I barely knew who Diana Ross was at the time, despite being obsessed with Phil Collins’ cover of The Supremes’ You Can’t Hurry Love. I didn’t know it was the same person! Anyways, I my mouth was agape when Diana bounced Lil’ Kim’s boob, and hoped that neither of my parents saw what had just happened as I watched the VMAs in our living room.

1999 ♦ Britney Spears and ‘N SYNC Take It Back To School

As I mentioned, 9.9.99 (it was on September 9th obvs) was a big year, particularly for pop music. It felt like it was at its height again, thanks to my boys BSB, Christina Aguilera, Britney, ‘N Sync, all the other boy bands, etc. This was one year after Tearin’ Up My Heart was released, but right around the time …Baby One More Time was becoming super popular. We all know the Britney/’N Sync relationship, but this was everything you could’ve wanted in a pop music performance on the VMAs. Singing, dancing, a school story, a surprise element of the ‘N Sync boys at the desks! As a BSB fan, I willingly admit this is and forever will be one of the best VMA performances in the show’s history.

1999 ♦ Backstreet Boys win the Viewer’s Choice VMA

As I mentioned, I am a BSB fan til the day I die, and 1999 was the height of BSB mania. Millennium had been released earlier that year, and the boys had basically shut down Times Square during their MTV special on release day. I was also at the height of my BSB mania, and voted non-stop in hopes they would win the Viewer’s Choice award against their rival (and mine), ‘N Sync. I remember jumping up and down, so ecstatic that “my” hard work paid off, and that my boys earned the much-deserved moonman. And yes, that white dude in the beginning pulled a Kanye before Kanye.

2000 ♦ Eminem and A Fuck Ton of Real Slim Shadys

Eminem also was a hot commodity in this era, releasing hit after hit after hit, including The Real Slim Shady. The song posits that there are many wannabes but only one Marshall Mathers, and because of that, he invited a whole lot of white guys in white t-shirts and jeans to be extras in his performance. Is this where my real fear of white men started? JK. A little.

2001 ♦ Britney and the Snake

I mean, obviously, right?

2002 ♦ Eminem vs. Moby and Christina Aguilera

Eminem wasn’t necessarily known to be a congenial person that got along with every artist that came across his path. He had beef with DJ Moby, which is why this awkward exchange with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog happened – right before Eminem won a moonman. Which as you can see from the clip, was handed to him by Christina Aguilera. If you recall, Em name-dropped Xtina in The Real Slim Shady, saying:

“Yo Shit, Christina Aguilera better switch me chairs
So I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst
And hear ’em argue over who she gave head to first
Little bitch, put me on blast on MTV
“Yeah, he’s cute, but I think he’s married to Kim, hee-hee!”
I should download her audio on MP3
And show the whole world how you gave Eminem VD”

Which makes this clip even more memorable (and chilly) thanks to the shade from Ms. Aguilera herself.

2003 ♦ Britney, Madonna and Christina, You Know

The Mickey Mouse Club Was nothing but a memory after this performance.

2011 ♦  Beyonce and Blue

This did not have a hold on my adolescence, but I was still very much awakened when B revealed she was preggo with Blue after singing Love on Top.

The Worst: Grammys Fashion Through the Years

Awards season continues this Sunday with the 56th annual Grammys, a brief distraction from the weekly January fete of movies and television. Like the grown-up version of the MTV VMAs, the Grammys are where the rules of the red carpet are thrown out the window. It’s a show for rockers, rappers, pop stars and singers who are artists and basically wear whatever the hell they want.

Over the years, there have a been quite a few stunning (I mean that in the way that ‘Oh my GOD I am stunned by the egg contraption Lady Gaga is arriving in’, not ‘Beyonce looks stunning in that gold gown’) outfits on the red carpet, and here are just a few to get you prepared for Sunday.

Annie Lennox (1984)

I’m gonna let you take a second and figure out which one is Annie Lennox. Okay good. Now remember when Lady Gaga became Jo Calderone? Yeah, Annie did it first.

Shirley Manson in Garbage – literally (1999)

There’s no better way to promote your own band than by sticking it to the front of your see through dress.

Jennifer Lopez in Versace (2000)

Ah, the infamous green Versace dress. I think this will go down as one of the most recognizable gowns in all of Grammys history. I remember when this happened and everyone making a reallly big deal out of it. 14 years later, it’s funny because I think people would still make a big deal out of it, despite all the Mileys and Lady Gagas of the world.

Christina Aguilera in Versace (2000)

The only thing that could make this more 2000/millennial is if Xtina was wearing butterfly clips in her hair to match the jeweled butterflies on her dress.

Missy Elliot in Versace (2000)

Supa Dupa Fly – and sharp.

Toni Braxton in Richard Tyler (2001)

Lawddd Toni, I know it’s LA but seriously wouldn’t you be cold in this dress? And by dress I mean piece of fabric cut like one of those paper snowflakes you make in elementary school.

Christina Aguilera in Trish Summerville (2001)

The 90s/00s weren’t the best for fashion and Christina wasn’t exempt from the horrors. I don’t know what to be more offended by – the dress that looks like pink fur or the cornrows.

Lil Kim in Chanel (2002)

Beep beep – who’s got the keys to my Chanel jeep? I think Lil Kim was hanging out with Sisqo a little too much.

Sheryl Crow in Henry Duarte (2002)

Honestly, who knew there was a period in Sheryl Crow’s life when she dressed like this? There is literally nothing she is wearing that is redeeming.

Alicia Keys in Christian Dior (2002)

I mean… it’s a nice… teal color?

Mary J Blige in Gucci (2004)

Mary J – you’re better than this. You’re better than a knock off version of Big Bird.

Imogen Heap in items picked from the earth (2007)

Imogen Heap OF TRASH, more like.

OkGo in tapestries (2007)

Two years after this abomination on the red carpet, OkGo went on to make this Grammy winning and viral video for Here It Goes Again, and that’s how most people were first introduced to them. Good thing their faces were covered at these Grammys because holy hell what in the actual fuck is this shit?

M.I.A. in House of Holland (2009)

*All I wanna do is BANG BANG BANG BANG and KACHINNGG dress you in something more appropriate for a woman who is about to pop out a human baby*

Nicki Minaj in Givenchy (2011)

Look, obviously Nicki Minaj has never been one to blend in with the crowd, but this is taking it too far. Even Elvira was probs like, ‘No, honey. No.’

Katy Perry in Armani Prive (2011)

I want to know what Katy’s (and her stylist’s) thought process was when picking this dress. Like, ‘Oh, I know what would make this BEYOND. ANGEL WINGS. YASS.’

Lady Gaga in Egg (2011)

Ok, we’re bouts to get personal for a second. In 2010 and 2011, I was lucky enough to be in the bleachers at the end of the red carpet at the Grammys. Both times, it was a complete blur, because every single artist that walked the red carpet was mere feet in front of me and I can’t even begin to list everyone I saw. From Beyonce to Rihanna to Miley, it was a veritable who’s who of the music business. In saying that, I was also there for this magic moment when Lady Gaga arrive in an egg.

There were rumblings trickling down the carpet, because obviously if Lady Gaga is coming to an event, you’re wondering what ridiculous getup she’s going to wear. This time around, it wasn’t what she was wearing that was buzzing about but what she was literally in that made people’s heads turn. IRL, it was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in my life, because the egg was actually kind of see through and you could vaguely tell she was in there incubating. Not that weird for Gaga, but weird for everyone else.

That being said, in doing research for this post, I found a picture of me being SUPER excited to be inches away from Gaga because she was waving to us (especially the gay little monster next to me). I am crying laughing at this picture.

Photo Feb 13, 1 50 29 PM

Fergie in Jean Paul Gaultier (2012)

This dress is almostttt there. Almost. Except for the whole see through thing.

Nicki Minaj in Versace (2012)

This guy plays Santa during the holidays at the Glendale Galleria and needed the extra cash to play the pope*.

*Not true. But he’s wondering what he got himself into with this one.

90s Teen Starlets Before Going Down the Rabbit Hole

A couple of weeks ago, Jessica Simpson posted this video of herself playing Cassie in her high school production of A Chorus Line. Much to a lot of people’s surprise – she was actually good.

But here’s the thing we forget about these child/teen stars – at some point they had talent. Long before Jessica Simpson was known for her reality TV show and “chicken of the sea,” and years before we found out the once pure virgin was labeled as “sexual napalm” by John Mayer, she could sing.


(RIP Nick & Jessica)

But what about our other favorite teen stars who went/are currently going insane? Here’s a reminder of some of the biggest Hollywood starlets and their humble, talented beginnings.

Britney

Brit is really the most tragic one out of all of them. We all remember where we were (ok, maybe not, but it was a big day) when she went insane and shaved her head then proceeded to attack a paparazzo with an umbrella. And it seems like although B has gotten better, she’s not the same as she used to be. Just watch this and listen to the Oops album on repeat and remember the good old days.

(Bonus: Full JT & Brit vid from Mickey Mouse Club)

Christina

Xtina didn’t go all the way down the rabbit hole, but she did have a few questionable years. Now she’s back on track with The Voice and her younger beau, and luckily, she still has the pipes to stay in the game.

Amanda

Who the hell knows what’s going on with Amanda Bynes? I don’t, per this previous post.

Lindsay

Lindsay is also still kind of scratching her way out of the rabbit hole… it seems like every time you think she’s out of trouble, she gets in deeper shit. Maybe she should do The Parent Trap 2?