“(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection”

’90s No. 1s Revisited: “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection”

The eighteenth No. 1 song of the 1990s was “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection” by Nelson, the long-haired twin sons of Ricky Nelson. “Love And Affection” was the first single off their first studio album, After The Rain, which spawned three more Top 40 hits. Our favorite was the title track, a genuinely great song (with a peculiarly overambitious video) that reached No. 6. Their career sank like a rock as Grunge came along and fork-lifted this type of music out of the public consciousness. But they’ve kept cranking out largely unnoticed material, with their latest album, Peace Out, released in 2015.

Had their look been less silly and the timing been different, Nelson could have been successful for longer, because there’s clearly talent here. They have nice voices that blend well together in two-part harmony, they’re skilled guitarists, and they’re capable (not groundbreaking) songwriters. They also seem like genuinely nice men. But unfortunately, it looks like their earning power peaked at age 23.

Give “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection” a listen:

“Love And Affection” has perfectly decent verses and bridges, but the chorus is a bit much — too major, too noisy, too peppy. And the lyrics are a bit desperate. The overall impact prompts us to want to skip to the next song.

Having lived through the time, we always felt that Nelson was ripe for teasing and not taken particularly seriously even at the height of their success. But on the other hand, 1990 had a bit of an “anything goes” flavor, so even though today the visuals seem like they would have overrode or undermined the music, in 1990 people weren’t quite so uptight about appearances.

Does it hold up? It really doesn’t. This music wasn’t groundbreaking enough to be everlastingly influential, and its sensibility — the look, the sound, the attitude — feels extraordinarily dated. Nelson may be pleasant to see live in concert, but we don’t know of anyone who listens to Nelson’s 1990 material … or, at least, anyone who admits to it.

Dopeness: 2 out of 5 Birkenstocks


“(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection”
1 week at No. 1, starting Sept. 29, 1990
Preceded by: “Release Me,” Wilson Phillips
Followed by: “Close To You,” Maxi Priest

’90s No. 1s Revisited is a regular feature on “Was It Dope?” where we walk through every No. 1 song of the 1990s on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in order, give it another listen, and answer two critical questions: Was it dope? And does it hold up?

– John

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