The pop music explosion in the mid to late 90s shaped the entire millennial generation. People were either #TeamBSB or #TeamNSYNC, #TeamBritney or #TeamChristina. And they all were glued to their televisions for TRL every week day. However, those were not the only players in the pop music scene back then. There was also Jessica Simpson.
Remember Jessica Simpson?
Follow me as we take a walk down memory lane and remember the hits* (*used loosely)
I Wanna Love You Forever (1999)
This served as Jessica’s first commercial release and single into the mainstream music scene. As you can listen, her vocals are pretty impressive, and she can belt out a decent note. This love ballad certainly set her apart from the debut singles from both Britney’s “(Hit Me Baby) One More Time” and Christina’s “Genie In A Bottle”. It also gave her a place at the pop princess dinner table.
Where You Are (featuring Nick Lachey) (2000)
Unfortunately for Jessica and her boyfriend at the time… This song did not chart as high as her initial release. This romantic ballad between the two certainly gave me Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson vibes. It’s generic lyrics and simplistic notes didn’t really move me. It did, however, appear on the underrated film Here On Earth (2000). Essentially, this is the duet we wish Britney and Justin WOULD HAVE recorded during their time together.
I Think I’m In Love (2000)
In my opinion, I think this is the song that really put Jessica Simpson on the map. It also helped her compete with the other girls in the crowded pop music field in 2000. “I Think I’m In Love” wasn’t a ballad. It was more of an upbeat pop song that you could blast on your CD player or boombox and make you feel good. Jessica also got to show off her midriff and expose a little more of her mature side.
If “I Think I’m In Love” was her true arrival to compete with her pop peers, then the first single off her second album, Irresistible, was her attempt at copying what the other girls were doing. Britney had already released her FOREVER iconic “Oops I Did It Again” video and Christina was in the middle of her transition from sweet blonde girl next door to the dirty girl. Jessica Simpson with Irresistible was trying to find a way to nudge her way into an overly sexualized pop music scene. Her blatant knock off of the futuristic video, the skin tight spandex, and sexy dance moves made her look like a cheap knock off.
With You (2003)
Arguably Jessica’s biggest song, “With You” was meant to bring Jessica back down to Earth and be in line with the character she was portrayed as on her hit TV show Newlyweds. The lyrics about being able to put her hair down and being in nothing but her t-shirt. This certainly was a way of parodying or playing into the perception of who Jessica actually was.
These Boots Are Made For Walking (2005)
Jessica Simpson was tasked with redoing and rebooting the classic song originally performed by Nancy Sinatra. This also served as Jessica’s attempt at getting back to her roots and going more country. Consequently, this coincided with her role as Daisy Duke in the unfortunate remake of Dukes of Hazzard. The song was certainly updated with this talk/singing/rapping and also featured country legend Willie Nelson on the track. This song would plant the seeds for her later attempt at going full country (that was an honest to god disaster and will not be mentioned further).
A Public Affair (2006)
Jessica’s true first single after her highly publicized divorce from her ex-husband, Nick Lachey, “A Public Affair” is about a girls night out. This song is both catchy and reminiscent of a disco track, but updated for the new millennia. The music video featured cameos from Christina Applegate, Eva Longoria, and Christina Milian, as well as Ryan Seacrest (ugh) and Andy Dick (double ugh).
It’s a shame that Jessica Simpson’s last hit was over 12 years ago, but that’s okay. She has more than moved on from making music, and luckily she has fallen (mostly) out of the public eye. Jessica’s has made great contributions to the early pop music scene, and those should not be forgotten. You’re the blueprint for moderately talented white women to have a pop career.
So, to Jessica Simpson, I say thank you.
Featured image via We Heart It