Ranking #22 singles, U.S. edition: 1987-1996

The stretch of time between “Smoking Gun” and “I’m Goin’ Down” is more formidable than between 1913 and August 1914. A knock-kneed blues song climbed into the top thirty? In the late eighties? Meanwhile Mary J. Blige’s Rose Royce cover signified a new ear in R&B crossover: if the rap songs couldn’t break down the doors, R&B would. The same wtf-ness permeates Duran Duran (or is it “Duranduran” in this period? I remember.). A house-influenced track with the line “Ya know ya gotta save some for the shoeshine boy” sung by Simon Le Bon like a former shoeshine boy. And, uh, Rick Springfield? Even in spring ’88 he earned heavy MTV rotation for the faint reggae overtones of “Rock of Life.” Judge for yourselves whether you’d wanna hear it over Melissa Etheridge’s wink-winking through gay signifiers over boring chords.

The Hague

Richard Marx – The Way She Loves Me


Rick Springfield – Rock of Life
Melissa Etheridge – I Want to Come Over
Vixen – Cryin’
Paul Young – What Becomes of the Brokenhearted
Toto – Pamela
General Public – I’ll Take You There
N II U – I Miss You

Sound, Solid

Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet with Butterfly Wings
Gloria Estefan – Live for Loving You
Jodeci – Get On Up
Jade – One Woman
Aerosmith – The Other Side
Selena – Dreaming of You
Debbie Gibson – Staying Together

Good to Great

Mary J. Blige – I’m Goin’ Down
Robert Cray Band – Smoking Gun
Duran Duran – All She Wants Is
Total ft. Da Brat – No One Else
SWV – Use Your Heart
Naughty By Nature – Feel Me Flow
Bone Thugs N Harmony – Thuggish Ruggish Bone
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Soul to Squeeze

8 thoughts on “Ranking #22 singles, U.S. edition: 1987-1996

  1. Good call. It was Duranduran in that era! Not my favorite single of theirs. The gist of the song and especially the sampled woman’s voice panting was too porny for my taste. But it’s Duranduran. It sort of comes with the territory. It’s hard to believe that a song like the sublime “Land” or “Palomino” was sharing the same slab of wax.

      1. Not too many brain cells expended on that one. Kind of cartoonish in tone but not compelling in any case. If I’m going to spin 90s Duran I can’t do much better than “Breath After Breath.” Whoever teamed them up with Nascimento was a genius!

      2. You had me at Milton Nascimento, baby! Of course I can’t compare the world experimantalism of the Wedding Album to this (and “Come Undone” is terrifyingly awesome, too). “Barbarella” was an unexpected hit down here and I agree with you. But it sort of reminded me of their electroclash beginnings wit a pop leaning on the surface. However, I wouldn’t say they spent so much “braincells” elsewhere. Not when it comes to their lyrics, at least. I felt at the time they were pointing towards their beginnings, but it’s disposable pop for sure.

      3. And you would probably like to know the official video of “Breathe After Breath” was filmed in Buenos Aires and that I was there. But that’s not important now.

  2. Frusciante almost left us after Soul to Squeeze. But he had a second life in him. One of my favorite guitarists.

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