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10 worst popstars of the 90s

10th July 2012

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Remember the 1990s? The Halcyon days of childhood? We've been feeling nostalgic, so we thought we'd remind you of the wonderful music that the decade provided. You're welcome. 

1. Aqua. Eurodance and bubblegum pop was the speciality of Aqua, with a firmly tongue-in-cheek edge. You would have to have been living under a rock for the past 15 years if you don’t know the lyrics to ‘Barbie Girl’. Holding the dubious title of Denmark’s most successful musical export, the group had three UK number ones between 1997 and 1998; obviously ‘Barbie Girl’, follow up ‘Doctor Jones’ and the slower paced ballad ‘Turn Back Time’. Despite success fading out in the UK, they are still active in Europe and their status as a disco staple ensures the legacy of ‘Barbie Girl lives’ on. 


2. Vengaboys. Another European pop group, the Vengaboys were famed for both their high energy dance tracks and their interesting stage costumes (ranging from a half-naked cowboy to a sailor). Songs like ‘Boom Boom Boom Boom’, ‘We’re Going To Ibiza’ and ‘We Like To Party’ were surefire party starters in the late 90s, despite the somewhat questionable lyrics. Being a Vengaboy looked like fun – who wouldn’t want to jump on the Vengabus? Like Aqua, they too made a comeback in Europe and can often be found performing at a student union near you.


3. Lolly. Just about fitting into the 90s, Lolly was as sickly sweet as her stage name suggests. She released five moderately successful singles throughout 1999, all of which fit into the bubblegum pop template. Rarely seen in anything that wasn’t a primary colour, Lolly was also another perfect example of the horrors of 90s fashion. Not content with releasing three whole albums, she also murdered pop classics ‘Hey Mickey’ and ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ before disappearing and remerging as a children’s TV presenter, a popular career path for many failed singers.


4. Five. Specialising in ridiculously baggy trousers and cringeworthy raps, Five (or ‘5ive’ if you enjoy spelling with numbers) were seen as an antidote to the clean-cut boy bands of the 90s. Their bad boy image won them millions of fans, despite embarrassing hip hop-lite songs such as ‘Slam Dunk Da Funk’ and ‘Everybody Get Up’. The nadir of the band’s career was surely their cover of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’, which shockingly got to number one. A reunion in 2007 failed to take off, which was probably for the best; minus one member, ‘Four’ didn’t sound like such a catchy band name.


5. B*Witched. Most girls of a certain age probably impersonated B*Witched at some point. Their double denim outfits may be unforgivable now, but they were the height of fashion in 1997. The quartet were the first Irish group to have their first four singles top the charts in the UK, the most well-known being ‘C’est La Vie’, a song that only served to contribute to the unwelcome revival of Irish dancing in the late 90s. Sugar sweet pop tunes weren’t the only thing B*Witched could do though – they also released heart wrenching ballads like 'Blame It On The Weatherman'.


6. Daphne and Celeste. By this point, you may have noticied a pattern emerging - unless you're a true fanatic, you can probably only name one song by each artist. Daphne and Celeste are no exception, and if the name doesn't ring a bell, check out the video to Ooh Stick You below: 


Apologies if you now have this piece of lyrical genius in your head for the rest of the day. The duo closed out their career in 2000 after the crowd (understandably) bottled them onstage at Reading Festival.

7. A1. Touted as the UK’s answer to the Backstreet Boys and N*Sync, A1 were so clean cut they practically sparkled. Their co-ordinated outfits and dance routines were more than a bit unnerving, but their cheeky smiles and saccharine love songs such as ‘Like A Rose’ (contender for most unintentionally funny video of the decade) and ‘Ready Or Not’ won the hearts of millions of teenage girls worldwide and led to 2 number ones in the UK. They even won a Brit Award in the early 2000s, leading to outcry from ‘proper’ musicians. Surprisingly, the band are still highly successful outside of the UK, although it’s safe to say they’ve lost the unflattering curtain hairstyles by now.


8. Billie. She may now be better known as an accomplished actress, but when she was just 15, Billie (with no surname) was known as the UK’s version of Britney Spears. First single ‘Because We Want To’ may have contained all of the most annoying sounds in music (unnecessary grunts, echoing vocals, computerised drums) and was so full of sugar it could rot your teeth, but it still went straight to number one in the UK. A sexed-up image sent her to number one again in 2000 with ‘Day and Night’, but thankfully after that Billie decided to pick up her last name again and leave music for good.


9. Peter Andre. Let's be honest here, did anyone actually listen to Peter Andre before he hooked up with Katie Price in the jungle? After all, the fact he was on that show in the first place does imply that his career had taken something of a downward turn. Probably as a result of his totally uninspired mix of sappy pop ballads and pseudo-club tunes. It brought nothing to the table even at the time, and it says a lot that he once resorted to releasing a cover of a song from The Little Mermaid as a single.


10. T-Shirt. Who? T-Shirt were the definition of a one-hit wonder, but exactly how they had a hit in the first place will forever remain a mystery. Their cover version of Hot Chocolate's '70s classic You Sexy Thing ruthlessly brutalised the original beyond recognition, the chorus being interspersed with painfully uncool attempts at rapping emanating from the mouth of a distinctly white, distinctly middle-class actress.


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