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2009: Year In Review

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Top 10 Songs of 2009

10. Rob Thomas - "Her Diamonds"

Achingly sad but without losing the pop-rock catchy quality Rob Thomas has made his name on.



9. Ashley Tisdale - "Crank It Up"

The best pure pop song I have heard in a long time, it almost brings me back to the late 90's and the golden age of teen pop. A perfect party song, dance song, and a lot of fun.



8. Cobra Starship -" Hot Mess"

An ode to every sloppy drunk mess who looks better through beer goggles at closing time. This song came out of nowhere at the end of year and instantly stuck in my head.



7. Jay Z & Alicia Keys - "Empire State Of Mind"

This was the soundtrack of the 2009 World Series Champion Yankees this fall and every Yankee fan wholeheartedy embraced this love letter to New York City and the people that make it thrive.



6. Mariah Carey - "Obsessed"

Why I am obsessed (insert fake laughter here) with the song is beyond me. But the fact remains. I read on Billboard that…

Cause you made me the best mixtape I had

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"To me, making a tape is like writing a letter — there's a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You've got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention (I started with "Got to Get You Off My Mind", but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightaway, so I buried it in the middle of side two), and then you've got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can't have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can't have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you've done the whole thing in pairs and...oh, there are loads of rules."
- Nick Hornby, High Fidelity

Somewhere in the back of my memory, I remember sitting in front of my radio circa the summer of 2000, waiting for the perfect song to come across the airwaves so I could hurry to pre…

Top 100 Songs of the 2000s

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Only time will tell what types of music will come to define the 2000's. We think of hair metal and new wave when we think of the 80's, and maybe grunge and teen pop from the 90's. The 00's were a polarizing decade, with many genres shining brightly and fizzling out just as fast.

I've read Rolling Stone's list of the best 50 songs of the decade and unfortunately, most of these lists tend to focus on the latter half of the decade.

There is absolutely no way I can attempt a list this ambitious in any particular order, so this will really be just as it comes into my head.

1. Brand New - "Me Vs. Maradona Vs. Elvis" (2003)
2. Bright Eyes - "Lua" (2005)
3. Jimmy Eat World - "Work" (2004)
4. Kings of Leon - "Closer" (2008)
5. Britney Spears - "Oops! I Did It Again" (2000)
6. Blue October - "Hate Me" (2006)
7. Garth Brooks - "More Than A Memory" (2007)
8. Scissor Sisters - "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'…

Top 10 Party Songs Of 2009

You played them while pre-gaming. You threw your purse down and ran to the dance floor to dance to them. You blasted them in the car on the way to the bar. These are the Top 10 Party Songs of 2009.

(Doesn't that sound like the intro to a VH1 show? I thought so. Anyway...)

10. Black Eyed Peas - "I Gotta Feeling"
#1 Billboard Hot 100

So "Boom Boom Pow" would be right up there as one of the worst songs of the year, and just when I had given up all hope of the Black Eyed Peas ever coming out with something I would like, this song comes out. Just in time for the baseball postseason, which was perfect, because everyone was hoping that each night was gonna be a good, good night for their favorite team.

9. Flo Rida - "Right Round"
#1 Billboard Hot 100

Probably one of the most surreal television moments of the year was watching Flo Rida (extremely poorly) perform this song on a results show of American Idol. Last I checked, odes to strippers and "going down"…

For Your Entertainment...

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At the American Music Awards, Adam Lambert set out to do exactly what he ended up doing. His performance of "For Your Entertainment" was racy, sexy, and totally provocative. Now the headline on AOL reads "Did Lambert Go Too Far?" (as if he would do such a thing by accident).

It was the first real genuine bad-ass rock 'n roll moment on a live awards show since Guns 'N Roses swore on TV while presenting an award - ironically also at the AMA's, as I remember.

Lambert himself said to the Associated Press: "There are a lot of double standards as far as that goes. We've seen female pop and rock performers do that for the last 10 years. They've been very provocative, owning their power and sexuality. You just don't see men doing it very often. And I'm hoping to break down that double standard with this number."

Well, Adam certainly did that. He got the Parents Television Council up in arms. They claim that the performance was inappropria…

Top 10 80's Power Ballads Of All Time

I can't believe I have not written this entry a long time ago!

So get your lighters out, freshen up your hair with some Aqua Net, and enjoy my list. Rock on.

10. Steelheart - "I'll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)" (1990)

The first lesson in Power Ballad 101: start with those ripping guitar chords, start slow, and let the power build. End strong with a pitch-perfect heavy metal scream. I love every second of it.



9. Poison - "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" (1988)

Although I debated including "I Won't Forget You" just for the fact that I can not hear this song without doing an air drum solo, no list is complete without the ultimate 80's power ballad. Also, my personal favorite lyrics are "To hear that tears me up inside and to see you cuts me like a knife." Although we may not be writing future #1 hit songs in laundromats or dating ex-strippers, who can't relate to this bit of Bret Michaels-penned wisdom? This video is the hallmark of what …

Frickin' A - the best band you have never heard of

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I stumbled across Frickin' A by accident really. As a band, they're no longer together, but some of the members went on to form Lovesick Radio - a band I've really grown to like.

I bought Frickin' A's 2004 album "Big Egos...No Ideas" off Ebay for about $4 - a bargain really for any CD still new in the wrap.

The band is hyper-aware of the music industry, its failings, and the bands that are their peers. Half the songs are break-up songs, the other half

Tracklist:

1. Drive
2. Just Friends
3. Trend
4. Jessie's Girl
5. Party Like A Rock Star
6. Dump Me
7. Naked In My Bed
8. Cut Number 7
9. Last Summer
10. One Step Away'

The album opens with the song "Drive", a catchy 3-chord pop-punk song about the remnants an ex leaves behind. "Your cigarettes are in my backseat, and I can't get very far listening to the CD mix you made me. There's your lipstick on my floorboard, your footprints on the dashboard, you're everywhere but by my…

Early 90's Music

One of my personal passions in life has become simply: keeping the 80's alive. But I have a dirty little secret, my passion for early 90's (who am I kidding? ALL 90's) music. Here are some of my favorite songs from the early 90's - some of which I've discovered through the amazing Sirius XM channel 90's on 9.

I wanted to pick songs that truly captured the early 90's - maybe some that have become a bit forgotten today.

Natural Selection - "Do Anything" (1991)

Although this song once reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, it isn't available on Itunes and I would never heard it except for 90's on 9. The vocalist does an excellent Prince impersonation, the female vocalist is straight out of Madonna's "Justify My Love", and the tune follows the clap-clap-skip rhythm of John Cougar. Oh, sorry, I mean John Mellencamp. So clearly, any 80's fan would love this song. Some excellent early 90's R&B.



Nelson - "(Can't Live W…

The Future of Rock 'N Roll

Every generation has their rock 'n roll trends. In the 70's, it was what is now called "classic rock" but at the time was most likely called AOR (album oriented rock), which competed with the birth of punk. In the 80's, new wave bands were popular, alongside NWOBHM (if you don't know what it stands for, don't ask) and hair bands/glam metal. In the 90's, we saw the rise of "grunge" (spare me) and alternative rock.

And what will we remember from the 00's?

Trust me, the easy answer is "nothing". The easy answer is to disparage the music of the last decade as it comes to a close. Well, guess what? Many of the generations before us disparaged the music of the time and longed for the "way things used to be". To say there is no good music currently being written and played is WRONG.

OK, yes, we have the Nickleback effect. Songs by both Theory of a Deadman and Shinedown are virtually indistinguishable from anything Nickleback ev…

Then vs. Now: Music and young girls

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The year was 1996. I was 10 years old. Friends and Seinfeld were two of the most popular shows on TV. Bill Clinton was president. Dial up AOL was just taking off. Albums still had the potential to be RIAA certified diamond with sales of 10 million copies. And what was I listening to?

My first CD was Ace of Base - "The Sign". I also had Real McCoy's "Another Night" album, Celine Dion's "Falling Into You". And then I listened to Disney related music, like the Lion King soundtrack and A Goofy Movie soundtrack.

Well, kids are still listening to Disney related music. Except now, it's Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. Maybe Demi Lovato, if they are ever-so-slightly edgier.

I will admit I just watched the "Best Of Both Worlds" Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert DVD. Interspersed with the concert footage is some video of the fans attending the concert. They are singing at the top of their lungs Hannah/Miley songs for the camera and saying why…

Songs I have been listening to excessively lately

* The Spill Canvas - "All Over You"

This is the song I've probably been listening to more than anything else. I am so emo.

In my daydreams, in my sleep, infatuation turning into disease
You could cure me, see all you have to do now is please try



* Fefe Dobson - "Don't Let It Go To Your Head"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sePYsG2jOVA

* Live - "All Over You"

An amazing live version:


* Jesse McCartney - "How Do You Sleep"
* Chris Isaak - "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing"
* Kelly Clarkson - "Can I Have A Kiss"
* Carly Smithson - "Just Missed The Train"



* Lovesick Radio - "Boys Don't Matter"

Skid Row: the world's best forgotten band

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I was lucky enough to discover Skid Row way back in 2001 - I don't remember how, but I assume from one of those amazing Top 20 shows that VH1 used to put together. ("What's My 20?" was one of my favorites and the ultimate best countdown show ever on television was "Top 40 Hair Bands" hosted by Dee Snider - with Poison at #1 and Twisted Sister at #2 - although since it was hosted by Dee Snider, that may have had something to do with it).

There is something so incredible about Sebastian Bach's voice that it gives me chills every time I listen to a song like "In A Darkened Room", "I Remember You" or "Quicksand Jesus". He is honestly one of the best metal vocalists of all time and my personal (albeit biased) favorite. Sebastian was a force of nature - all hair, leather pants, and the skinniest and sexiest 6'4" guy I have ever seen.



There was no moment where Skid Row sold out - no cheesy power ballads (although who am …

American Idol Season 8 - Results Show: May 20, 2009

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I was at a Yankee game/charity benefit when the American Idol results show (aka last episode of the season) and I am just watching the entire thing, start to finish, now. I managed to be surprised when I watched my VHS tape back to see the last 40 or so minutes of the show - luckily no one revealed the winner until I got to see it for myself.

But anyway - here's my review of the show.


American Idol Finale Results Show - May 20, 2009

Top 13 American Idols - "So What" C+
It is kind of entertaining to me the lyrics that the producers chose to omit, but even more amusing to hear the Idols sing "and you're a tool, so what". Whoever came up with the weird jumping choreography for this was sadly misled. However, this is a tolerable performance for a group number and it certainly beats any of the Ford music videos.

David Cook - "Permanent" B
This song is so poignant after his brother's death after a long battle with cancer. I am not sure how he got thr…

American Idol Season 8 - Top 3: May 12, 2009

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Top 3 - Judges and Contestants Choice songs: May 12, 2009

Danny Gokey - "Dance Little Sister" (Paula's choice) C

This performance reminds me of karaoke, or a wedding singer. Or someone that I would be impressed with on a cruise ship. However, how many cruise ship singer/wedding singer soundtracks do YOU own (with the possible exception of The Wedding Singer soundtrack - because that is excellent)? He needed to clear his throat on this performance. His dancing was pretty bad and his vocals were tolerable. However, "tolerable" does not an American Idol make, let me tell you.

Kris Allen - "Apologize" (Randy & Kara's choice) A-

I was torn with what to give Kris on this song, an A- or a B+ so I copped out and gave him both. This slowed-down version of the song was beautiful and Kris's piano playing was very nice. The guitar in the background of the song sounded great too. Honestly the only week that Kris faltered was "All She Wants To Do Is…

First time I heard the music, I knew it was my own

For fun, some top 5 lists:

Top 5 Metallica songs
Andrew got me thinking about this one.

5. To Live Is To Die
4. Turn The Page (cover)
3. Nothing Else Matters
2. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
1. The Unforgiven



Top 5 GNR songs
5. Knockin' On Heaven's Door
4. You're Crazy (1988 Acoustic Version from Lies)
3. November Rain
2. Rocket Queen
1. Paradise City



Top 5 Led Zeppelin songs
5. D'yer Maker
4. Over the Hills and Far Away
3. Stairway To Heaven
2. Thank You
1. All My Love



Top 5 Tesla songs
5. The Way It Is
4. Cry
3. What A Shame
2. Love Song
1. What You Give



Top 5 Skid Row songs
This one was absolutely impossible. I would have loved to include Youth Gone Wild, but I had to put on 18 And Life, because the summer of 2001, I would play this song over and over and over again on my Discman.

5. Quicksand Jesus
4. Monkey Business
3. 18 And Life
2. In A Darkened Room
1. I Remember You



Top 5 Poison songs
5. Talk Dirty To Me
4. Ride The Wind
3. Flesh and Blood (Sacrifice)
2. Lay Your Body Down
1. Life Goes On



Top 5 Aero…

Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Songs

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Getting away from the best (and cheesiest) show of my spring season - I thought I'd return a little bit to what I do best which is making long lists of my favorite songs.

What I love about Springsteen is that his songs tell a story. First and foremost, that has to be my favorite thing about his music. In a world of "oh baby baby" choruses and inane rap songs about money, cars and hoes, Springsteen's music draws you in and doesn't let you go.

My favorite Springsteen album is "The River", his double album from 1980, which I have always thought speaks volumes about my personality. The album juxtaposes very upbeat songs with very sad songs, for a really fleshed-out total experience.

From Wikipedia: Originally, the album was going to be a single set entitled The Ties That Bind and released in late 1979, but Springsteen decided it was "too pop" and added darker material after he'd written "The River". Indeed, The River became noted for…

American Idol Season 8 - Top 4: May 5, 2009

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Top 4 - Rock Week - May 5, 2009

Can I just say that this is my ideal American Idol episode? Slash has always been one of my favorite musicians, and Guns N Roses one of my favorite bands. I love the concept of putting them in the club and having them rehearse with a band.

Since I am watching the episode online instead of live on TV, I'll be able to comment before hearing the judges' opinions. I have to admit that sometimes I will be swayed by their comments.

Adam Lambert - "Whole Lotta Love" A+

Myfirst and onlyA+ of the season goes to Adam with this performance. I am absolutely blown away. He killed it. From the first word to the last note, this is incredible. The band was on fire, the guitar solo was hot, the lights just added to the whole performance. He is an electrifying performer and someone I would easily go to see in concert. I have never ever seen an American Idol performance like this one. Adam is a true rock star - he has the look as evidenced by his sexy hai…

American Idol Season 8 - Top 5: April 28, 2009

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Top 5 - Rat Pack - April 28, 2009

Well I thought this theme was going to be a complete disaster and it was actually pretty stellar. (I think I'm going back to 1994 with the use of the word stellar.) Everyone sounded pretty good this week, there were no absolute trainwrecks.

Kris Allen - "The Way You Look Tonight" A

Kris was amazing. He is incredible, charming and affable. He is the real deal. Finally Kara called him the dark horse tonight. Kris hasn't gotten his fair share and has been a bit overshadowed by the preordained Adam-Danny-Lil Final 3 (well now that Lil was voted off there goes that! HA!) This was incredible. I also love this song and hearing it always reminds me of "My Best Friend's Wedding".

Allison Iraheta - "Someone To Watch Over Me" B+

One of Allison's best performances in weeks. Tonight she proved that she can sing a ballad. I was impressed that she sang delicately without losing her edge. She looked very pretty also - no …

American Idol Season 8 - Top 6: April 21, 2009

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Top 6 - Disco Night - April 21, 2009

Lil Rounds - "I'm Every Woman" C
This was okay, it was better than her hideous performance of "The Rose" last week. But this week, Lil is singing in the dreaded number one spot (which is often forgotten about by voters). While this performance was vocally OK, Lil didn't stretch herself to hit any notes. She just sang it kind of flat, with no vocal runs or anything interesting. Actually the most interesting thing about this performance was her very 70's black bodysuit. This should be Lil's last week on American Idol.

Kris Allen - "She Works Hard For The Money" A
Contestants like Kris are the reason I watch American Idol - they light up the screen, they are consistently imaginative and exciting to watch. Kris is all these things - and more, because he is the sexiest American Idol contestant this side of Michael Johns. Tonight Kris did what I hoped he'd do - make an acoustic and soulful cover of a disco …