The year that closed out the decade and the millenium was a year of great music. Dance music, Latin beats, and major comebacks were all part of the big musical stories of the year. The song that topped them all, however, marked the emergence of a phenomenal pop personality.
She first gained national notice as a member of The New Mickey Mouse Club on Disney's cable network, but it was as a pop singer that Britney Spears became the most watched celebrity in the world. Her first single "...Baby One More Time" is a brilliant piece of pop music. It's catchy, sexy, and it sports a mildly controversial video certain to keep people talking.
"Smooth" genuinely appeared out of left field. Who would have thought legendary Latin guitarist Carlos Santana would record one of the biggest pop hit singles of all time? Add to that - who would have thought the vocalist would be the lead singer for post-grunge band Matchbox 20? It did happen and "Smooth" deserved the sales and acclaim. In 2005 Rob Thomas, the lead vocalist with Matchbox 20, proved his performance on "Smooth" was no fluke with a stellar solo album ...Something To Be.
No one really doubted Cher would eventually make another comeback, but this time it was with the biggest hit of her entire career. "Believe" is a perfect piece of dance-pop, and it took the entire world by storm. More dance hits followed in its wake and a farewell concert tour that lasted more than three years. Cher is certainly someone who believes in "life after love."
Among Latin audiences, Ricky Martin was a household name by 1999 having begun his career many years before as a lead singer with the legendary teen group Menudo. With "Livin' La Vida Loca" the English-speaking world found out what they had been missing. It's irresistibly sexy and nearly impossible to listen to without moving the body.
After the far too early breakup of the Fugees, the music world waited impatiently for Lauryn Hill's first solo effort. The wait was worth it. The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill is one of the top albums of the decade and "Doo Wop (That Thing)" is a brilliantly tuneful dissection of sexual politics from the point of view of both genders.
The r&b trio TLC electrified the pop music world with their phenomenal album Crazysexycool released in 1994. Then it was a long 5 year wait for the next installment. Fortunately, Fan Mail was nearly as good as its predecessor. "No Scrubs," the leadoff single, is picture perfect late 90s R&B.
By the time the 90s headed toward a close, it had been eight years since the last new Whitney Houston studio album. Music industry legend Clive Davis coaxed her back into the studio for a new set and the resulting album My Love Is Your Love has some of her best work. "It's Not Right, But It's Okay" is a hard-hitting anthem for women on the way out of relationships that sounded great on the radio or on the dancefloor.