This week’s Chart Attack! is dedicated to my buddy Raz. Raz has hated just about every post I’ve done with the exception of Chart Attack! #2, because it covered a week in 1990. Raz’s rule is "if I don’t know it already, it sucks," and apparently he didn’t listen to the radio except for somewhere around 1990. Well, this isn’t 1990, but it’s close. So let’s look back and see what was going on the week of November 4, 1989!
10. Love Shack – The B-52’s Amazon iTunes
9. (It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me – Paula Abdul Amazon iTunes
8. Dr. Feelgood – Mötley Crüe Amazon iTunes
7. Rock Wit’cha – Bobby Brown Amazon iTunes
6. Love In An Elevator – Aerosmith Amazon iTunes
5. When I See You Smile – Bad English Amazon iTunes
4. Sowing The Seeds of Love – Tears For Fears Amazon iTunes
3. Miss You Much – Janet Jackson Amazon
2. Cover Girl – New Kids On The Block Amazon iTunes
1. Listen To Your Heart – Roxette Amazon
10. Love Shack – The B-52’s I was going to ask you to please raise your hand if you don’t like this song, but it might be easier to ask you to raise your hand if you do like this song. We may get less hands. Listen, I appreciate "Love Shack" for what it is: a fun, party song that was absolutely perfect for The B-52’s. But damn if it isn’t one of the most overplayed songs in history. (The only way it could get worse would be if someone did a "Love Shack"/"Two Princes" mashup.)
You know what, though? In 1989, I didn’t mind it so much. Every party I went to in those days featured the song (band OR DJ), and it always seemed to keep people on the dance floor. (And honestly, it seems to still do the same thing at weddings these days.) And the song, which marked a "comeback" for the B-52’s (the band had never had a real hit in the U.S. before), was voted "Best Single of 1989" by Rolling Stone’s Music Awards, and the video won two MTV Video Music Awards. So who knows. Maybe people like it more than I imagine. But I’m sure as hell not offering it for download here!
9. (It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me – Paula Abdul Surely you remember when Paula Abdul was on top of the charts…and the world? I’m sure we’ll be talking about her again in future Chart Attack posts, so let’s focus purely on this single. "(It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me" was the second single off of her debut album, Forever Your Girl, and was originally released in November 1988 in a different edit from the album track. Abdul was not yet popular, and the track peaked at #88.. It took the release of "Straight Up" to command the attention of listeners (and MTV viewers). "Straight Up" hit #1, as did her next two singles. Opting to revert to the original album version, this single was re-released in November. This week marked its debut in the Top 10, and it peaked at #3 just four weeks later. Well played!
8. Dr. Feelgood – Mötley Crüe …and the world let out a collective sigh of relief to find that this was not a cover of the song made popular by Aretha Franklin. Their first album recorded post-sobriety (and, for that reason, wisely recorded with each member of the band playing their parts separately), Dr. Feelgood was the band’s first album to top the chart – and the single remains their highest-charting hit, peaking at #6 the week prior to this one. You can’t deny it – "Dr. Feelgood" is a strong rock song. With a driving bass/guitar riff, a good chorus and lyrics that aren’t half-bad, this song deserved to be their big one.
7. Rock Wit’cha – Bobby Brown If you close your eyes and think back, you might be able to recall a time when Bobby Brown was a truly talented artist. The 5th and final hit off of Don’t Be Cruel, "Rock Wit’Cha" was a smooth, slow R&B jam that, as with the others, showcased the production skills of L.A. Reid and Babyface. This single peaked this week at #7 and could have been seen as a disappointment within the Brown camp: four of his other singles (including "On Our Own" from the Ghostbusters II soundtrack) had cracked the top five, the exception being the leadoff title track from the album. Perhaps it was the fact that "Rock Wit’cha" sounded extremely similar to "Roni," one of his previous hits. Either way, Bobby probably had no idea that he had only two more shots in the Top 10 with his next album, and then…well, we all know how the story goes.
6. Love In An Elevator – Aerosmith The first single off of Pump, arguably the last good Aerosmith album, "Love In An Elevator" had it all: an infectiously fun call-and-response verse ("whoa yeah!"), great harmonies, a full two minutes of guitar solos by two different band members, and ridiculously stupid lyrics that include the line "kiss your sassafrass." And I haven’t even gotten to the video yet.
No, not the video of my cat rocking the guitar solo.
The actual video created by Aerosmith. You can’t beat this video. Hot mannequins that turn into real women, midgets, Joe Perry’s naked wife…seriously. Awesome video.
I bought this on cassingle before Pump was released, and I won’t lie. I air-guitar rocked it all the freaking time.
5. When I See You Smile – Bad English (download) Long live the rock power ballad! Bad English was a band comprised of members of rock group The Babys (well, their late ’70s incarnation, anyway), with Neil Schon of Journey thrown in for good measure. (Keyboardist Jonathan Cain was a member of both The Babys and Journey.) They released two albums before breaking up, and only had two singles…although you’ll be forgiven if you don’t necessarily recall "Price of Love," which only spent two weeks in the Top 10 in March of 1990.
"When I See You Smile," however, enjoyed an impressive six weeks in the Top 10, including two at #1, before being knocked off the top by "Blame It On The Rain." Damn you, Milli Vanilli! The lyrics are cheesy (what do you expect from Diane Warren?), the guitars are loud (what do you expect from Neil Schon?), but the vocal is right-on. For a long time, I didn’t know that lead vocals were from John Waite, despite the familiarity of his voice from "Missing You." And because Waite sells the vocal, the song works. Well, at least for me, it does. I gather some of you hate it. But when I was younger and heard this song on the radio, I wished I had written it for a girl. Because then I would have totally gotten some.
4. Sowing The Seeds of Love – Tears For Fears (download) It’s always a true test of the music journalist to see if they can avoid really obvious clichés – for example, comparing this song (and the video, and the album cover) to the Beatles in their psychedelic phase. Thankfully, I’m not a music journalist. So blah blah blah, Beatles Beatles Beatles. Yes, the song wears its influences on its sleeve, from the sound of the snare drum (not produced by Jeff Lynne, I might add), to the lush orchestrations and harmonies, but I have a hard time finding fault with the song. If I had to make a criticism, I suppose it might be that somehow, the lead-ins to the first two choruses have a majesty that doesn’t feel deserved to me so early in the song. And that criticism probably doesn’t even make sense to anybody but me. So download the song, and enjoy its nooks and crannies. The bridge is fantastic.
3. Miss You Much – Janet Jackson This song was a big one for Janet Jackson. Although Rhythm Nation 1814 was her fourth album, only her previous record, Control, had been a hit, with five Top 5 singles. "Miss You Much" was the lead-off single from
OU812 RN1814 and helped establish Jackson’s credbility as more than just a one-album artist. Written by her powerhouse team, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, it was on the Hot 100 for a full five months, including four impressive weeks at #1. Oh, and it wound up becoming the biggest-selling song of 1989, with over four million copies sold. Janet’s career may be in question now, but there’s no doubt that "Miss You Much" made it damn clear that Miss Jackson was a force to be reckoned with.
2. Cover Girl – New Kids On The Block I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to make it through five Chart Attack! postings without an NKOTB mention, but I guess it had to happen at some point. It may be hard to remember now, but at the time, this band was gigantic. Five singles were released from their second album, Hangin’ Tough, and since I’ve sadly heard them all, I can safely say that this was the worst of the bunch. And yet, it made it to #2, which seems odd, unless you recall that quality had very little to do with NKOTB’s success. The songs were catchy, but the hype around them was unstoppable. And once they were gone, it was hard to remember truly how huge they were…until nine or ten years later when it happened all over again, with Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync.
1. Listen To Your Heart – Roxette 1989 was a good year for Roxette, essentially bookended by #1 singles. "The Look" had been a #1 hit in January, and "Listen To Your Heart" hit #1 for this one week in November. There are few musical similarities between the two songs: "Listen To Your Heart" sounds like a Heart power ballad from the mid-80s, similar to "Alone" or "Never." (I have confirmed that the two songs were not written by the same people.) Another interesting tidbit: "Listen To Your Heart" was the first ever single to be released solely on cassette – no 45 RPM was issued.
If "Listen To Your Heart" has been in your head in recent years, you can blame a group called D.H.T., a dance/pop group from Belgium. They released a remake of the song in their home country in 2003, and eventually reached the U.S. #8 in August of 2005. D.H.T. has found popularity with two mixes: a sparse ballad version, and a driving trance version. My gym seems to like the dance version a lot, so it’s been forced into my brain to the point where I actually find it tolerable – and lead singer Edmee has a fantastic voice. Songwriters Per Gessle (also 1/2 of Roxette) and Mats Persson won BMI’s Dance Song of the Year for the tune in November 2005. Don’t forget D.H.T., because we’ll be discussing them in an entry in the very near future.
And that brings us to the end of another CHART ATTACK! Enjoy your rockin’ power ballad and your Beatle-esque tune, and I’ll see you back here next week for more chart-y goodness!