Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009: Year In Review

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 this is the only song to ever make it to the Hot 100 that has featured a reference to Windex in the lyrics. And for that awesome fact, and many other great things about this song, it makes my Top 10 for the year.

5. Bon Jovi - "Superman Tonight"

A Bon Jovi love song in the tradition of all Bon Jovi love songs - from the references to Jon's old tattoo to the soaring arena-rock chorus. And as usual, I could not resist. Nor would I want to.

4. Brad Paisley - "Then"

Truly well written love ballads have become increasingly rare and I am grateful that country is the only genre that seems to embrace them anymore.

3. Sean Kingston - "Fire Burning"

The song of my summer, and when the song eventually faded at radio, I kept on requesting it. To the point where the DJ stopped taking request from me. Somebody call 9-1-1. And from the way I would run over to the dance floor everytime that first line blared out of the speakers, you would actually think there was a fire somewhere. Maybe even burning on the dance floor.

2. Weezer - "If You're Wondering If I Want You To (I Want You To)"

I went on a Weezer kick at the end of 2009. I still don't know exactly why, but it's probably due to this amazing song. The video is a great live version the band performed with Leighton Meester at the Hammerstein Ballroom at their Halloween concert. Hands down, the best song Weezer has ever recorded.

1. Britney Spears - "3"

Another #1 song for Britney and the catchiest song I have heard in years. A true Max Martin classic gem and proof that he should write and produce all of Britney's music.

Honorable Mentions:
* Daughtry - "No Surprise"
* Paramore - "Ignorance"
* Leighton Meester - "Somebody To Love"
* Adam Lambert - "For Your Entertainment"
* David Guetta - "Sexy Bitch"
* Madonna & Lil Wayne - "Revolver"
* Lady Gaga - "Speechless"
* George Strait - "Living For The Night"

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cause you made me the best mixtape I had

"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 press Record. The first few seconds of the song were always cut off, or sometimes I got the DJ talking at the beginning or the end of the song.

I realize now that this made each recording of this song perfectly unique. It would never be heard the same way each time. And there is something very romantic about that. Each song is a time capsule of sorts that would never be the same before or since.

I've had friends make me mix CDs but somehow they lack the painstaking effort of mix tapes. All that's required now to make such a compliation is the dragging and dropping of MP3 files into a playlist on Itunes. But, oh the mixtape. You had to sit and listen to each song, playing record and stop at the precise beginnings and endings of each song. There was more agony, more waiting - will they ever play my song on the radio? - and more heart.

Sadly, I came of age during the end of the mix tape era. Now there are no cassettes sold in stores and new cars don't come with cassette players. And as a medium, cassettes are impractical - they crack, the tape gets tangled, they're easy to record over. But their transience is what is sacred about them. Just like a lost love or a forgotten friend, it is too easy to let the music of the past slip through our fingers. But for our sake, we should hold on and press record one more time.

I'd recommend checking out the web site or their awesome book "Cassette From My Ex: Stories & Soundtracks From Lost Loves" edited by Jason Bitner (2009).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Top 100 Songs of the 2000s

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'" (2006)
9. Taking Back Sunday - "The Ballad of Sal Villanueva" (2002)
10. The Darkness - "Growing On Me" (2004)

11. My Chemical Romance - "Welcome To The Black Parade" (2006)
12. Brand New - "Soco Amaretto Lime" (2001)
13. Death Cab For Cutie - "Tiny Vessels" (2003)
14. Buckcherry - "Crazy Bitch" (2006)
15. T-Pain - "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin')" (2007)
16. Howie Day - "Slow Down" (2000)
17. Dashboard Confessional - "The Secret's In The Telling" (2006)
18. Semisonic - "Bed" (2001)
19. Justin Timberlake - "Lovestoned/I Think She Knows" (2007)
20. Michael Ferraro - "Goddess" (2005)

21. The Shins - "Caring Is Creepy" (2004)
22. Brand New - "Jaws Theme Swimming" (2003)
23. DHT - "Listen To Your Heart" (2006)
24. Tuff - "American Hair Band" (2001)
25. 50 Cent - "High All The Time" (2003)
26. The Killers - "Mr. Brightside" (2004)
27. Damien Rice - "Cannonball" (2002)
28. Something Corporate - "Konstantine" (2003)
29. Butch Walker - "Best Thing You Never Had" (2004)
30. Marvelous 3 - "Cigarette Lighter Love Song" (2000)

31. Something Corporate - "Ruthless" (2003)
32. Bright Eyes - "Let's Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and To Be Loved)" (2002)
33. Mariah Carey - "We Belong Together (Remix)" (2005)
34. Usher - "Burn" (2004)
35. Christina Aguilera - "Get Mine, Get Yours" (2002)
36. Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow - "Picture" (2002)
37. Brand New - "Degausser" (2006)
38. Jay - Z - "99 Problems" (2003)
39. Britney Spears - "3" (2009)
40. Frickin' A - "Just Friends" (2004)

41. Taking Back Sunday - "You're So Last Summer" (2002)
42. Phantom Planet - "California" (2002)
43. Carly Hennessey - "Just Missed The Train" (2001)
44. Kelly Clarkson - "Can I Have A Kiss" (2007)
45. Dashboard Confessional - "Screaming Infidelities"(2002)
46. Jesse McCartney - "How Do You Sleep" (2008)
47. Tesla - "Cry" (2004)
48. Damien Rice - "I Remember" (2002)
49. Bruce Springsteen - "The Fuse" (2002)
50. Bon Jovi - "Last Cigarette" (2005)

51. Kid Rock - "All Summer Long" (2008)
52. The Darkness - "Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time" (2005)
53. Hellogoodbye - "Touchdown Turnaround" (2006)
54. Bright Eyes - "Lover I Don't Have To Love" (2002)
55. Britney Spears - "Everybody" (2007)
56. Our Lady Peace - "Innocent" (2002)
57. Matthew Good Band - "Hello Time Bomb" (2001)
58. Bon Jovi - "Last Man Standing" (2005)
59. O-Zone - "Dragostea Din Tei" (2003)
60. Bright Eyes - "Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh" (2000)

61. Our Lady Peace - "Do You Like It" (2002)
62. Avril Lavigne - "Girlfriend" (2007)
63. Rufus Wainwright - "Hallelujah" (2001)
64. Straylight Run - "Mistakes We Knew We Were Making" (2004)
65. Ben Harper - "Waiting For You" (2006)
66. Jay - Z & Alicia Keys - "Empire State Of Mind" (2009)
67. Bon Jovi - "Summertime" (2007)
68. Weezer - "If You're Wondering If I Want You To (I Want You To)" (2009)
69. Matchbox 20 - "Rest Stop" (2000)
70. Fall Out Boy - "I'm Like A Lawyer With The Way I'm Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You)"(2007)

71. Leona Lewis - "Run" (2008)
72. Sugarcult - "Memory" (2004)
73. Kenny Chesney - "Keg In The Closet" (2004)
74. Kris Allen - "Wipe It Away" (2007)
75. Sexton Blake - "Girl You Know It's True" (2007)
76. SoulDecision - "Faded" (2000)
77. Oasis - "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" (2002)
78. Tom Jones - "Sexbomb" (2000)
79. Incubus - "Are You In" (2002)
80. Avril Lavigne - "My Happy Ending" (2004)

81. Ultimate Fakebook - "A Million Hearts" (2000)
82. Simple Plan - "Addicted" (2003)
83. Jessica Simpson - "What It's Gonna Be" (2001)
84. Jack's Mannequin - "The Mixed Tape" (2005)
85. Lustra - "Scotty Doesn't Know" (2004)
86. Brand New - "You Won't Know" (2006)
87. David Bisbal - "Aqui Y Ahora" (2006)
88. Phantom Planet - "The Guest" (2002)
89. The Dandy Warhols - "You Were The Last High" (2003)
90. Rascal Flatts - "Fast Cars And Freedom" (2004)

91. Air - "Playground Love" (2000)
92. Motion City Soundtrack - "L.G. Fuad (Let's Get Fucked Up And Die)" (2005)
93. Death Cab For Cutie - "Photobooth" (2000)
94. The Submarines - "Brighter Discontent" (2006)
95. Backstreet Boys - "Just Want You To Know" (2005)
96. Eminem - "Drug Ballad" (2000)
97. Gin Blossoms - "Come On Hard" (2006)
98. Bowling For Soup - "Girl All The Bad Guys Want" (2002)
99. Ludacris - "What's Your Fantasy" (2000)
100. Willa Ford - "A Toast To Men (Fuck The Men)" (2003)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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" weren't exactly TV-PG. However, it was absolutely perfect for every single club when the lights went low and the music went loud.

8. Cascada - "Evacuate the Dance Floor"
#25 Billboard Hot 100

Just when you think this song is infectious and sweet, the most random rap I have ever heard on a pop song starts in. And it's perfect. Bubblegum dance pop that almost takes you back to 1996.

7. Pitbull - "Hotel Room Service"
#8 Billboard Hot 100

Although "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" was clearly the bigger hit, this anthem by Pitbull ranks far higher on my list of ultimate party songs of the year.

6. Britney Spears - "3"
#1 Billboard Hot 100

One of the best songs Britney has released in years. An ode to threesomes, or maybe those awkward drunk grinding trains you often see in extremely dark clubs around 1:30 a.m.

5. LMAFO & Lil Jon - "Shots"
#97 Billboard Hot 100

For the amount of times I have heard this on the dance floor, you would think this would have been a Top 10 hit. A slam-dunk hit based on the fact that every drunk person at a club loves to hear a song about taking shots. And so do the bartenders.

4. Ke$ha - "Tik Tok"
#3 Billboard Hot 100

At first, I thought this song was extremely annoying. And then: it grew on me. Like a fungus. To the point where I could not stop playing it over again. An ode to being drunk, owning it, and just not caring.

3. David Guetta & Akon - "Sexy Bitch"
#7 Billboard Hot 100

The way the beat starts, low and slinky, and builds to the hook of the song is sexy and absolutely evocative of every night ever spent in a dance club, where by the end of the night, you don't even know where the time went.

2. Ashley Tisdale - "Crank It Up"

If only this song had become the club hit, it deserved to be. It may still be awaiting a US release, so there may be hope for this one yet. Ashley Tisdale's album "Guilty Pleasure" was actually, suprisingly, one of the best albums of the year - full of fresh, inventive, very 2009 pop. "Crank It Up" is one of the sexiest, poppiest and most fun songs Britney Spears never recorded.

1. Sean Kingston - "Fire Burning"
#5 Billboard Hot 100

There is absolutely no other song I would put as the number one party song of the year. I do believe this song is the sole reason I appear to be discouraged from requesting songs at the local club. From the opening lyric to the very last beat, the hands down best party song of the year. And probably next.