Archive for beats

Best & Worst of 2010, Part 3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2011 by G.K. Reid

Best Singles of 2010
from 10 – 6

 

 

….much-delayed drumroll please…

 


10. Katy Perry – California Gurls

So, Katy Perry is a trifling, cynical dilettante. Snoop Dogg never ever makes any sense.  At all. And Max Martin has made bazillions churning out some of the cheapest-sounding pop music ever to have chirruped and clattered its way through your ears. Nothing – absolutely nothing – about this should have worked. And I’d love to tell you how it does, but I abandoned logic and reason sometime around mid-August last year, as I was submitting myself to the genius of this vacuous romp for the 198th time.

 

9. Hurts – Stay

Essentially an exercise in top-shelf boybandry, with shades of the Georges Boy and Michael in its unabashed earnestness and outsized melancholy, Hurts craft the kind of fastidiously orchestrated, balls-out ballad that tips maudlin, drunken lonelyhearts into oblivion the world over.

 

8. Alex Gardner – I’m Not Mad

Given the current vogue for introspective synthpop, of which this debut single is something of a quiet masterclass, and Gardner’s combination of matinee idol looks and soft, distinctive vocals, it’s curious the Xenomania couldn’t make this kid into more of a “thing”.  Although the amount of callow moodiness he’s asked to project in the video does suggest they overestimated the electro/Twilight crossover market.

 

7. Robyn – Dancing On My Own

Speaking of glum electro, Robyn proved over three sort-of-albums last year that nobody can weep silently into their alcopops quite like her. Not deviating much from her unique MO, Dancing on My Own is another sneak-attack designed to make you slit your wrists right there on the dancefloor, surpassing even With Every Heartbeat in its exquisite misery. Cheer up, Robyn, thing’s will seem much better in the morning. (They won’t)

 

6. Janelle Monae – Tightrope

It’s such a kick that Janelle Monae finally shot for the kind of niche superstardom that she’d long been threatening to, and in such loose, effortless style to boot. And I’d like to particularly thank her for bringing the soft shoe shuffle back onto the pop cultural radar. This had better lead to a craze.

50. ‘Ready for the Floor’ by Hot Chip (2008)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 11, 2010 by G.K. Reid

 Although Kylie Minogue (who, pop legend has it, this song was originally destined for) could have given this the sublime crying-in-the-disco treatment in her sleep, it would have been at the expense of the jaggedness and the idiosyncrasy that make this song (and Hot Chip generally) something to cherish. 

Kylie couldn’t have pulled off the repressed Englishness of the ‘perchance/dance’ rhyme, nor could she have queried ‘Why don’t you open up, we talk?’ with such anxious, geeky tenderness.

And I doubt she would have slapped on half a Joker-face and danced like a five-year-old in the video either.

Bonus points: That having been said, I’d still LOVE to hear a Kylie version.

53. ‘Pop Ya Collar’ by Usher (2000)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 17, 2010 by G.K. Reid

From Usher with love…

Generally speaking, Usher’s persistent claims to self-assured macho coolness never quite ring true.  Probably because he still lives with his mum.  And cos he’s kind of flamin’ (the fact that ‘every week you see [him] hanging out with a different girl’ doesn’t so much reflect his lothario credentials as it does a particularly rigourous beard-screening process).*

Aside from the difficulty I have in believing that people could feel all that envious towards such a patently insecure, mum-loving peacock as Mr. Raymond, there’s also the issue that the message of the song – however well-intended – is essentially the same self-justifying defence employed by the Patrick Bateman-idolising, capitalist cockbags of this world.  (THEY ONLY HATE ME COS I’M A GO-GETTER! IT’S GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING AN AWFUL, AWFUL CUNT!) 

Despite those small caveats, Pop Ya Collar is less an arrogant one-finger salute to da haterzzz, and more about taking pride in being yourself (that spoken-word intro – ‘welcome today to the wonderful world of you!’ – is adorable), with Usher’s soulful, emphatic vocals steering away from the threat of braggadocio.  Most importantly, though, it’s a tightly-executed triumph, replete with handclaps and horn-blasts, and built around that irresistable call-and-response chorus (though when is a call-and-response chorus not irresistible?)

Bonus points: I cannot begin to understand what ‘You have two options: you can eat it or throw it away’ means, but Usher certainly seems confident that he’s hit upon a pretty profound philosophy here. 

*NOT THAT I’M IMPLYING THAT USHER IS A GAY. But if he were – HYPOTHETICALLY – to come out of the closet, he should switch some of the lyrics and re-release this; it’s practically begging to be reinterpreted as a gay pride anthem.

63. ‘LoveStoned/I Think She Knows’ by Justin Timberlake (2007)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 24, 2010 by G.K. Reid

 ‘Doin’ the pigeon… doin’ the pigeon…’ – Bert from Sesame Street taught Justin all he knows

Justin’s such a little prick. I have a continuing love/hate relationship with the ‘jiggling little weasel’ (as Charlie Brooker put it), albeit mostly born out of envy. How come he gets to be handsome, suave, and funny, and dance and sing so impeccably, AND get paid for it too! I have all those qualities, and no-one’s paying me! I blame the lack of pushy stage-school parents (and Mickey Mouse) in my childhood.

Anyway, by the time he got around to releasing his second album, he’d worn my resistance down. But then the leading single was SexyBack! What an embarrassing abomination of a non-song, I thought, no-one is gonna buy this! And I realised that part of me still flickered with dark pleasure at the prospect of Justin falling flat on his over-achieving ass. Of course, SexyBack then went on to be his biggest-selling single yet and apparently adored by most of the Western world. But still, success isn’t everything. At least, in my heart, I knew that Justin had gone rubbish.

And then he releases this freaking song! This bloody beatboxing, violin-laden, fucking bongo-thon that proves to be as addictive as crack. And not only do I think that his voice has never sounded better than on this track… he now also PLAYS THE GUITAR??? And as much as I can cynically sneer that he only really plays guitar in the same way that Madonna plays the guitar, seeing as the song actually feels compelled to point out that he can now play the guitar… still, that’s more than I can play the freaking guitar.

And he doesn’t even have the decency to at least be an execrable actor. He was good in Black Snake Moan, and was a highlight in the unruly madness of Southland Tales.

So, you win, Justin. You little prick.

Bonus points:  Apparently Justin can do the music video equivalent of a Windows screensaver, and still bust moves that lead me to injure myself while trying to replicate them in the shower. (NB: don’t try that at home, kids)

76. ‘The Way I Are’ by Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson, D.O.E. & Sebastian (2007)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 12, 2010 by G.K. Reid

He ain’t got no Visa, love, I wouldn’t bother.

Timbaland is quite clearly the best thing to happen to music since Elvis. Ok, maybe not, but there’s no arguing with his achievements, and it was good to see him step out of the shadows last decade (not least because he has a lovely face and can’t go 10 seconds without doing that hilarious bug-eyes thing). Of course, he does himself no favours by apparently working with anyone who asks him. Maybe he has self-esteem issues, I dunno. But whatever it is… JUST SAY NO, TIMBO! Say no to Ashlee Simpson, say no to Duran Duran, say no to Chris Cornell!

Anyway, despite this song giving Keri Hilson a platform for a career (her vocals on this are fine, but she really should have known her limits), this is Timbo bringing his best propulsive beats, a rather touching advocation of love-over-money, and two flat-out hilarious raps by those two guys I’ve never heard of.

Bonus points: Thing is, Timbo HAS money. Need I remind you, he gets half a mil’ for his beats. You only get a couple gra-a-and.

 

78. ‘Wearing My Rolex’ by Wiley (2008)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 12, 2010 by G.K. Reid

 Give him back his watch!!

Verbalising why this song is so good seems like rather a redundant exercise. Just listen to it, and have a drink, a dance and a bubble.

Bonus points: The video is either a work of subversive genius or kinda misogynistic. I choose the former.

82. ‘Jumpin’ Jumpin” by Destiny’s Child (2000)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 12, 2010 by G.K. Reid

 

Three of these people might as well be dead. In fact, for all I know, two of them are.

This marks Destiny’s Child’s only entry in my top 101, which is odd because they’re clearly one of the most almighty singles bands of the last decade (and beyond).  I guess it’s because hits like my chosen number, ‘Bootylicious’, ‘Independent Women’, ‘Survivor’, ‘Say My Name’, and ‘Lose My Breath’ all more or less cover the same aesthetic and thematic ground, so it’s almost gratuitous to include more than one. 

My fondness for those aforementioned stonkers vacillates, however, whereas my regard for ‘Jumpin’ Jumpin’ has been consistently high.  This is despite (or because of?) the flagrantly dubious morality on display, as Beyonce essentially advises everyone to cheat on everyone with everyone else.  She doesn’t half make a compelling case though, aided by the thrillingly staccato arrangement and that pulsating drive to the chorus. She really does love this club quite a lot.

Bonus points: ‘I ain’t thinking ’bout my man at night’ / ‘I ain’t worried ’bout ma guhl, a’ight?’