The news of TLC's tentative renaissance [they've since raised over $100,000 in a matter of days] had us pining for that very particular brand of late-nineties American r'n'b that flavoured so much of our teenage years.
It wasn't long before we found ourselves in a YouTube hole, so it's only right that we drag you down with us and share some of the gold mined from that era.
Here are 9 tracks that will take you right back….
(Pssst… there's a handy Spotify playlist at the end, if you don't have time to watch all the videos.)
Brandy & Monica – 'The Boy is Mine'
Don't know about you, but if you're a woman in the 27–33 age bracket and didn't know all the words to this when you were in school, you're an oddity. Brandy, hitherto known as the titular character from Nickeoldeon's Moesha; Monica, a big teen hit in the US but hitherto unknown on this side of the pond. Come to think of it, she wasn’t really known for much after it, either. Together, however, their powers combined: unstoppable.
Destiny's Child – 'Bills, Bills, Bills'
Back when Beyoncé was just the lead singer of Destiny's Child and not one of the biggest music stars on the planet, her little group – then a foursome – came out with brilliant tunes like this. Great video, too (before Yoncé discovered volumising hairspray, apparently - miaow), and it also taught us the true meaning of 'trifling' (i.e. does not just mean the act of making a sponge-like dessert.) It was between this and 'Say My Name' for us, but the video and dance moves of this little number won out.
Mariah Carey & Jay-Z – 'Heartbreaker'
The biggest pop diva during her most golden era; check. A highly-regarded rapper that had yet to rise to his position of influence in the music biz: check. A bloody great pop song: checkmate.
Aaliyah – 'Try Again'
Another young singer who sadly passed away too soon (she died at 22 in a plane crash returning from a video shoot in the Bahamas), Aaliyah nonetheless left a hefty legacy behind that is crowned by this gem, taken from the soundtrack of 'Romeo Must Die' – which she also starred in.
Dru Hill – 'How Deep Is Your Love'
Ha ha, remember Dru Hill? For those who don't, they were Sisqo (of Thong Song fame)'s band before he said 'Laters!' and embarked on a solo career. This track wasn't a cover of the Bee Gees song, but a slick slice of r'n'b that was heavily associated with the first Rush Hour film. It hasn't aged that well, true – but it was a huge hit back in 1998.
K-Ci & JoJo – 'All My Life'
If you have fond memories of this track – you had it at your wedding, yadda yadda - you probably won't want us to spoil it by letting you know that K-Ci was charged with lewd conduct at a public event in LA. Apparently he pulled down his trousers numerous times in front of the audience. But yeah, great schmoozy song that was EVERYWHERE in 1998...
Usher – 'You Make Me Wanna'
We're just gonna put this out there: before Usher started believing his own hype and became a fairly generic r'n'b megastar, his early stuff – specifically his second album 'My Way' - was actually quite good. No surprise, considering the calibre of producer he had on board (BabyFace and Jermaine Dupri produced most of it). This single in particular, released when Usher was just 19, made his name.
Pras Michel feat. Mya – 'Ghetto Supastar'
This song really takes us back. The Fugees were just coming to an end, Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean were both releasing solo material – so why shouldn't the group's rapper Pras Michel do the same? We don't care what anyone says, this is still a great, great tune. It also featured ODB from Wu Tang Clan, with Mya (of 'Case of the Ex' fame) on vocals. If you're wondering what Michel is up to these days, well, it seems that he is more interested in making documentaries than music: his last album was in 2005.
Spice Girls - 'Holler'
Ooh, curveball. The Spice Girls! Doing r'n'b! Getouttatown. Even more surprising was that the song was actually rather good. Produced by Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins, it was released as a double-A side with the inferior 'Let Love Lead the Way' and was one of their final singles. I know you're scoffing 'the Spice Girls can't do r'n'b', but give it a listen. It's slick as hell.