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Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Chart Flashback: 1997

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Fourteen years ago this week, the girls were spicy, the teen dreamboats were brothers (not Biebers), and Jewel — well, she still yodeled. Come along as we revisit and regrade them.

1. Hanson ”MMMBop”
That unfettered Oklahoma joy! Those insouciant flaxen locks! The drastic inappropriateness of dubbing a then 14-year-old (middle brother Taylor) ”the hot one”! A-

2. The Notorious B.I.G. ”Hypnotize”
So much sicker than your average poppa. His death in March ’97 propelled the track to No. 1; to millions, though, he was already immortal. A+

3. Spice Girls ”Say You’ll Be There”
Slightly lower levels of zigga-zig-ah than their breakout smash, ”Wannabe.” Still, we were very much there. B

4. Mark Morrison ”Return of the Mack”
Step out on Mark, and he becomes Mack with a quickness. Bless that bad girlfriend for this new-jackalicious breakup jam. A-

5. Jewel ”You Were Meant for Me”
Warble on about your pancakes and your wet towels, pretty lady who lived in a van. Warble on. B

6. Monica ”For You I Will”
The 1996 Michael Jordan/Bugs Bunny yawn Space Jam birthed both this treacly Diane Warren ballad and R. Kelly’s ”I Believe I Can Fly.” Wascally wabbit, indeed. B-

7. Rome ”I Belong to You (Every Time I See Your Face)”
Slow-motion R&B balladry built for babymaking — or perhaps more realistically, severe sleep apnea. C+

8. The Verve Pipe ”The Freshmen”
Abortion, suicide, guilt-stricken sobbing: They really don’t make obtuse alt melodrama like they used to. B

9. Savage Garden ”I Want You”
Aussie synth-pop ”sweet like a chica-cherry cola.” Don’t lie; you drank it too. B+

10. Paula Cole ”Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?”
Sweet baby-tee on a stick, Paula — where have you gone? B-

Source: Joel Whitburn Presents The Billboard® Hot 100® Charts — The Nineties

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