Any kid of the 1990s and 2000s knows that we had the best music, full stop. And by best, we might mean weirdest, and we definitely mean catchiest — but something we talk about slightly less than we should are all the songs we listened to growing up that were SCANDALOUS. Like, sometimes we definitely knew that what we were listening to wasn’t necessarily rated G, but mostly it was just a vague sense of “OMG.”
So here’s a list of our top 15 songs that made us blush and run to turn the boombox down before our parents heard…but also made us feel kind of badass for listening to them.
1“Thong Song” — Sisqo
Okay, obviously. But also, feeling scandalized as a child is apparently a deep psychological trauma, because let’s say at age 24 you happen into a Vegas pool party at which Sisqo is performing the “Thong Song” live, and despite being 24 and taking part in the usual Las Vegas debauchery, you still have to fight off a blush. Like, not that we’re speaking from personal experience, but…hypothetically, we’d still be scandalized.
So, like, we didn’t actually know the lyrics to this song until we looked them up, and now we A) understand why we were scandalized as tiny children, but B) we have so many questions about what’s happening in this song? The words “dick thrower” are actually in it, and, uh, we think that crosses the line from ~inappropriate~ to just plain weird.
3“Nice & Slow” — Usher
“You know I’m coming over right, now baby tell what you wanna do with me…” WE JUST WANT TO HAVE A GLASS OF WARM MILK AND GO TO BED BECAUSE WE’RE CHILDREN AND THAT IS ABOUT ALL WE CAN HANDLE.
Everything from Benny Benassi just feels…dirty? We definitely blasted “Satisfaction” and felt really cool and then remembered our parents could hear it and turned it way down and did our homework.
5“Stacy’s Mom” — Fountains of Wayne
Stacy’s Mom has WHAT going on, young man? Somebody fetch us smelling salts.
PUT YOUR SHIRT BACK OVER YOUR HEAD GIRL, we’re so uncomfortable. Like, own your sexuality and so forth, but we were so small when we listened to this, and so scandalized.
7“2 Become 1” — Spice Girls
The Spice Girls were like our trustworthy older sisters and like trustworthy older sisters, they scandalized us with their transparent talk of ~making love~ and also educated us with their wise, wise lyrics. Like, “be a little bit wiser baby, put it on, put it on, ’cause tonight is the night when two become one.” We were mostly just tittering over listening to a song that is def about sex, but hey — there’s a good safe sex reminder here. So, yeah. We’re scandalized. But also kind of love the Spice Girls more, now that we think about it.
NEED WE SAY MORE?
9“Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” — The Backstreet Boys
Act like you didn’t sing every single lyric while driving in the car with your parents but become CONSPICUOUSLY silent whenever they sang, “am I sexualllll?” (Yeeeee-ah.)
10“If You Want It to be Good Girl (Get Yourself a Bad Boy)” — The Backstreet Boys
The boys were really on a roll.
11“Sweetest Sin” — Jessica Simpson
Shoutout to our fallen friend who was watching this music video when her dad walked in. Even now, we feel that pain.
We didn’t know if Ludacris was rapping about dancing or sex, but any time a parental unit appeared in the area we def turned this way down in case it was the latter.
13“Naughty Girl” — Beyoncé
There are a lot of noises in this song that made our faces very red. Like, tomato red.
It may be on the Rugrats soundtrack, but this is certainly not the Aaron’s Party of our youth. When we were small children going to see Rugrats in Paris, we were going to bed at 9 p.m. so hearing Aaron sing about “rocking” some girl 24/7 was mildly scarring.
15“Get Low” — Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz
Another hypothetical situation, to bring it full circle: Only ever hearing the clean version of “Get Low” at middle school dances and then finding out the real lyrics at a high school dance and freaking the eff out.