Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Ironheade, Mar 3, 2018.
Is that John Barrowman? Or is my screen too small?
How dare you with this Bucky erasure, he's also our unofficial young Luke Skywalker.
Yeah, Barrowman was never that cute.
In hindsight, putting Bills, Bills, Bills in my predicted top 10 was a mistake. I can't really see it now. And I was crazy not to include Torn.
Oh what a pleasant surprise. I didn't think One Sweet Day would be the big song to go because of Mariah, but I'll definitely take it!
Well, this all sounds promising!
I can understand a lot of the more popular songs on my hit-list will be staying around for a while, but if we could just eliminate Truly Madly Deeply and My All I'd be content with prepping for a battle between my absolute favorites that are left and songs I'm meh or ambivalent towards when we get to the Top 30/20/10.
I'm glad One Sweet Day went first. I can see Fantasy and Always Be My Baby sticking around the longest... even though My All is my favorite Mariah song. :(
Bills is absolutely top tier Destiny's Child.
Wow, that was weird. A Big Pop Girl elimination this early? Welp, back to the MisandryJustice it is!
Is that an elimination in my pocket, or am I just happy to see you?
48. Too Close - Next
Highest scores: 2 x 10 (@marie_05 , @iheartpoptarts )
Lowest scores: 1 x 0 (@Spiral )
Weeks at #1: 5 consecutive Hot 100
Year-End Hot 100: #1 (1998)
Look at the other songs that topped the Year-End Hot 100's for this part of the decade. “Gangsta's Paradise”, “Macarena”, “Candle in the Wind”, “Believe”. All of these, instinctively, make sense to me in that position. They were cultural phenomena that defined the zeitgeist, and whose impact and popularity continue to this day, in one form or another – whether it be as a hip-hop classic, a definitive one-hit wonder, an elegy for a tragic event, or a signature song of an iconic diva. And nestled in among them, at the top of 1998's list, is “Too Close”. Yes, it does beg the question: really? This was the biggest hit of its year? Unlike those other four songs, its popularity hasn't been particularly enduring, and if there's a cultural moment that it reflected and defined, I am not aware of it. Besides which, Next, as far as the R&B groups of the time go, were only mid-tier in terms of success outside of this: sure, they had other hits, and their first album went double platinum, but they were hardly on the commercial level of a TLC or a Boyz II Men. So as somebody going into this list having not heard a big chunk of it beforehand, that had me a bit confused.
But is it a great song that deserved that slot? No. To be more precise, I would call “Too Close” a good song... ruined by one big part of it.
That part, we shall get to later. But let us focus, for now, on the good: the vocals and instrumentation. The central groove is just cracking, with its lively, danceable upper-end-of-midtempo beat playing beautifully with that tight and smoothly funky bassline. In the treble end of the mix, “Too Close” throws in some airy electric piano chords and choppy single-note funk rhythm guitar, both of which only appear intermittently, but really enhance the song's sense of groove and feel whenever they do, and I really like those glittery keyboard fills that appear every few bars. Perfect dancefloor fodder, in other words. The mix is great too, with a nice open feeling and a good balance between the instruments, with nothing sounding either overly loud or buried. Meanwhile, on the vocal front, Next nail it. Their vocal harmonies don't have the same depth as a group like Boyz II Men, but they slot in well together, and the way the harmonies elevate on the second part of the chorus (the “YOU'RE DANCING TOO CLOSE!” bit) really helps to drive the hook in and make things memorable. All three of these guys have a good amount of range and smooth, even tones with a nice amount of depth, even if they all sound pretty similar, and the ad-libs show off their belting abilities well without getting too ostentatious or overwhelming the song. “Too Close”, overall, has got a great combination of sleek, controlled groove on the musical front, with plenty of hooks packed in, and a strong vocal to carry the melody – not sacrificing pop appeal for rhythmic wallop, while still keeping a bit of an edge to it. But let's get onto that song-ruining factor I mentioned earlier, shall we? Yeah. It's those lyrics.
Now, as some of you may know, I'm not a huge lyrics guy. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate well-written lyrics as much as anybody, but it's not a deal-breaker for me if not every song sounds like it came from a wordsmith of Nick Cave or Kendrick Lamar's caliber. Words that are a bit generic or nothing special will never be a song-ruiner for me by themselves, as long as either a) they're delivered well by the performer, or b) the melody (or catchiness factor) is good enough to make up for it. To really grate on my nerves without these factors, they have to be something special. And hoo boy, does “Too Close” ever have that! It's a song about... getting a boner while grinding with a girl on the dancefloor... and how she's aware of it. I mean, where were they even going with that?! That's not cool or smooth, and it's definitely not sexy. If you're going to play up the R&B loverman schtick, you've got to play it cool, and not look like an air-humping horndog like these guys do. The main problem is that the lyrics are just way, way too explicit and literal, and perfectly enunciated by Next, so you can't avoid this issue if you wanted to. And it gets worse... because, is it just me, or does the uncredited female vocalist (Vee from the duo Koffee Brown) sound kind of miffed? I suppose in theory, they were going for a “flirtatious duet where they trade come-ons” sort of thing, but her lyrics don't come off that way at all, and her voice doesn't really get it across either. But the worst bit of all has to be when they sing “you know you're making it hard for me!” on the chorus. (GROAN.) And it's a shame, because I do really like the groove and the tune on “Too Close”. Too bad the lyrics sound like a Lonely Island song. Except not funny.
əʊæ (9) - Oh wow...I've had this as my ringtone for years without realising. Cause it's the version with the guy dancing by a toilet bowl. And now I enjoy it (ironically but still) more than the original. Euthanise me nn. (Sorry pal, I would, but I forgot to buy chainsaw fuel today.)
bleedingheart80 (8) - I didn't realize how dirty this song was until years later! (A me with "You're Makin' Me High" tea. - Ed.) Doesn't diminish the song's appeal, though. It's a bop.
Blond (9) - It’s so iconic that this got to number 1 given the subject matter. It’s a huge bop and very relatable. (I'm not so surprised. This was, after all, the Decade of Overly Explicit R&B Songs.)
DJHazey (8) - Seeing the title of the song and artist had me scratching my head, but once the beat kicked in, all the memory came back real quick. Nice bop, but all I remember was wondering why they were getting excited about "crying" until I realized they were saying "grinding". (I mean, you can do both. Not sure it'd go over very well, though.)
WowWowWowWow (6) - A song about boners. Did we really deserve this? I blame Bill Clinton. (Should've got him in for a sax solo!)
unnameable (5) - Not really memorable. (Man, you're lucky. I WISH I didn't remember the boner lyrics...)
Rooneyboy (4) - At least it has a passable riff. (I stan for passable riffs.)
Filippa (4) - I like the voice of the lead singer; the song is not bad, but I don’t think that there will be much going on if they keep whining around like that. (And especially not if they actually mention this stuff to the girl!)
Empty Shoebox (4) - Just as the verse starts, there's a nice little bit in the instrumentation that sounds a bit funky, but that's swiftly thrown away and replaced by the usual two bars repeating ad infinitum. Even the girls singing can't elevate this above mediocrity. They can elevate this above other tracks of this kind, but not by much. (Get dem PJ kudos, Vee! Shame about your lack of credit, though...)
japanbonustrack (7) - Eh, cute enough. Here, have a 7.
berserkboi (8) - Bop but not the strongest!
iheartpoptarts (10) - Ooh, can we stan for Blue while we’re at it? (I'll allow it.)
K94 (7.5) - I prefer Blue’s version but still a big tune.
Mike (6) - For some reason I prefer Blue's version of this, even though it adds almost nothing. (I do like the additional synths on that version. Lyrics are still stupid, though...)
londonrain (7.5) - I'm going to pretend I didn't hear "I wonder if she can tell I'm hard right now" in the intro, because it wasn't on the video I watched on MTV and it wasn't on the compilation I bought with Too Close on it. The decision to have Blue cover this was interesting given they just created a carbon copy of it, and it is really just a song about getting aroused while grinding. (Relatable.) (At least Blue managed to do without THAT moment. For that, I think we can be thankful.)
Iconic write-up, comments and comic strip!
Nooooooo, this is a ridiculous bop!
"Nothing can capture a heart like a melody can"
In the first half, only five male vocal songs made the top 40. With seven eliminations to go, we're guaranteed eight in the top 40 even if all the ones in between are male. The power of MisandryJustice weakens!
Nothing makes me answer the phone quicker, teebs
Ok but this is a bop!
For the Americans who don't know what a "Blue cover" is.
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