PIANO CROONERS

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.

Jewel
“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.

Jewell
“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.

Jinny
“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.

Jodeci
“Stay” 1992, #41 (18 weeks) (download)
“I’m Still Waiting” 1992, #85 (7 weeks) (download)
“Let’s Go Through the Motions” 1993, #65 (12 weeks) (download)

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.

Joe
“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.

Billy Joel
“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.

Joe Public
“I Miss You” 1992, #55 (13 weeks) (download)
“Do You Everynite” 1992, #98 (3 weeks) (download)

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.

Elton John
“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.




  • http://www.facebook.com/kingofgrief Jeffrey Thames

    Wow, some key acts this week but no key tracks. I own the Stoned & Dethroned DualDisc thanks to finding it on the cheap but couldn’t even tell you where my copy is at the mo. Psychocandy indeed is the Reid brothers’ finest 30-40 minutes.

  • NastyG

    Just a little info on Jewell. Her full name is Jewell Caples, she was supposed to release an album in ’95 on Death Row called “Black Diamond” but it was shelved. Death Row finally released the album in 2011. It was self-titled and included some reworked versions of most of the songs, including Woman To Woman. ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ei6eBis9RTw&feature=related

  • Aron

    I’m surprised in the Top 40 section, you forgot to mention the biggest single of all time. As for Elton’s 80s output, I actually enjoy some of the Too Low for Zero songs plus Nikita and Sad Songs. It’s Reg Strikes Back where he seems to be going through the motions. I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That is arguably his worst single ever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SeanPOrcutt Sean Orcutt

    “I don’t wanna…” was awesome! The drum machine sucked yes, but the rest of the song was good. By FAR his worst single of this era was “heartache all over the world” followed closely by the girl-crazy anthem (how ironic) duet with George Michael, “Wrap Her Up”!

  • Guy Smiley

    “and there are points where I just don’t get why Billy was so popular.”

    Because he’s a great musician and songwriter? Unlike most of what’s on this week’s list, Billy’s a real f*cking musician. A musician’s musician. And, until he got old and lazy, a great live performer too.

    “Even though no one is going to say that Storm Front or River of Dreams represent his best work,”

    Screw you… River of Dreams is, IMO, Billy’s best album.

    It was the culmination of everything he’d done to that point, and even something of a loose concept album. Some of the best songwriting in Billy’s catalogue (and that’s saying something!), and, musically, it’s an incredibly diverse album. It also debuted at #1, the only of Billy’s albums to do so. I still listen to that album a lot, even more than The Stranger or The Nylon Curtain.

    Storm Front isn’t quite as good, and I could go the rest of the my life without hearing “We Didn’t Start the Fire” ever again, but then any album with tracks as good as The Downeaster Alexa” and “I Go To Extremes” is still pretty great. Best song from those sessions never made the album though… “The House of Blue Light” (B-side of “We Didn’t Start the Fire”) is a great bar-room blues-rocker.

  • Guy Smiley

    “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.”

    Eh… I’d say he’s become a “shell of himself” by continuing to tour/perform with no new songs for almost 20 years now. Today he’s an oldies act (albeit one with a better, deeper catalogue than most), and he got lazy. Even this hardcore Billy fan has to admit that the Shea Stadium shows from a few years ago were pretty terrible.

    “I could do without “All Shook Up” here as it’s too straightforward of a version for my liking”

    Great little cover tune, recorded for the Honeymoon In Vegas movie. Not essential, but it’s good fun. What more do you want? It was the best thing on that soundtrack (well, that and Jeff Beck’s version of “Hound Dog” both).

    “To Make You Feel My Love” is simply a great song overall but I do like Garth Brooks’s version better.”

    Oh puke… Garth’s bland, vanilla, lifeless version? You do know that Dylan gave Billy the song first, before Dylan himself recorded it, don’t you? Sorry, but out of the many covers of this song out there, Garth’s, while inoffensive, is the worst. Billy’s remains the best, although I love Dylan’s own version, and the Adele version is quite wonderful too.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    Argh. It’s the billboard book that now lists the remake of the tune right after the original and therefore puts them out of order. I forgot to go back – though I shouldn’t have even needed to, that’s for damn sure.

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

    I am quite surprised that, af all the hip hop acts on this decade´s bottom feeders series so far, Jeru the Damaj is the only one whose songs (all of them) I remember. I was not a big fan, but he was in several trip hop/abstract hip hop/backpackers compilations, since he was on FFRR records, which had quite an impressive roster at the time, so I heard those songs over and over.

  • Jen.S

    A little angry aren’t we?

  • Bryan

    “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” also made #1 in its remake version with George Michael, and it wasn’t listed either, presumably for the same reason.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    “Heartache All Over the World” is definitely a bad one. Strangely enough I like “Wrap Her Up” though I will still admit that it doesn’t fall anywhere in the same vicinity as any of his necessary tunes.

  • http://www.bastardradio.com steed

    2011? Wow – that seems like a totally unnecessary disc.

  • mstgator

    “It also debuted at #1, the only of Billy’s albums to do so.”

    Helps that it was his first album released in the Soundscan era, when albums debuting at #1 were no longer a rarity. But yes, it is a great album.

  • http://www.popdose.com/ DwDunphy

    The Nylon Curtain is Billy Joel’s best album.

  • http://www.popdose.com/ DwDunphy

    “To Make You Feel My Love” is diminished every time someone else covers it. It is a good song made unlistenable, thanks to overinterpretation, much like Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is effectively emotionally neutered.