Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 35
With Bottom Feeders we take a look at the songs on the Billboard Hot 100 that only got a little love. 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
“Life (Everybody Needs Somebody To Love)” 1993, #41 (16 weeks) (download)
These days it’s impossible for my wife and I to hear “What Is Love” and not do the bobbing head thing from Night at the Roxbury, so thankfully “Life” really doesn’t get played anywhere or we’d have to do it to two songs. The beat is similar enough to the bigger hit that it could surely happen. And although Haddaway had just one sound to him, that sound was pretty damn good.
“Don’t Be Afraid” 1992, #44 (16 weeks) (download)
This was Aaron Hall’s first solo hit outside of his work with Guy. It was featured prominently in the movie Juice and has all the elements that would make Hall a star – sexuality, screaming and strained, overly-emotional vocals about how much he loves a woman.
“I’m In A Philly Mood” 1993, #82 (2 weeks) (download)
I’m pretty sure “I’m In A Philly Mood” at least starts off with the same sounds as 90% of Aaron Hall’s songs. The song is one of the best solo tracks Hall has released, off his album Soul Alone. Seems at the time, Epic was expecting something a bit more pop than this though and didn’t really know how to market his full blown soul transformation and thus the album really didn’t do well on the charts.
I’m relatively certain that Hall is the most famous person ever born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania – also known as the home of the Steed.
Hall & Oates
“Don’t Hold Back Your Love” 1991, #41 (11 weeks) (download)
Although there’s just something little missing from tune, some excitement, some energy – something – it’s still a fantastic song of the miserable Change of Season which would be their last album for seven years. The track was co-written by Richard Page from Mr. Mister.
“Ooh La La” 1991, #51 (10 weeks) (download)
I actually really like this tune, of course most likely because it sounds like it came directly out of a 1986 cheesy teen movie – like his other hit, “He’s My Girl.” It’s certainly a heaping pile of cheddar and hasn’t aged well at all (if it wasn’t already dated at the time of release) but if nothing else, it’s different than most of tunes in this series.
“Step On Remix ‘91” 1991, #57 (10 weeks) (download)
A cover of a John Kongos song called “He’s Gonna Step On You Again,” as the title would indicate, this is the remix version of the original from the college radio favorite record Pills ‘N’ Thrills and Bellyaches. The original hit #9 on the mod rock chart and was actually the better version in my opinion.
I’m going to assume that Juliana Hatfield will be a complete reader favorite based on the feedback I’ve gotten from this series.
If I were to choose one song to represent the sound of my college radio station in the mid-‘90s it could be “Universal Heart-Beat.” Juliana Hatfield might have well been a God(dess) and probably could have released anything and it would have been loved by not only our station but college radio worldwide. Strangely though, even though we’ve established that I listened to bands like the Breeders and Elastica simply because girls I wanted were listening to them as well, Hatfield was just too girly for me.
While I kind of despised her records back in the college since everyone praised her uncontrollably I did recognize her talent then and now not only that but the amazing impact she had on shaping the sound of college rock in the ‘90s. I mean, “Universal Heart-Beat” might be one of the top 10 songs in the entire series now that I look back.
Sophie B. Hawkins two major hits were heard so much that I completely forgot about her minor tunes. “Right Beside You” and “Only Love” were the first and third singles from her sophomore release Whaler, bookending the #6 smash “As I Lay Me Down.” She’s an artist that I’ve completely forgotten about over the years even though, “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover” was one sexy song.
If Hayes first hot 100 single had been named “The Day That She Left Tulsa (Drinking a Beer, In A Chevy with a Gunrack towing a John Deere)” you would had the song that represents country music to a “T.”