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

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

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  1. 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.

  2. 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."

  3. Alien Art Farm-Smooth Criminal    (unchanged)      buy it!
    The second chart hit from the Anthology CD, is fairly ingenious. They take advantage of the familiarity of the song from Michael Jackson's Bad. Dryden Mitchell even mimics Jackson's whoops and other vocal tics. To appeal to rock fans, Alien Ant Farm took a song that was catchy and edgy to start with and beefed it up. Terry Corso is particularly impressive, using the original's riff for a hard, compact guitar line. Jackson's paranoia is a natural fit with the misogyny of much contemporary rock. Smooth Criminal is a quite nasty story of a guy who comes in the window of a woman's apartment and strikes her down, leaving "blood stains on the carpet" and the woman near death. Alien Art Farm's Smooth Criminal grabs you with its striking, dark momentum and tight music but the harsh rock setting makes the unpleasantness of the song even clearer.

  4. Puddle Of Mudd-Control    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Like Staind, Puddle Of Mudd are a Fred Durst discovery. With their familiar rock sound, Puddle Of Mudd should also have quite a bit of success, but unlike Staind, who have Aaron Lewis' distinctive folky sincerity, nothing distinguishes Puddle Of Mudd from the long list of intense rockers some white male teens can't get enough of. Puddle Of Mudd aren't as abhorrent as the worst angry rockers like Linkin Park, Godsmack and Disturbed but Contol is very routine with big guitars and vocals that yell to a girl about "the pain you place inside" and ask for release "from my dirty cage." Puddle Of Mudd sound like Saliva, Tantric and so many other bands.

  5. U2-Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of    (up 8 positions)      buy it!
    Nearly a year after reviewing All That You Can't Leave Behind, I'm sticking to my original opinion. The CD is quite mellow and can be a little slow but it's remarkably consistent with thoughtful, enjoyable songs. Especially after the band's showy 90s work, All That You Can't Leave Behind's modesty is very appealing. Bono restrains the excesses that sometimes obscure his gift. His vocals have a charming grace. As they do throughout the CD, producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois give Stuck In A Moment a warm, rich sound. The keyboards create the easy feel of an r&b classic like People Get Ready. The fact that Bono wrote this as a message he wished he had sent to his friend Michael Hutchence, before he killed himself, gives Stuck In A Moment added poignance.

  6. Three Doors Down-Be Like That    (down 1 position)      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."

  7. Nickelback-How You Remind Me    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Nickelback sound like Nirvana and lots of other modern rock bands but on How You Remind Me, from the Silver Side Up CD, they make good use of familiar tools. Like Nirvana, Nickelback use the thrill of rock dynamics, shifting from quiet verses focusing on Chad Kroeger's singing to choruses with big, sweeping power chords. The lyrics, about being "sick inside without a sense of feeling" after a breakup , have the self pity of a lot of recent rock but Nickelback don't have the nastiness and excess of many of their contemporaries.

  8. Fuel-Bad Day    (unchanged)      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. 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."

  10. Gorillaz-Clint Eastwood    (up 4 positions)      buy it!
    Gorillaz is Blur's Damon Albarn's side project. Gorillaz is a pretty cool idea. Their self titled record provides the soundtrack to an alternative cartoon. On Clint Eastwood, the execution is pretty cool too. Clint Eastwood has a relaxed stroll of a groove, with atmospheric keyboards including a moody harmonica type effect. Albarn alternates vocals with a good, smooth rapper. In my mind, Albarn is the weak link on Clint Eastwood. His slacker vocals cross the line from cool to complacent and self satisfied.

  11. Tool-Schism    (unchanged)      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."

  12. Drowning Pool-Bodies    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Bodies is from Drowning Pool's Sinner CD. Bodies' sound is made for rock radio success. It's big and striking with a catchy chorus and an intense sound that mirrors its lyrics. Dave Williams, with his tough, attention grabbing wail, has more of a presence than many other troubled rockers around these days. Still Bodies, with its tale of a guy who "can't take much more" and decides to "let the bodies hit the floor", is really nasty stuff.

  13. Cake-Short Skirt/Long Jacket    (down 7 positions)      buy it!
    As always, John McCrea's vocal on Short Skirt/Long Jacket is deadpan and ironic but it's not as annoying as usual because McCrea found a humorous topic to match his affect: his unlikely quest for a babe who's also an ambitious, sharp businesswoman. Short Skirt/Long Jacket is also more enjoyable than most of Cake's previous work because the music is better. Short Skirt/Long Jacket, from the Comfort Eagle CD, has a good funky guitar line and beat and fun touches like Vince DiFiori's trumpet.

  14. Incubus-Wish You Were Here    (up 4 positions)      buy it!
    Incubus follow their mellow megasuccess Drive with a song reminiscent of Make Yourself's other singles. Wish You Were Here, the first single from the Morning View CD, has Pardon Me's record scratching and Stellar's spacy atmosphere. As on Drive, the lyrics show a sincere, slightly sappy, decency. Brandon Boyd sings about being in an idyllic setting. The you he wishes were here are apparently extraterrestrials. Wish You Were Here is good sounding, if unremarkable. Big guitars beef up a basically poppy song.

  15. Staind-Fade    (up 13 positions)      buy it!
    I look forward to seeing whether, after his huge success the past year, Aaron Lewis' future work is still about how messed up he is. Fade is another song about how Lewis' parents "were never there for me to express how I felt." Lewis enunciates every syllable to make sure you can feel his pain. Lewis isn't as nasty as other troubled rockers and he's more melodic. Lewis' vocal on Fade is fairly subtle and interesting as it rolls around the lyrics. Still, Staind's ultraserious music is standard rock, following the very common pattern of minimal verse then big guitar filled chorus. Fade has a heavy mood, with a forboding bass line.

  16. Blu Cantrell-Hit Em Up Style    (up 5 positions)      buy it!
    Hit Em Up Style is from Cantrell's So Blu CD. The fun thing about Hit Em Up Style is that it doesn't waste time getting angry at its cheating boyfriend, getting right to winning revenge by selling all his things and using his money to go on a shopping spree. It's silly but also light hearted and unpretentious with a relaxed beat. I imagine the repeated samples of chimes and an old timey horn riff will seem monotonous after repeat listens.

  17. Jennifer Lopez-I'm Real    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Even with a synth riff that reminds me of The Hustle, the third hit from the J.Lo CD is effective dance pop. I'm Real has good rhythm and is less mechanical sounding than Lopez' last single Play. Lopez' voice is pleasant but bland and basically overwhelmed by the beats. The lyrics to I'm Real are fairly vapid. Lopez declares her realness uninterestingly, telling her man not to feel insecure or worry about what she's doing when she's not with him. MTV and some radio stations are now playing a "remix" of I'm Real, basically a new song with almost totally different lyrics and music. The new version, a duet with Ja Rule, was written by Ja Rule and appears on his Pain Is Love CD. It actually has a real feel that's been missing from Lopez' heavily produced music with a clear, relaxed sound of minimal synths and a good, basic beat, The lyrics are also more relaxed. They're riffs off the original that include the publicity grabbing request for "niggas" to "mind they biz."

  18. Five For Fighting-Superman    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    Superman is the second chart hit from Five For Fighting's America Town CD. It's the latest in a long series of Superman rock songs by groups from The Kinks to, more recently, Three Doors Down, Crash Test Dummies and Our Lady Peace. Like many Supermans, Five For Fighting's is an aging young man's attempt to feel better about the fact that "it's not easy to be me" with the idea that even the man of steel has problems. It's lite-fm pap. Superman should kick Five For Fighting frontman John Ondrasik's ass for putting new agey jargon like "I'm just out to find the better part of me" and "wish that I could cry" in his mouth. Superman's music is tasteful and wimpy with a quiet piano eventually joined by polite drums.

  19. Alicia Keys-Fallin'    (up 6 positions)      buy it!
    Alicia Keys' Songs In A Minor is probably the most remarkable success story of 2001. Keys' only previous credits were a couple soundtrack songs and a little backup work but her CD debuted at number one and has been near the top of the charts ever since. Fallin' is striking on first listen and goes a long way in explaining the CD's success. Unlike the overproduced work of other female pop singers, Fallin' shows the confidence to let Keys' singing stand on its own and her strong, sexy voice is up to the task. Fallin' has a good, minimal production. Strong backing vocals and Keys' piano playing create a classic, soulful sound. There isn't much to the lyric, about the confusion of a relationship that brings lots of pleasure and pain, but its simplicity fits the song's stylish, retro feel.

  20. Disturbed-Down With The Sickness    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Even in the over the top world of troubled contemporary rockers, Disturbed seem pretty silly. Down With The Sickness is the third chart hit from their The Sickness CD. Down With The Sickness has rumbling, hammering guitars and a menacing atmosphere but it's not quite as hard as Disturbed's previous rock radio hits. The music is kept quiet and slow so you can pick up the ridiculous, dark lyrics about "drowning in my deep sea of loathing" and waking "the demon in me." On the chorus, David Draiman does the same angry, stuttering yell he did on Stupify and Voices.

  21. Sum 41-Fat Lip    (up 1 position)      buy it!
    Fat Lip, from the All Killer No Filler CD, is fairly fun but totally derivative punky pop. Fat Lip alternates between an early Beasties style mix of rap and rock guitar and mindless power pop. The rhymes, like "I like songs with distortion, to drink in proportion, the doctor said my mom should have had an abortion", are cocky and dopey. With Deryck Whibley singing about being "sick of always hearing act your age" and of liking to have "fun at other people's expense", the other half of Fat Lip is basically a rehash of Blink 182's What's My Age Again. The song also throws in some lame rebellion("I'll never fall in line, become a victim of conformity") but the song's appeal comes from its fast, high spirited energy.

  22. Weezer-Island In The Sun    (up 4 positions)      buy it!
    Island In The Sun is the second hit from Weezer's very good green album. Island In The Sun is the mellowest and poppiest song on a record that's otherwise straight forward rockers. It's a nice love song about how good it'll be to go away. Rivers Cuomo's sweet, idealistic lyrics("we'll never feel bad anymore) are well matched by the mood created by easy, strummed guitar and the band's hip hips. The band wisely mixes things up by adding harder rocking guitar on the bridge.

  23. Janet Jackson-Someone To Call My Lover    (unchanged)      buy it!
    Like on All For You's title track, Janet Jackson plays it safe on the CD's second hit, using a familiar riff from a 70's hit, creating a pleasant, though not particularly exciting, sound. Someone To Call My Lover, written and produced by Jackson and her longtime partners Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, has a nice, easy feel with a riff from America's Ventura Highway, chiming keyboards and smooth beat. Jackson's vocal is fluid and likable. Someone To Call My Lover is also like All For You in its hope that some guy will come up to her and decide she's "the girl of his dreams." On Someone To Call, Jackson bemoans the loneliness of the road and how "easily I fall in love."

  24. Live-Simple Creed    (unchanged)      buy it!
    No, the first single from Live's V CD isn't a critique of the intelligence of Live's competition in the soaring rock ballad business. Simple Creed is like They Stood Up For Love, one of the better songs on Live's Distance From Here CD. The verses, with slashing guitars, show a harder, murky edge then give way to a catchy, uplifting chorus. Like a lot of Live's music, Simple Creed is pretentious but also has real power. Ed Kowalczyk's answer to a world where kids take guns to school is "we gotta love each other." Kowalczyk makes a nice contribution to Evolution Revolution Love on Tricky's Blowback CD and Tricky returns the favor with a guest vocal on Simple Creed.

  25. Dave Matthews Band-The Space Between    (down 15 positions)      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."

Songs 26-50


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