Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 53
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
Love Spit Love
“Am I Wrong” 1994, #83 (10 weeks) (download)
“Am I Wrong” is a wonderful song amidst a slew of generic tunes on Love Spit Love’s self-titled debut. Their second and final record, Trysome Eatone is the much better album.
Love Spit Love was of course, Richard and Tim Butler from the Psychedelic Furs along with drummer Frank Ferrer and guitarist Richard Fortus. After Love Spit Love disbanded, the Furs reformed with Ferrer and Fortus playing with them as well. Right now though you can see both of them playing with Guns ‘N Roses – certainly a far cry from the Furs or Love Spit Love.
“Stand Up” 1997, #89 (5 weeks) (download)
I’ve never heard this song before now but when I do, I hear Christina Aguilera. Singer Latanza Waters has a very similar vocal style (without as many ridiculous runs), which you can hear full force at least in the first verse.
“Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” 1999, #45 (7 weeks) (download)
Probably the oddest song of series, movie director Baz Luhrmann took a song by Rozilla called “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)” and put a speech over top of it. Originally thought to be a commencement speech by Kurt Vonnegut, it turned out it was an essay written by Mary Schmich. Australian actor Lee Perry is actually the one reading the essay in the song.
Of interest here of course is the alternate completely sung version of “Gangsta’s Paradise” which is remarkably poor in contrast to the Coolio original (of which L.V. sung the chorus on).
“Young, Sad and Blue” 1998, #75 (10 weeks) (download)
Lysette had a bit of an Erykah Badu vibe to her voice and smooth tunes but this was the only song that hit the hot 100 for her. And provided that the Billboard bible is correct, how much did she get picked on over her life? Her real name – Lysette Titi (let’s hope it was pronounced Ty-Ty).
Mack 10 was discovered by Ice Cube, hence the similar sound at least at the beginning of his career. Mack 10 was right in doing solo work because I’ve always felt he was outshined by Cube in the Westside Connection. But both these songs are pretty good on their own. He wasn’t super talented but a good enough rapper, with a flow somewhere between Cube and Scarface.
“Take It Easy” 1994, #69 (20 weeks) (download)
Artists like Mad Lion and Mad Cobra seemed to be real dancehall artists that happened to make a few really catchy songs, not like Shaggy who seems to be a pop start with reggae influences or anything like the crap out today.
“Bedtime Story” 1995, #42 (7 weeks) (download)
“Human Nature” 1995, #46 (15 weeks) (download)
“Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” 1996, #78 (8 weeks) (download)
“Nothing Really Matters” 1999, #93 (2 weeks) (download)
No matter how unlistenable MDNA was, I still have to respect Madonna for being a chameleon with the times and until recently, never falling into the clone realm. She released three new studio albums in the decade (along with two soundtracks and two greatest hits discs) that played right along with the current musical landscape but at the same time managed to sound incredibly fresh and innovative.
From the sensual sounds created by Shep Pettibone on Erotica, to the R&B flair of Bedtime Stories, to the electronic dance sounds on Ray of Light she was still a pioneer in pop music throughout the decade.
“The Street Mix” 1998, #93 (5 weeks) (download)
As silly as it is to hear seven pre-teens rapping, you have to admit this is pretty catchy (most of it probably has to do with the sample of the Jackson 5’s “Dancing Machine.”
Man, I loved Mitch Malloy’s first album. He co-wrote all the rock/AOR tunes on the record and it was produced by Desmond Child to be nice and slick for the radio. He was joined by Hugh McDonald on bass (who would go on to be the bassist “in” Bon Jovi) and Bryan Adams’s drummer, Mickey Curry on the disc.
He still makes music but has mainly dropped out of the spotlight but he was almost very famous having been offered the lead singer job for Van Halen after Sammy Hagar departed. But apparently no contract could be reached and that’s how Gary Cherrone became “that other singer” of the group.