In looking at these videos I have reminded myself that #N/A was an enjoyable person to talk to, when he was in a talking mood, which was not all the time. In all of the drama that we had as a label, it is not always easy to remember that talking with him was something we all enjoyed doing as the songs were being made and mastered, and as we were discussing corporate strategy as a label and as a collective. We really lost a lot when we pushed him out, and I think that had a lot to do with the way that things ended up between us. I just wish we could have undone things. Perhaps if we hadn’t been so aggressive when it came to pushing him out and trying to buy out his music and not give him a right to release any of the material that he recorded with us he would still be alive and still be around us here in Portland, but in the meantime we still have his stories and I suppose that counts for something. It’s just not as good as it would have been otherwise.
I loved talking with him about music. It wasn’t only that he had a good memory–most of the time–about a wide variety of musical genres and music history, but he was goodnatured about what he said about music as well. A lot of people can get really fierce opinions about music and a lot of time people make biased decisions about music that dismiss whole genres because of racial or cultural reasons, but he showed himself aware of wide varieties of music and had an interest in some forms of music that we wouldn’t have thought connected to each other. How many people could talk about the importance of classical music and then sing along to Ludacris, or enjoy country music as well as progressive rock and adult contemporary? I mean, perhaps some people like everything, but he was more clear than most that he liked a strong melodic touch, enjoyed paying attention to the lyrics of songs, and was able to appreciate a far broader amount of music than most people did, and that made it fun to talk with him about music, especially when he was in the process of making music and showing that same variety in his own approach to music.
So you want to hear my comments about the top 100 songs of another year now that I’ve done 1983? But you want it to be a surprise. Alright, I can’t promise I will remember all the songs of the year, but if you give me the list for a year I will read out all the songs and comment what I think or remember about them and a rating, if I remember it well enough, okay? That sounds good? [There is a brief pause.]
1. “Believe” by Cher – This song got a lot of heat for its autotune and it was overplayed, but I still think it’s a 7/10. It was nice to see Cher get a comeback and this song is still a good one.
2. “No Scrubs” by TLC – This is a 8/10. I made a lot of fun about the song when it came out because of its lyrics, but as far as R&B goes, this is a really good song that still stands up today.
3. “Angel of Mine” by Monica – This is an 8/10 as well. I love sentimental ballads and this one is a solid one that was one of her three number one albums from that year, which is pretty remarkable. It’s a shame this song isn’t better remembered but it’s a sweet ballad I enjoyed a lot back in the day.
4. “Heartbreak Hotel” by Whitney Houston featuring Faith Evans and Kelly Price – This is a 6/10, largely because it’s a bit repetitive, but it wasn’t a bad song at least and it’s certainly one whose feelings can be understood.
5. “…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears – I’d say this is a 7/10. I’m not a huge fan of Britney Spears, but this is some well-produced pop music and I have to respect that, even if it’s from an artist I don’t like all that much.
6. “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer – I’d give this one a 4/10. Its lyrics are sweet, but the song as a whole is pretty painful to listen to and I would actively change it when I heard it on the radio and I still can’t listen to this song and really enjoy it. I liked most of the band’s material, but not this.
7. “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera – I’d say this is a 6/10. It’s not quite the pop smash that “…Baby One More Time” was, but it’s in the same vein.
8. “Every Morning” by Sugar Ray – I’d give this a 3/10. It’s pretty icky in terms of its lyrics and Sugar Ray just was not a very good band. The music is okay, but tiresome, and everything else is worse.
9. “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here” by Deborah Cox – This is a pretty obscure one nowadays, but I remember it and I give it a 6/10. It’s decent, at least. I won’t actively seek it out but I wouldn’t avoid it either.
10. “Livin’ la Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin – I’d give this an 8/10. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure and was one of the more enjoyable songs of the Latin boom of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, even if Ricky Martin made a lot of music in both Spanish and English I liked a lot more than this.
11 “Where My Girls At?” by 702 – I’d give this one a 7/10. I remember it being catchy if a bit repetitive, and a song against people trying to take their partner is always something worth appreciating.
12. “If You Had My Love” by Jennifer Lopez – I’d give this a 6/10. It’s pleasant and decent, if not great, and it’s something that I can at least nod my head to even now.
13. “Slide” by Goo Goo Dolls – I’d give this a 10/10. This is an amazing song, if not an all-time greatest song, and one I still enjoy listening to. I will totally stan the Goo Goo Dolls.
14. “Have You Ever?” by Brandy – I’d give this song an 8/10. Some people really hate Brandy, but this was a sweet song and one of her better ballads.
15. “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys – I’d give this an 8/10 too. It’s not their best song, but it’s still a really good pop ballad and it still holds up even now. I don’t care, I like the Backstreet Boys and a lot of their material was really good.
16. “I’m Your Angel” by R. Kelly and Celine Dion – For the song alone, it’s an 8/10, but I’m going to deduct a couple of points because I can’t imagine R. Kelly as an angelic figure. Sometimes the framing and context of a song are just too much to ignore and that’s the case here.
17. “All Star” by Smash Mouth – If I were ranking this song as a meme, I’d give it a 10/10, but as a song alone, it’s a 6/10. It’s decent, but nothing great.
18. “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan – I’d give this song a 10/10. It’s a really hauntingly beautiful song and one of the best of the year. I don’t know if I’d consider the song one of my all time favs and it’s barely even in my top five of the artist, but still, it’s a great song.
19. “Smooth” by Santana featuring Rob Thomas – I’d give this song a 9/10. It got played way too much on the radio, but who is going to hate on this? Not me.
20. “Unpretty” by TLC – I’d give this song an 8/10. As a message, the song is 10/10, but it’s just a bit too unsteady to be a perfect 10. Still, it’s a great song.
21. “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child – I’d give it, as well as No Bills Reply, a 7/10. It’s a bit repetitive and not as good as “No Scrubs,” but it’s a good pop song.
22. “Save Tonight” by Eagle-Eye Cherry – I’d give this song a 6/10. Overplay really killed it, and it’s not a great song, but it’s not bad either.
23. “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam – I’d give this song a 4/10. It’s just a really campy cover, but it’s not a terrible song, just not very good.
24. “Fortunate” by Maxwell – I don’t remember this song at all. Maybe a 5/10?
25. “All I Have to Give” by Backstreet Boys – I’d give this song a 7/10; it’s a pleasant enough ballad and even if it’s not memorable it’s a lovely sentiment.
26. “Bailamos” by Enrique Iglesias – This is a 9/10. Again, it’s a lovely song with heavy Spanish influence, and what happened to this Enrique Iglesias. Other than “Hero,” he started out so good.
27. “What’s It Gonna Be?!” by Busta Rhymes featuring Janet – I’d give this an 8/10. This is just a good jam between two great artists.
28. “What It’s Like” by Everlast – I’d give this a 7/10, as it was good lyrically but a little bit on the bland song. Check out the censored version, though, if you want to hear a lot of funny bleeps.
29. “Fly Away” by Lenny Kravitz – This is an 8/10, a song that got played on the radio a lot and was still enjoyable.
30. “Someday” by Sugar Ray – This is a 5/10. It’s not a song I will play but I will still listen to it if I hear it.
31. “Lately” by Divine – This is an 8/10. It isn’t a very famous song nowadays but it was a sweet ballad back then.
32. “That Don’t Impress Me Much” by Shania Twain – I don’t like the way the song is framed, but it’s still a 7/10 just because Shania Twain has some strong charisma as a performer here.
33. “Wild Wild West” by Will Smith featuring Dru Hill and Kool Moe Dee – This song was better than the movie. I’d give it an 8/10.
34. “Scar Tissue” by Red Hot Chili Peppers – This song is a 9/10. It’s a really solid song that shows the band dealing with its past and helped them come back.
35. “Heartbreaker” by Mariah Carey featuring Jay-Z – This song is a 6/10. The rap verse aspects and Mariah’s attempts to go more street don’t really add up, sorry.
36. “I Still Believe” by Mariah Carey – This is a garden variety pleasant Mariah Carey ballad, so it’s an 8/10.
37. “The Hardest Thing” by 98 Degrees – This is a 1/10. I hate the framing of the song. If he had done it like Bryan Adams’ “Run To You,” it would have been far more honest and less manipulative.
38. “Summer Girls” by LFO – This song is a 0/10. Everyone knows this is one of the worst songs of all time, and I feel bad that it was released when the songwriter didn’t view it as complete–he was right. I blame the producers and the label more than the band.
39. “Can I Get A…” by Jay-Z featuring Amil and Ja Rule – I’d give this an 8/10. I bumped to this back in the day.
40. “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind – I’d give this a 4/10. I love the music of the song, but the lyrics are rather off-putting.
41. “Doo Wop (That Thing)” by Lauryn Hill – I’d give this song an 8/10. It’s an enjoyable song.
42. “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega – This is a 3/10. It’s cheesy, it’s not as cool as it thinks it is, but there was definitely worse.
43. “Sweet Lady” by Tyrese – I don’t remember this one at all.
44. “It’s Not Right but It’s Okay” by Whitney Houston – This song is so awkward, I’d give it a 2/10. Normally, awkward isn’t a bad thing with me, but this is too much.
45 “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You” by ‘N Sync – The Alabama version is better. I’d give this one a 5/10. It’s just not very good. Wait, the Alabama version made the list too? I guess we’ll be talking about this one later then.
46. “Lullaby” by Shawn Mullins – I’d give the song a 3/10. It creeps me out a little.
47. “Anywhere” by 112 featuring Lil Zane – I don’t remember this song, but I think I can guess what it’s about.
48. “Tell Me It’s Real” by K-Ci & JoJo – I’d give this song an 8/10. I really like this and even if the band doesn’t need autotune, it is a nice effect here.
49. “Back 2 Good” by Matchbox 20 – This song is a bit bland, but it’s decent. I’d say it’s a 6/10 or so.
50. “808” by Blaque – This is a 4/10 song, an enjoyably bad song that makes me laugh.
51. “She’s So High” by Tal Bachman – I’d give this a 7/10. It’s not as good as it was at the time, but I really wish he could have gotten another hit off that debut album. It was a surprisingly good album.
52. “She’s All I Ever Had” by Ricky Martin – I’d give this an 8/10. It’s a good ballad.
53. “Miami” by Will Smith – I’d give this an 8/10, as it’s competent pop rap and Will Smith has plenty of charisma as an artist.
54. “Hands” by Jewel – This is a 5/10. It’s definitely not among Jewel’s best songs.
55. “Who Dat” by JT Money featuring Solé – I’d give this an 8/10. It’s enjoyable to sing along with.
56. “Please Remember Me” Tim McGraw – I’d give this song a 7/10. I’m not big into pining over exes, but it’s alright.
57. “From This Moment On” Shania Twain – I’d give this a 9/10. I really find this song sweet and wish someone was singing it to me.
58 .”Love Like This” by Faith Evans – This was a pleasant song, I’d say it’s a 7/10 with a sweet sentiment.
59. “You” by Jesse Powell – I don’t know what this song is or who did it at all.
60. “Trippin'” by Total featuring Missy Elliott – I’m sure Missy Elliott had a funny part of the song, but no, this one slipped me by.
61. “If You” by Silk – No, I don’t remember this one at all.
62. “Ex-Factor” by Lauryn Hill – I’d give this an 8/10. It was a good song, and thanks to it being sampled so much in 2018 I actually remember it now.
63. “Give It to You” Jordan Knight – I’d give this song a 4/10. It’s bad, but at least it’s a comical bad song, one that makes me laugh at it.
64. “Black Balloon” Goo Goo Dolls – This is a beautiful song, a 9/10, and one I still listen to and play to this day.
65. “Spend My Life with You” by Eric Benét featuring Tamia – I don’t remember this song at all.
66. “These Are the Times” by Dru Hill – This is a 9/10. I really enjoy this song, and was happy it was our official theme song for my senior class at high school.
67. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Mark Chesnutt – I’d give this a 6/10. A country remake of a not great Aerosmith song does not make for a classic.
68. “I Do (Cherish You)” by 98 Degrees – I’d give this a 7/10. It’s touching, but there are plenty of ballads I like better.
69. “Because of You” by by 98 Degrees – This is a 5/10, pretty mediocre, but not bad.
70. “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan – This is a beautiful one, I’d give it an 8/10, and this year was a good one for her.
71. “Chanté’s Got a Man” by Chanté Moore – Well, good for her. No, I don’t remember this song, but I want to remember it.
72. “Happily Ever After” by Case – Congrats, but I still don’t remember your song.
73. “My Love Is Your Love” by Whitney Houston – This is an 8/10. It’s a beautiful song and probably the best from the eponymous album it was from.
74. “All Night Long” Faith Evans featuring Puff Daddy – I don’t remember this song at all, sorry.
75. “Back That Azz Up” Juvenile featuring Mannie Fresh and Lil Wayne – I’d give this song a 4/10. It’s terrible, but it makes me laugh and I can’t hate it that much for that.
76. “Almost Doesn’t Count” Brandy – I’d give this song an 8/10, as it was a good ballad by Brandy.
77. “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” Shania Twain – This is an 8/10, an enjoyable country pop song that was good for laughs then and now.
78. “Steal My Sunshine” by Len – This one is a pleasantly enjoyable one. I’d say it’s an 8/10.
79. “I Need to Know” by Marc Anthony – I really love this song. I’d give it a 10/10, because the music and singing
80. “So Anxious” by Ginuwine – I don’t remember this one at all, but Ginuwine was generally really bad. Do I want to look this one up?
81. “Faded Pictures” by Case featuring Joe – This one has left no traces in my memory, not even faded ones.
82. “Back at One” by Brian McKnight – This is pretty mediocre. I’d give it a 5/10.
83. “When a Woman’s Fed Up” R. Kelly – I’d give this song a 6/10. The singer certainly knew when a woman’s fed up, and it was probably his fault.
84. “How Forever Feels” by Kenny Chesney – For some reason I don’t remember this one at all.
85. “Amazed” by Lonestar – I’d say this is a 5/10, not horrible, just really bland.
86. “Sometimes” by Britney Spears – This is a 5/10. It’s meh, not bad, but not something I will ever seek out.
87. “Ghetto Cowboy” by Mo Thugs – Nope, this song has left no trace in my memory.
88. “Out of My Head” by Fastball – This is a 10/10. There are a few Fastball songs I like more, but this kept the band from being a one-hit wonder and was just a really beautiful tune on top of it.
89. “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” by Jay-Z – I’d give this a 10/10. This is a brilliant use of a really catchy sample, that’s for sure.
90. “Jamboree” Naughty by Nature featuring Zhané – I don’t remember this song at all, sorry.
91 “Take Me There” by Blackstreet featuring Mýa, Mase and Blinky Blink – I’d give this song a 3/10. It actively mystifies me. I’m not sure whether the song should make me feel actively uncomfortable because of its content or what.
92. “Stay the Same” by Joey McIntyre – This song is a 1/10. It’s just painfully bad to listen to. If there was one singer this year who could have used more autotune, he is definitely one of them.
93. “A Lesson in Leavin'” by Jo Dee Messina – This is an 8/10. I’m not the biggest fan of this artist, but this song is solid country.
94. “Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls – This song was everywhere on the radio in 1998 and 1999, but still, I love it. It’s a 10/10 for me.
95. “Satisfy You” Puff Daddy featuring R. Kelly – I’d give this a 6/10. It’s an enjoyable pop rap song.
96. “Better Days (And the Bottom Drops Out)” by Citizen King – The lyrics to this song are really odd, but it was pleasant and enjoyable. I’d give it a 7/10.
97. “Music of My Heart” by ‘N Sync and Gloria Estefan – I think this is my favorite ‘N Sync song. I’d put it at a 10/10. I still listen to this one and go back to it even today, which is pretty rare for their music.
98. “Write This Down” by George Strait – This isn’t George Strait’s best by any means but it’s still a really lovely song and it’s a solid 9/10.
99. “When You Believe” by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey – I’d give this a 7/10. It’s enjoyable enough as soundtrack pop, but both of these artists can do a lot better, and a lot worse.
100. “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You” by Alabama and ‘N Sync – I’d give this a 7/10, largely because Alabama does a good job with it. I can’t believe this song made the list twice.
There, are you happy now?