Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 14

Bottom Feeders takes a look back at every song that hit the Billboard Hot 100 charts, but only if they didn’t crack the top 40. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive review of each tune or each artist, but rather my view of the music I grew up loving. It’s meant to bring back all the great and really crappy songs that have faded into oblivion over time for one reason or another And, the series is designed to get discussions going about the music. I don’t have expert knowledge of every song posted here but I want to hear from you with your memories of the tunes, comments about a artist or general thoughts.

Section 1: The Ass End

“Butt Naked” 1992, #91 (3 weeks) (download)

This song is a perfect example of why so many artists in the ‘90s were one and done. It’s a complete bullshit cash-in tune with no redeeming value at all. Maybe the least hardcore rap to ever come from Brooklyn.

Charm Farm
“Superstar” 1996, #89 (4 weeks) (download)

There were a lot of Charm Farms out there it seems and a lot of different players within this Charm Farm, a dance-pop-rock band from Detroit. I remember the album (Pervert) vaguely from my college days, being kind of a bizarre mix of styles that really made it flow quite poorly.

Cheap Trick
“Wherever Would I Be” 1990, #50 (10 weeks) (download)

This song annoys me out of principal. The label surely wanted another “The Flame” so they brought in Diane Warren to pen this tune (she co-wrote “Ghost Town” too). And much of the rest of their 1990 album – Busted – was in the same vein as Lap of Luxury, not bad, but sterile and cold compared to what Cheap Trick used to be. When the group felt they needed the record deal they bent over backwards to let Epic bring in outside writers to craft their tunes and it worked wonders in terms of chart success but in the end it was the downfall of the band. Epic released them after this album and that’s probably the best thing that could have happened to Cheap Trick. It took a while to recapture the old magic again – some would say that happened with Cheap Trick II in 1997 but if that was up for debate, then they really came back strong with 2006’s Rockford.

The Chemical Brothers
“Setting Sun” 1997, #80 (5 weeks) (download)

This one surprises me quite a bit but I guess the Chemical Brothers were more of an MTV group than made for radio. This track is pretty damn cool and featured Noel Gallagher on vocals which means it should have blown up. And “Block Rockin’ Beats” only bubbled under. What in the world?

“One by One” 1996, #52 (14 weeks) (download)
“Strong Enough” 1999, #57 (12 weeks) (download)

I’m fully willing to admit that in 1989 as a pimply face teenager, I surely got a stiffy from the video for “If I Could Turn Back Time.” I mean, I don’t remember the actual stiffy as that would be quite odd but she was a milf before that term existed. Then as I got older I realized how absolutely wrong that was and in turn ignored Cher no matter what she did. Sure, “Believe” was hard to tune out since it gave her her first #1 in 24 years but beyond that, I couldn’t care less about her ‘90s output.

Neneh Cherry
“Buddy X” 1993, #43 (12 weeks) (download)

Being a little different is what got Neneh Cherry her fame and also was probably her downfall. 1988’s Raw Like Sushi was a little pop, a little rap, a little rock and a little reggae but was accessible enough to really connect with any audience. The 1992 follow up – Homebrew – wasn’t as easy to digest as she moved more towards trip hop and jazz fusion-type sounds on the disc. Critical success didn’t translate into commercial success though and 1996’s Man (which I didn’t even know existed) was her final record. She’s now recording at part of the group CirKus which includes her husband, daughter and daughter’s boyfriend. I’ve only heard one recording from the new group – 2006’s Laylow – and that’s simply unlistenable.

Note: She also had a duet with Youssou N’Dour in 1994 which we’ll chat about in N.

Kenny Chesney
“That’s Why I’m Here” 1998, #79 (7 weeks) (download)
“She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” 1999, #74 (12 weeks) (download)

I swear Kenny Chesney is the redneck Jimmy Buffet. Sickeningly handsome, totally laid back and loved by people who simply love to mellow out, in 20 years this dude will have his own franchise of everything in the world as well. I never really enjoyed Jimmy and I don’t like Kenny Chesney that much either but country fans do and more importantly, women do. Gentlemen. If you are single and wish to get laid, put on a cowboy hat and some boots and bring two friends to a Kenny Chesney concert. It’s almost impossible that one of 10,000 women in attendance won’t give the jimmy a little tug at least. And if you can’t get laid, you’re doomed for life to be a virgin.

“Hearts in Trouble” 1990, #75 (5 weeks) (download)

Once Greatest Hits 1982-1989 came out in ’89, there was really no reason to buy another Chicago disc. The hits stopped coming at this point with only three songs hitting the charts in the decade. “Hearts in Trouble” wasn’t a bad tune though with Bill Champlin on lead but you had to buy the Days of Thunder soundtrack to get it on an album.

Desmond Child
“You’re the Story of My Life” 1991, #74 (6 weeks) (download)

I don’t think I even knew Desmond Child released a solo record. But Discipline contained this very Chicago like “You’re the Story of My Life” and top 40 hit “Love On A Rooftop” both co-written with Diane Warren. These certainly don’t stand up to most of his great writing credits but aren’t terrible either. The album featured guests like Joan Jett, Richie Sambora, Tico Torres, Vivian Campbell and Butch Walker.

Jane Child
“Welcome to the Real World” 1990, #49 (9 weeks) (download)

Jane Child’s self-titled 1989 debut is really a fantastic mix of dance-pop with a slight R&B feel to it. “Welcome to the Real World” was the first cut on the disc that also featured her big hit, “Don’t Wanna Fall In Love.” Her 1993 follow up – Here Not There – took her in a different direction though, with hard rock and new jack swing most prevalent. It really wasn’t a great move on her part and that would be the last thing she would put out until 2002.

The Chimes
“1-2-3” 1990, #86 (5 weeks) (download)

“1-2-3” only hit #86 on the hot 100 but hit #1 on the dance charts which is curious since this track just feels way too mid-paced to be able to dance to it at all. The Scottish trio had better luck oversees as they are known for their hit remake of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

“Full of Smoke” 1997, #53 (18 weeks) (download)
“I Wanna Get Next To You” 1998, #86 (4 weeks) (download)

Christion’s place in history is that they were the first non-rap act signed to Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella records. “Full of Smoke” is a dull introduction to the group, but nevertheless they were still good enough in the label’s eyes to get bumped up to the papa, Def Jam,  for 1997’s Ghetto Cyrano record. “I Wanna Get Next To You” is a much better sample of the group, the second and final single off that record.

Shawn Christopher
“Another Sleepless Night” 1991, #67 (7 weeks) (download)
“Don’t Lose the Magic” 1992, #71 (8 weeks) (download)

Shawn Christopher has had quite the eclectic career. The sister of Gavin Christopher (who had his brief moment in the spotlight in the ‘80s), she started out as a touring vocalist in the early-mid ‘80s with Chaka Khan, ended up doing some dance numbers of her own, singing with Sonia Dada, being part of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult for a while and being the orgasm on the now classic “French Kiss” by Lil Louis.

Not surprisingly she had better success on the dance charts, with these two tunes pretty much being the sound of most of her solo work. “Another Sleepless Night” is credited to Mike Wilson & Shawn Christopher, with Wilson creating the house beat for the tune.

Chubb Rock
“Treat ‘Em Right” 1991, #95 (2 weeks) (download)

You have to admire Chubb Rock for following his dream. A smart dude, he dropped out of the pre-med program at Brown to pursue his rapping care “Treat ‘Em Right” is one of the greatest rap songs of all time, he doesn’t have much else to show for it. He was on the Marriage Ref  last year though! Put that on your resume!

“Tubthumping” 1998, #87 (6 weeks) (download)

Strike while the iron is hot I guess, right? Both Chumbawamba’s original version and this just flat out hideous cover done by some studio musicians from New Jersey were on the chart at the same time. These people must have had naked pictures of someone to use as leverage. Even if you hate the original, this version is a thousand times worse. It will certainly go on the short list for worst song in this series.

“Heartbreak Station” 1991, #44 (11 weeks) (download)

Just like I said in the ‘80s version, I could be biased because these guys were hometown boys but it always felt like they were a cut above some of the other glam bands. And by the time their Heartbreak Station came out in 1990, they were slowly moving away from the glam and towards more blues rock tuneage. They released Still Climbing in 1994 and when only die hards bought it, they decided to call it a day.

  • Frank

    Dave, thanks for another great update.  I’ve never heard the wonderful cover version of “Tubthumping”, and I can’t wait to get that chance.  :)  These songs prove once again what an odd decade the ’90s were for music.  These songs are all over the place.  I’ve always been very fond of “Another Sleepless Night” – excellent dance tune.  I wish we would have heard more from Jane Child and Neneh Cherry.  I think they both had a lot more to offer but didn’t have the chance. And if you want to cry, listen to “Sand And Water” by Beth Nielsen Chapman, understanding that she wrote it because her husband had recently died from cancer.  That album is unbelievable good, and unbelievably sad to listen to.

  • MarkoP

    Wow.  Gonna sound crazy, but I had been trying to find the identity of that butt naked song for the past decade, which a friend found on a old mixtape, and was actually spending the past week still trying to see if I could find it.  And then today comes along and  BAM! it’s the first song on the list. Thank you!

    Note: I never actually really liked the song, it just drove me insane that I could never find the song, and just assumed it was some obscure Canadian song.

  • Skipisley

    no mp3 for Charm Farm?

  • Casey Chambers

    Cheap Trick having to dip into the Diane Warren song stash hammers the last nail and completely removes the band from anywhere near their fiery and wonderful “Big Eyes” Cheap Trick days.

  • Nasty G

     Wait a second

  • Nasty G

    Totally dig this week’s edition, especially since it features some of my all-time faves – Jane Child, Neneh Cherry, Shawn Christopher and the Chimes’ “1,2,3”.  I can assure you that that song is VERY easy to dance to, and I spent many a sweaty night doing just that to this song. ;)  Plus you solved the ‘mystery’ of “Butt Naked” as mentioned above. LOL  And I, for one, enjoyed both albums by Neneh’s group CirKus.  I think you have to be in the right frame of mind while listening, that’s all. ;)

  • John Hughes

    The Chucklebutt single was the beneficiary of a weird period in pop when major labels quit putting out singles for hit tracks in an effort to get everyone to upgrade to the album.  As a result, you had fakey studio hacks with close-enough sounding names to the original groups putting our hack versions to grab singles sales (see also, “Uninvited” by More Said – ugh). 

    iTunes put a stop to this, although you can still see some vestiges when you look for Def Leppard and other groups who shun digital.

  • MarkoP

    Haha!  Indeed it was.

  • Frank

    Damn, I can’t get enough of “Another Sleepless Night”!  I’ve been listening to it over and over tonight.  If I don’t get to bed soon, it’s going to be prophetic as well.

  • kingofgrief

    As far as major airplay hits go, Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” might be the most recent example of “inconvenient availability”. You can pick from an array of session-musician knockoffs. Or “Werewolves of London”.

  • kingofgrief

    “Welcome to the Real World” was actually the first single from Jane Child’s debut. I remember seeing the video in late ’89 and scoring a promo 12″ from my job maybe a week later. After “Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” blew up, Warners gave it another shot, this time with the benefit of a CD single.

    It still puzzles me that “Buddy X” was chosen as a single. It sounded like a half-baked interlude to me then, it sounds like one today. “Trout”, her Steppenwolf-sampling duet with Michael Stipe, was the bigger radio hit from Homebrew, at least in Houston.

    Single of the week goes to the Chems, far and away. Dig Your Own Hole is my favorite album of ’97 and always evokes memories of Sound Awake‘s infancy.

    I move that we refer to Vol. 14 from here on out as “Chucklebutt Naked”.

  • Russ

    The Cheap Trick album is Rockford, not Rockville.  And “Say Goodbye” is the best tune in the series so far.  Might’ve charted higher if the label didn’t go out of business weeks after releasing the album. 

  • steed

    Funny really. Never thought there would be people actually searching for that track

  • steed

    Itunes m4a. Sorry. Realized too late that all the mp3s i had were remixes. You can still stream the song you just have to wait a few second for quicktime to load up.

  • jack

    Politely disagree about CirKus, only for the song “You’re Such an…” which contains this chorus:

    you’re such an asshole

    you think you’re fantastic

    i bet you drive a sports car

    probably got a small dick

    well i ain’t a dumb ho

    made of plastic

    i like my cars to go slow

    while we’re on the subject


  • steed

    Thanks. Made the correction.

  • ElCartero

    And most of those were the work of one man – Adam Marano, more legitimately famous as a freestyle producer (you’ll encounter him in a few weeks with Collage, and later on in the T’s with TPE). I’ll take your word about the Chucklebutt, Steed, since I refuse to listen to it.

  • Matt

    Ray Charles’ “A Song For You” got a lot of AC airplay, at least on a couple of stations in my area. Not a big AC guy but really like that song.  Cool to hear it again here on page 4.