My first CD ever was one from NSYNC. Full disclosure, I had no idea who they were at that time in my life. I’d gotten the CD as a birthday gift from someone infinitely cooler than I was. That being said, I enjoyed the catchy melodies and simple lyrics the boy band was known for. Playing my new CD on the stereo in the family room just wasn’t cutting it any longer, so it was on an uneventful evening after school that my parents took me to Wal-Mart to buy my first-ever personal stereo.
It was a compact white one, coloured with blue accents on the buttons and tape/CD areas. While at Wal-Mart, I spotted another CD I desperately needed in my life, the self-titled album by Hilary Duff. “Fly” became my pre-teen anthem and Hilary secured her status as a musical goddess. Inspired by this memory, I’m going to take you through a few artists who (arguably) peaked in our pre-teen years and are still making music today! Prepare yourselves for some major nostalgic flashbacks…
1. Hilary Duff
How surprised are you? I knew her as the girl from the Lizzie McGuire tv series and movie (ps – she’d just graduated from the 8th grade, yet she was whisked away on a Rome adventure with a dreamy Italian pop star? Slow down there, Disney!) At her peak, Duff was coming out with banger after banger (see: “So Yesterday” and “Come Clean”). She fell out of the music scene for nearly a decade after her third album BUT dropped a new and heavily nostalgic album just a few months ago.
2. Jesse McCartney
Hot DAMN, am I right? This beautiful soul (ha, geddit?) was practically everyone’s first real celebrity crush back in the day and honestly, remains so. McCartney had an unfortunate speed bump to his career when he voiced the character of Theodore in Alvin and the Chipmunks, but made it up to us with the release of Departure. I specifically recall this album having an online interactive component, which at the time was extremely cool. Homeboy came out with a new album in 2014, In Technicolor, once again gracing us with his dreamy voice.
3. Nelly Furtado
You already know this name as the star behind “I’m Like a Bird”, that song you and your mom jammed out to on the way to school back in the day. Many felt Furtado sold out with her 2006 album Loose, which featured songs such as “Promiscuous” and “Maneater.” I was definitely too young to pick up on the sexual dialogue of this album, which was probably for the best. Furtado hasn’t come out with new music since 2012, but will always be remembered for her soulful music.
4. Jessica Simpson
Poor Jessica, stuck in a sea of forgettable blonde stars in the early 2000s. That being said, she did manage to bless us with a huge repertoire of lowkey love songs. Her duet “Where You Are” with then-husband Nick Lachey still gives me major goose bumps— UGH so good. If you find yourself with too much time on your hands, treat yourself and go through her entire discography.
Sadly, our girl Jess hasn’t come out with any new music in 6 years. She has, however, kept busy and amassed a total net worth of $150 million over the years through her retail and lifestyle entrepreneurial empire. So there’s that.
5. Aaron Carter
With hits like “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” and “That’s How I Beat Shaq” under his belt, Aaron Carter was the quintessential early 2000s teen idol. I could probably still recite his lines from his cameo in the Lizzie McGuire Christmas special, and his Lindsay Lohan/Hilary Duff cheating scandal was one of the greatest tragedies of our time (seriously Aaron, how could you do that to Hilary???) Nowadays, you can catch this national treasure trying to make his comeback playing at various dive bars and restaurants across Middle America.
Honestly, Aaron’s twitter account is much more enlightening than any new music, so I’m just going to leave it here. Bonus: if you go back far enough, you’ll find tweets about his enduring love for Hilary/borderline frightening determination to get her back.
It felt great to rekindle the forgotten love I had for these strangers. Now go and have your own throwback session, I promise it’ll be worthwhile!
Alexandra Kopij, Music Editor