Section 1: The Ass End
Although Faith Hill is listed as the 208th ranked artist ever according to Billboard, I actually thought she was bigger than she was on the pop chart. Maybe it’s because “This Kiss,” “Breathe” and “That Way You Love Me” spent a combined 157 weeks on the chart. But her big run was from 1998 to 2001 and while she’s made good music since then, it hasn’t equalled the cross over success of her early records.
It’s kind of funny to look at her album covers and see her morph into what she became. She’s a down home pretty country girl on her 1993 debut, Take Me As I Am. Then she turned into Dolly Parton on the follow up, It Matters To Me. Her self-titled ’98 record turned her into this adorable pop cutie and 1999’s Breathe transformed her into sexy pop star. 2002’s Cry cover art looked like she just got out of the shower thus turning her all sultry looking, Fireflies turned her into beautiful diva and then finally Joy to the World in 2008 made her the princess at the ball. It’s a life transformation right before our very eyes.
As far as the music goes, once she went country pop I liked her. It doesn’t hurt that she’s ridiculously beautiful but she’s also a damn talented singer. Although “The Secret of Life” kind of sounds like a song Sheryl Crow rejected it’s the best of the bunch here and even includes the line “The secret of life is Monday Night Football.” How about that foreshadowing!
Heavens, Jordan Hill was 17 at the time “Remember Me This Way” hit but she certainly has a voice beyond her years. As for the song though, it’s like one note away from morphing into Mariah Carey’s “Hero.” “For the Love of You” is the total opposite, an upbeat R&B number that reminds me of Toni Braxton a bit. Both of these tunes and her debut album were the product of David Foster.
Hill seemed to have a great voice I just wonder if no one really knew what her image should be, a white teen doing R&B numbers. Even today if you go to her website, her still photos show this woman with belly shirts and short mini-skirts. However, on stage she looks more like the 34 year old she is.
Hi Tek 3 featuring Ya Kid K
“Spin That Wheel” 1990, #69 (7 weeks) (download)
Hi Tek 3 was a trio of Belgian DJs that recruited the part Belgian, Ya Kid K from Technotronic to rap on their only single, “Spin That Wheel” which came off the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Soundtrack.
“Ding-A-Ling” 1998, #56 (19 weeks) (download)
Surely, I can’t possibly explain to you why I like this sound so much but these Florida groups that sounded all the same actually make up one of my favorite genres that started and died in the ‘90s. Sure, it’s a ridiculously dumb song but I can’t help but get up and dance.
“All I Want” 1996, #77 (12 weeks) (download)
Sheryl Crow picked up where the Bangles left off and then on Susanna Hoffs second solo record, she recorded this tune, which just like the Faith Hill track above is very much within the stylings that Crow would have done. This is actually a fantastic song though that should have been a much bigger hit than it was.
Hole’s three charting songs ran the gamut of their sounds. “Doll Parts” is following in the grunge footsteps of Mr. Cobain, “Celebrity Skin” rocks out and “Malibu” went pop. It’s a shame that Courtney Love is such a nut case as Hole could have probably went on to make quite a few more good records.
“Just the Way You Like It” 1997, #93 (5 weeks) (download)
Although signed to MCA, “Just the Way You Like It” was a Bad Boy produced song and featured Mase, which clearly was why this relatively generic voiced singer got any airplay.
“Pick It Up Pick It Up” 1992, #90 (2 weeks) (download)
I’m sure I owned a Home Team album back in the day because “Pick It Up Pick It Up” was my jam. It fit right in with the Fu-Schnickens, Das-Efx, Positive K and the like. But for the life of me I can’t remember what anything else sounded like. It couldn’t have been that good because this track was catchy enough to have warranted a follow up. Then again, somehow it only went to #90. (I paused and listed to this six times in a row – just couldn’t get enough).
Bruce Hornsby & the Range
“Lost Soul” 1990, #84 (3 weeks) (download)
If you don’t like Bruce Hornsby, you don’t like pop music. I think it’s as simple as that. There was certainly only so long that he was going to be a hit maker thanks to all his singles pretty much following the same structure (at least with the Range) but over the years he’s moved into bluegrass and jazz as well as putting out some fantastic records with his band the Noisemakers. And he was a friend of Jerry Garcia and worked extensively with the Grateful Dead over the years.
House of Lords
“Remember My Name” 1991, #72 (9 weeks) (download)
House of Lords commissioned Nick Graham and Bob Mitchell to write this tune. They also wrote Cheap Trick’s “The Flame.” Notice any similarities?
It’s surprising that House of Pain only had four hits as they really could have hung around with Cypress Hill and parlayed their success into more hits for these guys. All three of these song are phat, especially “On Point” and this Butch Vig remix of “Shamrocks and Shenanigans.” Unfortunately, Everlast obviously ended up going solo and DJ Lethal moved on to *ahem* Limp Bizkit.
“My Heart Is Calling” 1997, #77 (4 weeks) (download)
In the myriad of Whitney Houston hits, I don’t know that I’ve heard this one since the day it was released on the Preacher’s Wife soundtrack. What made this song any worse than her other hits is beyond me though. It’s really such a shame that Bobby Brown was her Yoko.
Face it, Adina Howard was a hit because she shook what her mama gave her. Her leather clad booty was all over the cover art and videos and sex sells, so when she released her debut album, Do You Wanna Ride? with songs like “Freak Like Me” “You Got Me Humpin’” “My Up and Down” and “Horny For Your Love” it was inevitable the horny men across the world were going to snatch this up. And she even got nastier as she went along with singles like “Nasty Grind” and “T-Shirt and Panties” while appearing topless on her second and third albums. She was a little bit of a one-trick pony chart wise with two songs with “Freak” in the title and then guesting on another Hot 100 hit called “Freaks” in 2004.