Sometimes we here at IIS? hear a song once and it wracks our brain.
Today was that day.
On an online radio station I listen to I heard three songs in a row that I swear I vaguely remember, but I hadn’t heard them enough to firmly plant them into memory. These songs could have been bigger (one was, but quickly faded into obscurity).
Song #1 “No Mercy” by Khaleel.
In January, 1999 I was in fourth grade at Fairmont Elementary School in Saint Peters, Missouri. One morning in the car on the way to get dropped off, I heard a reggae song with the lyrics “No Mercy.” I never heard it again until a few months ago and today. Khaleel is from The Bronx and are currently in LA. No Mercy was their only hit. It reached #30 on the rock chart in January of 1999.
Onto the song.
In some circles, this type of music is called “Cod Reggae.” But this is no UB40. It has steel drums in the intro and scattered throughout the song. They try hard to be like Dave Matthews, but they come short. They also venture into Eagle Eye Cherry territory with this. You can see why nobody has heard of Khaleel. They only released one album: People Watching. I have also noticed the production is a little flat with this song. Unlike the other two songs I’ll feature here, this lacks that big 90’s sound.
So, is it shit?
Sadly yes it is because Khaleel could have made more albums. The late 90’s were full of these one and done deals that left listeners scratching their heads. 1/5
Today I also heard a song that I hadn’t heard in a long, long time despite it being everywhere when it came out.
“One foot in the hole
One foot gettin’ deeper
With a broken mirror
And a blown out speaker
I ain’t got much else to lose ”
Yes, Citizen King I’m looking at you.
Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Citizen King produced two albums. The first: Brown Bag LP went nowhere. No singles were released off of that album. Count the Days followed in 1996. Finally in 1999 Citizen King hit it big with their album Mobile Estates. Only one single was released off of that album and it was their only hit. “Better Days (And the Bottom Drops Out) It did fairly well, reaching #25 on the Hot 100. This song had staying power and was heard well into 2000, but then it faded. The song has record scratches and hip hop influences. Citizen King also faded into obscurity. I’ve heard they still play in Milwaukee.
Is it Shit?
No it isn’t but in some ways yes it is. They have been compared to Beck (Who is somewhat superior) and listeners wanted more in the song department. No other singles were culled from the album and CK pretty much called it quits here. 3/5
Next we have a band that produced only one album. These guys stormed onto the scene with a song that lit the Alt Rock stations on fire in 1999. The band? Papa Vegas. The song? Bombshell. The album? Hello Vertigo.
I used to be an avid listener of Extreme 104.1 and 1057 The Point, which were dueling alternative radio stations in Saint Louis.
Both stations played this song incessantly, but as quickly as they had come, they were gone. The band split up shortly thereafter, leaving Hello Vertigo as their legacy to the world. The song reached #18 on the rock charts. I find the song breaks the mold on alternative music at the time. Yes, the big name bands were tearing it up in 1999. Nu Metal was ramping up and there were tons of crossovers. This band could have been bigger, but decided to just release one album.
Is it shit? Surprisingly, no. The song was refreshing to hear and it is fiery. Not something you’d listen to at a party, but maybe a gathering of your closest friends. 4/5