Best Throwback Songs of All Time

Music lovers know that songs from the past can transport you back to carefree and fun times. These tunes also serve as reminders of how you felt at that time and what was going on in your life at that moment.

Throwback songs are those which rekindle memories of a bygone era, typically 15-20 years before the song was first released.

1. Baby by Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber had his share of heartache as a teenager, so it’s no surprise that his debut album avoids reinventing the wheel and instead uses genre cliches to craft timeless love songs for young listeners.

“Baby” is the lead single from Bieber’s debut album My World 2.0 and features rapper Ludacris. Released in March 2010 as the first single from My World 2.0 to reach number one on Billboard Hot 100, the track quickly rose to become his signature hit.

With its shimmering disco synthesizers and catchy pop melodies, the track is easy to sing along to. The chorus has that classic trap-pop trope of asking for your girl’s attention with lyrics that read like a combination of teenage boy’s daydreams and memorable scenes from an 80s movie.

This touching tribute to first love, featuring Ludacris’ nostalgic rap about his own experience of falling in love, will leave even the hardiest teenager feeling touched by its powerful emotional resonance.

The narrator of this song laments over a girl he believes loves him, yet she breaks his heart. He attempts to bargain with her by offering her a diamond ring before finally accepting defeat at its conclusion.

2. Turn Up The Music by Chris Brown

Turn Up The Music is a timeless club classic and one of the few songs on the radio you can count on for hours on end. It boasts an impressive list of accolades, such as being Apple Music’s most played album in 2012 and selling more than 1 million singles worldwide – an impressive feat for someone who hadn’t been in the public spotlight since 2009. Notable mentions go out to Axiom Entertainment, Arista/Columbia, Blackbird Studios, BMI, CMR Entertainment, CMT and DreamWorks Animation for their respective labels: Axiom Entertainment, Arista/Columbia, Blackbird Studios BMI CMR Entertainment CMT and DreamWorks Animation for their respective achievements

3. Super Bass by Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj’s best song by far, “Super Bass,” remains one of the sweetest and most addictive pop tracks to hit the charts. Filled with electric guitars, euphoric synths, and an infectious hip-hop beat, “Super Bass” sounds like the perfect summer crush tune.

Minaj’s sweet, pop song showcases her more daring side; she throws in some expletives and, most notably, some lines that turn on an explicit sexual metaphor. It’s certainly not your typical Minaj performance!

Minaj uses pink props such as a Ferrari, plane and pool to playfully taunt a group of men in the video.

Minaj co-wrote the song with Ester Dean, Roahn Hylton, D. Johnson, Esther Dean and Jeremy Coleman.

Released as the fifth single from her debut LP, Pink Friday, it became an instant hit and earned her her first Billboard top 10 single in America and solo UK Top 10 placing. By December 2013, it had gone eight times platinum and been covered by artists including Selena Gomez, Tracee Ellis Ross and Glee’s Jane Lynch.

4. Stan by Eminem

Stan by Eminem is one of the greatest throwback songs ever released. It captures the overwhelming emotion that comes with being an ardent fan of someone famous.

In 2000, Marshall Mathers released the song ‘Marshall Mathers LP’ featuring Dido on the hook and quickly went platinum in sales worldwide.

“Stan” follows the story of Stanley, an adoring fan of Eminem who keeps track of everything in his life by writing letters to him and keeping track of every move he makes. Though this is a fictional tale, its inspiration came from real events.

In the song, Stan’s obsession with Eminem becomes so intense that he ends up killing himself and his girlfriend. This song serves to illustrate the mental strain Eminem must have felt when he achieved fame.

Eminem finally writes to Stan, apologizing for being late, thanking him for being a fan, and showing an interest in Stan’s personal life. He expresses worry about Stan’s mental state and expresses hope that Stan doesn’t end up like the man who drove drunk off a bridge with his girlfriend in the trunk recently as reported on the news.

5. Maneater by Nelly Furtado

Maneater is one of the greatest throwback songs ever, demonstrating a talented singer’s capacity for crafting captivating pop music while still accepting her sexuality. It serves as an inspiring example of how female artists can push their artistic vision to new heights and reach a broader audience.

Nelly Furtado’s third album, Loose, was released in 2006 and quickly cemented her place as a Canadian icon. Her reputation had grown, she had two successful albums under her belt and even won the X Factor that year!

In the months leading up to Loose’s release, Furtado and producers Timbaland and Danja experimented with various ideas before finally selecting this Hall & Oates-inspired track as their signature sound.

The single was an instant hit and certified platinum. Additionally, it topped both UK charts and Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

What’s more, it was an enormously successful international commercial success and marked a breakthrough for Furtado. She finally felt free to express her sexuality – something she had been struggling with since beginning her career.

Unfortunately, her time in the spotlight wasn’t without its challenges. She had to contend with sexism and slut-shaming that were prevalent at that time, as well as fight her own doubters and defend her art in front of a public that wouldn’t accept a woman’s embrace of their sexuality.

6. Africa by The Neon Trees

If you’re a fan of pop-rock or ’80s-inspired music, Neon Trees may be familiar to you. Their captivating tunes take inspiration from The Killers and Fall Out Boy while conjuring up an irresistible sense of nostalgia.

Since 2010, Neon Trees have released several hits, such as “Animal” and “Everybody Talks.” On Wednesday at State Farm Center, they performed an electrifying concert that made some attendees feel like they were back in their teens again. Senior Haley Liang from Bloomington who drove from school to see the band said she enjoyed Neon Trees’ songs because they brought back memories of her pre-teen years.

Lead singer Tyler Glenn’s band name was inspired by the illuminated trees on In-N-Out Burger signs from his childhood in California, which he recalls fondly. They’re currently touring with legendary rockers The Killers and recently signed to Polygram Records’ label.

After Tyler Glenn, the lead singer of the band, came out as gay in a Rolling Stone article and left the Church of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormon Church), they went on to release Excommunication – an album with many political and emotional themes such as “Trash,” which expressly denounces church policy against same-sex relationships. Recorded over two years, Excommunication features many tracks addressing discrimination issues such as this song which directly challenges that policy.

7. My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion

Celine Dion’s iconic love song “My Heart Will Go On” is one of the world’s most beloved love songs, making it perfect for reflecting on times past. It also served as the theme song for James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster movie Titanic and it remains a powerful love song even today.

This song is perfect for nostalgically recalling the ’90s and will make you long for simpler times. It also makes an excellent dance tune due to its catchy beat.

As another great example of a throwback song, Billy Idol’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” is another excellent choice. This hit single from the 80s remains one of the best throwback songs to listen to today.

Writing a throwback song requires an understanding of the melodic and rhythmic themes popular music from that era. You can do this by singing an old-time 1920’s croon over modern pop tracks or using melodies that would have been popular during the 1960s. By using these elements together, you’re sure to create an iconic throwback song that will stand the test of time.

What do you think?

Written by Bonnie Wilks

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