Monday, January 22, 2007

Songs That I Have Been Listening To...

As always, the early part of the year is a rather dire time for music. In a couple of weeks, Jordan Pruitt's and Ashley Tisdale's albums will be released. Soon enough Hilary Duff will release the full single version of "With Love", and a debut single from Kelly Clarkson's album is probably not too far off in the horizon. So, the dry spell will not last long. But, for now anyways, I've been listening to a bunch of older music in order to pass the time.

Jimmy Ray - "Are You Jimmy Ray?"

Frank Kogan over on the teenpop thread says it defies easy categorization. Jimmy Ray is a 50's throwback himself, but this isn't. And he's kinda rapping but kinda not. xhuxk says it sounds like George Michael's "Faith". Both are right. It's like a weird "Faith" mixed with awkward white rap or something. In any event, it's absolutely great, just an incredibly catchy song. Funny self-referential lyrics add to the quality, although they are rather silly. Jimmy was a one hit wonder in the late 90's, so I don't know how any of his other songs are, but this is a winner. 9/10

Aqua - "Lollipop (Candyman)"

Thanks to Frank Kogan, I recently rediscovered this great followup to "Barbie Girl" by Aqua. "Barbie Girl" and "Tubthumping" (by Chumbawamba) were both novelty hits around the same time, and I loved and still love both. That being said, this followup single is just as good as either of those. Of course, having been branded as a novelty act forever, this song had no chance of success, but it totally deserved it! Again, very catchy, though slightly annoying, as all Aqua songs I've heard are. The man's voice and woman's voice are both initially jarring and they sound nothing alike, but I still think they sound good together, in an odd way. "Oh my love I know you are my candyman" has to rank as one of the catchiest hooks of the entire decade of the 90s. 9/10

A*Teens - "Floorfiller"

This song comes off of A*Teens' second album, which is generally inferior to the first, but it's probably my favorite A*Teens song. A truly great song about going to the club and dancing, and indeed it does have a nicely danceable beat. Not only that but it features one of the catchiest vocal melodies I've ever heard in a song. The whole thing is a bit juvenile, and the lyrics aren't anything great: "A bomb diggy drum coming at me with the groove" -- ugh. But it makes up for that and more with the incredibly energy and catchiness that permeates the whole thing. And the kids, as always, are great pop singers. Everything great about being a kid encapsulated in one song. One of my 10 favorite singles of the decade to this point. 10/10

Martina McBride - "This One's For the Girls"; Martina McBride - "Independence Day"; Martina McBride - "When God Fearin' Women Get the Blues"

Three of the greatest country pop songs of all time. I absolutely cannot stop listening to them because they are so catchy and awesome, but yet all three fairly different. "When God Fearin' Women Get the Blues" is probably the most musically original. Lyrically it is of the middle aged women going out and getting crazy and having fun segment that is fairly prevalent in country pop. The lyrics are nothing special. "Indpendence Day" is the real showstopper. With really powerful, sad (but also really great) lyrics about domestic abuse, and a truly soaring and powerhouse chorus, this is one that'll bring tears to your eyes. But it's also really catchy and upbeat too! "This One's For the Girls" is pure fun. A standard, completely unoriginal, but completely awesome country pop songs that stands out for it's great pro-grrl power lyrics and catchy melody. None of the other Martina McBride songs I listened to were up to this level, and none of her albums seem consistently great, but this is a top 3 songs that contends with most other artists in music history. All 3 are 10/10, and right now I'm inclined to rank them 1. "Independence Day" [probably one of my top 10 singles of the 90s], 2. "When God Fearin' Women Get the Blues", 3. "This One's for the Girls"

Sheryl Crow - "If It Makes You Happy"; Sheryl Crow - "My Favorite Mistake"; Sheryl Crow - "A Change Would Do You Good"; Sheryl Crow - "Leaving Las Vegas"

Other than Martina, the other artist I've been really loading up on lately is Sheryl Crow, who released two truly great albums in the 90s, Sheryl Crow and The Globe Sessions that I have been listening to just nonstop. The more of her songs I listen to, and rediscover, and put on repeat over and over, the more inclined I am to say that she is at least a contender for the best singles artist of the decade of the 90s. Not even sure who else would compete with her for that, though I'm sure I could think of one if I tried. Mariah, maybe. Anyways, all 4 of these songs are awesome, and all for different reasons! "If It Makes You Happy" is just a high energy song about a messed up relationship, with a real edge to it. A great shrieking chorus. "My Favorite Mistake" is much more standard musically, but still a great melody and guitar, and it has excellent codependent lyrics. "A Change Would Do You Good" sort of like a cross between the last two, like a "My Favorite Mistake" but with a more screwed up relationship and more of an edge. "Leaving Las Vegas" is the pretty ballad, and I love it. All are 10/10, and I'd rank them as listed in the outset. "If It Makes You Happy" and "My Favorite Mistake" are contenders for top 25-ish singles of the decade.

OK, that's all I have time for tonight. Hope you enjoyed. Just because I mentioned it for "Floorfiller", I recently compiled a list of my top 20 favorite singles of the 2000s so I maybe will post it here soon, though maybe I won't too. I'll follow my heart. "Everywhere" is number one.

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