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Friday, January 08, 2010

The Millennium Playlist

One of the first big countdowns I did on this blog was the Millennium Project, which higlighted my top 100 albums of the new millennium (at the time, and only up to the middle of 2006). Now that the decade's over, I can do something a little more comprehensive. So, next week I will be counting down my top 100 songs of the 00's. The list will include both singles and album tracks, but primarily singles because...well, they're usually better.

Since this is my blog, the criteria will be entirely personal. If you've been a longtime reader, you know my taste. Strong melodies, big choruses, synth or glam elements, etc. There are about six bands that make reoccurring appearances throughout the countdown, and a few that could have monopolized the whole thing. I reigned myself in a little in order to make the countdown... y'know... interesting to people besides me, but I can safely say that the top ten (hell, the top twenty) constitutes my favorite music of all time. The songs have become something more than music, in fact. They're a vital part of who I am as a person.

Interestingly, the top two songs were both released as singles in the same year (2004), which happens to be my best year for music this decade. No song from 2009 made it above number thirty-one.

To tease how great my top 100 are, here's a quick list of the 50 that nearly made it. These are some epic songs, but there's even better yet to come...

150. Britney Spears - Toxic (2003)
149. George Michael - My Mother Had A Brother (2004)
148. Girls Aloud - Miss You Bow Wow (2008)
147. The Feeling - Sewn (2006)
146. The Upper Room - Girl (2006)
145. Gwen Stefani - Cool (2004)
144. Kylie Minogue - Your Disco Needs You (2001)
143. Infernal - I Won't Be Crying (2007)
142. Hotel Motel - Long Distance (2008)
141. Dannii Minogue - I Begin To Wonder (2003)
140. Green Day - Wake Me Up When September Ends (2005)
139. Infernal - Punk Disco (2008)
138. Mya - Case Of The Ex (2000)
137. Robbie Williams - Better Days (2000)
136. Antony & The Johnsons - Hope There's Someone (2005)
135. Pink - There U Go (2000)
134. The Mo - Dancing Like A Heathen (2004)
133. Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Murder On The Dancefloor (2001)
132. Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone (2004)
131. Goldfrapp - Ride A White Horse (2006)
130. Janet Jackson - Trust A Try (2001)
129. The Killers - Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine (2004)
128. Scissor Sisters - Making Ladies (2006)
127. Sparks - Dick Around (2006)
126. The Enemy - You're Not Alone (2007)
125. The Rasmus - F-f-f-falling (2004)
124. The View - Same Jeans (2007)
123. Your Vegas - Troubled Times (2008)
122. Shania Twain - Wanna Get To Know You (That Good) (2002)
121. Sneaky Sound System - Kansas City (2008)
120. Frankmusik - 3 Little Words (2008)
119. Girls Aloud - Untouchable (2008)
118. Johnny Boy - You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes... (2004)
117. Whyte Seeds - Back In Town (2006)
116. Scissor Sisters - Music Is The Victim (2004)
115. Magnus Carlsson - Live Forever (2007)
114. Muse - Knights Of Cydonia (2006)
113. Oh No Ono - Keeping Warm In Cold Country (2006)
112. White Rose Movement - Girls In The Back (2006)
111. Rihanna - Umbrella (2007)
110. The Alpine - Mondays Look The Same (2006)
109. Tsar - Silver Shifter (2000)
108. Persephone's Bees - Even Though I'm Fooling Around (2006)
107. Robbie Williams - Supreme (2000)
106. Keane - This Is The Last Time (2004)
105. Dragonette - Competition (2008)
104. Ladyhawke - Another Runaway (2008)
103. Gwen Stefani - Danger Zone (2004)
102. Muse - Hysteria (2003)
101. Bodies Without Organs - We Could Be Heroes (2006)


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Linda Sundblad - Let's Dance

"Tonight we're gonna face the music"

Linda Sundblad is one of the two leaders of female Swedish pop in my book. There's her and Robyn, and then everybody else kinda nips at their ankles. The first single off her new album, To All My Girls, was a definite highlight and a track that I play often. This next one, which pulls double duty as the theme for a TV dance show, is a little underwhelming. It lacks the personality and spark that I've come to love from Sundblad. It's probably a bit more mainstream, but because of that sacrifices originality. Of course, this is still Linda Sundblad, and I am very excited for her new album (the last one was perfect pop). For a straight-up dance song this is more than fine, but I can't wait to hear what else she's come up with.

Linda Sundblad - Let's Dance by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Pop Blitz 1/6/10

Train - Hey Soul Sister
The comeback I didn't think anybody was asking for (yet apparently they were if itunes is any indication), Train are back with something that sounds like solo Rob Thomas or Jason Mraz. It's pretty boring stuff, and that chorus is laaame. I almost kinda used to like these guys. C

3Oh!3 & Katy Perry - Starstrukk
Equal parts catchy and obnoxious, I'm still not entirely sure what to think of these guys. Part of me really just wants them to disappear from Earth. The verses are very, very irritating. The chorus is a bit better, but sounds a lot like their last single. Oh, an getting Katy Perry on here certainly doesn't help matters. C-

The Saturdays - Ego
Picking up where Girls Aloud left off, this is a relatively strong uptempo with a great bridge and chorus but weaker verses. I'm still not sold on this group's potential, but this is a promising step in the right direction. B

Erik Grönwall - Higher
As per tradition, Swedish Idol's winner was saddled with this turgid ballad even though he's got a voice more suited for 80's rock. Loved Erik during the show, but this song pretty much defines crap. They better let him record an album more suitable for his voice. D

Boys Like Girls (with Taylor Swift - Two Is Better Than One
Taylor is everywhere, isn't she? Doesn't matter, as she barely registers here. Seriously, the female vocals could have been anybody. This emo-ballad has grown on me, but there are still so many stronger tracks on the album. B-

Leona Lewis - I See You (Theme from Avatar)
Well, it's no My Heart Will Go On. Like the movie it's supporting, it's quite a pretty experience but lacks any real meat. Leona better start doing better than this if she wants a sustained career. C

Selena Gomez & the Scene - Naturally
I'm actually kind of surprised that this is taking off, not because I don't like Selena (quite the opposite, actually), but because the first (stronger) single pretty much flopped and the album didn't seem to do much better. This is nice in a Hillary Duff sort of way. Fun, throwaway dance pop. B+

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Yeasayer - Ambling Alp

"Stick up for yourself, son"

This is the first great single of 2010 (though technically it's been out for a few weeks. I mean, just... wow. I was a fan of Yeasayer's first album in 2008, though it was pretty far from what I usually post here. Now they've come back with something even stronger. The melodies are brought to the forefront and the sound is a bit more eclectic (ie: the wicked Scissor Sisters-esque middle eight). Most importantly, the band have discovered hooks. Tons of them. This track, despite its odd title, is ridiculously singable and simple to the point of being an iconic step in the band's evolution. They haven't lost their weird little quirks (witness the awesomely drugged out video - complete with artistic nudity aplenty), but they've developed a pop edge that suits them perfectly. The album's out soon. It's fantastic as well.

Yeasayer - Ambling Alp by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Preorder the album here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)


Monday, January 04, 2010

Tinted Windows - Messing With My Head

"You've been messin' with my head for oh so long now"

It happens every year. I finish my countdowns, look back, and think: crap, I forgot something. Usually I forgot to even nominate the song, and thus didn't consider it at all. The song in question this year (and it probably won't be the last) is Tinted Windows' Kind Of A Girl. The band's album was released last Spring and is pretty darn good on its own right. The single kinda came and went with the occasional radio spin, hence my forgetfulness. Tinted Windows is a side-project/supergroup consisting of members of Cheap Trick, Smashing Pumpkins and Fountains of Wayne, with Taylor Hanson (of Hanson fame) on lead vocals. They perform 70's style power pop with an emphasis on hooks (think The Knack or, obviously, early Cheap Trick). The song I want to post today is the second single, though I never heard it on the radio so I'm not sure many people that don't have the album even know it exists. The song, however, is wonderful - the kind that you'll be humming all day and night. Taylor sounds amazing, as usual, and possesses a kind of glam swagger when performing this kind of track that's a real thrill to hear. Fans of the new Melody Club album (my #2 this year), Motion in the Ocean-era Mcfly, Fountains of Wayne or classic power-pop will absolutely love this.

Tinted Windows - Messing With My Head by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter at nickajames)

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