Top 2(00)9 of 2009: #21-#18

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! :) Kicking it to Part 3...

#21. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll
From the Album: It's Blitz! (2009)
Watch the Video: here

(Note: How sick is that cover?) So many preferred first single "Zero" off It's Blitz! and overall, feelings seemed to be mixed about YYY's third album, but to me, it just doesn't get better than this edgy, snarky, dark little number. "Heads Will Roll" instantly evokes imagery from Alice In Wonderland and I cannot even begin to tell you how upset I will be if this doesn't end up being front and center of the upcoming Tim Burton film revamp this coming March. While my love affair with Karen O and the Yeah 2X Yeahs has been a bit spotty over the years, "Heads Will Roll" forced me to give It's Blitz! a true listen, and I couldn't be more happy I did. The song itself is one of those perfect pieces of electro-inspired pop that insists on being replayed minimum six times (for me at least) before moving on to something else (maybe), complete with ominous synth, perfectly beckoning vocals, snappy beats and light up keyboards(!). Couple all that with a chorus that is instantly anthematic and you have one very Happy Mel, indeed. Bonus Nod: it was co-produced by Dave Sitek, guitarist for another band I have a love/hate relationship with: TV on the Radio.

Best Part: "Glitter on the wet streets...the Glitter's all wet", and the shouted "Off! Off! Off with your head! Dance! Dance! Dance till you're dead!" is something I continually jump up and down to whenever the song comes up on my iPod.
Other Songs of Note: "Zero"
Looking Ahead: "Dull Life" is being prepped to be the third single, but I'm hoping "Heads Will Roll" will get a more mainstream revival upon Alice's movie release.

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#20. Jordin Sparks - Battlefield
From the Album: Battlefield (2009)
Watch the Video: here

Despite being the first of the three big Ryan Tedder tracks of the year (the others being Beyonce's "Halo" and Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone"), it seems to be the least appreciated during Year-End Chart-Countdown Time -- and that is downright criminal. It's definitely my fave of anything Tedder has produced this year, and would have to rank right up there with "Apologize" (OneRepublic), "Karma" (NLT) and "Bleeding Love" (Leona Lewis) in terms of my overall Fave Tedder Productions, should the need for a countdown for that arise. Not only does Ms. Sparks prove her vocal prowess with this military heartbeat of a track, she continues to show her relativity to not just her peer demographic, but to those a bit older than her as well, as the vid was a long-runner over at Vh1. With all of the blog hype leading up to its release, the fact that the song peaked at #10 on the Hot 100 in itself feels like a bit of a letdown -- when it definitely not should be considered as such.

Best Part: "Why does love always feel like a Battlefield? (Oh Oh oh!) Battlefield? (Oh Oh Oh!) Battlefield? (Oh Oh Oh!)", "Bettah Go An' Getcha Ah-ma", and that bouncy ball of a synth backdrop. Touche, Mr. Tedder. Touche.
Other Songs of Note: "S.O.S. (Let the Music Play)", "Emergency (911)", "Let It Rain"
Other Posts RE: Jordin: Lengthy Battlefield album review.
Looking Ahead: Her FeFe Dobson cover of "Don't Let It Go To Your Head" is being prepped as the third single in the UK, but I've got my fingers crossed for "Let It Rain" for the US.

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#19. LIGHTS - Saviour
From the Album: The Listening (2009)
Watch the Video: here

2009 saw a breakthrough for synthpop in the contemporary market when Owl City surprisingly rose to #1 on the Hot 100 with "Fireflies". While the song wasn't quite my cup of tea, the refreshingly baby-voiced LIGHTS most definitely is (I suppose I've always had a bit of a preference for female vocalists -- can you tell yet?). "Saviour" is super stripped down during the verses, giving it a sort of etheral kind of quality that complements her childlike voice very well before rikashaying off into the stratosphere with the chorus. Her full record earned her Top 5 nods on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, but for the most part, she's flying kind of under the radar here in the US, despite being a overwhemling new favorite of many of my favorite musicians. I think it's safe to say we will be seeing a lot more of her in the common months, and that is a very good thing.

Best Part: That chorus, especially the "Sooner than laterrrrrr...I'll need a saviourrrr," and that searing "Save me!" during the bridge.
Other Songs of Note: "Ice"
Looking Ahead: She's about to embark in a nationwide tour with the aforementioned Owl City, and I'm hoping that will encourage that demo along with the mainstreamers who dig the synth pop sound to increase her public visibility.

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#18. Black Eyed Peas - Boom Boom Pow
From the Album: The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies)
Watch the Video: here

The Year of 2009 would be better of described Hot 100-wise as The Year of the Pea. Their success is simply mindblowing, and kind of came out of nowhere to the point that even the Peas themselves must have been kind of mystified. "Boom Boom Pow" was the little single that could, as it upon first listen it hardly sounded radio ready with its nonsensical chorus, punctuated by the defiant "Let the beat rock!" But radio ready it certainly was -- proving will.I.am's case-in-point about a radio sound being not necessarily a pre-defined idea, but instead whatever the public liked. And boy, did we like it. It tends to get eclipsed a bit by the strength of followup single "I Gotta Feeling", but "Pow" more than held its own, holding the #1 spot on the Hot 100 from April to July before being overtaken by "Feeling" (which would hold the top spot till October). "Feeling" more than wore out its welcome to me, while "Pow" still sounds surprisingly fresh and dancy. Maybe its because of its experimentation with electronica, maybe its because of the auto-tuned curses, maybe its because of the robot voice telling me to "let the beat rock" -- whatever it is, I really do like that 'boom boom pow'.

Best Part: "Let the beat rock. L-l-l-l-let the beat rock," and Fergie's sassy "People in the place, if you wanna get down, put your hands in the air -- will.I.am, drop the beat now!"
Other Songs of Note: "Rock That Body", "Missing You"
Other Posts RE: BEP: A length The E.N.D. album review, pre-"I Gotta Feeling"s chart reign.
Looking Ahead: "Meet Me Halfway" is shaping up to be another chart scorcher, but I think the record for the Peas has already been established with "Feeling". I'm guessing my fave "Rock That Body" will be considered too close in sound to "Pow" for release in the USA (but it is the single down under -- so jealous), but I'm hearing word that my other fave "Missing You" may get single treatment shortly.

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Clue: The next four in the countdown include a handful of international favorites, as well as two artists who are in desperate need of worldwide attention.

6 comments

Mike said...

Ugh, I hate the peas. Used to like 'em, now I hate 'em.

Paul said...

Viva the Battlefield! It sits almost where it sits on my countdown too! Still a great singalong song!

Ken said...

If it weren't for the video of 'Zero', I would'nt have known The Yeah Yeah Yeahs which I regret if it'd happen. I think I made a bit of a commentary about 'Zero' ages ago on the blog but 'Heads Will Roll' is actually my favourite song from their album. It's just catchy and as you've said, it's overflowing with enough synths and curves to make this a great song.

J.Mensah said...

Really loving Jordin Sparks and the 'Peas. Hm, I wonder if something of Kelly Clarkson will be making your list?

Mel said...

Mike - Yeah, I know. They kind of overstayed their welcome with them being on everyone's radar this year. I've been a fan since the Pre-Fergie days (sort of), but it kind of exploded for me after she joined. But them being everywhere now kind of baffles me.

Paul - Viva indeed! Can't wait to read your list!

Ken - SAME for me. I downloaded "Roll" after seeing "Zero" because I immediately thought of Alice in Wonderland, and the whole song just provokes that imagery for me. :) Such a good track.

J - :) :) As for Kelly, I did like "All I Ever Wanted" (the song), and (surprisingly) the Kacy Perry write "I Do Not Hook Up". But none of them will be on the list. I was NOT infatuated with "Suck" as so many others were. Were you?

Adem With An E said...

mmm, yes please to most of these, in particular your love for the yeah yeah yeahs <3

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