Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 73
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 and 3.
Section 1: The Ass End
“The Child (Inside)” 1996, #69 (7 weeks) (download)
The letter “Q” begins with an obscure one, doesn’t it? No doubt Arista wanted to try to capitalize on the success of bands like Enigma and Deep Forest with this dance trio out of South Africa but the song just doesn’t stand up the best tunes of their peers.
And of course, where do you go if you want to hear something from an obscure one hit wonder? The Deserted Island of course. And check out the message from the band there too!
“My Baby Mama” 1997, #94 (4 weeks) (download)
I’m not the right person to tell you if this dude was a cutie or not but he sure was generic. QT was Quentin Bush, an R&B singer out of Tennessee.
Latifah was always a good rapper but came into her own in 2002/2003 thanks to her role in Chicago. Once she focused on acting and singing rather than rapping she became an all around entertainer. You can hear a little bit of the transition in the songs here. As you pass through the years there’s more R&B and less rapping, paving the way for “Paper” – a remake of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Four pretty good songs here.
Queen Pen was a Teddy Riley protégé, though if you listened to just “Party Ain’t A Party” you might think Puff Daddy was behind this. Her first name recognition was from what I think is the best hip-hop tune ever made, Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.” With Riley behind her you would have thought a bigger career was ahead of her but after her debut in ’98, she waited three years for her next album and then retired to become a writer instead.
“High & Dry” 1996, #78 (8 weeks) (download)
Count me in as one of those dudes that no longer understands Radiohead. I love The Bends, as it’s one of the best albums ever made. OK Computer, great record as well of course. And then from Kid A forward, I’ve never gotten them. Are they brilliant? Yeah, probably. I don’t see it but I understand why others do. Though I still think most critics don’t have the balls to say that some of the music they’ve put out on their last few records, kind of sucks.
I love the Wu-Tang Clan and one day I’m going to write that Wu-Tang Popdose Guide that I’ve been threatening people with for years now. Raekwon however, is one of my least favorite of the main players in the group. His solo debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…is no doubt a legendary album in the Wu catalog. But all his charting singles were from that record. After that, the material got weaker and while he’s about to release his sixth album in September, my interest is very little at this point. Note that his only top 40 hit, “Ice Cream” features Method Man. It takes the Meth to get a hit.
Rage Against the Machine
“Guerrilla Radio” 1999, #69 (20 weeks) (download)
Remember 1992 when Rage’s self-titled record came out and MTV played the crap out of the video for “Freedom?” I surely do because I was one of those kids that was blown away by how unique they were. They rocked and they rapped and they were a precursor to nu-metal but never quite fell into that lame genre. They were always more rock than rap and never had songs about money and hos. All of their records were good but the self-titled record is the only great one in their catalog. “Guerrilla Radio” was from the Battle of Los Angeles which would be their last album of original material.
Since they split up, of course the band went on to form Audioslave with Chris Cornell on vocals and Tom Morello has made a nice solo career for himself as the Nightwatchman. Drummer Brad Wilk hit the skins on the new Sabbath record. As for Zach De La Rocha, he’s been off the radar except for a few live reunion shows and an EP with his group One Day As A Lion back in 2008.
Bonnie Raitt is one of the few exceptions to the “general rule” for me. She’s always had a great voice and straddled the line between rock and blues. She didn’t really have much chart success until the point where Don Was started producing her in the late ‘80s as between ’89 and ’95 she was all over radio. Although both Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw are fantastic records, at the time they were a little too “adult” for me. Now being more “adult” myself, I appreciate them for what they are but I still prefer the funky rock of 1982’s Green Light more than any other record of hers.