- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 30, 2000

Some winners and losers in pop music in 2000:Winners

Teen pop: Though derided by many critics, teen sensations Britney Spears, 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys proved they were no flashes in the pan, posting record-breaking sales and dominating the charts all year.

The Beatles: Forget the Backstreet Boys. The Fab Four proved they still are the ultimate boy band. The group, which broke up 30 years ago, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts with "1," a collection of hits in time for the holidays.

Eminem: The trash-talking rapper slammed homosexuals, fantasized about raping his mother, wrote an entire song about killing his wife — and still became a critical and fan favorite with his multiplatinum "The Marshall Mathers LP." Eminem's twisted rhymes — sometimes humorous, always disturbing — and masterful production by Dr. Dre jelled for the most talked-about disc of the year.

Napster: To the chagrin of record conglomerates and acts such as Metallica, the Internet music-swapping service that started in the dorm room of founder Shawn Fanning remained a favorite of millions of music lovers, who could pick and choose what they wanted to hear and download it for free. At least until the lawsuits are resolved.

Outkast: This eclectic duo proved there's more to rap than "bling bling" with their dynamic "Stankonia." The funkadelic disc, which mixed raunchy themes with esoteric raps, was one of hip-hop's most creative of the year. It also was a refreshing break from gangsta rappers more focused on their platinum rings than their rhymes.

Losers

Whitney Houston: She morphed from glamorous diva into spiraling, out-of-control superstar when last-minute show cancellations and erratic behavior fueled rumors that she had a substance-abuse problem. A pot bust in Hawaii and her failure to respond to the rumor mill didn't help her image.

Spice Girls: The fans who made the Spice Girls one of the best-selling acts in the world two years ago may still believe in "girl power," but these girls are a little long in the tooth compared with the Britneys and Christina Aguileras of today's pop world. The Spices' new album was "Forever," but its abysmal sales showed the group is so yesterday.

Lil' Kim: Maybe Lil' Kim was a little too exposed this year. Although the raunchy rap queen's nearly nude frame was everywhere, fans were underwhelmed by "The Notorious K.I.M.," the highly anticipated follow-up to her 1997 debut, "Hard Core." The sophomore effort still went platinum, but it didn't have the impact one would expect from "the queen bee."

"Serious" music: Just a few years ago, acts such as the Wallflowers and Joan Osborne were critics' darlings and racked up millions in sales. With today's focus on teen hits, however, those "serious musicians" who returned to the scene in 2000 found their audience depleted. Follow-ups by Miss Osborne and the Wallflowers were largely ignored by the masses.

Diana Ross: Stop, in the name of poor ticket sales. The supreme diva set out to re-create her Motown magic with a Supremes reunion tour — but original Supreme Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong, who replaced the late Florence Ballard, were left off the bill. Miss Wilson accused Miss Ross of trying to underpay her, and fans balked at paying up to $250 a ticket for Miss Ross and her replacement Supremes. The tour was canceled after less than a month.



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