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All-Reviews.com Top 50 Songs*:
for the 3rd 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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(songs 1-25)

  1. Strait Up featuring Lajon-Angel's Son    new to music chart      buy it!
    Lynn Strait, Snot's lead singer, died in a car accident two years ago. Angel's Song is from Strait Up, a CD with the surviving members of the band and various modern rock singers. Lajon Witherspoon is Sevendust's singer. He reminds me of Jeffrey Gaines and Living Colour's Corey Glover, two other African-American rock singers, but Lajon might be better than either of them. Unfortunately, his singing with Sevendust is often overdramatic and buried under harsh guitars. On Angel's Son, even with less cluttered acoustic backing, Lajon is too emotive but his tribute to Strait is heartfelt and moving. He sings that he "can't go on without you rearranging" and regrets that he never said goodbye when he "had so much left to say."

  2. Creed-Are You Ready?    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    Are You Ready is the fourth chart hit from Creed's Human Clay CD. As always, Scott Stapp sings as if he's got brilliant ideas no one's ever thought of. But all Are You Ready's says is: seek and you'll find, remember where you came from and life is hard and unpredictable. Usually, Creed's music is a little more subtle than Stapp's lyrics and singing but the music here is uninventive hard rock. Are You Ready sounds like dozens of metal pop songs from The Who's The Seeker to STP's Vaseline.

  3. Mya-Case Of The Ex    (down 3 positions)      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."

  4. Rage Against The Machine-Renegades Of Funk    (up 7 positions)      buy it!
    Renegades Of Funk is from Renegades, a record of political songs originally done by people like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Cypress Hill. It's Rage Against The Machine's last CD with Singer Zack De La Rocha, who is leaving for a solo career. Renegades Of Funk is a cover of an Afrika Bambaataa song. Zack gets into it, having fun with the commands to move and groove. Rage always claim a single minded determination to fight for justice so they must like Renegades Of Funk's sweeping statements. Renegades' hook, "no matter how you try you can't stop us now", has the optimism of a Rage song like Guerilla Radio. There's also a little self aggrandizement. They boast, "we change the course of history" and compare themselves to Martin Luther King and Tom Paine. Renegades Of Funk is more about beats and less about guitars than the usual Rage song. The cheap Sci Fi synth recalls the sound of Afrika Bambaataa's time. The beats and the simple idealism create an appealing energy.

  5. Shaggy-It Wasn't Me    (up 2 positions)      buy it!
    It Wasn't Me, from the Hotshot CD, perpetuates the idea that a charming rascal can wink and lie to a woman and get out of any problem. Still, It Wasn't Me is so silly and ingratiating that it's hard to dislike. The song is well structured with Rik Rok playing the man caught "red handed creeping with girl next door." Shaggy is his foolish buddy telling him to deny everything despite physical, eyewitness and photographic evidence. The contrast between Rik Rok's high, loose, youthful voice and Shaggy's deep Jamaican style rumble is appealing. The song has a good groove with minimal, well chosen synth effects and Shaggy's fast, nearly indecipherable toasting.

  6. Samantha Mumba-Gotta Tell You    (down 2 positions)      buy it!
    Mumba is the latest young female getting the big record company push. Gotta Tell You is the title track from Mumba's CD. Gotta Tell You is fairly routine dance pop. The lyrics are O.K. Mumba sings about wanting her guy to get more involved in their relationship. She doesn't want to love him if he doesn't love her. On the verses, Mumba's voice is hard and unappealing but at least somewhat distinctive. On the choruses, thanks to backing vocals and heavy, generic production, the song turns into catchy, perky Britney-style pop. Mumba's personal story of a black Irish teen who became a pop star is undoubtedly more interesting than the song.

  7. Josh Joplin Group-Camera One    new to music chart      buy it!
    Camera One is from the band's Useful Music CD. Camera One is serious but catchy, kind of like old Peter Gabriel or Genesis but a little more obvious. With production by Jerry Harrison, Camera One sounds good. Camera One is another cynical tale about how pursuit of a Hollywood dream can have disappointing results. Joplin's tale is hardly subtle as he dramatically intones that "you're playing you now."

  8. Blink 182-Man Overboard    (down 6 positions)      buy it!
    Enema Of The State's fun, fast pop is still selling but Blink 182 is already back with a new CD, The Mark, Travis and Tom Show. Man Overboard sounds a lot like Enema Of The State's Dumpweed, as well as kind of like a fast version of Peter Schilling Major Tom(Coming Home). Once again, Blink 182's music is pretty light but energizing, unpretentious and solidly constructed. Man Overboard is about being sad that things can't be worked out, but deciding that a friend has screwed up too many times.

  9. Pink-Most Girls    (down 3 positions)      buy it!
    Most Girls isn't quite as interesting as There You Go, Pink's feisty take on the TLC sound. Most Girls, from her Can't Take Me Home CD, is more routine, but it has an effective groove. The lyrics don't totally ring true but Pink continues to show personality. She sings that, unlike other "flygirls", she's more interested in a real love than a "g" with the "mean green" who gives his girl diamond rings.

  10. Dream-He Loves U Not    (up 4 positions)      buy it!
    Everyone wants a piece of the lucrative teen pop market. Puffy Combs is among those behind the latest package of young females. He Loves U Not, from the CD It Was All A Dream, has a familiar sound that basically guaranteed its success. On He Loves U Not, Dream sound like Christina Aguilera without Aguilera's vocal personality or a white Destiny's Child without their sleek sound. He Loves U Not also resembles N Sync's It's Gonna Be Me. It has efficient, basic music with a big, stuttering beat. The singing and lyrics have a youthful simplicity young girls can handle. The girls claim not to care about another girl who is trying to take a boyfriend since they know he only loves her.

  11. Green Day-Minority    (down 2 positions)      buy it!
    Fans who were concerned with the maturity Billie Joe Armstrong showed on Time Of Your Life from the Nimrod CD can be reassured by Minority, the first single from the Warning CD. Minority has the likably simple feel that made Green Day a huge success on their Dookie CD. Billie Joe sings that he doesn't want to be a conformist and is happy to stand alone.

  12. Debelah Morgan-Dance With Me    (unchanged)      buy it!
    The title track from the Dance With Me CD is a bit bizarre but it probably works O.K. on the dance floor. With its insistent violin, Dance With Me is a little like Marc Anthony's I Need To Know but the recent hit it most resembles is Sonique's It Feels So Good. Both are throwbacks to the dopey hits of the late 70's. Dance With Me is eerily like a hit from the peak of the disco craze in its use of a gimmick, an arrangement based on the tango Hernando's Hideaway from the Broadway musical The Pajama Game, and its very simple lyrics extolling the benefits of dancing. Morgan's singing is pretty good but the words are moronic with every cliche you could imagine including, "the night is young and so are we", "when we hit the floor you'll be asking for more" and "I feel the music inside."

  13. N Sync-This I Promise You    (down 5 positions)      buy it!
    This I Promise You is the third hit from the No Strings Attached CD. It was written by Richard Marx, who had a brief period of pop rock stardom in the late 80's. This I Promse You is a fairly routine, sappy ballad. They sing about being her strength and giving her hope. They promise that "never will you hurt anymore" and to hold her "until the day my life is through" but even their preteen fans probably know that such promises, said by teens, aren't necessarily meant to be taken literally.

  14. Crazy Town-Butterfly    (up 8 positions)      buy it!
    Butterfly is from the The Gift Of Game CD. Like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Crazy Town are a relaxed L.A. band familiar with hip hop and punk. Butterfly is knowingly stupid dance pop. It has a little of the vibe of Folk Implosion's Natural One and Sublime's What I Got. The song has an easy mood and a rapped string of cliches praising the positive effects of a woman, including "it doesn't get better than this", "I see the sun break through the dark clouds", "you showed me life is precious" and "I was lost, now I'm found."

  15. Five For Fighting-Easy Tonight    (up 9 positions)      buy it!
    Five For Fighting is singer/songwriter John Ondrasik's project. It's easy to imagine Easy Tonight with just Ondrasik's voice and piano but he gives it a big production with a big beat on his America Town CD. With his easy, adult sound and sensitive but intense vocals on Easy Tonight, Ondrasik sounds a little like Shawn Mullins. They're both also a little affected. Ondrasik sings about a woman who's now gone. His recitation of all the things she was(you were wrong, you were right, you took a ride on the suicide romance) and his attempts at self expression("I don't know where I'm going but I sure am getting there") are a little corny.

  16. Kandi-Don't Think I'm Not    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    Kandi Burruss has written hit songs for other people like TLC's No Scrubs, Destiny's Child's Bills, Bills, Bills and Pink's There You Go but she apparently didn't keep her best songs for her Hey Kandi CD. Don't Think I'm Not is a little weird musically. It starts with austere piano, becomes a lush ballad with very heavy strings, then the strings are awkwardly thrown together on the chorus with hard, synthetic beats. The lyrics are kind of weird too. Kandi brags that while her guy has been playing around with someone else, she has too. I understand her relief at not being a total sucker and getting some revenge but it doesn't sound like a situation to be happy about.

  17. Shawn Mullins-Everywhere I Go    (unchanged)      buy it!
    You could love or hate Lullaby, Mullins' big hit from his Soul's Core CD, but with its spoken verses and evocative, if obvious, lyrics about a woman screwed up by growing up in a weird Hollywood world, it got your attention. Everywhere I Go, from the Beneath The Velvet Sun CD, isn't going to approach Lullaby's success because it's barely noticable. Everywhere I Go is pleasant light rock influenced by the easy California sound of artists like The Eagles. The production is sleek but the result is innocuous. Mullins' voice doesn't have much personality. The mystically tinged lyrics are pretty nice. Mullins sings about the image of his lover guiding him and grounding him when he's on the road.

  18. Eminem-Stan    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Stan, the latest single from Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP, is one of most interesting singles to hit mainstream radio this year. Dido's easy vocals and the unhurried groove, with Mike Elizondo's smooth bass line, provide a great contrast with Eminem's fast, fluid rap that becomes increasingly agitated along with his character's troubled mind. As usual, the lyrics alternate between fascinating and irritating. Eminem concedes he has an effect on his fans. He raises legitimate issues about a society where people are encouraged to believe celebrities are just like them. Stan is a frightening, obsessive character, "a biggest fan" who bases his life on Eminem, menacingly suggests "we should be together" and is infuriated when his idol doesn't respond to his letters. Stan is undoubtedly based on real people who want to connect with Eminem, sometimes in scary ways. I'd prefer Stan without its self serving final verse. Eminem suddenly becomes caring, writing Stan that he shouldn't take his self destructive lyrics seriously and should get counseling and treat his girl better. The end is silly. Eminem warns Stan not to end up like a guy he saw on TV who killed himself and his pregnant girlfriend and then realizes,"his name was . . . it was you. Damn."

  19. Aerosmith-Angel's Eye    (down 3 positions)      buy it!
    The lyrics about there being no place to hide from an angel's eye are ridiculous except as a tie in to the Charlie's Angels movie. At least Angel's Eye isn't as bloated and obviously commercial as I Don't Want To Miss A Thing, Aeromith's contribution to the Armageddon soundtrack, which was written by successful hack Diane Warren. Angel's Eye's music is fast and loud, with good energy. Joe Perry has a decent guitar riff. Steven Tyler is his usual over the top self, yelling the gibberish about feeding your fantasy, a "halo on fire" and "running in place like a rat in a race."

  20. Backstreet Boys-Shape Of My Heart    (down 10 positions)      buy it!
    Shape Of My Heart is from the Boys' new Black and Blue CD. Shape Of My Heart is the kind of song they do best, a well made ballad like I Want It That Way. The singing and harmonies aren't bad. Shape Of My Heart is fairly innocuous but the preteens won't mind. On Shape Of My Heart, they ask her for forgiveness, playing into the fan fantasy by asking her to "save me from the man I've become."

  21. Eve 6-On The Roof Again    (down 8 positions)      buy it!
    On The Roof Again is the second chart hit from Eve 6's Horrorscope CD. Keyboards and Jon Siebels' crunching guitar chords create an appropriately edgy feel for this tale of a young man easily pushed to desperation by romantic problems. As on much of Horrorscope, the band's ability to create exciting music is underminded by dopey, often offensive lyrics and unappealing great vocals. Max Collins strangely shows his sympathy for the jumper by repeatedly singing "your heinous highness broke her hymen."

  22. Evan and Jaron-Crazy For This Girl    (up 3 positions)      buy it!
    The most interesting thing about Evan and Jaron Lowenstein is that they're probably already the most successful Orthodox Jew twin brother singers in pop history. Crazy For This Girl owes some of its success to being on the second Dawson Creek's soundtrack CD. On Crazy For The Girl, which is also on their self titled CD, the boys have a smooth, sincere, clean cut sound as they sing about the girl they think about constantly who "don't know how I feel." The sound doesn't have much more edge than the teen pop boy bands. But like Hey Leonardo, another song by adults that was aimed at a young audience, Crazy For This Girl is a guilty pleasure. It's superficial but with catchy hooks and good, tight guitar riffs on the chorus.

  23. Britney Spears-Stronger    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Stronger is the third hit from the Oops! I Did It Again CD. Britney's voice sounds even more brittle and synthetic than usual. The lyrics are some garbage about Britney being tired of being treated like some guy's property and wanting to do it her way. The music, similar to Oops and Baby One More Time, is generally, at best, coldly efficient industrial dance pop. Like You Drive Me Crazy, Stronger is uninteresting until its catchy chorus. Stronger is another song written by teen pop genius Max Martin. His touch is clear on the chorus, which has two good hooks.

  24. Mark Knopfler-What It Is    (down 4 positions)      buy it!
    Since the huge success of Dire Straits' 1985 Brothers In Arms record, Mark Knopfler has kept a fairly low profile, working on soundtracks and not trying to be too commercial in his subsequent Dire Straits and solo work. What It Is is from Knopfler's new Sailing To Philadelphia CD. What It Is is reminiscent of Knopfler's great work before Money For Nothing. It's a distinctive, textured rocker like Making Movies' Tunnel Of Love. Knopfler's guitar playing is seemingly effortless as he unshowily sprinkles interesting riffs. His assuming voice easily twists around the shifting meters. What It Is is nicely detailed with vignettes about a small Scottish town and lots of observations including the fact "everybody's looking for somebody's arms to fall into."

  25. Papa Roach-Last Resort    (down 33 positions)      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.

Songs 1-25


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