It’s not hard to see why we all loved the summer so much as kids: the weather was beautiful, all the best movies were coming out in theaters, and most importantly, we didn’t have to go to school. While we can’t go back to those simpler days, we can take a look back at some of the music we listened to during our favorite season of the year.
1) I’ll Be Missing You – Puff Daddy & Faith Evans ft 112
One of the biggest stories to hit music in 1997 had to be the murder of rapper Notorious B.I.G. so it makes sense that one of the biggest songs of the year would be the tribute released by Puff Daddy and Biggie’s widow Faith Evans. If you watched MTV or VH1 you probably saw the music video at least 8000 times.
2) Bitch – Meredith Brooks
We all got to feel a little badass as we sang along to this one, so long as our parents didn’t hear us. Now that I’m older whenever I hear it all I can think of is Mel Gibson singing along to it in What Women Want .
3) MMMBop – Hanson
Even though the chorus of this song is pretty much gibberish, it was still one of the most catchy songs to come out in the ’90s, let alone in 1997. Pretty much every girl put up at least one Hanson poster in their room that summer.
4) Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) – Backstreet Boys
It’s impossible to talk about ’90s music without mentioning Backstreet Boys. “Quit Playing Games” was by far one of their biggest songs, and its video is any BSB fan’s dream, featuring not only the boys getting wet and (mostly) shirtless, but also Nick Carter’s killer middle part.
5) Return of the Mack – Mark Morrison
To this day we have no idea what 80% of this song’s lyrics are, but guaranteed you’re belting out that chorus word for word, even after all these years.
6) Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind
Hard to believe that happy, catchy song we all sang along to was actually about the horrors of meth addiction, but there you have it. Its true meaning definitely didn’t stop it from becoming one of the biggest songs of the year.
7) Say You’ll Be There – Spice Girls
If you were a young girl growing up in the ’90s, then Spice Girls were your life. You probably spent most of your summer days practicing the choreography of this song with your friends.
8) Mo Money Mo Problems – Notorious B.I.G.
There’s no way a song featuring the late Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy, AND Mase wouldn’t become one of the songs of the summer. Also, the song is clearly meant to be educational, how else were we going to learn about the downsides to having money?
9) Do You Know What It Takes – Robyn
While she’s never gotten as big as Britney or Mariah, Robyn has definitely set herself up as the low-key queen of pop. Her single after this one, “Show Me Love” was what made her a household name, but in the summer of 1997 this was the song we were all dancing to in our bedrooms.
10) Look Into My Eyes – Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Batman & Robin is largely considered one of the worst movies of 1997, but as kids we were obsessed with it anyway. The movie might have been garbage, but the soundtrack was banging, thanks in part to this killer Bone Thugs-N-Harmony song.
11) How Bizarre – OMC
One of the definitive one hit wonders of the ’90s, OMC’s song had us singing along every time we heard it. How bizarre.
12) Song 2 – Blur
This was the song we would crank the volume to whenever we needed to work off some anger. We had no clue what the lyrics were beyond the “woo hoo” part, but we were too busy headbanging to care.
13) Sunny Came Home – Shawn Colvin
This song is basically peak ’90s folk-rock. You might not remember all the words, but as soon as that mandolin opening starts you know exactly what song is playing.
14) Men in Black – Will Smith
Remember when Will Smith was also a rapper? For a while there basically every Will Smith film had an accompanying Will Smith song. Not going to lie, I kind of wish they would bring that back.
15) You Make Me Wanna – Usher
This one came out towards the end of the summer, but we’ll count it anyway, considering just how iconic Usher was in the late ’90s and early 2000s.
16) Fly – Sugar Ray
Every single Sugar Ray song just sounds like summer, but for the summer of ’97, this was the song we had on repeat.