Friday, December 25, 2009

Top 2(00)9 of 2009: #3-#1

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! :) Drumroll, please.

#3. Sugababes - About A Girl
From the Album: Sweet Seven (2010)
Hear Keisha's Version: here
Watch the Video with Jade: here

You don't know about a girl
I'll take over the world
And we're gonna party like whoa-oh-oh
You don't know about a girl
The meaning of the word
And we're gonna party like whoa-oh-oh

While some attribute Keisha Buchanan's final contribution to the epic pop catalog of the Sugababes as the equally dancey "Get Sexy" (and as much as I loved said song), there is no question that "About A Girl" is the better of the two tracks. The RedOne stunner was slated to be group's big crossover single to America (despite being "together" since 1998), complete with ink drying on a deal with Jay-Z's Roc-a-Fella label and lyrical references to "apple pie", "stars and stripes", "international" and "ya'll" abounding. It sounded very RedOne, but at the same time, somewhat fresh and organically 'Babes. Then the ish hit the fan, and before you could say "Push the Button", Keisha is booted from the group without any true explanation and newbie Jade Ewen stands alongside the other two alternates (Amelle Berrabah and Heidi Range), making the Sugababes as they started out completely moot (not to be confused with Mutya Buena -- my true fave of all now six 'Babes. Perhaps I should have quit while I was ahead?). Never have I ever encountered something such as this in my pop listening -- in which a group continues to release and record new music without any of its original members still existing. My angry feelings aside, Keisha's version of the single remains to be one of my fave Sugababes tracks of all time, if for the borderline nonsensical hook repetition of "oh oh ahh-ee-ahh oh oh ha-yay-oh". It's catchy pop at its finest, even if hearing it now is more than a little bittersweet. My fanship with "Sugababes" 4.0 may be still undecided (but leaning toward hell to the eff no), but I will always have a place in my heart for this song, and the excitement it brought me when I first heard it.

Best Part: The RedOne intro ("RedOne..Sugababes!"), the semi-pandering American lyric references, the kind of makes-no-sense chorus, and those synths/horns/stomping backing noise.
Other Songs of Note: "Get Sexy", and anything on Sweet Seven that included Keisha (bitter much?).
Other Posts RE: Sugababes: Excitement when news first broke of an American release, gushy-ness over "Get Sexy", and it all being pulled out from under me when I heard the news.
Looking Ahead: The "Sugababes" are looking at a late 1st Quarter release of Sweet Seven (yes, they are keeping the name despite the fact that it is the seventh album effort for none of them), but Keisha is getting the last laugh. She is working on a solo record (potentially with features from the original Sugababe members...but we probably shouldn't hold our breath with that), while 4.0 begins to see their "well-earned" success stumble a bit in the UK charts. Should they breakthrough in America now, I think I might take a day off from work to mourn.


#2. Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
From the Album: The Fame Monster (2009)
Watch the Video: here

Ga-Ga, ooh-la-la
Wants your bad romance! 

I want your love and I want your revenge

You and me could write a bad romance

Anyway you slice or dice it, this was Lady Gaga's year. She broke through in the biggest of ways, earned herself notoriety, respect, #1's to rival the divas of the past few decades, and pushed boundaries both visually and lyrically that pop music hasn't seen in quite sometime. Using her influences in David Bowie, Kylie Minogue, Depeche Mode and countless others who arguably don't get the homage they deserve in contemporary music, Gaga has made herself a household name. Whether you know her/love her/hate her thanks to her crazy fashion sense, her penchant for shocking performances that border on publicity stunts, or for what's at the heart of it all -- her music --, it makes no matter to me. I am a Gaga fan through and through, since I first heard The Fame back in the early fall of 2008. "Bad Romance" caps off her stellar year, and gives her her highest debut on the Hot 100, at #9. It's been nipping at the heels of the #1 spot ever since. While sonically the song sounds a bit like her other RedOne-produced staples, "Bad Romance" takes it to a whole other level in terms of lyrical content, and the video depicts the selling of sex in show business. Ever since "Just Dance" gained acceptance at radio, Gaga has grabbed hold of her awestruck public and refuses to let go, revealing another layer of her creativity and slightly off kilter-ness with each single. While it may not be best song on The Fame Monster, it is certainly proof positive that Lady Gaga is both everything you'd expect and everything you wouldn't. So long as she keeps bringing the thrills, I'll be there to watch.

Best Part: The "Ra Ra" bits, "I want your leather-studded kiss in the sand", "I want your psycho, your 'Vertigo' schtick", "I'm a freak bitch, baby", the random bits in French and that passionate "Want your Bad Ro-mance!"
Other Songs of Note: Grab your copy of The Fame Monster. Press play. There you go.
Other Posts RE: Lady Gaga: A lengthy lovefest for Fame Monster is here.
Looking Ahead: "Telephone" with Beyonce is already on prep for single #2 off Monster (and is getting serious airplay least it is at all the stations I've listened in on). Several of the other seven tracks on Monster are already gaining airplay in the UK. Looks like Gaga is not recinding her reign in 2010 anytime soon.


#1. V Factory - Love Struck
From the Album: TBA (2010)
Watch the Video: here

I'm craving for you, and just like a fool
There's noway I can stop, stop, stop my desire
I'm craving for you, and you know it, too
There's no one that can top, top, top your smile
(Girl, you got me) Love Struck
(You got me) Love Struck
(Girl, you got me) Love Struck
Oh-oh, Oh-oh 

As desperately as I wanted 2009 to be the Return to Prominence for worthy boy bands, the fates were not on my side. NLT decided it was "time we let go", as did the Menudo revamp, leading the way for "super"-boyband One Call. Varsity Fanclub struggled with album push-backs until they were dropped from their label altogether they went into hiding to revamp under new management with fresh tunes (Thanks, Capitol!). Our one shining light of hope for this seemingly hopeless campaign was the five pretty boys in V Factory, who dropped their official first single, "Love Struck" back in February. While the song immediately saw an obscene amount of plays on my end, as well as in clubs around the country, it simply wasn't enough to give it momentum to chart on the Hot 100. Disappointing doesn't even begin to cover it. This song screams early 00's boy band nostaglia with a '09 electro-pop twist, with production by Twin and writing (as well as some backing vocals by) Swedish adora-babe and generally amazing Darin. Truthfully, I feel their marketing campaign was what failed them, as few outside of the fangirl community (holla!) knew or cared to know much about these boys. While the song went to radio in January, it went to iTunes in February -- but the video didn't drop till May, and wasn't released in the UK until September. Interest started to re-accumulate stateside with the theatre release of Fame, which co-starred V Factory's resident heartthrob and lead vocalist Asher Book. A second single, the bouncy "Get Up", which is a collabo feature with Asher's Fame co-star (and former member of 3LW) Naturi Naughton, has fizzled, but it appears the song is probably being saved for another radio run in 2010. Fingers crossed for these boys. I am starting to realize that no one may be able to duplicate the happy times I had with *NSYNC, but I am firm in my resolve that if America needs anything to pull us out of this recession, it's feel-good Swedish pop by attractive young men dancing in formation.You can quote me on that.

Best Part: The attitude soaked "Love Struck" and "Yeah", the nostalgia, the Timbaland-esque callback of "Girl, you got me", and of course, the "Girl, I really wanna get that, get that/Rush and no doubt about it".
Other Songs of Note: "Round and Round", "She Bad", "Get Up"
Other Posts RE: V Factory: A look at the video here, and a 'Battle of the BoyBands' post versus RIP group NLT.
Looking Ahead: If no album ends up materializing, I will be forced to mourn two perfectly good boy bands, and may have to go on a literal killing spree. Yes, really.


And that's all, folks! Hope you enjoyed it -- here's to lots more good pop in 2010!


Nikki said...

'About a Girl' has grown on me. I still don't really REALLY like it but it's OK.

I should've known V Factory are on top of your list this year. Hahah. LOVE the song.

John said...

Way to finish it off on a positive note! Two of your top three are in my countdown, and the third almost made it. Here's to another year of great music!

Ken said...

Didn't expect that V Factory took over GaGa at #1 but nonetheless, that song is awesome! I just love it!

#2 and #3 are good enough. I just don't know why some people hate 'About A Girl'. Dammit. Haha.


rcLoy said...

My bro mistaken the Sugababes track for a Gaga track, I guess that ain't a bad thing after all. LOL.

In my own lil' world, Bad Romance is definitely my #1 song for being so ridiculously AMAZING, so is the rest of The Fame Monster. What a Gaga Love fest here! Haha

I forgot how much I love Love Struck, great addictive boyband pop!

What a great list! =)

Linus said...

I'm right there with you on "About a Girl"! Don't really know what to make of the new lineup, but damn that song is near perfection!

I'd love to see you do a list of the best pop songs of the '90s! Or late '90s.

Capitol said...

Hi, saw your peice on boybands and I too agree. But you've got the whole Varsity thing wrong. they weren't dropped from their label. They are in the midst of breaking their contract to get away from their previous managers (stonehall entertainment) for reasons undiscussed. They are now with Arthur Spivak and will immense on a tour shortly and their album is in the end stages of being produced. The reason the old album wasn't released is a combination of 2 reasons. 1. The oLd managment weren't running things right and 2. Every one of the songs on the album got leaked. Hope this helps.

J.Mensah said...

I've enjoyed reading your list! What a solid top 5... I mean 6 lol.

I didn't want to like the Sugababes "About a Girl" because of the whole drama but I couln't resist, it's a really cool song, I don't have it on my ipod though--I think I'll wait til the albums out. Bad Romance obvious modern day classic!

Congrats on this being your first year wear you've blogged every month. :)

Mike said...

such a fangirl #1 :P

Mel said...

Nikki - Hahahahaha. I told you it was painfully obvious. I'm so transparent. Haha. ;)

John - Yayayay!

Ken - Haha - I try to trick people...not really but I feel better about my fangirl-ness when I say that. ;) Thanks so much hun! And Happy Early New Year to you too!

Loy - Understandable - considering they are both Red One and have nonsensical bits. ;) Haha. I think Gaga is pretty agreed upon as having a stellar year, whether you adore her like we do or not. ;)

Linus - I feel the same way! I'm trying hard not to judge the new girls but now its so blatantly obvious of the animosity between the group - that it's not about music, it's about preserving a brand. I suppose it was like that from go, and they are hardly the only ones but still...sigh. Thanks so much! I'd love to tackle something in that regard - so much 90's music is what I grew up on. We shall see! Thanks for the ideas!

Capitol - Mmm, must have gotten my sources crossed! Thanks for the clarification. I was really looking forward to how things would pan out for them...hopefully things will shake out better in 2010! :) In this day and age, it's all about marketing and positioning -- I'm hoping they are in better hands now!

J - Ha! I've never thought about it that way, but you are right. Hurray for commitment! :) Happy New Year to you as well!

Mike - Oh, don't I know it. But darn it, it's my list. :P hahahah

Mike said...

I think "Bad Romance" is gonna be on everyone's list!

I quit the 'Babes when Keisha was booted, so I'm too bitter to like "About A Girl".

V Factory for #1? I've never heard of them before now. Just checked out the song and I really like it. I just want to know why they're dancing in a dark garage!

Mel said...

Mike - Yeah, me too. I'm fearing the worst for the "Babes" latest release. For the love of God, change the title if you're gonna keep the bandname you don't deserve. Haha. As for V Factory -- yayyys I've converted another! ;) The garage is a legit question though...I guess it gives them edge? House parties? Haha.

Adem With An E said...

Ahhh, About A Girl holds such a special place in my heart; the Keisha version as you've said yourself though being the prime version.

Love your Number 2 ;) ACE list.

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