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.


GOOOOAALLLL!! Ranking The Best World Cup Songs


Alright, in all honesty, I’m sorry if those caps lock letters (and the gif of Ross hyping himself up to play RUGBY) misled you  – I actually don’t care about the World Cup. I’m not into soccer, and I didn’t realize it was a huge deal and, like, the soccer Olympics until 2010 when I was fairly new to Los Angeles and everyone was super into it. Sports have just never been my main jam, okay?

You know what is my jam? Music by artists I recognize. Every year, there’s an official championship theme song used during the course of the World Cup and in ads to promote it. While some are less than inspirational, there are a number that have perfectly captured the spirit of the games. After listening to all the songs, I’ve compiled a list of the best songs since its inception in 1962.

A few notes: I only chose songs that were official World Cup anthems (with one exception) and again, since I have never had interest in the World Cup, I am basing my ranking on hearing these tracks for the first time (with two exceptions), and going with my gut Olivia Pope style, so clearly this list is purely subjective.

8) Anthem by Vangelis

{South Korea & Japan 2002}

I appreciate that this is just a pure dance track with no inspirational lyrics at all, going against all the previous songs, which you know, have lyrics. At least it goes well with the montage in this video.

7) El Rock del Mundial by Los Ramblers

{Chile 1962}

There’s something to be said about a song that captures not only the spirit of the World Cup but the time period as well. There’s no doubt that this song was made in 1962 – it’s like listening to a time capsule. I’m not a hardcore audiophile, so I don’t think I’ve ever heard 60s rock and roll music that wasn’t in English – and for 2 minutes and 47 seconds, I felt like I was transported to Chile and living in a black and white world.

6) Futbol by Maryla Rodowicz

{Germany 1974}

Although the World Cup was in Germany, this song is in Polish, and I can’t get over how wonderfully disco and corny it is. Literally the chorus is “Futbol, futbol, futbol”. I mean, at least this chick is on message – and SUPER passionate about it.

5) Gloryland by Daryl Hall, Sounds of Blackness

{USA 1994}

Daryl Hall. Of Hall & Oates. This song screams America – which kind of defeats the purpose of being all “the world is gathering in one place in the spirit of good sportsmanship”, but whatever. Daryl Hall’s voice has a quality about it that makes me believe whatever he is selling. As in, he could be singing Maneater and I’m all, ‘YEAH THAT BITCH IS DEFINITELY CRAY’ and with Gloryland, he’s singing ‘Believe in what you do/and you’ll go straight to see it through/on the road to Gloryland’ and I’m all ‘I CAN ACHIEVE ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS, DARYL HALL! I’M ON MY WAY TO GLORYLAND!’ I buy it.

4) Un Estate Italiana by Gianna Nannini & Edoardo Bennato

{Italy 1990}

Speaking of passion, these Italian dudes definitely have it. We all know that everyone in Europe and Latin America are super hardcore about ‘football’ and these singers are showing their love for the sport in this track. Plus, it just sounds better when you sing in Italian, “magic nights following a goal under the sky of an Italian summer”. Even Daryl Hall couldn’t pull that off without sounding like a pretentious dillweed.

3) Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) by Shakira, featuring Freshly Ground

{South Africa 2010}

I feel like Shakira was put on this planet to record the official song for the World Cup. It just first her, you know?

2) Wavin’ Flag by K’naan feat. David Bisbal

{South Africa 2010}

Okay, so this song wasn’t the official track for South Africa that year – Shakira took that title. But K’naan – a Somalia-born Canadian – wrote this song inspired by the stories of refugees, and that theme of not giving up, both in the face of adversity and as simple as losing a soccer match, is what makes this song perfect for the World Cup.

1) The Cup of Life by Ricky Martin

{France 1998}

Like many people who tuned into the 1999 Grammy Awards, I distinctly remember watching Ricky Martin perform this, and that’s when my crush formed for this Latin heartthrob. It’s everything that a sports anthem should be – upbeat, catchy, celebratory, and include lyrics that everyone can remember and sing along to. It’s hard not to feel pumped up for a game – or for anything in life for that matter – when hearing this song.