“What Was I Listening To?!” Music That Just Didn’t Hold Up Over The Years
We always laud the ’90’s and early 2000s as a time for great music. When we turn on the radio today, we realize they just don’t do it like they used to. And that’s true, that decade and the first few years of the new millennium provided us with some great music. And though there were songs and groups we used to swear by back in the day, if we listen again, we’ll realize that these songs just don’t do it for us these days. I have a theory that because the ’90’s was full of real vocalists, we didn’t mind the balance of musicians who had subpar vocals but made up for it in star quality. Here are the artists we really thought had something, only to listen now and realize they just don’t do it for us anymore.
Back in the day, Bad Boy’s girl group Total had hits. Kima, Keisha and Pam sang backup or were featured on tracks for some of the biggest names in Hip Hop. With songs like “Can’t You See,” “Trippin,” “What About Us” and my personal favorite, “Kissin’ You,” you would think that vocally these ladies had it together. But sometimes all it takes is a moment away from the hype and limelight to realize that perhaps Total didn’t have it all together like we thought they did. Don’t believe me? Take a listen to the group performing “Can’t You See” off key at the notorious Apollo.
“Boom like an 808.” When I tell you I used to listen to Blaque’s CD every morning before school in middle school. Every.day. It was just the boost I needed to get my school day started. So imagine my excitement when I discovered one of my favorite CDs in my room at my parent’s house. I popped it into my laptop and I probably skipped every song. It just didn’t move me like it once did. In fact, their voices sounded weak and the only parts I really enjoyed were Natina’s verses. It just didn’t have the same effect and eventually I had to admit that Blaque was one of those period groups.
B2K is hot…or was. I’m not going to lie, I bumped their CD. (Baby, turn around and let me see that sexay body go bump, bump, bump.) I loved “Why I Love You.” I even went to one of the Scream Tours. Honestly, I was so excited that night I don’t remember what the hell happened, I just know I loved it. But the other day, feeling nostalgic, I tried to listen to some of my favorite B2K joints and everything sounded like…whining. J Boog’s voiceovers got on my nerves and the verses made me laugh.
I know some of ya’ll are going to come at my head for this one but Jagged Edge only has just a few songs I can actually stand to listen to today. When I listen to their music, everything sounds slow and boring. Aside from their songs “Let’s Get Married (the Remix),” “Where The Party At?” and “Cut Somethin,'” I can’t think of another fast-paced Jagged Edge song. I didn’t realize it at the time but they were clearly the emo R&B group. Even their love songs (i.e. “Walked Outta Heaven”) sound something like funeral music. Everything is so monotone.
Who woulda thought you could make a whole career out saying the word “baby” over and over and over. I’m not even here to completely piss on Ashanti’s career, she had a great run. I even burned her CD and loved the song “Leaving (Always On Time)” also known as “Make It Back Around” I have vivid memories of walking to the school bus listening to that song, pretending like I was in a music video. You couldn’t tell me nothing. I still enjoy that song to this day. But when I think about Ashanti’s catalog, it’s clear that homegirl just didn’t have enough to last. No matter what the New York Times claimed back in 2003.
In early 2000s you couldn’t turn the radio on without hearing a J-Lo song. She had all the hottest rappers on her remixes. She had me doing a severe head bop to her song “Get Right.” But Jamie Foxx certainly wasn’t the first person to note that J Lo didn’t have much to offer vocally. Today listening to J-Lo’s most popular songs, it’s clear that she has a puff, cotton candy voice. It’s whispy at best. I’d much rather see her dance or even act, (Enough is my movie.), anything but sing.
God bless my daddy for taking my sister and I to see The Spice Girls movie back when we were in elementary school. He tried to put up a good front, but it was clear by him immediately reclining and falling asleep that he couldn’t have been less interested in seeing the movie or listening to these five British women sing…anything. At the time I just thought he was old and out of touch. But just last week, my sister played “Too Much” and I was appalled at just how bad it was. In elementary school that was the song I would reference in arguing about the Spice Girls’ vocal abilities. But today, it’s just subpar.
Like Total, 702 was nothing to snuff at. “Where My Girls At” was practically an anthem and I still walk around singing “Steelo” but other than that, 702’s catalog is a bit sparse as far as hits go. They tried to resurface again, with the help of Pharrell, for the song “I Still Love You.” It worked. That song is bomb but aside from that listening to all of your favorite 702 songs will take about 20 minutes.
Honestly, it hurts me to say this. But I have to keep it real. Mya’s baby voice make her songs sound like a teenage girl is supposed to be singing and listening to them. Mya was kind of on some petty stuff back in the day. If a man did her dirty, she was quick to detail the shallow and juvenile ways she planned to get back at him. In high school, Moodring stayed in my CD changer. But when I try to listen to the album today, I find myself skipping songs that used to be my favorite. “Anatomy 1-On-1″ is still everything though.