Where Are They Now - Part II: '90s Legends
Maybe it’s just my personal prejudice filtering through – actually, I know it is – but the ‘90s were the best. If there’s anything that the million-dollar reunion of the Spice Girls for the Olympics closing ceremony proved, it’s that the manufactured confectionaries of the Kurt Cobain years remain unmatched by any other pop phenomena, including the Biebs and One Direction. But aside from the Simon Fuller’s platinum-selling girls, has anyone kept track of some of our other beloved heroes of the decade taste forgot? What’s happened to Nick Carter? Where is Abz from 5ive these days? Why is Bryan McFadden still on our televisions? These are serious questions that require serious journalism. So I paid someone else to do it and plundered fan sites and Wikipedia.
I have investigated these artists in the order they appear on the same playlist that has been cranked at nearly every party since I turned 18. This is Part II of a series that will go until we are all too drunk to remember how old we are. Read Part I here.
Rollercoaster – B*Witched
B*Witched were always a bit strange, and not only because they were Irish and thought that ‘bewitched’ was swearword. Nowhere near as hot as The Corrs and without the stadium-filling potential of fellow countrymen U2, the girls are most famously known for their hit song ‘Rollercoaster’ and breakout single, ‘C’Est La Vie’, which is certainly the only time I’m going to let an Irishwoman teach me French.
If there’s any set of twins you’d want to track down after ten years, it’s the Lynch sisters from this band. Unfortunately they didn’t go on to make their own leprechaun-inspired version of Mullholland Drive, but rather got dropped by their label in 2002 and started a new band called ‘Barbarellas’, which was always/never going to work. Keavy played the lead in a production of Snow White, Edele wrote hits for Sugababes and Girls Aloud and then had three kids, one of whom is called Enya, which is just schoolyard bullying waiting to happen. As for the other lasses, Lindsay married one of the boys from pop group 911 and Sinead presents a makeover show called Inside & Out. It’s OK, I’m sure we’ll find a drug overdose by the time we get to S2S.
Bitch – Meredith Brooks
What a great song this was. I mean album. I mean career. Whatever; Brooks’ 1997 feminist anthem was so damn catchy that most men found themselves singing along to it – and that’s before that god-awful joke cover ‘Bloke’ came out. She’s released a number of albums that have bombed but in all honesty, nobody including Meredith Brooks has really thought about Meredith Brooks since the 1998 Grammy Awards. One of her songs became the theme for Dr Phil’s show, and she produced Jennifer Love Hewitt’s record in 2002. “Oh I love that album” – nobody, ever.
I Get Knocked Down - Chumbawumba
Jesus, guys, way to teach us about the values of binge drinking when we weren’t even old enough to get pimples yet. To everyone’s surprise including my own, British ‘anarcho-punk’ outfit Chumbawumba had a long and decorated career both before and after ‘Tubthumping’ blew up in Australia in the same year Brooks released ‘Bitch.’ They started recording before I was even born and only called it quits last month.
The best Chumbawaumba story I have found (and there are a lot of them) is that General Motors paid them $100K to use one of their songs in a Pontiac advertisement. The band then gave that money straight to two anti-corporate groups who used it to launch an environmental campaign against General Motors. Hilarious. They also once made a video retrospective called Well Done, Now Sod Off. I’d honestly love to have these guys at my wedding.
I’ll Be There For You - The Rembrandts
Really, there are only two things you need to know. They wrote the song from Friends and now one of them is in a band called Thrush. That’s pretty much it.
Mambo No. 5 – Lou Bega
Did you go to bat mitzvahs in primary school? I sure did. The horrible, nauseating realisation that the girls your age had sprouted breasts over the summer and you were still trying to grow into your Hawaiian shirt will always be associated with Lou Bega’s bastardised 1999 cover to me. I don’t know where this Italo-Ugandan got the nerve to rip off a fifties jazz hit and claim it as his own, but goddamn it was everywhere. He’s pretty much done nothing but release covers albums since, including a take on an Austrian standard called ‘Just A Gigolo.’ He still wears that stupid white suit and the hat that goes with it. My Hawaiian shirt fits me now, alright? It’s retro. Sod off, the lot of you.
What’s A Girl To Do? – Sister2Sister
Yes this song came out in 2000 but S2S actually hit it big in 1999 and this was a personal request from a dear friend who is Irish and I’ve definitely made fun of too many Irish people already. Thankfully, S2S’ story is remarkably easy to follow. After performing three hit singles and winning an ARIA the Muscat sisters went on to found their very own singing school, which is adorable. It’s also highly successful, winning multiple business awards since 2006. They have also had a stint at hosts on MTV and apparently sing backup for Delta Goodrem on tour, which must be the most insufferable part of their job but at least they’re harmonising with her not listening to her talk.
5,6,7,8 – Steps
Steps were probably as dumb as Des’ree but better at hiding it because there were lots of them and they had seven minute abs. Also, the most marketable thing about Steps – because let’s admit it, their songs weren’t even as good as an S Club 7 B-side – were that they each came with individual dance moves. Hiding a lack of talent with choreography is something LMFAO would perfect a decade later. However, it was Australia gave this group their first No. 1 with this track in 1997. What the hell.
Steps have had a long and chequered history in their native homeland, which is near Ireland but not actually Ireland. They have had three separate reality shows all with terrible names, including but not limited to STEPS to the stars. They split up and got back together a few times, most recently this year. Claire married one of her dancers, gained a ton of weight, lost it and then featured on Celebrity Masterchef and as a finalist on Popstar to Opera Star. This essentially makes her a British Ricki-Lee. Faye has been in independent film and played Eva Cassidy in a stage version of Over the Rainbow. Lisa released a solo record and appeared in a short video for FHM Magazine. Lee has been on every reality TV show in the UK and allegedly hates immigrants, reported to have said in 2000 “"Why are we paying for all these people to come into the country anyway?" And finally, H. How could we forget H? He came out of the closet the same day he entered the house on Celebrity Big Brother. Finally. I thought we were going to have to wait until Lance Bass.
Every Morning – Sugar Ray
So ‘Every Morning’ is a classic of some genre somewhere, but that’s where it ends. I cringed when I saw the meta-text on Sugar Ray’s Wiki entry ‘Sugar Ray is a band’, because present tense means they’re probably coming down here with the onslaught of Wheatus, Smash Mouth and Eiffel 65 next month. As it turs out, they’re on a much better tour in the States at the moment called ‘Summerland’ which includes other alt-rock legends/has-beens Everclear, Marcy Playground and Gin Blossoms. In between, singer Mark McGrath has appeared on Extras and American Dad and the rest of the bros are probably still just bros. Their last album was called Music For Cougars. No, I didn’t hear it either.Coming up in Part III: Natalie Imbruglia, Billie Piper, Mr President, *NSync, Shanks & Bigfoot and more.