Friday, September 29, 2017

Pop Will Eat Its Children, Pt. 10

5. "Nuthin' But A G Thang," Dr. Dre & Snoop Doggy Dogg

1992
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #2

Former MC and producer for the world's most dangerous rap group, Dr. Dre will go down in history for…headphones? Fuck that. He introduced the world to Long Beach wunderkind Snoop D-O double G. I always wondered why Redman sounded so boisterous on the mic despite smoking so much (presumably unlaced) weed. Snoop, though, sounded precisely how I thought a massive pothead should on the mic.

Keep it? NO

"Who Am I (What's My Name)?," Snoop Doggy Dogg

1993
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #3

Laconic Youth. Wallop and whine, where am I (what's my location)? West west!

4. "Rebel Girl," Bikini Kill

1993
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Despite what some close to me think, I do not hate Bikini Kill. I'm simply bemused by their renown relative to their talent.

Keep it? NO

"Kiss & Ride," Bratmobile

1993
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Nothing's better than an educated woman. Nothing's worse than an educated woman with no sense of humor.

3. "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems," Notorious B.I.G. (feat. Mase & Puff Daddy)

1997
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #1

With this, Biggie Smalls became the first recording artist to have multiple posthumous #1's on the Hot 100. "Hypnotize" has a far superior sample, and doesn't allow Puff to do anything more strenuous than ad-libs. "Mo' Money" makes us wait until the last verse to hear Biggie. No sir, I don't approve.

Keep it? NO

"Sky Is the Limit," Notorious B.I.G. (feat. 112)

1997
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #20

From OshKosh to Gucci, chocolate milk to Mo√ęt. The xylophones and guitar in the Bobby Caldwell original are absolutely sublime, so don't get mad at Clark Kent for not trying to slice into marble.

2. "No Diggity," Blackstreet (feat. Dr. Dre & Queen Pen)

1996
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #1

You wouldn't think much of a group that asked Dre into the studio strictly to rap, but Teddy Riley had some carpet to piss on. Any friend you have that resists the pull of "No Diggity" is a friend you don't need.

Gigantic love to Queen Pen for casually mentioning her female lover in her verse.

Keep it? YES

1. "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana

1991
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #6

Not putting the warbled wonder of 90s rock atop the mountain is blasphemy in critic circles.

Keep it? NO

"Come As You Are," Nirvana

1992
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #32

Aren't I a contrarian cunt, picking the less-loved follow-up. Just because it's better. Just because it plays my spine like Emmett Chapman, D.C. I'm so infuriatingly predictable.



In the great battle between 80s and 90s music, the 90s were arguably more diverse; however, in nearly every classic genre (barring hip-hop), they come up short. An expanded list of 100 songs would have been fun to tackle, but ultimately wouldn't have shrunk the gap.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pop Will Eat Its Children, Pt. 9

10. "No Scrubs," TLC

1999
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #1

I yearn for the unearthing of a cover version by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. Hopefully with a banjo solo in place of Left Eye's rap.

Not all guys…just the scrubs. If you catch feelings, well, why ya got your hands out?

Keep it? YES

9. "Fuck and Run," Liz Phair

1993
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Male music journalists loved them some Lizzie P. She contained multitudes. Her honesty, vulnerability and vulgarity, resulted in a debut album that remains virtually unassailable.
"Fuck and Run"'s duality sets it apart. Promiscuity is more fun than intimacy, ostensibly, but can you appreciate one without the other? Fucking and running at 17 is okay, but 12?

Keep it? NO

Cat Power, "Nude As the News"



1996
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Arrowhead to the nape. Bare feet on drenched sand . I'll never be her, still I could be.

Nib to the tongue. Gloved hands on dried skin. I'll always be me.

8. "Common People," Pulp

1995
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

The 1990s were the decade for Brit musicians to befuddle me with their continued commercial and critical successes. A preoccupation with classism no doubt rocketed "Common People" up the home charts. Add some steel-reinforced sonic nostalgia, and there's your smash hit, fishbulb.

Jarvis Cocker's acerbic arrows are wasted in such anemic hands.

Keep it? NO

"In the Meantime," Spacehog

1996
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #72

Glam-rock never dies, just takes extended naps. Anti-Kanamit audio books for good and all. The future ex-husband of Liv Tyler can play the bass like a meffer, incidentally.

7. "The Rain," Missy Elliott

1997
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

A breakout that made everyone stop to ask, "What are these hijinks?"



Impressionist hip-hop couldn't even fill a playlist created by the most studious Spotify user. Shame.

Keep it? YES

6. "Gold Soundz," Pavement

1994
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

If Pavement were the Monkees, Malkmus would be Nesmith. But wait, Pavement could never be the Monkees. "Cut Your Hair"? Micky would never.

Pavement were the go-to for listeners who demanded a highly-literate racket-gang, dreamboats weighed down by their distress signals and life jackets. Their high points--of which there many--were simultaneously blinding and binding.

Keep it? YES

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pop Will Eat Its Children, Pt. 8

15. "Rosa Parks," Outkast

1998
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #55

Southern-ass hip-hop that demands all others in the bus to not be heroes. Outkast could get away with that. Harmonica solo? Outkast could get away with that. Disrespecting Big Boi's skills? I won't let you get away with that.

Keep it? YES

14. "Nightswimming," R.E.M.

1993
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Less a song than a memory. Funny how feeling the grass cool underneath my feet stuck with me more than the water enveloping my whole body.

Keep it? NO

"Drive," R.E.M.

1992
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #28

Hey kids, let's go nighthunting.

13. "Brooklyn Zoo," Ol' Dirty Bastard

1995
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #54

An ODB acapella, utilized astutely, could save millions of lives.

"Brooklyn Zoo" is a goddamn bacchanalian beauty. One of the genre's few unmistakable performers, Ason Unique delivers liquid-spewing humor one bar, then aggression fit to stomp up a knee-high dust cloud the next.

(Rare instance of research failure on Rob's part. He refers to "RZA keys," but the track was not produced by RZA, and the referenced piano lick is a sample taken from the song "Step Softly" by Bobby Ellis and the Desmond Miles Seven.)

Keep it? YES

12. "Cannonball," Breeders

1993
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #44

They don't make 'em like Kim Deal anymore (they did that one time, though, remember). 900 milligrams of bass for the misfit millionaires.

Keep it? YES

11. "Doll Parts," Hole

1994
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Say what you will about Courtney, she's never been the most reprehensible musician with the last name "Love." She was, at her pinnacle, fearless and incisive, aware of her dual roles as user and used. And she always kept a kick-ass band behind her.

Keep it? NO

"Violet," Hole

1995
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

So many bands tried to do the Pixies soft/loud trick after Nirvana elevated it, and almost all of them wound up with carpet burn on their faces. They didn't know that the German word for "dream" is "traum," and even if they had known, would they see the four?

So unladylike, especially Patty Schemel's high-collared drumming.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Pop Will Eat Its Children, Pt. 7

20. "Loser," Beck

1994
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #10

As a homeless musician bouncing from small gig to even smaller gig, Beck Hansen discovered the best way to keep an attentive audience was to be as bizarre as possible. This tactic worked also for his debut single, which, over twenty years later, still sticks out on the radio like a horse boner.

Keep it? NO

"Devil's Haircut," Beck

1996
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #94

Odelay ended the debate over whether or not Beck was a calculating culture crook with the very first song. He borrows sugar from his neighbors, all of whom can't wait to see him again.

19. "Heartbreak Hotel," Whitney Houston (feat. Kelly Price and Faith Evans)

1998
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #2

Pretty women singing prettily.

Keep it? NO

"Sweet 69," Babes In Toyland


1995
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

When Kat Bjelland bats her eyelashes, batten down the hatches.

If Edna Turnblad had come of age in late-60s Detroit, she'd be the Babes number one groupie. She'd eat Lori Barbero's panties for luck.

18. "Queer," Garbage

1995
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Butch Vig has solid claim to ownership of the decade. Shirley Manson shines as a fuckable Lady Miss Kier. Groove is in the every part of the body, mind included.

Keep it? NO

"Cindy (Rotten Tanx)," Thurston Moore

1995
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

A shitty movie adaptation of a great book doesn't diminish the book.

17. "Sure Shot," Beastie Boys

1994
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Flutey loops. Yoo-Hoo is guaranteed to do nothing but begin tasting like radish juice if you don't drink it all down within 15 minutes. "Sure Shot" is classic hip-hop: braggadocio and banging beats. Then MCA uses his last verse to be incredibly un-hip-hop--he calls for women to be respected!

Keep it? NO

"I Shot Reagan," Non Phixion

1998
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Hoo boy did Matador Records shit the bed with these guys. Flag-incinerating, conspiracy-crushing, COC-blasting, the greatest chorus in rap history, "I Shot Reagan" has it all.

16. "Get Up," Sleater-Kinney

1997
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Stars, bloody stars. The women of SK would be a much-needed energy source in the last part of the decade--and beyond.

Keep it? YES

Monday, September 25, 2017

Pop Will Eat Its Children, Pt. 6

25. "Flagpole Sitta," Harvey Danger

1997
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

The dumb-ass misspelling biased me from jump against this petulant burst of scarcely-earned arrogance.

Keep it? NO

"Corpse Pose," Unwound

1996
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak position: Did not chart

Get involved with the world. Smack it. Start above the equator.

It's nigh on impossible to truly relax and free the mind of extraneous materials. Please don't let that stop you.

24. "Are You That Somebody?," Aaliyah

1998
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #21

Bob Kelly's child bride grew up to become a meter reader. Timbaland is operating at peak ridiculousness; who in hell says, yes, this smooth futuristic R&B track needs a sample of a happy baby on it?

Keep it? YES

23. "Wonderwall," Oasis

1995
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #8

In the gutter, apple butter. Meaningless words combined with soulless music, how the fuck were Oasis allowed to get big, what in the fuck was going on with England's inferiority complex back then? I have never heard an Oasis song without instantly thinking of a Beatles song I'd rather be listening to.

Keep it? NO

"Girls and Boys," Blur

1994
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #59

It's a hedonistic hell from a handsome head-space, with Disco DrugBot playing the bass! Have some fun, take some piss, throw it back. The chorus is pure gender stereotyping--perhaps celebratory, perhaps desultory, certainly exhilarating.

22. "Shook Ones, Pt. II," Mobb Deep

1995
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Welcome to the No Safety Zone. Prodigy and Havoc were two undersized teenagers from Queens when they first harnessed thunder for the express purpose of reminding us that judging dogs by their size is silly at best, deadly at worst.

(Also one of the best penultimate album songs ever. Not to mention one of the best sample flips.)

Keep it? YES

21. "1979," Smashing Pumpkins

1996
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #12

I'd make a crack 'bout busted timepieces, but truth is, SP produced more than two good songs. I could place "Cherub Rock" here, but "1979" is too good, and also not what you would expect from the band. (There beat a heart inside that bird chest, after all.)

Keep It? YES

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Pop Will Eat Its Children, Pt. 5

30. "Baby Got Back," Sir Mix-A-Lot

1992
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #1

Ah, when Seattle ruled the hip-hop landscape. I always forget that Rick Rubin co-produced this. When you wanted mainstream hip hop that didn't treat women like disposal party favors, it was this or (gah) Arrested Development.

Keep it? NO

"Doowutchyalike," Digital Underground

1990
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

"The Humpty Dance" was the hit, while "Doowutchyalike" had to make do as the 9-minute party jam. Shock G and his alter ego Humpty Hump trade verses that are positive and silly without coming off crude or cringe. Still, the piano solo is arguably the highlight. The joyousness engendered almost defies common sense. (Points for encouraging women to objectify men.)

29. "Paper Bag," Fiona Apple

1994
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

From that album with the 310-word title. Fiona wrote this after mistaking a paper bag for a dove. I once mistook a bagel for a glazed donut. Hardly song-worthy, honey.

Keep it? NO

"No Excuses," Alice In Chains

1994
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Family vacation in Arizona! And by "family" I mean "friends," and when I say "Arizona" I mean one of the less-famous canyons. Rough way to test the tensile strength of a relationship, but I can't think of one that fires surer.

28. "Pink Triangle," Weezer

1997
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Guy falls deep in love with a lesbian. "If everyone's a little queer/Can't she be a little straight?" Are you for real with this bullshit?

Keep it? NO

"Puss," Jesus Lizard

1993
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

(How I wish they'd titled that split "Oh, the Puss.")

By all rights, "Puss" is a song I should like only with massive reservations. The music hits the face like a frozen candy bar flung from six feet away, but the lyrics directly reference and encourage assaulting a woman. That singer David Yow wrote it in dishonor of a guy he knows makes matters better and worse. Anyway, I'm not mad at Yow. He's 5'6" and built like a substitute teacher.

27. "Around the World," Daft Punk

1997
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #6

Another one bites the pillow. Top 50 Songs For a Cardio Routine, maybe.

Keep it? NO

"The Diamond Sea," Sonic Youth

1995
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

You knew it was coming. My favorite band's magnum opus. And I don't mean the five minute single edit. I want all twenty minutes, baby. I've nothing to add but yes, yes motherfuck yes. (But not motherfuck the band Yes, they kinda ruled.)

26. "Torn," Natalie Umbruglia

1997
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #42

"Inoffensive" is a weird insult, in that it can also be a compliment. Jennifer Paige's "Crush" goes hand in hand with "Torn" in my mind, despite the fact they don't sound at all alike. Inoffensive one-hit wonders with one-word titles sung by fairy dust addicts.

Keep it? NO

"Blood Makes Noise," Suzanne Vega

1992
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Suppressing unpleasantness with the application of further unpleasantness isn't suggested by most therapists, but most therapists go pale at the sight of flowing red.

Yeah, the bass is ace, but the guitars are really irritated and you will hear them out!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Pop Will Eat Its Children, Pt. 4

35. "If It Makes You Happy," Sheryl Crow

1996
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #10

A singer-songwriter who manages to be a spectacular fail-bomb at both singing and songwriting. Sheryl Crow is an episode of Friends turned into a person.

Keep it? NO

"Jesus Christ Pose," Soundgarden

1991
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Before the black hole, there was the white cross. "Jesus Christ Pose" is an episode of Game Of Thrones turned into a song.

34. "Don't Let Go (Love)," En Vogue

1996
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #2

Flings are fun, but ain't no thing like the real thing. Or so I've heard tell.

R&B stopped being sexy after 1996.

Keep it? NO

"Pony," Ginuwine

1996
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #6

See?

The members of En Vogue want full commitment; Ginuwine wants to break some random chick's back like a Pringle. Humans shouldn't be capable of such wicked magic. Timbaland's beat consists of sand-streaked drums, a belching pterodactyl, a goddamn cartoon sound effect, and still steams my clothes off.

33. "XXX," Helium

1994
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Smart money on whore-as-victim. Too bad people are so dumb.

Keep it? NO

"Pat's Trick," Helium

1995
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

Singer/guitarist/fire woman Mary Timony has a brother named Patrick, but I have no proof this is about him. I do know a Patrick with "long-ass curly hair," and oh oh oh oh, I've decided to make this song all about him. Trust me, he's a good guy, the kinda fella you'd wanna be trapped in an airborne fish net with. While you're squirming and gagging, ol' Pat's less than a foot away, sawing at the nylon with an unappetizing fingernail.

32. "I'll Be," Foxy Brown (feat. Jay-Z)

1997
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #7

Great sample. Thump is key. Foxy Brown, possessor of the "ill na na," was positioned as Li'l Kim 2.0--sexy, stylish, but also tough and independent. She starts her rhyme in the cowgirl position and…it just goes downhill from there.

Keep it? NO

"Cold Rock A Party (single remix)," MC Lyte (feat. Missy Elliott)

1996
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: #11

Diana Ross gets cold-cocked by the best-sounding female MC ever. Missy's rampant non-lyricism is unsurprisingly a fun contrast.

31. "Born Slippy (Nuxx)," Basement Jaxx

1996
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: Did not chart

A huge hit in their native UK, thanks to its appearance in Trainspotting, this bulldozer doesn't need scrawny thieving gingers in order to run. Insouciant ravers turned a bleak fear of the future into a ebullient refusal to give a fuck about the future.

Keep it? YES