1997 Billboard Top 100: #85-81

Here we go...

#85: "I Shot the Sheriff" by Warren G

I'm familiar with the Bob Marley version, but I've never heard of Warren G, though research shows that he is a rapper. Oh, dear Lord...

Has a different intro, that doesn't even sound like rap. Basically, it is a recreation of his act, I think. The main riff is similar to the Bob Marley version, but with a rap overlay. As for the singing...he is a decent rapper, but this song does not work with rapping.

As for the lyrics, if you've heard the original, you know what this is about. Basically, he is admitting that he shot the sheriff, but not the deputy. However, he adds in new lyrics about how the cops are hatin' on the black man.

This does not really work for me. It's not as offensive to the original as "Time (Dirty Bit)" by Black Eyed Peas, but the original is a classic. Why would you take such a classic song, and rewrite it to make your own point? I don't disagree with his point, and it makes sense, coming out only a few years after Rodney King and the C.R.A.S.H. debacle. I just don't know why he had to rewrite "I Shot the Sheriff" in order to make that point. It's not as bad as I thought it would be, but I'd rather listen to the original.

#84: "Don't Wanna Be A Player" by Joe

Joe? That is the most boring name you could possibly give a musical artist. I have reviewed him before, but only as a guest artist on a G-Unit song called "Wanna Get To Know You" in 2004. Let's see how he is solo.

Oh God...that intro is horrible. The beat is a slow drum beat, and his voice is autotuned like mad. It gets better later on, when the piano kicks in, but talk about a bad first impression. The singing, other than the intro, is pretty decent.

The lyrics are really good. Basically, he has found that one girl for him, and he is completely giving up his lifestyle as a player, because he has found someone he is willing to live his life for.

Despite the bad intro, this song is really good. The lyrics are strong, showing a man who is aware that he is in a bad lifestyle, and is willing to completely change it for that one woman. His singing is also pretty good, being a bit generic in tone, but with enough emotion to stand out. I'm actually surprised how much I like this song. If they could take off that intro, the song would be even better, but as it is, the song is still quite good.

#83: "On & On" by Erykah Badu

Who? *research* Ah, an American singer-songwriter. I can't narrow it down more than that, since she has apparently done hip-hop, R&B, and jazz.

This is one of her more jazzy songs. Has a nice beat, although not danceable. Her singing is really good, showing a decent range and never going sharp or flat.

As for the lyrics...this is the first Christian song I've had to review. Basically, she is singing about how God keeps the world going, and how much she appreciates her time on Earth for that reason, while slamming intellectuals for dismissing God and fearing Christians.

I don't have anything wrong with Christians. However, while Erykah is not super strong with her religion, leaving it fairly understated, the lines about and against intellectuals really bother me. It's like she's saying that you can't be too smart as a Christian, and you should just accept your faith blindly. Granted, that isn't far off from the doctrine, but the way she goes about it is really off-putting. The song is not bad, but the lines insulting atheists bother me quite a bit, and I'm not even an atheist.

#82: "Macarena (Bayside Boys Remix)" by Los Del Rio

These guys were a one hit wonder. And this is their one hit.

Everyone knows this beat. It is one of the ultimate dance beats, up their with the Chicken Dance and, more recently, Gagnam Style. Singing is not bad, but is clearly not the main focus of the song.

As for the lyrics (and I can't believe I'm dissecting the lyrics to the Macarena), they are mostly from the point of view of a female player. She is willing to dance with any guy, and if they are good enough, she will go home with then. At the same time, she dismisses the boy she came with, saying she doesn't like him, and only came because he and his friends are hot.

Yeah, the lyrics bother me when I actually listen to them. That aside, there is a reason this song became a dance sensation. The beat is quite danceable, and while the chorus is all in Spanish, and therefore beyond my understanding (although the female player is known as Macarena, so I'm pretty sure it is a love letter to her), it sets the rhythm perfectly for a dance. I don't feel it should be as big of a hit as it was (it was the number one song of 1996 for this remix, while the original was the number 98 song), it still has its place on the dance floor. Just don't listen to the lyrics.

#81: "Naked Eye" by Luscious Jackson

I vaguely recognize the name, but need research to figure out who they are. That research shows that they are an alternative rock group. Rock!

Music is definitely alternative. The beat reminds me more of "Heigh Ho" than anything at first, but it kicks in about halfway through the first verse, being quite uptempo. Singing is a decent alt rock female singer.

The lyrics are basically focused on the girl going to her lover's house during a rain storm, and relaxing in his house, saying that she feels naked even wearing her clothes, because "naked is a state of mind".

As an alt rock song, this one is pretty good. The lyrics are kind of hard to interpret, and I'm still not sure I actually understood them properly. However, the beat reminds me of The Main Drag, which is not a bad thing at all. It's not a song to really listen to, but it is still nice to mindlessly listen to. That drum line is also aces. It's nice to see some rock on the list, even if it is rather mellow rock.

That list went better than I thought it would. Maybe these lists will get better!

Previously: #90-86

Next: #80-76

Hmm i havent been so fussed with 1997 so far... im disappointed by these first 20.. i was expecting WAY better... but nothing really lasting for me so far.. and the next 5 doesnt look to improve my observation so far.. hopefully further on.. i get reminded of some AWESOME song!

 

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