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All-Reviews.com Top 50 Songs*:
for the 3rd week of July, 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. Nine Days-Absolutely(Story of a Girl)    (unchanged)      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.

  6. Creed-With Arms Wide Open    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Higher, from Creed's Human Clay CD, is easily the longest running song on the chart, having been on the top 50 for more than nine months. Inevitably, Higher was embraced by pop radio, so it's going to hang on for a while longer. When Higher's finally played out, With Arms Wide Open is likely to follow it from rock radio to the pop charts. It's another sweeping, and basically empty and pretentious, ballad. Scott Stapp copped Eddie Vedder's serious intensity and delivers it with even less of a sense of humor than the original. On With Arms Wide Open, Creed's music is slightly less intense than usual and the subject matter is more appealing than the band's usual religious tirades. Stapp actually sounds a little humble as he welcomes his baby to the world.

  7. 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.

  8. 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."

  9. 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."

  10. No Doubt-Simple Kind Of Life    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Simple Kind Of Life is a somewhat unsuccessful attempt at a huge ballad hit like Tragic Kingdom's Don't Speak. The second single from Return of Saturn is, like the CD's first single Ex-Girlfriend, about how devastated Gwen Stefani was that Bush's Gavin Rossdale dumped her. There's something to be said for her honesty and there's nothing wrong with wanting to be a wife and mom, but the whole tone of Simple Kind Of Life is pretty pathetic. Do we really need to hear that she wasn't just in love with Gavin, she was obsessed, or that she hopes for a mistake that will bring her hoped for child? No Doubt have largely given up their ska punk sound. They're a good band and Simple Kind Of Life, with its clean sound and crisp beat, sounds good but the band's success will largely depend on their singer's appeal and here she's not that appealing.

  11. Creed-Higher    (up 1 position)      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.

  12. Eric Clapton & B.B. King-Riding With The King    (up 1 position)      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.

  13. Eminem-The Real Slim Shady    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    On the first single from the Marshall Mathers Lp, Eminem is, as usual, obnoxious, self pitying but also pretty funny. Real Slim Shady is getting played on alternative radio while Forgot About Dre, also produced by Dr. Dre with a similar light but sinister nursery rhyme type backing track, isn't. Is it because of Eminem's color? Regardless, Real Slim Shady is fun. Despite his dopey demeanor and accent, Eminem is a pretty fluid rapper and Real Slim Shady is fast with good momentum. Eminem is conflicted, excited about the prospect of lots of Eminem wannabes "who could be workin' at Burger King, spittin' on your onion rings" yet so insecure about the possibility of a white rap usurper that he needs to repeatedly tell us that he's the real thing. He rightly says he doesn't care about those who say that Will Smith has hits without swearing but whines about an unfair world where Tom Green can be dirty and he can't. He disses and distances himself from Britney and Christina, refusing to admit that he, like them, owes much of their career to image and MTV. Eminem's a fascinating character, bursting with ideas, some foolish, some insightful.

  14. Papa Roach-Last Resort    (up 2 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.

  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. Eve 6-Promise    (up 2 positions)      buy it!
    Promise is from Eve 6's upcoming Horrorscope CD. For a band who aren't awful but aren't great either and aren't obviously different from Iots of other groups, the success of Eve 6's debut was a bit of a fluke. The key to their early success was their irresistably hooky single Inside Out. Promise isn't quite as catchy and is unlikely to be another big radio hit. Promise is pretty good guitar based pop though. Max Collins, the band's singer, has a presence and can write a perky rock song. Promise, in which he makes pretty modest promises, trying to make a relationship work, reminds me more of Leech and Tongue Tied, light pieces of guitar based pop rock from the first record which I though were more fun than Inside Out.

  17. Goo Goo Dolls-Broadway    (down 6 positions)      buy it!
    Goo Goo Dolls continue to walk the tightrope, trying to show they still rock while not offending their big, new mainstream audience. Broadway, the fifth chart hit from their 1998 CD Dizzy Up The Girl, is tuneful and again shows the band to be genial, efficient rockers. The music and the Johnny Rzeznik's lyrics, about a guy wasting his time at the bar and prematurely giving up on life, are O.K. but don't have much depth.

  18. The Deftones-Change (In the House of Flies)    (down 1 position)      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.

  19. Nickelback-Leader Of Men    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Nickelback is a hard rocking band, like Creed, led by a serious, intense singer. Leader of Men, from the State CD, is another rant about society's evils and hypocrisy, asking "do you think I could drink something that's so hard to swallow." The music starts with appealingly restrained guitar but predictably builds into a big, guitar heavy onslaught.

  20. Vertical Horizon-You're A God    (up 5 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.

  21. Sister Hazel-Change Your Mind    (up 1 position)      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.

  22. Pearl Jam-Light Years    (up 4 positions)      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.

  23. Foo Fighters-Breakdown    (down 3 positions)      buy it!
    Breakdown is the third chart hit from There Is Nothing Left To Lose. It's not quite the pop masterpiece that the brilliantly buoyant Learn To Fly is but it's more fun than the very heavy Stacked Actors. Breakdown most closely resembles the band's fast, exhilarating Monkey Wrench. It isn't complex, just nonstop, hard rocking fun. The lyrics, about Dave Grohl's problems with his therapist, aren't very interesting but the energy of the music is undeniable.

  24. Incubus-Pardon Me    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Pardon Me, from the Make Yourself CD, resembles a lot of music on rock radio with its anthemic chorus, power guitar chords and anguished lyrics about having had enough of the world. However, as an acoustic version indicates, there is a real, thought out song within the more rocking record. Brandon Boyd's intensity and images of spontaneous combustion are striking. The band also create a distinctive sound on the electric version. A good, jagged beat and records scratched by their DJ add to a feel of turmoil.

  25. N Sync-It's Gonna Be Me    (unchanged)      buy it!
    It's Gonna Be Me sounds like No Strings Attached's first single Bye Bye Bye. It's got a little bit of a harder dance edge but it's still genial and unthreatening. The words are more standard than the breakup lyrics of Bye Bye Bye, trying to convince a women who's had a bad experience that all men aren't bad and he's not like that. It's Gonna Be Me is pretty slight but the young girls are bound to make it another big hit.

Songs 26-50


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