And the countdown marches on…#50: “YOU MUST BE OUT OF YOUR MIND” by THE MAGNETIC FIELDS.
You have to love a guy unafraid to rhyme “on your knees, yeah” with “anesthesia”. A great song about not letting bygones be bygones sung in Stephen Merritt’s strangely incisive Eeyore deadpan. After releasing a their feedback heavy 2008 album Distortion, the Magnetic Fields returned with Realism the stripped-down acoustic yin to its predecessor’s clanging yang.
#49: “THE SKY’S THE LIMIT” by JASON DERULO.
Petty thievery never sounds so good as when Mister Desrouleaux swipes the essence of “Flashdance… What a Feeling” from Irene Cara. The best reinvention of an 80s soundtrack anthem this year. Which is not to say that the Black-Eyed Peas provided any competition with their insufferable “The Time (The Dirty Bit)”. Also: this song contains my favorite instance of the word “shawty”.
#48: “TRIPPIN’ DOWN THE FREEWAY” by WEEZER.
Although the song is about the persistence of a romantic relationship (and a woman’s awesome “Shirley Applebee” look) against all odds (and all guys named Kevin Green), it could be just as much about Weezer and their fans…
I loved Weezer from the very start, but since their 1996 album Pinkerton, I’ve run hot and cold with them, and in the last few years, I’ve completely written them off (or thought I had). But they always manage somehow to re-justify their existence and re-justify my love. Example: This damn song. Gawd, I love it. It’s been in heavy rotation on my iPod all year. It made me love the band again. It also made me want to google Shirley Applebee. And then, once I did, it made me love the song and the band even more. Weezer and I are gonna be okay.
#47: “ALL NIGHT LONG” by ALEXANDRA BURKE featuring PITBULL.
The fifth season winner of Simon Cowell’s UK (soon to be US) singing competition The X-Factor, Alexandra Burke throws a wild house party. Although I like this version fine, the Pitbull-less version that appears on Burke’s debut album Overcome has a better build-up and you don’t miss the obligatory rap break at all.
#46: “TELEPHONE” by LADY GAGA & BEYONCE.
Before there was a video for this song, it was just a funny little song about not wanting take calls from a stupid boyfriend when you’re out dancing. I love the video, but it sort of overshadows a lot of what was fun about the song to begin with. Although it does give us some very quotable lines. “Once you kill the cow…”
#45: “MARCHIN’ ON” by ONEREPUBLIC.
“For those days we felt like a mistake, for those times when love’s what we hate, somehow, we keep marchin’ on.” This is a great song to listen to after you’ve spent most of an otherwise pleasant evening arguing about who’s more underappreciated and throwing Tupperware lids at each other.
#44: “GRENADE” by BRUNO MARS.
The guy who wrote “F*ck You” for Cee-Lo Green goes all Christ-like (with a piano instead of a cross) for the video for the second single from his debut album Doo Wops and Hooligans. Awesome lyric: “Tell the devil I said ‘Hey’ when you get back to where you’re from…” Ouch. Also, I love – LOVE – the drums in this song.
#43: “BREAK YOUR HEART” by TAIO CRUZ.
This song is all about its middle eight. If this were a countdown of songs I most loved singing along with, this song’s bridge (“Yeah! And I know karma’s gonna get me back for bein’ so cold…”) would be, like, #7. I deliberately chose the original sans-Ludacris version of the song because I think Ludacris distracts us from the super-awesome middle eight.
#42: “THE FIRE” by THE ROOTS featuring JOHN LEGEND.
Like the rest of their amazing album How I Got Over, “The Fire” is tenaciously, apocalyptically soulful. The video has some disturbing imagery, but despite its ambitions, it’s too incoherent to really work.
#41: “CREDIBLE THREATS” by THE ONE AM RADIO.
A nice little song about contemplating all of the possible demises that await us on a day-to-day basis. Things like turbulent airplanes, shuddering L-trains, and sudden floods of brakelights on I-5. Oh, and foreigners. This is also my favorite choreography of the year. The video was also released in a 3D version. And the 45rpm vinyl version of the single came with a set of 3D glasses and a download card for both the song (in various versions) and the 3D video for it.
In the next installment: Because “one’s not enough”, an unbroken tie…