September 07, 2005

Fred Tackles the High-School Song Meme

I first saw this meme over at The Funny Farm, and while I originally thought of it as a silly waste-of-time meme (aren't they all, though?), eventually I succumbed and looked up my grad year. It was a diverting way to pass a slow afternoon. And once Frinklin posted his list up here, I felt honor-bound to put mine up, even though it largely goes to show that either (a) my grad year was one of the worst years for popular music in modern history, or (b) I'm a crotchety out-of-touch old fogey in a young person's body. (In fact, I believe both are true.)

For variety's sake, I decided to alter my notation system slightly from Frinklin's.

Bold=good song
Plain=tolerable song
Strikethru= terrible song
Italics=Who ARE these people?
Bold and Underlined=Best Song on this Particular List

On with the list:

1. Candle In The Wind 1997, Elton John
2. Foolish Games / You Were Meant For Me, Jewel
3. I'll Be Missing You, Puff Daddy and Faith Evans
4. Un-Break My Heart, Toni Braxton
5. Can't Nobody Hold Me Down, Puff Daddy
6. I Believe I Can Fly, R. Kelly
7. Don't Let Go (Love), En Vogue

8. Return Of The Mack, Mark Morrison
9. How Do I Live, LeAnn Rimes
10. Wannabe, Spice Girls
11. Quit Playing Games (With My Heart), Backstreet Boys
12. MMMBop, Hanson
13. For You I Will, Monica
14. You Make Me Wanna..., Usher
15. Bitch, Meredith Brooks
16. Nobody Keith Sweat

17. Semi-Charmed Life, Third Eye Blind
18. Barely Breathing, Duncan Sheik
19. Hard To Say I'm Sorry, Az Yet Featuring Peter Cetera
20. Mo Money Mo Problems, Notorious B.I.G.

21. The Freshmen, Verve Pipe
22. I Want You, Savage Garden
23. No Diggity, BLACKstreet Featuring Dr. Dre
24. I Belong To You (Every Time I See Your Face), Rome
25. Hypnotize, Notorious B.I.G.
26. Every Time I Close My Eyes, Babyface

27. In My Bed, Dru Hill
28. Say You'll Be There, Spice Girls
29. Do You Know (What It Takes), Robyn
30. 4 Seasons Of Loneliness, Boyz II Men
31. G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T., Changing Faces
32. Honey, Mariah Carey
33. I Believe In You And Me, Whitney Houston
34. Da' Dip, Freaknasty
35. 2 Become 1, Spice Girls

36. All For You, Sister Hazel
37. Cupid, 112

38. Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?, Paula Cole
39. Sunny Came Home, Shawn Colvin
40. It's Your Love, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill

41. Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit, Gina G
42. Mouth, Merril Bainbridge
43. All Cried Out, Allure Featuring 112

44. I'm Still In Love With You, New Edition
45. Invisible Man, 98 Degrees
46. Not Tonight, Lil' Kim
47. Look Into My Eyes, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
48. Get It Together, 702
49. All By Myself, Celine Dion
50. It's All Coming Back To Me Now, Celine Dion
51. My Love Is The Shhh!, Somethin' For The People
52. Where Do You Go, No Mercy
53. I Finally Found Someon, Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams
54. I'll Be, Foxy Brown Featuring Jay-Z

55. If It Makes You Happy , Sheryl Crow
56. Never Make A Promise, Dru Hill
57. When You Love A Woman, Journey
58. Up Jumps Da Boogie, Magoo And Timbaland
59. I Don't Want To / I Love Me Some Him, Toni Braxton

60. Everyday Is A Winding Road, Sheryl Crow
61. Cold Rock A Party, Mc Lyte
62. Pony, Ginuwine

63. Building A Mystery, Sarah McLachlan
64. I Love You Always Forever, Donna Lewis
65. Your Woman, White Town
66. C U When U Get There, Coolio
67. Change The World, Eric Clapton
68. My Baby Daddy, B-Rock and The Bizz
69. Tubthumping, Chumbawamba
70. Gotham City, R. Kelly
71. Last Night, Az Yet

72. ESPN Presents The Jock Jam, Various Artists
73. Big Daddy, Heavy D
74. What About Us, Total

75. Smile, Scarface
76. What's On Tonight, Montell Jordan
77. Secret Garden, Bruce Springsteen
78. The One I Gave My Heart, w Aaliyah
79. Fly Like An Eagle, Seal
80. No Time, Lil' Kim
81. Naked Eye, Luscious Jackson
82. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix), Los Del Rio

83. On and On, Erykah Badu
84. Don't Wanna Be A Player, Joe
85. I Shot The Sheriff, Warren G
86. You Should Be Mine (Don't Waste Your Time), Brian McKnight Featuring Mase

87. Don't Cry For Me Argentina, Madonna
88. Someone, SWV
89. Go The Distance, Michael Bolton
90. One More Time, Real McCoy

91. Butta Love, Next
92. Coco Jamboo, Mr. President

93. Twisted, Keith Sweat
94. Barbie Girl, Aqua
95. When You're Gone / Free To Decide, Cranberries
96. Let Me Clear My Throat, DJ Kool

97. I Like It, Blackout Allstars
98. You're Makin' Me High / Let It Flow, Toni Braxton
99. You Must Love Me, Madonna
100. Let It Go, Ray J

There you have it. Of the Top 100 songs of 1997, only 14 even rank as "tolerable." (And some of those are real borderline cases.) There's only six songs that I actually like. "No Diggity," which I've designated as my favorite, is a pretty good song, but if I never heard it again I can't say I'd miss it. (And we're not even going to discuss Celine Dion.) What a dismal year for music.

After re-reading Tom's list, which inspired me to follow the meme, I noticed some similarities between 1997 and 1978, the year he graduated. In each case, there was a silly music fad (disco in his case, boy bands in mine), and a big-deal musical that landed several songs on the list (Grease for him, Evita for me). And in both years, there was very little in the way of lasting, quality hits among the Top 100 (mostly forgettable novelty bands and big-name artists in down periods). Ironically, though, I liked the music of 1978 a lot better in general.

An optional addendum to the meme is to list the songs that came out that year that you were really listening to, so that you can prove how cool you were, unlike all the Top-100 sheep. I would do this, except that I wasn't listening to other new music then, either. I was listening to stuff from the '60s and '70s, primarily. Other than They Might Be Giants (who put out the "Factory Showroom" album the year before), I wasn't listening to any current music. Which serves to reinforce the old-fogey point above. Oh, well.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at September 7, 2005 11:18 AM | TrackBack

Sweet Jesus your year sucked.

Posted by: frinklin at September 7, 2005 07:07 PM

I gots to say you make a pretty good case here. There's not a lot of quality top 100 hits in your year.

I'm amazed that I recognize as much of you list as I do. Besides quite a few more in the who the heck is this group, I would have had a few more in the good column than you - I like Sheryl Crow, Chumbawumba and Sarah McClachlan (a lot!). But it would have been a lot easier to pick the best turkey in this field - Every Day Is A Winding Road was my favorite song of that year.

It just happens. Everybody can't put out awesomely good music every year of their lives. Some years you gets lots of goodies, some (as we found out when we graduated from high school) not so much. And take a look at the top 100 in the year before you graduated. I'll bet you find some stuff you liked that you were still interested in in 1997.

Posted by: (: Tom :) at September 8, 2005 07:05 PM

And your software doesn't like my email or URL - funnyfarmonl ine dot org (particularly the bolded part)* is being flagged by your filters. Praise Koresh that I have many many options in that regard.

Just thought you might like to know...

* - plus, I had to fragment the sucker just to get it into the comments! Scary stuff, kids...

Posted by: (: Tom :) at September 8, 2005 07:11 PM


You make some good points. Even though I'm down on modern (i.e. created during my lifetime) music in general, I think 1997 stands out as a particularly bad year. A lot of bad hip-hop, boy-band pop junk, and one-hit wonders.

I looked up '96, and you're right... it was a better year. Among the artists I like who made the Top 100 in '96 but not '97: Melissa Etheridge, Sophie B. Hawkins, Tracy Chapman, Metallica, John Mellencamp, Blues Traveller, Oasis, Hootie and the Blowfish, Alanis Morrisette, and Natalie Merchant. And most of the songs I liked from the '97 list also made the '96 list.

But man, '66 through '69... talk about a Murderer's Row. I'm openly jealous of my parents on this score... their high-school years were soundtracked by those brilliant songs, while I was stuck with crapola like "Barbie Girl" and "Elton John Cashes In On the Premature Death of Another Pretty Blonde Woman." (I'm surprised he hasn't rewritten "Candle in the Wind" for Natalee Holloway yet.)

A couple years ago, my mother gave me her old collection of 45s. I still listen to them regularly. Were I stranded on a desert island, I'd take my mom's 45s over a "Best of" CD of my high-school years any day and twice on Sunday.

Posted by: Mediocre Fred at September 9, 2005 11:35 AM
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