Seems like I’m on a 90’s kick lately, with ’98 and ’99 yesterday and ’96 today. I can recall the events of 1996 quite clearly: Bill Clinton was reelected and it was also the year I moved to Saint Louis. During my first months in Saint Louis and the last on Nantucket I can recall several songs that stand out.
Song #1 Where Do You Go? by No Mercy
Picture this: its the fall of 1996 and you’re driving in Hyannis or Saint Louis or wherever you were and you hear a Latin flavored dance song with the lyrics “Where do you go, my lovely?”
That was “Where Do You Go?” by a Miami, Florida boy band called No Mercy. No Mercy was yet another in a seemingly endless line of groups produced by Frank Farian (See Milli Vanilli, Far Corporation, Boney M and La Bouche) Frank heard these guys in Miami and took them to Germany. Once there, they produced the album My Promise. My Promise is a fifteen track opus that features a few covers and some original songs. Among the covers is their breakout hit.
What, you thought they would have come up with it on their own? Pssh. Where Do You Go was originally recorded and sung by Farian’s other group La Bouche. However the La Bouche version was not released as a single.
Florida seems to really churn out boy bands. What, with Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC and O Town along with countless other smaller lesser known boy bands.
As for the La Bouche version: it’s jumpier and it features the voice of Melanie Thornton, who sadly perished in a car accident. I hate to say it but the La Bouche version edges out No Mercy’s by a hair.
So the question is, is it shit?
This is tough to answer because of the musical landscape at the time this was released was loaded with teen pop and euro dance tunes. You had the good but you also had the ugly. Sadly, No Mercy fits into the bad side of things. They were like a modern day Menudo minus the ever changing lineup. No Mercy would go on to release two more albums in 1998 and 2007 respectively. 1/5
Song #2 One Headlight by The Wallflowers
There are moments when we hear a particular song and instantly we are enamored by it. One Headlight by The Wallflowers is that song for me. Jakob Dylan’s vocals are simply wonderful. Even though he’s riding his father’s coattails, he holds his own. The album that the single accompanied it; Bringing Down the Horse is a collection of pretty good Adult Alternative songs.
I remember where I was when I first heard One Headlight. I was summering in Nantucket with my grandmother. One of the local stations played it quite frequently. When I flew back to Saint Louis it was on 101.1 The River and Y98. If I recall most radio stations played it well into 1998, then it gradually faded. Occasionally you can still hear it played on terrestrial radio, but its home is on Sirius XM.
Is it shit?
No, this song is far from shit. Shit is stuff like the Macarena or The Thong Song. This is a work of art that stands the test of time. The fact that it is still played today is telling. 5/5
Song #3 One of Us by Joan Osborne
So many times a song has gotten us riled up. For me I don’t get riled up by this song. I find it down to earth. So many memories come up when I hear this song. Memories such as Christmas of 1995 (Goo Goo Dolls’ Name also comes to mind.) The single was released in February of 1996 at which point I was in first grade. There always seems to be that one kid who sings lyrics at inappropriate times, and one day she was singing this song. We all joined in because at that point we had heard it many times on the local station.
All memories aside, this song also shows what the 90’s sounded like to the casual listener: pointless lyrics and utterly contrived, self absorbed bullshit. I still find it down to earth to this day, but I don’t hear it on the radio. I remember the music video for the song on MTV (when they still aired videos nonetheless!)
Is it shit? Yes and no. The Good is, is that you don’t have to be too young to know this song, even if its just the chorus because its been sung in all sorts of movies. The bad is is that this is all she’s known for. She is a genuine one hit wonder. 3/5
Song #4 Missing (Tod Terry Remix) by Everything But the Girl
Yet another song that reminds me of Christmas 1995. Don’t know where exactly on Nantucket that I first heard this, but I did hear it there. This is a perfect example of deep house music. House was somewhat still in the mainstream by late ’95 but was heading underground. This song peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
This song features a bit of everything for the listener: House beats, synths, and dreamy vocals. Sadly you have to go to a club to hear it now or have XM to listen to it because it just isn’t played on terrestrial radio anymore. A perfect example of changing trends in music.
Is it shit?
No. This song is not shit by a long stretch. With its ingredients coming together in an awesome fashion, this song was perfect for college stations and our very own WKKL used to own a copy of Amplified Heart, the parent album to this song. 4/5