’90s No. 1s Revisited: “Baby Baby”
The thirty-seventh No. 1 song of the 1990s was “Baby Baby” by Amy Grant. This track marked the Christian superstar’s full-forced detour into heathen music, although it was not her first Billboard Hot 100 appearance, it was her fifth. Her first was 1985’s “Find A Way” (peak: No. 29) followed by “Wise Up” (No. 66), then her first No. 1 hit, her 1986 duet with Peter Cetera, “The Next Time I Fall,” and finally 1988’s “Lead Me On,” (No. 96).
Then along came “Baby Baby,” the first single off Grant’s album Heart In Motion, which turned out to be a fountain of pop glory harboring five infectious Top 20 hits. Her next album, 1994’s House Of Love, charted three more singles, the last of which was a remake of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi,” which got to No. 67. “Taxi” was technically Grant’s last appearance on the Hot 100, although she had a modest Pop Radio and Adult Contemporary hit in 1997 with “Takes A Little Time,” a song that was ineligible to chart on the Hot 100 because Billboard was slow to adjust its methodology to reflect music consumption trends.
Let’s give “Baby Baby” a fresh listen:
One of the purposes of this blog is to explore changes in popular taste, and “Baby Baby” may be the most self-evident example of this we will ever feature. Only a titanic cultural shift over the past quarter century accounts for the fact that the No. 1 song 25 years ago would never be made, much less consumed, today. That’s neither criticism nor praise. “Baby Baby” is wholly joyous and earnest, decidedly absent of sexual innuendo, irony or tension. In the video, Grant goofs around with a hot male model, as if they’re brother and sister. That wouldn’t fly today. The most innocent chart-topper of recent years may be “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. It’s considered goofy G-rated bubblegum pop for kids, even though it’s about proudly shaking one’s big ass to turn the boys on, and the lyrics include “bitches” and “shit.” Things change.
Was it dope? In a parallel universe where women could be pop stars without being sexual, yes. “Baby Baby” was like birthday cake. Everyone loves birthday cake.
Does it hold up? Do bitches take shit? No.
Dopeness: 4 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?