1997 Billboard Top 100: #100-96

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#100: "Let It Go" by Ray J

Who? *research* Ah, a singer/songwriter/record producer/actor. He is related to Snoop Dogg (first cousin) and Brandy (older sister), but that doesn't always mean anything.

Oh, boy...it's a soundtrack song, from the movie "Set It Off". The music is...not impressive. It mostly has a low key bass line, but it occasionally goes into a keyboard line that sounds like a wah-wah pedal. As for the singing...I honestly cannot tell Ray J apart from Brandy. That is not an exaggeration.

As for the lyrics, this is a standard club song. Basically, it is telling you to get out on the dance floor, forget your troubles, and "let it go", relaxing.

This song is not horrible, but it isn't really clear what it wants do be. It is R&B, but it also has music that sounds almost Motown. Ray J also, rather than stand out on his own, makes it sound like it is a Brandy song. It's all right, but it isn't anything special, even by party songs' standards.

#99: "You Must Love Me" by Madonna

I like Madonna. At least, the 80's Madonna. 90's, not so much.

Another soundtrack song, from the movie version of "Evita". Music takes a few seconds to kick in, but it is beautiful when it does, being a piano line. Nothing more, or less than that. As for the singing...this is not Madonna at her best. She spends too much time in a higher register, which she doesn't really excel in, going sharp quite often.

The lyrics are not much different than what the title would suggest. Basically, she wants to confess her love for the other guy, but is worried that if she does, things will change between them, and not for the better.

It's a standard love song, but it's not a bad one. The music is downright beautiful, and the lyrics do a good job of portraying a person conflicted by their own feelings, afraid of what will happen if they ever confess said feelings. The issue with the song is Madonna. Her voice is just not even throughout the song. She does fine in the lower register, but she doesn't stay there, instead reaching for notes she just can't hit successfully. It's a good song, but it would have been better by a different artist, or if Madonna had adapted it to her own sweet spot.

#98: "You're Makin' Me High/Let It Flow" by Toni Braxton

I know that name. She is an R&B artist, and a pretty good one at that.

Music is pretty standard R&B stuff, but with a nifty little synth line. The second song is a slower beat, more focused on piano. Toni Braxton has a great voice, and she delivers here, although she does have issues with singing clearly.

The lyrics for "You're Makin' Me High" are...well, they are about her thinking about her guy, and how much he "does it" for her. "Let It Flow" is different, though. Basically, in that song, she is singing about how love can be a good thing, but if your love is making you suffer, then you are better off just letting it go.

"You're Makin' Me High"...is not that good. She sounds good, and the music does as well. The lyrics are the issue. I don't mind love songs, but this is not a love song. It's a lust song. I don't really need to here about a guy making Toni Braxton want to pleasure herself in her room during long nights. This is basically "TMI: The Song". And the thing is, those TMI moments are all that make this song stand out any more than every other love song. It's either standard, or mediocre.

"Let It Flow" is much better. The music, the singing, and the lyrics all paint a picture of a woman who is struggling to make it through a relationship, and finally realizing that sometimes, love is just not enough to make it work, and that it is sometimes better to just let go. It's kind of sad, actually. How a song this good got attached to a song like "You're Makin' Me High", I'll never know.

#97: "I Like It" by Blackout All-Stars

Who? *research* Ah, a Latin supergroup. This song is the entire result of their collaboration. Seriously, not even an album. That's promising. Although there is one name I recognize out of the supergroup, Grover Washington, Jr. Who isn't Latin. Oh, boy...

Music is very Latin sounding, with a great keyboard section and some nice percussion. Very danceable beat. Makes me want to get out there and salsa. Singing matches the music, being extremely Latin.

The lyrics might as well not even exist. They are basically all just "I like it like that". Out of 59 lines, only 24 are anything other than that line. That's less than half the lines different.

Despite the issues with the lyrics, this is an extremely good dance song. If you want to throw a song on the radio and get going with the salsa, this is a really good song for that. It's actually almost a shame that this is the only song this group ever did. They had the fundamentals down to make really enjoyable Latin music, as this is.

#96: "Let Me Clear My Throat" by DJ Kool

No idea who he is, but I can tell he's hip-hop, and has a misspelled name.

Oh, god...this song. Well the music is very hip-hop, although it does rip off...sorry, "samples", "Hollywood Singing" by Kool and the Gang...like other, better rap songs. The rapping is rap, and not all that great, either. It mostly involves him shouting. He does have some decent skills with flow, at least.

The lyrics are entirely about DJ Kool bragging about how good of a rapper he is, and how great he is at partying.

This is the kind of rap song everyone points to when they want to say how bad rap is. He has decent flow, but he is not good enough to warrant an entire song about bragging about how awesome he is. As for the partying, well, that is something that almost every rapper that can't actually make a meaningful song raps about. And seriously, you should have at least one hit to your name before you brag about how awesome you are. It worked out for DJ Kool, who went on to have several successful singles, but he got lucky. And my god, did this song not indicate he had a future as a rapper.

That wasn't quite as bad as I feared, but the only song I really enjoyed was piggy-backed on a song that was not very good.

Next Time: #95-91

Here we go.. this next 5 will be the start of something.... with Coco Jambo and Barbie Girl and the Cranberries and so on! :P


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