Scott, To Be Certain


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

S2BC's Top 20 Songs of 2006 Prelude

It is with no risk of hyperbole that I say the following album represented a watershed moment for music this year.

The extent to which Justin is responsible for the return of the otherwise already rather ubiquitous "sexy" is, of course, debatable. But 2006 was the year in which he did, and quite emphatically, bring "Interludes" back. For those of you not "in the know", these used to be the innovative trademark of Janet Jackson back before she became about as enjoyable as an ectopic pregnancy.

And just to prove that JT didn't simply inhale the idea from Janet's festy nipple that day at the Superbowl, he's put his own twist on the theme: Preludes! He's been generous with his output this year, hasn't he?

"Just remember my head was in a box far before his"

Oh Gwynnie. If only Se7en had been a documentary.

"Fucking oath"

Yes, well, quite - but we really should get back to the matter at hand which, incidentally, isn't even albums. This post is not, for example, called "The Best Albums of 2006". In fact, as you may already be aware, S2BC is far more interested in individual songs - craftily executed pop with a memorable hook can sometimes, if only temporarily, redeem an artist's otherwise woeful output.

"That's encouraging"

I said sometimes, Tammy Faye. What was that album about, by the way? The gym?

"No - David Campbell's pants"

Whatever. We'll be hearing from you later, if you can tear yourself away from Venetta's twat for five minutes.

But first, before I launch the Top 20 countdown in earnest, let's get to the point of this not altogether concise blog entry - a tribute to JT by way of my own prelude of sorts: the runners-up.

Honourable mentions go to:

Carrie Underwood, "Before He Cheats"

Best lyric: "I dug my key into the side/Of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive"
Best other bit: The completely unironic disdain in the way she sings "Right now she's probably up singing some white trash version of Shania karaoke" at 01.10

Carrie is well on her way to making good on Simon Cowell's prediction that she would be the most famous and most successful of all Idols internationally, with a hugely successful debut album and several Grammy nominations chalked up already. This little gem was the pick of the crop on "Some Hearts", featuring some truly gorgeous rhyming couplets and her best, most exquisitely angst-ridden performance since she creamed Heart's "Alone" on her season of Idol.

Sarah McLeod, "He Doesn't Love You" (Hook N Sling Remix)

Best lyric: "You're taking the brunt of both of your lies/That's not the way you're supposed to compromise"
Best other bit: The repeated title hook introduced over a bare backbeat at 01.13 and looped to brilliant trance-like effect

She of the once-good band (Superjesus) and the mole-faced sister (Leah) released a solo album that no-one gave a shit about. But then Hook N Sling, an excellent Sydney music producer, got hold of Sarah's promising "He Doesn't Love You" and completely rebirthed it into a dancefloor smash that UK and US clubs totally ate up. The YouTube link above is her boring original version, but the principal hook is still quite impressive.

Paulini, "So Over You" (Cutfather & Joe Remix)

Best sister-girlfriend lyric: "All my ladies tell me do you feel me"
Best other bit: The Destiny's Child-esque "No no no no no" at 01.43, followed by a stripped-back middle 8 with muted vocal and bass guitar

At the risk of sounding like a shameful Idol groupie, I include this track with the following emphatic disclaimer: this song is world-class R&B and far better than at least the last 5 Destiny's Child singles. One of only two releases from her failed second album "Superwoman" (both bravely non-ballads), this track was criminally overlooked - all the more disappointing given the truly exhausting amount of indignant neck-swivelling Mrs Kong and her sister-girlfriends get up to in the video.

Beyoncé, "Irreplaceable"

"Nigga please" prize for best lyric: "If I bought it nigga, please don't touch!"
Other best lyric: "Keep talking that mess, that's fine/But could you walk and talk at the same time?"
"It goes without saying" prize for transcending pop culture lyrically: "To the left, to the left"

Not much to say about this one. This is Beyoncé's best contribution to pop music since "Crazy In Love" and the fact it can even be lumped with that classic is testament to its quality. A truly memorable, ballsy anthem of empowerment and disappointment from one of the world's best and most under-rated songwriters.

Nerina Pallot, "Everybody's Gone To War"

Best lyric: "If love is a drug, I guess we're all sober/If hope is a song, I guess it's all over/How to have faith when faith is a crime? I don't want to die..."
Best other bit: "Don't tell me it's a worthy cause - no cause could be so worthy"

Featuring by far the year's smartest, most resonant lyrics, this song was instantly memorable. The song's obvious anti-war message is potent without being laboured, while the vocal is distinct and strong (if at times a little bit assisted by the trusty vocoder). Nerina is a British singer-songwriter whose album failed to chart on first release, before being re-mastered and re-issued in more Pallot-able format a year later. Yay for us! (I couldn't resist.)

Stay tuned for the Top 20, to follow shortly.

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