1997 Billboard Top 100: #95-91

Here we go.

#95: "When You're Gone/Free To Decide" by Cranberries

I do like what I've heard of this band. Worried about it being a two-parter, after the last two-part song I reviewed, though.

Music for "When You're Gone" sounds pretty good. It has a nice piano riff, even if it is a bit repetitive. The singing is really good, done in a lower female register. "Free to Decide" has a different type of music, mostly relying on guitar and drums to set the beat. The singing is done in the same manner, however, although it is a bit more upbeat.

Lyrics are pretty standard for "When You're Gone". Basically, it is a love song. The singer is basically singing about how bad she feels when he's not there, and that she misses him while he's not there. For "Free to Decide", the lyrics are the exact opposite, saying that she is not obligated to stay with someone who makes her feel bad, and that she is in control of her life.

Despite the rather standard lyrics, I really enjoy "When You're Gone". The song's style actually reminds me of Adele, which is not a bad thing to me. However, rather than singing breakup songs, this is a love song, done in the same style. Actually, by tone, it reminds me of "Someone Like You". It is a really well done song. And it actually flows quite well into "Free to Decide", unlike the last two-parter I reviewed. Basically, the two songs together have the general message of a woman trying to convince herself that she is happier with this man, before finally admitting she hates being with him and taking control. It's quite a strong message, and it is delivered quite well. I really like these songs.

#94: "Barbie Girl" by Aqua

Wow. There's a blast from the past.

Music starts with a keyboard line, then the guitar kicks in, before finally having a drum line kick in. It actually works quite well. The singing is...well, the female part is grating, to say the least. The male just sounds like someone fresh off of Jersey Shore speaking.

The lyrics might surprise you. It's about Barbie, right? Well, no. Basically, the Barbie is just a metaphor for how materialistic women are. Basically, the "Barbie girl" is someone who is easily impressed by the stuff "Ken" gives her, basically buying a girlfriend.

I actually don't hate this song. It has a nice beat, and is possibly the only song where the poor quality of the singers actually helps get the message across. I can see how they were a one-hit wonder, though. I can't think of any other kind of song that that singer wouldn't mess up. As it is, though, this song is basically "Material Girl" done in the 90's with lower quality. That makes it impossible for me to hate it. However, it is not that good, either. It does nothing Material Girl didn't, and that song is superior in every way.

#93: "Twisted" by Keith Sweat

Who? *research* Ah, an R&B artist, as well as an innovator of New Jack Swing.

Well, this music is definitely R&B. Slow beat, piano line, drums, you know the drill. Singing is also, disappointing, pretty standard R&B stuff. Seeing as how he'd been in the business for 20 years at this point, I expected more. It does have a rap section...which is just as standard as the rest of the song.

As for the lyrics, it is another fairly standard love song. He is singing about how he feels "twisted" over his girl, saying that he is hers, and that he has everything she needs.

This song was a letdown. After seeing the pedigree behind the artist, I was expecting more than just a standard R&B song. This song, however, is the definition of generic. It doesn't really do anything bad, but it doesn't do anything good either. I can't say it is terrible, but I just don't have any impression of the song, which is almost worse than simply feeling it is bad.

#92: "Coco Jambo" by Mr. President

Who? *research* Ah, a one-hit wonder Eurodance group from Germany. That's...worrying.

Well, that is definitely Eurobeat music. Very heavy on an annoying synth line. The singing is also...not that good. The male does decently, but the female is clearly stumbling with singing in English.

The lyrics, as near as I can tell, are a guy hitting on a girl, and the girl appreciating it. It's kind of hard to tell, though, because English is clearly not their first language, resulting in lyrics that are often similar to a mad lib.

This song is why bands need to stick to their native languages unless they master another language. Here, it is obvious that the band is not comfortable singing in English, yet they do so just to have a stateside hit. I don't mind foreign music. Hell, two of my favorite bands are Rammstein and Scorpions, both of which are German.

However, Rammstein (usually) sings in German, although they have done a song mostly in English ("Amerika") and one in Spanish ("Te Quiero Puta!"). On the other hand, Scorpions perform completely in English, but they are really skilled in it, with the only giveaway that their foreign being the accent. This band, though, sounds like they learned the words phonetically, then translated one of their songs directly to English, throwing in words at random to match the beat. There's nothing wrong with that if it is done well (as in "Simple and Clean", the theme from Kingdom Hearts 1), but here, it is just a mess.

#91: "Butta Love" by Next

Who? *research* Ah, an R&B group.

Music is again fairly standard for R&B slow stuff, although they do at least throw in a decent keyboard line. Singing is pretty good R&B stuff.

Another love song. Basically, he is describing their love as smooth and creamy, like butter. Hence, Butta Love.

That is a horrible pick-up line, if I do say so. And telling a girl that you have a "butter love" is not going to end well, I think. The song sounds good, with a nice beat and nice singing, but the silliness of the lyrics, as well as their generic nature, makes it really hard to connect with the song. Despite the fact that the lyrics are alternately silly and generic, though, the song is pretty good. It's definitely an easy song to listen to, and I wouldn't necessarily turn off the radio if it were to come on.

That was a pretty "meh" list.

Previously: #100-96

Next: #90-86

That was a pretty meh list.. even if EVERYONE bought barbie girl and coco jambo here..... i still have the choruses from both stuck in my head.. OH NO! *brain scrubber*


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