Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’80s, Part 86
Here are even more songs by artists whose names begin with the letter S, as we continue looking at singles that charted below #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the 1980s.
“Promises” — 1981, #48 (download)
“Memory” — 1982, #52 (download)
“Left in the Dark” — 1984, #50 (download)
“Make No Mistake He’s Mine” — 1984, #51 (download)
“Emotion” — 1985, #79 (download)
“Somewhere” — 1985, #43 (download)
If you’ve been reading this series for a while you’d definitely think I’d be ripping into Babs about now. I really tried to, but everything I was writing seemed forced which made me realize that I don’t really have that many issues with her. I will never ever voluntarily pick up a Streisand record and I’m cursing myself for listening to all of these on my iPod as they are now most likely going to show up in shuffles more often, but it is what it is. I give her credit for trying to stay relevant with the times. She could record anything and her fans would stick by her, but her collaborations in the ‘80s were actually okay.
I’m a big Bee Gees fan, so I actually enjoy “Promises” which came off what goes down as a very good record, Guilty, written by Barry and Robin Gibb. “Left in the Dark” is clearly a Jim Steinman song and is just as good as the majority of his material and “Emotion” is actually semi-hip. Even “Memory” and “Somewhere” while no big favorites of mine are Barbra at what she does best.
My paragraph for Stryper was actually harder to write than Babs if you can believe that. I stopped and just shut this thing down twice trying to figure out what the fuck to say about the lamest “metal” of the decade. C’mon, I mean all the guitar solos in the world can’t make this crap actual metal. I don’t mind the occasional power ballad, but both of these are totally ball-less turds.
“You’re the Best Thing” — 1984, #76 (download)
I know there are tons of people that just love the Style Council, but I can’t fucking stand them. It’s a weird one though because I know there’s a following and a lot of it is simply because it’s Paul Weller’s band after he disbanded the Jam, but no one I know will admit to liking them, not even fans of the Jam. Many of the music lovers I know hate them just like me. And this is not a band I’m willing to go back and listen to either. I’ve heard enough of their music to know that I think it’s tuneless crap. More power to you if you enjoy it buy Style Council just ain’t my cup of tea.
I know four Styx albums as a whole: 1979’s Cornerstone, which contained “Borrowed Time”; 1981’s Paradise Theater, which had “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned”; 1983’s Kilroy Is Here, which gave us “High Time”; and 1984’s Caught in the Act. I love all of them. I’ve never had a desire to go back and listen to anything else from them, though.
These guys certainly liked “time” didn’t they? “Borrowed Time” and “High Time” are here, Paradise Theater contained “The Best of Times” and Caught in the Act’s single was “Music Time” which hit #40.
The Sugarhill Gang were three boys from Jersey (Master Gee, Wonder Mike and Big Bank Hank) that were put together by Sugarhill Records founder Sylvia Robinson. “8th Wonder” was the third overall single from the group and first off their second album. The line “Woo Hah, got them all in check” was sampled by the Beastie Boys for “Shake Your Rump” and more famously by Busta Rhymes for his song, “Woo Hah!!! Got You All In Check.”
“Apache” samples the 1973 instrumental by the Incredible Bongo Band, which has also been sampled by everyone from Nas to Vanilla Ice (“Ninja Rap”).
And of course I couldn’t let it slide that “Rapper’s Delight” is now released with a “featuring Nile Rodgers” (Nile Rodgers sighting, y’all!) since he and Bernard Edwards sued over the use of “Good Times” as a sample and thus collect royalties off it now.
“State of Independence” — 1982, #41 (download)
“Unconditional Love” — 1983, #43 (download)
“Love Has a Mind of Its Own” — 1984, #70 (download)
“Supernatural Love” — 1984, #75 (download)
“Dinner With Gershwin” — 1987, #48 (download)
“Love’s About to Change My Heart” — 1989, #85 (download)
Donna Summer’s ‘80s output was interesting. I don’t think there’s an album of her six in the decade that I like from start to finish, but she had some great singles and also didn’t just stick with the conventional R&B that probably could have made her a ton more money.
“State of Independence” is a Jon & Vangelis cover from her self-titled record, and that chorus of voices you hear has some huge names in it: Michael Jackson, James Ingram, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Dionne Warwick, and Kenny Loggins (how’d he get in there?).
“Unconditional Love” is a cool pop-reggae number featuring Musical Youth and was the follow up to the mega-hit “She Works Hard for the Money.” The best part is the video which is actually kind of awesome.
“Dinner With Gershwin” is the underrated track here. The first single from the miserable All Systems Go album written by Brenda Russell was a bit of a different sound for her, musically and vocally. Looking back, I’m not sure it was right for Summer’s style but it’s still a catchy track. This is the album version here — the single chops off about 20 seconds.
“Love’s About to Change My Heart” seems to be a fan favorite because it’s most reminiscent of the disco style she’s most famous for. Personally, I think it’s the worst of the tracks here. And yes, that is absolutely a Stock Aitken Waterman beat you hear.
Best song: Sugarhill Gang, “8th Wonder”
Worst song: Stryper, “I Believe in You”
TOP 40 ONLY
Next week, a Bottom Feeders record gets broken.