The Ten Best Selling Songs in Austria in 1997Like in the previous year, eurodance is taking a break from being among the most successful songs of 1997. Instead, traditional pop music, RnB and hip hop were a part of the year end charts. Notably, the tone was predominantly sad. The two top songs were in memory of a celebrity that recently passed away, number 3 turned to a standard at funerals, number 4 has "die" in the title and number 9 is about a friend having died from drugs.
The original "Candle in the Wind" was released in 1973 as a tribute to Marilyn Monroe. After the death of Princess Diana in 1997, Elton John re-recorded the song with altered lyrics as her memorial song. As the event shocked people all around the world, the song naturally touched just as many, and became the definitive version of the beautiful ballad.
Elton John is one of the greatest artists to have ever walked the earth and has not a single bad song, yet I still wonder about the decision to make this a double A-side single when one song so clearly towers over the other. Not necessarily in terms of quality, because "Something in the Way You Look Tonight" is an even more dramatic and cinematic ballad, but it must have been clear that next to the tribute to the Queen of Hearts, it would be completely overlooked.
Peak position: 1
Having spent 14 weeks on top of the charts in 1997 plus another 4 weeks in 1998, the double A-side memorial single was not only also the biggest number 1 hit of 1997, but also the longest staying number 1 hit in the history of the Austrian charts (as of Febuary 17th, 2019).
I tried very hard to like this - after all, it is a tribute to Notorious B.I.G. who died shortly before, but the truth is, even with its status as a classic in hip hop, I was never really into it. And that is not necessarily due to the usually criticized sample (after all, Puff Daddy formed another great song out of "Kashmir"), but due to the fact that I never got the feeling it is heartfelt. We know that Daddy's raps were ghostwritten, but even if it wasn't, he sounds like he dramatically recites a poem, not his true feelings. And even the lyrics themselves are filled with clichés. It is hard being so harsh to a song dedicated to a dead person, but to me, it's not more than average. The singers however do a great job - no wonder, Evans is B.I.G.'s widow. Recording the song apparently helped her overcome her depression, and that's the greatest thing about it.
This, of course, is one of the saddest songs to have ever been released on CD, and it's no coincidence that this song is often selected at funerals. Melody, the singing voice and the instrumental all sound so bitter and truly filled to the brim with grief.
Sorry, but this RnB ballad sounds like a filler to me, and I just can't help but feel the emotions in the vocals sound completely artificial and staged. It was originally recorded by The Real Milli Vanilli, and while the instrumental is barely different, although having guitars added, the original voices fitted much better and did not sound that plastic like.
One of my favorite songs of all time. This it's how do a rock ballad, having the edge of a rock song but the drama of a ballad, and tying it together so that you believe every word, and that the music perfectly underscores it all. Gwen Stefani is the star of the show: she shivers with emotional pain that just seem to boil under the surface, knowing that if her partner says anything right now, they will burst out, yet she wants to stay strong and not cry.
Peak position: 2
One of the five quintessential female dramatic ballads of the 1990s ("I Will Always Love You", "Without You", "Wish You Were Here", "Un-Break My Heart" and "My Heart Will Go On"), Braxton combines a cinematic build up with perfect vocal delivery and an instantly recognizable melody. Sarah Connor sure was listening closely.
Yup, it's very dramatic. And yes, her vox are awesome.
The first fully positive, poppy song of this list. This song just makes you feel insanely good. Its carefree pop rock style has "cool kid" written all over it, and you can almost picture yourself rushing through town on your scooter with this song blasting into your ears on your walkman.
I love Rainhard Fendrich. He has contributed some great and highly intelligent music to the Austrian pop landscape, most importantly the great anti-racism anthem "Brüder" in 1993. But all of his five number 1 hits and are among his weaker works, and I personally like this one least. It's just a silly song about him wanting to fall in love with a girl that's "blond like a Semmel" (an Austrian bread roll). The version on the audio sample is not the one usually heard on the radio - the most famous version that a light techno beat.
The all female German hip hop trio recorded this song about a woman who gradually falls into heroine addiction that completely changes her character, making her life all about getting more money for the next dose, prostituting herself to can afford the drug, ending the friendship with the storyteller after she tries to talk about her problems, and ultimately resulting in death. The extremely tragic song has one of the saddest choruses ever recorded: Lee repeatedly cries out "Und warum? " ("And why? "), and asks if that bit of momentary pleasure was worth her death, and ends up realizing "you'll never come back", followed by the desperate wish "come back". Halfway through the song she impulsively starts screaming out the "come back" three times after another. This sounds extremely authentic, and the fact that Lee is known to have lived a life full of misery and pain, and touched upon several of the darkest sides of society herself, makes it all the more haunting.
The emotive beat ...more
R. Kelly is a horrible man, and has been so not just for the last few years. Does this make him a bad musician? Definitely not. In fact, he is a triple threat as a music artist: he has a wonderful singing voice, is an excellent songwriter for both himself and others, and is an innovative producer whose beats left an impact on pop music still felt today. "I Believe I Can Fly" is one of his best songs, and a motivational one on top. And while it is absolutely justified to hate this man for what he did as a person - I hope his musical legacy will not be ignored from now on.
Peak position: 2