The Top Ten of the Bottom Half:#60: “DYNAMITE” by TAIO CRUZ.
Every time I hear a Taio Cruz song, I feel like I’ve just looked into the eyes of the Borg. Resistance – violent resistance even – may be the thinking person’s natural reaction to a song like this. But against Taio Cruz, resistance truly is futile. Just give in already. Don’t make this harder on yourself than it needs to be. Ayo. Time to let go.
#59: “HERE LIES LOVE” by DAVID BYRNE & FATBOY SLIM featuring FLORENCE WELCH.
That would be the Florence of Florence + the Machine, singing the glorious title song of David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s glorious song cycle on the life of Imelda Marcos, the Phillipines’ own Evita. The title is taken from Imelda Marcos’s epitaph. The album features an impressive roster of women (and Steve Earle) singing one or two songs each, portraying different characters and different aspects and ages of Imelda on her journey from simple country girl with a dream to the world’s most famous shoe collector. Incidentally, David Byrne went out of his way not to make any references to the famous shoe collection in any of the album’s two dozen songs.
#58: “JUST THE WAY YOU ARE” by BRUNO MARS.
I see me drivin’ round town with this song I love, and I’m like, f*ck yeah. Any current R&B or pop artist who can count The Students and The Flamingos among his influences is all right in my book. The fact that Bruno Mars has a sweet face, a sweet voice, an awesome 50s hairdo, and a weakness for singalong melodies just makes me love him that much more (and hope that Las Vegas cocaine possession thing really was just a one time bit of nouveau-pop-star hooliganism).
#57. “HANDS TIED” by TONI BRAXTON.
My favorite Toni Braxton ballad since “Un-break My Heart”. Unfortunately, the rest of her latest album “Pulse” is pretty weak.
#56: “SMOKE A LITTLE SMOKE” by ERIC CHURCH.
In which the rising country star confronts one of life’s greatest dilemmas. Namely: “Go, get her back” vs. “Find my stash”. I think Eric’s vote goes to stash-finding.
#55: “CLUB CAN’T HANDLE ME” by FLO RIDA featuring DAVID GUETTA.
I think that right now Flo Rida is the leading manufacturer of three minute guilty pleasures. I hate – HATE – that I love his music. But the joy in this song is absolutely relentless. I should never listen to this in the car. When he says “Put your hands up!”, I feel this automatic need to comply. It’s, like, the law.
#54: “CARRY OUT” by TIMBALAND featuring JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE.
“Do you like it well done ’cause I do it well…” You may want to check the nutrition facts on this one. It has a dangerously high double-entrendre-per-second count.
#53: “SECRETS” by ONEREPUBLIC.
From Timbaland to Timbaland’s apprentice, OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder. For as “everywhere” as his songs are, Ryan Tedder should really be a bigger star in his own right. Still, it’s nice to know that an actual band that plays actual instruments and stuff still has a place on Top 40 radio. Not to mention movie soundtracks and TV commercials.
#52: “RAISE YOUR GLASS” by P!NK.
Oh my gosh. Seriously. Where was P-exclamation point-nk 20 years ago when I needed her most? Back when I was a loud, nitty-gritty, dirty little freak who was too school for cool? This little manifesto comes from P!NK’s just-released greatest hits album. And really, 10 years ago when you first heard “There You Go”, did you think that this was an artist you’d still be caring about in 2010?
#51: “HEAVEN AND EARTH” by BLITZEN TRAPPER.
My favorite version of this song is the one where I’m listening to it in my car really late one hot July night after picking my son up from school after his band trip. “Your life is like a bolt of lightning seen across the sky so high and clean…” This is one of my favorite lyrics of the year, and I love the way the lines of the verses spiral out of each other. This is probably the most meditative track on the Portland OR band’s latest album Destroyer of the Void which sounds like a cross between Wilco (circa 2004) and Electric Light Orchestra (circa 1974).
Coming up in the next installment: We march. We trip. We run away.