1999 Billboard Top 100: #55-51

Whoa! We're (almost) halfway there! Whoa-oh, livin' on a prayer!

#55: "Who Dat" by JT Money feat. Sole

These are both hip-hop artists. Big shocker. I am predisposed to dislike anyone that has "Money" in their stage name. Maybe it's unfair, but I have yet to be proven wrong.

Music is a bit odd for a hip-hop song. It has a weird keyboard sound buried low in the mix, with drums being the loudest part. JT Money is the first artist to disprove my Money dislike, since he is actually a decent rapper. As for Sole, I think all along that Nicki Minaj has been trying to emulate her, and failing since Sole is actually a really skilled rapper.

This is, of course, a bragging rap song. Come on, with that title, you know what you are getting into. If you want to roll with him, you need to prove yourself, and right now, you are a nobody, hence "who dat?"

The chorus is quite annoying, and the music is so minimalistic to almost not exist, but I will give credit where it is due. Both rappers really do have a fair bit of skill and charisma, and manage to sell the verses pretty well. It's still not that great of a song, but it isn't terrible, either.

#54: "Hands" by Jewel

I've reviewed her before, since she had a two-part song near the top of the 1997 charts. I didn't really like either part of that song. Hopefully, this song is different.

Music is a slow piano line, showing that the "girl with piano" has been around long before Adele, although there is an acoustic guitar line that pops in partway through the first verse. As for the vocals, Jewel is not bad. Maybe a bit immature, but I've heard far worse, and she doesn't need autotune.

I have heard this song, but it's been a while. Basically, it is a quasi-religious song, saying that her hands are her own, she is never broken, and that we are God's eyes.

I definitely like this song more than the last Jewel song(s) that I listened to. The lyrics aren't that great, but they are somehow still memorable. She isn't that great of a singer, but her weaknesses vocally work with these lyrics, and the music itself is quite nice to listen to. Overall, not a great song, but not one that annoyed me.

#53: "Miami" by Will Smith

Woo, a Will Smith rap. Truly, I am gifted.

Music has a keyboard line, with a light drum beat. Music is not the high point of this song. Will Smith, despite my poking fun at him, is actually a pretty good rapper. Much better than when Shaquille O'Neal decided to try his hand at rapping.

The lyrics are somewhat that of a bragging song, but at the same time, talking about how great Miami is.

This is harmless enough. It's not as "edgy" as many rappers, definitely seeming more sanitized than the likes of Notorious B.I.G. and Snoop Dogg. That said, Will Smith is actually a really good rapper, the lyrics still touch on many of the same subjects that other rappers do (albeit in a much less crude way), and the music does flow with the song pretty well. If you like rap for its street cred, or meaningful messages, this is definitely not the song for you. However, if you just want a nice song to listen to, and have no problem with rap as such, welcome to "Miami".

#52: "She's All I Ever Had" by Ricky Martin

Yeah, seriously. I had no idea this guy even had a hit that wasn't "Livin' La Vida Loca".

Music is definitely not what I expected from Ricky Martin. It is a mix of guitars done in mariachi style, but slowed down to make this a ballad. It somehow works. As for the vocals, Ricky Martin actually has a pretty decent voice for ballads. Who knew?

This is, of course, a love song. Basically, she is all he's ever had throughout a cold world, she's his lover and friend, and she feels the same way, blah blah blah.

Ignoring the irony of this song being sung by Ricky Martin, who came out of the closet in 2008, this is still quite a nice song. The music works pretty well, Ricky Martin actually has a pretty soulful voice to sell the lyrics, and the lyrics are generic but harmless. Overall, this is definitely at least one of the best love songs to a girl sung by a gay man.

#51: "She's So High" by Tal Bachman

Tal Bachman is a Canadian singer-songwriter, which can go both ways. On the one hand, Canada is responsible for Rush and Celine Dion (I like her. STOP JUDGING ME!). On the other hand, they are responsible for Justin Bieber and Nickelback.

Ah, this song. I'm sure everyone will have the same reaction to the music. Basically, it is a twangy guitar that almost, but not quite, sounds like an attempt at a Japanese song in the intro and bridge, and more standard guitar in the chorus. As for the singing, Tal Bachman is one of the few people who can really pull of the higher register while still having a decent alt-rock voice.

You've heard this song, I'm sure. You know, "She's so high, high above me, she's so lovely?" Yeah, this is a song about a girl. As you could tell by the title. That's about all there is to the song, really.

This is one of the times where I'm actually happy to stumble across a song that I didn't recognize the title of the song. You know, where it's actually "Oh! This song!" rather than "Oh. This song..." The lyrics are not all that deep, but the singer is actually pretty solid, and the music definitely holds its own throughout the song without really getting old. If you enjoy alt-rock, this is not a bad song at all. Canada, you should be proud.

That list was...a fair bit better than I expected. Go figure.

Previously: #60-56

Next: #50-46

Keep in mind, Matchbox Twenty are well known for Unwell in 2003 and the lead singer, Rob Thomas, is the featured artist on Smooth which is #19 on this list. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WziA88-n02k

You know, where it's actually "Oh! This song!" rather than "Oh. This song..."

What did you expect reviewing the mediocrity of the Billboard Top 100? There were some great songs released in 1999 that you're never going to find on that compilation of what was 'popular'. Wise Up, for one -

I'm curious to see whats in the top 20 or so of this list because this is about the time i started regularly watching music charts on a weekly basis just to see what came onto the charts and what went high up!


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