Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 51
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
LL Cool J
“The Boomin’ System” 1990, #48 (11 weeks) (download)
“6 Minutes of Pleasure” 1991, #95 (2 weeks) (download)
“How I’m Comin’” 1993, #57 (9 weeks) (download)
“Back Seat (Of My Jeep)” 1993, #42 (13 weeks) (download)
“Pink Cookies In A Plastic Bag Getting Crushed By Buildings” 1993, #96 (10 weeks) (download)
“Ain’t Nobody” 1996, #46 (11 weeks) (download)
“Phenomenon” 1997, #55 (9 weeks) (download)
“4,3,2,1” 1997, #75 (12 weeks) (download)
The G.O.A.T. baybay! When discussions of the greatest MC’s of all time come up, it seems LL is rarely in it, despite calling himself the greatest of all time. In my opinion, he should be part of that list. His ‘80s records changed rap – “I Need Love” and “Going Back To Cali” sounded like nothing else out there at the time. And of course he started the ‘90s off with “Mama Said Knock You Out” which is one of the greatest rap tunes of all time.
The Mama Said Knock You Out album was so big that it took him three years to follow it up with 14 Shots to the Dome. And that marked a change in style where suddenly he realized that to stay relevant, he had to use the abs, lick his lips and start adding in smooth, sexy hip-hop with his harder rhymes. Of course that worked brilliantly for him with some of the all-time sexiest hip-hop tunes to come like “Back Seat,” “Hey Lover” and “Doin’ It.”
However good these songs were, 14 Shots, 1995’s Mr. Smith and 1997’s Phenomenon were average records as a whole with some great singles on them. In fact, that’s been his story since this point. Every record has that hit first single (and maybe a second) and then the quality drops off from there. The video for “Deepest Bluest” in ’99 could have and probably should have been the death of LL as a rapper but he was able to get passed that stumble and crank out some good tunes in the ‘00s as well. It just never seemed like he gave an album his all as his acting career took off. However, if he chooses to, he can probably have hits until his acting career dries up as being a legend in hip-hop and an A-list actor almost guarantees that he can put any guest he wants on a song and create a radio hit.
Oh, and here’s something you aren’t going to hear very often – my favorite LL Cool J single – “Phenomenon!” However, there’s very few LL songs that don’t make me bust out my inner rapper and rhyme along.
I may not like female singers for the most part but it was hard to not love Lisa Loeb. I mean, just listen to these tunes but even more so, things like “Stay” and “I Do” – just some of the purest pop music ever made.
Now, I do fully admit that the reason I started listening to her and the reason I did for many many years is because she’s one of my all time biggest musical crushes. I was in love with this cutie from the moment I saw her after Tails came out in 1995 and I still own the promotional blown up cardboard version of the Cake and Pie album cover. I think my crush on Joss Stone has pushed Loeb to the number two spot but damn if this girl isn’t just the most adorable thing. But in the end, I kept listening to the music because it was simply that good.
“Conviction of the Heart” 1991, #65 (13 weeks) (download)
I flat out love Kenny Loggins. He had so many harmless, yet rockin’ songs in the ‘80s that make me dance in my seat that I doubt I’d ever stop listening to his catalog (you know, from 1988 back). Although “Conviction of the Heart” isn’t a bad tune once you get past that long drawn out intro, it might be the only adult thing he did since the ‘80s worth listening to (I say “adult” because I didn’t listen to any of the children’s stuff). He’s currently doing country music with Blue Sky Riders and looks absolutely nothing like he did in the ‘80s. Seriously, he’s almost unrecognizable.
“Sweet On U” 1993, #91 (2 weeks) (download)
Although the group themselves were kind of average, they did have both L.A. and Prof-T in it who ended up being the producers for many Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis tunes.
“Come Back” 1995, #62 (5 weeks) (download)
Is it me or are the vocals on this just a total abomination? This was four years after “I’ve Been Thinking About You” hit #1 and it sounds like the singer had his vocal cords mangled in that span.
“I Don’t Love You Anymore” 1990, #76 (9 weeks) (download)
I’m kind of surprised I’ve never heard this song before. I’ve heard of the Quireboys but never listened to anything from them. Based on this though, I’m going to guess they would have fit right in with Cinderella, am I right?
Lonestar is whitebread music personified. Everything they’ve done is rhythmic adult contemporary tinged country music. They are probably the least offensive band on the planet. They also are the group that really launched the career of John Rich who was the bassist and sang in the group. Of note here is that “You Walked In” was written by Bryan Adams and Mutt Lange.
“Don’t You Wanna Be Mine” 1990, #86 (3 weeks) (download)
This is the first time I’ve heard this track and I’m really hoping that someone will come and say that the version I own and have posted here is some remix or something – otherwise, this is pretty crappy with its verses having a vague resemblance to Timex Social Club’s “Rumors.”
(Note: Thanks to the comments below for pointing out that this is the C+C remix. I’ll leave this here for now and replace it when I can get my hands on the original)
A’Me Lorain & The Family Affair
“Follow My Heartbeat” 1990, #72 (6 weeks) (download)
The Family Affair were more of a funk group than this song would indicate (well, I guess this song wouldn’t indicate that at all). The band consisted of A’Me, her brother Freddy and her husband Victor. This was the second single and probably would have been a bigger hit with a better chorus.