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All-Reviews.com Top 50 Songs*:
for the 3rd week of January, 2000

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

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  1. Filter-Take a Picture    (unchanged)      buy it!
    The usually intense band follow the powerful, cynical Welcome to the Fold with a change of pace from their Title of Record CD. While mellower and slower, Take a Picture doesn't sound like a sell out and still has an edge. Take a Picture has a cool, evocative atmosphere. Richard Patrick goes into his trademark scream at the end of the song but for the most part, his vocals are appealingly restrained as he sings of trying to capture a perfect moment.

  2. Foo Fighters-Learn to Fly    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Dave Grohl has the ability Kurt Cobain, his Nirvana bandmate, had to make a melodic song with a good pop hook that still rocks. He's made great rockers like Monkey Wrench, This is a Call and I'll Stick Around and very good pop songs like Big Me but Learn to Fly, from Foo Fighters' third CD There is Nothing to Lose, is the best combination yet of Grohl's rock and pop skills. With its fun video, Learn to Fly deserves to be a hit. The music creates a buoyant mood. The lyrics aren't as strong as the music but Grohl delivers them with likeable enthusiasm. In his singing, Grohl emphasizes the word "looking". He seems clearer about the fact that he's looking than about what he's looking for. The message about trying to shake up his life, looking "for a complication" or a "new evolution" shifts in the second verse when Grohl says he "can't quite make it alone and asks for "one last try."

  3. REM-The Great Beyond    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    The movie Man in the Moon, starring Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman, gets its name from the great REM song about Kaufman. The Great Beyond is from the movie's soundtrack. While they've lost their way commercially and, to some extent, artistically on their last two CDs, The Great Beyond shows the band's pop talents intact. It's a good song, reminiscent of their classic material. Like the song Man in the Moon, The Great Beyond starts slowly and gracefully and builds to a blissful climax. It has a reflective feel and a lush sound fleshed out with the strings. Michael Stipe has moved far from his mysterious and indecipherable singing of old with nice, clear plaintive vocals, singing of looking for answers and suddenly having things fall into place.

  4. Counting Crows-Hangin' Around    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    Adam Duritz has often taken himself so seriously that he can come across as pretentious. On Hangin' Around, from the band's third studio album Desert Life, Duritz complains that he's been bumming around for too long. Luckily, his solution on this single isn't a return to navel gazing. Hangin' Around is kind of insubstantial but it has a nice, loose feeling.

  5. Vertical Horizon-Everything You Want    (unchanged)      buy it!
    The title track and second chart song from the band's CD does have interesting guitar effects but it is a pretty generic sensitive rock song. The singer is hyperserious in telling the story of a woman who's never satisfied with a man. The tone is bitter so that it's not much of a twist when the lyrics change from he's everything you want but he means nothing to you to I'm everything you want.

  6. Smash Mouth-Then the Morning Comes    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Smash Mouth's 2nd single from their Astro Lounge CD isn't quite as irresistable as All Star but it also has a light, sunny charm. The lyrics actually seem to be a dis of a woman living in a dream world but the message doesn't drag the song down. As they showed in their cover of Can't Get Enough of You Baby, they like a retropop sound, using fuzz guitars to good effect.

  7. Third Eye Blind-Never Let You Go    (up 20 positions)      buy it!
    Sure, the guitar hook is kind of copped from the Velvet Underground's Sweet Jane and the keyboards and general mood owe a little to the Cars' Just What I Needed. Never Let You Go, from the CD Blue, sounds like a hit. Like Semi Charmed Life from their first record, Never Let You Go has energy and an easy momentum. Singer Stephan Jenkins has a comfortable presence whether singing in falsetto or rapping. It's not surprising that pop fans find Never Let You Go more appealing than Blue's first single, Anything, which was fast post punk but wasn't particularly distinctive.

  8. Live-The Dolphin's Cry    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    Live have always been intense. The success of their Throwing Copper CD came from striking a balance between the intensity and a likeable REM-influenced poppiness. Their last CD, the Secret Samadhi, lost that balance and often seemed pretentious and self indulgent. The Dolphin's Cry, from Live's new The Distance to Here CD, isn't much fun but it is a quite moving love song. Ed Kowalcyk's vocals are a little over the top but the sentiment, about how "love will lead us", is certainly heartfelt.

  9. Santana with Everlast-Put Your Lights On    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    Santana follows up the success of Smooth, his song with Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas, with another single from his Fundamental CD teaming him with one of today's big young stars. Unlike Smooth, which sounded like an equal partnership, Put Your Lights On seems more like an Everlast song where Santana is just around to add a little color though Carlos' guitar doodling is still interesting. Everlast's warning to all of a danger lurking, which might be him, has the pluses and minuses common to his work. It has a compelling, stark sound and a feeling of sincerity but his messages are delivered so humorlessly and monotonously that each song and each listen means diminishing returns.

  10. Blink 182-All the Small Things    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    The video to All the Small Things mocks Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees and other teen pop idols but Blink 182 are kind of a punky pop version of those groups. Their songs are hardly complicated, lyrically or musically, their upbeat lyrics are targeted towards teens(though boys, instead of girls) and they have fairly unthreatening symbols of cool(tattooes instead of weird facial hair). All the Small Things is particularly basic, with it's na-na-na chorus and very simple words about all the things she does for him. But Blink 182's fast version of pop is more fun, energetic and unpretentious. All the Small Things is exuberant, mindlessly perky guitar rock.

  11. Bush-The Chemicals Between Us    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    Without getting much attention in their native England, Bush had huge success in the U.S. with their Sixteen Stone CD, which took the edge of grunge bands like Nirvana and presented it with commercial polish and Gavin Rossdale's hunky looks. Though it didn't have a thrilling rocker like Sixteen Stone's Machinehead, the followup Razorblade Suitcase had pretty decent rockers and power ballads and its lesser record sales were more of a reflection of changing tastes and the death of grunge than of a drop off in quality. Though their sales are likely to continue to decline, Bush has shown some signs of establishing a distinctive personality and making fairly good music within a niche of intense rock. The Chemicals Between Us has a good raw, ragged sound that does a good job of communicating the tension and electricity of an exciting relationship.

  12. Creed-Higher    (down 3 positions)      buy it!
    The tremendous impact of Creed's My Own Prison CD at rock radio was one of music's most bizarre success stories. Nearly all of their songs were overtly about God or christianity. You have to assume that Higher, about a place where blind men can see, is about heaven. Most of their young male audience could care less about the religious message. As with their earlier work, the appeal of Higher comes from its meaty guitars and Scott Stapp's charismatic, anguished vocals. Higher, from their Human Clay CD, is their most polished single yet with a chorus that begs the kids to sing along. With so many rock bands playing angry heavy metal or rap edged rock, Creed's fans must be reassured by their familiar arena rock and meaty power chords. But Higher is tediously predictable and repetitious.

  13. Limp Bizkit-Rearranged    (unchanged)      buy it!
    The followup to Nookie from the Significant Other is musically more subtle than Nookie. The vocals and guitars don't scream and the song has a good groove with a nice bass line. Lyrically, Fred Durst is still a bitter guy. He's clearly upset about his latest breakup but he tries to convince himself that he thanks God it's over and that she's going to need him when he's gone.

  14. Metallica-No Leaf Clover    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Metallica's music is pretty overblown under any circumstances. Playing with an orchestra in the concerts recorded on the S & M CD would seem to play to their worst, most bombastic instincts. Somehow, while it's way too much and a little silly, the band does find some beauty and meaning in the new setting. No Leaf Clover is pretty pretentious musically but it also has some melodic appeal. The lyrics have the band's typical pessimism. The message is that when things seem to be going well, your luck is bound to change: "that light at the end of the tunnel is just a freight train coming your way."

  15. Smashing Pumpkins-The Everlasting Gaze    (unchanged)      buy it!
    After the disappointing sales of their Adore CD, Smashing Pumpkins return to the rocking sound of Cherub Rock, Bullet with Butterfly Wings and especially Zero for the first release from their Machina/Machines of God CD. Everlasting Gaze is pretty powerful with James Iha's slashing guitar and good, driving drumming from Jimmy Chamberlin, who the band has rehired after firing him because of drug problems. Billy Corgan's singing is still annoyingly whiny but it's at least fairly aggressive.

  16. Santana-Smooth    (down 4 positions)      buy it!
    Carlos Santana hasn't had a hit in nearly 20 years but with Smooth, from his new record Supernatural, he's found a savvy, irresistable sound. The music is classic Santana. Carlos' guitar riffs are evocative and the percussion and horns create a great groove. The new element is the vocals of Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas.  Matchbox 20 has been one of the most successful groups of the last 2 years with 5 hit singles from their Yourself or Someone Like You cd which still is getting radio play 3 years after its release. It's kind of funny that Thomas, whose success is largely based on a commercially calculated sound that works to appeal to rock fans without offending easy listening audiences, is singing about giving of your heart and not just being smooth. Nonetheless, it was smart for Santana to work with Thomas. Besides being a smart commercial move, using Thomas does work musically for Santana. His vocals are smooth and they invite you into Santana's cool world.

  17. Korn-Falling Away From Me    (unchanged)      buy it!
    With Nine Inch Nails' sales way down on their new CD, veteran gloom rockers Korn could be the new kings of intense, paranoid, gothic influenced rock. Falling Away From Me is humorless and not fun, but Jonathan Davis' pain sounds real as he sings of being so tormented by his painful life and the voices in his head that he's given up hope and is flirting with suicide. The music is powerful with good, hard guitars and genuinely spooky, atmospheric effects.

  18. Creed-What If    (up 6 positions)      buy it!
    What If, featured on the band's Human Clay CD and the Scream 3 soundrack, finds the band in an even angrier mood than usual. Mark Tremonti plays a hard heavy metal guitar. Scott Stapp screams with uncontrollable rage about society's unfairness and hypocrisy. But Stapp's not going to play the victim. Typically, he invokes the Bible and threatens to avenge, taking an eye for an eye. Perhaps the band's success has gone to Stapp's head. He apparently now believes that the band's fans are a legion of minions willing to fight for the causes he chooses.

  19. Red Hot Chili Peppers-Otherside    new to music chart      buy it!
    After the mindless diversion of Around the World, the third hit from the Californication CD returns to the more reflective tone of Scar Tissue, though Otherside, apparently about contemplating joining a dead friend, has a sadder, more agitated tone. The music is restrained with a quiet, insistent tone coming mostly from bass and drums until the guitars explode at the end. Older fans might not like it but the Chili Peppers keep showing signs of maturity.

  20. Kid Rock-Only God Knows Why    (down 2 positions)      buy it!
    While he usually comes across as a smart ass narcissist, on Only God Knows Why from his Devil Without a Cause CD, Kid Rock wants sympathy for his pain and the fact that people don't understand him. I would have thought Kid Rock would be embarrassed to sing a ballad about trying to find himself but I guess we already know he's shameless. The model for Only God Knows Why seems to be one of Pearl Jam's soaring, personal ballads but Kid Rock doesn't have Eddie Vedder's chops. He sounds best when his voice is distorted.

  21. Train-Meet Virginia    (down 5 positions)      buy it!
    Train are enjoying a long chart life with this single from their self titled debut. Different radio formats and listeners keep discovering this likeable, unpretentious loving tribute to an idiosyncratic, somewhat screwed woman. Meet Virginia isn't ground breaking but it has a nice low key southern rock tinged feel which is only broken when things get a little too heavy towards the end as singer Patrick Monahan screams about how Virginia doesn't want to live this life and then the song goes into a heavy guitar solo.

  22. Stroke9-Little Black Backpack    (down 2 positions)      buy it!
    Little Black Backpack, from the band's Nasty Little Thoughts CD, is nothing extraordinary but it is extremely catchy. It grabs your attention from the start with a slow Toad the Wet Sprocket type intro. Then it speeds up with rocking guitars and keeps changing tempo. The backpack reminds the singer of the ex-girlfriend who left it behind. He claims he doesn't want to tangle with her but wants to smash in the head of the guy who followed him.

  23. Stone Temple Pilots-Heaven and Hot Rods    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Down, the first single from STP's No. 4 CD, had an interestingly grungy sound but it was also a little harsh and didn't have the band's usual catchiness. It fell off the charts fairly quickly. Heaven and Hot Rods, which made the chart about the time Scott Weiland finished doing his jail time for a probation violation, is more of a basic straight ahead rocker. There's not much to the song with Weiland singing some gibberish about trying to get to heaven on a Sunday but it has an appealing driving beat, big rock guitars and a pretty cool mood.

  24. Rage Against the Machine-Guerrilla Radio    (down 3 positions)      buy it!
    Guerrilla Radio is more driving, heartfelt guitar driven rock. Rage are probably the most popular political band around. While the excitement of their intense music probably attracts more fans than their left wing politics, the sincerity of their beliefs is part of their appeal. On Guerrila Radio, the band again comfortably mixes rock and rap. Zack de la Rocha sings optimistically, "it has to start something" and "can't stop us now."

  25. Shannon Curfman-True Friends    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    True Friends is from the CD Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions. Curfman is still in her early teens. It's seems good that the latest guitar prodigy is a girl.

Songs 26-50


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