Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 58
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.
Having just got back from vacation, I’m doing a half post this week but we’ll get back into the full swing of things next week.
Section 1: The Ass End
Despite being the 37th highest ranked artist of the decade according to Billboard, I’ve always thought Brian McKnight was underrated. He had one of the best R&B voices of the decade and “Back At One” is simply a brilliant song. I’ve always been more of a fan of his ballads than the hip-hop flavored tracks but “On the Down Low” is pretty solid anyway.
I haven’t used the “general rule” in a while in this series but since the rule is “if it belongs in Lilith Fair it will not get near Steed’s ears,” I sort of have to right here.
“Ain’t That Just the Way” 1998, #63 (16 weeks) (download)
“Ain’t That Just the Way” is a really good song but I think McNeal got caught in a bad marketing promotion for her debut album – My Side of Town. The album had different covers around the world with the initial one making her look gangsta, while reissues and regional versions tended to show her in more of a Toni Braxton sultry type way. Without a clear identity here in the US, this became her only hit. She had more hits along with way in the UK and down under.
“Not A Dry Eye in the House” 1996, #82 (4 weeks) (download)
Let’s face it, Jim Steinman should get as much if not more credit for giving Meat Loaf a lasting career and then restarting it again with Bat Out of Hell II. For one reason or another, people just don’t pay much attention when it comes to Meat’s albums without him.
Diane Warren wrote this tune as well as “I’d Lie For You (and That’s the Truth)” from Welcome to the Neighborhood and she seems to get him better than anyone besides Steinman, so at least he was able to earn some follow up hits to Bat II. However it’s clear that whatever on-again-off-again feud he had with Steinman needs to be squashed so that he can get another full record out of him.
“Backwater” 1994, #47 (20 weeks) (download)
“Backwater” helped contribute to the enjoyment of my freshman year of college in a big way. My buddies and I had listened to them in high-school in the years before but when Too High To Die came out, I took notice in a big way. They weren’t ever going to be hit makers, so it’s not shocking to see they only have one Billboard hit, however their career was also not hurt at all by the Kirkwood brothers appearing with Nirvana for the three covers during the later’s MTV Unplugged session.
“Me-U=Blue” 1990, #78 (4 weeks) (download)
Mederios had his first big hit in 1987 with his cover of George Benson’s “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You” after which he was associated with sappy ballads. His career had a bit of a kick in the ass when MCA signed him for his third record and turned him into a new jack swing artist and pairing him with artists like Bobby Brown and Ray Parker Jr. But the follow up record to his self-titled release from 1990 was never released in the US and his career stalled from there. He’s released a few records over the years that have been ignored here (and in most of the rest of the world too).
“Symphony of Destruction” 1992, #71 (15 weeks) (download)
Which one of the songs this week, doesn’t belong? Put the horns up people as Dave Mustaine joins us for a week and does a lot of complaining about the company he’s in.
If you ever wanted to get into Megadeth, 1992’s Countdown to Extinction is easily their most accessible and metal at the same time. While earlier, more thrash-y records like Peace Sells and Rust in Peace are way better overall, the casual listener could do worse than this record.