1 On The 6 Jennifer Lopez (Work Group) How sad that so much of this year’s Latin-music boom had so little to do with Latin music. Ricky Martin’s and Marc Anthony’s Anglo crossovers felt as tasteless as Latino fast food—El Happy Meals. The genre’s dynamism and crackling energy were ground into crossover pulp. But what was worse: squandering Anthony’s voice or spending millions attempting to transform actress Lopez into a cut-rate Gloria Estefan? This appallingly pallid set of vanilla ballads, limp rap, and diluted fiesta pop was an insult not just to Latin music but to music in general. Nice album cover, though.
2 ”Oh My God” Guns N’ Roses (Geffen, single) Until the fall, Lenny Kravitz was leading the race for year’s worst single with his boneheaded remake of ”American Woman.” But then came the first new song in eight years from Axl Rose with his new edition of GN’R, whose contribution to the End of Days soundtrack was this unlistenable muddle. How sad that GN’R have been left in the dust by Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit, the best of the new rapping metalists.
3 Amen Paula Cole Band (Warner Bros.) First come the mannered melodies. Then come the lyrics, in which she compares herself to the goddess Isis, gives her blessing to both O.J. and Gandhi, gripes ”There are no role models in rock and roll/No women who could have it all,” and engages in the worst type of PC sloganeering. Then comes the rapping. Then comes the pressing of ”Stop” on the CD player.
4 Stay the Same Joey McIntyre (C2/Columbia) One of the year’s most unintentionally hilarious trends was early-’90s teen idols desperately trying to play catch-up. Mariah Carey’s regression into a gum-chewing mall rat in the ”Heartbreaker” video was embarrassing enough, but this attempted comeback by ex-New Kid McIntyre was truly offensive, down to his borderline blackface mannerisms.
5 In…the Life of Chris Gaines Garth Brooks (Capitol) Brooks’ transformation into a fictional, sullen-faced rock star was both an artistic fumble (contradicting his gruff-and-tumble image, ”Chris Gaines” was an utter simp) and the most depressing indication yet that the new face of country appears to be adult-contemporary wallpaper.