December 29, 2009

Favorites 2009: The good, the bad and the glam

Top Ten Plus One Musical Moments of The Year:

10 Shirley Bassey singing Almost There live on BBC/s Electric Proms.
WOW. (Watch it now)

9 Fred Falke's Heavy Cross remix for The Gossip may very well be the Greatest Remix of Modern Times. Can you recall where you were when you first heard it? (Play it now)

8 The Lourdes Leon backflip
in her mother's Celebration video

7 The very existence of the Neon Gold label and their superb MP3 blog

6 The 2:57 moment in LaRoux's I'm Not Your Toy video where Elly shimmies in her fan chair and smiles. (Watch it now)

5 In the 9-min club mix of Sophie Ellis Bextor's Heartbreak Make Me A Dancer, the ascending middle eight (or whatever it can be called) that brings the song to a fever pitch (from 6:23 to about 7:03). The most exciting 40 seconds in music in 2009.

4 Adam Lambert's gaytastic album cover. A great wink wink nudge nudge from an artist who may have overestimated American openness a wee bit.

3 Unexpectedly, the Take That book Take Two. Beautifully crafted fan book and I am not even that much of a fan.

2 Rihanna's whole Rated R project is a study in how to take pop stardom to the next level.

1 (SPOILER!) The moment when Pet Shop Boys set collapses at the end of the first segment of their Pandemonium show. (Watch it now, 1:30)

and the Plus One goes to...

Roisin Murphy's
cheeky appearance at a Viktor and Rolf fashion show in a very perilous dress on a perilous platform at 8 mos preggers with her "babby" (who was in gestation for - what? - 2 years?) Watch it now.

Singing Voice(s) Of The Year: Florence Welch, Vincent Frank (Frankmusik), Shirley Bassey (for the quite moments on her CD) and Jody Gadsden of The Gadsdens

Best Artist-released Indie Single: Tie. The Gadsdens, Sailor Song and Del Marquis, Remember Me Young

Most Surprisingly Out Of Nowhere Instant Brilliance: Miike Snow (note they sold their record on iTunes Us for 6.99, a WISE move)

Strange 2009 Trend:
Solo artists using band names when there is no defined band - Marina And The Diamonds ("I am Marina and you are the diamonds") and
Florence Welch ("Hello, I'm Florence + The Machine")

Lyricist of the Year: Robbie Williams for his brilliant Reality Killed The Video Star. His lyrics aren't just wry or quippy ("It’s insulting / To be mislead / By the hairdo / Of the godhead") they're intelligent and self-aware, especially Blasphemy. cheers to Vinny Vero for bonding on that one!

Live Show Of The Year: Stadium: U2's 360 Tour was like going to a revival, Hall Show: Pet Shop Boys amazing Pandemonium Tour, and Club Show: I missed so many this year, and cannot recall what I did see! The show I missed most: Kylie's American tour.

Top Remixes Of The
Little Boots New In Town (Fred Falke Mix), The Gossip Heavy Cross (Fred Falke Mix), Marina And The Diamonds Mowgli's Road (Russ Chimes Mix), Marina And The Diamonds I Am Not A Robot (String version), Freemasons feat Sophie Ellis Bextor Heartbreak Make Me A Dancer (Full Length Club Mix) Jennifer Hudson If This Ain’t Love (Fraser T Smith Mix) Will Young Grace (Fred Falke Radio Edit) Saint Etienne Method Of Modern Love (Richard X Mix) Florence + The Machine You've Got The Love (Fraser T Smith Mix) Annie Anthonio (Fred Falke Mix) Calvin Harris Flashback (Eric Prydz Mix) Empire Of The Sun Walking On A Dream (Treasure Fingers Mix) Erik Hassle Hurtful (Penguin Prison Mix) HURTS Wonderful Life (Arthur Baker Remix) Ladyhawke Magic (Classicx Mix) Lady Gaga Paparazzi (Stuart Price Mix) Madonna Celebration (Oakenfeld Extended Mix) Mini Viva I Wish (Cahill Remix) Natalie Imbruglia Want (Shapeshifters Mix) Pet Shop Boys Beautiful People (Vinny Vero Mix) Pet Shop Boys Did You See Me Coming (Unicorn Kid Mix) Steve Appleton City Won't Seep (Moto Blanco Mix) Wolf Gang The King And All His Men (Joe Goddard Mix) U2 I'll Go Crazy (Redanka's Mix) Patrick Wolf Who Will (Buffetlibre Mix) Robbie Williams Bodies (Body Double Mix).

Most Welcome Return To Music:
who I thought had permanently left music (a 9 year sabbatical). Also loved Prefab Sprout and all the press Paddy did, as well as the epic Shirley Bassey album, which can be credited to the very smart David Arnold.

Stylish Sexpots Of 2009: Tie. Rihanna and Martina from Dragonette

Artist Whose Self-Entitlement Overtook His Musical Prowess
Patrick Wolf, whose questionable behavior on-stage and off finally killed it for me. Incredibly talented, wrote a big heartfelt record that I just did not want to play. Have NOT written him off.

Worst Video: Again Patrick Wolf, whose Vultures video was even more embarrassing than all of Mariah's videos. And that's saying something. Sometimes an artist needs someone to say NO.

Flop Of The Year. There was much worse, but given the $ spent and the plummet in profile, Mika wins. He is very talented, but that album is unlistenable and the I'm-still-singing-about-when-I-grew-pubes themes are creepy.

Guilty Pleasure: Wild Horses by the atrociously overrated SuBo. My mother got that CD from my Dad for Christmas and I screeched "wiilllllllld horses" (just that bit) all day long.

The LaRoux vs Little Boots Battle: LaRoux comes out ahead for style, quirkiness and videos, while Little Boots wins for a more consistently listenable album. Victoria Boots is much more of a musician, which bodes well in the long-term.

The Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood Award Little Boots and Vince Frank of Frankmusik. Both artists promotion was fiddled with by their labels and both are actually better than their press. Maybe.

Lost Marketing Opportunity Of The Year: The Twilight New Moon people not securing Florence + The Machine's Howl for the soundtrack. Or vice versa. This fan got it right.

Award For Cougar Moment To Good To Dream Up: Madonna taking a 22 yr old named Jesus away from a photo shoot and making him her lover. Pay attention though, as it appears Jesus has been shipped back to Brazil in a Louis Vuitton shoulder bag.

The What Is Happening There? Award (Easy Target #1): To Madonna for her ever changing face. She needs to lay off the filler for a bit.

Artist Most In Need of a Makeover (Easy Target #2): Mariah Carey. Need I say more? She is the Most Betrayed By Her Glam Squad, this poor thundering, thonged creature.

Artist Most In Need Of A Vacay: Lady Gaga, for obvious reasons, and Beyonce because she has been so incessant for so long. When someone that talented seems tiresome, it's time for a breather on a yacht off Santorini.

Shockingly Shit Music That Seems To Be Taking Off: Ke$ha, some of the worst crap I have heard on radio in many years. And thank God Pixie Lott fizzled.

Worst Trend: The very existence of Ryan Tedder. This year he made a crap mid-tempo ballad for virtually every major label pop album. I know some will disagree, but I think he is a hack. He does have a talent for melody, but he should be kept away from the production side. In a very short time his songs will sound incredibly dated. Mark my words (and Chartrigger's), Jordin Sparks is his victim. Leona will escape his clutches.

Artist Whose Music Vastly Improved Jack Penate, who went from lo-fi ska to 80's inspired melodic granduer and... Lady Gaga, whose Monster has better songs than any on her debut.

Best Song Loaded With Masturbation References Lady Gaga's So Happy I Could Die, in which she manages to diddle at least 4 times ("and I touch myself").

RIP Sugababes. A case study in how not to behave, personally or professionally...


John said...

Yes. That's pretty much all I can say to this. Dead on in almost every way.

hatzij said...

Hey XO, great post as always. I didn't know you saw U2's 360 tour did I miss something?! Where was the lengthy and detailed post...

countpopula said...

Thanks for namechecking the PSB stage thing--I had no idea it was coming, and it was a shockingly great highlight which just showed what a band could do with a lot of ingenuity and a rather small budget.

I actually had a mother/teen-daughter in my store a couple weeks back who wretched in complete disgust over the Adam Lambert cover. It's a little over the top, but it's not like he exposed genatalia. People really need to get over it.

Love Rihanna's look but strangely have very little love for anything involving the music. I can appreciate her growth--too bad it had to come at the hands of violence. Would she have stepped it up had that event not transpired? It doesn't seem to be doing her many favors commercially however.

I am beginning to think Ke$ha was not targeted at my ears. I'll take Owl City if I had to choose.

Thanks for the Roisin shout out! Also, Bravo is using Dragonette's Fixin to Thrill in their ads for the premiere of Shear Genius. Cash in the bank.

Finally--just saw the Bruno movie, which strangely enough reminded me of that horrid Patrick Wolf video. Talk about a buzzkill.

DanProject76 said...

Can't really argue with any of that... and I love a good argument!

Adem With An E said...

I am so, so glad you've mentioned the FF mix of Heavy Cross. Can I remember where I was when I first heard it? Yup. I was in my room, had just downloaded it and within minutes had formed a similar claim to yours; that it may very well be the greatest remix of modern times. It's certainly his best and that's saying something.

Diddle. Haha.

Phil said...

RIP Sugababes indeed. Although, when the reworked album comes out, I want to be pleasantly surprised.

The Fred Falke remix of Heavy Cross was close to the top of my list (if i had one). Methinks he should go overground and do his OWN album of original material with guests like Beth Ditto and Ladyhawke.

Shirley Bassey pulled out a corker of an album this year. She was funny and effervescent on all her TV and radio promo. Was a great end to the year. And that BBC gig was top notch.

Little Boots: you have too much faith in so very little! hehe

zen~ said...

For the first half of this year, it did seem like Fred Falke was working total magic. His remix for Sneaky Sound System's "I Love It" was released this year as well, wasn't it? Love that. I think his Grizzly Bear mix is his best for 2009, tho.

D'luv said...

Happy New Year. Here's hoping for a much better '09.

Unknown said...

It took me a while, but I got here! As always, I love reading your blog, such great style. And feel free to take away Ryan Tedder's working papers any time please.

Happy New Year, and much love and joy to come.

Parker said...

2009 is clearly Fred Falke's year, his remix of Heavy Cross is one of the top songs of the year, his remix production is five stars and he gave a hand on Yes by PSB and Left My Heart In Tokyio, two of last year's winners.

xolondon said...

Did Falke do something for Yes?!