Lesser pop hits are my specialty. The earlier stuff was probably a bit TOO early for me.
I've never heard "Hot Love" either. And that's despite owning the two big albums and (what feels like) a barrel scraping Greatest Hits!
Lesser pop hits are my specialty. The earlier stuff was probably a bit TOO early for me.
UK Top 69 hit "Hot Love" - remembered solely by Slave, a pocket of 40-something nostalgist gays on the outskirts of the Internet and Five Star's STEDMAN
Hey go get the doctor
Doctor came too late...
I'm a nostalgist gay on the outskirts of the internet but still haven't heard it
Perhaps only being 30-something has done for me
And tell me that isn't TRULY an undoctored picture of everyone's favourite Five Star cottager!
He almost needs his own topic.
This is us in twenty years, boys
INSERT DIVA REFERENCE HERE
The fact that he used to "do the costumes" (and thereby wiped out the Western world of its entire stock of sequins for a good TEN YEARS) always raised an EYEBROW
Last edited by Christian; 04-03-2012 at 02:22 PM.
He was really doing Ms Tina BEFORE Ms Tina
INSERT DIVA REFERENCE HERE
Why did he never start a fashion line with Ms T?
NO natural fibres USED!
ALL TOXIC man made materials!
Can BLIND at twenty paces!
Guaranteed ALL FLAMMABLE ALL THE TIME just by rubbing two garments together!
I smell a bonafide HIT
I had no idea Black Box covered Earth, Wind & Fire. I have an un-natural LOVE for the original 'Fantasy' (thanks randomly to buying the "Be Cool" soundtrack to get a random Christina Milian song from the movie), not sure how I'd take a cover. May check it out tonight.
My new single "My new single is dropping" is dropping
A normal person must
Dismiss you with disgust
And weep for those who trusted you.
485. Scott Bradley - Zoom (Released: 1994, UK peak: #61)
Chart run: 61
'Zoom' is one of those weird songs that is for the most part a completely forgotten hit (it originally peaked at #2 for Fat Larry's Band in 1982) but occasionally it pops back up for a very brief revival somewhere or another - it was last seen being falsetto-ed to death by John Adeleye on 2010's X Factor, it was covered by Scooch on their debut album in 2000 and it was given a hi-NRG lease of life in 1994 by Scott Bradley. I don't even know where to start on how wrong this whole package is on SO many levels, and yet it ends up working because the whole thing is just so ridiculous. Scott Bradley spends about 75% of the video writhing around on the beach (and he's not even THAT hot to justify the decision to have him do it) and the rest of it evidently doing his best to turn rollerblading into a homosexual pursuit - and he mostly succeeds (even managing to attract a generic American female brunette); only a bottle of poppers shoved up his nostril could make the scenes any camper despite the presence of his "love interest". At least that would explain the nasal delivery of the song from start to finish...anyway, I'm not sure at what point all of these tragic elements start to become entertaining, but by the end of the track, just about the time where the dance breakdown segues into a saxaphone-backed final chorus, you start to realise that far from being the worst thing ever, Scott Bradley's 'Zoom' had become a very guilty pleasure and once the track ends, the only natural response is to hit the repeat button.
484. Fierce - Right Here Right Now (Released: 1999, UK peak: #25)
Chart run: 25-27-36-54-72
The aftermath of the Spice Girls brought with it a swathe of girl groups unto the chart; for the most part they were all interchangeable - this song is the perfect example of a somewhat catchy track, delivered competently but with absolutely no personality or identity - it could have been by Cleopatra, N-Tyce, Precious, etc. Fierce, across their four single career, were neither notable nor particularly successful, though ironically despite their first three singles missing the top ten yet apparently warranting a follow-up, the trio disappeared after scoring heir biggest hit, 'Sweet Love 2K', which presumably took advantage of a slow February to reach #3). Anyway I digress - 'Right Here Right Now' was Fierce's debut single and although it was their lowest peaking, I think it's a little gem - although aeons away from being good enough to differentiate them from a saturated market. If anything their reference point would appear to be Eternal, not the Spice Girls; the track is a lightweight, summery mid-tempo with a distinctly mid-90's sounding tinny R&B-lite beat and some phoned-in vocal effects whilst one of the group delivers some Mariah-inspired broken dog whistle ad-libs. If I was judging songs purely on their hit potential then this would be a 0/10; during a quieter pop period it might have been a bit more worthy of a top 20 placing, but you just cannot go into a pop market like the late 90s and release something so faceless as 'Right Here Right Now'. Despite belonging in the pop toilet, I am rather fond of it for all of its generic elements. Fierce's album of the same name actually peaked higher than I'd expected considering their lack of actual hits when it was released (#27) but after one week it left the chart and when 'Sweet Love 2K' reached the top three it failed to translate to the album chart which I guess was the prompt that Wildstar Records needed to pull the plug.
483. Melanie B - I Want You Back (Feat. Missy Elliott) (Released: 1998, UK peak: #1)
Chart run: 1-4-15-28-33-40-52-66-75
Although the more overt R&B leanings of the Spice Girls 2000 comeback 'Holler' took a few people by surprise, I do think there was a sense that whatever had made the group so successful in the first place probably wasn't there anymore before the song had even premiered. However 'I Want You Back' was the first real sign that things could potentially spiral out of control. I don't really know WHAT I expected this song to sound like when I first heard there'd be a solo Spice single - but it certainly wasn't THIS. As a 12 year old gay it meant absolutely nothing to me - I bought it because I was a Spice loon, but I didn't truly like it. I remember wondering where the melody was, where the FUN was...it was all a bit too URBAN for me. But I think time has been quite kind to Melanie B's first solo foray into the charts. I certainly appreciate it more now, it's very heavily Americanised although that's somewhat unsurprising considering Melanie B didn't actually have any input to the writing or production. The reference in the intro ("I've got spice, I'm tight with my flows") seems an almost apologetic after-thought to relate this Melanie B to Scary Spice because the minimalistic, throbbing electro R&B mid-tempo has nothing in common with anything that she had been known for at this point. It might not have that BIG moment in the chorus to satiate pop fans, but I do think the whole thing is deceptively catchy and really quite an authentic stab at commercial hip-hop. The chart run is quite telling though - this was definitely a fan-driven success with little chart longevity, although the bizarre America-Leeds delivery certainly has lasting appeal in the same way as Geru's appearance in Sex and the City. "Am thu M ter thu E-L-BEH, yer knerr MEH" indeed.
482. Robyn - Do You Know (What It Takes) (Released: 1997, UK peak: #26)
Chart run: 26-43-71
Billboard Hot 100 chart run: 36-25-23-20-15-12-9-9-8-7-7-8-10-9-13-16-19-20-23-25-29-30-35-34-38-36-43-48
One of the less INSPIRED Max Martin tracks of the late 90s, 'Do You Know (What It Takes)' was really quite BIG in America yet performed more modestly in the UK. I'm not quite sure which is fairer - it's not THAT bad, yet nothing about it screams "eight weeks in the top ten". Although Robyn was never going to be the poster girl for female pop music that Britney Spears would end up becoming at the end of the decade, I do think her voice suits this sort of music - as much as the song itself didn't endure at all, there is a bit of that earnest Swedish twang to her vocals which sells the track much better than the writing and production does. I love the video as well, it's about as generic a pop video from that era as you can get with the shots of Robyn swinging around in an egg shaped chair and then performing on top of a van in the middle of a traffic jam. Ultimately though, simply being a squelchy, bouncy mid-tempo Max Martin track just isn't ENOUGH and serves as a reminder that whilst we frequently remember him for the towering HIGHS he crafted during the decade, he was also repsonsible for a huge amount of filler, and 'Do You Know (What It Takes)' undoubtedly slips into that bracket, unfortunately.
481. Cher - The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss) (Released: 1991, UK peak: #1)
Chart run: 58-23-2-1-1-1-1-1-2-3-4-9-18-38-61
Billboard Hot 100 chart run: 84-64-63-55-49-49-46-41-33-34-42-56-64-70-77-91
UK chart history will remember this as one of Cher's peaks - a cover of the 1964 Betty Everett track, it became her first solo #1 and until 1998 remained her biggest hit. Conversely it was poorly received in America after a few years of hits and wasn't actually released physically on a Cher album until her Greatest Hits at the end of the decade (in Europe it was included as a bonus track on the 'Love Hurts' album released a few months after the single hit #1). One of the songs recorded by Cher for the soundtrack to 'Mermaids' in which she starred, 'The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)' is a deliberately retro-sounding uptempo, so much so that until I became more au fait with Cher's back-catalogue, growing up I always presumed that it came from a lot earlier in her career. Nowadays it's probably fallen into that precarious genre of hen-party hell karaoke classics - it's one of those songs that just seems woven into the fabric of popular music - indeed, I can't actually recall ever sitting down to listen to it through choice, it's one of those songs that you just come to know growing up. However, listening to it for the purpose of this countdown, I think it's actually a little better than I'd given it credit for - some of the production (the electric guitar riff) is quite deliriously enjoyable. As soundtrack fodder goes, I can't help but think America was unnecessarily pompous towards this track - like it or not, it will go down as one of Cher's signature songs irrespective of the actual quality of it. But even then, surely this is exactly the kind of single you'd want for a soundtrack to a mediocre film - it's a catchy, feelgood singalong pop song albeit one that ultimately has ended up more famous than the product it was designed to promote.
Oh I love The Shoop Shoop Song
Old soul purists SCOFFED but it's all about the way she just BLUDGEONS THE SONG into SUBMISSION
WO OH OH
Oh HOW MANY YEARS
Is it NOW Maurice?
Do You Know is anything but filler. It's NO Do You Really Want Me? for STARTERS!
My new single "My new single is dropping" is dropping
I know we're still in the 400s but do you NOT LIKE "Do You Know (What It Takes)", Slave?
I actually prefer it to "Show Me Love", just the essence of the 90s pop-R&B craze
And yeah "Do You Really Want Me" is WHINY SHIT
(well not really, I'd still give it a 6.5/10 but it's all a bit too juvenile and annoying)
And I personally would've guessed that Cher song made it higher than #33 in the US, it's hardly "Believe" or "If I Could Turn Back Time" but I'd say it's pretty well known and engrained into pop culture here.
Last edited by POP!; 05-03-2012 at 09:49 PM.
It's actually amazing that they were so shit yet all four singles I would rate 9/10 or better The album versions (To Love Once Again & I Wanna Love You) were a bit ropey, but in single form they are brilliant!
480. No Authority - Don't Stop (Released: 1998, UK peak: #54)
Chart run: 54
There is little more puzzling than record company logic which looks at a popular boyband and tries to emulate their success but manages to miss the mark when choosing which material to copy. 'Don't Stop' is initially reminiscent of Five's 'When The Lights Go Out' (the intro beat is almost identical) but is most similar to the Backstreet Boys' 'Get Down (You're The One For Me)' with that distinctly cheap sounding Casio keyboard backing track and a looped beat from start to finish. As it is, 'Don't Stop' isn't exactly a bad stab at emulating the early Backstreet Boys stuff - it's just that by the time this arrived, they'd polished up their act ten-fold and were on their way to becoming one of the biggest boybands in the world whilst No Authority sound somewhat under-cooked. I'm not sure whether it's just my age, but even the early Backstreet Boys singles were made slightly more tolerable by the fact that there was a certain attractiveness to the group (even in their finest day-glo gear) whereas No Authority don't look remotely sexual - a point underlined by the middle-eight rap sounding like it's being delivered by a woman (although with the amount of make-up the guy with blonde floppy curtains is wearing in the video, he could easily pass for a lesbian). 'Don't Stop' did very little in the charts and despite a line-up change and an attempt to re-launch in 2000, No Authority completely tanked.
479. Teenage Fanclub - Sparky's Dream (Released: 1995, UK peak: #40)
Chart run: 40-63
Although indie music had a proper (and thankfully brief) commercial takeover period in the '00s, my main recollection of it during the '90s is that although some acts did find some mainstream success, a lot of acts just bubbled away for pretty much the entire decade, regularly scoring minor top 40 hits but never really bothering the upper reaches of the chart. Teenage Fanclub were one such act; their first chart appearance was in 1991 with 'Star Sign' which peaked at #44 whilst their biggest single and indeed the only to enter the top 30 was 'Ain't That Enough' (#17 in 1997). Yet throughout that decade and the next, indeed to this very day, they continue to tour and record. I can't claim to be overly familiar with their discography, but on the basis of this song, they're not as dour as their biographics (alternative rock band from Scotland) would suggest. 'Sparky's Dream' is a jangly little radio-friendly number with a toe-tapping beat and some subtle, catchy melodies and vocal harmonies. You never get the sense that it would majorly bother the charts, but it definitely holds some weight as a bit of easy-listening MOR indie music.
478. Mytown - Party All Night (Released: 1999, UK peak: #22)
Chart run: 22-44
The styling of Mytown really did them no favours - despite the colour co-orindinated outfits and heavily choreographed dance routines, as late '90s boybands go they were actually more involved in the creation of their material than most of their peers, having writing credits on the majority of tracks featured on their debut album. Where a lot of boybands of the time ended up sounding like the cheap imitations of the market leaders, I think 'Party All Night' is actually quite a worthy accompaniment to the plinky-plonk, lightweight clicky pop uptempos of the time - everything is totally Americanised but it actually looks like there was some EFFORT going into the whole thing and the song itself is really quite catchy, the only thing it really lacks is that bit of OOMPH to make it a truly killer little pop track; the post-chorus ("Everybody knows that the boys have got the FEELING, everybody knows that the boys will be around") for example is really well constructed and delivered, it just feels like it lacks the guidance of an established hitmaker to really bring it to LIFE. By many other standards, 'Party All Night' is a cracking little pop song, but once again it was a victim of timing coming up against the pop behemoths released around it and mytown disbanded shortly afterwards, failing to score another chart hit. It wasn't quite the death knell for all of their careers though, two members of the group (Danny O'Donoghue and Mark Sheehan) went on to form The Script and eventually enjoyed major chart success almost a decade later.
477. Manic Street Preachers - If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next (Released: 1998, UK peak: #1)
Chart run: 1-5-11-17-26-36-42-55-47-67-x-x-x-69
A first #1 single for the Manic Street Preachers, ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’ really marked the start of the band’s most fruitful period commercially – prior to this they’d scored a handful of top ten singles but otherwise a very hit and mostly miss back-catalogue. I can see why this was the song that took them to the top of the chart – it’s a wonderfully wistful song with a message which was inspired by the Spanish Civil War and a Republican poster showing a child killed by bomber aircraft with the exact same tagline under the image as went on to be the title of the song. Essentially though, the core message of the song can really apply to many aspects of modern life and that gives it some gravitas, which really works with the distorted, slightly psychedelic guitar riffs that shimmer away throughout the track. The whole thing is fairly understated though, even the final chorus’ “If you tolerate this, then your children will be next, will be next, will be next, will BE neeeext” into the “aaaaaaaaaaah-aaaaaaaaah-aaaaaaaaah” outro is never quite as rousing as you sense it might want to be – although it would sound a bit odd within the context of the song to suddenly transform into an arms-aloft stadium anthem (I've no doubt it works much better live). Although critics continue to laud ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’, it had a fairly brief chart run, certainly less so than you’d expect when it represents a chart peak for the Manic Street Preachers. Nevertheless, I can't blame the song's success on a slow chart week because it absolutely wasn't - indeed, I will probably always remember this best for what it beat to the #1 spot that week, but more on THAT much, much later.
476. Gina G - I Belong To You (Released: 1996, UK peak: #6)
Chart run: 6-10-19-25-33-42-50-53-42-44-64
Trying to follow up a massive Eurovision track hasn't really been an issue for acts representing the UK in about a decade now, not least because the songs themselves are rarely major chart hits. But 'I Belong To You' was given the very difficult task of following up 'Ooh Aah...Just A Little Bit' - I'm quite surprised that her record label waited seven months to launch this single (and I really don't think you could suggest that it would have taken that long to compile an album of mostly generic Eurodance tracks) but perhaps that was for the best. Essentially 'I Belong To You' is cut from a very similar cloth as the song that came before it, it just happens to be second-hand and of a poorer quality - but by the time this was eventually released, perhaps people were just glad to take anything that wasn't 'Ooh Aah...Just A Little Bit' which had a massive chart run (for the time). I recall thinking that this was a GREAT song at the time, a worthy follow-up and if anything I might have actually preferred it. Most Eurodance of the time will invariably have dated horribly, but this one has definitely come off WORSE than most; it had little depth at the time, but it really does sound and look incredibly cheap and derivative in 2012. It's catchy, there's no denying THAT, but what it really lacks (and what I really wouldn't have known to care about at the time) is a thumping bassline which might stop it sounding so tinny and lightweight - indeed production-wise it almost sounds unfinished like it was hurried out of the studio in time for the festive market - though I'm sure the quality control on the 'Fresh!' album would never have allowed such a thing to happen 'I Belong To You' is still listenable, it's even still enjoyable, but listening to it NOW, it's hard to understand how I was ever THAT excited about it (and I really was...)
Nothing too exciting in that bunch for me.
The Manics really did well to get that #1, though in fairness they were still ahead of "One for Sorrow" the following week, so it's not as if Steps were robbed THAT time
I did became obsessed with I Belong To You at the time as well
In fact I got the album because of that song
My new single "My new single is dropping" is dropping
475. Stevie B - Because I Love You (The Postman Song) (Released: 1991, UK peak: #6)
Chart run: 35-18-6-6-6-11-18-42-69
Billboard Hot 50 chart run: 50-37-27-15-8-5-3-1-1-1-1-2-2-8-14-24-37-49
Despite the title suggesting that this is some kind of wacky novelty pop song (and indeed many of Stevie B's other singles WERE), 'Because I Love You (The Postman Song)' is quite the opposite; a stripped back, piano-led R&B ballad (think a '90s American male version of Adele's 'Someone Like You') that is still very effective now, even if the vocals do sound a bit tinny due to the odd effect applied to them which gives them a slight echo and perhaps takes away a little of the emotion that you really feel should be coming through. This was the only song that Stevie B charted in the UK, although he did manage to score a few more hits in America before and after. 'Because I Love You (The Postman Song)' really does represent his commercial peak though, and whilst this isn't up there with the BIG, classic ballad moments of the '90s, as recently as 2008 this was still the 55th biggest single in the Hot 100's history - though don't ask me how they calculated it because the chart run isn't THAT impressive despite it topping the chart for a month. I don't think I've ever heard this on the radio in the UK (at least not in the time that I've really paid attention to what is played), but Compare My Radio does say that it garners the odd spin now and then.
474. The B.C. 52's - Meet The Flintstones (Released: 1994, UK peak: #3)
Chart run: 5-4-3-3-3-5-9-14-19-33-44-64
Billboard Hot 100 chart run: 81-65-43-33-42-56-70-90
This is so RIDICULOUS on every level but I absolutely love it - the B-52's (with a slight name change to fit in with the accompanying Flintstones movie) are absolutely the perfect choice to recreate the theme tune to the TV series and turn it into a two and a half minute pop song - it's very knowingly tongue-in-cheek and yet at the same time mindful of the heritage of such an iconic cartoon. There's really very little I can say about this - if the original theme tune did nothing for you, you're not really going to find this any more appealing (and also you're dead inside) and if you did then this is just the same, but longer. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this song is how much of a hit it was in the UK - six weeks in the top five; it was no doubt helped along by the success of the movie, but all the same it's rather BIZARRE to think that so many people were rushing out week after week to buy a full-length version of a theme tune that's been knocking around since 1960.
473. Seal - Kiss From A Rose (Released: 1994, UK peak: #4)
Chart run (1994): 26-20-27-41-63
Chart run (1995): 14-8-5-4-4-5-9-12-16-27-34-54-68
Billboard Hot 100 chart run: 87-54-32-25-12-5-4-2-2-1-3-3-3-3-4-4-5-4-4-4-4-6-11-12-18-23-22-25-30-29-29-34-38-38-44-48
Originally released in 1994, 'Kiss From A Rose' initially achieved modest chart peaks in the few countries were it was released. In 1995 the song was intended to be incorporated into a scene in the film Batman Forever - those plans were abandoned but the song remained on the soundtrack and was used over the closing credits. A new video was shot for the song using clips from the movie and featuring Seal performing next to the Bat-Signal - the result was a second wind for the song; it went on to reach #1 in America and hit a new peak of #4 in the UK, becoming on of Seal's biggest hits and remaining a radio staple to this day. It's quite an odd match of song to movie (particularly considering the obvious character reference point - Poison Ivy, doesn't appear in that particular film) and these days probably much more famous in its own right than for being tied to Batman Forever - yet lyrics aside, there is definitely something very filmic about the sound of 'Kiss From A Rose' - the sweeping strings and thumping production into the chorus all give it a suitably epic feel so in that sense it is a good fit to a Hollywood blockbuster. Although I've always filed this under "overplayed songs I need never voluntarily listen to again", it struck me that I haven't ACTUALLY heard it as many times as I first suspected and I quite enjoyed listening to it a few times through - perhaps reflecting that the UK chart run was actually quite short considering the song's legacy on the radio.
472. Upside Down - Change Your Mind (Released: 1996, UK peak: #11)
Chart run: 35-12-11-12-30-47-63
Although music-based reality TV really kick-started with Popstars and Pop Idol, the '90s were not without their attempts to do the same - Upside Down were the focus of a BBC documentary which followed the formation of the group and off the back of that they managed to reach #11 with their debut single 'Change Your Mind' which was originally recorded by Bad Boys Inc. (and features on their Greatest Hits). Bearing more than a passing resemblance to George Michael's 'Careless Whisper', this is a dramatic saxaphone ballad which really does sound like it belongs in the '80s but then that probably is because it so heavily borrows the majority of its elements from popular music over a decade older than when it was released. Perhaps a few years earlier this would have been a much bigger hit - and I do think it's a shame that it didn't scrape a top ten placing; but by the time this rolled around I think pop fans really were crying out for something FRESH (of course it's easier to judge that in hindsight knowing that the Spice Girls were just a few months away) and watching the live performances and the video with each member of the group wearing identical clothes whilst shooting brooding, moody glances at the camera, it's hard to believe that this and 'Wannabe' are almost the same age. It wasn't just that poor timing which affected Upside Down; their label World Records went bankrupt towards the end of the year and that essentially left them without a record deal. All the same they shouldn't be written off as a complete mis-fire, because whilst everything musically was very dated, their inception and the way they documented it was the one aspect of the group that was well ahead of its time.
471. Juice - I'll Come Runnin' (Released: 1998, UK peak: #48)
Chart run: 48
What an obscure little DELIGHT - Juice were a Danish R&B group with a distinctly Americanised sound. This doesn't quite pack the PUNCH of some of the weightier pop-R&B tracks which emerged during the late '90s/early '00s - if nothing else the image of the group was painfully BLAND (the video features a series of shots of the trio plodding around from side to side - some of the styling suggests the original plan was a Destiny's Child tribute act, but the execution makes Atomic Kitten look groundbreaking). Nevertheless, 'I'll Come Runnin' is an inoffensively charming track. The verses really are nothing to write home about, but the chorus is ridiculously catchy and actually works really well - and just in case you aren't completely sold on it, they throw in a breakdown and key-change right at the end. I've no doubt that for some people this single is simply TOO lightweight and nothingy; commercially I certainly agree, this was never going to set the charts on fire no matter HOW eager they look in the video and no matter how on-trend those late '90s looped R&B beats are. But hating on 'I'll Come Runnin' is like kicking a lamb - there is literally nothing to protect it - no thumping beats, no phoned-in male vocal interludes, no hot vox, no synths, no personality. It's just a little bit of R&B cotton wool and that's kind of why I like it, it's all so dreamy and innocent. Unfortunately the charts are a ruthless place and after their first single only managed a meagre #28 peak, a #48 follow-up was simply not going to suffice and although Juice did (apparently) manage to release a second album in 1999, their lack of success in any major territory meant that the trio had disbanded before the decade was out.
I LOVE "Kiss From a Rose" such an astounding chorus it has, I try to not play it so often though because it's one of those few songs that just brings me back to the 90s and I don't want that to go away
Last edited by POP!; 13-03-2012 at 08:40 PM.
Teenage Fanclub were ENDLESSLY CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED but like you say NEVER REALLY BROKE THROUGH and I know little of their OEUVRE
I love 'I Belong To You' (and You Belong To Me NATURALLY) and I don't CARE WHO KNOWS IT
I can't listen to 'Kiss From A Rose' as that reminds me of a very happy time and thus makes me SAD
Oh HOW MANY YEARS
Is it NOW Maurice?
470. Girlfriend - Girl's Life (Released: 1993, UK peak: #68)
Chart run: 68
Whilst the influence of the Spice Girls on female pop music post-1996 was not hard to see, some earlier tracks from the '90s do show that there was definitely something brewing before 'Wannabe', Girlfriend being a very good example. An Australian five-piece, they scored a #1 hit in their home country with 'Take It From Me' (which reached #47 in the UK), this was the follow-up and a much smaller hit, but I think it works really well. It sounds very much of its time of course; a tinny, looped beat, some distorted synths and some Casio keyboard sound effects all make for a funky-pop-on-a-budget track with competent harmonies, some girl power-esque chanting and individual members using their solo lines to out-warble their bandmates. As a package though, it's all very slick and some effort has been made to give the group a bit of personality (even if they essentially look like they jumped into Kylie's SAW wardrobe and then headed straight for the video shoot) - ok so they never quite pulled off anything as instantly iconic as a Union Jack dress or a hair hat, but headwear emblazoned with giant flowers might have caught on in another time and place. It's hard not to watch the video, which features a lot of single-shots following the group dancing around an apartment, and not think that it was a technique re-deployed on a much grander scale a few years later in the 'Wannabe' video. Despite their initial hit in Australia, success did not come naturally to Girlfriend and they never bothered the top ten there again; their chart career in the UK ended here, leaving little legacy - and any mild impact they DID have would soon have been totally superseded anyway.
469. Lynden David Hall - Sexy Cinderella (Released: 1997, UK peak: #17)
Chart run: 45-73
Re-release (1998): 17-42-64
I can't help but feel that Lynden David Hall's debut album arrived at just the wrong time; not that 'Medicine 4 My Pain' is now considered a CLASSIC by any means, but the majority of the praise I've read about it seems to be retrospective. The charts of the late-90s were of course mostly about thumping uptempos and big ballads, but they were also rather WHITE - this kind of laidback soul stuck out like a sore thumb where it might have found a wider audience a few years either side of the time it was actually released. 'Sexy Cinderella' is a such a smooth track; it's still exactly the kind of slow jam that I find irresistible - the chorus at first seems a bit something and nothing but it's SO catchy, particularly the echoed "OH"s which most notably re-appeared in Nelly's 'Dilemma' (it's a sound effect from an old generic sound effect card used by producers, apparenty). This is the kind of track that would definitely be on my late-night cruising (in the car, not for sex) playlist. 'Sexy Cinderella' performed better in 1998 than its first release, but I suspect that Lynden David Hall's record label were really hoping for more than just a slightly better underperforming single. It was still his biggest hit though, indeed the only time he reached the top 20. His last chart appearance was in 2000; in 2003 he developed Hodgkin's lymphoma which ultimately led to his death at the age of 31 in 2005.
468. Republica - Drop Dead Gorgeous (Released: 1997, UK peak: #7)
Chart run: 7-18-22-34-40-45-74
Billboard Hot 100 chart run: 93-93-100
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with 'Drop Dead Gorgeous' and Republica in general. In many ways they were a pre-cursor to both the bratty pop-rock invasion of the early-00s (which I rather enjoyed) but also the horrible tendency for singers to put on a really IRRITATING "Lahndan" accent (Lily Allen, Kate Nash, etc.) and the vocals during the verses really are as gratingly annoying as the very worst of the aforementioned artists. But at the same time you just can't ARGUE with that chorus - the guitar riff, the drum beat, the way the whole thing so effortlessly kicks into life, it's just too good. There's so much attitude dripping from the delivery and the melody is effortlessly perfect - the second half of the chorus ("Don't go CHANGING every TIME, not for ME to comproMISE, you're still a friend of mine, yeah yeah and you're drop dead GORGEOUS") is a total -moment for me every time. It's just a SHAME that it's attached to the naff verses which are half-sung, half-spoken in the most infuriating accent (which suddenly softens and almost disappears when the chorus rolls around) - they generally don't match the delirious rush of the rest of the song at ALL. The pay-off for sitting through them just about makes it worth it though. 'Drop Dead Gorgeous' was Republica's only top ten single in the UK, but there's no doubt that it was given a massive boost by the success of 'Ready To Go' which gave the band a brief period of hype, although they failed to turn it into anything substantial.
467. Paula Abdul - Opposites Attract (Feat. The Wild Pair) (Released: 1990, UK peak: #2)
Chart run: 36-17-5-3-2-3-5-7-14-17-33-53-72
Billboard Hot 100 chart run: 72-47-47-32-26-16-8-2-1-1-1-3-6-18-22-28-35-42-50-64-73-92-95
Despite Paula Abdul's resurrection as TV talent show judge in the '00s, I was never REALLY aware of how briefly massive she was in America, stringing together a run of six consecutive #1 singles of which 'Opposites Attract' was the fourth. In the UK although this was a big hit, her success was much less consistent; she scored three top ten hits but charted a number of less successful tracks between them. Nonetheless, anyone with a reasonable knowledge of popular culture must surely be familiar with the video to this song, which featured Paula Abdul dancing alongside the Disney animated MC Skat Kat. Even 20+ years later, the video STILL looks good, the only thing really dating it being the image and clothing. It really is impressive for a short form music video and has of course been parodied to death; the result is that with all attention going on the video, the song has often been overlooked. 'Opposites Attract' is, in its own right, a really solid track; yes the lyrics are clichéd from start to finish and must pretty much have written themselves ("She likes it neat, and he makes a mess, I take it easy, baby I get obsessed; she's got the money, and he's always broke, I don't like cigarettes, and I like to smoke"), but the song complements Paula Abdul's anaemic vocals (partially by giving half the song to The Wild Pair), the focus here is most definitely on an outrageously funky new jack swing track with a tight back-and-forth melody. Given her previous three singles had reached #1 in America, I somewhat doubt that this wouldn't have followed suit even without the video, but I guess what it gave her was something that her other singles didn't - it tied her to a moment in popular culture and gave her a visual reference point in popular music. Not to the extent that other major recording artists have done, admittedly, but given Paula Abdul's career in pop music's top flight lasted barely more than three years before her success diminished, it was clearly enough to have the producers of American Idol knocking at her door a decade later. I couldn't really say that 'Opposites Attract' is underrated because it was a massive hit, but the video has definitely endured more than the song, which is something of a shame...as for MC Skat Kat, his debut album 'The Adventures of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob' was critically panned and a commercial flop, subsequently plans for a live action/animated hybrid movie were abandoned and the character was laid to rest.
466. Lavinia Jones - Sing It To You (Dee-Doob-Dee-Doo) (Released: 1995, UK peak: #45)
Chart run: 45-55
Another song that has a title which immediately makes you expect a tacky novelty track - in fairness, 'Sing It To You (Dee-Doob-Dee-Doo)' IS essentially a '90s German Eurodance-by-numbers track in parts but there are are moments of it that work REALLY well and make it so much more than a throwaway flop. Although the main hook of the song is unavoidably the "Dee doob dee doo doo dee doob dee doob dee doo dee doob doo dee doob dee doo" chorus (and yes it is totally as catchy as it looks), the quick-fire spoken verses really give the song a bit of depth - ok so some of the lyrics don't necessarily WORK as well as you suspect the writer probably thought they did and they seem to suffer from the woes of translation ("Can’t you see when the day is over and all the people trying to forget about the trouble just to have some fun, don’t you know that just a kind of love is telling you to believe when everything’s just been wrong") but the vocal delivery atop an atmospheric backing track which occasionally adds a flavour of flamenco guitar or shimmering sound effect sells the whole thing to the point that you'd totally buy into the believe that it's a profound statement on society, except it's really not. The whole track just hangs together really well, it feels so much more substantial than it was probably ever intended to be. It was a very minor hit (the only one for Lavinia Jones at that) and whilst in many cases you can quite see why certain songs didn't garner more commercial success, in this case I don't think the chart peak matches the quality of the song at all.
Last edited by Slave; 21-03-2012 at 02:17 AM.
Didn't Juice also release a god-awful version of 10cc's "I'm Not in Love"? I'm sure SOME Danish girlband did circa 1997.
Also nice to know that the blackboard-scraping vocal on "Because I Love You (The Postman Song)" (which has taught me that the stress in the word 'postman' is actually on 'man') is all due to a clever studio sound effect and not to Stevie B not being able to sing for shit
Hey go get the doctor
Doctor came too late...
I DO like that Republica track. Both the hits were decent, surprised they never turned into a No Doubt-type success (to at least some extent). Did they shift any albums?
"Opposites Attract" is alright but it's probably my least favorite Paula Abdul single... maybe behind "Will You Marry Me?" and "Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up" but those were far from her bigger hits.
For someone who is still very visible 25 years after her debut albeit in another medium, I do think her pop music career is generally forgotten outside of "Straight Up" and "Opposites Attract".
The sumptuous Hi-NRG grooves on I Belong To You have NOT dated. The extended mix is testament to this. The album was still being recorded in late '96. Plus, I think she was over in the States for quite a bit too. I guess it's the Steve Roadway/Motiv8 sound: you either can't get enough or think it's relentlessly recycling the same style. Even Gina G is scornful that he's a one trick pony, which has NOTHING to do with him making her sign a dodgy contract meaning she couldn't work with anyone else and denied her the royalties for her signature hit.
Reflected onto the wet pavement, can you see what I see?
This thread is a FABULOUS RESOURCE but I'm still highly bewildered. HOW did you hear all these songs?
It's not a criticism, I'm just genuinely confused. Did you do an Eileen and listen to every top 75 hit of the 90s before starting?
I mean I thought I was a flop pop obsessive, but this is a whole new level!
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