Monday, December 14, 2009

Top 2(00)9 of 2009: #25-#22

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! :) Moving on to Part 2...

#25. Blake Lewis - Heartbreak on Vinyl
From the Album: Heartbreak On Vinyl (2009)
Listen to the Song: here

Alone with several of my blogging cohorts in crime, I was anxiously awaiting Blake's followup record to the unbeatable A.D.D. (Audio Day Dream). While I was a bit let down with the overall release, several of the cuts had me spinning them over and over again, the most of all being the title track. It's an aching ode to how the music world used to be, with the lyrics oozing nostaglic sentiment over a swizzling swirling synthing backdrop. If anything, it shows that Blake is more than aware that he is beginning to run with the underground circles, far under the radar of his former 'American Idol'-embracing demographic (Heartbreak On Vinyl debuted on the Billboard 200 in the 130 range. Ridiculous.). While that may irritate us, it seems to suit Blake just fine, for now at least. He proves himself not just as an artistic talent, but as a lyricist as well, and proves he doesn't need a major label (or Simon Cowell, for that matter) to make an impact in a cluttered pop music landscape.

Best Part: The stutter "oh oh"s in the intro, the background, and of course, the entire chorus, especially "'Heartbreak On Vinyl' was for people like us, to fall in love in analog and never let go."
Other Songs of Note: "Sad Song", "Love or Torture (Please Don't Stop)"
Other Posts RE: Blake: Heartbreak On Vinyl album review
Looking Ahead: Word on the street is "Heartbreak" will be the second single, hitting clubs in early 2010.


#24. David Guetta - When Love Takes Over (feat. Kelly Rowland)
From the Album: One Love (2009)
Watch the Video: here

2009 was a year for the books for French DJ David Guetta, who finally began to make a dent in the American pop music landscape (about a million years overdue!). He produced the worldwide smash that was the Black Eye Peas' multi-month #1 "I Gotta Feeling", and released his fourth studio album One Love, that spawned his first true American radio hit, "Sexy Bitch/Chick", featuring Akon. However, the song I instantly and head-over-heels fell for was the first single from the One Love project, "When Love Takes Over", featuring former Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland. The song was a global #1, but for whatever reason, American just didn't get it, commercially at least (all the more reason to move to London! Hurrah!). If anything, it showcased the criminally underappreciated Rowland, whose vocals literally soar and make you start to wonder why so many people automatically paid attention to that other original DC member from go. Guetta himself described Kelly as having a Whitney Houston kind of vibe to her during studio sessions, and their comraderie led to two more tracks featuring Rowland to appear on One Love.

Best Part: The piano backdrop, "Can't you see me here on overload? This time I blame you", and do you even have to ask? The "When love takes overrrrr...yeah-ee-ehh" bits.
Other Songs of Note: "One Love" (feat. Estelle), "Sexy Bitch" (feat. Akon), "It's The Way You Love Me" (feat. Kelly Rowland), "Choose" (feat. Kelly Rowland & Ne-Yo)
Looking Ahead: Who else is hoping Rowland and Guetta's chemistry translate to a dance-y third solo effort for Kelly?

#23. AR Rahman & Co. - Jai Ho
From the Album: Slumdog Millionaire (soundtrack) (2009)
Listen to the Song: here (or watch the video for the Pussycat Dolls version here)

The quintessential soundtrack piece to one of the year's biggest films (yes, I realize it was officially released in 2008, but it didn't see full release in the USA till early 2009, so it counts, darnit!). While I do give the PCD girls an E for Effort with their English version (mispronouncaions withstanding -- although of all the artists to get to record an English version, the Pussycat Dolls? Really, Ron Fair? Really?), nothing beats the original Hindi version. It's really a perfect compliment to the moving film, so its no small wonder that it the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It's one of those songs that doesn't need an English translation to fully convey its meaning and impact. And it immediately made me smile, and dance in my seat as I wiped away happy tears upon the film's finale. What a film, and what an incredible song!

Best Part: Those rumbly (and real!) drums, the overall Indian rhythm and structure and that inescapable "Jai Ho!".
Other Songs of Note: related and completely amazing --> M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes"
Looking Ahead: Rahman has officially joined my lengthy list of composers to watch.


#22. Jason DeRulo - Whatcha Say
From the Album: TBA (2010)
Watch the Video: here

Yeah, I know. I may have been leary in the past. I'm still not over the fact that Imogen Heap is not getting her proper due (awareness-wise) for her completely copy-and-pasted chorus (surely they could have given her a 'featuring' tag, no?). And unless DeRulo, J.R. Rotem and the Co. at Beluga Heights don't get it in gear while the iron is still hot, he may be one of 2009's biggest one-hit-wonders. I have my fingers crossed for DeRulo, however, as he clearly has an intersting musical taste to be sampling Heap in the first place. Arguably, there isn't too much unique about the lyrics of this cut (in fact, the sheer fact that DeRulo's main negotiation tactic with his girlfriend that he is admittedly cheating on is that he will one day become famous and "do everything" for her is more that a little bit lame), credit is given where it is due, and this song did somehow manage to climb to the pole position of the Hot 100. It is its sheer catchiness that put it on this list (plus Heap's chorus, but that goes without saying). It was the kind of song I geniunely did not want to like on some kind of arrogant music snob principal, yet I kept hitting 'replay' (bad joke? Yes, no?). Too bad all I can picture in my head is Bill Hader, Andy Samberg and Shia LaBeouf pretending to shoot each other. Sigh. I watch too much 'Saturday Night Live'.

Best Part: The intro stutter complete with "J-J-J-J-J.R." and "Jay-sonn Da-Ruloooo" and Imogen's chorus, accented by the "wha wha wha wha What did she say?" While I usually dig J.R.'s more poppy productions, I gotta give it to him for this one.
Other Songs of Note: ??
Other Posts RE: Jason: Ranting about Imogen's lack of 'featured' credit here.
Looking Ahead: He's currently opening for Ms. Lady Gaga, while putting the finishing touches on his debut, slated for an early 2010 release. While I may not be super psyched for the full record, I am for a supposed The Verve sampled song.


Clue: The next four on the countdown include arguably the biggest group of the year, two "indie" sensations and an American sweetheart...


rcLoy said...

I still don't get why When Loves Takes Over ain't that big in US too, her vocal is just sexyyy. It's a better song than Sexy Bitch, the lyric of that 2nd single is just dumb but still catchy nonetheless =)

After a while, now only I get the Jason Derulo song. Don't really care much about the lyrics but the melody is nice. I'm thinking the same thing too, another 1 hit wonder after Billboard released their One Hit Wonders chart. Poor Daniel Powter.

Oh, great list btw! X) Can't wait to read the rest!

Ken said...

I don't know why but I've lost track of Blake Lewis. I kind of loved his debut material but after hearing 'Heartbreak On Vinyl', I'm like okay with it but not playing it tremendously.

Guetta. He's the new Dance god. I have to admit, 'When Love Takes Over' is one of my really admired songs this year although it kind of gets overplayed in my playlist and I seem to forget about it.

Jai. HO. Epic Fail but I love Slumdog Millionare. :)

Jason Derulo. I want him to be big. I think he's a nice addition to the so long roster of male R&B singers. But I think he has an edge and he makes great tunes ain't he?


Myfizzypop said...

Blake Lewis' title track also features in my countdown. In fact the only reason it still isn't on my chart is that I started playing I Left My Baby For You an awful lot last week. Even though I didn't leave me baby for you. But it's a nice song!

Mel said...

RcLoy - RE: WLTO -- you and me both! I adore it so much more than Sexy Bitch (although that's catchy too) and it feels so much more in terms of quality. SMH. As for DeRulo -- I'm hoping he comes up with something else, otherwise he is serious jeopardy. Haha.

Ken - Yeah, I was a bit let down with the album too. But there are some quality tunes on there. Try "Love Or Torture". You might like it. I do. :) 'Jai Ho' did surprisingly well here for not being in English. I believe it did better long term than PCD's English cut.

Paul - I'm warming up to that one, but I still prefer "Love Or Torture" for a followup. :)

J.Mensah said...

25: I was really excited about Blake's second release, but when the time came it just went over my head, but this is pretty good.

24: I was in love with this when it first came out. The whole piano backdrop reminds me of Coldplay's Clocks

23: I tired to hate this but the chorus is irresistable


Clue? America's Sweetheart: Taylor Swift again? I was thinking Britney Spears but... Ooh! Miley Cyrus?

Mel said...

J - It does sound like "Clocks" doesn't it? I didn't think that at first but people keep saying it so I'm starting to hear it now. That's one of the few things I can play on the piano. Haha. Good guesses...None are right though. Not for the next one anyhow. ;)


Yay! I love this time of year for this reason alone. I always run into the dilemma of whether I should just do a best albums versus best singles list because usually there's crossover and it's redundant.

look forward to the rest of the list!


Yuяi said...

Great blog you have here! We have some overlap in our countdowns...awesome! Blake appears a bit higher (or lower numerically) but it's great to see some Blake love across da blogs! David Guetta/Kelly Ro too.

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