Friday, December 24, 2004

The Year End Music Review - Its Finally Upon Us (YAY)!

The year 2004 has been a very good year for music. It was for me personally, a watershed year, as I morphed from Pop Princess into House Queen. Every few years I discover and fall in love with a new genre of music, in the early 90s it was Grunge, in the late 90s it was Jazz, and now it is House (or funky house, or whatever you wanna call it). Music plays an important part in my life, it can evoke such extreme feelings as pure joy and heartaching sadness. The top 10 songs have all had a personal impact on me during the year. Enjoy.

1. Shapeshifters - Lola's Theme

Without a question, the track of the year, and the one that was the main catalyst for my house revolution this year. Its hard to describe why Lola works so well, a bit like catching lightning in a bottle, it just does. The immediacy of the opening horns, fast beats and great sing-a-long-chorus work themselves into a crescendo of pure unadulterated joy. You can only agree with the lead singer proclaims 'I'm a different person, turned my world around.' A brilliant record from beginning to end.

2. Britney Spears - Toxic

I must admit, I was ready to jump off the Britney band-wagon sometime in late 2003. She needed a massive tune in order to save her from the inevitable backlash that comes with over-exposure. And boy was this massive. Yes, it has that signature Cathy Dennis sound. Yes, it uses much like every other pop track this year a middle eastern beat. And yes, its not the most original track of the year. But it works, mainly due to the attitude Ms Spears lends in that iconic video, to the very catchy hooks and beats, its by far her best track since Ooops I Did It Again and lands nicely at #2 for the year.

3. Christina Milian - Dip It Low (Full Intention Remix)

To some Ms Milian is the cheap man's Beyonce. The single version of Dip It Low was a pleasant enough slice of R&B with lots of innuendo and Ms Milian rolling around in black liquid and a rubber suit. Its not until you hear the Full Intention mix of the track that its brilliance comes to the forth. The track is speeded up, with a heavy bassline underscoring the fast beats as Milian croons 'pop...pop..pop.. That thing', the track works itself into a frenzy. Without a doubt my favorite remix of a commercial track this year.

4. A Studio Feat Polina - SOS (Skylark Vocal Mix)

Speak of immediacy, no other vocal performance has made me scratch my head on the dance floor more than Polina's on the SOS track. When you dance to this record, the entire time you are trying to chase the singer as she spits out the lyrics with such speed and urgency that you are left in a state of euphoria in the end. A great rework by Skylark with an a chunky bassline and a truly masterful vocal on top, this lands itself nicely into the top 5 of the year.

5. Michael Grey - The Weekend

If SOS is immediate and urgent, then the Weekend is its exact opposite. As the track works its way through its chilled beats, the lead singer casually proclaims 'I can't wait for the weekend to begin.' The only problem with the track is that its a bittersweet one when you hear it at 11 pm on a Sunday night, knowing the weekend won't begin for another five days.

6. JoJo - Leave (Get Out)

When I first saw the video for Leave (Get Out) I immediately proclaimed JoJo as the second coming, telling anyone who listened that indeed she had 'the voice of Christina, and the edge of Avril' mainly to puzzled and worried looks. Well, fine, the song about a cheating lover is too old for the 13 year old, but with that voice who cares. One of the best R&B pop tracks of the year, and a wonderful debut.

7. Destiny's Child - Lose My Breathe

Last year's single of the year holder Beyonce reunites with her DC bandmates to produce yet another fabulous kick-ass R&B tune. With a minimalist beat that hardly registers, this track is all about the three singers vocal performance, perhaps the most accomplished of all the DC singles. The DC girls are chastising the men who can't keep up with them on the dancefloor. When Michelle finally asks 'why you ask for some, when you really want none', you know that the girls mean business. Shame that the single is just about the only good thing on the disappointing Destiny fulfilled album.

8. Gadjo - So Many Times

A truly magnificent piece of funky house, this is a track you want to dance to with someone you love. The lead singers beautiful vocals work their way over a great chilled beat. Gorgeous.

9. Damien Rice - The Blower's Daughter

Folksy, bluesy and with a haunting voice, Damien Rice's debut album is full of gems. On this single he lays his heart and soul bare for all to see, and when he sings 'I can't take my eyes off of you' with such rawness it sends chills down your spine.

10. Gwen Stefani - What You're Waiting For

As the 'tick tock, tick tock' kicks in, Ms Stefani prepares to dazzle us with an amazing vocal performance that is witty and self-referential. This could have been a big mess, but Stefani pulls it in nicely with a quirky sense that only she can pull off. Although the song does stumble in the middle, the overall effect is that of a dreamy venture into the surreal. Mission accomplished.

Top 10 Runners Up (in no particular order)

Joss Stone - Right To Be Wrong
Maroon 5 - This Love
Jamelia - See It In A Boy's Eyes
Danny Howells and Dick Trever - From Dusk Til Dawn
Usher and Alicia Keys - My Boo
Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mamma
Martin Solveig - Rocking Music
Angel City - Do You Know (I Go Crazy)
Rachel Stevens - Some Girls
Girls Aloud - The Show


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