Hayes Dujardin – Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – As the 20th anniversary of Lakewood Ranch High School comes to an end, “Mustangs Ahead” has chosen to reflect on some of the most popular songs of the last 20 years.
1999: “Believe” by Cher – The year the Mustangs began charging is also the year this song, an upbeat dance-pop song by Cher, swept the nation. Holding the number one spot from March 13 to April 10, this song features many house music elements, such as vocal synthesizers and autotune.
The song conveys a sense of self-sufficiency after a breakup. It has a club-friendly sound and a stand out vocal performance by Cher. This infectious single lead to her 22nd album of the same name.
- How many students were enrolled at LRHS this year? 1379
- Who was President at the time? Bill Clinton
- Top news story that year? Clinton’s impeachment trial
Where is Cher now? She is now 72, still touring and making music
2004: “Yeah!” by Usher (feat. Lil Jon and Ludacris) – Five years later, a whole new sound was sweeping the radio waves. This upbeat party song, a fusion of crunk and R&B, was the first single of Usher’s fourth studio album, “Confessions.”
It was critically praised for meshing these two genres, introducing a whole new maturity to Usher’s sound, fusing his R&B with the budding Atlanta rap scene. With production by Lil Jon, it is a tale of dance floor seduction.
The song was even listed as the number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs.
- How many students were enrolled at LRHS this year? 2651
- Who was President at the time? George W. Bush
- Top News Story that year? George W. Bush is reelected
Where is Usher now? Still making music; recently was in the news for his divorce.
2009: “Boom Boom Pow” by the Black Eyed Peas – The Black Eyed Peas developed this song, a colossal hit, as a model of electronic music that was sweeping underground clubs at the time. The song has an odd structure, opting to take on a more futuristic sound over a regular song structure, as indicated by lyrics about being in the 3000’s.
An infectious hook and bass-heavy beat. How popular was the track? The subversive hit 2.4 million downloads in just nine weeks. Their last major hit, “My Humps,” took two years to get to that point. Yeah, it was popular.
- How many students were enrolled at LRHS this year? 1882
- Who was President at the time? Barack Obama
- Top news story that year? Michael Jackson dies at 50 after cardiac arrest
Where are the Black Eyed Peas now? Member Taboo recently overcame his struggle with cancer; they released an album in October 2018. However, it was without Fergie, as she is on hiatus to produce her own album.
2014: “Happy” by Pharrell Williams – Acclaimed hip-hop producer-turned-rapper-turned-singer Pharrell could not have failed with this infectious tune, capturing the essence of happiness in the process.
While it was the lead single off his album “G.I.R.L.”, one could argue its popularity stemmed from its use on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. The song has no hidden meanings as it simply praised to remain happy despite whatever downs life may bring you.
With clearly Motown influenced vocals, and a beat that screams Pharrell production, this song took the world by storm during the summer of 2014, and it is no shock it was the top song of the year.
- How many students were enrolled at LRHS this year? 2367
- Who was President at the time? Barack Obama
- Top news story that year? Ebola outbreak in Dallas
Where is Pharrell Williams now? Pharrell is still a major player in the hip hop and R&B music scene, since releasing an album with his band N.E.R.D., as well as producing for many other artists.
2019: “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X (feat. Billy Ray Cyrus) – While the year isn’t yet over, it’s fair to say this may be the number one song of the year. The song initially caught fire due to Lil Nas X’s fusion of music and meme culture via Twitter, including the song in memes on different posts until it caught on.
As the song caught fire, gaining traction due to a dance trend, controversy arose when Billboard removed it from its country charts, not allowing it to chart for both hip-hop and country, insisting it did not display enough elements of country. This decision was overturned when the remix was released, featuring country vocalist Billy Ray Cyrus.
The song has already spent a few weeks at number one, as well as shattering the single-week streaming record previously held by Drake, garnering 143 million streams in one week. It shows no sign of slowing, either, with more artists such as Young Thug teasing their own remixes. One can only imagine how far it will go.
- How many students are projected to enroll at LRHS this year? 2400
- Who is President? Donald Trump
- Top news story so far this year? Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct accusation and Supreme Court hearing
Where is Lil Nas X now? Still reeling off his mega hit, he has assembled a promising list of coming songs, and appears to still have more Old Town Road remixes in the works