Justice Will Not Rest

alf

Happy Spring. Rejuvenation. Rebirth. Everything’s blooming. All that crap. Let’s check out what we you were into on March 25, 1989

40. One – Metallica

Wow! Who would have thought in 1988 that Metallica would be in the Top 40. That was the power of MTV back then because this video was the most popular on the channel for months on end and it obviously helped get the song noticed. It was truly a big deal.

But as I listen to it today, it makes me laugh. I can’t take it seriously because it sounds like a parody of speed metal. The production on it is surprisingly bad and very dated. Many believe Master of Puppets is a definitive thrash metal album, but And Justice For All which features One is just the band’s first big step away from the genre into the mainstream hard rock of their “black album” in 1991.

39. Feels So Good – Van Halen

This was the 4th Top 40 Single from 1988’s OU812, which makes it their most successful singles album. That is the most interesting about it. I imagine that Cabo Wabo shots were passed around in the recording studio.

38. Wild Thing – Tone Loc

This is the first of two songs by one of the worst representatives of rap. Tone’s flow absolutely sucks. The beats are pretty weak, produced for girls dancing in cages and frat boys spraying Natty light at them. This is coming down from its height of #2 kept off the top by Paula Abdul. Also, we’re hearing back to back Van Halen because they are using a sample of Jamie’s Cryin’ for which the band had to sue Tone to get some money. To this day they are not listed as co-songwriters.

37. The Love In Your Eyes – Eddie Money

Eddie had a rebirth in the late 80s with the surprise hit, Take Me Home Tonight. From that point, he had 6 more Top 40 songs between 1987 and 1992, each one less distinctive than the next. This one was somewhere in that streak. Considering how many other great songs could have filled these positions, it’s really a crime.

36. Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) – Enya

NAOHW – Ok, so we’ve had metal, corporate rock, rap and now…new age? Good for you 1989. Enya’s success marked the end of the first wave of new age music. Now that a viable market for the genre had emerged, record companies starting looking for ways to exploit it. Is it really cool or kinda scary that the entire song is pretty much Enya and a Roland D-50?

35. She Won’t Talk To Me – Luther Vandross

Luther worked so hard in the music business to have success and after 15+ years he only had 4 Top hits to show for it, with this one only reaching #30. Thankfully the 90s were kinder to him, but the man died in 2006 at age 54 with so much more to give.

34. The Lover In Me – Sheena Easton

Did anyone think Sheena would have hits on R&B radio after she sang the vanilla Morning Train? But this one would go Top 5 on the Pop & Soul charts, her 3rd Top 20 on the latter listing. Co-written by Babyface who would soon take over the pop charts in the early 90s, this was his 3rd fruitful songwriting venture for a female artist after Pebbles & Karyn White, but the first for an established singer.

33. Sincerely Yours – Sweet Sensation

Another group in the Latin Supremes mold who had hits in the late 80s/early 90s which everyone forgets about.

32. Thinking Of You – Sa-Fire

OHW – Sa-Fire was having none of that sharing the spotlight with two other ladies. She could have a hit and be forgotten all on her own.

31. Rocket – Def Leppard

The LP Hysteria had some full utters cause they milked this hard for a year and a half. This was the 6th Top 40 hit from that album and we were beginning to get Lep-Lash. Their next album came out 5 years after this one and I swear it had the same songs on it with different titles.

30. Room To Move – Animotion

In some sort of Trading Places-like bet, a few record execs wondered “what if we replace the faces and founding members of a band? Would anyone notice? Would anyone care?” So they held on to the “name”, got rid of most of the members and hired two new lead singers, keeping the guitarist and the keyboard player, probably the quietest ones. No drums, no bass – to keep costs down, I’m sure.

And it worked. They pushed this song all the way up to the Top 10 led by the former lead singer from Device and Penny from Dirty Dancing. After the record company cashed their checks, they broke up their band before any former members crashed their Christmas party.

29. Surrender To Me – Ann Wilson & Robin Zander

Heart & Cheap Trick are both in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But their respective lead singers have never been in the Top 40 by themselves. Ann shared a duet with Mike Reno in 1984 and for Robin Zander, this was it. From a Michelle Pfeiffer/ Mel Gibson movie that no one saw, I have no recollection of this Top 10 song even after I hear it.

28. Second Chance – .38 Special

Y’all we need some hits. That probably came from someone left in the band when the band’s lead singer Don Barnes left in 1987. Do you even know that he left? Couldn’t tell – I had no clue. Did you know Donnie Van Zant doesn’t play with them either? What was it all for?

27. I’ll Be There For You – Bon Jovi

If you buy an album called New Jersey then you get what you paid for. Even Springsteen knew to abbreviate the state cause NJ could mean anything to your imagination. Nice Jacket. Never Joking. Naked Janet. It could go on…

26. Funky Cold Medina – Tone Loc

Another song that paved the way for watered-down Top 40 hip-hop from folks like Vanilla Ice. This reached #3? My Lord, were we that desperate for a raspy rapper that we fell in love with this one too? There were legendary rap albums being released at this time – Eric B & Rakim’s Follow The Leader, Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, Jungle Brothers’ Straight Outta The Jungle – but we were enamored with and preferred a guy putting Spanish fly in ladies’ drinks. Then, of course, add in the childish gag of Tone going home with a woman and it turns out to be a MAN. Jesus, I’m not into banning music, but if we’re going to take songs out of the library, make this one of them.

Let’s hope that justice is not napping and the next 15 kick it up a notch.

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

NAOHW – Not A One-Hit-Wonder

PFK – Perfect for karaoke

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