Jameson's Top Five "Top 40" Tracks of 2009

Even though I have all kinds of year-end/decade-end lists that I want to write with great fervor, I have for some reason been caught up in serious amounts of radio pop songs (i.e. Top 40) at the end of this year. That being said, I figured it would be fun to throw out my top five "Top 40" tracks of 2009. I must admit, I don't listen to a whole lot of radio, so the population from which these songs were selected was pretty limited. In other words, omissions are likely. For all of you who think I am a music elitist, blowhard...you may be right...but I can still enjoy a damn good pop song as much as the next guy.

5. "Use Somebody" - Kings of Leon
This was basically the pop radio rock and roll song of the year. I first saw the "on the road montage" video for "Use Somebody" as I sat in a hotel by myself in Hopkinsville, KY while travelling for work, and while my work/travel life is in no way relatable to the Kings of Leon's, the video still felt really poignant. Plus its practically impossible not to sing the "Whoa Ohh" parts of the chorus.

4. "Run This Town" - Jay-Z (featuring Kanye West and Rihanna)
Without even hearing this song, and just looking at the lineup, it was clear that it would be stone cold radio jam. Jay-Z may have softened a little in his old age, but Rihanna and Kanye are still rolling, and they sound as strong as ever on "Run This Town". It has been speculated that Kanye blows Jigga off the stage on this one, and that's probably a fair statement. I mean nothing Jay says comes close to "What you think I rap for, to push a fuckin' Rav4?"

3. "You Belong With Me" - Taylor Swift
I don't care who you are, if you have not at least heard of Taylor Swift you are living under a rock. 2009 was the year Taylor Swift went from being a rising pop country star to being a legitimate pop music superstar. With "You Belong With Me" serving as her magnum opus it is no surprise. I guarantee you that every single girl/woman between the ages of 14 and 30 hears this song and immediately says "This is completely my life." That is great pop songwriting ladies and gentlemen; universal appeal.

2. "Bad Romance" - Lady GaGa
I have to admit, I had not heard one Lady GaGa song until November of this year. However, after hearing "Bad Romance" recently on a television show, I was enthralled. Honestly, Lady GaGa is some kind of freak (in every form of the word). However, I will be damned if "Bad Romance" does not sound as good as anything Madonna ever released. Just listen to the pipes on this chick. It is completely bizarre, but there are hooks everywhere and the chorus soars over top of anything I have heard on the radio in a long time. I know that underage college kids are liquor drunk somewhere dancing to this song. As they should be.

1. "Empire State of Mind" - Jay-Z (featuring Alicia Keys)
Jay-Z making yet another appearance on the list. However, similar to "Run This Town", Mr. Carter is outdone again by his guest star. Alicia Keys absolutely owns this song. Don't get me wrong, Jay has some pretty badass lines here (see: "MDMA got you feelin' like a champion, the city never sleeps, better slip you an Ambien"), but no one could live up to Ms. Keys' performance. People who hear it the first time are belting out that chorus by the second time it comes around. I read a review of the track on pitchfork that said it pretty well "...then Alicia Keys' elemental voice blows in on the chorus, and suddenly, we are all holding hands together and singing along on top of the Empire State Building." I have never been to New York City, but if it is half as inspiring as Keys makes it feel on "Empire State of Mind", then I am not sure the American Dream is dead just yet.


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Luke's 100 Favorite Songs of the Decade: 100 - 90

In the first part of this 10 part series, I present to you, my humble reader (and listener), the songs which were the most difficult to choose. The top choices for any list are usually the easiest (sometimes seeding can become difficult, but the choices are the most obvious); it's the final few spots that require excrutiating mental debating and rough decision making.

These 10 songs battled it out with a host of possible contenders, including The Crescent - Spinning Wheels, Alaska! - The Western Shore, Forever Stranger - Goodbye Lonely, Earlimart - We're So Happy (We Left the Piano in the Trunk), and Paik - Orson Fader and came out on top.

To be honest, the reasons are unclear even to me why these songs were chosen... I went with emotional response above all else, leaving very little room to attempt to properly explain myself.

The two rules in effect for this list:
1.) No more than two songs per artist and only a second song if it is absolutely necessary.
2.) The song has to be my favorite... not what I think is necessarily the best song by an artist.

Regardless, let the listing begin:

100: La Roux - I'm Not Your Toy

She scares me and yet I cannot look away... the synth sickens me because of its sheer ridiculous nature, but I cannot help but dance.

99: Arctic Monkeys - Fake Tales of San Francisco

I was among those who initially dismissed the Monkeys as nothing more than hype, but they won me over with their charms, mostly because of this song.

98: Yeti - Never Lose Your Sense of Wonder

Take the bassist from the Libertines, let him play guitar, let him sing, and what do you get? A song better than any of the hyped up bullshit that The Libertines ever put out.

97: Mando Diao - The Band

Perhaps it's because, even in recordings, they sound like a locomotive barreling off of the side of a cliff at full speed, or perhaps it's because when Bjorn Dixgard sings he sound like Paul McCartney, but either way, Mando Diao are just fun to listen to.

96: Dr. Dog - Say Something

Thanks to Al for the initial scoop on Dr. Dog, as well as this song. Pure '60s bliss.

95: Oasis - Falling Down

Check out my review of this album to see me get dramatic and over the top about this song. You can't blame me, though. Oasis makes me emotional.

94: Of Montreal - Eros' Entropic Tundra

Simple and catchy as hell. Those who frequent this blog know my predilection for good pop-rock and this is about as good as it gets.

93: Brakes (aka Brakes!Brakes!Brakes!) - All Night Disco Party

It's stupid, simple, and sung in two languages. Plus it's the the Electric Soft Parade boys' side project. What's not to like?

92: My Morning Jacket - One Big Holiday

MMJ at their rocking best. I usually prefer their very early recordings, particularly those featuring Jim James simply howling the blues in a silo, but this just rocks one's face off.

91: The Basement - Do You Think You're Moving On?

Scruffy irish lads with an ear for a catchy 'chune'. You've got to appreciate a gritty, snarling voice.


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