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Charli XCX and Troye Sivan's 1999 video is a huge throwback

By Annabel Rackham
Entertainment reporter

image copyrightCharli XCX/ YouTube
image captionCharli XCX and Troye Sivan recreated TLC's Waterfalls video, and Titanic

Last month, Charli XCX tweeted fans asking for them what their favourite movies from the '90s were.

It turns out it was all research for the video for her song 1999, with Troye Sivan, which sees the pair recreate a host of pop culture references from the decade.

The British singer is known for her creative videos (who can forget last year's Boys), and she's done it again.

Steve Jobs, Slim Shady and The Sims are just some of the things crammed in to the three-minute masterpiece.

Figure captionWarning: Third party content may contain adverts

The video used a form of AI technology known as deepfaking, which has previously been commonly used to insert celebrities' faces into pornography.

Ryan Staake, who directed the 1999 video, said he used these deepfake algorithms to save time by superimposing Charli and Troye's faces onto backing dancers.

image copyrightCharli XCX/ YouTube
image captionThe algorithm was used to superimpose Charli's face onto the four backing dancers posing as The Spice Girls in the Say You'll Be There video

He told The Verge: "When you start to think about the complexity of getting them in and out of wardrobe and make-up for each of those characters, it would take five times longer.

"So in a way, it was a pragmatic solution. But then, we also started playing off the bizarreness and aesthetics of it.

"It's one of those things where part of the excitement is just trying to see if it works. Like, can we use this weird fake celeb porn tool in a legit music video?"

Here are some of the classic moments Charli and Troye revisited.


image copyrightCharli XCX/ YouTube
image copyrightCharli XCX/ YouTube
image copyrightCharli XCX/ YouTube

Charli and Troye recreated some of the most memorable music videos of the decade.

Who can forget the incredible CGI on TLC's 1995 hit Waterfalls, or the creepy army of Eminems in The Real Slim Shady video? (Although the latter actually came out four months into the new millennium.)

And Troye nailed the instant noodle of Justin Timberlake's hair from his NSYNC days perfectly.


image copyrightCharli XCX/ YouTube
image copyrightCharli XCX/ YouTube
image copyrightCharli XCX/ YouTube

The video paid homage to some big film moments, including Jack and Rose's iconic "I'm Flying" scene from Titanic, which has now been recreated on every boat journey ever since, as well as by Ariana Grande and James Corden.

The Matrix slo-mo bullet dodge also deserves an honourable mention, as does Charli's pose on a bed of roses, harking back to Mena Suvari in American Beauty, which came out in 1999 and went on to win five Oscars the following year.


image copyrightCharli XCX/ YouTube
image copyrightCharli XCX/ YouTube
image copyrightAnnabel Rackham

Not only does Charli pose as Steve Jobs holding the blue iMac that everyone wanted back in the day, it's also running AOL Messenger, the WhatsApp of it's day.

There's an interesting comparison between the iPhone that Charli shows off at the start of the video and the classic Nokia 3310 we see after we go back in time.

And there are references to the creepy, computer generated dancing baby and everyone's favourite computer game, The Sims, before it got all hi-tech and futuristic.


image copyrightCharli XCX/ YouTube
image copyrightCharli XCX/ YouTube

Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan shocked viewers of the MTV VMAs with their outfits in 1998, and Charli and Troye do a pretty good impression of them.

Arguably all the outfits on show were peak '90s, but Charli also showcased an incredible pair of trainers teamed with some cargo pants to recreate that Skechers advert.

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Related Topics

  • Spice Girls
  • Music

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