al-b-sure

Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 2


Bottom Feeders is back! And this time, we’re going ’90s on your ass. If you missed the two ’80s editions, here’s the deal. 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.

Don’t forget there’s pages 2-4 to check out if you want bonus material and top 40 info!

Section 1: The Ass End

After 7
“Kickin’ It” 1992, #45 (13 weeks) (download)
“Baby I’m For Real (Natural High)” 1992, #55 (18 weeks) (download)
“Gonna Love You Right” 1994, #87 (6 weeks) (download)

After 7’s back story is really quite interesting due to one fact. See, almost everyone, including myself for the longest time and even the current edition of the Billboard bible of music, lists the members of the group as Melvin and Kevon Edmonds, both brothers of Babyface and Keith Mitchell, cousin of LA Reid. However, Mitchell has since come out here and there and stated that he’s no relation to Reid. Instead he was just friends with Kevon and Babyface and Reid just thought it would be a better story if he was the cousin. Pulled the wool right over my eyes.

Either way though, the group had some really good tracks like “Heat of the Moment” and “Can’t Stop” but were signed to Virgin records unheard due to the lineage, so in reality the whole group was kind of a marketing gimmick from the start. Fortunately for them though, Babyface didn’t get all the talent in that family as they turned out to be at least above average for a decent 6-7 year run on the charts.

Oh, and is “After 7” supposed to represent the time that it starts to get sexy because my son stays up until 8 pm or so, so that time seems to be a little early, don’tcha think?

Aftershock
“Goin’ Through the Motions” 1991, #52 (16 weeks) (download)

This was the only hit for Aftershock which was comprised of a rapper (Guy Charles Routte) and a singer (Jose Rivera). “Goin’ Through the Motions” is a pretty good representation of what they were about. They were nothing terribly special but decent enough to capture both the audience of someone like After 7 and also Color Me Badd.

Alabama
“How Do You Fall In Love” 1998, #82 (5 weeks) (download)
“Keepin’ Up” 1999, #69 (8 weeks) (download)

Both of these tunes clearly hit the chart because people ate up the For the Record double disc Greatest Hits release in ’98 (now retitled Essential). They were two of the three new tunes on the disc which was promoted initially as having all 41 #1 hits from Alabama in one place. No doubt Alabama was a good band but keep in mind that anything and everything went to #1 on the country charts.

Al B. Sure
“Misunderstanding” 1990, #42 (14 weeks) (download)
“Right Now” 1992, #47 (20 weeks) (download)

I mentioned back in the original ‘80s edition of Bottom Feeders that I wasn’t a big fan of Al’s singing voice (though I know that isn’t the opinion of the majority of the R&B world) so I never bothered picking up 1990’s Private Times…and the whole 9! or the awkwardly titled follow up – 1992’s Sexy Versus. My problem was simply that his falsetto just didn’t work for me however, I had no issues with his more upbeat new jack swing songs since it was closer to a rap which he performed in a deeper voice. “Misunderstanding” fits in the latter category and is enjoyable but I think “Right Now” is horribly off in the harmony vocals.

We also have our first BFS (Bottom Feeders sighting) of the year on “Misunderstanding.” That’s Mr. Teddy Riley producing, ya’ll.

Alias
“Perfect World” 1991, #90 (4 weeks) (download)

Alias was Sheriff meets Heart with Freddy Curci and Steve DiMarchi from the former pairing up with pretty much the entire backing band of the latter. And their music sounds exactly like what you’d expect getting those two together. Exactly.

“Perfect World” was their final hit on the Hot 100 which you can find on the Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead soundtrack. The dishes are done, man.

Alisha
“Bounce Back” 1990, #54 (8 weeks) (download)

This was the title track from Alisha’s third and final record. I think by this point she had worn out this sound, but I’m not shocked that this was still even a minor hit in 1990. Alisha was a good singer that never truly broke through.

Odd fact: Alisha sings the theme song to the Will Ferrell/Molly Shannon shitfest, Superstar.


Tha Alkaholiks
“Hip Hop Drunkies” 1997, #66 (9 weeks) (download)

The ‘90s had a lot of lighthearted rap tunes and a lot of filth for the sake of being filth. J-Ro, Tash and E-Swift of Tha Alkaholiks were somewhere in between. “Hip Hop Drunkies” isn’t exactly “I Got A Man” but it’s got an element of fun in it as well and if you’re going to call a song “Hip Hop Drunkies” then Ol’ Dirty Bastard was certainly the rapper that was the perfect guest. It certainly is the only song I think I’ve ever heard something like “I’m in your butthole / wherever it goes.” But that’s ODB for you.

The radio version is in the video below.

All City
“The Actual” 1998, #75 (4 weeks) (download)

“The Actual” is one of the great lost rap songs of the ‘90s. All City only released one record and got their 15 minutes of fame as they had associated with Onyx in their heyday. Their lone record, Metropolis Gold was an intelligent and catchy record with songs produced by Pete Rock, the Rockwilder and DJ Premiere on this tune. The album suffers from what almost every rap record in the ‘90s and maybe even today does – it’s way too long – but “The Actual” is undeniably catchy.

All-4-One
“(She’s Got) Skillz” 1995, #57 (20 weeks) (download)

Between 1994 and 2001 I probably bought a good two thousand CDs. I don’t really know how and looking back I probably could have paid for my son’s college with the money I spent, but at one point I was going to school and working five jobs (I’m not kidding) so I thought I deserved to spend my money. But in the great purge of 2003 I got rid of probably three or four thousand CDs leaving me what I would estimate to be about maybe 400 or so CD’s from the ‘90s left.

Today, if you went through my physical CD’s, not counting “the collection” of ‘80s music, there would be a few hundred that I collected from the college radio station I worked at and maybe 100 from the decade that I actually bought. So where is this going? Two of those 100 CDs belong to All-4-One. Somehow purge after purge All-4-One made it through unscathed.

I did stop buying them after And the Music Speaks in 1995 and in fact I didn’t even know they had four more records since then but to me, these guys were just plain smooth back then. I don’t look back and think the same thing now but as the king of the mix CD, every woman that I macked on in the mid-90s got “These Arms” on the disc. I’m pretty sure none of them ever spoke to me again.

And of course there’s “(She’s Got) Skillz.” The guys weren’t exactly known for their upbeat tracks so it’s no surprise this didn’t chart higher. They sang so romantically on most of their tracks and then this one comes along where “she shimmies up my jimmy” and “in the morning when I’m yawning / she gives me her sticky bun” (I still don’t think I get this one and I think supermaning a girl wasn’t even coined yet, so…unless they were actually singing about a sticky bun…nah). Just a pretty silly track that doesn’t represent them too well at all.




  • Derby

    Am I excited about this? Yes, yes I am.
    Welcome back….  :)

  • http://www.discoskonfort.com/artists/drxl/ Anonymous

    “…I collected from the college radio station I worked at.” You mean, you borrowed them from the station and have not yet returned them?

  • David_E

    Boy, this is rolling out exactly as I figured. Fascinating read, horrible music. I salute your effort – and your constitution.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    No, Never! I swear. As the music director, I just asked for a second copy and if I couldn’t get it, I just went to the wonderful Princeton Record Exchange for it. My station in Trenton, NJ was way different than the station in Princeton, so I knew if I liked it, they would have already sold it to PREX and I could pick it up for $1.99. I spent more time at that place than in the classroom.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    No, Never! I swear. As the music director, I just asked for a second copy and if I couldn’t get it, I just went to the wonderful Princeton Record Exchange for it. My station in Trenton, NJ was way different than the station in Princeton, so I knew if I liked it, they would have already sold it to PREX and I could pick it up for $1.99. I spent more time at that place than in the classroom.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    This is probably the least diverse week you’re going to see. Not much for you if you don’t like R&B in this one.

  • http://blog-goes-pop.blogspot.com/ Kordian

    All Saints in Top 40? Alexia Bubbling under? I remember that song from the old compilation. Uh la la la was so popular in Poland that it was covered almost 10 years ago by teenage skate rap duo of course in the cleaned up version.

    Original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbr1Z-oBu3Y
    Cover: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEIY0ZRVL5Q (Alexia also played Sopot Festival I mentioned under the first installment. She guested one year after Ace of Base, if memory serves well).

    Even being that bad, the song made some noise in Germany and Japan. Very rare feat for the Polish act.

    Anyway, thank God I have no time to dig up Allmusic so I can wait for such surprises every week :)

    http://blog-goes-pop.blogspot.com/2012/01/felieton-nothing-changes-on-new-years.html

  • http://twitter.com/arensb arensb

    How appropriate is it that a song entitled “Goin’ Through the Motions” contains a Truck Driver’s Gear Shift?

  • http://theisleoffailedpopstars.blogspot.com/ Nasty G

    I am embarrassed by this week’s posts, both because I haven’t heard most of these songs before and that I like most of them! LOL  Though most people will hate it, you can always count on me to be a fan of most of the music on here. ;)    As for Alisha’s ‘Bounce Back’, it was originally recorded by pop ‘star’ Martika in 1987 before she hit it big, and she even made a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLdVvT4JBDM  She never ended up releasing it and the short-lived duo Fire On Blonde ended up releasing it in 1987. I featured their version on one of my blogs here in case anyone is interested (not likely, I know, but hey. ;):
    http://lostpoptreasures.blogspot.com/2010/08/fire-on-blonde-bounce-back-1987.html

  • Anonymous

    This is amazing on so many levels. I honestly thought Aftershock would catch on, but “Going Through the Motions” is a pretty solid jam regardless of where it charted. Really liked “Always Thinking” as well, which proceeded the release of “Motions.”

  • JT

    Im sorry im confused as towhat your trying to say about Alice in Chains..
    They did release cd singles :
    Would, Rooster, Them Bones, Down in a Hole, I Stay Away, No Exuses, Grind
    so what happened…I looked at Billboard and indeed all they have is their current stuff.
    Rooster did track to number 7 on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks…which i guess isnt anything…

    and no All Saints?

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    That’s the weird thing about the 90s charts – all those singles got released to rock radio – I guess Top 40 stations wanted to jump on board so they picked up non-singles – and thus only the airplay chart reflected that. It’s such a bizarre system that I’m glad they did away with.

    Both All Saints tunes cracked the Top 40 – “I Know Where It’s At” hit #36 and “Never Ever” went to #4.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Hey, actually not only is it a very cool blog – but anytime I see one song from a female pop artist here, I pretty much know I can find the full album on your side.

    Man, lots of people apparently though “Bounce Back” was a good song.

  • Quiet Wyatt

    Heyo! I DJed at WPRB from 90-93. Man, do I miss the PREX. I seriously believe the presence of that store was one of the deciding factors in me going to school there. Awesome selection, great prices, killer dollar bins, and you could always count on the staff for a whopping dose of elitist attitude. ;-) It made my day when I bought a selection of music so diverse that they begrudgingly complimented my taste.

  • Chuck

    As far as I know, Alice In Chains only released 2 commercial singles in the US – Man In The Box (Columbia 73851, cassette single) and Grind (Columbia 78178, 7″ vinyl – for jukeboxes). The rest were promo cd singles…

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Spot on man. Once I stopped listening to indie rock the desire to go started to dwindle but man, the prices can’t be beat if you are looking from some really indie stuff.  And yes, you always felt some sense of pride when one of them paused over a record or CD you bought.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Spot on man. Once I stopped listening to indie rock the desire to go started to dwindle but man, the prices can’t be beat if you are looking from some really indie stuff.  And yes, you always felt some sense of pride when one of them paused over a record or CD you bought.

  • Anonymous

    The Sap EP was initially marketed as a CD maxi-single (i.e. no longbox) and carried an appropriate price tag. I remember it being listed in the singles inventory for the chain I worked for as “Brother” (track 1). A few months later, we started receiving longboxed copies to file alongside Facelift in the full-lengths.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t immediately remember “Bounce Back”, but it’s on the list to consider for the Club Hour tribute down the line. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve heard any of this week’s BFs, though the After 7 and Al B. Sure! titles look familiar thanks to my new-music-retail days.