3. "All Star," Smash Mouth (Interscope) b/w "Spit on a Stranger," Pavement (Matador)
If 1999 was the Year of the Clod, it makes sense that the ultimate anthem of striving should be bestowed on the uncoolest of the uncool--I bet even Jakob Dylan could clock SM frontman Steve Harwell. Blessed from birth with oodles of cool and cash, Steve Malkmus lands a gooey loogey on us unwashed masses to prove to his sweetie the depths of his emotion. Is that the indie equivalent of shoving a cookie up your yeah?
2. "No Scrubs," TLC (LaFace/Arista) b/w "No Pigeons," Sporty Thievz Featuring Mr. Woods (Rok-a-Blok/Ruffhouse/Columbia)
Speaking of classism...and yes, black women can so be classist, just as sure as black men can be sexist. Especially when they're zillionaires. So give TLC credit for calling knuckleheads on their crap, and remember that the best cure for an excess of free speech remains more free speech. With more bounce in their checkbooks than their basslines, da boyz respond with better jokes and esprit. But something's changed since "Roxanne's Revenge"--not only are men cutting the answer records, they sound like they're at a financial and cultural disadvantage. Susan Faludi, please advise.
Eve's double-dutch rhyme skitters across swish beats more Pan-African than Santana's. Mary's "do do do do do do" does indeed say it all--a better Sting cop than either Puffy or Clef have managed, and so subtle it may even be unconscious. Both sing about, you know, boys. And suggest that there may just be a reason to believe in life after love after all. And, more important, vice versa.