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The 2000s in a nutshell (Image: Tina Tiller)
The 2000s in a nutshell (Image: Tina Tiller)

Pop CultureNovember 24, 2023

Every item in the Thin Lizzy jingle, ranked from worst to best

The 2000s in a nutshell (Image: Tina Tiller)
The 2000s in a nutshell (Image: Tina Tiller)

Every generation has its ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’. For young women in mid-2000s Aotearoa, this was ours.

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news if you didn’t know this already, but Fall Out Boy recently updated Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ and somehow made it so much worse. For some reason it opens with “Captain Planet” (followed by “Arab Spring”) and then rhymes “Oklahoma City bomb” with “Pokémon” and “Trump gets impeached twice” with “polar bears got no ice.” Don’t even get me started on “Spongebob, Golden State Killer got caught.”

Aside from perhaps Phoebe Bridgers covering Bo Burnham, the technique of listing a bunch of era-defining stuff to music is better reserved for advertising. Who can forget the iconic McDonald’s Kiwiburger jingle of the 90s that ran through a hilariously weird list of Things Kiwis Love, the brand inserting itself in extremely chill and normal ways. “Kiwis love…. hot pools, rugby balls, MCDONALD’S, snapper schools… woolly fleece, RONALD, raising beasts.” 

The 2000s welcomed a similar jingle that was just for the girls. Launched in 2005, Thin Lizzy promised to fill the role of six different makeup products: a bronzer, a blusher, an eyeshadow, a contour, a lipstick and a foundation. Thin Lizzy was the mother we never had, the sister we all wanted and the friend we all deserved. She needed a jingle that would sell a dream, a vision, an entire lifestyle that could only be achieved by piling layers upon layers of orange dust onto one’s head, shoulders, knees and toes.

The result was this, the ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ of 2000s New Zealand girlhood.

Given that this jingle itself is now as old as the black-dress-wearing, camera-flashing, backstage-pass-touting teenager in the ad, it seems as relevant a time as ever to look back at the 20 feminine items in the Thin Lizzy Y2K multiverse, and rank them from best to worst. What I will not be dedicating any further time to is the name Thin Lizzy (we talked about that extensively over here) or whatever the hell this threatening shape is: 

OK. Hey girls, it’s time, you ready? Let’s do it.

20. Sun tan

Extremely bad for the skin, and probably why Thin Lizzy is now funneling a tremendous amount of resources into selling “Age Reverse” collagen powder. If only there was some sort of 6-in-1 powder available that could simulate the bronzing effect of the sun’s rays?

19. Head band

Never felt comfortable wearing a headband, perhaps owing to a large bulbous brain utterly pulsating with great ideas like this very story. Thin Lizzy wears a leopard print one.

18. PDA

Here I was thinking Thin Lizzy was sexing it up talking about public displays of affection, but of course she’s talking about her Personal Digital Assistant. A redundant piece of technology, although the tiny little keyboard does cheer me up no end.

17. Shot glass

If you were old enough to drink from a shot glass in the mid-2000s, I’m sorry but the only thing that’s “shot” now is your back.

16. Lingerie

Is this jingle the moment that I learned that lingerie was pronounced “lawn-jeray” and not “ling-geree”? No comment, please contact my PDA for all future media requests. 

15. Black dress

Audrey. Diana. Cher. All the great women in popular culture have their black dress moment, and Thin Elizabeth is no exception.

14. Necklace

I would just like to take this opportunity to once again shout out Dan News, tireless online archivist of our news and popular culture, for capturing this ad and uploading it way back in 2009. The prize for services is this animated diamante choker. 

13. Hairstyle

She’s not specific, but we all know what hairstyle she’s talking about here: a Samaire Armstrong inspired pixie cut number that suited absolutely no-one but Samaire Armstrong.

12. Boyfriend’s shirt

A boyfriend’s shirt is a huge flex, signaling to the masses that at least one boy likes you enough to let you borrow his shirt, and that said boy has enough good taste and decency to own a shirt that doesn’t say “crack a woody” on it. A tall task in the 2000s, indeed.

11. Mini skirt

Wait so you’re telling me… man’s shirt… short skirt? Ooh wah-oh-oh.

10. Camera

Preferably a digital camera, preferably metallic pink, preferably filled with over 200 out of focus snaps of you and the girls on the dance floor at Margie’s that will linger in your Facebook archives well into the 2020s.

9. Lipstick

Interestingly, Thin Lizzy appears to reject her own brand values by opting for a bold red tube of lippy instead of using her own famously versatile product. Elizabeth, all you have to do is crush your compact into a fine dust with a credit card, mix it with some Vaseline in a mortar and pestle, and then paint it on your lips like a wartime woman painting on gravy stockings. Not hard!

8. Push-up bra  

The higher the bosoms, the closer we are to the glass ceiling amirite laaaadies. Nah but seriously, if you were old enough to wear a push-up bra when this jingle came out, you are probably wearing an Ahh Bra now.

7. Backstage pass

Interesting to consider what VIP backstage passes would have been coveted in the Thin Lizzy era. Perhaps a lick of orange Oompa Loompa dust would have secured you time with hunky visiting celebrities in the mid-late 2000s such as Nickelback, Andrea Bocelli or even a King of Leon. Billy Joel played Vector Arena in 2008, so there is a non-zero chance he flicked the telly on after the gig and saw our own take on WDSTF. Speaking of full circle moments…

6. Bracelet

The fullest circle moment of them all. What bracelets were we wearing in 2008? Our Livestrong bracelets were languishing in the bin after Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal, our Make Poverty History rubber numbers retired after we fixed everything with ‘Fix You’. Thin Lizzy’s bracelet of choice is actually not one, but four diamante bracelets. Her mind, her panache.

5. Scoop neck

Look, if you’ve already put all that work into the necklace, the suntan, the push-up bra AND the lingerie, you are going to need an adequate amount of scoopage to show it all off to Chad Kroeger and co.

4. Jacket

Then of course, you’ve got to cover it all up, because this is New Zealand and you should never go anywhere without a jacket. Also worth pointing out that Thin Lizzy is wearing more layers of clothing at this point than ET dressed as a woman

3. Body check

At first listen it might seem like a pervy term, something uttered by the kind of people who wear trucker hats that say FBI: Female Body Inspector. Or perhaps it is a bleak self-policing of Thin Lizzy’s own titular thinness. Or perhaps, and this is my preferred reading, a body check simply means a mole map. With all the suntanning she’s been up to, and the fact that 6,000 melanomas are diagnosed every year in Aotearoa, she’s only right to be vigilant. 

2. Mobile

According to a panel of independent experts, Thin Lizzy’s cartoon phone appears to most closely resemble a Frankenstein’s monster of an Alcatel OneTouch and a Nokia 5110. An essential item for sending sexts to Nickelback at 20c per sext.

1. Music

If Shakespeare said “if music be the food be the food of love, play on” then Thin Lizzy simply said “music”. Of all of Thin Lizzy’s treasure trove of Y2K artefacts, music is the most essential. Without music there is no ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ (Billy Joel), no ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ (Fall Out Boy), no ‘Kiwiburger, love one please’ (Ronald McDonald). And, most crucially, without music there is no Thin Lizzy jingle, the greatest piece of music of them all. 

Keep going!