Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 71

BF90With 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 and 3.

Section 1: The Ass End

PETSHOPPet Shop Boys
“So Hard” 1990, #62 (8 weeks) (download)
“How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously?” 1991, #93 (3 weeks) (download)
“Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)” 1991, #72 (7 weeks) (download)

Although the Pet Shop Boys don’t make a style of music that I really like anymore, I’ve always bought the new records from Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe when they came out. From the very start with Please in 1986 right through the current day, Pet Shop Boys have always been creative and innovative with their music, which is something I love.

Although I’m a bit surprised that “Where the Streets Have No Name” didn’t chart higher, there was really no room on pop radio for these guys once the ‘90s hit. The grunge era killed their chances of getting another hit song on the Hot 100 but they survived of course and are still making pretty great music today.

Tom Petty
“A Face In the Crowd” 1990, #46 (8 weeks) (download)
“Into the Great Wide Open” 1991, #92 (5 weeks) (download)
“It’s Good To Be King” 1995, #68 (8 weeks) (download)
“Walls” 1996, #69 (4 weeks) (download)

If rock/classic rock radio and/or Sirius/XM were any indication of the chart success of an artist, then Tom Petty would have had a dozen #1 hits over his career. Instead in yet another oddity of the pop charts, Tom with or without the Heartbreakers had only two Top 10 hits – “Don’t Do Me Like That” and “Free Fallin’” which only hit #7.

Petty tended to make spectacular videos so watching MTV also made it seem like he had #1’s across the board. “Into the Great Wide Open” was a major hit video as was “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” which made it only to #14. Of course there’s also the rock charts of which he had most of his success having nine #1 tunes over the span of his long career.

But as for the tracks above, “A Face In the Crowd” was the fourth of five singles off the virtually perfect pop record, Full Moon Fever.” “Into the Great Wide Open” only spending 5 weeks on the chart is certainly an oddball as it continues to be a great song today.

Now, I’m not too shocked at the fact that “It’s Good To Be King” didn’t chart higher. It’s a good tune off the underrated Wildflowers record but it was a little too mellow after “You Don’t Know How It Feels” and “You Wreck Me.”

Finally “Walls” comes from the soundtrack to the Jennifer Aniston movie, She’s the One. That only spent four weeks on the chart which if I’m not mistaken was probably the same amount of time that movie was in the theater.

AlbumLiz Phair
“Supernova” 1994, #78 (14 weeks) (download)

The year, 1993. I was a junior in high-school and had a 15 minute walk to it every morning and back in the afternoon. I listened to Exile In Guyville at least three times a week. I liked the record a lot but I mostly was horny and really liked songs like “Fuck and Run” and “Flower” which were dirty songs sung by a hot chick. What could be better at 17?

Whip-Smart came out a year later and although still intrigued, I was much less attached to that than Guyville.

Then college came and we at the radio station played the shit out of Whitechocolatespaceegg even though it was way poppier than the first two releases.

Finally in 2003 she made a song called “H.W.C.” (Hot White Cum) and I say “finally” because after that nothing in her career has really mattered.

“So Long (Well, Well, Well)” 1998, #87 (5 weeks) (download)

Fa-gia? Faz-zha? Fay-zha? If “So Long” was sung by one woman, it probably could have passed for a Toni Braxton song. But alas, this was a trio of women from Chicago, two of them sisters.

The Pharcyde
“Passin’ Me By” 1993, #58 (6 weeks) (download)
“Runnin” 1995, #55 (15 weeks) (download)
“Drop” 1996, #96 (3 weeks) (download)

If nothing else, the Pharcyde were an extremely unique bunch of rappers. Their debut – Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde is a hip-hop classic as is “Passin’ Me By” which is still one of the greatest hip-hop songs ever made.

While “Drop” is a great track as well, only that debut record was solid from start to finish. All three records after that were still a little different but got duller with each release.

Pharoahe Monch
“Simon Says” 1999, #97 (5 weeks) (download)

“Simon Says get the fuck up.” They didn’t make that version of Simon Says when I was a kid.

Originally from the group Organized Konfusion, Pharoahe Monch has a great rhyming style, flow and intelligent lyrics (“girls rub on your titties!” brilliant). He released a great solo record in 1999 called Internal Affairs which had “Simon Says” on it but then didn’t put out another record until 2007.

Pink Floyd
“Take It Back” 1994, #73 (7 weeks) (download)

I was never a big Pink Floyd fan though I do love Animals for some unknown reason. However, I still bought The Division Bell CD when it came out, most likely because I bought every CD when it came out around this time frame. Of course since it’s the most commercial of their records, I do remember liking this at least for a brief minute or two. I don’t own it these days though, so I couldn’t have liked it that much.

Planet Soul
“Feel the Music” 1996, #73 (10 weeks) (download)

Planet Soul was the mastermind of producer George Costa. While she wasn’t the singer on the bigger “Set U Free,” the hot and curvy Brenda Dee provides the great vocals on this tune.

Robert Plant
“Hurting Kind (I’ve Got My Eyes On You)” 1990, #46 (10 weeks) (download)

Although I absolutely hate this track, I think most of Robert Plant’s solo material didn’t get the respect it deserved – after all, it’s hard to match being the singer in Led Zeppelin. Although he’s never really went away it was nice to see what I guess could be considered a career resurgence thanks to his disc with Alison Krauss in ’09.

“Don’t Stop the Music” 1997, #73 (15 weeks) (download)

Awkward beat, generic track. I’m surprised this got anywhere near the charts.

“I Saw It Cummin’” 1994, #89 (3 weeks) (download)

EPMD was legendary. Erick Sermon is an okay solo artist. PMD was average as a solo artist. They got back together in ’97. All was well again in the world.

  • aaaa

    Petty bubbled under in 1994 with American Girl when it was released a single from his then-current Greatest Hits album. American Girl didn’t chart in the late 70s in the US when it was new.

  • rockymtranger

    The one PSB song I was shocked never charted was “Go West.” That song was MASSIVE in Syracuse (2 weeks at #1 on the CHR station and huge single sales), and while I knew it wasn’t big nationally, I thought it at least grazed the Hot 100.

    You’ll get a little bit of argument from me about Erick Sermon solo, but not enough to really change your mind.

  • steed

    Yes, “Go West” is a great song. I think Bilingual is a very underrated record though I don’t know that many people agree. “Se a Vida E” might be my favorite track from them.

  • SB

    In the long run maybe these charts don’t matter that much. Sometimes I think its sad I live in a world where Free Fallin didn’t hit #1, but Tom Petty still plays stadiums and you have to pay a lot to see him. Compare that to Eddie Money who probably had higher ranking on the charts and (at least around here) he plays everything. The county fair, the boardwalk, a walnut festival (I didn’t even know they had a concert).

    Plus when you look back at the charts for everyone who deserved to be there there were a couple of Don’t worry be happys with some Baby got back thrown in for good measure.

  • Aron

    29 Palms is an excellent song. Would have been at least a Top 20 hit in the mid ’80s

  • Jake89

    sorry but..

    Liz Phair = overrated.

    She had one real hit album. Nothing really after that.

    What no PM Dawn?

    Surprised about TP “Into the Great Wide Open”. It was such a massive video hit.

  • DwDunphy

    Which is pretty much why Phair is here. For all of our extended conversations about her career, most of it was played out in the Indie suburbs, and her influence is a lot less than some would assume based on the lingering interest in her. This is after all “the ass end” of the charts.

  • ca

    I get why people love “Exile in Guyville” but I always thought she was overrated. “Funstyle” surprised me though. It’s actually pretty great and shouldn’t be ignored. It’s tuneful, funny, ridiculous, and dorky all at once. It’s the only one of her albums I ever play at this point.

  • DwDunphy

    I wish I could share your enthusiasm for Funstyle but it’s just not in me. I think her brief run on the Matador Records label actually is better than is generally considered.

  • ca

    I totally agree about “Bilingual”. The second side/half is flawless and the first half is close to flawless. The album feels more low-key and subtle than “Very” but I think it is stronger overall. It never really got the attention it deserved. And you’re right, “Se a Vida E” is a wonderful song!