Section 1: The Ass End
Brooks & Dunn
“Boot Scootin’ Boogie” 1992, #50 (15 weeks) (download)
“Rock My World (Little Country Girl)” 1994, #97 (3 weeks) (download)
“My Maria” 1996, #79 (12 weeks) (download)
“I Can’t Get Over You” 1999, #51 (11 weeks) (download)
“Missing You” 1999, #75 (3 weeks) (download)
Over the course of their career, Brooks & Dunn had 29 songs hit the Hot 100 or bubbling under charts. Only eight of them went top 40. They seem to have just enough crossover pop appeal to them to crack the markets that were all about country music but not enough to push them anywhere close to the top of the charts. However, who needed that? I mean, they are only the biggest duo in the history of country music with 20 #1 hits on that chart. They also won the CMA award for best vocal duo from 1992-2006 with only the year 2000 trophy not on their mantle. The answer to that trivia question – Montgomery Gentry won that year. And since 2006? Five in a row for Sugarland. Not that any of these are bad choices, but I guess there just aren’t that many country duos out there.
If you’re a country fan at all, you should know most of these if not all of them. “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” was their first tune to cross over to the pop chart and one of their most famous tunes. “My Maria” is a cover of the B.W. Stephenson tune from 1973 and barely sounds like country at all. And of course “Missing You” is a cover of the John Waite tune a few years after Tina Turner would remake it. Waite would re-record it later as a country duet with Allison Krauss. “Rock My World” is one of only a few hits to feature Kix Brooks on vocals instead of Ronnie Dunn.
“Helluva” 1992, #53 (18 weeks) (download)
Here’s another duo but they didn’t have quite the career of the band above. One of what seems like thousands of rap groups who got one shot to hit it big, failed and disappeared, they released just a self-titled record in 1992. “Helluva” used a catchy sample of “Groovin” by the Latin Rascals to climb the charts. The follow up “50/50 Love” didn’t have any impact at all and I can’t find any evidence that Tyrone Ward and Sean McDuffie did anything else in music.
“That’s the Way Love Is” 1993, #57 (9 weeks) (download)
The real problem with Bobby Brown was never the music, it was the drugs. The four years between Don’t Be Cruel and Bobby slowed down the massive push he had on the charts. His third album sold well but not nearly as good as his previous record and he didn’t put out another record until 1997. Bobby wasn’t great but did have really good singles like “That’s the Way Love Is” “Get Away” and “Humpin’ Around.” But of course every time I feel a little sorry for Bobby Brown, I think of how he had a hand in destroying the career of Whitney. Then again, she had a hand (and a nose) in that as well. Either way, I’ll always have fond memories of Mr. Brown.
Man, I thought Ms. Brown had a bigger career than she really had. From 1996 to 2001 she only had a total of five songs hit the Hot 100 and while “I’ll Be” hit #7, she never got anywhere near the Top 10 or even the Top 20 again.
Although both of these songs are good enough, I have to think that “Big Bad Mama” is a good example why she wasn’t a bigger success. Foxy had this hard ass persona and gangsta raps but the singles featured samples like Carl Carlton’s “She’s A Bad Mama Jama” which is lighthearted and funky instead. “Hot Spot” has a beat which completely feels like a Jay-Z leftover. The reason “I’ll Be” worked so well is because the sample of Rene & Angela’s “I’ll Be Good” was darker and more in tune with the lyrical style.
Foxy does live on in my household though, through my GPS navigation system. My wife and I were bored one day on a long trip and the female voice just wouldn’t stop talking so we named her Foxy Teal. Ms. Brown should be proud.
Here’s another one of those head scratching moments for me. Before this very moment I’d never even heard the name Horace Brown. So I had to look this cat up before I could tell you about him. Brown apparently released an ode to oral sex, called “Taste Your Love” in 1994. When it didn’t do well and was banned in parts of the country, Uptown records declined to put out his album. He then moved to Motown where they released his debut album which featured both of the songs above. Weirdly enough, with an album on Motown, he got a lot of production work out of Puff Daddy and vocals out of Bad Boy artists like Biggie on “Things We Do For Love,” Faith Evans and the Brown right above him, Foxy. There’s nothing special about either of the songs here, so it’s not surprising that he didn’t last.
I had initially heard of Brownstone simply because they were one of the few bands to have signed on to MJJ Records, Michael Jackson’s label he formed with Epic with hopes of developing new artists. The minor success of these ladies proved to be the biggest success for the label which only lasted until 2001. I’ve always hated this cover of the Eagles, “I Can’t Tell You Why” and the chorus of voices on “Grapevyne” is completely overwhelming, for me making the group well…underwhelming. Despite not releasing an album after 1997, original member Maxee Maxwell says the group is still together.
“Can You Stop the Rain” 1991, #52 (15 weeks) (download)
Always a favorite of mine maybe simply because his name is Peabo or maybe because he’s a Time Life quiet storm favorite, he actually had his biggest hits in the ‘90s. “Beauty and the Beast” hit #9 and “A Whole New World” marked his only #1 hit at a time when he had moved on to soundtrack tunes and guesting on Kenny G records.
But fuck it, “Can You Stop the Rain” is a fantastic song. Far better than “Aladdin’s Theme”. You go Peabo!
“The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)” 1995, #49 (18 weeks) (download)
I’m pretty sure this track is heard on every dance comp. and has been played at at least one sporting event a day since 1995. This is pretty much the masterwork of Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez taking “Street Player” by Chicago to a whole new level. I still find it funny that the words in the sample are really “street sounds swirling through my mind” but it’s so hard to hear that, that “these sounds fall into my mind” ends up what you think you are listening to.
“Give Me…A Reason” 1996, #78 (9 weeks) (download)
Knowing full well that Nasty G would know all about Buffy, I headed over to the Isle of Deserted Pop Stars and sure enough there’s all the info anyone needs to know about this lady.
Based on what we know about the music in the decade I’m surprised to see any Bush tracks here. I figured they would have all been rock only or airplay songs but then again, I shouldn’t be surprised that the two slowest songs they released (“Comedown” and “Glycerine”) both hit top 40 either.
“Rubberband Girl” 1993, #88 (6 weeks) (download)
I’ve never had a problem with Kate Bush, but I can’t stand this tune. Her voice on this just gives me the shakes. It was the first single off The Red Shoes which was loaded with guest stars like Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Prince.
Busta Rhymes & Zhane
“It’s A Party” 1996, #52 (13 weeks) (download)
I’ve always liked Busta Rhymes as a singles artist but have never really dug any of his records in their entirety (isn’t that the way for most rappers in the ’90s and ’00s though?). He’s had such a successful career due to a his unique rhyming style which I have to admit is catchy as hell but often way too hard to rap along with. And he has two verses in Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” which is still the #1 rap song of all time in my book.
“It’s a Party” isn’t nearly one of his best especially around “Who-Haa!! Got You All In Check” and “Dangerous.” But if there’s any doubt who’s performing on the tune, the ladies in Zhane tell you about 600 times.
“Rollercoaster” 1999, #67 (8 weeks) (download)
I’m afraid of heights but I totally would have sucked it up and gotten on a rollercoaster with these fine Irish lasses. You know, as long as I never had to hear this song again. But it probably wouldn’t have worked that way.
“Watermelon Crawl” 1994, #81 (5 weeks) (download)
“The Keeper of the Stars” 1995, #68 (9 weeks) (download)
“Walking To Jerusalem” 1995, #92 (3 weeks) (download)
“I’m From the Country” 1998, #63 (18 weeks) (download)
So I popped on “Watermelon Crawl” to refresh my memory a bit and my 3-year old son comes over and tells me it’s his favorite song. And then he hums along to it. Of all the songs to be his favorite! At least it’s better for him than his previous favorite – “Roll Out” by Ludacris.