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All-Reviews.com Top 50 Songs*:
for the 3rd week of January, 2001

*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    (up 1 position)      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    (down 1 position)      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. Green Day-Warning    (unchanged)      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.

  5. Dave Matthews Band-I Did It    (up 30 positions)      buy it!
    With Matthews singing about mixing up "a magic mushroom cloud of care", I Did It, from the Everyday CD, has a bit of the trippy feel of Don't Drink The Water from Before These Crowded Streets. Even more, it has the mischievous feel of What Would You Say with the normally mellow Matthews having a good time, urging those in love, "don't turn it down, turn it loud, let it build" and "spread the love you got." Matthews' debauched delivery is a little too cute but the mood is generally fun. The solid band keep things moving forward with steady, unshowy backing.

  6. Lifehouse-Hanging By A Moment    (up 5 positions)      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."

  7. Three Doors Down-Loser    (down 1 position)      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."

  8. David Gray-Babylon    (unchanged)      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.

  9. 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.

  10. Matchbox 20-If You're Gone    (unchanged)      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.

  11. Three Doors Down-Kryptonite    (down 6 positions)      buy it!
    Kryptonite, from the young Mississippi band's Better Life CD, is a phenomenon. It's been in the top 50 since the first week of March 2000 and was one of the biggest hits of 2000. The song's success is probably about having a slightly new, fresh sound while still seeming familiar. Kryptonite has a solid, sturdy blues rock sound, a little like the classic rock staple Radar Love. Matt Roberts' guitar line is good and incisive. Kryptonite has an easy, unpretentious feel. Brad Arnold's lyrics are appealingly understated and vulnerable. Instead of being macho, Arnold sings about having a troubled mind. He needs reassurance that even if he goes crazy, his girl will stay by his side and treat him like her Superman.

  12. Incubus-Drive    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    The third chart hit from the Make Yourself CD is my favorite Incubus single so far. As usual, Brandon Boyd's lyrics are pretty serious but they have an appealing vulnerability and modest optimism. Boyd sings about feeling "the fear of uncertainty" but finding he can stop it from taking control. Boyd's singing is also serious but not overly dramatic. The band and producer Scott Litt provide a likably simple musical setting based around acoustic guitar and light percussion.

  13. Godsmack-Awake    (down 1 position)      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."

  14. Linkin Park-One Step Closer    (unchanged)      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."

  15. Crazy Town-Butterfly    (up 2 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."

  16. U2-Walk On    (up 26 positions)      buy it!
    Walk On, the second chart hit from All That You Can't Leave Behind, shows how U2 have returned to the sincerity and idealism of their 80's work but express it in a more subtle, mature way. Walk On is a tribute to Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her brave struggle against the repressive Burmese government. Bono's admiration is clear as he sings, "you could have flown away, a singing bird in an open cage who will only fly for freedom." But Walk On avoids the stridency of the band's early political songs. Bono's vocal is appealingly restrained. The music, with The Edge's glistening guitar line, has a quiet beauty as well as a solid Larry Mullen beat.

  17. Coldplay-Yellow    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    Coldplay follow Travis as a successful British band that's aware of their harder alternative predecessors but choose a mild, polite image and make smooth, pleasant music. Yellow is a sweet love song, a tribute to a woman who makes the stars shine and a list of things he'd do for her. The sound, with strings and a steadily strummed electric guitar, is rich and inviting and becomes more dense and intense. Chris Martin's voice is vulnerable and yearning, like Radiohead's Thom Yorke's, but Martin's lacks eccentricity and anguish. Its unpretentious thinness has an appealing honesty.

  18. Creed-With Arms Wide Open    (down 3 positions)      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.

  19. Josh Joplin Group-Camera One    (unchanged)      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."

  20. Strait Up featuring Lajon-Angel's Son    (unchanged)      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."

  21. Everclear-When It All Goes Wrong Again    (down 5 positions)      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.

  22. Aaron Lewis and Fred Durst-Outside    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Outside is the bonus track on the 1999 Family Values Tour CD. Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst "discovered" the band Staind early in their career and produced their 1999 Dysfunction CD. Dysfunction had two rock radio hits: the power ballad Home and the intense rocker Mudshovel. Both songs had Aaron Lewis' intense vocals and lyrics about his troubled mind. Outside is a duet between Lewis and Durst. The acoustic guitar backing is appealing but Lewis' vocals are again a little overwrought as he sings that the person who torments him is screwed up inside, just like he is.

  23. Dust For Life-Step Into The Light    (down 2 positions)      buy it!
    Step Into The Light is well made if familiar alternative rock from Dust For Life's self titled CD. Step Into The Light is reminiscent of Stone Temple Pilots, swinging from quiet, thoughtful verses to rocking choruses with big guitar chords. The songwriting, by Chris Gavin and guitarist Jason Hughes, is fairly typical and cliche ridden though not as angry as much contemporary rock. Gavin sings about being deceived and abandoned but still having "an ocean of laughter" and being able to "step into the light" and "find I'm not alone."

  24. The Offspring-Original Prankster    (down 17 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.

  25. Collective Soul-Why Part 2    (down 1 position)      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."

Songs 26-50


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