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All-Reviews.com Top 50 Songs*:
for the 2nd week of August, 2000

*based on airplay at alternative, pop and rock radio stations a cross the nation (reviews by LarryG)

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  1. Matchbox 20-Bent    (unchanged)      buy it!
    It's hard to imagine, but since Matchbox 20's debut CD Yourself or Someone Like You sold eleven million copies and Smooth was the biggest single of 1999, Rob Thomas is probably the most successful rock singer around these days. With its appealingly familiar, slightly adventurous and mildly rocking sound, Bent, the first single from the Mad Season CD, keeps the string of success going. Thomas' lyrics are typically cliched and his vocals emotive as he again plays the beleaguered male. At least he's not dreaming of pushing a woman around and taking her for granted as he asks his lady to pick him up, dust him off and be his breath so he can walk. The music does have a good atmospheric edge and restrained mood.

  2. Everclear-Wonderful    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Everclear has two new CDs released under the name Songs From An American Movie. The single version of Wonderful is from Volume One: Learning How To Smile. After disclosing some of his life story on So Much For The Afterglow's Father of Mine, Art Alexakis shares more on Wonderful and his story about the effect his parents' breakup had on him is pretty touching. Alexakis sings as an angry youth who wants his life to be the same as it used to be and doesn't want people to insult him by saying things are fine now. The music resembles I Will Buy You a New Life and other Everclear songs, starting quietly then building in force with undulating keyboards, power chords and Alexakis' screamed no's. However, the mellower start is a little longer and sadder than usual, consistent with the sad tone of the song.

  3. Three Doors Down-Kryptonite    (unchanged)      buy it!
    This surprise hit from the young Mississippi band is nothing new. It kind of sounds like the classic rock staple Radar Love. Still, Kryptonite, from the band's Better Life CD, has an easy, unpretentious charm and a good blues rock feel. Brad Arnold's lyrics are slight but charming and heartfelt. He sings about having a troubled mind and needing reassurance that his lover will stand by his side, asking "if I go crazy, will you still call me Superman?"

  4. Stone Temple Pilots-Sour Girl    (unchanged)      buy it!
    STP showed their rock cred with the first couple chart songs from STP's No. 4 CD, Down and Heaven and Hot Rods. Both were pretty hard and both fell off the chart pretty quickly. The band should have more success with Sour Girl which shows the band's pop skills with restrained guitars and keyboards. It starts like a Van Halen midtempo song with a steady, thumping bass and drifts easily to a chorus with sweet harmonies. Sour Girl is frothy and slight but hard to resist. Scott Weiland sings about a relationship that was doomed from the start with a woman who seems happier without him and his problems putting it behind him. Hopefully the line "what would you do if I followed you" doesn't mean that Weiland has a problem with stalking to go with his drug problem.

  5. Red Hot Chili Peppers-Californication    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    Do we really need another serious, sensitive single from the Chili Peppers? Scar Tissue was a very good song but I could do without their other recent displays of maturity. Californication is the fourth chart hit from the CD of the same name. Anthony Kiedis intones the lyrics so seriously that you'd think he was the first person to notice the shallowness of Hollywood life. His indictment is fairly predictable in pointing out that people are seduced and then exploited in their search for glamour and(taking a shot at Courtney Love) that plastic surgery and other tools create an arifticial world. The music is a little bland but John Frusciante has a good, sad guitar riff.

  6. Nine Days-Absolutely(Story of a Girl)    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    Absolutely, the first single from the Madding Crowd CD, is frothily enjoyable if somewhat lightweight. Like recent pop hits All Star and the Friends theme, Absolutely bursts with irresistable energy and sounds like a summertime hit. Absolutely isn't really the story of a girl. The details are fairly limited in the lyrics about a sad woman who "cried a river and drowned the whole world." But the chorus about absolutely loving her when she smiles is simple and nice. The fast guitar riffs are steady and energizing, with split second breaks creating great tension.

  7. Vertical Horizon-You're A God    (up 2 positions)      buy it!
    Like Tonic and other similar bands shooting for the airwaves, Vertical Horizon basically make generic pop rock with vaguely troubled lyrics. They don't even have the personality of the kings of the genre, Matchbox 20. While not as distinctive as Everything You Want, the hit title track from their CD, You're a God is perkier and catchy in a repetitive way. However, the lyrics, about being covered with lies leave a nasty aftertaste as Matt Scannell tells the woman he's dumping that he's not worthy of her.

  8. Creed-With Arms Wide Open    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    There probably will always be a demand for big, pretentious arena rock. Rock radio moved on to With Arms Wide Open as Higher, the longest running song on the chart with more than eleven months in the top 50, crossed over to pop radio. With Arms Wide Open is another sweeping and basically empty ballad. Scott Stapp copped Eddie Vedder's serious intensity and delivers it with even less of a sense of humor. With Arms Wide Open has the band's typical big guitars and oh so serious vocals. At least, the subject matter is more appealing than Stapp's usual religious tirades. He actually sounds a little humble as he welcomes his baby to the world.

  9. A Perfect Circle-Judith    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    A Perfect Circle was formed by Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan and Tool guitar tech Billy Howerdel. A Perfect Circle's debut CD is called Mer De Noms. Judith's music is similar to much of Tool's. It's slightly less dense but it's still grinding, jagged and intense. Keenan has always reminded me of Sugar and Husker Du's Bob Mould in the way his anger seems so uncontrollable that he seems on the verge of a breakdown. On Judith, Keenan's screaming vents his rage at christianity. He tries to talk a woman out of an attitude where she feels she's brought on her problems through her sins, yelling "it's not like you killed someone."

  10. Metallica-I Disappear    (unchanged)      buy it!
    I Disappear is from the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack. Their S&M live CD loosened up their sound a little and added some melody with the help of a symphony orchestra. I Disappear is a return to their typical humorless, harsh guitar driven sound. The lyrics are as depressing as ever with James Hetfield's angry vocals about how he suffers and that there's "no mercy left for me." It's a tough life apparently. "Just as soon as I belong then it's time I disappear."

  11. Papa Roach-Last Resort    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Papa Roach is the latest hip hop informed hard rock band with an anguished young male. Coby Dick's yelling that he's suffocating on Last Resort, from the Infest CD, does nothing for me but the kids might appreciate him singing about how he's "losing my sight, losing my mind, won't somebody tell me I'm fine" and how he can't go on living this way. The assautive guitar is harsh but strong and incisive.

  12. Eve 6-Promise    (up 2 positions)      buy it!
    In a rock world dominated by classic rock retreads, overblown gothic rock and harsh rap hybrids, Eve 6's music is refreshingly straight forward. They're not original or brilliant though not quite as mindless as similar bands like Lit. Promise, from their Horrorscope CD, is a solid, modest rocker. It's not as irresistably hook filled as their radio hit Inside Out. Promise, like Leech and Tongue Tied from their debut, is likable power pop. Max Collins makes modest promises to his girlfriend, swearing he won't try to mess with her head or let her down, won't mind if she decides to leave and won't look her in the eyes and lie. The big guitar chords help the promises go down easily.

  13. Eric Clapton & B.B. King-Riding With The King    (unchanged)      buy it!
    John Hiatt's Thing Called Love helped Bonnie Raitt's comeback and his Riding With The King seems to be doing the same for B.B. King. Riding With The King sounded like a blues classic when Hiatt first released it on the 1983 record of the same name. King's status as a king of the blues gives it added resonance. Clapton has admired King for years and worked with him before but Riding With The King is the first full length record they've done together. They keep Hiatt's good guitar riff but generally slow things down, leaving space for the two guitar masters to get their licks in. As they trade charmingly boastful lead vocals and share relaxed harmonies over a good bluesy piano, the old buddies sound like they're having a good time.

  14. The Deftones-Change (In the House of Flies)    (up 2 positions)      buy it!
    The Deftones like guitar noise as much as their hard rock contemporaries but they do seem to have a little more imagination. Change, from the White Pony CD, has big guitars but the dense sound also has an interesting trippy feel that matches the lyrics about watching someone turn into a fly.

  15. Sting-Desert Rose    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Desert Rose is a fairly high point in the mellower baby boomer stage of Sting's career. The title track from Sting's Brand New Day was a ridiculously optimistic look ahead to a new millennium. Desert Rose has more to it with good atmosphere from big percussion, Middle Eastern instruments and an introduction sung by an Arabic singer. There's not that much substance under the atmosphere and Sting can't help seeming like he's just dabbling in other cultures but the song, about being in the desert and dreaming of rain and dreaming of love as time rolls through his hands, has a nice, hallucinogenic feel.

  16. Three Doors Down-Loser    (up 3 positions)      buy it!
    Kryptonite, the hit from Three Doors Down's Better Life CD, has a fairly depressing lyric but it also has a light musical touch and a charmingly simple, unshowy sound. It rocks but without the lugubrious, heavy feeling of so much rock music these days. Loser is less interesting, more standard rock radio fare. Like their peers, on Loser, Three Doors Down take the serious, intense rock ballads of Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam and remake them with less personality. Loser has the formula down with serious vocals and intense acoustic verses leading to choruses with big electric guitars. They really overdo it on the bridge with big classic rock chords, for no particular reason. The lyrics are yet another mordant tale of a young man pushed to the edge. Brad Arnold sings that a woman is "getting close to pushing me off life's little ledge." The only positive note is that he also realizes "someday this will fall away" and he'll find "a love that flows through me."

  17. Pearl Jam-Light Years    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    Pearl Jam's fans from their days when they were more of a classic arena rock band continue to lose interest but Pearl Jam keeps making interesting music. Light Years, from the Binaural CD, is another quiet, intense rock ballad, somewhat in the vein of Wishlist. Eddie Vedder's lyrics and vocals about trying to make sense of a friend's death are sad but Light Years still has a decent rock and roll heft, especially towards the end. It's probably too unassuming to be a hit but it has more life than the CD's very subdued first single Nothing As It Seems. Vedder's magnetic persona and the band's good, light touch are on display and Light Years can subtlely grab you.

  18. Sister Hazel-Change Your Mind    (up 2 positions)      buy it!
    The Florida band had big pop and easy listening success with All For You, from their Somewhere More Familiar CD, which was pleasant enough the first hundred times but became irritatingly banal as it refused to leave the radio. Change Your Mind, from the new Fortress CD, is more genial music from guys who are even mellower than Hootie & the Blowfish. The lyrics are pretty empty, trying to convince someone of the power of positive thinking and that problems can be resolved if you "give up the state of mind you're in." The music isn't exciting but Sister Hazel display their ability to create a warm sound with good harmonies.

  19. SR-71-Right Now    (up 7 positions)      buy it!
    Right Now is from the band's debut Now You See Inside CD. SR-71, named for a military stealth aircraft, are the latest band to follow Green Day in making fast, punky pop. Right Now has appealing energy and a good guitar riff. However, its appeal is limited by its mediocre vocals and dopey lyrics. Especially in Mitch Allan's bratty singing, Right Now is reminiscent of the sloppy, speedy mindlessly fun songs the Goo Goo Dolls do when bass player Robby Takac gets to sing lead. The male teens will probably appreciate the immature tale of a guy who used to worship his girlfriend and "hang on every word" but now, feeling taking advantage of, he's just going to use her until something better comes along.

  20. Incubus-Stellar    (up 4 positions)      buy it!
    Like Pardon Me, Incubus' hit from the Make Yourself CD, Stellar is hard rock with a bit of an unusual edge. Stellar has jazzy, psychedelic verses that give way to harder, guitar driven choruses. Brandon Boyd sings about being amazed by his lover asking, how do you do it, and equating having sex with her with the sensation of being in outer space.

  21. 8Stops7-Question Everything    (up 14 positions)      buy it!
    In the hands of today's hard rockers the rock ballad, especially when it involves a white young male trying to figure out what it all means, is a form that's doomed to an overdone combination of wildly dramatic singing and big guitars to keep the young males interested. Question Everything is the followup to Satisfied, 8Stop7's chart debut from the In Moderation CD. The music isn't as overblown as it could have been. Evan Sula-Goff's vocals are very serious but appropriate for a song about deciding how to deal with an intolerant, unloving as he nears death and is no longer an imposing force.

  22. Godsmack-Bad Religion    (up 5 positions)      buy it!
    Rock radio continues to die, as it targets an audience that mainly consists of teenage males. Godsmack is a prime example of what's wrong with the format. Their hard guitar rock is murky, unexciting and pretentious. Their lyrics are a weird combination of self pity, mysticism and self aggrandizement. On Bad Religion, the latest AOR hit from their self title CD, Sully Erna sings about how he's different from other people, that the pressure he faces is making him insane and that no one understands what he has to deal with.

  23. U.P.O.-Godless    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    Godless, from the No Pleasantries CD, is yet another hard rock song about a young man so troubled that he's thinking about ending it all. Shawn Albro sings that he's tired of breaking, that he doesn't want to be another lost soul who can't find his way home and that he's feeling dead and ready to fall. Godless sounds like intense, acoustic guitar dominated hard rock by bands like Alice In Chains and Days of the New. Still, Albro has a strong voice and the guitars aren't as overdone as in a lot of current hard rock.

  24. Live-They Stood Up For Love    (up 12 positions)      buy it!
    They Stood Up For Love and The Dolphin's Cry and Run To The Water, the other top 50 hits from the Distance To Here CD, show Ed Kowalcyk is one of the most dramatic and emotional performers in rock music. He's taken his cues from the most intense work of Bono and Michael Stipe and goes even farther. They Stood Up For Love is another soaring rock ballad where Kowalcyk gets lost in the music as it builds to the choruses with his ecstatic screaming. The lyric says that romantics like Kowalcyk pay a price: "we spend all of our lives going out of our minds." Live has good musicians but their recent music doesn't take advantage of all their skills. At their peak on songs like Selling The Drama and All Over You from Throwing Copper, they created music that was stirring but also had energy and didn't get bogged down.

  25. Disturbed-Stupify    (up 4 positions)      buy it!
    Stupify is from Disturbed's Sickness CD. Stupify starts with a promise of a mix of hard rock and rap like Rage Against The Machine and Limp Bizkit. It soon degenerates into an unpleasant rage from singer David Draiman, who calls himself a sick animal. The harsh, menacing mood is apparently the appeal of Stupify but the sound certainly doesn't have the full, overwhelming power of bands like Nine Inch Nails. The hard edged guitars and electronics seem a little thin at times. The first verse is an excuse for Draiman to repeatedly spit out a profanity that Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes used more interestingly on Add It Up, telling us he just wanted to have sex once. Because of Draiman's nasty delivery, I don't really care that he lives his life in a daze, his sense of reality slipping and that he's breaking down.

Songs 26-50


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