Note: We published this article 10 months before George Michael’s surprise death at the age of 53. We’ve left it as is.
’90s No. 1s Revisited: “Praying For Time”
The twentieth No. 1 song of the 1990s was “Praying For Time” by George Michael. During the 1980s, Michael was a superstar who occupied the top of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart eight times — two as half of Wham!, five as a solo artist, and once as a featured artist on Aretha Franklin’s “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).” Following “Praying For Time,” he would next ascend to the summit in 1992 with “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” ironically titled as this was his last No. 1 song. Michael’s most recent charted songs in the U.S. were back-to-back Top 10 hits in 1996.
Michael’s catalog contains awesome achievements, like “Father Figure,” as well as unbearable nonsense, like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” Overall, we think he’s under-appreciated and will be looked upon kindly by future music historians. And this legacy isn’t limited to his chart-toppers. For example, “I Want Your Sex” peaked at No. 2, “Freedom ’90” at No. 8, and “Too Funky” at No. 10. “Praying For Time,” however, isn’t his finest moment. In fact, we believe it rivals his 1988 No. 1 hit “One More Try” as his most boring release. It also happens to be not well-produced — there’s way too much reverb — and the vocal performance isn’t great.
Let’s give “Praying For Time” a listen. And, by the way, this is the official video, not a fan-created lyric video:
Not for a moment do we believe you listened to that entire song. It has the impact of listening to your A/C turn on and off.
It’s a testament to George Michael’s well-deserved popularity — or perhaps a public religious crisis borne from pervasive despair amid the Gulf War — that a song so dull, without a real/decent video to promote it, would reach No. 1. There is no explanation for this other than that Michael was dope. The chord progression is nice, however. And he looks foxy on the cover art. There’s nothing egregiously offensive about this song, it’s just a disappointment because Michael is capable of so much more.
Does it hold up? No, this song has no modern-day audience. Fans of George Michael have plenty of great music to fill a playlist, but this doesn’t need to be on there.
Dopeness: 2 out of 5 Birkenstocks
’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?