Saturday, February 10, 2007

The singles hour

The Village Voice has just published its annual Pazz & Jop Poll. Dylan comes up on top (yawn) with TV on the Radio nipping at his heels (zzzz…), while "Crazy" wins the Golden Toaster for single of the year.

You can look at my own poll here, with the caveat that the results change every week. For the sake of convenience, I'll post MP3s of my top ten singles of 2006 as they appeared in the Voice. Here they are, in alphabetical order.

1. Margaret Berger: "Samantha" Berger was no. 2 on Norwegian Idol, which tells you everything and nothing. A typical Scandi-stomper, "Samantha" is from her second album, the unusually (well, not for a Scandi-pop album, actually) good Pretty Scary Silver Fairy.

2. Bodies Without Organs: "Temple of Love" Yet again BWO entered Melodifestivalen, the Swedish selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest, and yet again they didn't make it through. A shame, for I bet this gloriously old-fashioned explosion of homo energy would have done better in Athens' than Carola's tired entry. And speaking of tough competition, the Ark is entering Melodifestivalen this year, with a peppy Bay City Rollers–style number titled (despite the fact that it suggests anything but) "The Worrying Kind". Go Ark!

3. Cassius: "Jack Rock" Acid lives with this track from Cassius' latest album. Every time I listen to it, I picture an expedition going up Mount Everest: The track climbs up to a plateau and takes a rest at base camp 1; then it climbs some more, and settles down at base camp 2; more climbing, more resting, and so on. The wonky piano and Rolling Stones woo-hoo's take it to the summit. A perennial treadmill tune.

4. Girls Aloud: "Something Kinda Oooh" I included all three of Girls Aloud's studio albums on their respective years' top-ten lists but had to interrupt that impeccable run because their 2006 release was a greatest-hits collection. Fortunately it did feature this new recording. As usual with Xenomania productions, the song has an unpredictable structure: very brief vocal intro, then the chorus, then the verse, and of course a pneumatic bridge to die for. And also as usual, we get the best genius/stupid lyrics a mega-selling girl group has to offer: "Something kinda ooooh/Jumping on my tu-tu/Something inside of me/Wanting part of you/Something kinda ooooh/Makes my heart go boom boom/Something inside of me/Wanting what you do/Something kinda ooooh/Bumpin' in the back room."

5. The Gossip: "Standing in the Way of Control (Soulwax Nite Version)" The Gossip has always shot itself in the foot with the cruddy sound on their recordings. I don't care what people say: It's their refusal to hire a decent producer that's hampered their career, not Beth Ditto's weight and politics. Last year they finally scored a semi-club hit thanks to the Belgian brothers in Soulwax—and an actual bass line.

6. Jamelia: "Beware of the Dog" One of two 2006 hits to cannibalize the synth-pop 1980s. Ruthlessly efficient.

7. The Killers: "When You Were Young" Like the other big drama queen in Vegas—that'd be CSI—the Killers are big, bloated and self-important, with a teeny-tiny ounce of winking self-awareness. This song is U2 for those who loathe U2.

8. Melody Club: "Last Girl on My Mind" A few years ago, Melody Club was slated to play a Swedish showcase at CBGB; they cancelled at the last minute because they got the opening gig on Kylie Minogue's European tour. Still no US release for Sweden's all-male answer to Blondie, but its third release is full of nuggets like this one. The lyrics make the latest Arcade Fire and Decemberists albums sound like the work of fussy librarians: "You're keeping your legs crossed, honey/Like a good girl should/Who's smearing your lipgloss, honey/ Come on take me by the hand." Any guy who mentions lipgloss in a song ranks high with me.

9. Rihanna: "SOS (Rescue Me)" I hesitated listing both this and "Beware of the Dog" because they're so similarly exploitative and so similarly exemplary of a dearth of ideas. Alas, both were lodged in my head in 2006. Rihanna also contributed to the canon of great pop lines with "I'm the question and you're of course the answer/Just hold me close boy 'cause I'm your tiny dancer."

10. Kate Ryan: "Je t'adore" Textbook Europop. The biggest shocker of 2006 for trĂ¼-pop fans is that Kate Ryan didn't make it past the semi in the Eurovision Song Contest. "Je t'adore" is so good that in the weeks leading up to the showdowns, us fans were taking bets as to whether she'd win it, place in the top three or in the top five. I was certain that at last Belgium could step to the podium. Oh well… Take it away, Katrien Verbeeck!


John said...

I appear to have missed 1,3 + 4... any chance of a send?
And I should get you any of my top tens you're unfamiliar with sometime too! Check em out:
1 : Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man - RCA
2 : Gnarls Barkley - Crazy - Downtown
3 : Clipse with Bilal - Nightmares - Re Up Gang/Zomba
4 : Nadiya - Tous Ces Mots - BMG
5 : Prince - Black Sweat - Universal
6 : TI - What You Know - Atlantic
7 : Snook - Snook Svett Och Tarar - Pope/Playground
8 : Birdman and Lil Wayne - 1st Key - Cash Money
9 : The Knife - We Share Our Mother's Health - Mute
10 : NOMO - Fourth Ward - Ubiquity
11 : Katamari Soul Trains - Katamari on the Funk - Sony
12 : Alex Lilly and Colorforms - Nothing Can Come Between Us - Unreleased, See Myspace site

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

The links for 1, 3 and 4 have been fixed. The tracks should be accessible now.