Bottom Feeders: The Ass End of the ’90s, Vol. 8
Bottom Feeders takes a look back at every song that hit the Billboard Hot 100 charts, but only if they didn’t crack the top 40. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive review of each tune or each artist, but rather my view of the music I grew up loving. It’s meant to bring back all the great and really crappy songs that have faded into oblivion over time for one reason or another And, the series is designed to get discussions going about the music. I don’t have expert knowledge of every song posted here but I want to hear from you with your memories of the tunes, comments about a artist or general thoughts.
Section 1: The Ass End
“Danger” 1995, #46 (20 weeks) (download)
Consisting of DJ PF Cutting and MC Out Loud, the duo was more of a production team than artists having made a name for themselves mainly doing work for members of the Juice Crew in NY, like Masta Ace. However, their only record (Blah, Blah, Blah) sounded a heck of a lot like this single, not much variety to it but pretty damn catchy. I love the chorus on “Danger,” their only real hit. It’s all samples – “When the East is in the house” from Jeru the Damaja, “oh, my God” from Q-Tip and “danger!” by ODB.
“Have Fun, Go Mad” 1998, #86 (4 weeks) (download)
Blair was a British singer that had only this one hit which he recorded in 1995, one year after Lucas hit the chart with “Lucas with the Lid Off” which sounds remarkably similar. This track was used in multiple movies in the coming years but didn’t chart anywhere until it was released as a single after being used in the movie Sliding Doors.
“Out of Sight (Yo)” 1998, #97 (4 weeks) (download)
I think every song should end with “(Yo),” you know? It just adds a little hardcore to the message. It doesn’t however make every song better. This is the only song I’ve ever heard with Rufus Blaq on it but him rhyming style seems pretty generic to me.
I think I was always a little surprised at the success these guys had right out of the gate. Their debut (Home) was a pretty fantastic record but I’m surprised that four songs from it got as much airplay as they did. “All Along” was the fourth song to hit the radio from the disc while being the third released as a single. All I hear is remnants of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” in it, so this one at least is surprising it didn’t get higher.
“Light In Your Eyes” is a great song as well, one of two hits from the self-titled follow up record. Then of course, there was “Hey Leonardo” which when put up against the rest of their singles, sounds like a different band altogether.
Mary J. Blige
“Reminisce” 1992, #57 (20 weeks) (download)
“Love No Limit” 1993, #44 (16 weeks) (download)
“You Don’t Have To Worry” 1994, #63 (13 weeks) (download)
“You Bring Me Joy” 1995, #57 (19 weeks) (download)
“I Love You” 1995, #65 (17 weeks) (download)
“(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” 1995, #95 (2 weeks) (download)
“All That I Can Say” 1999, #44 (14 weeks) (download)
“Deep Inside” 1999, #63 (15 weeks) (download)
When I think of Mary J. Blige all I recall are some really bad dance moves. Maybe they are better than I give her credit for but I laugh at how uncoordinated she seems since every other R&B artist on this planet can dance their ass off. Although no one is more uncoordinated than me, so look who’s talking.
However, it ain’t about dancin’ now, is it? It’s about the queen of R&B and this spectacular voice singing the shit out of everything that she ever graced with her vocals. I can’t possibly understand all these double digit chart positions you see here and even the other five that were in the 20-ish range. Of all the shit that hit #1 in the decade, “Reminisce” should have been a clear cut top hit, as “All That I Can Say” should have as well.
While I don’t know that I’ve heard anything but flawless vocals from Blige, not everything she touched was gold. “You Don’t Have To Worry” has a pretty generic beat and “You Bring Me Joy” is a little awkward but for as much praise as she gets still to this day, she never had a consistent run of super hits.
“What’s My Age Again” 1999, #58 (20 weeks) (download)
Although I still laugh at their 2001 album title of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, Blink-182 was lowest common denominator crap. However they did introduce me to Janine Lindemulder on the cover of Enema of the State, the crazy hot, tatted up porn star ex-wife of Jesse James.
“Maria” 1999, #82 (6 weeks) (download)
To this day I’ve never heard the Blondie comeback record, No Exit, even though I loved “Maria.” I walked into the CD store one day in 1999, picked up the album, saw a track called “Boom Boom in the Zoom Zoom Room” and promptly decided I didn’t want to waste my money on what was surely going to be a dated and cheesy record. Is it?
“Through the Rain” 1994, #90 (6 weeks) (download)
Web info on Tanya Blount is a little sketchy. If you read her small Wikipedia bio, she was signed at 19 and was in Sister Act 2 at the age of 20. Since that came out in 1993 that means she would have been born in ’73. However, the Billboard bible says she was born in 1977 which really makes all the difference when listening to this track.
It was the only single from Natural Thing, released in 1994. According to Billboard that would have made her 17 years old at the time and if so, she sounds quite mature in this. A changing voice might also explain why she never had a follow up release. But if the web is right, she was 21, so then there’s no good reason why she never got another album out. She was in a Tyler Perry movie in 2008, so she’s still around and dabbling in the arts now and again it seems.
“All I Need Is You” 1991, #46 (13 weeks) (download)
I don’t know much about the Nottingham band Blue Train, but what I do know is that you toss in some more rock guitars and a few electronics over top of “All I Need Is You” and you have “Too Much Information” by Duran Duran, the lead track on the Wedding Album that helped them bounce back from their slow period.
Blur is another one of those groups that fit in perfectly with the sound of my college station, WTSR. At the time I started school in 1994 this wasn’t my sound at all. I learned to enjoy them quite a bit, though Blur is not a band that I go back to at all. Really, the Best of Blur is enough for me but for those that do love the group, “There’s No Other Way” was the second single from their debut, Leisure. And “Girls & Boys” has one of the best choruses of any song in the decade. I definitely could listen to the latter all the time you know, if I was into that sort of music now.