The Best UK Top 10 Of The 90s Chart Poll – Groups 71 – 82

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Group 71

DJ Quicksilver – Bellisima: I know the artist name, but I couldn’t have named one of their tracks. I instantly recognise this one – it was all over the charts and blasting from cars back in the day – it even made regular appearances in the clubs into the next decade once I started getting dragged to those. It follows the precise formula of dance music – short, simple melody played over and over and over with occasional differences in the beat and one or two drops and/or underwater moment where the melody gets muffled before storming back. This one isn’t as cheap or weak as most.

The Beloved – Sweet Harmony: I can’t recall what this is. The video seems to have a lot of nudity. It’s only a couple of seconds into the song before I remember it. And I remember not liking it at the time. Lets see if my opinion has changed. There’s definitely something annoying about it, but I can’t say for sure what it is. The vocals aren’t my thing and it’s longer than it should be and I assume the nudity was a significant part of the song’s success. It’s fine, nothing against it.

Metallica – Enter Sandman: An easy group winner.

Incognito Ft Jocelyn Brown -Always There: The early 90s was picked with these dance/jazz/new jack hybrids with a big gospel vocal. Can’t say they ever did anything for me. I know I’m supposed to be impressed by the vocals, but they’re so on the nose, they’re screaming ‘look what I can do with my voice’ rather than ‘look how my voice compliments this song’. The song is actually fine too, but the whole early 90s dance vibe and production rubs me in criminal ways so it’s not something I’d ever vote for.

Group 72

The Tamperer Feat Maya – Feel It: Another song sampling Michael Jackson. And the song was notable back in the day for asking the important questions – ‘what’s she gonna look like with a chimney on her’. Being a Northern Ireland lad and a fan of absurdity, this was amusing for various reasons. It’s that silliness which stops the song from getting on my tits and I did have a soft spot for it back then, even if I’d entirely forgotten it till now.

Mariah – Dream Lover: One of the bigger hits of Mariah’s early days in the UK, this one mixes gospel and pop with her trademark vocals – it’s just sad what she became when she made sweet little pop songs like this. My group winner.

Black Grape – In The Name of The Father: Black Grape was one of those periphery groups for me – there was always one friend in the group who was a fan and the rest of us knew a few songs by association. That same person was much more into Happy Mondays, but Black Grape is basically the same thing. I did have one of their albums, but can’t remember what it was. Like most of the more rock oriented Madchester songs this one sounds good the first time you listen, but you quickly realise it sounds identical to all the others.

The Urban Cookie Collective – The Key The Secret: A decent one hit wonder.

Group 73

TLC  – No Scrubs: We all know it. It’s fine. My Group winner.

Technohead – I Wanne Be A Hippy: We all know it. Arguably one of the most embarrassing pieces of music ever shat out.

Shamen – Ebanezzer Goode: We all know it. One of my most hated songs. lOoK hE sayS Es ArE goOd!

The Smurfs – Your Christmas Wish: I had no idea this existed, but on principle of the previous two songs being two of the worst songs of all time, I’ll be voting for this over them.

Group 74

Sybil – When I’m Good & Ready: Another new one as far as I’m concerned. Vocals are decent, the video has entirely too much smiling, the beepy boopy sound is somewhat annoying. Actually, the chorus has elements that I may have heard before. I don’t have too much negative to say about it, it’s fine. My group winner.

Hale & Pace & The Stonkers: The Stonk: I remember Hale & Pace. They were a duo that were a ‘bit too blue’ in my parents’ words for pre-teen me to watch, which of course made me want to watch more. They were always on late though and I never got to see a lot. Like many comedy duos, they had the odd musical skit or flirtation. I don’t remember this at all, but it’s expectedly bad. The lyrics are funny – it seems to have been a charity song for Comic Relief – and the video is interesting as it features a load of old comedians and celebs, but the music is bad.

Ace Of Base – Don’t Turn Around: We all know The Sign and the one about wanting another baby, but do we know this? Of course we don’t. It’s quite similar to the two biggies.

Baby D – I Need Your Loving: Another example of one of those slow ballad songs with an inappropriately fast beat shoved into the song for some reason, without the pace of the song actually changing. The main melody is actually decent, the beat makes a mockery of it, and then some random Jamaican shite joins in the middle and completely spoils any good feeling I had for the song.

Group 75

Eagle Eye Cherry – Save Tonight: I have a feeling this person or group had other hits and that they were bigger outside of the UK, but it feels safe to call this a One Hit Wonder. Good song though. My group winner.

Chicane Ft Moya Brennan: I didn’t realise this was so long so I must have heard a radio edit. I liked this one – had a bit of emotion behind it which is one of the main reasons I can’t enjoy most dance music.

Puff Daddy Ft Jimmy Page – Come With Me: A pretty big song for a big movie – the movie was a bit of a flop but it momentarily brought Led Zep back into the limelight.

The Orb – Toxygene: Bit of a long an unnecessary intro for a single, unless there was an edit. Nothing happens of note until the second minute mark and the song actually starts. And yet, the opening two minutes are better than the final three.

Group 76

House Of Pain – Top O The Morning To Ya: Well, at least it not fucking Jump Around. That same friend who loved Black Grape would inevitably also love House Of Pain. I could never take their Irish Wannabee shtick seriously. This song is less annoying than Jump Around, but not as bombastic.

Lionel Ritchie – My Destiny: I’m still not sure why or how the whole Lionel Ritchie being a success in the 90s thing happened, but this is maybe his best song, out of those I’ve heard. My group winner.

Bellini – Samba De Janiro: I mentioned in an earlier post how dance music with a Latin tilt will be more enjoyable to me than that with a Jamaican lilt. This is one of those examples, but it’s a low tier example because it’s so repetitive. It gets points by being under three minutes long but it could have been under 1 minute and no-one would have noticed.

Smashing Pumpkins – The End Is The Beginning Is The End: Arguably the one 90s band I should have been into at the time but I never bother listening to them. They always seemed like a poor man’s American version of the Manics, without the politics. Plus, Billy Corgan’s nasal mewling annoyed me to a similar extent to Michael Stipe’s. At least they could still make a bit of noise, but this is by the number alt rock middle of the road nothingness.

Group 77

EMF – Unbelievable: They’ve done other stuff, right? But this is the hit. Fuck it – one hit wonder. It was so big then that it’s still used today in movies and such. It’s most famous now for being lazy Ad Execs go to song to accompany some ‘shocking’ sales event. Make of that what you will.

Bombalurina Ft Timmy Mallet – Itsy Bitsy: Christ, what a terrible collection of songs this group is.

Madonna – The Power Of Goodbye: One of her best. Excellent. An easy group winner.

All Saints – Lady Marmalade: One of the most overrated and irritating songs of all time, in any of its versions.

Group 78

Madonna – Justify My Love: Not my favourite Madonna song, but it’s still Madonna.

Right Said Fred – Stick It Out: They had a few songs which weren’t I’m Too Sexy. This is one of those. It’s about as bad as the others.

Duran Duran – Ordinary World: Duran Duran’s crowning achievement. My group winner.

The Beatles – Baby It’s You: No idea why this is here.

Group 79

Steps – Tragedy: It’s a cover. It’s one of their most popular songs. It’s entirely unnecessary, but sure.

R Kelly – If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time: It’s another R Kelly song which isn’t I Believe I Can Fly. I don’t know any of his other songs. At least this one has an ironic title.

Sleeper – Sale Of The Century: One of the many female fronted Indie bands of the Britpop era, I quite liked them and this song, even if the accents pissed me off. My group winner.

Robbie Williams – Let Me Entertain You: Probably his biggest song outside of Angels. Also one of the few which is tolerable. It’s catchy but it’s so overplayed that you can’t get any enjoyment out of it anymore.

Group 80

RATM – Bulls On Parade: It’s RATM, so you know exactly what you’re getting. As much as I respect them, they’re one of the most predictable and repetitive rock bands in the world. If this was the only song you heard by them, you’d be right to love it. But then you hear another one, and it’s the same. It’s good too. But then you hear another one and it’s the same too. After the fourth song things begin to run a little thin. Still, my group winner.

East Side Beat – Ride Like The Wind: Another name I don’t recognise. Another early 90s dance track, but this one is actually good. I know, I’m more surprised than anyone. It’s not as cheap or repetitive as most, and crucially it has solid vocals and good melodies.

George Michael – You Have Been Loved: Say what you will about George, but he sure knew who to make dreary old rainy day sounding shite which resounded with people. It doesn’t do anything for me, but at least there’s a sense of melody, emotion, and melancholy which is so often absent from modern pop.

MN8 – Happy: Another boyband from the sounds of it and another one which those unfortunate enough to have heard it have almost certainly forgotten. I had not heard it before and have already forgotten it.

Group 81

Madonna – Nothing Really Matters: One of her best. Excellent. An easy Group winner.

A1 – Be The First To Believe: Another boy band. Everyone has forgotten they existed, including the band members.

Snap – Snap Megamix: A Megamix is what – a recorded jumble of hits mixed together to make a new thing? A compilation as a single track? These were all the rage in the early 90s for Dance acts, seems like an easy way to cash in. This of course features the couple of Snap songs I know. It is what it is.

Primal Scream – Funky Jam: I don’t know if I ever heard this – I probably have as plenty of my mates would play Primal Scream full albums and bits at house parties, but it’s not stirring anything in my memory banks. It is a funky jam, a mixture of funk, rock, jazz, dance, other stuff.

Group 82

Louise – Naked: The only song anyone remembers by Louise, post Eternal. It’s good though.

Backstreet Boys – Larger Than Life: It has that sound which marks them out from other Boy Bands. Doesn’t mean it’s any good – it just sticks to the Backstreet Boys formula and sound. The verses are junk, the chorus is fine but several steps down from their best.

Robyn S – Show Me Love: Ah ok, I know this. I thought it was going to be another new one for me, but this was a smash and is still heard frequently on TV over here. It’s okay, not something I’d go out of my way to listen to it but I can bop my head when it’s on. My group winner.

Salt N Peppa – Lets Talk About Sex: A meme when I was in primary school and didn’t really know anything about it. Didn’t stop the boys singing it at the girls though.

Which songs do you love/hate/know etc?

The Best UK Top 10 Of The 90s Chart Poll – Groups 59 – 70

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Group 59

The Presidents Of The USA – Peaches: I don’t know if they had other songs, but over here it’s clear this is the only one. The one hit wonder. It’s an odd song to ever become a hit, but most one hit wonders are; they rely on a quirk which is amusing or interesting for a while, people jump on the bandwagon, suck it dry, then move on to the next thing. This is a prime example. Move in to the country and eat me a lot of peaches. That’s the quirk. That’s the meme. An okay song. My group winner.

Steps – After The Love Has Gone: It Steps, so you know what you’re going to get – bouncy, light pop designed to be (choreograph) danced to, and with overly shrieking vocals.

Spacedust – Gym & Tonic: I thought I knew this from the name, but I can safely say I had not heard this in my life. Sadly I now have heard it, and my life is worse because of it. Another complete shambles.

The Source Ft Candi Staton – You Got The Love: An okay dance track which has been done to death and suffers from overplayed classic rock syndrome – you can’t listen to it anymore. There have been so many versions, covers, and remixes of this that you don’t know which is the original.

Group 60

Bon Jovi – This Ain’t A Love Song: I know it’s cool to hate on Bon Jovi, and they have done a lot of crap. But they’ve also written any number of wonderful hits. This is one of them. Though many will also call this crap, and that’s cool. My group winner.

Alanah Miles – Black Velvet: I used to think this was interesting when it first dropped. I quickly wised up. It’s not. It’s annoying.

Luther & Mariah – Endless Love: Again, I unironically enjoy this. I love basically anything Mariah did before she went Diva.

Mr Ozio – Flat Beat: Is that it? A few electronic throbs repeated ad nauseum with little to no variation or addition? Again, I just don’t understand it or how people like this or spend their money on it. There’s just… nothing here. Absolutely nothing.

Group 61

Another Level – Freak Me: Was this yet another boy band? I think so. The ‘get freaky with you’ bit I remember, but everything else I don’t. This is the point at which they seemed to run out of attractive young men who could kind of sing, and started pulling random unattractive young men and sticking them in front of a camera and mic. I’m no looker, but one of the first rules of creating a boy/girl band is ‘pick people who other people want to fuck’. I would fail that, and surely these blokes do too. The song’s crap too.

Boyzone – Father And Son: This thing. A Cat Stevens cover. I never liked the original or this. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something inherently off-putting about it. It’s perfectly bland boyband fodder, but that’s not why I don’t like it. There’s something else. Don’t know.

Chaka Demus & Pliers – Twist And Shout: I’ve talked about the ‘Jamaican’ thing before. Actually, I don’t mind it here – giving the Beatles song a twist (sorry). It makes the song worse, but at least it’s different.

B*witched – Hold On: I remember reading something about B*Witched once holding some sort of record – like most number 1 singles in a row or some bollocks like that. And yet, I and everyone else only remembers C’est La Vie. I haven’t heard this before and it sounds nothing like those twee Irish girls we do remember. This sounds like it could be any girl band from the 90s. Standard manufactured nothingness.

Group 62

Blur – The Universal: Have we had Blur in another post? Probably. I’d either forgotten or didn’t know this was Blur. It’s a decent song. See, even when I don’t particularly enjoy a band I can still appreciate individual songs.

Chemical Bros – Setting Sun: You can always rely on Chemical Bros to show how to do dance music well. A banger.

Group 63

Curtis Stigers – You’re All That Matters To Me: It’s cheesy as a decaying foot, but I like it. My group winner.

Basement Jaxx – Rendez-vu: I never liked these guys in the same way I liked Chemical Bros. I think it’s because these guys are crap. But I always liked this tune.

Savage Garden – I Knew You Loved Me: I mentioned having a soft spot for Savage Garden, but I don’t remember this one. It may as well be a boy band song though – it’s almost identical to the bland crap 90s boy bands were putting out, right down to the production.

Madonna – Another Suitcase In Another Hall: I believe I covered this one in my Evita post. It’s not up to her best, but it’s decent. Certainly better than the bulk of the Evita soundtrack.

Group 64

Jon Bon Jovi – Queen Of New Orleans: Not the best solo effort from Jon. Given everything else here though, it’s my group winner.

R Kelly – Gotham City: Oh dear. It’s R Kelly.

Duece – I Need You: No clue what this is. Dreadful.

Boyzone – All That I Need: Another song which I probably have heard as it sounds familiar, but could equally be because it sounds like a hundred other songs. A very poor group.

Group 65

Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box: I always considered this to be the weakest song on In Utero. But it’s still Nirvana, and it’s still Heart Shaped Box. An easy group winner.

George Michael – I Can’t Make You Love Me: No, you can’t. If you had made good music you may have made me appreciate you a little more. Still, we’ll always have Last Christmas, a legit banger. This is a cover. It’s as dull as a dentist’s waiting room.

Perez Prado – Guaguline: Beer Adverts. You could guarantee that if there was a beer in the 90s which wanted to advertise, it would slap a jaunty tune on the ad. That tune would then become a hit, no matter if was new or 50 years old. This is one of those.

Gary Clail On You Soundsystem – Human Nature: Another 80s tune masquerading as a 90s baby. At least it has some vocals. They’re not very good. Solid message though, I suppose. Pity the music is a bit balls.

Group 66

Steps – Better Best Forgotten: Indeed.

Shaggy Ft Rayvon – In The Summertime: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Shaggy has never made anything worth hearing, either on his own or as a guest.

Simple Minds – She’s A River: A band I never got into – I knew a couple of their songs from compilations, and liked them, but not enough for me to look for any other tracks. I kind of know this song but didn’t know it was by them. It’s good. Not great, but good. My group winner.

Five – When The Lights Go Out: Another boyband, this one leaned more into the US oriented R’n’B sound. The video is funny because the lads look no older than 15 years old. I’m sure they weren’t far off. Same crappy 90s production as all the other bands, the verses are tripe, the chorus is decent.

Group 67

The Family Stand – Ghetto Heaven: It’s funky and all – doubt I’ve heard it but it has the same percussive and rhythmic sounds as much of the music of this genre and era. But it has a sombre vibe which is nice and not typically found in the chart stuff. My group winner.

Boyzone – Shooting Star: Uck, it’s pure musical theatre cheese. I never liked the guy’s voice, but he really doubles down on the theatricality in this one, making it several degrees worse. The song is dreary ballad fare.

S Club 7 – You’re My Number 1: It has a Motown vibe, wiped clean of any emotion. But you can’t deny it’s fun and it’s designed to put a smile on faces. It’s funny how the chorus has no resemblance to the verse, it’s like the writers had two different songs and couldn’t do anything with them so decide to just slap the best bits together to make a new thing. The new thing isn’t great.

Texas Ft Wu Tang Clan – Say What You Want: I never enjoyed the original, this is certainly different. I don’t think anyone saw this collab coming. Unfortunately, like the track above the two parts here do not go together in the slightest. Not all songs can be smashed together.

Group 68

John Lennon – Imagine: Not sure what this is doing here. In fact, there are at least three songs which shouldn’t be here. Well, one of them is a cover at least.

Ash – Oh Yeah: Well, this was easy. One of my favourite Ash songs, one which reminds me of early Secondary school times, talking about your favourite bands with your mates. My group winner.

Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive: Not sure what this is doing here.

Nikki French – Total Eclipse Of My Heart: If you’re going to do a cover, in the words of every Reality Show Judge, ‘make it your own’. This is not that. Until the second verse this is a carbon copy of the original. Then they chuck in some lame dance beat for the second half, but it makes it sound like the music played in a speed round of a kids game show. And the vocal diction from this point on is hilarious. Hilariously bad. Like an early Text To Speech program.

Group 69

Shaggy Ft Marsha – Piece Of My Heart: See above.

Mansun – Closed For Business: I liked Mansun when they first dropped, but it was at the time I didn’t have much of my own money to spend on music and what music I did have was being spent elsewhere. So beyond the handful of songs I heard on the radio I didn’t chase the band down until years later. This song has the elements of creepiness and melody which drew me to them in the first place, but it’s a weaker copy of Wide Open Space.

Bon Jovi – Some Day I’ll Be Saturday Night: Another Bon Jovi I have a lot of fondness. My group winner.

Shola Ama – You Might Need Somebody: A decent song even if the vocals are too wobbly for anyone’s tastes. At least the vocals are somewhat unique.

Group 70

EMF/Reeves & Mortimer – I’m A Believer: Vic & Bob are two of my favourite comedians/humans. As musicians… lets say I prefer their original compositions. EMF I have no idea. Still, this is silly fun, but pretty disposable. I don’t remember them having so many songs in the 90s.

Wet Wet Wet – Julia Says: I remember the chorus, but it’s too lightweight and drifty for me. There’s a touch of The Beatles in there, the song opens in a promisingly dramatic fashion but quickly loses its steam with a drab verse. It pulls things back, but that opening verse drags the whole thing down.

Hepburn – I Quit: Ah Hepburn. Whatever happened to them. I loved this song when it came out – it was one I recorded off the radio and continued to enjoy for about a year before forgetting it. I always found it amusing that they looked almost identical to B*Witched. Plus there is a slight Buffy connection, but I already liked the song by that point. Buffy would also do the same thing with my beloved My Vitriol. My Winner.

Dave Stewart – Lily Was Here: Oh man, I’d forgotten this existed and could have sworn it was an 80s song. I don’t think I ever knew who played it or what it was called, but I used to play it on my guitar. It goes on a bit, and I wasn’t aware it was entirely an instrumental, leading me to believe I never actually heard the whole thing – only bits.

Let us know your memories and favourites in the comments!

The Best UK Top 10 Of The 90s Chart Poll – Groups 19 – 28

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I know, it’s already been one day and I’ve already missed a post. But my intention was never to post daily on this – it’s just that the groups disappear after every 24 hours and therefore I have to wait for weeks for them to come around again for me to be able to post about them. Therefore, I’m adding the Groups to the post title so that I can easily check which groups I’ve missed.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about – check this link for my first post in the series. Lets see what today has in store.

Group 19

The Verve – Lucky Man: I’ve tried to like this over the years, due to liking other songs by the band, but it’s significantly bland. I don’t dislike it, but it’s meh.

Arnee And The Terminators – I’ll Be Back: Should I know what this is, given the first two Terminator movies are my favourite movies ever? Lets give it a blast on Youtube and see if I remember. No, I can safely say wiped this from my memory banks if I ever heard it at all. It’s a mess of shouty talking in a terrible accent with a throbbing synth, gunshots, laser sirens, and some guy shouting ‘Uzi 9mm’ every few seconds. Horrendous.

Fatboy Slim – Rockerfeller Skank: I mentioned not liking Fatboy Slim before. This is one of the reasons why. Can’t. Stand. This. Montrosity.

Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe: An absolute banger. It’s bad, obviously, but it’s also so good. Arguably the best of the dance oriented one hit wonders of the decade. My group winner.

Group 20

Ginuwine – When Doves Cry: I don’t know who or what this is. Is it a Prince cover? I can’t really remember the Prince song, but I’m guessing this is a cover. In any case, this is mostly poor. Solid beat, but nothing.

Fresh Price & Jazzy Jeff – Summertime: Not a huge fan of this one, but it’s cool. My group winner.

Michelle Gayle – Do You Know: Do you know I’m old enough to remember Michelle Gayle from Eastenders. She had a few big hits in the 90s, but I have no memory of this. Pretty boring.

Damage – Love Guarantee: Never heard of this artist or song. Seems to be another boy band, but they must not have been very big. Sounds like the sort of nonsense they would have as a special guest on Sister Sister. Complete by the numbers Boy Band junk.

Group 21

Kim Syms – Too Blind To See It: Jesus. This is clearly an 80s song dressed up in 90s sheen. Except it’s not even dressed up, the video and the fashion, the editing, everything screams Stock Aitken Waterman badness. Garish. Awful. The girl can sing, but the song is terrible.

Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell: What is this doing here? The album was re-released in the 90s, right. Looks like the single was too. My group winner.

Sinead O Connor – Nothing Compares 2U: Wasn’t this an 80s song? Or was it re-released. In any case, I’ve always despised this song. I hate it so much. Never understood the overwhelming praise it gets.

Bee Gees – For Whom The Bell Tolls: It’s not Metallica, but it’s not bad.

Group 22

N Trance Ft Rod Stewart – Do Ya Think I’m Sexy. The original was bad enough. Give it to some dance act and watch it become much worse. Listening again now, it’s actually not that bad.

Sash – La Primavera – I liked a few Sash tracks. They seemed to be one of the few dance acts who knew the value of melody and could actually make a decent tune. This was never one of my favourites and is quite tame, but it does have a nostalgia factor coupled with the Spanish element which I also enjoy. The horns are laughably cheap and sound like an early 90s MIDI videogame celebration jingle. That thing where I hate Jamaican accents in music, especially when it’s done by an English white guy? It’s the opposite when we’re talking about Spain – I like Spanish elements and vocals in my songs.

Cher – One By One: This doesn’t ring a bell, in name or in sound. Oh, hold on. Ah yes, I do remember this now the vocals have started. Yeah, I quite like this but had forgotten it ever existed, probably because it doesn’t have many peaks or anything interesting going on.

Leann Rimes – How Do I Live: There was no escaping this song in the 90s, and it still gets regular rotation these days. It’s a big powerful ballad, well sung. My group winner. 

Group 23

Bryan Adams – Please Forgive Me: Did I cover this in my Bryan Adams posts? Can’t remember. I’ve always liked this one. My group winner.

S Club 7 – Two In A Million: S Club 7, that boy/girl band hybrid featuring a horrible racist and some other people you can’t remember. They were the next big thing after Spice Girls – battling against Steps for supremacy in the charts. I don’t remember ever hearing this and it’s almost identical to that Damage song up above.

PF Project Ft Ewan McGregor – Choose Life: Look, I love Trainspotting. One of the best movies of the 90s. But the soundtrack has also has been terrible. This song was absolutely everywhere in the 90s – the club clubs, the Indie clubs, and I couldn’t deal with it. Listening now, it’s better than most of the dance hits of the 90s, slightly manic given the McGregor quotes, but it’s repetitive as fuck.

Lolly – Viva La Radio: Now this one could be interesting. I have the slightest gnawing recollection about this, but if you asked me right now to hum a piece of it I couldn’t. I suspect when I listen it’ll come flooding back. I can picture it rather than hear it. Lets see… wait. Did she have another song? This sound somewhat familiar, in the chorus at least, but it’s not what I was expecting. In other news though – how did this get made? Who listened to this person sing and thought ‘there’s a voice the world needs to hear’? It’s very bad, but it’s funny in how shamelessly confidently bad it is is. There’s a lot going on in the song too. What a weird mess.

Group 24

SWV – Right Here: I don’t know what SWV is, or means. Stevie Weigh Vaughn? Ah right, I remember this. I hated this at the time because it does that thing where they take one of the most annoying pieces from a Michael Jackson song and playing it over and over and over and over. Someone did that recently with ABC, right? The rest of the song is pretty badly performed too, going out of tune in many places.

Whigfield – Saturday Night: Another contender for best Dance based One Hit Wonder of the 90s. It’s a bit of a banger, and all us pre-pubescent boys had a thing for her. My group winner.

Garbage – Stupid Girl: This was their biggest hit, right? I like it enough, but I was never wowed by it or them like other people were.

Utah Saints – Believe In Me: The group name is familiar, but I couldn’t tell you what they did. It’s another cheap dance song. I get that the technology was new and basic and that explains how cheap and dated it sounds, but as with much of this ilk it’s all so repetitive that you can listen to any 30 seconds and get the same effect and value as listening to either any other 30 seconds or the entire track. There’s a piano bit in the middle which gives us a break for a few seconds. Great if it was influential like, but lets not pretend it’s any good.

Group 25

Elton & Pavarotti – Live Like Horses: I don’t remember this pair ever being a thing. Listening to it now. Was it for a movie? Was it an original? It sounds like it’s ripped from a bad musical – but then this is Elton John we’re talking about. Pavarotti gives it a different flavour. The song’s somewhat emotive and atmospheric and I’m surprised I’ve never heard it before. I’m no Elton John fan, but this is more enjoyable than most of the stuff I know by him.

Eminem – My Name Is: It took me a while to get on board with Eminem when he first arrived, but by the time this came around I was a minor fan. Then I heard his other stuff and got the Marshall Mathers LP and saw it for the masterpiece it obviously is. This is a fun, silly song, not one of my favourites, but still better than most of what was in the charts back then. My group winner.

Mark Morrison – Horny: I couldn’t have told you another Mark Morrison outside of Return Of The Mack. Listening to this now, I have heard it before, but everything about it is low tier badness. Why does he sing like that? Why do the women in the chorus sing like that? Why do the drums sound so flat and weak, and why have they not improved in music since the 90s? It’s another forgettable song about sex marketed at pre teens. Nice.

2 Unlimited – Tribal Dance: I knew they’d done another song outside of No Limit. This must be it, lets see. Does anyone else want to shout MORTAL KOMBAT after the intro? I do remember this. It doesn’t have the impact of No Limit, but it’s the same sort of thing. The chorus isn’t strong enough, but it’s fine as far as 90s dance music goes.

Group 26

Temptations – My Girl: What’s this doing here? Because of the My Girl movie I assume. I always preferred the Michael Jackson version, but there’s no doubting this is a classic. My Group Winner.

Mariah Carey – Open Arms: Back before Carey was a bin lid she used to make decent songs. This isn’t one of her best, but it’s still good.

Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl: Tori had less impactful hits for me after Little Earthquakes, but this was one of her biggest. I can’t say I was ever the biggest fan of this particular song, especially when the album contains Baker Baker and Past The Mission. But it’s good, and it’s Tori, so it’s win win.

Ali Campbell – That Look In Your Eye: UB40 are maybe the band I hate most. They’ve never made a single song I could tolerate for more than ten seconds, let alone enjoy, and they just would not get off the TV in the 90s. It seems the main guy had a solo career too. I have blotted this from my memory, but I have heard it. There’s a woman in the mix here too. It’s a very weak ballad which is instantly forgettable – it doesn’t highlight the worst of UB40s shtick, but it still has Campbell atrocious vocals. Whoever the woman is – very poor too, with many notes being fumbled, mumbled, and flat. Noticeably poor production too.

Group 27

Boyzone – Coming Home Now: Boyzone were the Irish Take That. Equally bad, yet also worse. Notable for Ronan Keating’s unique warbling, there was also a duck-billed platybus looking dude who sang like a drunk sheep, a guy with tatoos, a guy with a beard, an possibly another guy. Naturally, they’ve sold billions. I don’t remember this one. Listening now – you already now; standard, bland boy band shite, slow, cheap, cookie cutter. Unbelievably bad.

Blur – Boys And Girls: One of their biggest early hits, this was of course a hallmark of Britpop. I wasn’t a huge supporter, but it’s fine. My group winner.

Take That Ft Lulu – Relight My Fire: As much as Take That brought great musical evils into this world, they’ve also had a few decent, maybe even good songs too – which is more than we can say for almost every other boy and girl band. This is one of the better ones. It’s a cover, but they give it a bit of oomph, or what passes for oomph where boy bands are concerned, and Lulu throws her back into it.

Kim Appleby – Don’t Worry: Name doesn’t ring any bells so I’m going to say it’s another one hit wonder. It’s the worst of 80s pop re-packaged as a 90s song. A complete nothing.

Group 28

2Pac Ft Dre – California Love: Just listen to the difference in quality in production of this and, well, every other song on this list. But particularly the British pop stuff. There’s no comparison. This sounds like a song released today. The other stuff sounds like it was recorded by children with a V-tech microphone. This is as good as it ever was, and it was always pretty damn good.

Whitney Houston – It’s Not Right: I could have sworn this was a Noughties song, but there you go. I never liked it and came at the time when Whitney had already jumped the shark. Whitney is undoubtedly one of the greatest singers of all time, but most of her songs were beneath her – this is nowhere near potent enough. Good production but also very weak. This should have been an anthem, so where’s the power? Where’s the RAGE. It’s a song I should fell, but I just don’t.

Blondie – Maria: This was a big thing when it was released – Blondie’s back everyone! It lasted for a few months and Blondie was quickly no more again, but for a brief while suddenly everyone was a Blondie fan. It was weird. It’s a good song – it hasn’t aged too well and sounds less energetic and interesting now than it did then, but still good.

DJ Jean – The Launch: This is dreadful by any measure. I don’t think I’ve heard it before. It’s little more than the same descending double four notes played over and over, with a change in the beat every so often. This is a thing. This exists. Someone thought it was good. Enough people spent money on it that it became a UK top ten hit. Think about that.

Not the greatest batch of songs today, but a few drunken singalongs to be sure. That’s probably going to be the case most days. No standout songs for me today though.

The Best UK Top 10 Of The 90s Chart Poll – Part 1

File:Totp logo 1998.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Greetings, Glancers! You may have picked up that I’m a Manic Street Preachers fan, and one of the only reasons I’m still on Facebook is to chuck my vote at one of the Manics fan group polls which does the rounds. It’s always pointless because Faster always wins, but at least I can see how the other fans think about certain songs.

Recently (due to low voting) the group owner, Terry ‘Sensai’ Lawrence, has scrapped the next Manics poll and decided to make a Best Songs Of The 90s poll. Specifically, the song entrants have to have made it into the Top 10 in the UK Singles charts at some point during the 1990s. The Manics will be represented, but Faster will not. Naturally I’ll be using this as a chance to catch up on some songs I either missed or have forgotten, and to vote and talk about it too. Here’s a link to the group if anyone is interested in joining.

Why make a blog post about it? I’ll write about any old shite and may as well use the daily poll format to talk about the songs and the groups. It’s a traditional football knock-out format – groups of four songs will ‘play’ each other in a mini league, with the top two songs from each group going into a cup format, progressing until there is a winner. If you’re curious about the songs, I’m going to list every single one, with my thoughts on each. If you want to play along, you can Spotify the tracks or join the group to vote. It looks like he’s posting 16 matches every day, so I’ll try to post along for as long as possible or until I get bored. I won’t post the specific matches – you’ll get the idea that each song in a group plays every other and can pick your winner yourself – but I’ll post the groups. According to the page, there are over 1600 songs to cover over 407 groups. That’s…. a lot. We start with the first eight:

Group 1

The New Radicals – You Get What You Give: This is one of those songs which immediately takes me back to a time and place. I think it was 1999 and hit big around Spring, so just as I was entering exam time when I was 16. I recorded it off the radio so it was in regular rotation for me for a brief period of time. It’s not that great a song, but it has a chill vibe which always makes me nostalgic.

M People Angel Street: I had to Youtube this one to remind myself. M People are one of my most hated groups. That’s going too far, but they’ve always been an instant ‘turn that crap off’ for me, seemingly remaining popular because the lead singer has a unique voice. Unique doesn’t mean good. They’re also annoyingly jazzy. I must admit I don’t remember this song – the chorus maybe sounds familiar, but that could be because it’s generic. It’s fine, not as grating as most of the songs I’ve heard by M People.

Michael Jackson – Earth Song: Here’s my winner for this group. Obviously I’m a big MJ fan, but this was one of his last, best songs. I don’t expect the song to do very well in what started out as a Manics group.

Stereophonics – Pick A Part That’s New: I was never a huge fan of Stereophonics, but I’ll admit to liking a few of their hits. This one has the same sense of nostalgia I get from You Get What You Give. It came at that tail end peak of Brit pop. I still can’t get on with Kelly’s vocals, but it’s a decent song.

Group 2

Dee Lite – What Is Love: There’s going to be a tonne of songs I can’t stand in this whole enterprise. Dee Lite will have made at least one of those songs, but I admit to not remembering what this was. There was an unbelievable amount of shite, what I class as Dance/Rave music in the 90s. It likely was influential and I still find it hilarious that the US is only now catching on to the awfully labelled EDM now when the UK has been blasting crap for decades with great success. This is typical of 90s Dance – cheap, repetitive, sounds like it was played and recorded on a Gameboy. It’s pretty horrible.

Echobeatz – Mas Que Nada: I didn’t know what this was until I played it. This was a bit of a football related hit for a while. It’s not bad, catchy, but it’s also very cheap. There will be many, many one hit wonders such as this on this poll. This will be one of the least annoying. It also does that thing of having a scantily clad video, which was huge for dance tracks in the 90s and beyond, so if you like boobs – enjoy!

Madonna – Beautiful Stranger: I haven’t got around to finishing my Madonna rarities posts, but this will be on there. I like it, good song. My group winner.

D Mob Ft Nuff Juice – Put Your Hands Together: No clue what this is. Presumably a one hit wonder, but feel free to tell me I’m wrong. I’ve never heard this, but listening now… sure. Dance based Rap. Nothing very exciting, decent pace, trash lyrics.

Group 3

Happy Mondays – Step On: I begrudge voting for Happy Mondays because they’re outrageously overrated, but look at the state of the rest of this group. This is one of their better songs, and by ‘better’, I mean 6 out of 10.

Bitty McClean – Dedicated To The One I Love: I often remember that Bitty McClean was a thing, and laugh my ass off. The UK has this weird fondness for shite reggae – obviously there’s a culture heritage thing going on, which is great. But the music, at least that which made it to the charts, is uniformly terrible. Bitty McClean seemingly made a career out of covers. His covers are frequently the worst versions. This is perfectly pleasant and unnecessary.

Clubhouse Ft Carl – Light My Fire: I’ve no idea who or what Carl, or Clubhouse is. But this is another one hit wonder of the dance variety, and as you would expect it’s repetitive, cheap junk. A shambles.

The Wonderstuff – On The Ropes: I know them from Dizzy. I can’t think of anything else I’ve heard, but playing this it sounds familiar. I know I’ve heard this at some point, but I can’t place it. I mean, I’ve probably heard all of these songs at some point because I watched TOTP every week and listened to the radio most days. Seems like an okay, forgettable song.

Group 4

Phats & Small – Feel Good: One hit wonder. The vocals… there’s something familiar. It doesn’t sound cheap. Fair enough, not my kind of music, but I can feel it.

OMC – How Bizarre: One hit wonder. This was a meme before mems were a thing. Anything strange happened in school? How bizarre. How bizahh how bizzah. It doesn’t quite hit that nostalgic groove as the others mentioned, the video is embarrassing, the vocals are not good, but a chill vibe.

Madonna – I’ll Remember – Madonna is going to be all over this poll. It’s another rarity I’ll cover in that post when I get to it, but it’s a lightweight, average single by the Queen Of Pop.

Spice Girls – Viva Forever: The Spic Girls are going to be all over this poll. One of the better Spice Girls songs. I’ve always had a fondness for it. My group winner.

Group 5

Cast – Walk Away: I had a bit of a love/hate thing going on with Cast back in the day. They seemed to my naive young mind as a cheap Oasis clone, with worse hair and worse songs. But sometimes they had a good song. Listening decades later, this is quite nice but ultimately feels too tame and lacks the emotional impact it seems to give other people.

Janet Jackson – What’ll I Do: As much of a Michael fan as I was, that never extended to the rest of the family. There are very few Janet songs I’ve heard (until now) that I enjoy. This is one of those, though I don’t really remember it. It has a distinct Britpop mixed with Motown vibe, which is cool.

Prodigy – Firestarter: It’s Firestarter. You love it. My group winner.

The Cartoons – Doo Dah: One of those One Hit Wonders which people despise, while loving other objectively or equally worse one hit wonder songs. Many of those are on this list. I have some sort of fondness for this song. It’s no Witch Doctor. It is terrible, but it knows it’s terrible, and therefore is somehow tolerable. You couldn’t listen to it for more than 40 seconds without having a hernia, but still…

Group 6

Embrace – Come Back To What You Know: Embrace was always a Coldplay V0.9, but if pushed I would say I prefer Embrace. They’re not twats about being bland. This was their big hit. It’s fine.

Wet Wet Wet – Don’t Want To Forgive Me Now: The band had a number of hits in the 90s, but on name alone I don’t remember this. They’re generally music for Mummy In Laws, but not usually offensive. Terrible music video. This is cheery, and in the hands of a decent band this could have been turned into something marginally better. There’s a solid core melody, but they cheese the fuck out of it.

The Clash – Should I Stay Or Should I Go: This came out in the 90s? Okay. My group winner.

911 – All I Want Is You: The first boy band entry, of which there are sure to be hundreds. Each group was worse than the one before. This is exactly what you would expect from a boy band – you could write it yourself even if you lacked the power of language and had no concept of music.

Group 7

Fatboy Slim – Right Here Right Now: If there’s one musician I’d happily have removed from the history books, it’s Fatboy Slim. Having said that, I do like this one. Probably the only one I do. My group winner.

Everything But The Girl – Walking Wounded: I never really understood the appeal of Everything But The Girl. This is very weak and I have zero recollection of it.

Garbage – When I Grow Up: I had to check this out because I couldn’t remember the name. I immediately remembered it, of course. I wasn’t the biggest Garbage fan in the world – they passed me by like many of the riot grrrl groups of the 90s. I don’t know if I’d go as far as saying it’s good – not as good as their biggest hits, but it’s fine.

Cliff Richard – Millennium Prayer: Cliff sure loves the baby Jesus. It goes without saying that this is one of the worst musical atrocities of the decade.

Group 8

Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be: One of the dance acts I had any respect for in the 90s. Good tune.

Candy Flip – Strawberry Fields Forever: One hit wonder. Dance. Cheap. Not repetitive because it’s actually a fairly faithful cover, but given that early 90s glazed eyes pill-popping softness. As bad as that sounds.

Notorious BIG – Mo Money Mo Problems: One of the few B.I.G songs I know. That era passed be by for the most part. Good tune. My group winner.

Blur – Tender: I’m not a big Blur fan. This is one of their more wafting and dull songs.

There you go. There will be many, many more of these posts assuming I keep up with them. What are your group winners? Which songs are completely new to you? Let us know in the comments!

The UK Top 40

It seems like I’m a grumpy bastard sometimes when I read my own blog posts, always moaning about something. I expect these next few related posts will fuel that fire as I take a look at something I haven’t checked out (probably) since I was 18 – the UK Top 40 Singles chart. Obviously music has changed a lot since then, and the way music is charted has changed even more. As every good music fan knows, the best music rarely hits the charts these days but I’m prepared to give it a chance. As much as I occasionally join in the yells of dissent when caterwauling about the state of chart music, I have first heard many bands and artists I love via those same charts, so maybe there’s someone out there now who could be my next favourite singer but I’ll never encounter them unless I listen. So, over most days in the month of November I’m going to post about a particular song that is in the UK Top 40 at the time of writing – 10.33am on the 19th October. Here is the current chart (so, so many with the pointless ‘feat.’ bonus!):

1: What Do You Mean – Justin Beiber (Aware of you, but never heard any of your stuff)

2: Locked Away – R City (never heard of you)

3: Hotline Bling – Drake (Aware of you, but never heard any of your stuff)

4: Runnin’ – Naughty Boy (never heard of you)

5: The Hills – The Weekend (never heard of you)

6: Wasn’t Expecting That – Jamie Lawson (never heard of you)

7: Writing’s On The Wall – Sam Smith (Aware of you, but never heard any of your stuff)

8: On My Mind – Elle Goulding (Aware of you, but never heard any of your stuff)

9: Do It Again – Pia Mia (Never heard of you)

10: Easy Love – Sigala (Never heard of you)

11: How Deep Is Your Love – Calvin Harris (Everything I’ve heard has been crap)

12: Alone No More – Philip George & Anton Powers

13: Can’t Feel My Face – The Weekend (Aware of you, but never heard any of your stuff)

14: Downtown – Mackelmore (Aware of you, but never heard any of your stuff)

15: Lay It All On Me – Rudimental (Aware of you, but never heard any of your stuff)

16: Kiss Me – Olly Murs (everything I’ve heard has been crap)

17: Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself – Jess Glynne – (never heard of you)

18: Marvin Gaye – Charlie Puth (Never heard of you)

19: Never Forget You – MNEK & Zara Larsson (never heard of you)

20: Love Me – The 1975 (never heard of you)

21: Peanut Butter Jelly – Galantis (never heard of you)

22: Shut Up And Dance – Walk The Moon (never heard of you)

23: Fight Song – Rachel Platten (never heard of you)

24: 679 – Fetty Wap (never heard of you)

25: Intoxicated – Martin Solveig (never heard of you)

26: Trap Queen – Fetty Wap (never heard of you)

27: Lean On – Major Lazer x DJ Snake (never heard of you)

28: Ain’t Nobody – Felix Jaehn (Never heard of you, but I think I’ve heard this and it is one of the worst covers I’ve ever heard)

29: Are You With Me – Lost Frequencies (Never heard of you)

30: Drag Me Down – One Direction (What I’ve heard has been crap)

31: Black Magic – Little Mix (Aware of you, but never heard any of your stuff)

32: Love Me Like You – Little Mix (Aware of you, but never heard any of your stuff)

33: Photograph – Ed Sheeran (What I’ve heard has been crap)

34: Let It Go – James Bay (Never heard of you)

35: Cheerleader – OMI (Never heard of you)

36: Firestone – Kygo (Never heard of you)

37: Want To Want Me – Jason Derulo (Aware of you, but never heard any of your stuff)

38: Good For You – Selena Gomez (Aware of you, but never heard any of your stuff)

39: Talk To Me – Nick Brewer (Never heard of you)

40: Around The World – Natalie La Rose (Never heard of you)

There’s the school of thought that most of us lose our love for new music around the time we hit the age of thirty. There seem to be a number of reasons for this – chart music hinges upon a sheep mentality, the need to fit in and do, see, hear the same as everyone else, it’s aimed primarily at children, and while many of us care about such things in our youth, by the time we hit thirty we no longer care, or have time to care about such things. Some of us have simply passed by having a passion for music, and are content to play the same five albums or simply have the radio on in the background regardless of what is playing. Most of us consider ourselves to be the hated word ‘settled’ – with a job and a family which take priority over things like music, art, learning. Some of us will simply become our parents and claim that music is crap nowadays, and that it was so much better when we were younger. The trap is to fall back on only listening to the music we loved in our day, with anything new being too scary, too noisy, too young, too not me etc. I’ve always been a believer that as long as there are people with something to say, with a melody to write, with passion screaming in their souls that can only be freed via a pen, a microphone, or some other instrument of noise, then there will always be great music. Like I say though, the Top 40 is rarely a place for such musicians – a few lucky will make it, sure, but the highest echelons of sales and popularity will always be reserved for the pretty, the bland, the copy, the flavour of the week. So, I don’t have high hopes for finding something I actually like, but I do have hope. As a bonus, and as a gauge for any psych-types out there who may wish to strike for a correlation between my personal taste and the current Top 40, here is a rough list of the 10 most important artists in my life:

Michael Jackson, The Bangles, Guns N Roses, Alice Cooper, Nirvana, Manic Street Preachers, Radiohead, The Gathering, Led Zeppelin, Metallica

Maybe I should have went for the Top 40 Rock chart…..

The hand of God, telling me to go watch QOTSA