Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 27

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

Everything But the Girl
“Wrong” 1996, #68 (10 weeks) (download)

Everything But the Girl hid in obscurity here in the states until album #8, in which they hit the big time with the Todd Terry remix of “Missing.” Their ninth album – Walking Wounded – only yielded “Wrong” as a single. One more album after that and they stopped making music and retired as a family content on staying out of the spotlight, much quicker than they got into it in the first place.

“Why Can’t You Come Home” 1991, #78 (8 weeks) (download)

If I had written this two years ago, Ex-Girlfriend would have been just another blip on the radar. They were an all-female group formed by the members of Full Force (who were for all purposes, much better than these ladies). But they are interesting today because of one member, Stacy Francis, who was on X-Factor last year and got eliminated on the 4th live show.

“As Long As I Can Dream” 1993, #55 (14 weeks) (download)
“In Walked Love” 1994, #84 (6 weeks) (download)

The ladies in Expose released a total of three studio records during their run with the two ‘80s records being their biggest successes. Both of these tracks were from their self-titled third record which had to go down as a major disappointment despite “I’ll Never Get Over You” hitting #8. By this point one of the original members (Gioia Bruno) had been replaced and the Latin influence in their songs gave way to an adult contemporary sound. Diane Warren was brought in to pen four tracks including the two here and “As Long As I Can Dream” was co-written with Roy Orbison. A lot of money had to be put into this disc and it was only a moderate success but it did mark the first real push to have the blonde haired Ann Curless as the lead vocalist of the group. The girls broke up in 1995 and reunited in 2007.

“Rest In Peace” 1992, #96 (3 weeks) (download)
“Stop the World” 1993, #95 (3 weeks) (download)

Extreme was always an intriguing band for me. I listened to both Extreme II: Pornograffitti and III Sides To Every Story over and over as a teenager and remember being amazed at how funky the group was especially on the former record. I can still listen to songs like “Decadence Dance” and “Get the Funk Out” but every time I pop on one of those album I stop to wonder if they were a little cheesier than I thought at the time. Either way, both of the songs here (off III) are decent, with “Stop the World” being the better of the two. And Gary Cherone and Nuno Bettancourt are both quite talented and clearly work best together rather than separately.

“Just Roll” 1995, #88 (2 weeks) (download)

There were problems with music in every decade, I’m sure and the ‘90s issue is right here. Two billion completely generic R&B bands whose one shot at success led them to two weeks on the chart. There’s just nothing at all exciting about this tune.

The Fabulous Five
“LeFlaur LeFlah Eshkoshka” 1996, #75 (8 weeks) (download)

Winner of the most ridiculous song title of the decade, The Fab Five consisted of two groups, Heltah Skeltah and the Originoo Gunn Clappaz. For all of you that have praised my sticktuitiveness to continue this series despite so much bad music, please trust me when I say this almost became my breaking point.

“Insomnia” 1997, #62 (19 weeks) (download)

I never listened to Faithless but at the time at my college radio station Faithless was one of the bands that really kicked us into gear on the trip-hop movement. And while this track was more trance than trip-hop, I still lump these guys into the same group as Massive Attack and Tricky.

Faith No More
“Falling To Pieces” 1990, #92 (3 weeks) (download)
“Easy” 1993, #58 (8 weeks) (download)

Before I was a fan of Mike Patton himself, I was a huge fan of Faith No More. They still rank as one of my favorite bands of all time and of course because of that I completely cringe when people say they are the creators of rap metal. It might be true but fuck, I don’t want to put that on such a great group.

“Falling To Pieces” was the follow up to “Epic,” the song put to the video with the floppy fish. And actually, I didn’t even know their cover of the Commodores’ “Easy” was released as a single but it seems it was billed as the final single from Angel Dust. It wasn’t on the first version but then appeared in various countries as “It’s Easy” before subsequent US prints and now the digital version include it as part of the record itself. And you can find it on any one of their numerous greatest hits comps.

The Farm
“Groovy Train” 1991, #41 (16 weeks) (download)

This Liverpool based band released three records with this and the follow up single, “All Together Now” performing relatively well on the Mod Rock chart. This was their only song to cross over to top 40 though.

John Farnham
“You’re the Voice” 1990, #82 (8 weeks) (download)

The funny thing about this series is that “You’re the Voice” never did anything for me until right now. I never bothered with it as part of my ‘80s collection when it was released in 1986 and hit the top 10 in like a dozen countries except for the U.S. After hitting the adult contemporary chart in 1990, RCA re-released the tune and it climbed (woah), all the way to #82. Back then it did nothing for me either. But next to tunes from Fabu and the Fabulous Five, Farnham’s song is a fucking masterpiece. God bless Bottom Feeders.

“Fire Escape” 1998, #86 (8 weeks) (download)

This was the type of music that made my senior year of college so great. I was making the half hour drive from my house to school and every morning listening to Fastball, Barenaked Ladies, Counting Crows, Hootie and the Blowfish and more just like them. And my how quickly times changed for me once I graduated in ’99. I spun the hell out of All the Pain Money Can Buy which spawned all three of their big hits and I’ve never heard another thing from them.

Fatboy Slim
“The Rockafeller Skank” 1998, #78 (15 weeks) and 1999, #76 (12 weeks) (download)

The fact that the song heard every minute of every day for years only peaked at #76 is crazy. But then maybe I heard it so much because it was released twice by the Astralwerks label. Here’s another song that I couldn’t get enough of back in the day but can’t stand to listen to now.

Fat Joe
“Flow Joe” 1993, #89 (2 weeks) (download)
“Firewater” 1996, #76 (8 weeks) (download)
“Envy” 1996, #85 (8 weeks) (download)

I just absolutely hated listening to Fat Joe and even to this day I have to question if either he or Big Pun is the dead one (that’s Pun for those keeping score). It wasn’t until the next decade that Joe got really big but this crap including yet another song sampling Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” I can do without. I’m not even sure “Firewater” is even one of his songs as it was the B-side to “Envy” and can only be found on Big Pun’s record which was out at the time. But the Billboard book says it was Fat Joe featuring….so here it is. We’re all worse for it.

Favorite Angel
“Only Women Bleed” 1990, #69 (7 weeks) (download)

Here we have the 4th contender for worst song of the series – Favorite Angel’s cover of Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed.”

  • cmmmbase

    For what it’s worth, John Farnham was also the vocalist for the Little River Band from 1982-1986. Can’t remember whether you mentioned this in the 80s edition (Playing To Win showed up there). Also, he’s been hitting the charts in Australia since 1967..

  • Leroy Grey

    Thank you for rediscovering the best – and reliving the worst – of the 90’s for all of us. There’s better weeks in the next 21 letters, I just know it…

    Farnham’s “You’re the Voice” was the anchor for a great scene in the Lonely Island movie “Hot Rod”. It watches like the epitome of 90’s VH1 for a minute, and then… The song’s an anthem to me, now.

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

    Tracy Thorn and Ben Watt (aka Everything but the Girl) have not actually stayed much out of the spotlight since Walking Wounded, just not as EBTG (even though they did release a final, and very good record after that; Temperamental, again very electronic). While working on WW, Ben became more and more interested in electronic dance music and by the WW tour, he was already taking the opening slot of his band’s own shows as DJ. After the tour, he became a very well known and successful (in the house music world, I mean) DJ, remixer, producer and label manager. I wish he had gone mor einto drum and bass, since WW incorporates both house and drum and bass in the EBTG’s jazzy pop sound, but that may be just me. Tracy Thorn, on the other hand, just released a beautiful album in 2010, Love And Its Opposite (on Ben Watt’s non-dance-sub-label Strange Feeling Records) which is one of my personal favorites of that year. So yeah, they have done not much that could put them back in the American pop charts, but they remain very much in the spotlight still.

  • http://www.drcastrato.blogspot.com drcastrato

    Groovy Train is the reason I continue to read this column. Each week about 90% of the songs are unlistenable to me, and the other 10% are the fairly major artists I’m already very familiar with (Faith No More, The Cure, etc). But once in a while, there’s a Groovy Train; a song I liked and had forgotten about. Thanks!

  • http://www.drcastrato.blogspot.com drcastrato

    Maybe I’ll pop in my copy of Extreme III today…it’s been a while.

  • Aron

    A bunch of familiar songs: At least 3 of the songs here (Fire Escape, Rockefeller Skank and Groovy Train) were played on Casey’s Top 40 since he was no longer doing Billboard. Plus, In Walked Love is still played in grocery stores and car dealerships across the country on a daily basis. But that Fab Five crap just shows that anyone could hit the hot 100 in the mid-90s if they had a microphone and 100 curse words.

    Speaking of Fire Escape, there is no way you’ll have a better song the rest of the series

  • MarkoP

    While not a huge hit, I do recall Fastball’s “You’re An Ocean” from their follow up album getting a decent amount of radioplay.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    I will now be listening every time I’m in a supermarket for “In Walked Love”….damn it.

  • mstgator

    Yeah, I liked that one… a bit too quick and breezy for pop radio in 2000 unfortunately. Went Top 30 on the niche Mainstream Top 40 chart and Top 20 at Hot AC.

  • Elysium

    Fastball is still an active band in Austin, plus the two lead singers do solo shows (Miles Zuniga and Tony Scalzo). I saw Miles Zuniga open up for John Oates a few months ago and he played “Fire Escape.” Fastball has put out a few albums after their major label run and they have some good tracks on them.

  • NastyG

    LOL They were definitely channeling Wilson Phillips in that track…

  • Leroy Grey

    I used to sing along to that all the time when it was on the radio – but that’s because I’ve got a thing for potty humor…

  • kingofgrief

    Can’t let the week pass without a comment as some certified KoG jams make the also-ran cut this week. First off, “Insomnia”, one of my top 10 singles for the decade. Despite their high-energy singles (“Salva Mea” is another fave) I too liken them to the Massive Attack family tree rather than any major club act.

    I was a fan before, but Walking Wounded immediately became my favorite EBTG album on first listen. Bought the CD and “Wrong” alike on release day; awesome Deep Dish remix on the single.

    In ’98/99, I got together with a friend who worked at our public access channel and produced three episodes of a video companion to Sound Awake. “The Rockefeller Skank” was my “Video Killed the Radio Star”, kicking off the pilot.

    I saw the Farm open for BAD II in ’91. The “Groovy Train” single (and possibly the Spartacus full-length) linger in my collection somewhere.

    In other news, I’m shocked that it took that long for “Feliz Navidad” to make a ripple, and I met Fem 2 Fem during a meet-and-greet at (where else?) a gay bar in ’93 (that single has not held up, alas).

  • Rich

    I found that Farnham tune on the Greenpeace “Rainbow Warriors” 2-disc compilation. (’88?) That was a strange selection of tracks, but I still dig it.

  • http://www.popdose.com/ DwDunphy

    You can also find a version sung by Chris Thompson on the Alan Parsons Live album — no foolin’!