Charli XCX’s Newest Single Will Take You Back to the Bliss of 1999

The Matrix, Titanic, CD’s, and Britney Spears make their overdue comeback in this week’s Friday Find

Charli XCX (YouTube)

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

It’s Friday, and the perfect time to take a little weekend trip. But our getaway isn’t a physical destination—Paris, LA, the beach—but rather we are going back in time. On this week’s installment of “Friday Find,” our weekly music pick featuring a track, record, or artist we’re jamming to, we’re escaping into nostalgia.

Our choice this week: “1999” by Charli XCX & Troye Sivan ( Single, “1999,” Charli XCX & Troye Sivan, Asylum Records, 2018)

Why we’re into it: Enough with 2018. Let’s be transported to a happier time by some banging beats.

Just take inventory of what’s most important to understand why we love this. Nostalgic pop references? Check. Bouncing beats? Check. A certified bop? Check. Charli XCX does what she does best with  “1999″: she crafts a track that is accessible pop of the best kind, yet with an unexpected edge. The last release of her summer single series—which included the other certified bops “No Angel,” “Focus”, “5 in the Morning,” and “Girls Night Out”—came out last week and has already become one of XCX’s more popular tunes.

I could go on and on about Charli XCX and her unique place in pop music, but we’re here to talk about “1999.” The cover of the single—a Matrix inspired piece of work—makes it clear this song has noble roots. References to Britney’s early hits, Justin Timberlake on MTV, The Matrix, and Michael Jackson are only some 1999 nostalgia the two singers touch on. Written by XCX and Sivan, the track creates a delicate balance between the yearning to return to childhood, and the adult ache of wanting a space when things were just simpler. 

“No cares/ I was dumb and so young,” they sing together, “I just wanna go back/sing ‘Hit me baby, one more time.’” Who doesn’t resonate with that pure young-adult bliss of being dumb and young, blasting music in your room, screaming the words to your favorite pop hits? The video only makes the song better as it leans right into the nostalgia of the last year of the 20th century. Spice girls, Backstreet Boys, and the movies The Matrix and Titanic, all incorporated by Sivan and XCX in front of the familiar green screen of the 90’s.

But nostalgia is more than just wallowing in memories of “back then,” it’s the almost tangible feeling of actually inhabiting the past moments when our worries were so different from what they are today. The sheer purity of happier times, that’s what “1999″ embodies. But this track is more than just a longing for the past. Its beats, production, and tone are purely from right now. 

This juxtaposition of both nostalgia and up-to-the-minute revelry of the present make this the find for our October Friday. It’s not just a song but a necessary state of mind. We need to rejoice in the past that made us while being very present, even when that present can be so painful and malicious.

So enjoy your weekend, take a little journey without leaving home, and full experience your present moments. Happy Friday.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.