For those that miss Y2K like Mandy Moore misses candy, then the songs on the soundtrack of Hulu’s PEN15 are going to be a sticky nostalgic treat. The coming of age comedy looks at middle school through the eyes of Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine, who, at the age of 31, are playing versions of their 13-year-old selves, which allows this series to use hindsight in a new hilarious and sweet way. And the show’s stars have brought some of their favorite junior high school hits with them. The soundtrack for PEN15 is filled with a few tracks that are really obvious, like ‘90s faves *NSYNC and Spice Girls. While others are well, not so much unless you were actually growing up in the early 2000s. Seriously, when was the last time you thought about the Irish girl group B*Witched? Well, be prepared to think about them a lot — though, probably not as much as Anna and Maya do.
The music on the show also includes more than a few soundalikes that will take you back to 2000 even if you’ve never heard of these artists that make themselves sound so familiar. (No, that isn’t Blink-182, but it sure does sound like them, right?) But like B*Witched so famously said, c’est la vie, since music cues aren’t cheap. Besides, this leaves room for a few original songs from Maya and Anna that didn’t make this list. Try not to hear Maya’s big solo at the end of the penultimate episode and not think it could have been an early demo of Britney Spears’ “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman,” a song which actually came out two years later.
But, for those looking to travel back in time, this show’s soundtrack’s got it all: Des’ree, the classic Pizza Bagels jingle, and that buzz of the dial-up modem letting you know you have mail. What we’ve got for you is a list of every song featured in PEN15 so you can get in with Anna and Maya’s crew. You’ll thank us later.