The awkwardness of a middle school dance cannot be overstated; you’re about to hit puberty, you’re noticing the opposite sex differently for reasons you can’t explain, and everyone is just trying to figure out what their deal is anyway. Thankfully, we didn’t have to go it alone; these 12 artists meant that if we had to endure the awkward, at least we had some great tunes to do it with.
Boyz II Men – “End of the Road”
Boyz II Men were always a good choice for when things got slow and heavy.
Toni Braxton – “Un-Break My Heart”
I still regret accidentally stepping on Stacy Johnson’s feet while trying to slow dance to this one.
R. Kelly – “I Believe I Can Fly”
Let’s get real here, whenever this played our first reaction was “Man, I could be watching Space Jam right now.”
All-4-One – “I Swear”
What is it with R&B groups in the 90s needing a number in their name? Why did pop punk take that over?
D’Angelo – “Lady”
I can’t hear D’Angelo’s name without picturing Obi-Wan Kenobi going “Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time.”
These next few songs were what really got the awkward swaying going…
TLC – “Waterfalls”
This was definitely a lot sexier than the Ludacris song that also had “Waterfalls” in the title.
Silk – “Freak Me”
Most of us were too innocent to know what Silk meant by “Freak Me,” but it didn’t stop us from dancing to it anyway.
Mariah Carey – “Vision of Love”
Because 90s Mariah is, always has been, and always will be, best Mariah.
K-Ci & JoJo – “All My Life”
Anybody know what happened to these two? ‘Cause it’s been a while and we’re all starting to get worried.
Janet Jackson – “That’s The Way Love Goes”
Before coining the term “wardrobe malfunction,” Janet was the soundtrack to all of our awkward middle school romances.
En Vogue – “Don’t Let Go (Love)”
Not gonna lie, I’d completely forgotten this one until someone suggested it for this list. Must be getting old.
Color Me Badd – “I Wanna Sex You Up”
Because subtlety is for losers (even when you’re too young to know what sex actually is).