Welcome back to another Hot R&B Singles Review. Let’s get started.
Heartbreak Hotel-Whitney Houston ft Faith Evans & Kelly Price: We begin with Heartbreak Hotel, a song originally written for TLC, but they said no, so it went to Whitney Houston instead, along with Faith Evans and Kelly Price. Honestly, the song is just okay. It’s a pretty typical breakup song with midtempo guitar-driven production of the times and some pretty decent singing. In terms of Whitney Houston songs, this isn’t one of my favorites. It’s alright, though. I give it a 3/5.
No Scrubs-TLC: No Scrubs, a song about rejecting a guy who thinks he has game, but doesn’t really. In other words, a scrub. It is kinda petty, but man, does TLC sell it pretty well. Left Eye has a verse on this song, but it’s only available through the video version. So it’s just T-Boz and Chilli, the latter doing the lead vocals this time around. The production is also pretty damn good, working off of a memorable guitar riff and beat. It’s another really good TLC song. I give it a 5/5.
Fortunate-Maxwell: Next is Maxwell with Fortunate, which is another R&B classic. The misty production, the sensuality of Maxwell’s singing, and writing where a dude is grateful for that special lady in his life. Great stuff. I would also give this a 5/5.
Bills, Bills, Bills-Destiny’s Child: I’ve talked about this song on my Worst of ’99 list and not much has changed since then. Bills, Bills, Bills is one of my least favorite Destiny’s Child songs as it’s centered on a woman getting her lazy boyfriend to pay all of her bills. I understand getting mad at the dude for being lazy, but why have him pay ALL of your bills? Why are you with him? Just kick them to the curb. One last thing: Sporty Thievz, the guys who made No Pigeons as a response to No Scrubs, made a response to this song called No Billz. How sad is it that the highlight of your career is responding to songs from girl groups? Anyways, Bills, Bills, Bills is a 1/5 for me.
Never Gonna Let You Go-Faith Evans: An average-at-best ballad. It’s nothing that special. I give it a 3/5.
Spend My Life With You-Eric Benet ft Tamia: A really good neo-soul duet from Eric Benet and Tamia. It’s a 4/5.
We Can’t Be Friends-Deborah Cox ft R.L.: Meh. 2/5.
Heartbreaker-Mariah Carey ft Jay Z: Out of all of the number one hits that Mariah has, Heartbreaker is one of her weakest songs. She sounds fine, but this feels pretty derivative of other songs she’s made with production based on an obvious sample and a guest featured rapper in Jay Z, who isn’t at his best. I’m not feeling this overall. I give it a 2/5.
U Know What’s Up-Donell Jones ft Left Eye: The final song that we’re going to talk about in this series. U Know What’s Up is a great sensual song with its light production, the way Donell Jones sings, and the flirtatious nature of the song. I think the remix of this song is better, featuring Left Eye who steals the show on that song. Oh, and the music video is real dope. Check it out. I give it a 4.5/5.
Bills, Bills, Bills
And those were the number one songs on the Hot R&B Singles chart of 1999, and thus, we’ve now reached the conclusion of this entire series. Don’t expect a new series like this anytime soon because there’s other things that I want to do that’ll take up more of my time. Don’t worry, though. Because at some point in the future, I will do a review series on another chart. Which one? Who knows?
SONG OF THE WEEK
U Know What’s Up-Donell Jones ft Left Eye