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

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

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  1. U2-Beautiful Day    (unchanged)      buy it!
    After spending much of the 90's making cynical, edgy and more dance oriented music, U2 return to the purer sound of their Unforgettable Fire/Joshua Tree era for a great single from the new All That You Can't Leave Behind CD. Beautiful Day starts like a New Order dance song but quickly shifts to the band's classic sound with The Edge's chiming guitar and Adam Clayton's percolating bass. Beautiful Day is about appreciating life. Even if "you're out of luck and the reason that you had to care", you're not a hopeless case so don't let the beauty get away. The music parallels the optimistic lyrics with Bono and The Edge's optimistic, yearning lead and backing vocals.

  2. Fuel-Hemorrhage    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Fuel broke through with Shimmer, from their Sunburn CD. That song had a hard rock sound and was catchy but didn't seem too gimmicky. Hemorrhage, from the new Something Like Human CD, doesn't have Shimmer's light touch. With its dramatic strings and acoustic guitar, Hemorrhage is calculated to be a smash hit rock ballad. Brett Scallions is ever so intense as he sings Carl Bell's bombastic lyrics asking her not to leave love bleeding in my his hands, as if Elton John and many others hadn't thought of the image before.

  3. Lenny Kravitz-Again    (unchanged)      buy it!
    It's galling to me that someone's decided that Lenny Kravitz's uninspired Hendrix and Sly Stone retreads deserve a greatest hits CD. Still, this new song isn't as annoying as most of his work. It has a nice groove with a good bass and drums high in the mix. Kravitz' vocals are typically complacent and his lyrics are pretty terrible as he sings about hearing a cry in his soul and about never having "a yearning quite like this before" and wondering if he'll ever see his "sacred gift of heaven" again. Kravitz also pulls off an awful, cliched rock guitar solo in the middle. However, while Again is pretty insubstantial, it has a appealingly easy mood.

  4. The Offspring-Original Prankster    (up 4 positions)      buy it!
    Original Prankster is from The Offspring's new Conspiracy Of One CD. Unlike the song's quite stupid video, the song doesn't really have pranks in it, just some fairly standard punk rock type promises to bust out or knock down walls. It doesn't have the same lyrical hook but Original Prankster has the same musical elements that made Americana's Pretty Fly(For a White Guy) irresistable. It has a loose mood, aided by goofy aural effects like some guy saying "you can do it." Dexter Holland's wail gives the Offspring a punk sensibility. Noodles' guitar gives the song rock heft and it also has a good dance beat. Redman adds rap cred by intoning the title's allusion to Ice-T and others who claim to be the original gangster. Much of the Offspring's music sounds alike and it's not too substantial but it has undeniable energy.

  5. Barenaked Ladies-Pinch Me    (unchanged)      buy it!
    One Week, from BNL's Stunt CD, gave the band their first taste in the U.S. of the huge success they've long enjoyed in their native Canada. Pinch Me, from the Maroon CD, doesn't have One Week's irresistable supercharged momentum. Pinch Me is more reflective of the band's typical modest, likable style. Ed Robertson is usually more unassuming than the band's other singer, Steven Page. However, Robertson did the lightning fast rap on One Week and he similarly races smoothly through parts of Pinch Me, providing a good dynamic shift from the song's generally mellow mood. Robertson is appealing even when playing a guy who lives in a dream world because in the real world, "everything's a mess." Pinch Me has quirky charm, like the non sequitor line, "I just made you say underwear" plus a happy ending of sorts with Robertson's character tentatively deciding to "try to figure out what all this is for" and "try to see the world beyond your front door."

  6. Three Doors Down-Loser    (unchanged)      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."

  7. Collective Soul-Why Part 2    (down 3 positions)      buy it!
    Why, Part 2 is the first single from the Georgia band's Blender CD. Like Gel and Where The River Flows from their debut record, Why has a chunky, hard guitar riff. However, they hedge their bets, trying to appeal to a mainstream audience with keyboards and sleek production. Typically for Collective Soul, the result is music that's listenable but not particularly distinctive or memorable. In the lyrics, Ed Roland feels sorry for himself and wonders how love slipped away, leaving him "alone with the blame."

  8. Creed-With Arms Wide Open    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    There probably will always be a demand for big, pretentious arena rock. After a year in the top 50, Higher is finally off the chart but With Arms Wide Open and other songs from the Human Clay CD will keep Creed on the chart for a while. With Arms Wide Open is another sweeping and basically empty rock 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 extremely 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. Godsmack-Awake    (unchanged)      buy it!
    The title track from the new Awake CD is more nasty, unappetizing hard rock from Godsmack. Awake is similar to Keep Away from their last record. Awake has headbanging guitars and Sully Erna's angry screamed and growled vocals. On Awake, he seems to be blaming another for his problems and says, "I hope you're satisfied."

  10. 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?"

  11. Matchbox 20-If You're Gone    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    The second single from Matchbox 20's Mad Season is wimpy but nice. I'm not a big ballad fan but If You're Gone is one of my favorite mellow songs of the year. Rob Thomas' singing is often overdramatic but here it's nicely understated. The music, with inobtrusive guitar and keyboards, fits the sad, resigned song as Thomas sings, "I think I've already lost you." But the song also has some hope. Thomas has finally been roused to action and is willing to try harder: "I think I can need this in my life." Horns rising at the end of the song match the cautiously optimistic feeling.

  12. David Gray-Babylon    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    The Welsh singer/songwriter has had a loyal following for a while but it's grown significantly thoughout 2000. It's reassuring that, after spending four months at the low end of the top 50, Babylon, from the White Ladder CD, has found a wider audience. Unlike so much popular music, Babylon isn't gimmicky or pandering. It's quiet, thoughtful and very good. Gray presents an appealingly humble and unassuming persona. He owns up to his mistake in a relationship, admitting he's "been a fool to ever open up my heart to all that jealousy, that bitterness, that ridicule." Gray asks his partner to "let go your heart, let go your head and feel it now." The music is good and minimal with a little acoustic guitar, atmospheric keyboards and a steady beat.

  13. Everclear-When It All Goes Wrong Again    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    AM Radio, the second single from Learning How To Smile, the first volume of Songs From An American Movie, has just followed Wonderful to top 40 radio. It will have to compete for airplay with the first single from the new CD: volume two, Good Time For A Bad Attitude. A lot of Everclear's music sounds alike. When It All Goes Wrong Again sounds like Santa Monica and You Make Me Feel Like A Whore, from Sparkle and Fade. Still, it's a good formula. Everclear create an exciting, full sound. Everclear songs, like Wonderful, often start quietly and build to an intense finish. When It All Goes Wrong Again, has an energized sound from start to finish with big drums and guitar chords. Art Alexakis sings and, as usual, screams in the end that he's not afraid of life's inevitable downturns and, in fact, relishes facing his next crisis.

  14. The Wallflowers-Sleepwalker    (down 3 positions)      buy it!
    Jakob Dylan inherited his dad's cynicism but presents it in a less distinctive way. It was no surprise that the band's Bringing Down The Horse CD went multiplatinum. The Wallflowers' music is smart, melodic, well played and familiar, without anything too unusual that would disturb the yuppies. Sleepwalker, from the Breach CD, is more safe, likable easy rock. Dylan has a reticent, unshowy persona but his band is polished and keeps things moving with solid drumming and Michael Ward's guitar. Dylan sings about being in a dreamlike state where he can't even consider the possibility of love. He shifts Sam Cooke's sentiment, asking Cupid not to draw back his bow.

  15. Lifehouse-Hanging By A Moment    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    Hanging By A Moment is from the No Name Face CD. Lifehouse are another young band clearly showing their Pearl Jam and Nirvana influences. There's a similarity between Lifehouse and Creed, the most successful Pearl Jam soundalikes. But on Hanging By A Moment, Lifeboat are serious without Creed's bloated excess. Hanging By A Moment is a familiar sounding rock ballad but Jason Wade is appealingly sincere, singing about "falling even more in love" and "letting go of all I've held onto", "living for the only thing I know."

  16. Linkin Park-One Step Closer    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    One Step Closer is from the Hybrid Theory CD. Like Korn, Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach, Linkin Park are an angry band who mix a hip hop sensibility to their heavy metal but they're even less appealing than those bands. The sound is nasty with yelled vocals and harsh guitar chords. One Step Closer is about another young white guy so troubled that he "can't take this anymore." It's not specified, but the lyrics probably refer to a woman: "everything you say to me, takes me one step closer to the edge and I'm about to break."

  17. 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.

  18. A Perfect Circle-Three Libras    (unchanged)      buy it!
    The chart hits from A Perfect Circle's Mer De Noms keep moving Maynard James Keenan farther from Tool's harsh, dense sound. Three Libras has a Led Zeppelin style rock guitars go to the Renaissance festival sound. It's a mellow rock ballad that's a little silly but appealingly sincere. Keenan sings rather that screams. The electric guitars kick in eventually but most of the song has an acoustic feel. Keenan sings "it's difficult not to feel a little disappointed"about being passed over, presumably romantically. He sings that he did his best but "you don't see me at all."

  19. Papa Roach-Broken Home    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Together with the Last Resort video, which depicts their fans as sad and alienated, Broken Home establishes Papa Roach as the band most likely to relate to today's troubled teen. Broken Home is even edgier than Last Resort. Broken Home doesn't have that song's inviting beat and hip hop momentum. It's more about harsh guitar. Coby Dick screams most of the words, only segueing into a Last Resort style rap at the end. Broken Home is musically and lyrically simplistic but at least it's not the macho posturing of so much radio friendly rock about tormented young males. Dick's pain sounds real as he sings about being caught between two battling parents, blaming himself and crying because he has no one to confide in.

  20. Moby-South Side    (unchanged)      buy it!
    So many songs on Moby's Play CD, beyond being great dance songs, are brilliant little works of art. More than 1˝years after its release, new people are still learning how great Play is. South Side, the 7th single from Play, is Moby's biggest hit yet. South Side has been remixed as a duet with No Doubt's Gwen Stefani. Her vocals give the new version a slicker, less menacing feel than the edgy album version. Even on the original, Moby's quavering falsetto on the chorus made it hard to believe him as a tough guy out with his boys, prepared for a gun fight and hoping "we won't die." Still, his slicing guitar, moody synths and tough beat create a good, foreboding atmosphere.

  21. Limp Bizkit-Rollin'    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Of the two singles from Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, My Generation got most of the early play. Modern rock stations are now focusing more on Rollin'. Both songs are hard edged but Rollin' is even more urgent and edgy. The band's mix of hard rock guitar and hip hop beats has energy and undeniable power but Rollin' is so harsh that it's hard to like. As usual, Fred Durst's rap is the weak link. His squealed rhymes are typically paranoid, singing about people who "wanna mess with Limp Bizkit." We hope that he's gently mocking rap cliches when he urges us to "put them hands in the air." The dopey chorus tells us over and over again to keep rollin', rollin, rollin'.

  22. Green Day-Warning    new to music chart      buy it!
    The joyful songs Church On Sunday and Waiting are my favorites from the Warning CD but the title track is a decent pick for a second single. It's a good example of how solid and unpretentious the new record is. Green Day have become a little more mature without being too serious. Warning reminds me of John Mellancamp's sturdy rock songs, especially Crumblin' Down. Mike Dirnt's chunky bass line keeps the song moving forward as Billie Joe invokes a series of warnings we grew up with that suggest dangers all around us.

  23. Dexter Freebish-Leaving Town    (up 10 positions)      buy it!
    Leaving Town is from the Austin band's major label debut, A Life Of Saturdays. The band makes radio savvy alternative pop in the vein of Matchbox 20 and Vertical Horizon. Leaving Town is a bitter tale of the guy left behind as his girl pursues success in the big city. Kyle sings, "when you're broken down and no else is around, you'll come running back to this town and I'll be there." Leaving Town is familiar and unoriginal but Dexter Freebish work the formula well when the power chords kick in on the chorus.

  24. Destiny's Child-Independent Women Pt. 1    (unchanged)      buy it!
    The latest of the string of hits from the hot female r&b trio of the moment is from the Charlie's Angels soundtrack. Independent Women was probably thrown together quickly for the movie and it sounds like a throwaway. Still, it has the sleek sound of much of Destiny's Child's music and the women smoothly race through their vocals. The lyrics, with their repeated refrain "I depend on me", are an inspirational message saying women don't have to depend on men. They take on a bit of a taunting tone, celebrating how they can buy diamonds, cars and houses, saying that their hard work made it all happen, without conceding that others might not be so lucky.

  25. Mya-Case Of The Ex    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Case Of The Ex is from the Fear Of Flying CD. Case Of The Ex sounds a little like Aaliyah's Try Again. It's got a sleek, stark sound with a good shifting beat. Mya's voice seems O.K. and it's adroitly covered for most of the song by good background vocals. Case Of The Ex is a fairly nasty tale. A guy's current girlfriend demands to know how he's gonna act when his ex wants him back. She figures the ex has heard he bought her a "brand new Benz" and wants a piece of the action. The girlfriend's not subtle. She reminds him the ex "turned trick" when they broke up and says she's seen the ex's picture and "she ain't even all that."

Songs 26-50


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