Let’s do it
Breaking down the hits of the ’90s House Party tour
Americans have a nostalgia fetish. We are perpetually wistful for the not-so-distant past—and right now, the rose-colored glasses are trained on the 1990s. Overalls, high-waisted jeans and the popular music of the decade are back. Witness the various rosters of dance-friendly acts who graced the American Top 40 countdown back when Shadoe Stevens hosted the show, and are now hitting the road together. This includes those on the ’90s House Party tour coming Sunday (Aug. 11) to the new Rolling Hills Casino Amphitheatre. The show features an impressive lineup of hip-hop and R&B hitmakers—Vanilla Ice, C+C Music Factory, Tone Loc and All-4-One—who, collectively, produced 10 top-10 hits.
To commemorate the occasion, the CN&R is counting down those hits in order of how nostalgic they make us for the ’90s. You’re welcome.
10. “Here We Go (Let’s Rock & Roll),” C+C Music Factory: While this is not C+C’s most recognizable song on the list, it just sounds so ’90s, plus the music video features shirtless men working in a factory that produces … chart-topping hits? Chiseled abs? We’re confused.
9. “Play That Funky Music,” Vanilla Ice: On this song, borrowing heavily from the 1976 original by Wild Cherry, the rapper introduces himself by boasting, “Yo, take it from the Ice Man/Lyrical poet with a master plan.” Fun fact: This song’s B-side was “Ice Ice Baby,” which gained popularity when DJs started playing it instead.
8. “So Much in Love,” All-4-One: One of the decade’s finest purveyors of smoochy R&B music debuted with this 1993 single, the first in a string of slow-dance specials that played at countless Gen-Xers’ high school proms.
7. “Things That Make You Go Hmmm…”, C+C Music Factory: Riffing off a gag on the The Arsenio Hall Show (how ’90s is that?), this hit features a funky-as-hell bassline and stylistically influential music video with exceptionally poor lip-syncing.
6. “Funky Cold Medina,” Tone Loc: It’s an enchanting tale of receiving lukewarm interest from women at a bar, then discovering a love potion known as the Funky Cold Medina. Lc tests it on his dog, which humps his leg with gusto. Pure magic.
5. “I Can Love You Like That,” All-4-One: The R&B crooners made a habit out of covering country songs, and this one (originally recorded by John Michael Montgomery) soundtracked teenage makeout sessions for an entire generation.
4. “Wild Thing,” Tone Loc: This jam lifts the guitar riff from Van Halen’s “Jamie’s Cryin.” The music video was in heavy rotation on MTV, featuring a host of women in mini skirts holding guitars and halfheartedly shaking tambourines. Have you guessed what “the wild thing” is yet?
3. “I Swear,” All-4-One: Another country cover, this song about getting married—and staying married, forever—is perhaps All-4-One’s most recognizable slow jam. It topped the charts for 11 weeks and earned the group a Grammy Award. It’s so ’90s it hurts.
2. “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” C+C Music Factory: Released in 1990, this song went straight to the top of the charts and has since remained ubiquitous in movies and at awkward wedding-reception dances. Martha Walsh’s vocals are nothing short of iconic at this point, not to mention Freedom Williams’ genius rapping: “It’s your world and I’m just a squirrel/Tryin’ to get a nut to move your butt/To the dance floor.” Classic.
1. “Ice Ice Baby,” Vanilla Ice: As one of those songs that’s so bad it’s good, it’s hard to hate when Ice threatens to “wax MCs like a candle” and rhymes “bikinis” with “Lamborghini.” It’s so goofy, in fact, that a young Detroit MC named Marshall Mathers reportedly heard the song and considered quitting hip-hop, figuring that he couldn’t make it as a white rapper in the wake of “Ice Ice Baby.” Will it ever stop? Yo, I don’t know.