The 90's Billboard #1's Rate (1995-1999): We've come to the end of our road. | Page 95 | The Popjustice Forum

The 90's Billboard #1's Rate (1995-1999): We've come to the end of our road.

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Ironheade, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. Ray


    I was in a taxi today and talked with the driver about our fave strongmen competitions, then moved to heavyweight boxing fights, then to my blacksmithing years just as we arrived. Does that count?

    ('Tubthumping' got quite a few points from me.)
  2. You gave that a 7 & Creep a 1?? What exactly do you look for in your R&B??
    londonrain likes this.
  3. Creep was a 3. Clearly not like Creep or many of the songs here. It really is one of my least favorite genres overall. I'm pretty picky about it.
  4. While we're sort of talking about tubthumping, You know how people say 'Oh such and such a song really takes me back to that summer of whatever year', and they're always talking about, I dunno Everything I Do I Do It For You or some other super megahit? I found that Tubthumping was genuinely nostalgic for me in that way, because I literally haven't listened to it since about early 1998, but liked it enough at the time, that it actually bought that time in my life back to me, whereas, I dunno Wannabe doesn't have the same effect because, you know, I hear it quite a lot one way or another.
    londonrain, Ironheade and br0dy like this.
  5. OK, I'm gonna be straight with you guys: I'm not really happy with the writeup for this one... because, yeah, the insomnia attacks are back for me, on a pretty regular basis, and I'm wiped out from having not slept last night. But I didn't want to go two days without a post, so let's get it done.

    But of all elimination days... why did it have to happen on THIS one?!

    49. One Sweet Day - Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men


    Average: 6.641
    Highest scores: 1 x 11 (@bleedingheart80 ); 6 x 10 (@MollieSwift21 , @Blond , @japanbonustrack , @Robsolete , @KingBruno , @Remorque )
    Lowest scores: 2 x 0 (@Empty Shoebox , @ohnoitisnathan )
    Weeks at #1: 16 consecutive Hot 100, 13 consecutive airplay
    Year-End Hot 100: #2 (1996)

    Hoo boy, this one took some doing. Because... this is it, people. The Big One. Sixteen weeks at the top of the charts. The (now-joint) holder of the record for the longest continuous run at number one. A song that remains an enduring staple of funerals, and a go-to song for those mourning their lost loved ones, to this very day. Two of the most successful artists of the decade, who individually racked up chart-topper after chart-topper, coming together for the grand culmination of it all: the feather in their collective cap, their proper coronation as the kings and queen of pop in the 1990's.

    Yeah, I don't really like the thing very much. I mean, “One Sweet Day” is not terrible. It's hardly offensive, and it has its good qualities. But it's not really anything I'd pull out on the regular, far from it.

    Firstly, let us consider the instrumentation. Mariah is still working with Walter Afanasieff, her go-to guy for ballads for most of the decade, and that's a big problem, because he's just as much of a lame adult-contemporary sap machine as my usual punching bag David Foster. Because it isn't like “One Sweet Day” is a badly-written song at all: it carries an elegant sepulchral feel that is very appropriate for its subject matter, and a strong uplifting chorus that binds the whole thing together well. Even for as conservative and MOR as it is, it gets the job done, and even the key change isn't badly integrated at all, with the build-up to it being a perfectly serviceable slow burn. The issues lie in the actual instrumental choices and mixing. The drum production, in particular, is not good: I sort of like the distant atmospheric sounds and snap percussion on the first verse, but come the chorus, it degrades into a sluggish march of blocky thudding snares (UGH, I'll easily take the thin rimshot tones of most of the other R&B ballads here over that obnoxious gated sound). It's accompanied by a clicky bass drum and cymbals buried in the mix, and every part of the drum track sounds grotty and dirty, overly loud in the mix but without any real power. The central piano melody is pleasant enough, but it is forced to fight for space with the same sparkly sugary keyboards that Afanasieff deploys on far too many of his hits, and occasionally disappears altogether, swamped by over-loud vocals and percussion. “One Sweet Day” does have a light touch of synth pads in the background that gives it a bit more atmosphere, but it's not really enough to redeem the instrumentation. And I know, some of this isn't too far off previous Boyz II Men ballads, but I feel like songs like “I'll Make Love to You” or “On Bended Knee” had a lot more atmosphere, and a rich, opulent feel given to them by the additional orchestral elements, and more complex and better-written vocal melodies. “One Sweet Day” doesn't have that; as such, the backing feels like nothing but a flimsy delivery system for the vocals.

    Ah, yes. That, of course, is what we are mostly here for. Now, I will certainly give this to them, because in a technical sense, nobody here puts a foot wrong with their singing. The gospel-style harmonies between Mariah and the Boyz are absolutely spot-on, completely airtight and yet with the billowing depths and drama of their best work. When their harmonies elevate at the end for the key change, it really is like a ray of sunshine coming in through a stained-glass window. Mariah utilizes her head voice excellently, with a delicately silky touch, and while the Boyz don't pull out their falsettos or stretch to their highest reaches in their solo leads (ad-libs are another matter), they always sing with such passion and fervor that it doesn't really matter. They also really dig into the lyrics with plenty of emotion and feeling to spare – this I would attribute to the song's specificity, both in the specific people whose deaths it was written about (friend and close collaborator David Cole for Mariah, their road manager for Boyz II Men), and for the context of the AIDS crisis in which it happened. As a result, they never sound like they are simply spouting platitudes about loss. They nail the tone of the lyrics, combining mourning and sorrow with the hope of one day being reunited with these loved ones, just right.

    And yet... as Mariah and Boyz II Men both so often do, they have to take things just that little bit too far, because good God, do they ever oversing like crazy on this one! (No, it's not “I Don't Want to Miss a Thing” levels of oversinging. For that, I can be grateful.) Right from the beginning, all five of our protagonists are showing off their melismas at every opportunity they can fit one in (and some where they can't), with Mariah constantly throwing in additional runs and background warblings that serve little purpose but showboating. In doing so, not only do they drown out the instrumentation a lot of the time, but they let themdelves get away from the sweet and simple core of the melody. Ironically enough, in trying to make it such an ostentatious vocal showcase laden down with big loud belted notes, they rob it of its punch. Michael's bass harmonies don't really hold down the bottom end of the song as well as they do in Boyz II Men's better ballads, instead getting buried in the mix, and his mumbled spoken-word interjections truly did not need to be there on the second verse. And was there any chance that a song involving both Mariah Carey and Wanya Morris wouldn't turn into an ad-lib screaming match that completely overwhelms the final chorus? No, I don't think there was. Yeah, it's about as obnoxious as you'd think.

    So that's “One Sweet Day” for you. Look, given what it means to its artists, I feel kind of bad for not liking it much. At least it's sincere and well-sung. As far as record-setting chart-toppers go, you could do a lot worse. (Hell, my country picked Bryan Adams for their sixteen-week record, I've got no room to talk...) But unfortunately, you could also do a lot better.

    Mike (9) - Yes, these two acts could have combined forces and got Mary Had A Little Lamb to number 1 in 1995. (In this case, that would be Mary HaaaaAAaaAAaAaaaD aaaAAaaAaa liIIIIIiiiIIIIIIIIIiiiiIIIIiiiiiiIIIII etc. etc. - Ed.) Doesn't alter the fact that this is a giant of a song.

    unnameable (5) - This is really the worst of both worlds isn’t it, wasting the talents of wonderful artists? (I wouldn't so much say wasting, they're fully on display here. It's just that they're not quite deployed properly.)

    K94 (8) - As cheesy as it is, this is a great ballad/colllab. The last minute is a moment. (OK, I'll give 'em that.)

    WowWowWowWow (5) - Another song that it is impossible for me to be objective about, as all of our school dances at this time would inevitably end with this song as the final slow dance, and who you danced the last dance with was conversation fodder for weeks afterward. Kind of a weird song for a bunch of pre-teens to dance to, based on the lyrics, (Ya don't say! - Ed.) but I also went to a school where Waiting for Tonight was our junior prom theme, so there were just questionable musical decisions all over the place.

    berserkboi (3) - Kings and Queen of Vocal Gymnastics – guess where this is going for me? SOUTH!! Any greatness this may have had was oversung to death!

    Hudweiser (4) - There's a nice melody at work here, but its drowned out by all the wailing.

    Filippa (5) - It’s difficult for me to listen to this song. It’s so, so, so boring. The chorus is nice, ‘though and I like Mariah’s vocals. (If there's one thing you can rely on a pairing like this for, I feel, it's got to be some awesome chorus harmonies.)

    saviodxl (3.75) - I feel like sleeping when I listen to this. (Not the Big Sleep, I hope...)

    Sprockrooster (6) - Thankfuck for Mariah saving this racket from complete disaster with her amazing vocals. She does gospel so well and with so much vocal dedication. 'Fly Like A Bird' has me shattered on the floor every time again.

    Rooneyboy (3) - All 3 points are for Mariah, that is all.

    Spiral (3) - I REALLY hate Boyz II Men. (But what does Spiral think of the other half of the equation? Keep following the rate to find out!)

    br0dy (4) - Falls a bit on the schmaltzy side. (Hey, at least it's sincere about it.)

    ohnoitsnathan (0) - No.

    Empty Shoebox (0) - I don't think anyone expected me not to tank this, but the first time I listened to it, I lost all will to live and had to go for a lie down. It's just excruciating. If someone else had sung this song, could it have been saved? Maybe, but there's no way to know for sure. I really don't see what there is to like about this. (Well, here's a rampaging herd of lambs to let you know!)

    londonrain (8) - I remember watching the Billboard chart show when this came out and loving the fact that this was #1 week after week (to the point that, towards the end of its chart run, they gave up and started playing Open Arms instead for a change). However, it's the Mariah single I come back to the least out of all of her '90s #1s, and that's possibly because it's more a Boyz II Men song stylistically than a Mariah song, in some ways. However, it is still gorgeous and deserves every point of this score.

    əʊæ (6.5) - I would like this more as a solo Boyz II Men song. I mean, those spooky whispers alone. Yasss. (GIRL. I'M HERE FOR YOU. ALL THOSE TIMES THAT YOU JUST)

    PushyBakerFriend (8.75) - I put this at a 6.25 (Heh heh... heh... don't kill me. - Ed.), then one day I suddenly saw the light.

    mung_bean (8) - I have no idea how this one will do, but I think it’s actually pretty good. The one thing I don’t get about it is why they all sing “lowst” when “lost” would have been fine. Surely that’s not even an American accent thing?

    iheartpoptarts (8) - I am mad at ‘Despacito’. Mariah shouldn’t have to share her record with anyone but Boyz II Men. (You know what... its equalling the record was kind of a pisser for me, not gonna lie.)

    KingBruno (10) - A stand-out track from Daydream with superb belting from Mariah.

    Blond (10) - I can’t even begin to fathom how massive this song must have felt at the time. I’ve spent most of the commentary in this rate gushing over these two artists and their voices work so well together. The lyrics are a little trite but there is genuine emotion to the song and the vocals leave me scalped every time.

    japanbonustrack (10) - Beautiful song, sometimes the final chorus gets me, sometimes. It almost brings a tear to my eye. (And if this elimination brought a tear to your eye, I can only apologize.)

    CorgiCorgiCorgi (9) - They’ve played this song at like 3 out of every 4 funerals I’ve been to, so it always makes me a bit sad. But it’s a lovely song.

    bleedingheart80 (11) - This is one of my favorite songs of all time so of course it's going to get my 11. Mariah and the Boyz's voices just go perfectly together. I remember seeing the video on VH1 all the time and how COOL it was just seeing them hanging out being themselves and recording the song. That was actually such a perfect video, no acting or some stupid concept to ruin a perfect song. (You know what? It was. It really was.)


    Rate trivia: This officially has the lowest score of any Mariah song in either half ("Love Takes Time", her lowest-ranked song in Part 1, had a score of 6.915). Reckon she might lose any more before the top 40... or is she safe from now on? Stay tuned to find out...
  6. MollieSwift21

    MollieSwift21 Moderator

    This is certainly not a moment.
  7. Not cool! Disappointing to see my 11 go out this early. I wasn't aware the song is not a favorite until I read the comments about what they think should get eliminated early and a lot of folks mentioned this song. I knew then that the writing was on the wall for my 11. Bummer.

    Off I go to listen to this perfect song!
    londonrain and berserkboi like this.
  8. Wow, gobsmacked and appalled that One Sweet Day is out so early.

    Y'all really do hate Boyz II Men, huh?
  9. Sorry both @bleedingheart80 & @Robsolete lose a number they love and no, I don't hate Boys II Men or Mariah per se, their other numbers got good scores from me - I can just only take so much oversinging. it's one thing when it is just one vocalist but when you get multiples showboating? No ma'am!!
    Empty Shoebox and Robsolete like this.
  10. Wait... @berserkboi gave it a 3? A 3!? That's like a -666 on his scale!
  11. Oh my god, I stan you.
  12. It's my own highest score for Mariah, but it was always going to be the outlier in the rate. I'm thinking it'll be about 15-20 eliminations before we hear from her again.
    londonrain likes this.
  13. Let's hope so. I do really enjoy this song but I always expected it to be out first. The other Mariah songs in the rate are all bops to varying extents (barring My All, of course) so I'm hoping they hang around for a while.
    soratami likes this.
  14. I think My All will be the next to go (mostly because it isn't a bop), but it's hard to pick between the other four. They might end up fairly close together.

    My best guess is that Fantasy gets her highest placing, but I'd much prefer Always Be My Baby.
    londonrain likes this.
  15. I agree that My All is likely to be the next Mariah song to go. I suspect Always Be My Baby will be the next one after that, but the remaining three should hopefully have a good shot at going far.
  16. It's easily one of the worst songs in the history of recorded music.
    Ray, iheartpoptarts and Empty Shoebox like this.
  17. Since I didn't comment for 'One Sweet Day', here it is:

    ohnoitisnathan (0) - Like the dead haven't suffered enough already.
  18. I wasn't that harsh on it, but I did score it below average.
    iheartpoptarts likes this.
  19. I fucking HATE it.
    iheartpoptarts and Empty Shoebox like this.
  20. When I say below average, I mean below my average, so you can imagine what that means.
    iheartpoptarts, DJHazey and soratami like this.
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