The two things I have loved longest in my life are Hanson and Harry Potter. The pop trio made their mainstream debut in 1997 and the boy wizard in 1998, in the US.
I made my fanfiction debut in both fandoms not long after. Can you blame me for wanting to go to Hogwarts and kiss a Hanson? You cannot! As a grown-up (lol), I have not gotten any cooler, and so I present you with the most millennial top five of all time: Ninietes pop songs as science fiction and fantasy anthems.
- Russian Doll — …Baby One More Time by Britney Spears
Look, this is going to be the tone of this article; I’m not above it! Russian Doll is about the wonderfully snarky and frantic Nadia becoming caught in a mysterious time loop on her 36th birthday. …Baby One More Time is about totally innocent schoolgirl Britney Spears trying to get back with her boyfriend. A sort of relationship time loop. Presumably the hitting part of “hit me baby one more time” is hit with love for Britney and hit with a bus for Nadia. Both, however, iconic.
- Weird City — Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin
Technically, this is an anthology show, so I’ll tease you with the first episode: ‘The One’. In a world where you can subscribe to what is, essentially, a scientific soulmate service, Stu and Burt are matched. A young man with an older man. Neither believing they’re attracted to men, and yet… Like Ricky Martin, ‘The One’ evolves into a beautiful queer story. The lives of those within Weird City are bright and exaggerated. The world takes every science fiction trope to its most bizarre, poking fun at the genre and itself. They are truly livin’ la vida loca.
- The Witcher — Bootylicious by Destiny’s Child
Yes, I am this shallow. I never read these books or played the videogames. In fact, the latter looked way too serious and brooding for me. My favourite videogames all begin with ‘LEGO’ (LEGO Harry Potter, LEGO Lord Of The Rings…). But I saw an ad with naked bathing Geralt and pinned him as the inevitable lovechild of Aragorn and Legolas and knew I had to watch. No regrets!! I was not ready for that jelly, but I ate it up. “Toss a coin to your Witcher” or bounce a coin off your Witcher’s booty? We both know the answer.
- What We Do In The Shadows — Reflection by Christina Aguilera
When I saw this movie in theaters, I laughed so hard I cried. It wasn’t widely known, at the time, so I scoured the internet for other fans. Instead, I found a mixed review that said the movie made one (1) joke and laid hard into it — as if that was a bad thing? Wrong, friend. This vampire movie shines a hilarious light on tropes SFF only seems to be able to treat as Serious Business. That’s why I’ve chosen Christina’s Serious Business ballad from the Mulan soundtrack, Reflection. Because vampires don’t have them. Instead the Shadows’ vamps model for one another (we love positive masculinity), doomed that their reflections will never show who they are inside.
- Stranger Things — MMMBop by Hanson
It’s impossible for me to talk about the Nineties and not talk about Hanson. While MMMBop was their most popular single, few people remember what it was actually about: an unrepeatable moment in time. Friends growing into themselves and away from one another. Keeping close those who matter most. Over the three seasons of Stranger Things, we’ve not only watched the kids fight monsters — human and otherwise — but also grow. Puberty, the awkward transition between middle and high school, the pool during summer break… One of my favourite aspects of Stranger Things is seeing how their core friend group evolves as new people join, they begin to date, and develop different interests. All, of course, while battling monsters and evil organizations. An upbeat song with slightly depressing lyrics is exactly what those kids need — what you all need! What are you doing? Go listen to some damn Hanson.
KM Szpara’s, DOCILE, is out now from Tor.