dangelo

Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 20

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

Dana
“As We Lay” 1997, #59 (11 weeks) (download)

An R&B tune or a dance song? That’s the question of the moment for Dana and “As We Lay.” I don’t know why Dana Harris thought she could get away with just going with the one name moniker especially when it’s so damn generic but she got her one taste of quick fame in doing so. Released on Tony Mercedes records, this has such a basic beat that it’s hard to put this anywhere above the mediocrity line but Dana did have a decent voice. Now I’ll leave it up to Nasty G to inform me if she’s done anything since this point.

D’Angelo
“Cruisin’” 1995, #53 (18 weeks) (download)
“Me and Those Dreamin’ Eyes of Mine” 1996, #74 (6 weeks) (download)
“Left & Right” 1999 #79 (5 weeks) (download)

Looking back, I see that I totally took the wrong approach to scoring while I was in college. I listened to the Breeders and Sheryl Crow to get that kind of woman, which I now realize wasn’t my type at all. What I should have been listening to was D’Angelo. I suppose I thought that the girl would just be dreaming about running their hands down that six pack of his and wouldn’t like me. But face it, D’Angelo had everything that made women swoon. And now that I’m married and can look with a critical eye, he might be one of the best R&B artists ever. Why he didn’t have a bigger career is a mystery to me.

Danger Danger
“Bang Bang” 1990, #49 (13 weeks) (download)

On the other hand, it’s quite obvious why Danger Danger didn’t have a bigger career. Not jumping onto the hair metal bandwagon until 1989 really didn’t help them. But being lame was really the major reason. I don’t know that I ever heard “Bang Bang” on the airwaves, rather the title track, “Danger Danger.” Suck suck.

Danzig
“Mother” 1994, #43 (15 weeks) (download)

Of all the songs so far that I’ve wondered how in the world they didn’t chart higher, this might be the first one that I’m truly surprised charted at all. I’m a huge Danzig fan, but even I wonder what radio stations played this to get it all the way to #43. Even the video wasn’t anything too special, so maybe Glenn Danzig gave the devil another part of his soul for this one.

Interestingly enough, most people refer to the version they see as track #7 on Thrall: Demonsweatlive as the charting version. But that was a live cut that was the B-Side to the single, which was a hidden track numbered 93 on the disc. But the hidden track was only put on the disc starting with the fourth pressing, so anyone with an early copy of it, doesn’t have the version that was popular.

Terence Trent D’Arby
“Delicate” 1993, #74 (8 weeks) (download)

Terence Trent D’Arby’s 3rd record (Symphony or Damn) has to be one of the most underrated records of the decade. Critics loved it but D’Arby only had one charting single from it and has somewhat faded into oblivion. “Delicate” featuring Des’ree was the centerpiece to a record that featured a lot of rock and soulful tunes which some compared to what Prince did with Sign O’ the Times. Keeping in line with the Prince comparison, he changed his name in 2001 to Sananda Maitreya in an attempt to break free from the record industry that held him back. I don’t believe he wrote “slave” on his face though. Prince 1, D’Arby 0.

Das EFX
“Freakit” 1993, #43 (12 weeks) (download)
“Real Hip-Hop” 1995, #61 (10 weeks) (download)
“Microphone Master” 1996, #86 (3 weeks) (download)

Most fans of rap in the ‘90s know the tunes off Das EFX’s debut, Dead Serious. “Mic Checka” and especially “They Want EFX” as well as guesting on “Check Yo Self” by Ice Cube was what put them on the map. Each consecutive album after that point sold less copies and got less critical acclaim. A song like “Microphone Master” tells you all you need to know about their fall from grace. Das EFX’s rhymes were spit at a furious pace with lots of gibberish and words that end in “-iggity” and while there’s a few “riggedy rock’s” in the tune, the style was scaled back and thus they sound very much like any other rap group at that point.

Davina
“So Good” 1997, #60 (19 weeks) (download)
“Come Over To My Place” 1998, #81 (9 weeks) (download)

Before I hit play on “So Good” the name Davina really didn’t ring a bell but I ended up knowing both songs anyway. Both come from her one and only record, Best of Both Worlds. “So Good” had a little more staying power since it was used as the theme song to the Laurence Fishburne movie Hoodlum. The beat on the tune sounds a lot like the trip-hop sounds from the first Portishead album.

Tami Davis
“How Do I Say I’m Sorry” 1998, #63 (14 weeks) (download)
“Only You” 1998, #93 (1 week) (download)

Tami Davis was just another generic R&B artist trying to capture the success of Toni Braxton with her sensual smokey voice. This was as close as she came.

Taylor Dayne
“Send Me A Lover” 1993, #50 (14 weeks) (download)

Taylor Dayne essentially had a monstrous three year run from 1988-1990 with seven top ten hits including 1990’s “Love Will Lead You Back” which spent a week at the top of the charts and one other track in the top 20. By 1993’s Soul Dancing, her sound had already faded out and her record sales dipped. After that record she was released by Arista, took five years to release another record and then ten years until she released her 5th album (Satisfied) which has a close up of her face looking scary and plastic on the cover. Whoa now.

Da Youngsta’s
“Hip Hop Ride” 1994, #68 (9 weeks) (download)

Name check a bunch of rap artists and you have enough to get you a hit and maybe a chance to ride on their coattails for a minute or two. It doesn’t matter if you can’t actually write any lyrics and your flow is below average or anything. And shit, I loved this song back in the day. What the hell was I thinking?

Daze
“Superhero” 1998, #88 (3 weeks) (download)

Eurodance!!!!!

Sing it with me, “Hmmm Bop a a-ya a-ya, hmmm bop a-o!” It seems like the letter C and D has brought with it quite a few songs I’d never heard before. This is one of them and while I do kind of like it, I don’t remotely get the chant thing they are doing there.

Chico DeBarge
“Give You Want You Want (Fa Sure)” 1999, #71 (13 weeks) (download)

Although never a member of DeBarge the group, I will always have a soft spot for Chico and the rest of the family. Both him and his brother El, have made some shitty choices in their personal life but have spent the time in jail and reformed themselves. “Give You What You Want” was off his second post-incarceration record, The Game. The first record out of jail was the aptly titled Long Time No See. I’ve never heard his albums outside of the two in the ‘80s but based on this fantastic song, he definitely changed his sound with the times.

Daisy Dee
“Crazy” 1991, #73 (11 weeks) (download)

After being called out a few weeks ago for my mislabeling of European dance music, I’m not calling this Eurodance. I’m going to say this is Hip House. Am I right?

Anyway, Daisy Dee was a dutch singer and actress that had very minor success in her homebase of Curacao and later on in Germany, but “Crazy” was her only tune to crossover to the US charts.

Kiki Dee
“True Love” 1993, #56 (12 weeks) (download)

Yeah, that Kiki Dee (I mean, could there be other Kiki Dees?). After having some success in the ‘70s solo and having “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” go to #1 with Elton John in 1976, she didn’t hit the charts again until 1993 when she reunited with Sir Elton on his Duets record to lay to tape this Cole Porter tune made most famous by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly.




  • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

    “Delicate” is a terrific song, and the album, as you said, underrated. I haven’t heard any of his music since “Vibrator” in the mid-90s.

  • http://digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best_songs-Power-Pop.html Brett Alan

    Just one little story.

    Sometime in 1993, I picked up one of the local free music magazines–maybe East Coast Rocker or The Aquarian–and there was a review of Billy Joel’s The River Of Dreams which was just scathing. Now, I had already bought the album, and thought it was very good (still do). I just didn’t understand where the guy was coming from. So I thought, you know, maybe he’s just an alternative-rock guy who reflexively puts down anything that’s commercial. I wouldn’t agree with that, but I could understand it.

    Well, on the same page, the same reviewer reviewed Taylor Dayne’s Soul Dancing, referenced above. It wasn’t just a positive review. It was glowing. He called it a great album full of “flawless pop gems”. I don’t think I’ll ever see the name “Taylor Dayne” without sarcastically thinking “flawless pop gems”.

    Oh, and the Dana track is a remake of the 80s hit by Shirley Murdock.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Haha. That’s a fantastic story and while they should never be together, it’s even funnier that “flawless pop gems” was put in print for that album and not one of her hit ones.

    I didn’t put two-and-two together on the Dana song. Hell, that makes it even worse in my book as Shirley Murdock was a pretty fantastic singer. I have to go back and listen to it and compare the two.

  • Mstgator

    You’re dead-on right about “Mother” not getting much radio play. My treasured 2002 edition of Whitburn’s “Top Pop Singles” (the last to feature the separate sales/airplay breakout) notes that this single failed to crack the airplay Top 75, but hit #12 on the Hot 100 sales chart.

    I’d always thought of TTD’s “Let Her Down Easy” as a bigger hit than it actually was, thanks to the massive airplay it got on my then-local Top 40 station.

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

    Yes, you got it right: “Crazy” is not Eurodance, but Hip House.

  • NastyG

    So much to say this week. First, thanks for thinking of me. ;) Funny enough, I just heard of Dana about a month ago and was looking for info on her for Discogs. It appears she’s done nothing of note since. As Brett mentions, the track is a remake of Shirley Murdock. I believe that they were going for the same sound as Inoj’s remake of Ready For The World’s “Love You Down” released the same year i.e. an electro-bass version of a popular ballad. Of course Inoj would have a much bigger hit with the sound a few years later with her version of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”. And yes, the Daisy Dee track is hiphouse (though it pretty much came out at the beginning of the eurohouse craze, which she ended up being a huge part of, so you wouldn’t be that far off. ;) Love that song. And I had no idea Davina had any success outside the UK. That album is such a classic so I’m glad to hear it got some notice in North America. On the other hand, I’ve never heard of Tami Davis, and from her crappy lackluster ballads, I don’t wonder why, though I do wonder why she had any hits. And I love your last comment on Taylor Dayne. LOL So true, and even she has mentioned how much she regrets all of her surgery. Also, I preferred 80s Chico, and that Danzing song is such a rip off of The Cult (eg. Love Removal Machine) it’s embarrassing, but I somehow dig it…

  • Aron

    I’ve always enjoyed your series. Just have to say that in the 1990s, Casey Kasem was hosting Casey’s Top 40 which got its chart from Radio and Records Magazine. I discovered during that time that there were many songs that he counted down that actually were on the ass end of Billboard (such as Chumbawumba’s Amnesia and The Badlees’ Angeline is Coming Home)