It’s been 20 years since 16-year-old Britney Spears burst onto the music scene with her Lolita-esque music video for “…Baby One More Time.” Straddling the line between wholesome teenage fun and full-blown sex icon, Spears’ was not a girl, not yet a woman, but that didn’t stop her breakout music video from becoming one of the genre’s most defining moments. Setting the tone for the 2000s, Spears’ school girl uniform and bare gym class midriff would go on to influence fashion, TV shows, and music videos for the next decade, defining the ebb and flow of pop culture to come.
Following the music video debut on November 26, 1998, “…Baby One More Time” become one of the best-selling singles ever released, with its visuals included on countless lists comprised of the best music videos of all time. Not only did Spears’ high school love story go on to influence a generation of music videos to follow, it also impacted Spears’ own videography, with the singer referencing the lead single in 2000’s “Stronger” (“My loneliness ain’t killing me no more”) and in her 2009 video for “If U Seek Amy,” which features a young girl dressed in a school uniform.
Twenty years later, the impact of Spears’ instantly iconic music video continues to be felt even in the wake of a music video industry that looks very different from the Much on Demand, TRL-world that “…Baby One More Time” was born into. Movies, TV shows and music videos about the high school experience weren’t invented by “…Baby One More Time” (the video was even filmed at the same school where Grease was shot decades earlier), but it did help to revitalize the feelings of nostalgia for a romanticized high school experience, evidenced by the success of films like High School Musical and Mean Girls. Plus, high schools look great in music videos.
Here are 16 videos that felt the “…Baby One More Time” influence.
If there’s one high school music video that can compete with Spears’ “…Baby One More Time” for being so ’90s that it hurts, it’s Vitamin C’s “Graduation.” We’re not positive, but we’re pretty sure schools were legally obligated to play this at every graduation ceremony and prom for the next five years.
Having one of the biggest music videos of all time means you’re going to get some shade coming your way and that was the case with Pink’s “Don’t Let Me Get Me,” which took a few jabs at Spears.
Remember when Mandy Moore made a career playing the mean girl and not the greatest mom who ever lived on This Is Us? Good Charlotte remembers. They also remembered that he who made the morning announcements ruled the school.
The former No Doubt frontwoman was well out of high school when she debuted her solo music video for “Hollaback Girl,” but the ageless Gwen Stefani could still pass for a student any day. Or at least a teacher’s assistant.
When you write a song that plays like an anthem for anyone who has ever stepped foot in a high school, you may as well go one step further and shoot your own film, which is exactly what My Chemical Romance did in 2004.
Heartbreak is at its rawest in the teen years, which made high school the perfect setting for Jojo’s “Leave (Get Out).” It’s pretty tough to avoid your ex when you have the same lunch period and are in a group assignment together. Ugh.
Outkast went back to high school for their 2004 video for “Roses,” doing their best Grease impression and making us want to go to a sock hop (after we looked up exactly what a sock hop entails).
Nerdy girl falls for nerdy boy, they proceed to have a dance off at prom and fall in love. Throw in Molly Ringwald and you’ve got a lost John Hughes film.
Epic fails, assemblies in the gym, unrequited love, and feeling awkward. Simple Plan’s “I’m Just A Kid” encapsulated the teenage experience in three minutes.
Even though Paramore themselves looked like they were still in high school, they cast adults to play teenagers in their 2007 video for “Misery Business.” Maybe this was a way of showing that everything during your teen years is really, really confusing.
Written for Diablo Cody’s underrated horror film Jennifer’s Body, Panic! At The Disco’s “New Perspective” included a music video that feature the film’s stars, Amanda Seyfried and Megan Fox aka a high schooler’s dream lab partners.
Like Spears, Taylor Swift was still a teenager when she shot her high school-set music video for “You Belong With Me,” which went on to win Video of the Year at the MTV VMAs and kickstart the beginning of the end of Kanye West.
Helping good girls gone bad escape reform school is the premise behind 5 Seconds of Summer 2014 music video, a concept we think the band dreamed up during their teen years.
Plaid skirts never looked so good than when they were worn first by Alicia Silverstone, then by Britney Spears. Then again by Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX.
Paying homage to the classic teen witch flick The Craft, U.K. girl group Little Mix were light as a feather, stiff as a board for their high school music video.
Shooting a music video in a high school is like a rite of passage for artists, so if you’re Drake, it makes sense to go back to the high school where it all began. Long live the Zit Remedy.