Thursday, June 21, 2007

Top 20 Best Pop Hits Of The Last 20 Years

Exactly five months ago, The Top 20 Worst Pop Hits Of The Last 20 Years was published here at the Sky. Now, here is its counterpart.

#20 . House Of Pain - Jump Around - In 1992, we learned white boys can't jump, but they can jump around. Rappers Everlast and Danny Boy alo
ng with DJ Lethal were House Of Pain, an act that had a few critical elements : Irish pride, swagger, and well, they can fuck your shit up. Referencing pop culture from Sega to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jump Around can still amp up a party.

#19 . Sade - No Ordinary Love

The British R&B singer, Sade (pronounced Shar Day) always had a cool mystique to her, and No Ordinary Love captures it to the fullest. The smooth soulful and airy vocals, the otherworldly musical arrangements and total chill-out vibe made this one a definite nightcap track.

#18 . Aerosmith - Janie's Got A Gun - After being revived by Run
D.M.C. - 70s rockers Aerosmith broke serious ground with this song that created their new ballad template : guitars, synth and Steven Tyler's manic crooning vocals harmonized with Joe Perry. The subject matter; a troubled youth executing revenge on her tormentor set this one apart from their occasional (and most other rock groups) power ballads.

#17 . Jesus Jones - Right Here, Right Now - In 1991, the world experienced a paradigm shift. Communism fell in the former Soviet Union and Europe. The U.S. declared
war on Iraq and a U.K. dance pop band reflected on it. They weren't Christian rockers, don't be fooled by the name. The song was a statement about being excited and content in the most momentous of moments.

#16 . The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army

To place this song so low in the list is difficult because Jack & Meg White play by their own rules and create great music. In terms of the song's pervasiveness, it was minor compared to the lot. The track's minimalist wailing guitar, the steady thump of a backbeat and Jack's passionate vocals sent a necessary rock n' roll ripple into the mainstream of 2003.

#15 . Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge - Anth
ony Kiedis of the R.H.C.P. penned this song as poetry before superproducer Rick Rubin told him it was beautiful and should be committed to music. A song about experiencing the bottom of a physical drug addiction and wanting to break free became the band's biggest hit to date.

#14. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy - When DJ DangerMouse and the soulful Cee-Lo teamed up to make a record, they wanted to chew pop music in all its hybrid glory and spit out something Andy Warhol would smile at. Who wouldn't smile or feel good when Cee-Lo sings a gospel-tinged, "Bless your souuuuuul"
The smooth frenetic groove with a touch of sadness owned the summer of 2006.

#13 . Peter Gabriel - Sledgehammer

This larger-than-life megahit had it all; the crisp vocal stylings of one time Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel, exuberant horns, a gospel choir and the climactic lyrics, "I kicked the habit / Shed my skin" It was a thrill park ride on record that owned the charts and won a ton of awards exactly twenty years back and you'll know why when you hear it.

#12 . Nirvana - Come As You Are - The murky sounds of the toned-down guitars make it seem to appear that the Seattle grunge figureheads are taking you into the depths of the Pacific Ocean. The witty simplicity of the lyrics, "Take your time, hu
rry up / Choice is yours, don't be late" and the now haunting, "No I don't have a gun" are the top layer of this sleek sounding gloom tune that followed up that other one they did about deodorant.

#11 . Alanis Morrisette - You Oughta Know - Cana
da's Alanis Morrisette apparently wrote this angry, intelligent vengeful song for her ex-lover; also Canadian native Dave Couiler, famous for his role on the sitcom Full House. With quasi-explicit lyrics about what she offered in a movie theater, her honest feelings of being jilted brought something to the mainstream music landscape of 1995 that was missing.

# 10 . OutKast - Hey Ya! - Andre3000 in full faux-Prince mode had a whole new generation asking their parents what Polaroids were. The infectious driven electric rock and synth dance track was a runaway hit despite its unconventional double-digit time measures.

# 9 . Dr. Dre - Nuttin' But A G Thang

N.W.A. alum Dr. Dre paired up with Snoop Dogg (known as Snoop Doggy Dogg in 1993) and consequently rocked this party anthem that set-checked L.A. county with his trademark brand of gangsta funk that was easily imitated, but hardly duplicated. The general "we don't give a funk" attitude lent the track its edge and reminded everyone that the West coast is doing thangs.

# 8 . Pearl Jam - Jeremy - Pearl Jam can be credited as forewarning America about troubled teenagers with this bombastic, crooning angsty track
about an anti-social boy named Jeremy. Recess ladies everywhere now line their bras with Teflon.

# 7 . Ricky Martin - Livin' La Vida Loca - Ex-Menudo member Ricky Martin ignited the Latin music explosion in 1999 with this C-4 dancefloor hit. The lyrics are the weakest element but that is easily eclipsed by the swingin' band's backing guitars, horns and drums building into a juggernaut rhythm.

# 6 . MC Hammer - U Can't Touch This - Rocking the dropped crotch oversized jammie pants, Stanley Kirk Burell (Hammer) hyperdanced and rapped his
way into multiplatinum record sales. He did it with the help of his crew from Oakland, California and a Rick James sample. This vibrant and ubiquitous hit had some negative effects too. Music critics thought of categorizing everything rap as pop music and Rick James received enough new royalties to burn a new hole in his nose.

# 5 . Guns N' Roses - Welcome To The Jungle - GNR frontman Axl Rose entices the listener with the opening lyrics, "Welcome to the jungle / We got fun n'
Fun n' games are good, Axl, tell us more about this jungle . . . "If you got the money, honey / We got your disease"
Shit! Hold up - didn't know you were inviting us to the seedy underworld of L.A. nightlife. This monster of a thrash rock track ripped into the mainstream and kicked every manufactured heavy metal hair band's collective asses from California to New Jersey.

#4 . Tracy Chapman - Fast Car

A heartbreaking tale of the child of an alcoholic father desperate and determined to experience a better life became a pop sensation in 1988. It also brought new songwriter/musician Tracy Chapman a grip of Grammy Awards.

# 3 . Eminem - Stan - The controversial Caucasian rapper Eminem (ne Marshall Mathers) wrote an artful track about an obsessed fan for his sophomore album. Using a verse from British songbird Dido's "Thank You" and the sounds of incessant scribbling, he told an intense emotional story through two fictitious fan letters and his would-be response
note. Ten years from now, this will be the one Eminem track best regarded.

# 2 . U2 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - A soulful spiritual song by the uber-band who had their own iPod, packed with one of their albums on the market. But this track off their worldwide commercial breakthrough, The Joshua Tree, spoke of a journey to find God (in the Christian sense) The good thing about it was you didn't have to be of the faith to appreciate it.
It was lead singer Bono's powerful voice that gave the track everl
asting life.

# 1 . Nine Inch Nails - Closer

He was noted as one of the 25 most influential musicians of the 20th century. For the second single off the Nine Inch Nails breakthrough masterpiece, The Downward Spiral, NIN mastermind Trent Reznor and Interscope Records selected 'Closer'
With the provocative and carnal refrain, " I want to fuck you like an animal, I want to feel you from the inside," the track, complete with another radio-friendly version soared into ubiquity. It was post-industrial techno with Reznor's signature piano and noise-rock programming. The song broadened Reznor's audience by mass proportions and catapulted him into arena-rock performances. That's quite a feat for a song that suggests rough sex could bring you closer to God.

That's a wrap. If you didn't see the flipside to this list - click here:
The Top 20 Worst Pop Hits of The Last 20 Years
Of course some of the best pop hits didn't make the cut. Here are the honorable mentions:

(Sting - If I Ever Lose My Faith In You, Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock - It Takes 2, Faith No More - Epic, Alicia Keys - Fallin' and Beastie Boys - Sabotage)

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At 8:46 PM, Blogger Jay Bird said...

In retrospect, I should have entered Death Cab For Cutie's "Soul Meets Body" What's done is done.


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