Charli XCX and Troye Sivan released their video for their new song, ‘1999’, last night, and it’s an incredible homage to everything that made the late 90s so good.
Watch the video, and then stick around as I run through all the references made in it (there are a lot!):
The first bit of nostalgia is this faked AIM chat between Troye and Charli that mimics their text conversation they were having ten seconds previously (and that consists of the song’s lyrics) – their usernames even reference the years they were born, which is still the easiest thing to add to a username, even in 2018.
AIM wasn’t huge in Australia, since it was a product of AOL, which literally stands for ‘America Online’, but it’s an iconic example of instant messaging, and it was finally shuttered late last year. RIP AIM.
The camera then pans out to show Charli cradling a computer. This shot, as you probably guessed, is a reference to Steve Jobs – he introduced the first iMac in 1998, with an iconic case designed by Jonathan Ive.
Next up is Charli’s recreation of TLC’s video for ‘Waterfalls’, released in 1995.
That’s followed by Troye and Charli recreating the most iconic scene from the second-highest grossing movie of all time (until Cameron beat his own record in 2009 with Avatar), Titanic. Literally everyone should be able to recognise this, because you probably tried to recreate it with your friends at least once.
Then it’s another music video recreation, with Charli playing every single Spice Girl as seen in the video for ‘Say You’ll Be There’, released in 1996:
According to The Verge, deepfakes technology was used for this scene – Charli’s face was grafted onto the backup dancer’s faces in order to save time. The video’s director told The Verge:
“When you start to think about the complexity of getting them in and out of wardrobe and makeup for each of those characters, it would take five times longer. So in a way, it was a pragmatic solution. But then, we also started playing off the bizarreness and aesthetics of it. It’s one of those things where part of the excitement is just trying to see if it works. Like, can we use this weird fake celeb porn tool in a legit music video?”
Deepfakes came to prominence following reports that the technology was being used to put celebrities in porn videos late last year. This is definitely a much more wholesome use of the technology.
Next up is Charli’s homage to New Radicals, which basically looks like an ad for Skechers:
Followed by another example of deepfakes technology, this time with Troye playing all 5 Backstreet Boys as seen in the video for ‘I Want It That Way’, which was actually released in 1999:
Since it’s Troye’s verse, we get to see him as Eminem in the video for ‘The Real Slim Shady’, released in 2000:
Won’t the real Slim Shady please stand up? Please??
It’s about time for another technological throwback, so we see Charli on the screen of a Nokia 3310, originally released in 2000, and resurrected last year:
Then it’s Charli looking amazing as Mena Suvari in 1999’s American Beauty:
Followed by Charli and Troye as Rose McGowan and Marilyn Manson at the 1998 MTV VMAs:
We then see Charli and Troye rendered as Sims from the first edition of the game, released in 2000:
I’m pretty sure Charli is meant to be advertising one of Casio’s Baby G Watches here, which seemingly disappeared overnight after being extremely popular for much of the late 90s and early 2000s:
This is followed by their version of one of the first viral videos to ever grace the internet, the Dancing baby, also known as ‘Baby Cha-Cha’:
The popularity of this gif really skyrocketed after it was used on Ally McBeal as a recurring hallucination, representing Ally’s biological clock.
Next is Charli and Troye as Neo and Trinity from 1999’s The Matrix:
Followed by Troye in some serious Justin Timberlake cosplay, looking straight out of *NSYNC’s video for ‘I Drive Myself Crazy’, released in 1999:
Up next is a spooky shot straight out of 1999’s The Blair Witch Project:
Then it’s a reference to Hanes Her Way, an American underwear brand for women:
Followed by a reference to Surge soda, which was first released in 1996 and discontinued in 2003:
The video ends with a bunch of recreations of iconic logos from the 90s:
In order, the logos are eBay, Nickelodeon, Bubbalicious, Beanie Babies, and Netscape.
Then you hear the AOL ‘goodbye’, so you know the trip down memory lane is officially over.