Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 59
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
Lisette Melendez’s debut record came out in 1991 as freestyle was beginning to fade in popularity but it became a huge hit in the clubs and she’s one of the artists that is known for keeping the genre alive in the early part of the decade. I didn’t own too much freestyle but the album (Together Forever) is definitely one of the finest moments in that genre.
I had always liked John Mellencamp but I think around Big Daddy in 1989 my interest started waning. In 1991 I didn’t even bother to buy Whenever I Wanted and reluctantly bought Human Wheels based on how good the title track was. I own neither of those records today but the one that has always stuck with me is 1994’s Dance Naked. Apart from the fact that it’s a fun pop-rock record that doesn’t even last 30 minutes, the interesting part is that Mellencamp made it to sort of be a throwaway. He was pissed at Mercury for telling him Human Wheels wasn’t commercial enough so he recorded all these radio friendly tunes in two weeks and basically just tossed it on their desk. So of course that ends up being my favorite album of the decade from him and probably my second favorite overall after Uh-Huh. Funny too is the fact that that “Key West Intermezzo” from the follow up record ended up being even more of a pop record and hitting #14 in the end. 1998’s self-titled record is however, the last record I’ve heard from him.
“It’s Alright” 1998, #61 (12 weeks) (download)
Back in Jay-Z’s early days before he was the most powerful man in the game, he had a ton of guest rappers on his records, most from his own stable though, like Memphis Bleek and Amil. Those two in particular were destined to be hit makers in their own right since they were on what seemed like every other Jay-Z tune, right? Well, I don’t even know what Amil is doing right now and Memphis Bleek just wasn’t that skilled in the first place. It’s always a bad thing when the song is credited to you but the first verse belongs to the other guy on the track (and he has more verses than you). I don’t think this is one of Jay-Z’s best but he outshines Bleek by a longshot.
Men of Vizion
“House Keeper” 1996, #67 (11 weeks) (download)
The Men of Vizion were discovered and produced by Teddy Riley who gave their demo to Michael Jackson who then signed them to MJJ records. They had two albums to stand out and were only able to generate this one minor hit.
Me Phi Me
“Sad New Day” 1992, #83 (4 weeks) (download)
I don’t believe I’ve ever heard this tune by Me Phi Me, a Michigan rapper/singer with some seriously wimpy sounding music.
“It’s Your Thing” 1999, #96 (4 weeks) (download)
Just one of many No Limit artists signed by Master P that probably didn’t deserve a deal in the first place.
Jo Dee had a very traditional country sound and while this double A-side didn’t make too much of an impact on the pop charts, both went to #1 on the country side.
“Wherever I May Roam” 1992, #82 (7 weeks) (download)
“Sad But True” 1992, #98 (1 weeks) (download)
“Hero of the Day” 1996, #60 (18 weeks) (download)
“King Nothing” 1997, #90 (8 weeks) (download)
“The Unforgiven II” 1998, #59 (15 weeks) (download)
Although none of these tracks made much of an impact on the Hot 100, it’s still a testament to the power of Metallica, because surely there were very little Top 40 stations playing any of these tunes but I’d bet that if you had access to all the rock stations across the US, there would never be a minute without a Metallica tune playing somewhere.
For the purpose of this series, there are two things about Metallica that stand out the most to me. The first is that “Until It Sleeps” was the highest charting Hot 100 song for them, not “Enter Sandman” and the second is that in reading the Billboard bible by Joel Whitburn, it’s clear how little he knows about metal (and sometimes even anything from the ‘90s forward). He lists “The Unforgiven” “The Unforgiven II” and “The Unforgiven III” as re-releases in the book. Now of course, the first two share the same rhythms and most of the chorus but the third does not. Either way, all three are separate songs and not re-issues of any sort. It serves to provide me with a great picture in my mind of Joel Whitburn sitting in his study, slippers and cigar, talking about how music has went downhill over the years.
“Bring the Pain” 1994, #45 (20 weeks) (download)
“Release Yo’ Delf” 1995, #98 (1 weeks) (download)
“The Riddler” 1995, #56 (11 weeks) (download)
“Break Ups 2 Make Ups” 1999, #98 (2 weeks) (download)
I’m a big Wu-Tang fan and of Method Man in particular. He has always been a fantastic rapper, a huge personality and a pretty funny dude. Tical is easily his best solo album, while the two Tical sequels are hit-or-miss. His collaborations with Redman though are some of the best works he’s done.
The real disappointing absence here is with “Da Rockwilder” from 1999’s Blackout!. Personally, I think that’s the second best song he’s made, so it’s shocking it wasn’t a hit except for the fact that it’s barely two minutes long (and I actually think the video version is less than 2 minutes).
On the other hand, “The Riddler” is the most interesting song here simply because it hasn’t really stood the test of time like some of his other tunes. It was of course from Batman Forever and was the third single behind “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” by U2 and “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal. Yeah, hard to follow those up, ain’t it?