Charli XCX and Troye Sivan relive the Nineties in their reference-packed video for collaboration “1999.” XCX recently joined Sivan at his sold out Radio City Music Hall show in NYC to perform the song together for the first time.
The video opens with XCX in 2018, getting into a Lyft and texting with a friend. As she’s in the car, she’s fully transported to the year 1999, embodying various pop culture moments of that year. She’s seen dressed as the Spice Girls, TLC’s Left Eye and Steve Jobs while Sivan appears as Justin Timberlake, Backstreet Boys and Eminem. When together on screen, they relive The Matrix, Titanic, the Sims and the infamous Rose McGowan/Marilyn Manson red carpet appearance.
According to XCX, she first met Sivan at a party she hosted. “When I first moved to LA three years ago and first got my place, I was doing a lot of house parties,” the British pop star explains to Rolling Stone. “It’d be open invite and a lot of people came, a lot of people I didn’t know. It was pretty fun actually. Troye came to one of the parties, and that’s where I first met him. We got talking and realized we had a lot of mutual friends. Immediately I thought he was super sweet.”
They had been talking about a collaboration ever since, and XCX originally thought Sivan might appear on one of her two 2017 mixtapes (“I don’t have any plans to do another one,” she adds). Then, after writing “1999” back in March, she played the demo for Sivan. At the time, she was planning on potentially giving it away to another artist, but Sivan helped change her mind.
“He said it was pretty cool, and if Troye thinks it’s cool then it’s cool. He has pretty good taste.”
As for the concept for the song, XCX had been sitting on the title idea for a while. “I thought ‘1999’ was such a cool title for a song, and always wanted to work it into something because I thought it would provide a lot of inspiration,” she says. “It was less about being nostalgic. I thought it was a really poptastic title for a song.”
While she was only seven-years-old in 1999, the Nineties overall and that year in particular are mainstays in her own style as well as the trends that surround her. While there aren’t many aspects of that era that have been underutilized, she wishes that one-hit wonders like Whigfield’s “Saturday Night” and Vengaboys’ “We Like to Party” (Vengabus)” would get more respect. “We play ‘Vengabus’ before we go on stage,” she reveals of her personal pre-show routine. “It’s one of my favorite songs. It’s so hard!”
XCX recently wrapped up the North American leg of Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour with fellow opening act Camila Cabello. XCX will continue touring with Swift in Asia and Australia this fall.