The Game Of Love - Santana Featuring Michelle Branch
Weeks on Chart: 20 Peak: #7 (Nov. 2002) buy it!
After achieving incredible success, with a big assist from Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas, on the Supernatural CD by targeting baby boomers, Carlos Santana aimed for an even younger audience by teaming up with teen favorite Michelle Branch. Neither the song nor Branch's vocal is particularly exciting but, coming on the heels of her weepy hit Goodbye To You, it's nice to hear Branch loosen up a little. Branch again is likably sweet and unassuming, especially when she doesn't quite reach the high notes. Game Of Love, from Santana's Shaman CD, has a pretty dopey lyric. Branch cries for a guy who don't "come around no more", asks him to "use me" and "control me" and consoles herself with the thought that "it's all in the game of love." Fortunately, Game Of Love's music is so relaxed that Branch's angst barely registers. The innocuous "little bit of this", "little bit of that" hook is the most memorable line. Santana's comeback music isn't great but his ability to blend contemporary sounds with the dense but easy music he's been playing with his band for more than 35 years is impressive. Game Of Love's steady percussion flow isn't that different from Oye Como Va's. Game Of Love is very lightweight but its hand claps and horns give it a rich, buoyant feel. The guitar playing is quite remarkable. It's distinctively Santana's and impressively proficient but it never sounds like showing off. Santana seems like he's just trying to fit in with and accentuate Game Of Love's sunny mood even towards the end when he throws out a very good and seemingly effortless solo.
Gangsta Lovin' - Eve featuring Alicia Keys
Weeks on Chart: 15 Peak: #18 (Oct. 2002) buy it!
Eve's new CD is called Eve-Olution. Gangsta Lovin' has the same kind of easy, likably playful sound as Eve's first big pop hit Let Me Blow Ya Mind. Ja Rule/Ashanti producer Irv Gotti gave Gangsta Lovin' a good sound with a steady, relaxed beat and a catchy synth riff. Eve's rap is appealingly confident and straight forward. She's strong and subtly teasing as she tells a guy she's interested. Alicia Keys' vocal on the chorus is assisted by backing singers and hardly challenging but her smooth, laid back singing fits Gangsta Lovin's charming, breezy mood.
Genie In a Bottle - Cristina Aguilera
Weeks on Chart: 15 Peak: #24 (Oct. 1999) buy it!
From her self titled debut, this lightweight pop hit's synthetic beat is undeniably catchy but what's with this new trend of female pop singers being so pathetically submissive.
Get Away - Earshot
Weeks on Chart: 9 Peak: #21 (July 2002) buy it!
Get Away is from the LA based band's Letting Go CD. Get Away has the intense, dramatic feel of Tool or A Perfect Circle. Singer/songwriter Will Martin does an agonized howl like Maynard James Keenan's. On the verses, Martin's vocal moves forward in jerks over an ominous, rumbling bass. Then on the chorus, Martin's wail gets tougher as the guitars begin to pound. Get Away's sound isn't very likable but it is big and powerful. On Get Away, Martin apparently complains about having to live through all kinds of tension and pressure because of all the sick and disturbing things that have come out since his partner started looking inside.
Get Born Again - Alice In Chains
Weeks on Chart: 3 Peak: #14 (Aug. 1999) buy it!
The single from the Nothing Safe greatest hits collection is more overblown, self important if well played rock. It's sad that that the Seattle sound that has lived on is slow, unexciting monotous classic rock instead of the original, fast and varied music of Nirvana not to mention the quirky sound of bands like Mudhoney and Young Fresh Fellows.
Get Busy - Sean Paul
Weeks on Chart: 15 Peak: #20 (June 2003) buy it!
Sean Paul Henriquez has moved from having dancehall hits in his native Jamaica to international stardom. Get Busy is from Sean Pauls Dutty Rock CD. Pauls loose, goofy rap has its charm. His admonitions for the ladies to shake their booties and get it on with him are harmless. His easy confidence and lack of self consciousness roll over your resistance. But Pauls cocky, lady loving Jamaican is such a stereotype that Get Busy is largely a novelty song. Get Busys saving grace is its infectious music. Get Busy was produced by dancehall veteran Steven Lenky Marsden, who suddenly has two big pop hits. As he did on Wayne Wonders No Letting Go, Marsden used a dawali rhythm on Get Busy. The diwali rhythm, produced by irregular handclaps accompanied by quietly ringing synths, creates a joyful noise and supplies a lot of Get Busys charm. Paul contributes by moving fast and keeping up with the buoyant spirit. Pauls lyric is dopey and innocuous but the musics energy makes Get Busy breezy fun.
Get Free - The Vines
Weeks on Chart: 13 Peak: #33 (Sept. 2002) buy it!
Get Free is from the Highly Evolved CD by the young band from Sydney, Australia. With a screaming lead singer and a basic, hard rocking sound, The Vines have a surface resemblance to another hot band from overseas: The Hives. While The Hives' Howlin' Pelle Almqvist goofs around and has fun, Vines frontman Craig Nicholls is very serious about his music. He openly emulates hero Kurt Cobain, especially in the band's older songs. The Highly Evolved CD also has songs similar to those of dreamier British bands like Coldplay and Doves but Get Free's Nirvana influence is clear. It reminds me of Breed, Stay Away and Scentless Apprentice as well as Big Bang Baby by fellow Nirvana fans Stone Temple Pilots. Get Free gets simple, exciting energy from Nicholls' unhinged yell, a slicing guitar line and a good, driving beat. On Get Free, Nicholls rages and drops fragments of desperation: "I'm gonna get free, right into the sun", "she never loved me, why should anyone?", "you know you're really alone" and "save me from here."
Get Low - Lil' Jon & The Eastside Boyz featuring the Yin Yang Twins
Weeks on Chart: 14 Peak: #31 (Nov. 2003) buy it!
Lil Jon is the latest of many successful rap and hiphop acts from Atlanta. Get Low is from Lil John & The Eastside Boyz' Kings Of Crunk CD. Kings Of Crunk came out more than a year ago. Since then, Get Low's popularity has slowly grown and Get Low has moved from dance clubs to pop radio. Get Low is an attention grabber. Get Low has an edgy, slightly menacing synth line that matches its raw vocals. Get Low's singing, which is mostly just yelling, has confidence and a touch of anger that add up to a steady energy. The singers stay in your face and refuse to be ignored. From the chorus bragging about the sweat dripping "down my balls" to the verses wondering about a woman's sexual prowess and admiring strippers, Get Low's lyric encouraging the ladies in the club to their sexiest behavior is proudly vulgar and stupid and offensive in places. But it's tolerable in Get Low's wild, exuberant context. Get Low has an urgency that's rare among the meticulously produced songs on pop radio.
Get The Party Started - Pink
Weeks on Chart: 18 Peak: #11 (Dec. 2001) buy it!
Get The Party Started, from Pink's second CD M!ssundaztood, is a pleasant surprise. On the hits from her first CD, Pink showed a distinctive personality in her singing and videos but the music was fairly standard, if effective, contemporary dance pop. Linda Perry, whose band 4 Non Blondes had a big hit with What's Up, produced and cowrote Get The Party Started. I wasn't a big fan of What's Up, but she's done a great job on Get The Party Started helping Pink break genre walls with a big, loose 70s funk groove. Get The Party Started is reminiscent of the B-52's joyful invitations to the dance floor. Overdubbing on the chorus even makes Pink sound a little like she's both Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. Get The Party Started has Pink's standard narcissism. She brags about her Mercedes and gold diamond rings and loves the idea of a party where "everybody's waitin' for me to arrive" and "everybody's dancin' for me." Luckily the music, with its fun feel and big, thumping beat, has a more generous tone than the lyrics.
Gets Me Through - Ozzy Osbourne
Weeks on Chart: 7 Peak: #46 (Oct. 2001) buy it!
After serving so many successful young rock bands as a patron(through the Ozzfest tours) and a musical influence, it seems only fair that a 50-something Ozzy Osbourne should have another shot at a hit. Gets Me Through, which has a suitably cheesy video, is from the Down To Earth CD. Osbourne’s high, demented vocals combine the excesses of 70s art rock and heavy metal. Gets Me Through’s music is fairly standard crunching hard rock, complete with a showy, technically proficient guitar solo, but the song’s main appeal is as a short sample of Osbourne’s over the top dramatics. Osbourne sings about having lost his spirit and being haunted by nightmares and dark visions but still finding some solace in his fans’ love.
Gigolo - Nick Cannon
Weeks on Chart: 6 Peak: #44 (March 2004) buy it!
Nick Cannon was previously best known as a comedian and an actor on his Nickelodeon tv show and in the movies Drumline and Love Don't Cost A Thing. Gigolo is on Cannon's self titled CD. Cannon got help for his first full length CD from hit maker R. Kelly, who co-wrote, produced and sang backup on Gigolo. Three things are usually true about Kelly's songs: they sound good and they have some odd sonic touches and fairly crude images of women. They're all true about Gigolo. Kelly sings the chorus. Typically, he's got money and women on his mind, bragging that he's "spending lots of dough" and is "always surrounded by so many 'hos." Cannon does the raps, playing the cocky star looking for a one night stand "wit' a groupie" not a girlfriend. Cannon doesn't have a particularly distinctive voice but he is fast, smooth and appealingly confident. Gigolo's chorus has an atmospheric riff that sounds like it should be on a dreamy techno track. Otherwise, Gigolo is good if unremarkable. It has a crisp beat and a good guitar sample repeated throughout. Gigolo's vibe is pretty laid back. It doesn't knock you out with its inventiveness like Kelly's Ignition remix did. Gigolo is another Kelly track with a decent sound and a questionable attitude towards women.
Girl All The Bad Guys Want - Bowling For Soup
Weeks on Chart: 5 Peak: #41 (April 2003) buy it!
Until this year, Texas band Bowling For Soup had a fairly small following and were best known for novelty songs like The Bitch Song. Girl All The Bad Guys Want has brought them to a new level, delivering a surprise Grammy nomination for best pop performance by a group and their first pop hit. Bowling For Soup fit with all the punky pop bands like Good Charlotte and Sum 41 who have followed Blink 182 into the top 40. Girl All The Bad Guys Want, from the Drunk Enough To Dance CD, isn't much different from other similar hits but it is a good example of the genre. In the song and the video(which takes off from the line about "singers that are mad at their dad" to mock the pretensions of Fred Durst and Staind's Aaron Lewis), Bowling For Soup seem a little more grown up than their contemporaries. Jaret Reddick has the standard bratty, juvenile voice but he uses it in a smarter way. Chris Burney and Reddick play the usual guitar riffs but vary them, stomping, scratching and spinning as the sound keeps coming in an exciting way. The lyric is a fairly standard tale of unrequited love but it has a light hearted charm. The implicit joke is that it's probably a good thing that Reddick can't win this girl who likes rap metal, wrestling and guys with a moustache.
Girl Inside My Head - Blues Traveler
Weeks on Chart: 7 Peak: #31 (May 2001) buy it!
John Popper put out a solo record and bass player Bob Sheehan died but Blues Traveler has stayed together. Bridge is Blues Traveler's first CD in four years. Girl Inside My Head was written by Popper and new bassist Tad Kinchla. Popper inevitably plays a little harmonica but the song doesn't have much edge. Maybe it has something to do with Popper losing 180 pounds. The music, with a psychedelic pop guitar line by Chad Kinchla, has an easy groove and amiable feel but it's pretty innocuous. The lyrics are also a little wimpy. Girl Inside My Head is about a guy making himself crazy, thinking about how to present himself to a woman, unsure whether to let her know what he's like or to play the "jungle cat."
Girl's Not Grey - AFI
Weeks on Chart: 13 Peak: #22 (April 2003) buy it!
AFI's Sing The Sorrow CD is the California band's seventh record. Through the late 90s, A.F.I. tried different styles, principally hardcore and gothic. Their following kept growing to the point that AFI is now on a major label and they could work on Sing The Sorrow with big time producers Butch Vig(Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins) and Jerry Finn(Blink 182). AFI have mostly taken advantage of their opportunity. AFI leader Davey Havok has become more confident and focused. Girl's Not Grey is solid and well made. AFI are clearly Bad Religion fans and Girl's Not Grey has the serious, intense sound of a good Bad Religion song. I like the way Girl's Not Grey shifts speed. Guitarist Jade Puget and drummer Adam Carson pick up the pace on the chorus and parts of the verses to exciting effect. Puget generally keeps things interesting with a variety of riffs. I don't love Girl's Not Grey. It's a little too tightly structured and Havok is kind of humorless. Still, his singing doesn't have the pretension and narcissism of so many contemporary rock singers. He reminds me of Joe Jackson in an earnest, hard rocking mode. Girl's Not Grey has a good, big, ungimmicky sound. When it gets juiced up, it's quite thrilling. Girl's Not Grey might be about finding a moment of calm before creating the art that "does drown" and "will swallow whole."
Girlfriend - N Sync
Weeks on Chart: 15 Peak: #19 (April 2002) buy it!
Girlfriend, the third single from N Sync's Celebrity record is my favorite from the record so far. On Girlfriend, the boys worked with very busy producers The Neptunes. Partly because N Sync are better singers, Girlfriend is more enjoyable than Britney Spears' I'm A Slave For You, which was a mess despite a striking, good Neptunes production. With a good borrowed riff and a light, steady beat, Girlfriend has a relaxed, breezy feel. N Sync's harmonies are impressive and fit nicely with the easy mood. N Sync's chief hunk Justin Timberlake, who wrote Girlfriend with The Neptunes, plays a guy trying to convince a girl that while the boy she's likes "doesn't even know you're there", he'll "treat you good." The lyrics are typical boy band fodder but neither they nor some silly whispered interjections negate Girlfriend's charm.
Girls And Boys - Good Charlotte
Weeks on Chart: 8 Peak: #33 (Sept. 2003) buy it!
Good Charlotte's previous singles were fast punky pop. Girls And Boys, the third hit from the Young and the Hopeless CD, shows that Good Charlotte can make fun, kind of dopey music in different styles. Girls and Boys uses sounds from the shiny pop of the early 70s and late 80s. Girls and Boys is ridiculously catchy. The band keeps a string of hooks coming. Girls and Boys has a primitive sounding keyboard line reminiscent of Gary Numan's Cars. The climactic guitar break is like the one on Rick Springfield's Jessie's Girl. The chorus, with its crunching power chords, has the simple exuberance of a good emo song(e.g. Jimmy Eat World's Lucky Denver Mint). Singer Joel Madden doesn't have much range. His vocal isn't versatile enough to match Girls and Boys' transitions but his basic yelling matches the song's simple, upbeat feel. The lyric is fairly harsh for a perky pop song. Joel sings that girls atttracted to wealthy guys are "losing their souls in a material world." But the cynical lyric hardly detracts from Girls and Boys' lightweight charm.
Give Me Just One Night(Una Noche) - 98 Degrees
Weeks on Chart: 9 Peak: #34 (Oct. 2000) buy it!
Give Me Just One Night was probably an attempt to jump on the Latin pop bandwagon. The craze was probably peaking just as the group was recording their Revelation CD. Still, the song has a good, jumpy beat, an uncluttered arrangement and an easy energy. There's a chance that Give Me Just One Night's sound could be too sophisticated for the group's pre-teen following but the girls will probably love the cocky persona the dopey lyrics project. Nick Lachey confidently sings, "your lips keep telling me you want me", "I know that deep inside you need me" and "no one else can make it right."
Giving In - Adema
Weeks on Chart: 15 Peak: #27 (Oct. 2001) buy it!
Giving In is from Adema's self titled debut. Adema singer Mark Chavez is Korn frontman Jonathan Davis' half brother. With its dense atmosphere and big guitars, Giving In sounds a little like Korn but it's not as interesting. Giving In's crunching chords and Chavez' slow elocution also remind me of the hard rock Weezer lovingly mocked on their sweater song. Giving In is about falling into alcohol abuse. Chavez is very serious, especially on a kind of goofy spoken word section.
Go Let It Out - Oasis
Weeks on Chart: 8 Peak: #17 (March 2000) buy it!
Using Strawberry Fields keyboards, Oasis again show their love of psychedelic era Beatles on Go Let It Out, from the new Standing on the Shoulders of Giants CD. Noel Gallagher's lyrics, urging us to tell the world we're glad for who we are, can be a little shaky(what does life is precocious mean). Liam Gallagher's typically icy vocals are so throaty that you may wish he coughed up some phlegm before starting. Still, Go Let It Out shows Oasis' Beatlesque gift for mixing melody and rich atmosphere.
Go With The Flow - Queens Of The Stone Age
Weeks on Chart: 16 Peak: #21 (July 2003) buy it!
Queens Of The Stone Age's Songs For The Deaf is a good, ambitious hard rocking record that works best when the guys loosen up a little. Go With The Flow, the followup to longtime top 50 resident No One Knows, gets a fun, frantic energy from Dave Grohl's hard, distinctively whacking and Nick Oliveri's sturdy, fast bass line. Simple, steady piano and Josh Homme's cutting guitar interjections also help hurtle the song forward. In the midst of Go With The Flow's ebullient chaos, Homme's controlled, unshowy vocal provides some balance. Homme's singing is a welcome contrast to the emotive narcissism that dominates rock music these days. Go With The Flow is apparently about being willing to go along with a breakup but not being happy about.
God Gave Me Everything - Mick Jagger
Weeks on Chart: 8 Peak: #17 (Dec. 2001) buy it!
A few songs on Mick Jagger's Goddess In The Doorway CD go the Supernatural route with Mick hoping young musicians will give him good songs and renewed relevance. He even follows Santana in working with Wyclef Jean and Rob Thomas. Lenny Kravitz serves Mick well on God Gave Me Everything. Mick's vocal has the loose, frivolous feel of much of his late career work but Kravitz keeps him pretty well reigned in with a no nonsense, if not particularly memorable, song and arrangement. God Gave Me Everything has an exciting sound with a good, big beat and a driving guitar and bass line that evoke Gimme Shelter's thrills. The lyrics, delineating all the little blessing Mick appreciates, are basically jibberish, but God Gave Me Everything is still a lot of fun.
Godless - U.P.O.
Weeks on Chart: 10 Peak: #22 (Aug. 2000) buy it!
Godless, from the No Pleasantries CD, is yet another hard rock song about a young man so troubled that he's thinking about ending it all. Shawn Albro sings that he's tired of breaking, that he doesn't want to be another lost soul who can't find his way home and that he's feeling dead and ready to fall. Godless sounds like intense, acoustic guitar dominated hard rock by bands like Alice In Chains and Days of the New. Still, Albro has a strong voice and the guitars aren't as overdone as in a lot of current hard rock.
Going Under - Evanescence
Weeks on Chart: 18 Peak: #18 (Oct. 2003) buy it!
Going Under doesn't have the mediocre raps that helped made Bring Me To Life sound like an odd Linkin Park tribute. Otherwise, Going Under is a lot like the hugely successful first single from the Arkansas band's Fallen CD. Once again, the band is wildly over the top. Shooting for a cold, futuristic sound, Evanescence throw together crunching guitar chords, atmospheric keyboard effects and Amy Lee's overdramatic art rock vocals as well as strings and layers of backup singing. Lee again sounds like a self important, hysterical version of Sarah McLachlan or Tori Amos. Brian Moody's sledge hammer guitar playing is pretty uninteresting and his short solo pretty awful. Hopefully the novelty value of Evanescence's theatrical music is fast ebbing and they're not a harbinger of a wave of female led melodramatic neo grunge bands. Going Under's lyric is slightly surprising. Lee sings about all the pain her lover has caused but also vows that she'll "save myself" and "won't be broken again."
Gone - N Sync
Weeks on Chart: 15 Peak: #27 (Nov. 2001) buy it!
N Sync risked alienating a large number of their fans with Pop, the title track and first single from their new CD, and its cold, harsh sub-Michael Jackson sound, paranoid boasts and ridiculous challenge to critics who don't respect them. The second single plays it safe, letting heartthrob Justin Timberlake pour his heart out about his pain and longing for a lost love while the rest of the boys harmonize behind him. The vocals are nicely restrained and quite good. The music, acoustic guitars and strings, is so tastefully minimal that it's a little boring.
Good Souls - Starsailor
Weeks on Chart: 7 Peak: #27 (March 2002) buy it!
You'd figure that the last thing the world needs is another British band doing restrained, atmospheric versions of middle period Radiohead songs. On Good Souls, from the Love Is Here CD, Starsailor seem even more sensitive than the recent bands(Coldplay, Travis and especially Doves) they resemble, if that's possible. James Walsh's painfully earnest, quavery vocal and his timid lyric, telling us he feels "sick after every meal" and crying out "I need to be loved" are a tad too precious. I still like Good Souls. Walsh's open, idealistic voice is compelling and well matched by Good Soul's dense but soaring keyboard propelled sound.
Goodbye To You - Michelle Branch
Weeks on Chart: 8 Peak: #38 (Oct. 2002) buy it!
The musical appeal of the previous hits from Michelle Branch's The Spirit Room CD was fairly modest but at least something was going on. Everywhere was a likable pop rocker. All You Wanted was a sweet rescue fantasy. Goodbye To You doesn't offer much. It's quite a routine ballad. It's different from Vanessa Carlton's string heavy Ordinary Day but, like that song, Goodbye To You's main asset is the singer's unaffected, natural style. Branch's singing with Santana on Game Of Love hints that she might loosen up in the future but, so far, sincerity and lack of pretension have been the keys to Branch's success. She outdoes even Carlton in those categories. Goodbye To You is like singles by people like Britney and Christina but at least it doesn't have the fakey, manufactured feel of some similar songs. Branch doesn't have the strongest voice but it sounds like a teenager's. As she quavers and reaches for high notes, her quirks and effort make the song feel real and adds to a sense of yearning. Goodbye To You doesn't add much to the breakup song genre but it keeps things simple and undoubtedly connects with girls in their early teens who feel like Branch is the only one who understands their heartache. Branch sings about the pain of trying to put a long relationship behind her.
Gossip Folks - Missy Elliott featuring Ludacris
Weeks on Chart: 7 Peak: #24 (March 2003) buy it!
Gossip Folks is the second hit from the Under Construction CD. Gossip Folks again shows that Elliott(with help from coproducer Timbaland) is one of the most inventive people making mainstream records. With a hard, edgy sound, Gossip Folks smartly communicates the nastiness of trash talking and her disdain for it. Gossip Folks never takes a break. The repeated, harsh honking sample nicely creates a charged atmosphere. After a gossiping intro, Elliott announces her anger through a hoarse, agitated squeal. Gossip Folks mocks the song's gossipers by having them talk gibberish in a childish voice. I've never been a Ludacris fan but his rap is nicely focused and keeps Gossip Folks' energy high. The song finishes by giving Elliott a chance to put down the gossipers and then tell a joke, asking the people she just dissed to buy her record. I can imagine people finding Gossip Folks' harsh riff irritating. Gossip Folks isn't as inviting or likable as Work It. But while Gossip Folks isn't the effervescent song Work It is, it is a good, exciting, challenging single.
Gotta Get Thru This - Daniel Bedingfield
Weeks on Chart: 18 Peak: #20 (Oct. 2002) buy it!
Gotta Get Thru This is the title track from Daniel Bedingfield's first solo CD. It follows Dirty Vegas' Days Go By, The Wiseguys' Start The Commotion and Kylie Minogue's singles as the latest dance hit out of England with at least a touch of techno flavor. 22 year old Bedingfield says he made Gotta Get Thru This in his bedroom with a computer and a mike. Gotta Get Thru This's sound is basic, with a steady beat and a decent repeated electronic riff, but it's pretty effective. Bedingfield's voice is obviously treated and enhanced. The result is thin and nasal but interesting, like a cartoonish version of 80s Michael Jackson. Like the music, Gotta Get Thru This' lyric is simple but does the job. Bedingfield repeats the title like a mantra that helps him to stop obsessing about a woman who broke his heart.
Gotta Tell You - Samantha Mumba
Weeks on Chart: 13 Peak: #29 (Dec. 2000) buy it!
Mumba is the latest young female getting the big record company push. Gotta Tell You is the title track from Mumba's CD. Gotta Tell You is fairly routine dance pop. The lyrics are O.K. Mumba sings about wanting her guy to get more involved in their relationship. She doesn't want to love him if he doesn't love her. On the verses, Mumba's voice is hard and unappealing but at least somewhat distinctive. On the choruses, thanks to backing vocals and heavy, generic production, the song turns into catchy, perky Britney-style pop. Mumba's personal story of a black Irish teen who became a pop star is undoubtedly more interesting than the song.
Grace Is Gone - Dave Matthews Band
Weeks on Chart: 4 Peak: #44 (Nov. 2002) buy it!
Grace Is Gone is the second chart hit from the Busted Stuff CD. Grace Is Gone is one of a number of songs the Dave Mattthews Band recorded in sessions with producer Steve Lillywhite, scrapped when the band decided to start again with new songs for the Everyday CD and rerecorded for Busted Stuff. Grace Is Gone is fairly typical DMB music. It has mellow, likable music and its well played. On Grace Is Gone, Matthews drinks to deal with the departure of the woman who broke my heart. While he sings I could never love again so much as I love you, Matthews claims that after one more drink, hell be ready to move on.
Graduation(Friends Forever) - Vitamin C
Weeks on Chart: 6 Peak: #37 (June 2000) buy it!
If there was any doubt that pop radio is almost exclusively targeted these days towards teenage and preteen girls, the success of this trifle from Vitamin C's debut CD is a clear indication. We're probably stuck with this song until the end of June, especially now that local stations have begun to play versions with local kids talking about their graduation. Graduation has a good clean beat but everything else, from the cheesy mock grandeur of synths trying to sound like strings to the treacly harmonies on the chorus, is silly. Singer Colleen Fitzpatrick is having more success as Vitamin C than she did as a modern rocker in the band Eve's Plum but her singing, including some bad rap, is pretty awful.The lyrics, about remembering the times we had together and promising to be friends forever, no matter how our lives change, are as deep as a note written in a yearbook.
Gravedigger - Dave Matthews
Weeks on Chart: 7 Peak: #20 (Sept. 2003) buy it!
Some Devil is Dave Matthews' first solo record. It seems like a mistake for Matthews to work without his band. Their fine, loose playing goes a long way in making Matthews' light, charming songs more interesting and substantial. Some Devil is apparently Matthews' attempt to show that he's not just the leader of a good jam band but also a serious songwriter. Matthews usually has trouble when he takes himself too seriously(e.g. Beyond These Crowded Streets' first single Don't Drink The Water). Hyperseriousness is Gravedigger's problem. Matthews meant Gravedigger as a thoughtful meditation on death and tragedy but it came out maudlin and ridiculously self important. Gravedigger starts OK with music a little like that of U2's One and clanging drums that add to a dissonant undertone. The music grows in pretension before reaching a too big climax with crashing drums and soaring strings. Matthews does a serious, dour, quietly angry vocal. His singing fits with the song's well intentioned but heavy handed feel. Matthews shows his empathy with his doomed characters, spitting out their tales. A "ring around the rosy" section, reminscent of Crash Into Me's "I'm the king of the castle", feels stupid in Gravedigger's drab context. Gravedigger's video is even more overdone than the song, leaving no overwrought image unshown. The lyric has Matthews contemplating the sad stories of people commemorated on grave stones. We get the woman who lost her children in the war, the little boy who "rode his bike like the devil until the day he died" and Matthews' wish that "when you dig my grave, could you make it shallow so that I can feel the rain." Gravedigger is too much bleakness with too little point.
The Great Beyond - REM
Weeks on Chart: 16 Peak: #3 (Jan. 2000) 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.
Greed - Godsmack
Weeks on Chart: 23 Peak: #26 (June 2001) buy it!
The second single from the Awake CD is similar to the title track but even harsher and less appealing. Singer Sully Erna is a devout Wiccan and Greed has a bit of a spiritual sound but the song is just nasty, not exotic. The guitars thump and thud as Erna howls, "hey little bitch, be glad you finally walked away or you may have not lived another day." Amid the despicable misogyny we're supposed to empathize with Erna for feeling smothered and in need of help.
Grey Street - Dave Matthews Band
Weeks on Chart: 14 Peak: #32 (Jan. 2003) buy it!
Grey Street is the third chart hit from the Busted Stuff CD. With Matthews pleasant, empathetic vocal, Grey Street has the comfortable, familiar, well played feel of a lot of Dave Matthews Band music. Leroi Moores sax and Boyd Tinsleys violin give Grey Street the lurching, stop and start flow of a song like Ants Marching. Grey Street is about a woman trapped in her home by depression. Matthews shows his knowledge of dynamics, letting the music rise as the character is offered an opportunity to experience the world. But just as the woman chooses to stay inside, Matthews mostly chooses to stay within his familiar, comfortable musical form.
The Ground Beneath Her Feet - U2
Weeks on Chart: 10 Peak: #6 (March 2000) buy it!
U2 had songs on Until The End of the World and they also contribute to the soundtrack of Wim Wenders' latest movie The Million Dollar Hotel, which is based on a concept thought of by Bono. The Ground Beneath Her Feet is a nice though not particularly exciting soaring ballad, similar to other recent songs like Stay and Staring at the Sun. The one difference here is that Salman Rushdie provided the lyrics.
Guerrilla Radio - Rage Against the Machine
Weeks on Chart: 17 Peak: #19 (Nov. 1999) 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."