Title: “I’d Die Without You”
Artist: P.M. Dawn
It was a really Sophie’s Choice between this and Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road.” There is no (in)correct answer. But alas, I went with P.M. Dawn for a very specific reason. When 10-year old Adam would hear this song on the radio, he would sing “Inside I’d Yabba Dabba Do” instead of “Inside I’d Die Without You.” My cousin played this song at his wedding during dinner and I remember being pissed because I wanted it to have its debut at my wedding. I’m P.M. Dawn for real. I even listen to them in the A.M. He’s just a poser. This song is elegant as fuck. As for Boomerang, I saw it way too young and I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand what was happening when Eddie Murphy has an orgasm. I do remember John Witherspoon saying “Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.” It’s due for a re-watch.
Title: “Money Can’t Buy You Love”
Artist: Ralph Tresvant
From: Mo’ Money
Here was another tough choice choosing between this song and “The Best Things in Life are Free” by Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross. Janet appears later in this column so I went with my dude Ralph Tresvant. I feel bad for him because at the 1:13 mark he has a “Can’t Buy You Love” virus on his computer. Good news is that money can buy him a new one even if it can’t buy him love. You know what can buy him love? Multiple scoops of ice cream! Ralph gets the picture around the 4:10 mark but he’s very reckless with the cone shortly thereafter. It’s bound to drip or spill. He’s excited because he’s in love, you see. Was anyone disturbed as a child by how violent Mo’ Money was?
Artist: Janet Jackson
From: Poetic Justice
“Again” was nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards and for good reason. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. From the 3:30 mark on, “Again” is an exploding heart moment delivery machine. Goodness, gracious. P.S. This is a great song to listen to while staring at yourself crying in a mirror surrounded by lit scented candles. Or so I’ve heard. Do I need to re-watch Poetic Justice? I remember Tupac wore a White Sox hat in that movie and it made me feel like he was one of us (RIP).
Title: “Right Here”
From: Free Willy
This song is incredible. It does everything right – it’s from Free Willy, SWV (my loves) sing it and it samples Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” which is my favorite of his tunes. I also love the implication that this beautiful, passionate song from this beautiful, passionate movie is all inspired by a killer whale. I don’t think that kid playing the keyboard at 0:54 realizes how blessed he is to be in this video. I would have. “Right Here” is like a big hug and the video is perfectly bookended by SWV on horseback. It makes me so weak in the knees I can hardly speak, I lose all control and something takes over me.
Title: “Kiss from a Rose”
From: Batman Forever
One of the greatest songs of all-time! Funny story about “Kiss from a Rose” – when I was pledging Sigma Pi I got hazed often and this one time a brother in the frat (who was there with his girlfriend) told me to “Be a seal.” It was loud and I heard “Be Seal” so I started singing “Kiss from a Rose” directly to his woman. He did not like that. She did. He said “That’s not what I meant, puke.” She said “Shut up, I want to see where this goes” and I finished the song as best as I could. I struggled at the chorus. You take for granted what a good singer Seal is until you try to be Seal. P.S. Nicole Kidman is so fine in Batman Forever I’m shocked the cameras didn’t break anytime the crew pointed them at her. She would later grow up to be an acclaimed actress who’s in it for herself and has no intention of entertaining me.
Title: “Ask of You”
Artist: Raphael Saadiq
From: Higher Learning
This is the song that plays over the Omar Epps-Tyra Banks love scene in Learning. It’s a solo effort from Raphael Saadiq (of Tony! Toni! Tone!) when he wanted to go side-project and get his shine on (and apparently his braces on, if you’re looking closely). And shine he did! What’s going on around 1:34? It’s like C&C Music Factory (and some woman with confetti) found the set. They also brought the waviest curtains. Is the guy at 3:51 a contest winner? Why does Saadiq skateboard to his car at the end of this video? It’s so random. I don’t recall seeing a skateboard earlier in the video and we’re expected to believe one was there the whole time now?
Title: “All I Want”
From: Good Burger
First of all, everything about Good Burger works. We’ll get to that in July when I write a “20 Years Later” piece about it. This song though! My G-D! It’s like 702 threw down a gauntlet that not even they could later surpass. It makes me want to kiss the music supervisor for this film. I love the French fries fade-ins that start around the 2:00 mark too. They look golden and delicious just like this video. Wait, I just realized, 702 is like TLC but a fast-food version: T-Bone, Lettuce Eye and…Chili? No that’s too on the nose. How about Pickles instead?
Title: “Faded Pictures”
Artist: Case & Joe
From: Rush Hour
I love this song but I’ll never understand why it’s in Rush Hour. Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan’s friendship isn’t like a faded picture in a broken glass! They’re hanging out right now. What is going on? Other highlights: 0:49 mark when Joe does the dumbest “I don’t know what to do right now” dance move, 1:38 when Case goes “JOOOOOOEEEE!!! Help me out!” because I want to transition to Rob that way from now on in our “Reserved Seating” columns and at 2:06 when Joe decides to shower with his clothes on for no good reason (I bet he told the director “It’ll look hot. Trust me.”). When I used to listen to the Rush Hour soundtrack in my car during high school, my friends would want me to skip this song and my reply was “How about I skip you, FOREVER!” I still don’t know what that means but it’s what would fall out of my mouth.
Title: “I Wanna Know”
From: The Wood
This video is great right from the top because Joe witnesses an argument and then (even though he has sunglasses on) gets that glow in his eye and is all “I’m gonna torpedo that relationship…and I’m gonna do it smooth!” It’s also in front of the shittiest green screen this side of a local car insurance commercial (0:24 mark –what is going on?), even though they could have avoided that by JUST GOING OUTSIDE! I miss the ‘90s when all you needed to shoplift the pooty was a pen and a landline. BTW, if you haven’t seen The Wood, check it out or unfollow me on Twitter.
Title: “Dance Tonight”
Artist: Lucy Pearl
From: Love & Basketball
When this song starts I’m immediately all “Oooh! This a nice flow, yo!” and it doesn’t let up. What’s with that mirror at the 2:00 mark? It’s the world’s shittiest mirror. I’m also a big fan of the part at 2:07 where they’re Moto-surfing ala Surf Ninjas #CurseOfTheLucyPearl. Another great song from the Love & Basketball soundtrack is Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work,” which if it doesn’t make you cry, you’re probably fucking dead. Now I have to go listen to some Maxwell. “Pretty Wings,” here I come!
Artist: K-Ci & JoJo
From: Save the Last Dance
Whoever thought romancing Julia Stiles could stir up such emotion! I’m only an average-sized K-C & JoJo fan but this song is so good it’s absurd (3:20-3:25 is peak crazy crazy). It’s raining, these guys are upset and they’re gonna sing their asses off to express it. I also enjoy how everything in the video is in reverse because regrets up until the finale when K-C & JoJo are like “That’s right, Sean Patrick Thomas. You did the right thing.” Fun fact: around the time Save the Last Dance was out in theaters, a guy in my frat would brag to anyone and everyone how much his girlfriend was hot stating (in a very southern accent) “That chick looks just like Julia Stiles!” She didn’t. Another great song from the Save the Last Dance soundtrack is “U Know What’s Up” by Donell Jones, my favorite late ‘90s-early ‘00s R&B singer.
Title: “Love of My Life”
Artist: Erykah Badu featuring Common
From: Brown Sugar
I love Erykah Badu – such a great singer, such a weirdo. “Love of My Life” is a song I adore in part because it reminds me of some great jams from my college days like this one, Amerie’s “Why Don’t We Fall in Love?”, Common’s “Come Close” and LL Cool J’s “Luv U Better.” I remember hearing “Love of My Life” once at the college mall and sitting down on the bench so I could listen to it sans walking distraction. I could watch the freestyle from this video (1:40-2:00) on repeat all day too #MakeYouEatCheese! Badu Bonus: If you want to see some great live performances from her, check out the concert documentary Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.
Your turn! What are some of your favorites?