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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
“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.”