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All-Reviews.com Top 50 Songs*:
for the 1st week of July, 2001

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

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  1. Train-Drops Of Jupiter    (unchanged)      buy it!
    If Black Crowes' Chris Robinson was in a really good mood and fronted an upbeat piano based Bruce Hornsby song, it would sound a little like Drops Of Jupiter, the title track from Train's new CD. Like Meet Virginia, it's a tribute to a complicated lady but Drops Of Jupiter is even sunnier than Train's first hit. Drops Of Jupiter has soaring strings and not much of an edge. The lyrics, which compare love to "the best soy latte that you ever had", don't hide their lightweight, yuppie side. Still, Drops Of Jupiter has good energy and it's hard to resist the positive vibe as Pat Monahan recites the attributes of woman whose growth convinces him "there's time to change."

  2. Staind-It's Been Awhile    (unchanged)      buy it!
    It's Been Awhile, the first single from the Break The Cycle CD, entered the top 50 as singer Aaron Lewis had just made the top 10 for the first time with Outside from the Family Values Tour CD. It's Been Awhile is similar to Outside: thoughtful and fairly subtle for radio rock but very serious and not much fun. It's Been Awhile is another song about Lewis' troubled mind. He sings about how he always screws things and longs for the feeling of relief that came with his love. It's Been Awhile's verses are fairly quiet and similar to Outside. Power chords and drums create rock drama on the chorus but things don't get too overdone.

  3. U2-Elevation    (unchanged)      buy it!
    The third chart hit from All That You Can't Leave Behind is the closest the generally mellow CD comes to U2's big, empty synth filled 90s work. Elevation is a silly but fun song about a woman who makes Bono "feel like I can fly." Bono has a good time with his "woo-hoo" falsetto and goofy "mole living in a hole" lyrics. Eno and The Edge's synths create a buoyancy that overcomes the music's industrial nature.

  4. Incubus-Drive    (unchanged)      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.

  5. Dave Matthews Band-The Space Between    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    More than the glib I Did It, The Space Between captures the mood of the Everyday CD, which is at its best on easy, textured ballads that carry on the tradition of the band's best songs like Crush and Crash Into Me. The Space Between has Crash Into Me's delicate, unhurried feel. Matthews repeats a graceful guitar line and his likably relaxed singing creates a hopeful mood. The Space Between is one of Everyday's many songs about Matthews trying to save a troubled relationship. He warns a woman "you cannot quit me so quickly" and reminds her "the space between the tears we cry is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more."

  6. Lifehouse-Hanging By A Moment    (down 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."

  7. Sugar Ray-When It's Over    (unchanged)      buy it!
    When It's Over is from Sugar Ray's new self titled CD. It wasn't that long ago that Sugar Ray mostly played fast, anarchic ska/metal/dance music. Since then they've found big success by easing to a genial pop sound, especially on 14:59's hits: Every Morning, Falls Apart and Someday. Sugar Ray's sound is likable, even if it's unexciting. Sugar Ray has Someday's charming, unassuming feel. It's well constructed with a pleasant beat and good, subtle keyboards and guitar. Mark McGrath's voice is a little flat and not great but it fits with the music's mood. He's amiable even as he mourns a lost relationship, idealizes his ex, denies it's over("can I still come over") and feels sorry for himself.

  8. Fuel-Bad Day    (up 7 positions)      buy it!
    The third chart hit from the Something Like Human CD is another power ballad. The music and Brett Scallions' singing aren't as overwrought as on Hemmorhage and Innocent but Bad Day is still very intense and serious. Bad Day sounds like a hit, using the formula of starting with acoustic guitar and letting the rock sound build. The lyrics are OK, a simple tale of a girlfriend whose problems may be more serious than she's letting on.

  9. Stone Temple Pilots-Days Of The Week    (up 3 positions)      buy it!
    A year and a half after releasing their reunion CD, No. 4, Stone Temple Pilots are back. The short, unassuming Days Of The Week is the first single from Shangri-La Dee Da. Like On Down, Dean DeLeo plays good crunching power chords but Days Of The The Weak also has the fun feel of Big Bang Baby and an easy flow that was largely missing from STP's more assertive, derivative early work. Scott Weiland's lyrics, listing the days to describe a difficult relationship with someone who often "thinks I'm the enemy", are typically minimal and not very insightful but his singing is good, strong but relaxed.

  10. Depeche Mode-Dream On    (down 2 positions)      buy it!
    Depeche Mode are in the third decade of flaunting a bleak worldview. Exciter is their first set of new songs in four years. Like most Depeche Mode music, Dream On isn't much fun or as deep as the band thinks. But the sound, while cold like Personal Jesus, has a sleek, stark appeal, with a minimum of beat and synth clanging. Dave Gahan's vocals and Martin Gore's lyrics are typically dark and humorless. After stating "death becomes me", Dream On warns those who "party for a living" of karmic payback: "pain is waiting, priming to do its educating." We've heard versions of the song's warning from the band before. If "you feel a little love, dream on."

  11. Linkin Park-Crawling    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Linkin Park's first rock hit was noisy and nasty but its stomping "one step closer to the edge and I'm about to break" hook was stirring and catchy. Crawling, the second single from the Hybrid Theory, has higher pretentions. It's a Korn style mix of synth atmospherics and hard rock. Linkin Park's sound is engineered to appeal to disaffected male youths. Crawling has a touch of Mike Shinoda's rap, meaningful, troubled lyrics on the verses and Brad Delson's big guitars and Chester Bennington's unpleasant, full throated yell on the chorus. The lyrics, similar to those of many recent rock songs about troubled males, are pretty bad. Bennington complains about being controlled by a lack of contol and of "crawling in my skin."

  12. Tool-Schism    (down 3 positions)      buy it!
    I've had enough of harsh rock about troubled young white guys but I have to admit that Schism, the first single from Tool's Lateralus CD, is powerful and about as good as the genre gets. Schism slowly gains in intensity through its seven dark minutes. Schism isn't fun but, despite its meaningful tone, it generally avoids pretension. Schism, coming on the heels of the three top 50 hits from A Perfect Circle's Mer De Noms, continues Maynard James Keenan's success. Keenan is also continuing to make music that's quieter and more stark than Tool's earlier work. Adam Jones' dissonant guitar line is more about atmosphere than noise. Keenan's agitated vocal sounds like he's barely controlling his rage as he sings of the disintergrating and "fundamental differing" of two lovers. As he mourns the "atrophy" of a sense of compassion", Keenan obsesses about a time when "the pieces fit."

  13. Three Doors Down-Be Like That    (up 8 positions)      buy it!
    The fourth chart hit from This Better Life is 3 Doors Down's inevitable rock ballad. Three Doors Down move into Matchbox 20 territory for a song a little like Push. Brad Arnold's voice doesn't have the strength and personality of Rob Thomas' but he's less showy as well. Be Like That starts with a quiet, reflective guitar. The band kicks in on the chorus but to their credit, they don't use the power chords and bombast of many rock ballads. Be Like That is quite ordinary and unremarkable but it's a decent song with strings, a mellow mood and stories of a guy dreaming he was a TV star and a homeless woman just dreaming she had "a safe home and a warm bed."

  14. Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya & Pink-Lady Marmalade    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    As it did 25 years ago, Lady Marmalade brings to my mind a junior high school kid showing off naughty words she's learned to her friends in French class. The new version, from the soundtrack of the movie Moulin Rouge, closely tracks Labelle's original and is fairly pointless. It seems like the main purpose of the remake is to provide an excuse for its young singers to play dress up in a sexy video. The funk rock backing is fairly similar to the original's. Only Lil' Kim's good, tight rap adds something new. Her tough, bottom line attitude is far from the 70s record's romanticized tale of a prostitute who helps a guy have a brief, transcendental escape from "his gray flannel life." The production moves efficiently, giving each of the confident young women a chance in the spotlight. Mya is the least distinctive. Pink isn't the greatest singer, but she's self assured and full of personality. Christina Aguilera is typically showy and over the top.

  15. Saliva-Your Disease    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    Your Disease, from the Memphis band's Every Six Seconds CD, covers a lot of the bases of hard modern rock to create a sound that its target audience must find irresistable. Like Limp Bizkit, Saliva mixes hard guitars with rap. Over Soundgarden style hard guitars, Josey Scott does a slow Kid Rock style white trashy rap with some truly awful lines("like the Bee Gees cry, I'm just stayin' alive). The chorus is catchy metal pop that would make Def Leppard proud. Your Disease's lyric is familiar junk: "it feels like paradise", "I want to take you down, but your soul cannot be found" and "there's nothing here for free."

  16. Tantric-Breakdown    (down 6 positions)      buy it!
    Before recording Days Of The New's second CD, frontman Travis Meeks fired the rest of the band: guitarist Todd Whitener, bassist Jesse Vest and drummer Matt Taul. Since then, Days Of The New 2 sold disappointingly and Meeks' ex-bandmates are doing well with their new band Tantric and their self titled CD. On Breakdown, the Louisville band create a potent, well produced sound with power chords, a big beat and a touch of synths. Unfortunately, the vocalist they chose, Hugo Ferreira, is just another mannered, overwrought rock singer. And Breakdown is very standard rock. Its chorus is a little like that of Bob Seger's hackneyed song with the same name. The lyrics are fairly pontless, taunting someone who seems "to have it all" and "to have control", who's losing it and trying to "find the reason that no one else is living this way."

  17. Weezer-Hash Pipe    (unchanged)      buy it!
    After their good but idiosyncratic 1996 Pinkerton CD sold disappointingly, Weezer took a break then tightened their sound. The payoff is their best and most successful CD: the very good, rocking green album. Hash Pipe was a good choice of a first single. The tough, rocking sound helps kill the band's image as video dependent jokesters. Brian Bell and Rivers Cuomo's guitars are as big and menacing as any hard rock band's. Cuomo sings without his earlier tentativeness. On Hash Pipe, about a transsexual prostitute smoking to relieve life's paranoia and anxiety, Cuomo moves assuredly in and out of a falsetto, always adding to the song's sense of urgency. As on Buddy Holly, power chords and catchy hooks create a great, exhilarating sound.

  18. The Cult-Rise    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    It's been seven years since The Cult's last new record and fifteen years since their commercial peak but the band recapture the weird charge of their best work on Rise, a fun, over the top song from the Beyond Good And Evil CD. Rise closely resembles The Cult's mid 80s alternative rock hits She Sells Sanctuary and Love Removal Machine. Rise is a little harder and less atmospheric than The Cult's earlier work but it's a typical mix of theatricality and Billy Duffy's driving rock guitars. Ian Astbury's vocals are distinctively driven and a little crazy. The lyrics have the band's usual mysticism but Rise is a surprisingly uplifting love song: "you're up against the world and still you rise."

  19. Seven Mary Three-Wait    (down 3 positions)      buy it!
    On 1995's Cumbersome, Jason Ross was one of the first singers to borrow Eddie Vedder's serious, deep vocal style for a successful rock ballad. Wait, from The Economy Of Sound, starts pretty well with mellow guitar and a tale of a dream. Then the chorus comes and Seven Mary Three are just another band, like Collective Soul and countless others, making catchy but glossy, anonymous music with overdone, emotional singing. Cliches like "I never found a gift you get for free" pile up as Wait goes on.

  20. Dave Navarro-Rexall    (up 6 positions)      buy it!
    Trust No One is the former Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers guitar player's solo debut CD. Rexall starts like a Chili Peppers psychedelic rock ballad. The atmosphere gets thicker and by the end it has a dense, bleak Korn/Tool type sound. Navarro has the guitar chops to carry off the transition. His voice is competent and pleasant but he doesn't modulate his vocal to match the song's dynamic shift. In general, Rexall is interesting but not that striking. Rexall is about the gap between the positive appearance and sad reality of a relationship and Navarro's agitation as it dies. He sings "I'm running out of room" and repeats "I hate my life."

  21. Uncle Kracker-Follow Me    (down 1 position)      buy it!
    Uncle Kracker(aka Matt Shafer) was Kid Rock's DJ. He co-wrote some of the hits from Devil Without A Cause and Kid Rock produced Uncle Kracker's Double Wide CD. Sugar Ray lead singer Mark McGrath appears in the Follow Me video. Like Sugar Ray did on their pop hits Someday and Falls Apart, Uncle Kracker restrains his harder dance music instincts on Follow Me. Uncle Kracker seems more calculated and less sincere but Follow Me has an undeniable appeal. Follow Me has a doo wop feel and good, very minimal instrumentation from fingersnaps and light drumming and keyboards. Follow Me is pleasant and innocuous though its lyric is fairly annoying. Uncle Kracker tries to convince his girl that a lack of commitment is good("We'll be alright if you don't ask me to stay") and boasts, "I make you feel free" and"I can guarantee, you won't find nobody else like me."

  22. Blink 182-The Rock Show    (unchanged)      buy it!
    It's seems like time for Blink 182 to try something new and let their sound evolve a little. Still, Blink 182's fast, unpretentious punky pop is very enjoyable. They're less gimmicky and more likable than current competitors like New Found Glory and Sum 41. Blink 182 are particularly appealing on The Rock Show, a nice, simple reminiscence of a girl met at a Warped tour concert and how "everything's better when she's around." The Rock Show, from Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, is buoyant, with a fun, stuttering beat and guitar line that never stop.

  23. N Sync-Pop    (up 2 positions)      buy it!
    Michael Jackson, The King Of Pop, seems to be an influence on Pop, the first single from the Celebrity CD, in both its hard edged dance music and its angry, fairly foolish lyrics. 'N Sync don't just want to sell a lot of records, they want respect. They sing about being "sick and tired of hearin' all these people talk about" their music "and when is it gonna fade out." They claim "what we're doing is not a trend/we got the gift of melody,we gonna bring it 'til the end." Pop doesn't have much gift of melody but it does work as a dance music. It has a cold but effective sound with sleek beats. The singing doesn't fare as well. N Sync don't have Jackson's ability to rise above harsh dance music. The stark production emphasizes the thin, processed feel of the vocals.

  24. Limp Bizkit-My Way    (down 6 positions)      buy it!
    My Way is the third chart hit from Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water. It sounds like Rearranged, Take A Look Around and a lot of Limp Bizkit's other music. The music, though familiar, is pretty good with an edgy, forboding mood on the verses and good rock energy on the chorus from Wes Borland's fast, hard guitar and John Otto's dynamic beat. But, as usual, Fred Durst messes things up with his mediocre talent and stupid attitude. Durst's thin voice is barely adequate on the verses then he does his distinctive hoarse yelp on the chorus. The lyrics are a typical paranoid Durst rant similar to Rearranged's. He resents a woman looking down on him, pathetically demands respect("it's my way or the highway") and convinces himself "you'll be the one who's left missing me."

  25. Staind-Outside    (up 3 positions)      buy it!
    Now the new Staind CD is out, rock radio, after playing the 1999 Family Values Tour live version of Outside for more than five months, is playing the Break The Cycle version. There's not much difference. The studio mix adds a touch of keyboards and, unsurprisingly for the genre, electric guitars come in on the chorus. Outside is still mostly Aaron Lewis' acoustic and his intense vocal. As usual, Lewis' singing is appealingly heartfelt as he sings about his troubled mind but he's also very serious and a little overwrought. Outside is about the guy who torments him being as screwed up inside as he is.

Songs 26-50


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