It’s my birthday today which means I can do whatever I want. Look it up, it’s the Law. Keeping within the rules of law, I’ve decided to extend my look back at the year that was, 2009 if you don’t remember. Since we’ve already focused on the best albums, let’s focus on single tracks, specifically those not on the best albums. That would be redundant.
Song of the Year: “Gangsta Luv” by Snoop Dogg featuring The-Dream
The-Dream’s hook and chorus on this track is straight butter. I want to build a house there for parties and get togethers. This song isn’t really gangsta at all, except for when Snoop comments on “the butt”. Another impressive addition to the Tricky Stewart/The-Dream production resume (“Single Ladies”, “Umbrella”), “Gangsta Luv” is the sort of party anthem I live for. For additional party jamming, see The-Dream’s “Rocking That Shit“.
Bait and Switch of the Year: “Die Slow” by HEALTH
“Die Slow” was the first single of Get Color, HEALTH’s second record. The band had just come off a stint opening for Nine Inch Nails and the tease before release was that HEALTH were getting ready to go big. “Die Slow” appeared to make these rumors truth with a wicked riff that was almost catchy. Also, it was fucking awesome. It still thrashed like HEALTH is known to, but it sounded like a Song. Cut to the release of Get Color last September, and we’re greeted by the accompanying tracks of noise and thrashing, but not much in the area of songs. While the rest of the record sank, “Die Slow” still rocked faces.
Dance Track to Make Your Floor Ignite: “Beep My Beep” by Addeboy vs Cliff
The stylistic decision to use intentional censoring to make something dirtier is nothing new. Addeboy and Cliff use the bleeps at the chorus to make the song as sick as you want it to be, while also providing the most energetic dance beats of the year. As a stunt it works perfectly and it can never be done again, but at least someone did it right.
Too Catchy to Deny: “I Could Break Your Heart Any Day of the Week” by Mandy Moore
I listened to this song over and over again. For a few weeks I couldn’t get enough of it. The simple keyboard line, Moore’s sorta angry delivery, it hit all my sweet spots. I also like how it sounds like a weird unplugged version of your standard pop song, but not overproduced to hell. Sorry Lady Gaga.
Shoulda Been a Hit: “Why R U” by Amerie
Amerie’s last record, Because I Love It never received a stateside release, unfortunate for a such a good album. “Why R U” signaled Amerie’s proper return to U.S. store shelves and had all the gusto and sass that made her last record such a favorite. That it didn’t catch on with the larger listening public is both a mystery and a shame.
Dude Can Write A Hook: “Ready For The Weekend” by Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris is a better producer than he is a singer and performer. His hazy line readings never appear very sincere, and when he does try to emote it can be pretty embarrassing. But this guy and beats? Gedouttahere. “Ready For The Weekend” starts with a plinky piano line and the expected Harris lumpy lyrics before exploding in its chorus. Really, it reminds me of that really good Freemason’s album from a few years back that was just gay anthems for 12 songs in a row. Calvin’s song isn’t that “to the windows/to the walls” but maybe in a couple years. I just read on Twitter he wrote a song with Kylie and Jake Shears. Kid is on the right track.
Forever The Kings: “Raindrops” by Basement Jaxx
So Scars wasn’t exactly a return to form, we still got “Raindrops” out of the deal. Basement Jaxx are responsible for some of the most jawdropping dance tracks of my lifetime(“Good Luck”, “Romeo”, “Lucky Star”, “Plug It In”) and “Raindrops” is another worthy addition to the canon. All of Basement Jaxx’s best tracks contain some sort of flip your wig moment, usually at the chorus, but with these guys you never know. “Raindrops” goes euphoric for its big moment and never comes back down.
Michelangelo Matos recently penned a list of Ten Unfortunate Developments of the ’00s. One of those developments was white R. Kelly fans who found Mr. Kelly as more of a source for ironic amusement than actually liking him for his music. I guess I’m one of those people, but looking over his discography I’m not really sure there is any other way to listen to him. Dude is crazy and it is hilarious. I’ve heard “regular” contemporary r&b. Boring. But I’ll listen to anything R. Kelly does at least once, because it might be a song that also doubles as voicemail message. Or a song about doing two chicks at the same time. In the case of “Echo”, Kells yodels and makes it sound like the most natural thing in the world, while on “Pregnant” he opens the song with the line “Girl you make me wanna get you pregnant”. Love it. That Kelly then invites a couple other crooners on to also opine on getting someone pregnant just ups the crazy hilarity. If liking crazy R. Kelly is a crime then send me to jail.
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: “Kiss of Life” by Friendly Fires
Friendly Fires had the best album of 2008. True story, you can look it up. This track just proves that album was no fluke, and that not only will Friendly Fires continue to bring it, but they’ll bring it while doing something new.
Anthem of a Generation: “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” by Das Racist & Wallpaper
Stupid catchy. Catchy and stupid. I think someone somewhere described this song as the Sideshow Bob Rake Sequence but in song form. Perfect.
Two Great Tastes Taste Great Together: “Anyway” by Duck Sauce
Armand Van Helden and A-Trak got together to make some tracks. This was the first one out the gate. These guys need to hang out all the time. Which according to A-Trak’s Twitter account they actually do. When my friends and I hang out we just bullshit and watch movies.
Comeback of the Year: “I Know I’m A King” – Lo Fidelity Allstars
Nobody really noticed but Lo Fidelity Allstars came back with a really good album last year. “I Know I’m A King” is Lo Fi at their funky best and it would be a shame if I were the only one who heard it.