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The Music of 2009: Quarter 4

[EDIT: Okay, why do you people not tell me when my HTML breaks? Lists don't just skip from 78 to 83!]

Because I am apparently champing at the bit to do all of my end-of-year things ASAP!  And this amuses me even if you're losing interest.  Also, be sure to check out my completed reading/movie list, which is now updated with its customary Conclusions of Summarizing and Statistics.  109 books vs. 24 movies!  Because that is who I am.

This list is a lot like the previous one, in terms of highlighting female singers, but the interesting thing about this one is that my connection to nearly every one can be traced directly back to television. TV is awesome. I do not know how I would discover music without it.  It is unlike the previous installment in that I have suddenly gotten TERRIBLE at writing song blurbs, because I feel like I’ve already said it all.

As always, you can stream/download the songs from this backdated/locked post.  Because I uploaded most of them before I had conclusive results on my last poll, and I figured, this is the first time that doing the uploads has not been a pain in the butt; why waste all that effort?

OCTOBER
73. Kate Voegele – 99 Times
For every 99 times you looked me in the eye,
You looked me in the eye and swore you weren’t lying


I was debating whether or not I really loved this song at the end of September, not having the rest of her second album to compare it against, but I kept coming back to that hook on the chorus. Two days later I ever-so-randomly heard it used in a TV commercial, which kind of seemed like the universe was telling me something.

74. Nena – 99 Luftballons
On the heels of the above song and watching a character on Glee ask “What’s a ‘luft balloon?’”, it occurred to me that while I knew the melody of the chorus, I’d never heard the song in full, since for some reason I have always assumed it was about drugs. Turns out it has noble roots and more importantly IS AWESOME, though strangely only in German. That is not a pretty language (deal), but the song is not the same in English, even by the same singer, and very clearly it cannot be sung properly in any other voice, so…original version I can’t understand FTW! I love the 80’s.

75. Glee cast (Kristin Chenoweth/Matthew Morrison) – Alone
And now it chills me to the bone
I’ve always been pleased by this song’s regular use on American Idol, because it’s a relief to hear something catchy and recognizable, but these two make something magical out of it.  It's weird, because I normally hate power-voiced women who can crank their volume up to 11, but from her it’s thrilling.  Not to discount his voice, of course, which is like velvet.

76. Glee cast (Kristin Chenoweth) - Last Name
Take the chips and the Pinto and hit the road
Carrie Underwood’s version never did much for me, just was “pleasant enough.” However, when you throw in Cheno’s squealing “woo!”s and shrugging half-spoken ends of verses, it somehow becomes irresistibly appealing.

77. Cake Bake Betty – The Spine Song
On your birthday, you woke up
The snow was on the ground
You opened books and peeked inside
They kissed you on your crown

I REALIZE THIS TITLE LOOKS REALLY WEIRD. And the rest of the lyrics, well, they’re pretty creepy and sound like a metaphor for drug addiction if you’re feeling generous, straight-up human sacrifice if you’re not. Yet, jarringly, it’s a very pretty female vocalist/piano piece, sweet-voiced and rather childlike. In my case, metatarsus  made a fanmix for Alex of "Lost" and put this on it, so my entire perception of the song is based on this fact. Although it was also shortly thereafter that “Where the Wild Things Are” came out, so…

78. Coldplay – Fix You
And if you never try, you’ll never know just what you’re worth
It’s that darn Glee video; I knew the song would wrap itself around my brain without my consent. And while I’m not convinced it wasn’t written explicitly for use in a sappily inspiring TV or movie montage, it still works. Curse you, Coldplay! You got me a second time! (For the record, the first time was "Yellow" and it was The O.C.'s fault).

79. Meiko – Boys With Girlfriends
I know better than to be friends with boys with girlfriends

A fairly cute, light, bouncy little folk-pop song that I probably would have breezed on by if someone in the Glee fandom hadn’t perfectly stamped it all over the Finn/Rachel/Quinn situation. But it’s worth a listen just for the singsong tones.

80. Subtle Sexuality – Male Prima Donna
Once upon a time, she was just a girl, living in this world
Then you came along with your irresistible charm


Opinion: American Idol should probably feel embarrassed that The Office can release a catchier song than any of their competition-winning singles. Because this is the new best pop song of the year, and that’s all I can say about it…besides the fact that it’s even better if you see it in video form. I imagine it’s sort of like what Lady Gaga would sound like if she also sang with a couple of white dudes, one of whom liked to bust out rap music.

November
81a. Defying Gravity, Glee soundtrack (Lea Michele solo) version
Too long I’ve been afraid of losing love; I guess I’ve lost
Well if that’s love, it comes at much too high a cost


81b. Defying Gravity, Wicked soundtrack version*
And if I’m flying solo, at least I’m flying free

THERE. I AM SPLITTING THE NUMBER BECAUSE I CAN’T DECIDE. Version 1 is too short, but I adore her light, sweet, pure delivery. Version 2, on the other hand, has better music and is mostly straight-up awesome, despite taking a little while to grow on me.

* = there is something interesting about the fact that it’s sung by Kristen Chenoweth, already referenced here, and Idina Menzel, a/k/a “could pass for Lea Michele’s mother,” all tied up in Glee links…make witty comments for me.

82. Leddra Chapman – Story
And she’ll try to believe that it’s Fate
And she’ll miss you, but it’s far too late
Now she’s done, through, finished with crying for anyone
And now she wonders why she ever stayed



This review
says it best: ‘Story’ has a quaint, slightly old fashioned feel to the music that you can’t help but smile at. The string and brass arrangements remind me of the Elizabethan era. All very English and delightful.” I’d like to add that the story is desperately sad in a bittersweet way, but she is quite possibly the prettiest female artist I’ve heard all year. Oh, and also? This is the Holy Grail of singer-songwriter pieces. Everyone should aspire to this level of descriptive storytelling.

83. Dolores O’Riordan – Tranquilizer
I used to think if I believed in all my dreams I’d never grieved
*dusts off the Alex fanmix* Time to pick up a couple more tracks. Rather living up to its title, I love this one’s soothingly repetitive, rhythmic chorus with breathy vocals, at a pace just quick enough to give it an undercurrent of driving energy.

84. Missy Higgins – Sugarcane
Baby ballerina's hiding somewhere in the corner
Where the shadow wraps around her and our torches cannot find her

Last one off the fanmix, because Missy’s music is in the business of breaking my heart. I don’t even know what this song is about, other than that I get images of sad little girls, but the rocking melody leaves me with a general need to curl up and shed a tear or two.

85. Glee cast (Matthew Morrison) - Don’t Stand So Close to Me/Young Girl mashup
Beneath your perfume and makeup, you’re just a baby in disguise

O halp, I have let a mashup onto my list, I feel gross. I already disqualified “Bust a Move” on the grounds of it being rap, no matter how delightfully sung!  [this will be ironic later] But the fact is that a) his voice is ideal, and b) these are mashed together to form a super song intended to let a teenage girl down gently. The music sounds slightly schizophrenic at first – its blending is about as subtle as cutting and pasting a different head on a model’s body…using Paint – but you get over that quickly.

86. Taylor Swift ft. Colbie Caillet – Breathe
Music starts playing like the end of a sad movie
It’s the kind of ending you don’t really want to see

Putting my entire music library on shuffle yielded this song a surprising number of times, the chorus of which always caught my ear in a pleasing manner while I was trying to figure out what the hell it was and why I didn’t recognize it. It’s sad, but pretty and light and sort of ambling. In that country way I like.  I am v. descriptive.

DECEMBER
NOTE: Taylor Swift’s CD “Fearless” does not have one bad song on it. Which is why 9 of its 13 tracks have appeared on the music list over the past 14 months, and the only reason I left off four is because I finally finished listening to all of it and was able to create a ranked list.

87. Taylor Swift – The Best Day
It’s the age of princesses and pirate ships, and the seven dwarfs
Daddy's smart and you're the prettiest lady in the whole wide world


Oh, nostalgic songs about younger days!  I am easily convinced to cry over music, but still, I always get choked up mysterious dust in my eye whenever I hear this piece, which is not only picture-painting and nostalgic, but beautifully sentimental as well.

88. Taylor Swift – Change
So we've been outnumbered, raided and now cornered
It's hard to fight when the fight ain't fair

No matter what I do, I can only ever see this song as an anthem for a championship high school football game.  Maybe it is the universe's subtle way of telling me to watch Friday Night Lights already?  I dunno; I just really like this closing track, especially how she stretches out "it's a revolution" on the chorus.   I think I am getting worse at my explanations as I go along.

89. Kris Allen - Live Like We're Dying
And if your plane fell out of the skies
Who would you call for your last goodbye?

My first impression was that this worked better as "Live Like You Were Dying," just because Tim McGraw's lyrics embrace the concept better.  However, this chorus was catchy from the moment I saw him perform on So You Think You Can Dance, and the song grew on me by the day.  Besides, I felt like I should defend the fact that Kris is 85013539342 times better than Adam Lambert in every way.   

90. Brett James - Chasing Amy
It was late night pizzas and baseball games
Hanging out at the bowling lanes
Sneaking into the movies on Friday nights


Discovered while trying to hunt down a song like "Hey Stephen" in order to celebrate THIS season's favorite Survivor contestant, Brett.  Was unsuccessful, but found this instead.  Being as it featured a girl's name in the title and told a (short-lived summer love) story, I was quite okay with that.  It's not too country-western, is it? Because there is slight twang, but the first time I played it I honestly wasn't sure which genre the singer was from.  Maybe I didn't want to know.

91. Manther - The Survivor (Brett Clouser)
When friendships fail and the alliance is broken
Please bring me your torch 'cause the tribe has spoken

Interesting fact - Brett has his own song.   It is a rap and I should disqualify it, but it enchants me too much!  IT IS A REAL LIVE SURVIVOR ANTHEM.  Hilarity factor: high!  Plus if you listen to it enough, you decide there is enough singing to qualify it after all.  Any plans I had to flush the memories of Samoa out of my head are now worthless, as this song will live forever in my music library.  But that's okay, because if this song went in a head-to-head competition with "Barney Stinson (That Guy's Awesome)", I can't promise the latter would win.

92. Glee cast (ft. Jenna Ushkowitz) - True Colors
True colors are beautiful, like a rainbow

Because I desperately need something more respectable with which to close out the year.  This has yet to bowl me over, but it's on the path, because the hushed-vocals opening and her pretty little voice always catch my ear.  I've been trying to fall in love with this song for 2.5 years, but this version finally succeeded.  Yay, Glee and its magical musical properties!

93. Jolene Robbins - Priya Song
Stars go out inside my eyes
But you wait for me, wait for me...

Oh, go on, one more!  I've had this in my music library since October, and am technically still getting accustomed to it, but it seems a disservice not to mention such a quality piece.  Inspired by/in direct reference to "Dollhouse," as this post explains(download available there). I do not even watch Dollhouse, and I am in love with how perfectly it fits.  Beautiful arrangement of soft, entrancing music and murmuring vocals.

===========
And now, a poll that you should definitely vote in, even if you don't really care.

Poll #1505607 Next Year

The Music of 2010 should be posted on this cycle:

Trimesters
0(0.0%)
Quarters
3(42.9%)
Bimonthly
0(0.0%)
Monthly
4(57.1%)
Perpetually updated sticky post
0(0.0%)

Which format do you like better?

Song title - artist
3(42.9%)
Artist - song title
4(57.1%)

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
poinsley
Dec. 31st, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
99 Luftballoons is definitely a different song in English. It was actually the first song I ever sang in karaoke (I was living in Germany at the time)
aries11
Dec. 31st, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
If I can ever get my iTunes to work on my laptop, I'm hoping to change my music around a bit. It'll be nice to have access to the iTunes store and not have it take forever and a day to download a song! LOL.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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