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 2-3. Note: All the “S” songs come down after next week’s post, so listen while you can!
Section 1: The Ass End
Tears for Fears
“Advice for the Young at Heart” 1990, #89 (40 weeks) (download)
“Advice” was the lone track on the Seeds of Love album that was sung by Curt Smith instead of Roland Orzabal. That really doesn’t matter to me as I always thought both had strong voices. But outside of the album, I was never really a big fan of this on3. When you’re listening to the CD from beginning to end it’s placed right after the grand “Sowing the Seeds of Love,” and it ends up being a nice contrast to that song. By itself, I think it’s a little dull.
At least in the early part of their career, you absolutely knew you were listening to a Technotronic song when it came on the radio. “Pump Up the Jam” is regularly considered the first hip-house tune to have mainstream success on the US charts and “Get Up,” “Rockin’ to the Beat” and “Move This” didn’t exactly stray from the successful formula very much. “Move It To the Rhythm” didn’t have quite that signature sound but was one of their better tunes in the end.
“Sho Nuff” 1997, #58 (8 weeks) (download)
The only reason I remember this song is because of the line that she’s got an “ass thicker than gumbo.”
Tela was from Tennessee and a typical southern rapper, associated with Eightball & MJG. I hadn’t discovered Outkast yet, which was really my first introduction to this type of rap, so Tela never got on my radar. This was his only hit but he still puts out records.
When Our Time In Eden came out in 1992, I was only 16 so I still don’t think I fully grasped the 10,000 Maniacs at that point, especially Natalie Merchant’s heavy lyrics. About a year ago or so though, I was going back through my ‘80s collection starting at the beginning (and I alphabetize numbers at the start of my collection) for an aborted ‘80s project and was listening to In My Tribe and Blind Man’s Zoo. It was then that I realized just how outspoken and opinionated Merchant was. Obviously, I knew she wasn’t singing traditional pop lyrics but she definitely had a very strong opinion about the world and wasn’t afraid to talk about it. I don’t think she’s as fired up on Our Time In Eden as she was on the two previous records but it’s still quite interesting to hear shimmering pop songs with very serious lyrical content. I still think Our Time In Eden is a brilliant record, something I likely wouldn’t have picked up if it came out today but I still own it because it’s that good.
“Action” 1994, #43 (20 weeks) (download)
This is another one of those songs that I must have heard 20 times a day while on my honeymoon in Jamaica six years ago. There’s a part of me that loves how reggae artists get the most out of such simple beats like this one. And they can use cheesy keyboards and it doesn’t sound out of place at all. This was my 1994 jam and is still a great song.
“Everlasting Love” 1992, #81 (10 weeks) (download)
I really thought Tony Terry had a chance to be a star as he hit right in the New Edition / Bobby Brown crazy with a very similar style to both. Unfortunately, he never really caught on as outside of his singles he didn’t have the greatest of material to work with. “Everlasting Love” is still a pretty great song with Jodeci doing the harmonies in this one.
I don’t know that I ever knew what place Tesla had in the rock world. They weren’t your typical hair metal band but they did get lumped into that crowd more often than not. However, starting with 1989’s The Great Radio Controversy, they made some pretty fun but serious rock music. And while in the end they are known more for pulling out the acoustic guitars than electric ones, they consistently wrote a mean ballad.
3rd Party was a dance trio that released only one album, Alive. These are the only two hits from it, with “Love Is Alive” actually being a cover of the Gary Wright song. The one thing they are really known for though is that this album had the song “Waiting For Tonight” on it which was remade a few years later and taken to #8 by Jennifer Lopez.