Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Top 20 - 28 June, 2010

1. Florence + The Machine - Heavy In Your Arms
2. Eminem ft. Rihanna - Love The Way You Lie
3. Karen Elson - The Ghost Who Walks (NEW)
4. Klaxons - Flashover
5. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
6. Scissor Sisters - Fire With Fire (Re-Entry)
7. The Lowly Knights - Devotion (NEW)
8. Stars - Fixed
9. Gypsy & The Cat - Time To Wander
10. The Love Language - Heart to Tell
11. The Teenagers - Made Of (NEW)
12. Yolanda Be Cool + Dcup - We No Speak Americano
13. Kele - Rise (NEW)
14. Of Montreal - Coquet Coquette (NEW)
15. Arcade Fire - Ready to Start
16. M.I.A - XXXO
17. David Byrne & Fat Boy Slim ft. Sharon Jones - Dancing Together
18. Marina & The Diamonds - Shampain
19. Slow Club - Giving Up On Love
20. Brandon Flowers - Crossfire

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Countdown: I'm a Gleek, #20 - 11

I thought I'd do a complete one-eighty and follow up the last Countdown (Pearl Jam!) with one that highlights the top 20 musical moments on Glee. If you're as big a fan as I am (please don't tell anyone how I live) you're probably watching season one on repeat, anxiously waiting for new episodes that won't grace your television screen until September. And if you're not a fan, check out some of the links and maybe, just maybe, I'll convert you to a fully-fledged Gleekling.

Why do I love Glee? Sue Sylvester is the obvious answer. Jane Lynch has become one of TV's most popular stars, playing the amazing and slightly bipolar cheerleading coach. She gets the second best lines in the show, generally at the expense of Glee Club coach, Will Schuester's ridiculous hair. "Oh hey there William, I though I'd smelt cookies wafting from the ovens of your little elves that live in your hair." Outstanding. However it's sweet but slightly dimwitted Cheerio, Brittany, that's been getting all the best lines lately. Here's some of her best...

1. "I've been here since first period. I had a cold. I took all my antibiotics at the same time, and now I can't remember how to leave. I also don't know why I only made fourth on the glist. I made out with, like, everyone in this school. Girls; boys; Mr. Kidney, the janitor. I need to do something to get into the top three."

2. "It's not that. It's just that most of us don't know how to bake. I find recipes confusing."

3. "I'm pretty sure my cat's been reading my diary."

Amazing. All the characters bring something to the table. Powerful vocals (Rachel, Mercedes, Santana), emotion (Emma, Artie, Quinn, Kurt) and there's a healthy dose of romantic triangles and other multi-sided shapes (Emma-Terri-Will, Jesse-Rachel-Finn-Quinn-Puck). But the REAL star of the show is the music, which is generally carefully placed to advance the narrative. So, long introduction over, let's get to it!

Honourable Mentions

Halo/Walking On Sunshine (Rachel, Quinn, Tina, Mercedes, Santana & Brittany)
originally by Beyonce Knowles and Katrina & The Waves

Total Eclipse of the Heart (Rachel, Finn, Jesse & Puck)
originally by Bonnie Tyler

Bad Romance (Kurt, Tina, Santana, Rachel, Mercedes, Quinn & Brittany)
originally by Lady Gaga

originally by Julie Andrews

School counsellor, Emma Pillsbury, is in love with Will Schuester from the start of the show. But Will's married to his 'pregnant' wife Terri. So Emma decides that instead of being alone she's going to marry football coach Ken Tanaka, even though they're going to live in separate houses in different parts of town and he can't really touch her due to her germ phobia. While Will teaches Emma the steps to her first dance (in her wedding dress of course), she busts out some My Fair Lady, pointing out the obvious; she's still very much in love with Mr. Schuester. I don't know why, but this has been Emma's only solo up to now. Hopefully this will be addressed in season two as her voice is surprisingly good.

originally by James Brown & Betty Jean Newsome

Quinn's journey throughout the first season was pretty awesome. Her fall from grace was pretty cool to see as she went from mega-bitch to pregnant loser. But Glee being as awesome as it is actually gave the character a lot of depth and made you genuinely feel for her as she was kicked out of home and ended up being one of the more supportive members of New Directions. In terms of vocals she was never a stand out until the Funk themed episode, in which she got a whole bunch of up-the-duff girls together and performed 'It's A Man's Man's World.'

18. The Safety Dance (Artie + Glee Flash Mob)
originally by Men Without Hats

Artie's secret dream is to be a dancer. Unfortunately, Artie was in a terrible car accident that left him paralysed. So it came as a complete surprise when Artie got out of his wheelchair in a crowded shopping center and started doing 'The Safety Dance.' Even though the song is ridiculous, Artie's vocals and the amazing choreography more than made up for it. Knowing that it was a fantasy sequence makes it one of the saddest moments in the show. And this wasn't even the most depressing moment for Artie in this episode!

17. One (Rachel, Sean & New Directions)
originally by U2

A lot of people hate on Rachel, mostly because she's annoying. However there's no denying she has an incredible voice and at the end of the day, she's a nice person. She more than proved it when she went to give Finn's paralysed friend, Sean, singing lessons after he helped her realise that losing her voice wouldn't be the end of the world after she got a bad case of laryngitis.

16. True Colours (Tina & New Directions)
originally by Cyndi Lauper

I heart Tina. She's sweet, loves Artie, dresses like a goth, can be very funny (the vampire scene with Principal Figgins was priceless) and can belt a tune when given the chance. Her time would eventually come when she was given the solo for 'True Colours' and she didn't disappoint.

15. Imagine (Haverbrook Deaf Choir & New Directions)
originally by John Lennon

Oh, the humanity! Just watch. If you don't like it, congratulations, you have no soul...

originally by The Donnas

Emotional manipulation, thy name is Glee. Getting Artie, aka Wheels, to sing a slowed down version of 'Dancing With Myself' was a low blow. Props to Kevin McHale (who plays Artie) for learning the wheelchair bound choreography. The song was important for a couple of reasons; it set up the romance between Artie and Tina and was foreshadowing for the reveal of Artie's secret dream of being a dancer.

#13. Dream On (Will & Bryan)
originally by Aerosmith

Getting Neil Patrick Harris to guest star as the amazingly named Bryan Ryan was a smooth move. Even better, he was Will Schuester's old rival from back in HIS Glee Club days. Both were going for the lead in a small town production of Les Miserables and battled to 'Dream On.' Surprisingly it was more awesome than funny. Harris can hit some high notes, but Mr Schuester still blew him out of the water.

#12. Vogue (Sue Sylvester & Cheerios)
originally by Madonna

It doesn't get much better than this. A shot-for-shot recreation of 'Vogue' with Sue Sylvester taking Madonna's place. One of the funniest moments in the show. As Sue would say, it's outstanding!

#11. Maybe This Time (April & Rachel)
originally by Liza Minelli

When Rachel quits New Directions to star in a production of Cabaret, Will is desperate to find a replacement. Enter alcoholic high school drop-out and former Glee Club star, April, played by Emmy winning actress and Broadway star, Kristin Chenoweth. For the first time in the show, we see someone dominate Rachel's vocals. The two duet 'Maybe This Time' from Cabaret and April is quite clearly the stronger performer of the two leading ladies.

Well that's ten down. Ten to go.... stay tuned!!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Song of the Day: Hate To Say I Told You So

The Hives - Hate To Say I Told You So

I have the pleasure of seeing The Hives tomorrow when I attend Hard Rock Calling @ Hyde Park. Well it has the potential to be a pleasure. The Hives were one of THE bands in the early 2000s. Their recent work (including a failed collaboration with Timbaland) hasn't been very stellar but a big comeback is within the realm of possibility. 'Hate To Say I Told You So' introduced the Swedish quintet to the world in a big way and remains one of their most popular songs.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Top 20 - 21 June, 2010

1. Eminem ft. Rihanna - Love The Way You Lie (#1 for 2 weeks!)
2. Florence + The Machine - Heavy In Your Arms
3. Klaxons - Flashover
4. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
5. Yolanda Be Cool + Dcup - We No Speak Americano (NEW!)
6. Stars - Fixed
7. Gypsy & The Cat - Time To Wander (NEW!)
8. The Roots ft. Joanna Newsom & STS - Right On (NEW!)
9. The Love Language - Heart to Tell
10. Marina & The Diamonds - Shampain
11. David Byrne & Fat Boy Slim ft. Sharon Jones - Dancing Together
12. M.I.A - XXXO
13. Charlotte Gainsbourg ft. Beck - Heaven Can Wait (NEW!)
14. The Dirty Diamonds - Right Direction
15. Kate Nash - Paris
16. Brandon Flowers - Crossfire
17. Slow Club - Giving Up On Love (NEW!)
18. Tennis - South Carolina (NEW!)
19. Sia - The Fight
20. Arcade Fire - Ready To Start (NEW!)

Monday, 21 June 2010

Countdown: Pearl Jam

Hard Rock Calling @ Hyde Park kicks off on Friday with The Hives and Ben Harper supporting the headliners, Pearl Jam! The most successful band from the grunge-era (and one of the few still standing), Pearl Jam have been rocking for two decades and show no signs of slowing down. With 9 studio albums including 2009's critically acclaimed Backspacer, it's hard to choose just 20 of their best songs, but here we go....

20. The End (Backspacer)

Closing out their last album, 'The End' finds Eddie Vedder in a reflective writing mood. Like most of the tracks on Backspacer it's short and sweet, leaving you wanting more. The sudden finish to the song gets me every time.

19. Last Kiss (Lost Dogs)

Peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, 'Last Kiss' would become Pearl Jam's biggest commercial hit. Still a pub standard today and one of their most loved songs, even if it is a cover.

One of the best examples of Vedder's amazing storytelling. More low-key and acoustic, the song tells the tale of an encounter between a woman and an old boyfriend who moved onto bigger things outside the small town they were born in.

17. Nothingman (Vitalogy)

By Pearl Jam's third album, Vitalogy, Vedder had really perfected how to get the most emotion into his vocals. Case in point, 'Nothingman,' which brings me down (in a good way) every time I listen to it.

16. Even Flow (Ten)

Most of the songs on Ten dealt with pretty serious social issues. 'Even Flow' tackled an issue that is still a problem today, homelessness. "Freezing, rests his head on a pillow made of concrete, again."

15. World Wide Suicide (Pearl Jam)

It was only a matter of time before Pearl Jam weighed in on America's Bush Administration and the war in Iraq. That time would come in 2006 with the first single from their self-titled 8th studio album, 'World Wide Suicide,' began getting a ton of radio play.

14. Save You (Riot Act)

Fast-paced and featuring one of their best guitar riffs, 'Save You' deals with the pain of watching a good friend waste their life.

13. Supersonic (Backspacer)

'Supersonic' is just fun from start to finish. A song that will make you jump and you don't have to feel bad about it because there's no underlying social issue.

12. Alive (Ten)

The song that started it all. Mike McCready's guitar solo is regarded as one of the best of all time and with good reason. Stadium rock at its very best and again, very heavy subject material.

11. Light Years (Binaural)

For a song that revolves around the death of a friend, 'Light Years' is surprisingly uplifting. But maybe it's meant to be. Maybe it's about celebrating life. Whatever it is, it's one of the most beautiful songs Pearl Jam's ever released.

10. Man of the Hour (Big Fish OST)

If you've seen the Tim Burton film Big Fish then you should already love this song. 'Man of the Hour' is a young man saying goodbye to his Dad and one of the most perfectly written songs to come from Vedder. The best song the Jam have released in the 2000s.

9. Jeremy (Ten)

'Jeremy' would be the real breakthrough hit, dominating the MTV VMA's when people actually cared about MTV (because they were playing, you know, music). One of the biggest songs to come out of the grunge era, arguably behind only 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.'

8. Given to Fly (Yield)

Can you say a song is really nice to listen to. Nice is a pretty lame description. This song is amazing, was a critical and commercial success and took away a lot of the pain caused by No Code.

One of the best covers of all time. Victoria Williams even contributed backing vocals and guitar. Probably the most country influenced song Pearl Jam have recorded.

6. Why Go? (Ten)

Why would you want to go home if your parents had you committed to a mental institution for smoking pot? I love this song.

5. Daughter (Vs.) and Better Man (Vitalogy) - TIE

I find it pretty hard to separate these two. Both have become pub standards. Both tell amazing stories; 'Daughter' deals with the abuse of a child with a learning difficulty, while 'Better Man' is about a woman trapped in an abusive relationship. Deep stuff.

3. Do the Evolution (Yield)

The funnest song in Pearl Jam's entire catalogue but it's about the pathetic excuses the world makes for everything it ruins (like the environment). The video is outstanding.

2. Black (Ten)

Eddie Vedder's lyrical masterpiece and single greatest vocal performance. Stunning.

I like the argument that this is the follow-up to 'Daughter.' Getting away from the abuse, the shades are raised and the person is free. My favourite Pearl Jam song of all time.

Wise Investments

Is Ke$ha getting you down? Do you feel a little queasy after hearing Katy Perry's latest smash hit? Try some of these songs that flew under the mainstream radar... and call me in the morning.

Whole Wide World by Big Tree

- this song is super hard to track down these days, but you can listen to it on MySpace. "I can't seem to get over, how pretty the whole wide world is."

- I expect these guys to hit it big in the next year and 'She Loves Everybody' will hopefully be the song that makes them.

- One of the best songs of 2009. Shades of INXS?

- Nice song that belongs on a TV drama like Grey's Anatomy.

- Australian songstress that deserves a lot more attention.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Song of the Day: Bones

The Killers - Bones

With Brandon Flowers embarking on a solo career, have we seen the last of The Killers? Only time will tell but I really hope that we hear something new from the band sooner rather than later. Until then, we can all enjoy the old goodness, like 'Bones' from Sam's Town. So um... enjoy!

Oh... random fact. The male lead in the film clip, Michael Steger, plays Naveed in the new 90210. Naveed is 17. Steger is 30. Odd?

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Top 20 - 15 June, 2010

1. Eminem ft. Rihanna - Love The Way You Lie
2. Florence + The Machine - Heavy In Your Arms (NEW)
3. Marina & The Diamonds - Shampain
4. David Byrne & Fat Boy Slim ft. Sharon Jones - Dancing Together
5. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
6. The Love Language - Heart to Tell
7. M.I.A - XXXO
8. The Dirty Diamonds - Right Direction (NEW)
9. Christina Aguilera ft. M.I.A - Elastic Love
10. Sia - The Fight
11. Kate Nash - Paris
12. Stars - Fixed (NEW)
13. Angus & Julia Stone - Big Jet Plane
14. Kanye West ft. Dwele - Power
15. Brandon Flowers - Crossfire (NEW)
16. Scissor Sisters - Fire With Fire (NEW)
17. The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
18. Klaxons - Flashover
19. The Drums - Forever and Ever Amen
20. Delta Spirit - Bushwick Blues

Monday, 14 June 2010

Countdown: Shaken, Not Stirred...

Bond Theme Songs

It looks like it's going to be a loooong time until we see the 23rd installment in the James Bond franchise. While this could be a tad disappointing to fans of Daniel Craig's new and improved Jason Bourne-ish Bond, I say look at the positives. By the time the next film is ready to go, Amy Winehouse may finally be out of the gutter (literally) and ready to take on a project that her voice was destined to be a part of; the Bond theme legacy. Realistically the next couple of years for laWinehouse will go a little something like this... remarries her Blake, divorces her Blake, removes breast implants, jail time, remarries her Blake, puts back in breast implants, releases second CD, divorces her Blake, remarries her Blake. With all the court appearances, public meltdowns, booby makeovers and honeymoons I don't think Amy's going to have time to get around to doing a Bond theme. One can dream though. Anyway, here's ten of the best Bond themes for your listening pleasure.

10. Gladys Knight - Licence to Kill

While the film was nothing to write home about, you can't say the same about Gladys Knight's R&B infused title theme. Built around the brass part in 'Goldfinger,' the track would go to #6 in the UK but, much like the movie, failed to light up the American charts.

9. Madonna - Die Another Day

Again, not the best Bond film on offer, but 'Die Another Day' was definitely a winning track provided by the former/maybe current/who knows/who cares Queen of Pop, Madonna. I'll admit that when I first heard it I wasn't the biggest fan. It certainly grows on you though. The strings vs electronic composition is pretty awesome, as is the music video with all the homages to Bond films. Some of the lyrics, not so awesome - "Sigmund Freud, analyze this, analyze this, analyze this." Why Madge, why? 'Die Another Day' went Top 5 in the UK and managed to break into the Top 10 in the US, peaking at #8.

8. Duran Duran - A View to a Kill

It's so tragically 80s which just makes it cooler. 'A View to a Kill' would be the only Bond theme to top the US charts. Don't you want to live in a time where this could be at the top of the charts? The music video walks the fine line between cheesy and amazing, leaning towards the latter. Kudos.

7. Sheryl Crow - Tomorrow Never Dies

Sheryl's never sounded better (or sexier) than on the amazing theme to Pierce Brosnan's second outing as 007, Tomorrow Never Dies. She passionately belts out the chorus and provides some of the better lyrics to a Bond theme. I find it to be criminally underrated. Whenever 'Tomorrow Never Dies' is brought up in conversation it's generally met with a fairly 'meh' response. Maybe it's just me, but I find it to be a true Bond theme; an epic song performed by one of the best in the business.

6. Tom Jones - Thunderball

It's based on one of Bond's greatest motifs and sung by one of the most powerful male voices of all-time. 'Thunderball' has suave written all over it, but you wouldn't expect anything less from 'Sex Bomb' (I think I just threw up in my mouth) Jones. Legend has it that Jones passed out while recording the track from the strain of sustaining the final high note for such a long period of time.

5. Shirley Bassey - Diamonds Are Forever

Dame Bassey's second go at a Bond theme oozed sexuality and was riddled with innuendo. A jazz-funk sound combined with Shirley's incredible vocals made for not only one of the most popular James Bond theme songs, but also one of the most popular songs of its time. It's popularity was given a boost in the new millenium when Kanye West used a sample of it in the smash hit 'Diamonds From Sierra Leone.'

4. Paul McCartney & Wings - Live and Let Die

McCartney brings the awesome to the party on 'Live and Let Die.' Unfortunately the movie failed to follow his lead. Sure Baron Samedi was a cool henchman, but try watching it now and not shaking your head in disbelief at the many, many racial stereotypes. 'Live and Let Die' incorporates big band, stadium rock, power pop and even a little bit of Ska. The track earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

Garbage + a 60 piece orchestra = musical magic. The elaborate string arrangements, Shirley's emotional delivery of the vocal part and the overall 90s-ness of 'The World Is Not Enough' make it just about the coolest Bond theme ever. Watching robo-Shirley make out with for real-real Shirley in the video is pretty fun too. Even if she ends up giving her the kiss of death and blowing up a packed theatre moments later.

2. Shirley Bassey - Goldfinger

Yes, it's the most widely recognised, the most critically applauded and arguably the most popular, but it's still not #1 for me. Not to take anything away from 'Goldfinger,' it is one of the rare perfect movie songs and the best song devoted to a villain ever. It's so good that virtually every artist to record a Bond theme since Bassey has been inspired to attempt to recreate how powerful it was. Countless imitations and parodies have also popped up over the years, most notably Dr. Evil's theme from Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

1. Tina Turner - GoldenEye

The greatest Bond theme of all-time. It helps that GoldenEye is also the best Bond movie of all-time too. Bono & The Edge wrote Turner a killer track that showcased Tina's powerhouse vocals. Definitely worth a listen if you've got the time. I guarantee you won't regret it. "Revenge is a kiss, this time I won't miss, now I've got you in my sight, with a GoldenEye." Outstanding.

Friday, 11 June 2010

New Music: Eminem, Glee + More

Eminem ft. Rihanna - Love the Way You Lie

Well played Slim Shady. Getting Rihanna involved in a song about an abusive relationship was always going to be huge. Since the track was leaked to the internet last week, there's been a lot of media interest, creating a massive buzz around 'Love the Way You Lie.' Thankfully it's deserving of the hype, as Eminem delivers yet again with some fantastic lyrics and Rihanna plays her limited part to perfection. 'Love the Way You Lie' has the same feel as Eminem's hugely successful 'Stan,' and will likely follow in that song's footsteps by going straight to the top of the charts throughout the world.

Rating: 5/5

Eminem ft. P!nk - Won't Back Down

Very interesting. I would never, eeeever have imagined these two working together (and saying you have makes you a dirty, dirty liar). While it's not as strong as 'Love the Way You Lie,' it's still a fairly solid track. I would have liked to see Mathers make better use of Pink's time. While she delivers her defiant chorus pretty well, a more substantial role in the song could have lifted it from good to great. Now that Eminem's recorded something with Pink, I have high hopes for the long awaited Eminem/Britney duet. Just kidding. Or am I?

Rating: 3/5

Glee - Faithfully

I won't spoil anything about the Glee season finale, but I will say it was outstanding and the songs were some of the best the show has offered us so far. My personal favourite was this duet between Rachel (Lea Michelle) and Finn (Cory Monteith) of the classic Journey song 'Faithfully.' Journey must be loving the creator's of Glee sick right now. They would literally be rolling in all the money coming from royalties. Lea Michelle's voice is, as always, incredible and Monteith's supporting vocals compliment Lea, again as always, very nicely. It's probably not best to watch the YouTube link if you haven't seen the episode already! I also hope that everyone takes notice of Finn's ability to make even something as simple as walking look awkward.

Rating: 4/5

What's up with the Twilight franchise continually taking some of the coolest bands and making them kind of... lame? Maybe it's just me, but there is absolutely none of the good ole' Metric energy we saw on 2009s Fantasies here. In my review of Muse's 'Neutron Star Collision' (also written for the Twilight: Eclipse OST), I said that when you're at a certain critically acclaimed level, you can't just release something that's above average. It has to be blow-you-away amazing. I feel pretty much the same about 'Eclipse (All Yours).' To follow up Fantasies with this is a little disappointing.

Rating: 2.5/5

Florence + The Machine - Heavy In Your Arms

Wow. Maybe the Twilight: Eclipse soundtrack won't be so bad after all. Leave it to Ms. Welch and her amazing machine to prove me wrong. This song is brilliant and another showcase for Florence's tremendous vocal talents. Could this be the song that finally gets Florence + The Machine some attention from the US market? I sure hope so!

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Top 20 - 8 June, 2010

1. David Byrne & Fat Boy Slim ft. Sharon Jones - Dancing Together (NEW)
2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
3. Kanye West ft. Dwele - Power
4. Christina Aguilera ft. M.I.A - Elastic Love
5. Klaxons - Flashover
6. Marina & The Diamonds - Shampain (NEW)
7. M.I.A - XXXO
8. Kate Nash - Paris (NEW)
9. Angus & Julia Stone - Big Jet Plane
10. Sia - The Fight
11. Goldfrapp - Shiny & Warm
12. Blitzen Trapper - Dragon's Song (NEW)
13. Eminem ft. Rihanna - Love the Way You Lie (NEW)
14. The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic (NEW)
15. The Drums - Forever and Ever Amen
16. She & Him - Thieves
17. The Love Language - Heart to Tell (NEW)
18. Delta Spirit - Bushwick Blues (NEW)
19. Crystal Castles - Baptism
20. Eminem ft. P!nk - Won't Back Down (NEW)

Monday, 7 June 2010

Countdown: Duets


Twenty years ago, a duet between two superstars would be a pretty big deal in the eyes of the people. In today's musical climate it would seem that in order to make a song a hit it has to be a collaboration between two or more music stars. Ok, I might be over exaggerating a little but there are a lot of duets in the market right now. Currently Usher and Will.I.Am are at the top of the worldwide chart, followed closely by Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg, B.o.B and Hayley Williams, Lady Gaga and Beyonce and Sean Kingston and Justin Bieber. OHMYGOD JUSTIN BIEBER!!! She's awesome. Anyway, from a record companies perspective a duet makes a lot of sense. Get two artists, preferably from differing genres (which would mean differing fan bases) in the studio and cash in on the extra exposure the song will receive. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Let's look at twenty of the best... Oh and I'm not counting covers, so sorry to any Bowie/Jagger enthusiasts out there.

20 - Telephone
Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce

Premature? Maybe. Amazing? Yes! It's ok, you're allowed to admit that you love it. The 9 minute mini-movie only helped, with fantastic lines like, "if you kill a cow you've got to make a burger." Beyonce chowing down on a dirty burrito is something I never thought I'd have the pleasure of seeing.

19 - Touch It (Mega Mix)
Busta Rhymes ft. Mary J Blige, Missy Elliott, Rah Digga, DMX, Lloyd Banks, Ne-Yo & Papoose

Segments from some of the biggest names in rap, hip-hop and R&B that are broken up by a sample of Daft Punk's 'Technologic' = collaboration win!

18 - Request + Line
Black Eyed Peas ft. Macy Gray

Remember when the B.E.P used to be cool? No? Then check out their first commercial single 'Request + Line.' The success they achieved with Macy Gray likely led to the addition of Fergie to the group. That turned out alright. What would we do without classics like 'My Humps,' and 'I Gotta Feeling?'

17 - 9 Crimes
Damien Rice & Lisa Hannigan

One of Rice's greatest achievements. It's a fantastic duet that only loses points because Hannigan was part of the 'band' Damien Rice for the albums O and 9, which took away a lot of the wow factor. It wasn't the first time the two had worked together and it wouldn't be the last. Still, fantastic song.

16 - You Don't Know Me
Ben Folds ft. Regina Spektor

'You Don't Know Me' brings together two of the most criminally underrated singer/songwriters of the last decade. Luckily the two have almost cult like followings so the song proved popular on alternative and independent radio.

15 - Empire State of Mind
Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' ode to NYC became one of the biggest songs of 2009/2010 and had everyone putting their lighters in the air screaming, "YEAAAAAHHHHH." Let's hear it for New York!

14 - Get It Up
Santigold, M.I.A & Gorilla Zoe

Ever since Santigold stumbled into the mainstream in 2008 fans were salivating at the prospect of her working with the innovative (and apparently ranga hating) M.I.A. Fans got their wish granted last year in the form of 'Get It Up' which co-starred Gorilla Zoe.

13. Cop That Shit
Timbaland & Magoo ft. Missy Elliott

You can't blame Timbaland from moving in a more commercial direction and making a ton of money for himself in the process. You just need to remember that if he wanted to he could keep dropping tracks like 'Cop That Shit' that are a nice little reminder he's one of the coolest dudes in hip-hop. Add in regular guest stars Missy Elliott and the kind of weird Magoo and you've got one of the best rap songs... ever.

12. Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves
Aretha Franklin & Eurythmics

Two vocal powerhouses rocking a feminist anthem. This one gets bonus points for how unlikely it should have been for Aretha Franklin to sing alongside Annie Lennox.

11. Millionaire
Kelis ft. Andre 3000

One of popular music's true gems from 2004 saw the untouchable hit maker Andre 3000 (of OutKast) team with the girl with the milkshakes bringing all the boys to her yard. As expected, their styles worked perfectly together. Unfortunately the song didn't even see a US release, but it would go Top 5 in the UK.

10. Gold Digger
Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx

Foxx was coming off the success of his Academy Award winning portrayal of the legendary Ray Charles and Kanye was in need of a hit, so he was all like, "Jamie bro, sing a couple of lines for me in your Ray Charles voice because you're so hot right now." Foxx was like, "yeah, Ok." I'm sure there was a much better discussion about the two working together. Or was there? Yeah, probably. Anyway, 'Gold Digger' would go on to become the biggest song of West's career, placing at #9 on US Billboards biggest songs of the 2000s so far.

9. Be Faithful
Fatman Scoop ft. Crooklyn Clan

"Engine, engine number 9, on the New York transit line, if my train goes off the track, pick it up, pick it up, PICK IT UP!" A song designed to get people on the D-Floor with their hands in the air. I'd say they achieved what they set out to do.

8. Duet
Rachael Yamagata & Ray Lamontagne

If less is supposedly more, a perfect example would be the amazing duet by indie darling, Rachael Yamagata and rising folk star, Ray Lamontagne, aptly titled, 'Duet.' Just the two singing a quiet song as Lamontagne strums his acoustic guitar. It's like chicken soup for the ears. Or the soul. I'm not good with metaphors or analogies or anything really. I'm just trying to say the song's amazingly beautiful.

7. Son of a Gun
Janet Jackson ft. Carly Simon & Missy Elliott

Before the world was exposed during "Nipplegate" at the Super Bowl, Janet was one of the hottest acts in town. In 2001 she was able to get Carly Simon to sing parts from her hit single 'You're So Vain,' alongside the biggest female rapper in the world, Missy Elliott.

6. Breathe
Blu Cantrell ft. Sean Paul

'Breathe' was able to go to #1 in the UK for four weeks and reach the top tier of charts worldwide (except for the USA who must not have appreciated good music in 2003) with very little promotion from Blu's record company, Arista. It was the demand from fans to see the song added to radio, to have it released and to have a music video produced that makes it one of the coolest duets in recent memory. While you wouldn't exactly call Cantrell or Paul 'popular' anymore, if you do happen to be a fan of either of them, you can listen to 'Breathe' and smile.

5. Stan
Eminem ft. Dido
The song would introduce the world to the sweet vocal stylings of Dido and seemingly overnight made her into one of the biggest stars in the world. It's also regarded by many critics to be the best song in Eminem's catalogue, proving that he can be so much more that a comedy rap act.

4. This Mess We're In
PJ Harvey & Thom Yorke

It's PJ Harvey and the voice of Radiohead. What more do you want?

3. Where the Wild Roses Grow
Nick Cave ft. Kylie Minogue

Nick Cave's writing has always been his greatest strength and he wrote a masterpiece in 'Where the Wild Roses Grow,' the first single from 1996s Murder Ballads. Minogue happened to be moving in a more alternative direction throughout the mid-90s and fitted in perfectly as the murdered beauty Elisa Day. This would be Cave's biggest commercial hit and Minogue's most critically acclaimed, making this the best example of a beneficial duet for each artist involved.

2. Falling Slowly
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova

If you haven't heard this, or if you haven't seen the film Once, I strongly encourage you to do so. 'Falling Slowly' won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture for Once which stars Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova. The two have since gone on to form The Swell Season, currently one of the more popular folk groups in the world. This song is amazing. It's simple, but epic; sad, but sweet.
1. Walk This Way
Aerosmith & Run DMC

After the huge success of 'Walk This Way,' the music industry started looking at collaborations a little differently. It showed that you could get two groups from very different genres and still make something memorable, fun and a commercial success. Another mutually beneficial duet, the music of Run DMC would rise to prominence throughout the world and take the rap genre to previously unseen levels of popularity, and Aerosmith would once again be considered cool. I can't even remember the last time Aerosmith were considered cool.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Song of the Day - Runs in the Family

Amanda Palmer - Runs in the Family

So much fun in a dark and twisted kind of way. One of the best tracks from Palmer's solo debut, Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, 'Runs in the Family' moves at such a manic pace you barely have time to take in how awesome the lyrics are. One of the comments on the video describes it as, "a panic attack set to music." I couldn't agree more (and how awesome are my sources by the way? How many blogs use YouTube video comments?). One of my favourite lines is during the first chorus, "this family that carries me to such great lengths, to open my legs up to anyone who'll have me." Awesome.

Don't You Forget About Me #3 - 9 Crimes

Damien Rice - 9 Crimes


Depressingly amazing or amazingly depressing? Either or, nothing can take away from how beautiful this song really is. I won't pretend to know exactly what '9 Crimes' is actually about. Guesswork leads me to believe it's about a couple who are struggling to come to terms with the fact that they are growing apart and falling in love with other people. Sad? Yes, but it makes a fantastic theme for a song.

Like many of Rice's other songs, '9 Crimes' is based on a simple melody and thought provoking lyrics that rely on emotional vocal delivery. And the delivery from Rice and frequent collaborator Lisa Hannigan is definitely emotional. You can feel the despair as they ask each other if what they're doing is alright and you already know the answer is somewhere in the no department.

If you can't tell from the previous Don't You Forget About Me's, I enjoy a song that builds up throughout. This certainly happens here, as Hannigan and Rice take turns with verses before singing over the top of each other as strings and percussion build up in the background until the emotional climax that ends the vocals with Rice's, "no," before fading out with the opening piano melody.

The accompanying music video is pretty cool too. A bit bizarre, but they get points for trying something different. At first I was like, "why would they have a severed head singing?" But it's cool, it's actually a balloon. Duh. In case you're wondering where you might have heard '9 Crimes' before, it's appeared in the (lame) Shrek the Third movie and episodes of Grey's Anatomy, Jericho, CSI and The Inbetweeners.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Countdown: Women Who Rock - #1, Debbie Harry

#1 - Debbie Harry
of Blondie

No one should be too shocked by this... Coming in at number one is the original (and the best) uber-cool leading lady, Debbie Harry!! For over three decades she has been the voice of Blondie, contributing classics like 'Heart of Glass,' 'One Way or Another,' 'Rapture' and 'Call Me.' She's gone from iconic punk rocker to disco diva to full blown rock star, inspiring millions of women throughout the world along the way. This countdown is a prime example of how inspirational Harry has been and you can see this when you look at women like Shirley Manson, Courtney Love, Karen O, Gwen Stefani, Florence Welch, Beth Ditto, Juanita Stein and Ella Hooper.

Debbie's versatile vocals, natural beauty and incredible sense of style allowed her to rise to prominence in the male dominated punk scene of the 1970s. She was able to adapt enough over the years to maintain a high level of success and adoration from the public, even during the 15 year hiatus between The Hunter (1982) and No Exit (1997). Along with Alanis Morissette, Harry is the highest selling woman on the list, with album sales in excess of 40 million. She is however the only woman on the list to be inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an honour that many rock stars will never have bestowed upon them in their career.

Instead of sitting at home and cashing in on royalties from her back catalogue and the many lame covers other "artists" do of Blondie's songs (eg. Atomic Kitten - 'The Tide Is High' aka bastardisation at its worst), Harry & friends have been back in the studio recording the band's ninth studio album, Panic of Girls, which is to be released this year. They'll also be one of the headliners at next week's Isle of Wight festival alongside The Strokes, La Roux, Crowded House and Vampire Weekend.

Fun Fact: She can rap. Or at least she tries to rap. Rapture is often credited as the first song to reach #1 in the USA with rap vocals. Riiiight.

Top 20 - 1 June, 2010

1. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs (NEW)
2. Klaxons - Flashover
3. Angus & Julia Stone - Big Jet Plane
4. Kanye West ft. Dwele - Power (NEW)
5. The Drums - Forever and Ever Amen
6. M.I.A - XXXO
7. Crystal Castles - Baptism
8. Goldfrapp - Shiny and Warm
9. She & Him - Thieves (NEW)
10. Robyn - Dancing On My Own
11. Operator Please - Back and Forth
12. B.o.B ft. Hayley Williams - Airplanes
13. N.E.R.D ft. Nelly Furtado - Hot & Fun
14. Christina Aguilera ft. M.I.A - Elastic Love (NEW)
15. Marina & The Diamonds - Obsessions
16. Eminem - Not Afraid
17. Sia - The Fight
18. Kylie Minogue - All the Lovers (NEW)
19. Lena - Satellite (NEW)
20. The Dead Weather - Die By The Drop

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

New Music: Muse, Kanye West + More

Due to the association with the next Twilight movie I should strongly dislike this, but I can't. That's not to say I'm loving the whole 'epic movie love ballad' that Bellamy & Co. have gone for, I'm just not strongly disliking it. Let's go with indiffirent. 'Neutron Star Collision' has left me with a feeling of indifference. It's just kind of... meh, which is exactly how I felt after listening to Muse's suprisingly underwhelming The Resistance from last year. Don't get me wrong, there were a couple of fantastic songs on the album but when we're talking about a Muse CD you want it to be blow-you-away-amazing, not just above average. Putting (Love Is Forever) after the cool song title is just lame by the way.

Rating: 2.5/5

Kanye West ft. Dwele - Power

Ah Kanye. The King of MTV controversy. After the stupidity of the Taylor Swift fiasco he was going to have to deliver with something amazing to maintain some credibility. Luckily for Mr West, he has. It's not quite as commercial as 'Gold Digger' or 'Stronger,' but it still has a lot of crossover potential and should be well received on radio and the charts. You could favourably compare it to the excellent 'Jesus Walks' off his debut which is quite high praise. I still think he's a tool but he makes it hard to hate him when he puts out a quality track like 'Power.'

Rating: 4/5

Kylie Minogue - All The Lovers

Colour me surprised. With all the other pop princesses going Gaga and trying to outdo the others with crazy antics and insanely out of control fashion it's nice to see one of them NOT trying to be a clone. 'All The Lovers,' the lead single off Minogue's new album Aphrodite, sees Kylie sticking to the disco inspired roots that have defined her over her career. Admittedly, it's not one of her best songs ('Confide In Me,' 'Did It Again,' 'Breathe' - 90s Kylie is kinda cool), but it's going to please her hardcore (aka gay) fans and will hopefully even get some attention in the US.

Rating: 3.5/5

Christina Aguilera ft. M.I.A - Elastic Love

Or, how about - M.I.A with special guest vocals from Christina Aguilera - 'Elastic Love.' Seriously, what does Aguilera do on this other than sing the chorus (is that even her singing?). With that out of the way, 'Elastic Love' is actually a pretty good tune. M.I.A as always brings the goods to the table and may be just what Xtina needed to be seen as cool again in the eyes of the public. I'm not going to lie, I have enjoyed watching the failure of 'Not Myself Tonight,' because no matter how many times she says she wasn't, it was Aguilera does Gaga. Poorly. The problem I have with her here is it's Aguilera does M.I.A. Does Christina Aguilera suffer from some form of split personality disorder? Like I said, good song, but that really has nothing to do with Christina Aguilera and everything to do with M.I.A.

Rating: 3.5/5

Lena - Satellite

In case you are a crazy person and missed Eurovision, this is the winning song for 2010. German entrant, Lena, deserved her win on Saturday night with this fun, upbeat indie-popish track. Her accent can get annoying after a while and you probably shouldn't pay too much attention to the lyrics but if you can get past that then you'll find a nice catchy tune. 'Satellite' has already become a huge hit throughout most of Europe and I don't see why it couldn't do well in the UK or Australia. Don't count on it being the next '99 Luftballons' though.

Rating: 3/5