Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 16
With Bottom Feeders we take a look at the songs on the Billboard Hot 100 that Casey Kasem never got to announce. It’s an A-Z look at songs that charted no higher than #41 in the decade. Take a listen, enjoy and comment. And don’t forget, information on the top 40, airplay and bubbling under charts are on pages 2-4.
Section 1: The Ass End
“I’ll Be Loving You” 1993, #56 (20 weeks) (download)
Adam Marano and Tony Monte were both students at Temple when they created this tune off their Chapter One lp. That put them within driving distance of my house so I certainly remember the hype in the Philadelphia clubs for these dudes. Even with only charting at #56 that was kind of impressive for a release on Viper records which was Marano’s label which may or may not have been run out of his dorm room.
Collective Soul got a ton of airplay in Philly and made quite a name for themselves in the ‘90s playing rock music that was kind of unique for the time. Ross Childress’s riffs on the faster tracks, like “Heavy” have a definite foot in the hard rock door, while Ed Roland’s songwriting helped them dip into the pop market. Roland’s vocals were instantly recognizable at the time as well.
Holy crap though, even the major hits like “December” and especially “Shine” sound ridiculously dated at this point. Sure, they were good tunes back in the day but Collective Soul songs aged so poorly. I recognized all of the tunes in this post after listening to them again, but I couldn’t have hummed one note of these songs before that point. Very few Collective Soul tunes have made a lasting impression on me and despite the fact that they are still together and releasing music, I haven’t heard a peep from them in years.
“Victim of the Ghetto” 1992, #68 (15 weeks) (download)
You gotta love the opening line of this track, “you know…it really ain’t that bad once you understand the science of this shit.” Well, I suppose Rom, Squeak, The Q and DJ B-Selector didn’t quite understand like they thought they did as “Victim of the Ghetto” was their only hit off of their poorly named debut, Radio Fusion Radio. They released one more record then faded into oblivion. Act like ya know.
Phil Collins ‘90s output was interesting without a doubt. Genesis’s put out the most progressive stuff they’d released in years, then Phil released Both Sides, a super dark, personal record that reminded me a lot of Face Value. This album was criticized for good reason because Phil used drum machines on the entire thing which just seems silly coming from a world class drummer. He followed it up with the lighthearted, upbeat Dance Into the Light which I still maintain is a very underrated record. One listen to that disc and you can totally hear why the Tarzan soundtrack was the logical next step in his career.
No relation to Phil, Ms. Collins was an R&B singer from Detroit via Harlem. The biggest issue with her music is that she didn’t seem to know what kind of artist she wanted to be. She hit #6 in 1990 with the song “Girls Nite Out” from the album of the same name and that and “Second Chance” were dance tunes. “It Doesn’t Matter” was a silky smooth R&B tune and “Never Alone” was a pop song. Her final single here is actually the best one but really, can an artist ever recover from a title of “Eeyore’s Lullaby” – even if it’s parenthetical?
Color Me Badd
“Remember When” 1998, #48 (13 weeks) (download)
A rapper, a Mexican dude, a street white dude and a guy who originally looked like Kenny G. Now that screams hit makers!
Discovered by none other than Robert “Kool” Bell, Color Me Badd unfortunately doesn’t get looked back on too kindly these days. But the group was actually pretty damn solid and I will fight you to my grave that “All 4 Love” is one of the best songs ever.
While C.M.B. had the biggest hits, Time and Chance was a good record it its own right. Both “Choose” and the title track can be held up against the tracks on the debut and they hold their own.
Sure, the group was a little cheesy but they had talent, the right producers and hit at exactly the right time. Even in 1998 when they had started to fade and released their final record they were able to produce “Remember When” which is a fantastic R&B tune.
I’ve often wondered what they could have done to make themselves a little more respectable in the long run and I’ve never figured it out. Maybe there wasn’t a way. They were a product of the scene at the time and fit in extremely well. They really weren’t made for the long run but at least the major hits will be around forever.
“Innocent Child” 1992, #50 (10 weeks) (download)
We talked about this one at the beginning of the series a little bit thanks to the post on lead singer, Sherrie Krenn. Yeah, sure, I know we haven’t reached the letter K yet but that’s okay because when Sherrie left Colourhaus she changed her last name to Austin and became a country star. The other member of the group was Phil Radford. According to the Joel Whitburn bible, he wrote “The Flame” for Cheap Trick but he’s not listed on the album as a writer for any tune. Hmmmm….
“Try A Little Tenderness” 1991, #67 (4 weeks) (download)
One in a series of 45’s released from the soundtrack to the movie, this Otis Redding cover was the only the only track to chart from the gaggle of musicians that were in the flick.
Harry Connick Jr.
“(I Could Only) Whisper Your Name” 1994, #67 (20 weeks) (download)
Wow, I completely forgot about this song and definitely wouldn’t have been able to tell you that it was Harry Connick Jr. But it was off his 1994 New Orleans funk record – She – and is certainly a fantastic song.
The Conscious Daughters
“Something To Ride To (Fonky Expedition)” 1994, #42 (15 weeks) (download)
What are these girls conscious of? Or did they mean that they hadn’t yet passed out from the gin & juice? I remember hearing this when it first came out and having no idea that the first rapper (Karryl aka “K” aka “Special One) was actually a woman. Definitely sounds like a dude. And is being “fonky” better or worse than simply being “funky.” What a confusing track.
“Watch for the Hook” 1999, #73 (10 weeks) (download)
You may have never heard this song and have no idea who Freddy Calhoun aka Cool Breeze is but what you need to know is that he is credited with penning the term “Dirty South” which is a song he wrote with the Goodie Mob back in 1995. Now that you know that, the Merry Clayton sung sample of Neil Young’s “Southern Man” in “Watch for the Hook” doesn’t seem so out of place.
Cool Breeze was a member of the Dungeon Family which placed their artists all over the place in the ‘90s and 2000’s. Outkast, Goodie Mob and Witchdoctor from the crew were all on this track and other members of the family include Sleepy Brown, Bubba Sparxxx and Cee-Lo Green.
’89 – ’93 marks the comeback period for Alice Cooper after years of laughable songwriting. So of course he did what any aging rocker does at this point – no, not the songbook – but he went to Desmond Child to write some hits. Child did that for him even if both Trash and Hey Stoopid came out sounding a bit sterile, it provided him the hit in “Poison” that he needed to be able to continue making new music in the future.
Part of Desmond Child’s plan was also another aging rocker trick – get other celebrity musicians to play on the discs. Trash had all the members of Aerosmith on it, as well as Richie Sambora, Jon Bon Jovi, Stiv Bators, Michael Anthony and more. “House of Fire” was co-written with Joan Jett and the only thing that really saves “Only My Heart Talkin’” is the presence of Steven Tyler.
The Hey Stoopid record scaled back a little but still had its share of celebrities on it. This record featured Steve Vai and Nikki Sixx on the single “Feed My Frankenstein.” The title track featured Joe Satriani and Slash on guitars and Ozzy Osbourne on vocals.