The year in music so far

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized

                    So it’s the year of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry singing with everybody, the Glee Cast having every member’s fart downloaded and charting, the usual X Factor chart glut, and apparently we haven’t heard enough of Lady Gaga or Black Eyed Peas yet. While none of the above are trends I whole-heartedly endorse, it’s nothing to make me give up on Pop music and become a jazz fan. As the first third of the year has passed, it’s time to assess the good and the bad from what we’ve been offered so far.


First the good news:


10. Carry Out — Timbaland feat. Justin Timberlake — Trousersnake is pretty amazing, in that as much of a white boy as he appears visually, his hip-hop cred is somehow believable. Once again going to the double entendre, this time it’s all about equating sexual imagery to fast food. I’m not sure why it took a million songwriters so long to think of it, but it works. He probably repeats the chorus at the end about three times too many, but otherwise a fun song.

9. I Need You Tonight — Professor Green feat. Ed Drewett — Oh, the sacrilege! How dare they take one of INXS’s best songs, sample the basic lick, and rap over it! Lazy bastards! Well, guess what? This is one of those isolated cases where the original is enhanced. 

8. Hollywood — Marina & The Diamonds — Every year, there’s some new flavor-of-the-month female who in most cases will be lucky to get past the second album. I’m not saying that Marina, (and in spite of her professional name, she is a solo artist) is immune to that same syndrome, but she has come out of the blocks with a knowledgeable, clever assessment of a scene that she’s 6000 miles removed from.

7. Pass Out — Tinie Tempah — Silly song, repetitive but infectious groove, plus the first song ever to mention the town of Scunthorpe.  

6. Riverside (Let’s Go) — Sidney Samson feat. Wizard Sleeve — Wizard Sleeve? On a budget of about £6.79, they used a ratty synth lick and a lot of innuendo to create a song which has that flair of a summer release. I like the line “Subtraction: Take off your clothes.”  

5. Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart — Alicia Keys — I’ve been to the mats over her near ten years in the limelight, and too often think she’s grossly over-rated. That said, I must admit she’s gotten it right a few times. This is one example, and I hope I feel the same way further down the line. 

4. Replay — IYAZ — How perfect! A song which talks about getting a song stuck in your sub-conscious, then proceeds to do the same thing by constant repetition. As I’ve said before, it still sounds like he’s saying “Got my eyeball stuck on the plane.”

3. Broken Hills — Alexandra Burke — X Factor contestants, winners or not, aren’t supposed to come up with anything this hard-core so early on. The groove is hard to ignore. Topic of discussion: Things that can be broken. You can break hearts, promises, dreams, records, and eggs. How the hell do you break hills?

2. Tik Tok — Kesha — Even though it’s only been a year, the Lady Gaga legacy already has its heir apparent. Kesha combines the right amount of humor, sex, and fun to make a thoroughly likable record.  Her followup singles, plus what I saw her do on American Idol, indicate she’s going to be around for a while.

1. Why Don’t You — Gramophonedzie — How in the world does a German dance mix artist determine “Oh, I just found this Peggy Lee/Benny Goodman song from 1942. I know what to do,” and then proceed to dismantle a song that no one under 70 has ever heard, making it an infectious 2010 dance tune? Whatever he was thinking, it worked, and if that’s the way people are going to be re-familiarised with Peggy Lee, so be it. 


Now the bad news:


5. Empire State Of Mind (Part 1) Broken Down — Alicia Keys — You see, this is why I’m cautious about giving her the accolades she’s already received. What she did here was take what her duet with Jay-Z so perfectly stated about the Big Apple, ignore that, and move it into the realm of cloying, repetitious, and downright boring.

4. Starry Eyed — Ellie Goulding — It’s really a difficult listen when there’s way too much going on underneath to support a truly unlistenable vocal.

3. Don’t Stop Believing — Glee Cast/Journey — I love Glee, but there’s nothing that can erase the bad taste in one’s mouth that any self-respecting former San Franciscan as myself can feel when seeing a trite, self-important tune from one of The City’s most annoying bands of the 80s not only getting a re-release, but staying on the charts in both versions for well past what should have been its sell-by date.

2. Once — Diana Vickers — “I’m only gonna let you kill me once,” she says, and hey, if the job’s not done the first time, well, just saying…  I HATE that voice, hated it when she was an X Factor finalist. She swallows consonants for some bogus dramatic effect, and the word “you” becomes “ye.” Props to her for doing something above an album of overdone covers, but if there’s a long career here, it will be a hard one to adjust to.  

1. Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby) — Jedward feat. Vanilla Ice — It’s almost akin to pitting The Cheeky Girls’ records against those of U2, but this single debuted at number 2, so all is fair in love and charts.  This X Factor travesty was dropped from their record label before the song had even finished its mere 3-week chart run, but dammit, someone’s got to drive the point home that no talent is not enough. Vanilla Ice was probably happy to get the extra 3 minutes of fame, but it’s doubtful that Queen or David Bowie felt the same.  

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.