Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 42
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
Jeru the Damaja
“Come Clean” 1994, #88 (4 weeks) (download)
If youze b learnin your English from Jeru the Damaja, you’d be totally screwed today. Musically, Jeru had skills but “Come Clean” was really his only tune catchy enough to get played on the radio. However, his debut – The Sun Rises in the East – is a must have if you’re a hip hop historian.
Jesus & Mary Chain
“Sometimes Always” 1994, #96 (2 weeks) (download)
“Something Always” was from their fifth album, Stoned & Dethroned – not their greatest effort but infinitely listenable thanks to catchy concise tunes mostly in the three minute range. The female vocals on the tune are provided by Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. While a different sounding album altogether, Psychocandy was really their masterpiece.
“Down So Long” 1999, #59 (6 weeks) (download)
There was a point when I listened to Jewel because I thought she was incredibly cute (you know, when you couldn’t see the shark tooth) and I liked “Down So Long.” But then I started thinking she was pretty lame at some point – maybe around the time of the poetry book (?). Then she did the dance-pop record and I think she’s doing country music now. Kind of all over the map and none of it really good.
“Woman To Woman” 1995, #72 (9 weeks) (download)
Although listening to “Woman To Woman” probably wouldn’t tell you this, Jewell (pronounced Jew-Ell)was actually the female voice in many Death Row tunes. As a protégé of Dr. Dre’s, frankly I can’t tell you if she ever put out an album but she sang the chorus on Snoop’s “Gin and Juice” and Dre’s “Let Me Ride” as well as having solo tracks on various soundtracks. “Woman To Woman” actually came from Snoop Dogg’s mini-movie, Murder Was the Case.
“Keep Warm” 1991, #97 (2 weeks) (download)
Jinny is a bit of a mystery to me. The Billboard bible states this is a person, while Wikipedia says they are a band without a female singer in it. Discogs offered even more information indicating these were a group of DJs and producers that never released a full length album, only a handful of singles over the years. The female vocals may or may not be from someone named Lyv McQueen. Either way, EURODANCE!!!!!!!!!!
Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers
“That’s What I Like 1990, #69 (5 weeks) (download)
It wasn’t enough that I had to deal with Jive Bunny in the ‘80s but they trickled over into the ‘90s as well. Wasn’t “Swing the Mood” enough? I admit it’s a decent enough mix but wasn’t really necessary at all.
I was a fan of Jodeci to an extent but was a bigger fan when K-Ci and JoJo went off on their own. The two of them were enough and Devante Swing and Dalvin didn’t add that much to the group. “Lately” and “Forever My Lady” are the two songs you need to have by these guys. None of the three above are really worth a second look.
“I’m In Luv” 1993, #64 (13 weeks) (download)
I’ve always maintained that if you’re going to go with a moniker as generic as your very common first name, you better be damn good to stand out from the crowd and Joe was not. Solid singer, good voice but completely standard fare.
“The Downeaster “Alexa”” 1990, #57 (8 weeks) (download)
“That’s Not Her Style” 1990, #77 (6 weeks) (download)
“All Shook Up” 1992, #92 (3 weeks) (download)
“Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)” 1994, #77 (8 weeks) (download)
“To Make You Feel My Love” 1997, #50 (9 weeks) (download)
I still maintain the same thing I said back in the ‘80s edition. There are points where I love listening to him and there are points where I just don’t get why Billy was so popular. But I haven’t listened to one Billy Joel song in at least a year and now I loved hearing these five again. So for at least a week, I’m back on the Billy bandwagon. I wouldn’t even mind hearing another record from him.
Even though no one is going to say that Storm Front or River of Dreams represent his best work, there’s certainly enough on each record to love and show that he still had some pretty great ideas. While I can’t listen to River of Dreams front-to-back, I can with Storm Front though it’s really never on my radar these days. One thing I do give Billy Joel props for is ending it on his own terms rather than fading out into a shell of himself. He still had two top 40 hits from his final pop record, which is not an easy feat that late into his career.
I could do without “All Shook Up” here as it’s too straightforward of a version for my liking but I love both “The Downeaster “Alexa” and “Lullabye.” “To Make You Feel My Love” is simply a great song overall but I do like Garth Brooks’s version better.
Man, I wore out the cassette of their self-titled debut, mainly for “Live and Learn” but “I Miss You” was my jam as well. I don’t even remember “Do You Everynite” though, even though it was from that same album. I’m sure there were a few girls in high-school that I also wanted to “sex up all night” but thinking about it now, doing it “everynite” is for rock stars and skinny people. I think I’d get worn out. Oh, and Joe Public had a second album called “Easy Come, Easy Go.” I had no idea. There was also one group before and two current groups called Joe Public. That’s even more bizarre.
“You Gotta Love Someone” 1990, #43 (13 weeks) (download)
“True Love” 1993, #56 (12 weeks) (download)
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” 1994, #92 (2 weeks) (download)
“Made In England” 1995, #52 (10 weeks) (download)
“You Can Make History (Young Again)” 1996, #70 (17 weeks) (download)
“Recover Your Soul” 1998, #55 (20 weeks) (download)
Drugs certainly took their creative toll on Elton in the ‘80s and until Reg Strikes Back in ’88 it was a pretty miserable decade of music for him. His ‘90s hits sounded much better and were sung with so much more energy, even if most of what he did sounded like Disney music. The last full album I heard from him though is The One from 1992 which was his best album in a decade at least. I’ve enjoyed the bigger hits like “The One,” “Believe” and “Blessed” but my tastes changed and he no longer fit in with my musical habits. I’ve heard that at least the Made In England record is fairly good but I still have no desire to pick it up. And seriously, there was no need for the “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” remix with RuPaul.