Rating the top 10 singles from this week in '95: Think music was better back in the day? We'll be the judge of that

By Raymond Fiore
Updated April 26, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
Sheryl Crow: Karjean NG / RetnaUK

This week in 1995: Rating the top 10 singles

The top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, for the week ending April 29, 1995:

10. ”I Believe,” Blessid Union of Souls Drippy adult contemporary spiritual-pap with whiny vocals bearing more than a passing resemblance to Cyndi Lauper’s ”True Colors.” Like one of those god-awful songs that they force the American Idol kids to release as a first single. But where’s Clay when you really need him? D

9. ”Dear Mama,” 2Pac ”Even as a crack fiend/ Mama, you always were a black queen.” 2Pac at his cuddliest and most unflinchingly candid. A-

8. ”Strong Enough,” Sheryl Crow Notice she didn’t say ”are you the world’s greatest guitarist” or ”the world’s fittest endurance athlete.” This is Crow’s most concise, understated, and prickly bittersweet ballad. A-

7. ”Big Poppa/Warning,” The Notorious B.I.G. Ask any DJ still using vinyl and they’ll tell you: Biggie and Puffy’s first legit crossover (which samples the Isley Brothers’ ”Between the Sheets”) is a requisite 3 a.m. club grinder to this day. A

6. ”I Know,” Dionne Farris The former Arrested Development singer who memorably let loose on the hit ”Tennessee” went on to concoct this near-perfect pop-rock hit before disappearing into the Where Are They Now? zone. A

5. ”Run Away,” Real McCoy Not as memorable as their hit ”Another Night,” though this one probably inflicted more Euro-trash nightmares. Even the wretched techno beat is forgivable compared with that blond dude’s menacing, unholy demon-voice rap. F

4. ”Candy Rain,” Soul for Real A rollerskating soul jam from this New Edition-esque male quartet conjures sweet memories of…rollerskating. And not much else. Still, nostalgia dictates a B.

3. ”Freak Like Me,” Adina Howard The R&B vixen broke through with this provocative plea for ”a freak in the morning, a freak in the evening.” A tad dated, but the super-freak in us doesn’t mind one bit. B+

2. ”Red Light Special,” TLC Without the visual sell of its strip-poker-party video, this Babyface-penned ballad drags a bit and reveals their crazysexynotsocool vocal limitations. B-

1. ”This Is How We Do It,” Montell Jordan Odds are you’ve probably sung along to this one in a drunken state. And for good reason. Sure, it’s hokey, but it also encapsulates the West Coast-ified and increasingly hip-hop-flavored sound (it samples a classic Slick Rick track) that infiltrated R&B in the mid-90s. B