Playlist: ’90s Slumber Party

“You never know what will happen at a sleepover!”

The slumber parties of my youth were the best of times and the worst of times. I was the kid who cried a lot when my friends played pranks on me. I also stressed the fuck out about being the last to fall asleep. I kissed my first girl at a slumber party, secretly, in a closet. My friends and I watched the Devon Sawa scene on my Casper VHS until it stopped working. We also watched Poltergeist (I didn’t sleep for days!) and Clueless. We looked through issues of Teen Beat and Bop and planned our weddings to JTT. We traded Goosebumps books and played M.A.S.H. and that board game where boys call you on dates or something. That game was a huge hit among my friends and became the quintessential sleepover game for us. I thought it was dumb. I just wanted girls to call me at the end, but I didn’t know what that meant or how to tell my friends.

Why are there girls on the cover if girls aren't calling you? Even at nine-years-old, I knew this was bullshit.

Why are there girls on the cover if girls aren’t calling you? Even at nine years old, I knew this was bullshit.

But really, I can’t remember anything about slumber parties better than the music we listened to, usually on a scratched CD. Sometimes we’d call the radio and request a song and wait for an hour until it played. We’d dance around the coffee table, jump on beds, sing into our fists. We were fucking rock stars.

Playlist: ’90s Slumber Party

[STREAM IT HERE]

Dream Phone!
Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
Barbie Girl – Aqua
Freedom! ’90 – George Michael
Torn – Natalie Imbruglia
Waterfalls – TLC
Water Runs Dry – Boyz II Men
Say You’ll Be There – Spice Girls
What A Girl Wants – Christina Aquilera
I Swear – All-4-One
Because You Loved Me – Celine Dion
Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) – Backstreet Boys
Lovefool – The Cardigans
Where’s The Love – Hanson
Don’t Speak – No Doubt
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) – Whitney Houston
Because Of You – 98°
All That She Wants – Ace of Base
Always Be My Baby – Mariah Carey
C’est La Vie – B*Witched
It’s Tearing Up My Heart – *NSYNC
He Loves U Not – Dream
Kiss Me – Sixpence None The Richer
Truly Madly Deeply – Savage Garden
Say My Name – Destiny’s Child
Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It – Will Smith
That Don’t Impress Me Much – Shania Twain
Straight Up – Paula Abdul
The Boy Is Mine – Brandy and Monica
Baby One More Time – Britney Spears

What songs were you rocking out to at slumber parties?


Want to suggest a playlist theme? Hit Crystal up on Formspring and someone from the team will make it for you, if you’re lucky.


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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of Autostraddle.com and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.

75 Comments

  1. 0

    YES this is so great. I also watched movies on VHS with my best friend til they didn’t work…for me it was Spice World and Harriet the Spy. After that, we just pretended we WERE the Spice Girls and/or spies.

  2. 0

    Yes!!! I live for a sleepover. I mean I’m pretty sure I spent most of my 11th year of life seeking out as many invitations as I could because freezing training bras, playing MASH, and dancing to all of these songs was everything I needed to feel complete bliss.

  3. 0

    oh god my friends always insisted on making crafts with my Glitter Glue pens, i played softball and never had fewer than 5 girls over for a slumber party- glitter glue did not last long in my house!

  4. 0

    This playlist is so very relevant to my life.

    OMG Dream Phone! Also one time it broke and we drew straws to see who would be the boys. I did and pretended to be disappointed but was secretly delighted. Oh 9 year old Aimée, how did you not know?

  5. 0

    Oh my god. I have memories dancing around lip syncing in Joe Boxer pj’s to every one of these songs at slumber parties.

    Other necessary sleepover games:

    Mall Madness
    Girl Talk
    Also, mixing a bunch of random liquids together from the fridge and forcing your friends to drink it.

    • 0

      All of this!!1! Plus “light as a feather, stiff as board”! (I know you devotees of The Craft are out there)

      A college friend brought Mall Madness back with her from home after we got nostalgic about it, and I swear it was possessed, it would go off at random intervals yelling “THERE’S A SALE AT THE MEN’S SHOP!”. Sometimes when board games + AA batteries are left alone too long, shit gets weird.

      • 0

        yes! light as a feather, stiff as a board! Bonus points if you played it in a cemetery (I did!)

        The Burbs was our sleepover go-to movie. “She came with the frame.”

  6. 0

    Best ever! It just kept getting more awesome, with the N*Sync and Natalie Imbruglia, and Sixpence None the Richer, 98 Degrees, B*Witched, and Shania Twain.

  7. 0

    My first crush was Christina Ricci in Casper. For some reason I always lost all interest in the movie once Casper transformed into a boy….

  8. 0

    I specifically came here to make certain “C’est la Vie” was on this list and I was not disappointed.

    My slumber parties usually involved my cousin and I using the family video camera to make B*Witched music videos (and then once a video to Lindsay Lohan’s “Rumors,” when we were old enough to know better). Nothing says 90s slumber party like B*Witched.

    • 0

      Oh, and also we’d watch slumber party essential “Gold Diggers: the Secret of Bear Mountain,” which was basically about Anna Chlumsky and Christina Ricci being young lesbians and hanging out in a cave together. I should probably have a throwback 90s sleepover ASAP.

  9. 0

    This an amazing playlist. I feel sad for the kids of today that they’ll likely never know the thrill of hearing your own voice on the radio when they play your request from an hour prior.

    Also you can’t talk about sleepovers and not mention Truth or Dare. Def the most popular game at mine. The dares could be anything from prank calling someone and asking them if they want to buy a pig farm, to going next door and asking to borrow a roll of toilet paper. Truths were always burning questions like if you had hair “down there” yet, or had gotten your first period. And whoever fell asleep first always either got toothpaste smeared on their face or their bra put in the freezer.

  10. 0

    Being a 90’s kid was awesome!

    1) Though Avril Lavigne was early 2000’s…jumping on the bed and pretending to be rebellious rock stars!

    2) Spooning with my friends before we knew what spooning was.

    3) Reading 17, Teen People, and Cosmogirl and trying to make ourselves “prefect” for boys. That part never appealed to me. Sign #1834 that I was gay.

    • 0

      Although this comment made me burst out laughing, when I looked up Vitamin C’s Graduation, it says it came out in 2000! :/ What’s a girl to do?

      • 0

        everyone i’ve ever met has had at least 1 friend who could do Left Eye’s rap portion in waterfalls. You Oughta Know singalongs seemed to be a changing after gym class Exclusive and therefore did not belong on this playlist (;

  11. 0

    I’m currently writing a musical that takes place in the 90s (it’s a “period piece”), and I’ve been listening to a lot of Mandy Moore as inspiration. Totally forwarding this to my composer!

    • 0

      I love everything about this. Also, kudos for supporting Mandy Moore because she’s awesome and has actually gotten even better with age, unlike most 90s acts. I listened to her song “Extraordinary” on a constant loop my freshman year of college because it made me feel like I could be elected president of the United States without even running or like pass my psych class or something equally badass.

      But I’m especially freaking out about your 90s musical, because it’s all I’ve ever wanted and more.

  12. 0

    Slumber parties was my lesbian sexual gateway, YEAH I SAID IT!

    I watched Cruel Intentions when I was the ripe age of teenage slumber party-dom!

    “Omg we such totally practice with each other!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Music: the soundtrack, it was bittersweet symphony this life because everyone now (26-28 age range) is getting married (the people at the slumber party) and I’m single and (very) gay.

    Games: Twister and playing Bloody Mary.

  13. 0

    Seriously there should be like an AS sleepover thing where globally we rent places ’til like I don’t know 9 am (?) and have a nostalgic sleepover.

    Or Everyone show up in their pjs and party while Sailor Moon or Jem and the Holograms play in the bakgrounf till the respective closing times of clubs all over the world. I really want this to happen. The DJ will play ALL THE THEME SONGS TO EVERYONE CHILDHOOD!!!

    I’ll bring snacks!

    • 0

      Sailor Moon FTW!!
      I had a pretty intense Sailor Moon obsession when I was about 10. It was on at 6 am and I got up extra extra early every day so I could watch it before school. Sailor Mercury was my favorite because she was so smart AND had awesome short blue hair.

      • 0

        I didn’t think anyone else woke up at 6am to watch sailor moon other than me!!! and now I can fully admit to dancing around during the part when she would transform.

      • 0

        YESSSSS SAILOR MOON!!! Sailor Jupiter was a total lesbian. Sailor Uranus and Neptune were lovers but in the American version they were cousins. They were cousins all right…kissing cousins!!!!

  14. 0

    I fondly remember a morning after a sleepover when my friend asked if she could give me a back massage, then she told me to give her one. Why it took me so long to figure out that I liked girls I don’t know.

  15. 0

    Oh wow “Torn.” Oh wow “That Don’t Impress Me Much.” Once at a slumber party I watched ‘Clueless’ and was so embarrassed by the kissing scenes that I hid in the bathroom with the host’s cats. But at many other sleepovers my Childhood Love and i would push two chairs together and sleep all curled up in them like we were on a boat and I would pretend we were sailing far away. . . . the 90s were a tumultuous time ok

    also if we have an “early 2000s” follow-up I want to throw in a vote for the entire Coyote Ugly soundtrack.

  16. 0

    I think slumber parties should be a thing for people past like 40 years of age and sexy. Could you imagine being at a slumber party with Alex Kingston, Angela Basset? All the women of the Hot over 40 (45?) list AS gallery, all the needs met, ALL THE NEEDS!

    Oh my, goooood! Day-dreaming for life….

  17. 0

    I never had a slumber party as a kid. :'(

    (sorry for the downer, just got many feels from this playlist, on account of being raised differently)

  18. 0

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA I’m listening to I Swear and I suddenly have this flashback memory of requesting this song on Singapore radio (Perfect 10 98.7 I think!!) for this chick at school I had a crush on, except I was in such deep denial that I kept prefacing the request with “I’m not gay!” yeeeesh

      • 0

        kat amygdala, I was about to get really defensive and say, “We call them sleepovers too!!!!” and then I saw that you’re from Canada, and really, sometimes I feel like Michigan might as well be a province instead of a state.

  19. 0

    More feels:

    Remember part of the music you listened to WAS the damn theme song of a show? I remember recording so many theme songs on my tape recorder and listening to it over and over (with some Hanson and 702, what-whaaaat!?!)

    Some theme songs included:

    -Cousin Skeeter
    -Flash Forward
    -The Heights (duh)
    -Carmen San Diego
    etc. etc….

    gay teen subtext… Ready or Not, omg, Busy and Amanda 4 EVA!

    • 0

      OMFG HOW COULD I FORGET THE THEME SONG FOR “MOEHSA!?!”

      Mo to the, E to the, ahhh, I can’t with all the nostalgia!!

  20. 0

    holy mother could you be any more on the money??!! warped tape @ devon sawa scene, check [chloe in ITWCT 2 wears it better!]. dreamphone, check!! never hosted a sleepover but the rich girls in class did. i’d stay up all night so no one could put my hand in warm water. strip poker was always suggested and there was always a small, hostile faction that just wanted to Watch. spent a lot of time braiding hair and securing the ends with those colorful rubber bands for braces.

    was anyone else seriously impressed (jealous) by the sophistication/amount of snacks those Sleepover Friends had for all their slumber parties?

  21. 0

    Canadians, anyone remember the Dance Mix CD compilations? Oh yes. I Like To Move it by Reel 2 Reel and Whoomp There It Is by Tag Team.

    I’m a 29 year old punk and metalhead but I still love me some 90s dance mix music. It’s part of my formative soul.

    And Anna Chlumsky movies, yes. Now and Then lacked serious makeouts, might I add.

    • 0

      Yes on Dance Mix! Also, Much Music’s Much Dance, Big Shiny 90s and Big Shiny Tunes (BST2 was best) compilations and Tommy Boy Records’ Jock Jams series from the 90’s were the greatest!

      This 90s Slumber Party playlist also kindles memories of school dances as an awkward 12-year-old. If at least part of this list makes it up the mountain, hopefully it’ll create memories of an awesome mAy-Camp dance or cabin slumber party as a slightly-less-awkward 26-year-old.

      Ace list, Hansen!

  22. 0

    This is a beautiful, beautiful thing. So much nostalgia! And Tragic Kingdom-era Gwen Stefani was one of my first girl-crushes! “Don’t Speak” was in pretty heavy rotation on my CD player for a long time.

    Aw, I wanna go play sardines and watch TLR now!

  23. 0

    The peak of my slumber party years was right around 2000-02, so my playlist would include Aaron’s Party (Aaron Carter), Lucky (Britney Spears), and I’m With You (Avril Lavigne). But definitely also all of these. This is the perfect nostalgic dance party mix!

  24. 0

    DREAM PHONE! I used to get so angry when I’d get the guy who said “I know who it is, but I’m not telling. HA HA”
    This brings back memories. What an amazing playlist!

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