Monday, December 21, 2009

Top 2(00)9 of 2009: #13-#10

For your own reference, you can use this link to look up all posts tagged as the Top 2(00)9 of 2009. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did! :) Rocking to Part 5...

#13. Dragonette - Fixin' To Thrill
From the Album: Fixin' To Thrill (2009)
Watch the Video: here
Listen to the Villains Remix: here

My addiction to Dragonette started out tame enough, but grew exponentially until it verged on exploding after the trifecta of gaining ridiculously cheap tickets to see them live, the Fixin' To Thrill album itself and the actual concert experience. Words alone cannot express how incredible this band is to see live, and choosing just one song from Thrill to feature in my Top 29 was difficult in itself, so I decided to go with the album namesake and first single. If I had it my way, this group would already be huge and far too cool to play tiny clubs like where I saw them -- so here's to an incredible '10 for them. "Thrill" (the song) combines killer vocals and gritty, dark synth to form a surprisingly sunny sound that sounds amazing coming out of your headphones -- the louder, the better. Dragonette themselves provide a pretty perfect soundtrack to my move to NYC -- first album Galore was the last record I bought at the Virgin Megastore toward the beginning of '09, and they capped off the year right with that electric live appearance with friends by my side. Thrill (the album) is easily Top 3 in my eyes of the Best Albums released this year. It might even be my overall favorite.

Best Part: The background melody, "Uh uh, I'm fixin' to thrill", and the unrelenting chorus.
Other Songs of Note: "Big Sunglasses", "Okay Dolore", basically the entire album
Other Posts RE: Dragonette: Live concert experience flashback.
Looking Ahead: Taking over America. That is all.

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#12. K'NAAN - Wavin' Flag
From the Album: Troubadour (2009)
Listen to the Song: here
Watch a Live Acoustic Performance: here

K'NAAN is one of those artists that any person can appreciate, no matter what genre of music they prefer. His sophomore effort, Troubadour, is by far the best hip hop record released this year -- mostly because it speaks of real pain, hardship and experience, and mixes it with optimism, strength, survival and endearment. I'm lucky enough to say I was a part of the A&M/Octone team as an intern while they prepped for the release of this record, and after my first listen to K'NAAN, I was instantly hooked. In a similar vein, after hearing "Wavin' Flag" for the first time, I was instantly struck and vividly remember getting goosebumps. It's one of those songs that can only be described as epic, and is my favorite off of the indelible Troubadour. The world better get ready for K'NAAN -- you're going to be seeing a lot more of him. This song has been chosen to be featured in the World Cup, and is actually the seventh official single from the Troubadour project, proof positive that this is a record that is an absolute must in every person's collection. K'NAAN speaks of real world issues, and isn't afraid to call out his youth in Somalia and the hip hop industry that birthed him.

Best Part: Pretty much everything. Honestly. But you can't really beat that second verse, especially, "We just move forward like Buffalo Soldiers".
Other Songs of Note: "ABCs", "I Come Prepared", "Bang Bang" (feat. Adam Levine), "Dreamer", "If Rap Gets Jealous", "Fatima"
Other Posts RE: K'NAAN: Troubadour feature.
Looking Ahead: If the ad placements for the World Cup don't get him the notice he deserves in a genre desperately seeking a real leader, I don't know what will.

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#11. Jada - American Cowboy
From the Album: Jada (2010)
Watch the Video: here
Watch Jada singing the chorus acapella at a radio station near my hometown: here

My love for Jada has been noted time and time again on this blog. I've been a fan since back in early 2005, when they were just a struggling group of relatable girls from Boston. I was there when they made the made the announcement of their signing with Universal Motown Records in 2006. And of course, I patiently waited for the first single: the RedOne (RedOne...Konvict...Jada...Woo!) produced "American Cowboy". Sure, it was knocked for its similarities to Lady Gaga. Yes, it's just about the epitome of carbon-copied Red One in template. Does that make it any less of a fun party song? Absolutely not. The difference that I stress over and over is these are hardly four pretty label puppets. Jada is made up of four talented, poised young women -- and in a market that thrives on scandal (rather than downplaying it as they'd like to make us think), we finally can return to having a group of vocally capable young women who aren't trying to take themselves too seriously, aren't digging on themselves too hard, aren't relying on their sex appeal to sell records -- and! -- make a point of singing acapella every chance they can get to prove their worth. Ladies of American Pop, take note: this is how to gain respect.

Best Part: The RedOne intro, the handclappy backbeat, "I know (I know!) you know (you know!) I'm sex-ay", "Your jealous girlfriend can't faze me -- ain't my fault you can't control your lady", "Add my name to your house title" and that bridge breakdown.
Other Songs of Note: "Break Up Song", "Kiss 'N Tell", "I'm That Chick"
Other Posts RE: Jada: "Break Up Song" feature, and of course, my exclusive interview with Jada themselves.
Looking Ahead: "Break Up Song" is attempting to pick up winter love-song steam, and the album release is hopefully not too far off.

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#10. Cascada - Evacuate the Dancefloor
From the Album: Evacuate the Dancefloor (2009)
Watch the Video: here

(Oh-oh Oh!) Evacuate the Dancefloor
(Oh-oh Oh!) I'm infected by the sound
(Oh-oh Oh!) Stop -- this beat is killing me
(Hey Mr. DJ, let the music take me underground)


The epitome of guilty pleasures, German dancefloor crusaders Cascada slaughter the American pop landscape once again with their biggest hit since their debut "Everytime We Touch" with this bouncy little gem of nostalgical pop. It reminds me of something that would have been recorded and released in the early 90's when dancey-pop was all the rage and our love affair with it was less apologetic and more guiltless. "Evacuate" positively pulsates from the minute you press play, and once you hear it once, I defy you to get it out of your head without another immediate spin. This was one of those songs this year that I'd often fall into a listening black hole with, where I'd find myself hitting repeat over and over and over while listening, so the point that I'd be listening to the same song 20 times in a row -- and I'd still hit repeat again. It's yet another UK smash that didn't quite have the same impact on America (I blame all those wannabe rappers, darn it! Give us our pop back!), but even I was surprised by the amount of airplay it got stateside. Just try to not wiggle in your seat while the song plays. Go ahead -- try. I'll wait...See? Doesn't that feel good?

Best Part: "Feels like an overdose (feels like an overdose) {overdoseeee!}"...", THAT CHORUS!!!!, "Uh Huh!", "Still the night, Kill the lights" and the borderline silly/Ace of Base-flashback of a "rap" bridge.
Other Songs of Note: I will always be quite partial to the Candlelight version of their cover of "What Hurts the Most"
Looking Ahead: I guessing the rest of the album singles won't make too much of a dent in America (boo!), but the album as a whole is very strong dancepop indeed.

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Clue: Of the next three songs -- one is by a rock troupe I idolize, one is an American anthem, and the one is by one of my most loved groups...possibly ever.

8 comments:

Mike said...

I'm very impressed that you have Knaan on here.

By far my favorite song from that album.

Nikki said...

hurrah for Jada! Hahah.

D'luv said...

I don't know about Cascada slaughtering the American landscape. More like sawing away at a snail's pace with a butter knife, at the rate that jam has been crawling up the chart.

But totally agree with your assessment that you can't get it out of your head -- I think I've only heard it in its entirety twice, and the last time was August....still whistling it!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE YOU MEL AND THIS BLOG AND BTW GREAT WRITE UP ON JADA ...THEYRE MY GIRLS! YOU ROCK! :)

Mike said...

LOL at Cascada - I love that song despite its god awful lyrics and faux Lady GaGa production.

Loving your countdown!

Paul said...

I really like Dragonette's Fixin To Thrill. I had sort of hoped they would become Scissor Sisters album one massive, but it hasn't happened yet... Cascada grew and grew on me until one day on a crowded dance floor when for some reason I was dancing like Olly Murs, I realised I knew the rap breakdown perfectly. Well guess who's back with a brand new track!

Mel said...

Mike (1) - You're a fan? He's a great guy. I'm usually too big on hip hop unless it has meaning, and he certainly does. My fave too! :)

Nikki - Hurrah, indeed! I'm just hoping their similarities to Soluna won't be compete with falling off the radar after this single. They (along with Soluna) deserve so much more!

D'Luv - True. I have a tendency to hyperbolize about songs I like. Haha. ;0 I prefer your simile better. Still -- catchy pop is catchy pop. At least you can resist it! I can't! Haha!

Anon - Awww, I love you, too! Any fan of Jada is a friend of mine!

Mike (2) - It's one of those guilty pleasure songs that you don't REALLY want to admit to liking unless you REALLY know your audience. Haha. Thanks so much!

Paul - Word on Dragonette. I wish the world would get on that already! And yes - that rap breakdown is the EPITOME of awesomely bad. Don't worry - I know all the words too. Haha.

Buffalo Soldier 9 said...

How do you keep a people down? ‘Never' let them 'know' their history.

Keep telling that history; read some great military history.

The 7th Cavalry got their butts in a sling again after the Little Big Horn Massacre, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn't for the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry. Read the book, “Rescue at Pine Ridge”, and visit website/great military history, http://www.rescueatpineridge.com

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