'Billie Piper: The Best of Billie
OK, this is the part that gets ridiculous with tons of songs by one artist, which I was hoping to avoid this year, but HONESTLY. I REALLY LOVE EACH OF THE NEXT SEVEN TRACKS ON INDIVIDUAL MERIT. And it was a chore to strip it down to only the top half, since I quite liked every track on the CD except G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T. And, well, we already discussed this in a series of flaily posts last month, so I’ll dive right into the songs (in the order in which they appear on CD, mostly).
26. Honey to the Bee
See this post for background. It’s still lyrical nonsense, but it’s also addictive, and is what drove me to find more of her music in the first place.
27. Because We Want To
Why you gotta play that song so loud? (Because we want to! Because we want to!)
Why you always run around in crowds? “
Why do you have to dance all night? “
Why do you always say what’s on your mind? “
The title is as good an explanation as any for why this got on the list.
Bratty teenage sassing Bouncy and fun nonsense not unlike Aaron Carter’s Life is Party/Party Time (which have always been my guilty pleasure dance songs), I can see how this broke her into public consciousness way back when. Rather a step down after hearing her later work, but there’s some fun synthesizer music and seriously, and her voice on the chorus kind of reminds me of Avril Lavigne’s third album, so…there’s that connection.
28. Day & Night
‘Cause the only time I think of you
Is every day and all night through
Focused and intense, it sort of reminds me of Nadiya, and brings to mind the colors of black and gold like Hilary Duff’s “Gypsy Woman.” Lyrically, it’s not much, but the group voices on the chorus and its forte dynamics carry it away like the greatest of radio hits, and…fine, I admit it, I just like a good dance track.
Take off those rose-tinted glasses
Put away your impulsive dreams
First thing I heard after ‘Honey to the Bee,’ and is when I officially fell in love with her – still far and away my favorite song of hers. Starting off with joyous upper-register piano like Vanessa Carlton, and making ample use of orchestral strings and acoustic guitar throughout the rest, her voice has a softer and more innocent touch than the majority of her music, and the song sometimes brings a lump to my throat for reasons I’m not even sure.
30. Something Deep Inside (radio mix)
The first time that it crossed my mind,
I kept on pushing it aside.
It's such a strong emotion.
Second time it's plain to see,
This feeling rushing over me
My second or third favorite, I have finally figured out that it reminds me of some other pop song (not sure which one; also not sure whether it would be less shameful to say Britney Spears or Monica/Brandy), but it’s got a very catchy beat, a cool group chorus and fun random flourishes thrown in. Another dance track.
31. First Love
Your first love is someone that you never forget
Like “Promises,” though not quite as stripped down, it also has a softer and more vulnerable sound than several of the others, with a touch of the bittersweet.
32. The Tide is High
I started off hating this track, because while I love the original song and her voice is beautiful, in this stupid remix version a rap artist bursts in towards the end and kills it. I kicked it off the playlist instantly, but then I started missing the pretty section, so I put it back on and after several dozen listens I even started to like the rap. Definitely grows on you.
33. Doctor Who soundtrack – Volume 1, part 2
After I worked through all my Billie Piper glee, I settled down with what I’d been looking for in the first place. It’s easier just to list instrumental soundtracks all as one piece (or sections of pieces, since I appear capable of finding only one CD at a time), but standout selections include
-The Face of Boe (Sad music-box-style sound to the piano here, and the background always makes me think of shooting stars outside a picture window, and an almost inaudible angel’s chorus)
-Seeking the Doctor (Very brief, very eerie theme – haunting vocals and shimmering flute)
-Doomsday (By far the best track on the album. One single key struck on the piano, over and over, and a slow techno pulse combined with ghostly female vocals sends chills up and down my spine every time I hear it, partly just because of association with the title but – it’s bleak. It’s empty. It’s the echo left when everything else has been taken away. Even when it speeds up, that feeling lingers.)
-The Impossible Planet (After an ear-bleeding first few seconds, it settles into a mournful Celtic style; makes you think of islands off the coast of Scotland, shrouded in fog, perhaps from a century or two ago. And of course, you can’t beat the low flute solo in the middle)
Sneaky 4 for 1, that was, I know.
Sneaky 4 for 1, that was, I know.
34. Neil Hannon - Love Don't Roam (it’s not instrumental; it gets its own number)
So reel me in, my precious girl,
Come on, take me home.
'Cause my body's tired of travelling
And my heart don't wish to roam.
I really wanted to hate this, because the lyrics had SO MUCH POTENTIAL for emotion, and then it burst onto the scene in a lousy, jazzy swing tune. Unfortunately, the more I hear of it, the more I completely love and adore it for its jazziness, especially in trumpet section. *sighs in annoyance* (Well, that and I found a rather amusing Doctor Who video set to it, so now the “fighting man” verse always brings to mind the battle from “The Christmas Invasion.” )
35. Maria Mena – You’re the Only One
Well I saw you with your hands above your head
Spinning around, trying not to look down
But you did and you fell, hard, on the ground
I feel the same pull towards her that I do to Stars, snatching songs whenever I see them. This one I found on my home computer, downloaded ages ago and forgotten about. These lyrics have a few parts that make me cringe, but the quick pace of the verses and her half-laughing voice keeps my interest.
36. Bo Bice - The Real Thing
Tell me not to lie, tell me not to wait
Tell me that you want the same things as me
American Idol showed a little segment about where he is now, and for the first time I saw his album cover and everything went zipping into place – that one song I sometimes heard on the country station that wasn’t completely awful; his first single; they were one and the same! Being as I like Bo a great deal, but always assumed I wouldn’t like his music, I was excited by this find and suddenly paid attention to the song. I have discovered that I like both his voice and the whole laid-back Western flavor of this song a good deal.
37. Shiny Toy Guns – Le Disko
Hello little boys, little toys
We’re the dreams you believe in
Lacey Schwimmer did one of her best solos to this on So You Think You Can Dance, so when I found the full-length song I snapped it up. Love the driving intensity of the beat & rather sassy verses, good electronic music. Plus, how many girl bands get on my playlist every year? Not many. Unique is good.
38. Placebo – Running Up That Hill
And if I only could make a deal with God
And get him to swap our places
Saw this up for grabs; grabbed it when I vaguely remembered it being used on CSI (now has a GSR connection in my head because of that). Hard-pressed to say whether I like the lyrics or the music more, but the electronic pulse and synthesized vocals are cool. Lots of tension.
39. The Raveonettes – Ally, Walk With Me
Ally walks with me in my dreams, so strange and true
Can I walk with you in Portland, walk next to you?
Every so often, a CSI show – New York, in this case – will actually do something worthwhile with its evidence-processing montages by using a great song. And while unfortunately the second half of this song is literally nothing but feedback noise that threatens to shred your eardrums, the first 2 minutes have a really cool, mysterious sound, painting pictures of blurred realities (also: girl band!). And I am ALWAYS a sucker both for songs that tell stories and songs with girls’ names in the title.
40. Chamillionaire ft. Slick Rick – Hip Hop Police
With so much drama in the industry
Hip hop police are listening
Be careful or you’ll be history
Looks like another unsolved mystery
Oh dear, what is THIS genre doing here?? Story time: I was writing a brief music paper about the state of vernacular music and popular styles. Double-checking a generalization I had written about rap, I fed some words into the Imeem search engine in order to listen to one (I was trying to find “Ridin’ Dirty,” actually, but couldn’t remember what it was called), and the first hit was a video for this song. Honestly, I was initially hooked when I heard the lyric “You’ve obviously been watching too much CSI” and then when I jumped back to actually *watch* the video that had referenced my show, was captivated by the hilarity of “Bob O’Wildy,” among other characters. But then I got really hooked on the beat, the strings and the tinkling piano notes, and as much as it shamed me to love a rap song…I REALLY LOVE THIS SONG. It actually has some pretty interesting lyrics, without any of the swearing or vulgarity I usually associate with the genre, and a real story. This article explains it very well, and I have sudden and newfound respect for Chamillionaire.
41. Chamillionaire - The Evening News
Gas prices raises, the money keeps burning
Dropout rate rising so what are they learning?
Sending the troops in the war so I turn it
To today’s evening news
Once I forgot to hit rewind, and the video above got past a spoken interlude and transitioned into this song, which while not initially as entertaining a video, eventually won me over musically. And then I spent more time listening to it, and realized that despite atrocious grammar abuse, there is even more intriguing social commentary in here (and I am greatly amused by the reference to Obama). I don’t necessarily agree with it all, but it’s well written.
The next 5 songs come from this year’s campus CD release (well, 3 from CD and 2 extras from one artist), so you will likely not have heard of them. However, I HIGHLY recommend them. I am always leery of new music, especially college acts, and I only bought *this* CD because it was cheap and two of my friends had tracks. I’m still warming up to theirs, but in the meantime I was shocked to find three amazing female vocalists with the type of music I always hope to find in new artists. I have even included clicky links so that you may know of their greatness.
42. 4 Minutes Plus (Alix Sophia) - Blushing
We ought to stay together til winter, to see our first snow
The rosy cheeks paint us like lovers intense with all there is to know
And you and me, we're a we're, and we are hand in hand
It's just a walk in the park
And we can - and we should - and we will -
Are you writing this down?
Honestly, if you'd sent this to me on its own and told me it was a radio single, I would have believed you. Kind of a light pop flavor in the manner of Colbie Caillat (or, that's not quite right, but I can't think exactly who it reminds me of…maybe a more electronic M2M?), it's got a really catchy beat. Just a fun, silly, high-school-like romantic song. And most excellently, when I looked up the singer’s e-mail to send her compliments & lyrics request, she not only complied but attached two additional songs she thought I might like. I have fallen hard and fast for them as well.
43. Alix Sophia – Chocolate Assortment #2
There are locks on all doors, so all is safe and sound
I’m honest stricken with envy and no religious bounds
Despite its more serious subject matter, the chorus is still fairly light, a lot of repetition and semi-echo giving it distinctive style.
44. Alix Sophia – Cursive with Postage
Please do not have analysis paralysis
Because these terms are to endear you, Dear David.
And I try to keep within the lines but sometimes
My hand touches ink before it dries.
A very cute, cheerful song, underscored by the mischievous chime of the bell set, of all the thoughts that go into (hand) writing a letter. This song and the above are available at the linked MySpace page; the other songs in this section go to Sendspace links.
45. Ana Seivert - Let It Go
The camera's repeating all the pictures
You've taken in your head
Now you're paging through the flashbacks
That remind you of him and what you did
A very simple arrangement of voice and guitar, it has that raw, honest sound of someone singing for themselves rather than an audience. Also, there is a brief penny whistle (or something like it, wooden flute? I am getting increasingly terrible at recognizing instruments) interlude, and it is hauntingly pretty.
46. Jess Anderson – Goodbyes (lyrics & music by Zach Shaheen)
I'm blind to what takes place
And deaf to words other people say
‘Cause our lips have moved in silence for long hours
Goodbyes are hard to say
Seriously, if you heed my recommendations on nothing else, GET THIS SONG. Much richer and more polished than the ones above, there is some truly beautiful instrumental music in this one - especially the lone piano at the beginning. And then the singer's pure, lovely voice comes in, and it’s beautiful and bittersweet at once.
47. The Rasmus – Still Standing
Can't you stop the lies falling from the skies
Down on me, I'm still standing.
Paging through my bookmarks, I found a link to a compilation of Tony & Sarah scenes from ER. Apparently I had never noticed that the person had added music to the background of the clips, but this time the song grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. Kind of like the Bush song above, there’s nothing particularly stand-out and I am at a loss for how to describe it, but it’s a really good, solid song from a band.
48. Jill Sobule – Lucy at the Gym
I stare at her ribs, they show through the spandex
Her little legs are working, she's going somewhere
She's climbing up the stairs
And when she reaches the top her dreams will be there
While looking up Fiona Apple’s “Paper Bag” to see if anyone outside the pro-ana community actually related it to anorexia, I ran across an article from this artist saying that she was disappointed that people used her song as thinspiration. Which of course made me go running right off to find it, partly because of the girl’s name in the title, and partly because it sounded like it might be about a lonely girl. And oh, it is. This is such a sad story of a song, with lovely soft music, acoustic guitar and things like bongos and a little recorder piping in the background.
49. Eleanor McEvoy – Sophie
And her sister won’t stop crying
'Cause her father says she’s dying
Sophie says she’s really trying
Problem is Sophie’s lying
As I added the previous song to my playlist, Imeem very kindly offered a bunch of related songs for me to check out. Usually I ignore these recommendations, but then I saw this one’s title, and damn, I was there. Took one look at the lyrics, clicked on “play” so fast it left smoke trails, and thank goodness the music proved just as lovely as you’d hope (just female vocalist and strong piano). By halfway through the song I was in tears. Absolutely gorgeous piece of work.
50. Jason Castro – Forever in Blue Jeans
But it don’t sing and dance, and it don’t walk
As long as I can have you here with me
I’d much rather be forever in blue jeans
Why hello, American Idol, you’ve made it on the list yet again! I was exhausted and half-asleep, and this song still permeated my fog of semi-consciousness and wrapped itself around my brain. It gave me pleasant dreams. When I looked it up the next day, the little ditty was still just as captivating, not to mention 8,000 times greater than the Neil Diamond original, so I grabbed it and started playing it on loop. Love the light guitar and his absolutely gorgeous voice. Neil who?
The list continues in Trimester 2!