In Celebration Of Y2K’s 15th Anniversary: 10 Songs That Reflect The Digital Evolution

Bianca Gracie | May 29, 2015 7:00 am
*NSYNC's 'No Strings Attached' Turns 15
We take a look back at one of the biggest pop albums of our generation!

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the once-feared 2000 era, which is better known as Y2K! Many believed it to be the end of the world, as computers and all other forms of electronics were predicted to crash. Obviously, we’ve managed to survive the much-hyped technology bug — but at least it brought us some good music!

The turn of the new millennium found artists inserting technology-based influences into their music, from computerized sound effects to lyrics that highlighted the trends of the moment — beepers, cell phones and AOL emails to name a few. Even after the Y2K craze surpassed, artists continued to mix in the digital revolution in their music (but they are now substituting two-way pagers with an iPhone 6).

So with all that said, relive your nostalgia with our sonic time machine playlist below (in chronological order)!

1. “Digital Get Down” — *NYSNC (1999)

We are kicking things off with the song that inspired this playlist in the first place — *NSYNC’s “Digital Get Down.” A deep cut off their sophomore album, No Strings Attached, the computerized romp is clearly about cybersex that showed the band’s post-pubescent mind frame! I mean, they were singing (with heavy Auto-tune, mind you) about “getting nasty nasty” and “freaky deaky!”

2. “Fanmail” — TLC (1999)

Next up is TLC’s “Fanmail,” the title track of their underrated third studio LP. The album opener embodies the Y2K era, as it includes chilled vocals, computerized electronic blips and a talking female android named Vic-E. The moody disconnect of “Fanmail” (despite being for their fans) that pours through in the lyrics — “I got an email today/ I kinda thought that you forgot about me/ So I wanna hit you back to say/ Just like you, I get lonely too” — reflects the uncertainty that people were feeling during the turn of the new millennium.

3. “Email My Heart — Britney Spears (1999)

Leave it up to Britney Spears to sing a love ballad about her empty inbox! “Email My Heart,” a fan favorite off the singer’s debut …Baby One More Time album, finds Spears begging her ex-boyfriend to virtually give her another chance. The metaphors are quite dated, but at least it gave us this iconic moment:

4. “Kiss Me Thru The Phone” — Soulja Boy feat. Sammie (2008)

Eight years may have passed after the new millennium, but artists were still influenced by the budding technology. Gone were the pagers of yesteryear, which were replaced by — gasp! — iPhones! One song that highlighted this change was Soulja Boy’s “Kiss Me Thru The Phone” featuring Sammie, which was most likely everyone’s guilty pleasure back in high school. It became the “it” song for mushy teenage couples who couldn’t bear a moment without calling their boo. And admit it ladies, you tried to call this number: Six seven eight triple nine eight two one two!

5. “Touch My Body” — Mariah Carey (2008)

Not many people realize this, but under her divalicious image Mariah Carey has a great sense of humor. “Touch My Body,” her single off 2008’s E=MC², displays just that! The track is all about sexual fantasies, as Mariah warns her lover not to record their secret rendezvous — a subdued reference to the ongoing sextape era (Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, etc.) The hilarious video, as well as nods to Youtube and Wendy Williams, are nice touches as well!

6. “LOL Smiley Face” — Trey Songz feat. Soulja Boy & Gucci Mane (2009)

Soulja Boy makes yet another appearance on our playlist — this time on Trey Songz’s 2009 single, “LOL Smiley Face.” It is hands down the cheesiest song the R&B crooner has released, but without him this list would not be complete. The track is a bouncy uptempo that crams in almost every sexual innuendo possible, thanks to references to sexting, emoticons, Twitpics (remember those?), Myspace and Blackberry phones.

7. “Video Phone” — Beyonce feat. Lady Gaga

Beyonce knows how to turn up the sex factor, and on “Video Phone” — her 2009 single off I Am…Sasha Fierce — the diva decided to let fans into her sexual fantasies! The remixed version of the tune features fellow popstress Lady Gagaand finds the two ladies discussing their love for being filmed…but they aren’t speaking about a movie set! There are various innuendos referring to putting on a sex show for their respective men on — what else? — the cameras on their phones. If Beyonce coquettishly singing “What, you want me naked?/ If you liking this position you can tape it on your video phone,” doesn’t turn you on then I don’t know what will!

8. “Internet Connection” — M.I.A. (2010)

Next up is a bonus cut off M.I.A.’s third studio album, MAYA. Titled “Internet Connection,” the track is quite brilliant when it comes to the digital era as it features vocals from Filipino Verizon Wireless workers. If you listen closely, the UK rapper highlights the true problem of our society: our obsession with the Internet that has caused sleepless nights and failed friendships.

9. “Y2K” — LIZ (2014)

Mad Decent signee LIZ goes back in time with her smooth tune, “Y2K.” The song encapsulates all of the amazing sonics the late ’90s/early ’00s were known for, which included snappy synths, plush, R&B-tinged vocal harmonies and a metallic syncopated beat.

10. “Double Tap” — Jordin Sparks feat. 2 Chainz (2015)

Next on the list is Jordin Sparks’ sexualized adventure through Instagram, thanks to her “Double Tap” single featuring 2 Chainz! In the video, Sparks seducing her stalker through the lens of her iPhone, as she flaunts her curves on a bed and poses for various bathroom selfies. We’re not sure, but we’re guessing ex-boyfriend Jason Derulo didn’t double tap enough of Sparks’ pics to make her Instafamous.

Honorable Mention: Charli XCX — “Famous” (2015)

Closing out our playlist is Charli XCX’s “Famous” single, her latest from December’s fiery Sucker album. While the song itself doesn’t necessarily speak on technology, its accompanying video does a great job of poking fun at our current self-absorbed digital age! Charli places our obsessive Internet culture under a microscope, as it includes streaming sessions, product placement, iPhone emojis, selfie sticks and more.

What is your favorite technology-inspired song? Let us know in the comments below!

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