Friday, January 30, 2004

New downloads come early this week, since I'm going away for a week and won't have access to the FTP server:

I'd always heard of the brilliance of Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five, but had never actually heard any of his stuff until recently, after hearing Matos wax apeshit about him, especially at Boogie Fever. Hearing the phenomenal "Harlem Hit Parade" show Douglas Wolk did on WFMU back in November piqued my interest, too. So I tracked down one of Jordan's biggest hits, "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens," which was #1 on the Billboard R&B charts for a jaw-dropping 17 weeks in 1947. [And that wasn't even his biggest hit! That honor goes to "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie," which ruled the roost for 18 weeks in 1946. In fact, from July '46 till May '47, no one else hit the top of the R&B chart, and that run only featured 5 singles.] I understand what the fuss is about. This ain't just swing, this is jump-up boogie - with more energy and propulsion than the majority of any given year's hip-hop and R&B singles put together. Consider me converted.

Pet Shop Boys released a double-disc retrospective, PopArt, at the end of last year (in the UK - there's still no US release set). It features the obligatory pair of new songs, but for once, they deserve to appear here. I've already gotten all rhapsodic about "Miracles"; take a listen to the other new track, "Flamboyant." It's classic PSB, and could just as easily have been made in 1992 as today. That's a compliment.

It's no secret that one of my professional idols, and one of the biggest influences on my writing, is Robert Christgau. He's been writing for The Village Voice (and occasionally, other publications) for over 30 years now. He's not just the Dean, he's the motherfucking Don. One of my favorite review he's ever written is of the 1986 Rolling Stones album Dirty Work, which happens to be my favorite non-comp of theirs. Hopefully, it won't piss anyone off if I share his classic review here in full:

Dreaming of solo glory, Mick doesn't have much time for his band these days--just plugged into his Stones mode and spewed whatever he had to spew, adding lyrics and a few key musical ideas to tracks Ron and Keith completed before the star sullied his consciousness with them. And I say let him express himself elsewhere. For once his lyrics are impulsive and confused, two-faced by habit rather than design, the straightest reports he can offer from the top he's so lonely at, about oppressing and being oppressed rather than geopolitical contradiction. In the three that lead side two, always playing dirty is getting to him, as is his misuse of the jerks and greaseballs and fuckers and dumb-asses who clean up after him, yet for all his privilege he's another nuclear subject who's got no say over whether he rots or pops even though he'd much prefer the former. Especially together with the hard advice of "Hold Back," these are songs of conscience well-known sons of bitches can get away with. Coproducer Steve Lillywhite combines high-detail arena-rock with back-to-basics commitment and limits the melismatic affectations that have turned so much of Mick's late work in on itself. Let him have his own life and career, I don't care. What I want is the Stones as an idea that belongs to history, that's mine as much as theirs. This is it. A

Wow. The title cut from Dirty Work has always been a personal favorite of mine; it's just so raw and nasty, and sounds like my idea of what the Stones are supposed to fucking sound like. They've never sounded nearly so loose-cannon since, and that's a shame.

After seeing Britney's "Toxic" video today, I'd like to take something Stumpy's been saying for years now and raise him one: she'll be posing for Playboy within three years, tops. And it'll be one of their best-selling issues ever. But she won't show her chocha. I love the song, but the video is less fun'n'campy and more the sign of an performer gasping for commercial air.

I'd like to thank The Planning Council's Mary Louis Campbell for yet another lie she told me when I was bring "terminated." Upon my asking about being paid for my remaining vacation time, she responded that she'd speak with the finance department and have it added to my last check. Did she? Of course not. Could've used that money, too, but instead have to wait another 2 weeks for it.

Tonight marks the final episode of VH-1's Bands Reunited. Unfortunately, looking at their TV schedule, one sees that the Squeeze episode is only half an hour. You know what that means. It also means that their '79 classic "Cool for Cats" is only up for 24 hours.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#31 "Excuse Me Miss," Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella)

Where "99 Problems" is the sound of Jay-Hova as the hard rock, this is the sound of him as Mr. Lover-Lover. Not since Biggie has one rapper so effortlessly combined street and commercial as Jay-Z. I mean, who's better at it? And while I'm asking questions, can I take you out tonight?

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#32 "Shannon Stone," Go Home Productions (

"Stoned immaculate," indeed. I know I seem to go on and on about GHP, but the bottom line is simple: there are few musical artisans showing more creativity right now than Mark. This 'un smashes the vocals from Shannon's '84 classic "Let the Music Play" with the Stones' "Gimme Shelter" (and snatches of "Honky Tonk Women" and "Sympathy for the Devil" to boot). It simply shouldn't work, and it certainly shouldn't be this phenomenal. But it is.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#33 "The Way You Move," OutKast featuring Sleepy Brown (Arista)

It's all about the salsa.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#34 "99 Problems," Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella)

Another of the finest lyrics of the year can be found here:

"If you havin' girl problems, I feel bad for you son
I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one."

But that's not really why this record rocks. Hard. It's all behind the mixing board: Jigga got Rick Rubin to produce this track, harkening back both in spirit and feel to his classic records made for the likes of L.L. in the mid-'80s. So when I tell you this rocks, I mean it literally. This is how it should be done.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#35 "Are You Ready For Love," Elton John (Ultra)

Funny, innit, that one of the year's best records was originally released in 1979? This was from the sessions Elton did with Phillly sound God Thom Bell, which also produced the '79 #9 single "Mama Can't Buy You Love." But how did this amazing gem stay buried for so long? Thank Norman Cook for its resurrection, as he finagled a licensing agreement for his Southern Fried Records in the UK, where this became a deserved #1 smash. With all of the disco-funked-up production going 'round today, this nearly sounds current; ignore the remixes and go for the original's 8:23 of glory, all string-, woodwind-, and wah-wah guitar-splashed (don't forget the congas!), and revel in the joy of Elton's great vocal, as well.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#36 "Frontin'," Pharrell featuring Jay-Z (Star Trak)

Funny, innit, that of all the records he appeared on in '03, Pharrell's best is his own? A ridiculously minimalist groove (basically just a click track and a keyb countermelody) is topped by his pitch-perfect falsetto, while Jay-Z gets a very Ron Carter-sounding bassline added in for his verse. But how did Pharrell get "I was gon' tear your ass up" on the radio?!

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#37 "Lone Cat (Holding On)," Ben Watt (Buzzin' Fly UK)

Making a nice pair with the previous record is this, one of the year's finest deep, deep house tracks. Watt, formerly of course of EBTG, has transformed himself into quite the mighty UK deep house guru. This is all soul, tinkling piano, cushy keybs, funky bass, and luscious vocals. Strength to strength, y'all. He's giving Masters at Work a run for their money these days.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#38 "I'm In Heaven," Jason Nevins presents UKNY featuring Holly James (Ultra)

The finest straightforward pop/house (or house/pop) track of the year showcases Nevins finally leaving his hard-squelch hip-hop remixes behind (they were getting a bit old, and he was getting in quite a rut) and going straight for the uplifting non-cheese, complete with a finely-utilised Jacko sample (from "Human Nature") and a superb babydiva turn from James. Also one of Bob Mould's 2003 faves.

It all makes so much sense now... in high school, I was really into "Christian rock" (I use quotes because what it really was, was Christian pop, I know now). And there was no one I loved more than the genre's supreme diva, Amy Grant; I still love her mid-to-late-'80s work. Now I understand why, thanks to the King of the Gay Blogosphere, Ernie (and more accurately, his boyfriend): because she was "the Madonna for Christian gay boys." It should have been obvious.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Uh-oh. Dean's campaign is increasingly looking Not. So. Good.

The best quote from tonight's SC debate, BTW, came from John Edwards, regarding Bush's domestic inaction while concentrating on foreign affairs (specifically, "That's the man who tried to kill my Daddy"):

"A president has to be able to walk and chew chewing gum at the same time."

Well said, John, well said. I sometimes find myself wondering if this one literally can...

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#39 "The Ladies Who Lunch (from Camp)," Alana Allen and Anna Kendrick (Decca/UMG Soundtracks)

I saw better films in 2003, but none which I truly, purely loved more than Camp; I saw it four times in 11 days, and was pretty obsessed with it for a while. Its soundtrack brings me nearly the same level of joy: ergo, no single album features more tracks in my year-end top 40 (three, for those counting). A Stephen Sondheim song written for his 1970 musical Company, "Ladies" has rightfully become a classic, most notably brought to the (non-Broadway) masses via Streisand's Broadway Album. This clever, astute reading by two teenagers, however, might even make you forget La Streisand's version. To an understated, trumpet-seasoned accompaniment, Allen and Kendrick just nail it, imbuing Sondheim's words with just the right mix of humor and pathos. And if you've seen the film (out on DVD next month), it's even more enjoyable - especially Kendrick's scream at the end of the second verse. I'm no show tune queen (and, in fact, am generally allergic to them, which makes my love of Camp all the more profound), but I'd kill to see these two on Broadway in, say, five years, and see what they could do then. Like whoa.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#40 "Senorita," Justin Timberlake (Jive)

It's the punchy, stabbing rhythm track that gives "Senorita" its foundation, the horny horns which add the spice, and J-Tim's attempt to bring back the call-and-response (a la ol' skool Stax) which makes it a future classic. Before he tells you "good night" or "good morning," gentlemen and ladies, meet the new, true King of Pop.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#41 "No Letting Go," Wayne Wonder (VP)

2003 may well be remembered as the year of the Diwali rhythm, an Indian-influenced riddim track that took Jamaica by storm and spawned three-count-'em-three worldwide hits: the inescapable (and poorly-wearing) "Get Busy" by Sean Paul, personality-less Lumidee's "Never Leave You (Uh-Oooh, Uh-Oooh)," and this sweet-as-sugar synthed-up track from Wonder. I considered being cheeky and putting all three songs in this slot, but decided eventually to leave it to "No Letting Go" because it's the only one of the three I can enjoy repeatedly. R&B-leaning lover's rocking smoove reggae, it goes down easy with no aftertaste. The remix - which simply adds a verse by L.L. Cool J - is fine as well.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#42 "Nah!," Shania Twain (Mercury)

The kiss-off record of 2003. Why wasn't this a single? Banjos + Def Leppard-esque production = a winner every time.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#43 "Clocks," Coldplay (Capitol)

A classic, undeniable rock single - the not-quite-as-globally-unifying cousin of U2's "One"? Likely.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#44 "Plug It In," Basement Jaxx featuring JC Chasez (XL/Astralwerks)

In which the Jaxx turn JC into the ghost in the machine: at various points in the song, he's a (former?) member of *NSync, a woman, and Prince. Then they throw him into an electronic tornado, and he freaks out. Like nothing you've heretofore heard, and it's only the third-best track on Kish Kash!

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#45 "Sly Beyoncé Walks Like A Nerd," Go Home Productions (

Most bootleg/mashups take the musical track from one song and combine it with the vocals from another. But why limit yourself? GHP, getting better and surer and stronger in his craft seemingly every day, puts forth a four-song mashup with "Sly Beyoncé," using "Family Affair" (Sly and the Family Stone), "Crazy In Love" (Beyoncé, duh), "Walk Like An Egyptian" (Bangles), and "Run to the Sun" (N*E*R*D) and crafting one magical 3:19 song out of them. It's one of the most complex pieces I've heard of his, yet easily his most relaxed/mellow - this would fit nicely on a chillout mix, believe it or not. But what you've gotta believe is that Mark, a/k/a GHP, is the shit, and one of the UK's most talented musicians at this moment in time.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#46 "Laundromat," Nivea featuring R. Kelly (Jive)

Here's one which sadly flew under most folks' radar, the second-best R. Kelly production of the year. [You already know what his best one was, and we'll get to it in due time.] I don't entirely get the whole "laundromat" theme, as the single largely concerns a breakup. But the gently loping beat and the phat bassline more than make up for any lyrical confusion. And you've gotta love any record in which a woman tells Mr. Teen Watersports USA off.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#47 "Three Mississippi," Terri Clark (Mercury Nashville)

Clark had a big comeback year, with top 10 (country) singles bracketing the year, and culminating in a CMA nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year. This, oddly, was the non-hit; it only made it into the 30s on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart. Maybe it's 'cause audiences tend to identify her more with female empowerment anthems, and have trouble with her records where she sings "I'm breakin'/breakin' down"? It's their loss, 'cause this is one of 2003's finest country singles, a sad, yet tough song, sung and played superbly. Love the fiddle, too.

The Alarm's "68 Guns" is a ringing, anthemic (weren't most of their records?) single which made #17 in the UK charts back in October '83. As one of their earliest singles, it's also one of their most strident - and exciting. Enjoy tonight's episode of Bands Reunited.

More proof, as if we needed it, that the Bush administration doesn't give a damn about poor people. "Lost your job? So sad! *whispering* Hey, Haliburton, want some more money?"

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Posted 10:42 PM by Thomas Inskeep
I'm only leaving the download of Extreme's "Get the Funk Out" up for one day, to protest Nuno Bettencourt being an asshole and limiting tonight's Bands Reunited to just 30 minutes. Poo.

Lots to write about: Oscar nominations, NH primary, continuing jobhunt, and my surprise plans for next week. [Not to mention returning to the top 100 at some point!] Tomorrow, I promise.

The Extreme download is gone, I covered the Oscars and the primary, have no news on the jobhunt (apart from my explorations in NH next week), and I even got back to the top 100. See? Sometimes even I write about what I say I'm gonna write about. 'Night.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#48 "December 4th," Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella)

Including guest appearances, Jigga is on 6 records on this chart, more than anyone - and all of 'em in the top 50. Half of those are solo cuts, this being the first of two from The Black Album. And no, this isn't included because he and I share a birthday. *chuckle* This is a big mash of swirling strings, S. Carter giving an "where I'm comin' from" treatise in under 5:00, and spoken interludes from his Moms, talking about her boy's formative years. If this really is his final album - and I hope it's not - the best/most popular rapper of the past decade can exit, stage left with his head held very high.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#49 "Cell Block Tango (from Chicago)," Catherine Zeta-Jones and Company (Epic Soundtrax)

Catherine, Mya, and a buncha Broadway babies let 'er rip on one of the finest selections from the Kander and Ebb songbook. No more, no less, and if you don't get it, you're probably not meant to.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#50 "Cab Driver," Daryl Hall (Liquid 8)

And we enter the top half of my 2003 chart with a most unlikely one. Yes, I'm a massive Hall & Oates fan, but that doesn't mean I'm a blind (nay, deaf?) one: apart from parts of Daryl's '94 Soul Alone and their late-'02 "Do It For Love" single, they've not done much worth spending time with in the last, oh, 12 or 13 years. That changed this year with the belated (it came out in Japan in '01!) release of Daryl's Can't Stop Dreaming, a surprisingly solid collection of smooth, soulful pop with a slight jazz inflection. "Cab Driver" is effortless, and near perfection, Daryl singing a great (self-penned, of course) "gotta get back to my baby" song to the accompaniment of a smoove arrangement, adult without being boring, featuring a lot of sax. Sublime.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#51 "Stormy in the North, Karma in the South," the Wildhearts (Gut UK)

Were Foo Fighters British and had a knack for too-clever song titles...

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#52 "Beautiful," Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell and Uncle Charlie Wilson (Priority)

Don't call it comeback - oh, hell, why not? Proof that you can re-make Snoop commercial without blunting his edge, pun intended. A sexy lil' Neptunes groove, a patented Pharrell falsetto, and those mellifluous tones of the d-o-double-g add up to a track we'll still be spinnin' (and bumpin') in a decade.

Is that opening guitar riff on Scissor Sisters's "Comfortably Numb" sampled from "Eye of the Tiger"? I'd like to think it perversely is, frankly.

Speed round:

I'm gonna skip tonight's Bands Reunited - I mean, really, Dramarama?! - but won't skip offering up a download of their first "hit," "Anything, Anything."

Oscar noms: disappointed dearly by the lack of a nod for Scarlett Johansson (I blame Focus Features for pushing her in Supporting instead of Lead Actress - I think her votes got split), and by the lack of love for Cold Mountain in the big categories (Picture, Screenplay, and Director) (an astonishing achievement in film, flawed but towering nonetheless). Fernando Meirelles, surprise Director and Screenplay nominee for City of God, is this year's Pedro Almodovar - remember, the exact same thing happened last year... Almodovar's Talk to Her was not his country's Foreign Film nominee, but then he picked up Director and Screenplay nods (and a win for Original Screenplay!). Seeing as how City of God picked up nods for Cinematography and Film Editing, too, I wonder how far it was out of the Picture race. Bummed that Kill Bill: Volume 1 was ignored in Cinematography and Film Editing, too. No other too-major shocks (apart from Keisha Castle-Hughes getting nommed for Lead Actress). I still think that of the "big 6" races - acting, plus Picture/Director - the only suspense comes in Lead Actor: Bill Murray or Sean Penn? I'm certainly rooting for the former SNL-er.

America's Next Top Model rocks so hard. Pleased that whiny-ass Heather's gone home to her Mama, I hope next it's Catie who returns to Daddy's lovin' arms. Camille is to Season 1's Robin as Shandi is to Elyse - hey kids, it's Top Model syllogisms! Which of course means that I hate the former and love the latter. And Yoanna rocks, too. [If you missed it last night, there's a rebroadcast tonight at 9pm EST on UPN.]

My Mom and at least one sister are seriously looking at the good doctor in the Dem primaries. That makes me ecstatically happy.

Flying into Manchester, New Hampshire (how appropriate!) Saturday, with Rindge, NH my final destination, to visit a friend/potential who-knows-what interest, and look for jobs in radio for a week. Interestingly, southern NH is awash in numerous independent readio stations (my forté!). Get to make a daytrip to Portland, Maine and finally meet these two, as well. Yay, queen! Should be a great, if chilly, trip.

Funny stuff: you remind me of my cellmate?

Rick Majerus, we love ya, man, but for the love of God cut down on the cheeseburgers!

Best recent googling leading here: "famous Periodontist in munich."
Worst: "Aaliyahs burned dead body." Sick, sick, sick.

Is anyone else excited by the return of the amazing George Michael? Yeah, I thought so. He's still at the top of his game when it comes to making superb pop records. New single next month (UK), followed by the new album Patience in March (UK as well - no info yet on a US release date).

In other return-of-Brit-icons news:

Morrissey's long-awaited new studio album will be called "You Are the Quarry" and is targeted for a May release on the reactivated Attack imprint via Sanctuary, a spokesperson confirms to Other details about the project, including a track list or single, remain shrouded in secrecy. Morrissey is expected to tour behind the album, but no dates have been announced.

"You Are the Quarry" was produced by Jerry Finn, best known for his work with rock acts such as Green Day and Blink-182. It is Morrissey's first album since 1997's "Maladjusted," his final release for Mercury. The former Smiths frontman had been without a record deal [until] inking with Sanctuary last June.

Copyright 2004 Billboard

Heaven knows we need him back. As the man himself says, "If you know the state of modern music in America these days, you know the world is full of crashing bores." Amen!

I've been a big fan of Daily Kos for some time now; it's the 'net/blog destination for Dem/liberal news and analysis w/o media bias. But I'm not sure I've ever read as impressive a piece on Beltway politics - both GOP and DNC-style - until reading Stirling Newberry's "Inside the Beltway Bubble" - an inspired and spot-on (to my eyes) piece of work. If you care any about the future of this great nation of ours, I implore you to read it.

Also, from the comments to this post over in the Kos diaries:

"The reason (besides SCOTUS) that Gore lost was because he didn't have a bunch of people who would fight to the death for him. Dean does. Do any of the other Dems?"

Well, do they? Personally, I think the answer's obvious.

It was also pointed out in that diary entry that the final count which matters from NH isn't 39-26 (%), it's 13-9 (delegates). Dean gets four fewer delegates from NH than Kerry and is considered to have failed - "again," cry the media - in the Granite State? I don't think so. Crossing Iowa and New Hampshire does not determine who wins the Dem nomination. Last week, I observed that Senator Tom Harkin won IA in '92. You know who won NH? Senator Paul Tsongas. And we saw how well both of their presidential campaigns went. We Dems (and many others, I might add) are pissed as hell. We're sick of the Bush administration's 3-years-and-counting of lies and deceit. Have you seen the turnout numbers in IA and NH? There needs to be fire in the belly of Dem supporters to get the undecideds and independents (and third-party supporters, natch) to vote for the Dem candidate on 11/2. I still don't think Kerry can go the distance - and a(n already-talked-about) Kerry-Edwards ticket would be so bland as to be easy meat for Rove and his minions. Dean can call Bush out, he will call Bush out, and I still believe that he can win both the Dem nomination and TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK. I'll be proudly voting for the good Doctor in the VA primary on 2/10; I encourage you to do the same, wherever you live and whenever your primary is held (if you're so inclined as to vote Dem).

For more information - I encourage you to support Dean, but more importantly, support the Dems - the "final four" candidates' websites:
General Wesley Clark
Governor Howard Dean
Senator John Edwards
Senator John Kerry

And their blogs (yep, they've all got 'em):

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I'm only leaving the download of Extreme's "Get the Funk Out" up for one day, to protest Nuno Bettencourt being an asshole and limiting tonight's Bands Reunited to just 30 minutes. Poo.

Lots ot write about: Oscar nominations, NH primary, continuing jobhunt, and my surprise plans for next week. [Not to mention returning to the top 100 at some point!] Tomorrow, I promise.

And I've gotta go to bed on a down note, dammit.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Tonight's Bands Reunited download: the Extended Mix of Kajagoogoo's "Too Shy."

Happy 30th birthday, Paul! He's a fine man, a fine music geek, a fine HTML helper, and a fine bloghost - even if he just doesn't get the brilliance of so much 1980s R&B.

The jobhunt's not going great guns. I need access to a fax machine (why do so many employers prefer faxes to email?!), and frankly, some better weather (I'd rather not show up to inquire about a job with slush-filled shoes and a sniffling nose, you know - which I did at a couple places today). Also, employers who wouldn't list openings for plumbers in the "writing" category (in online classifieds) would be helpful.

You know, I realized today that while I've talked for some time about my C700 Go! 1986 disc, I've never actually said what's on it. This is what's on it (split like Matos is rock-rockin' it):

1. Cocteau Twins - Feet-like Fins
2. Anita Baker - Sweet Love
3. Stevie Wonder - Overjoyed
4. Freddie Jackson - Tasty Love
5. Sade - The Sweetest Taboo
6. Gregory Abbott - Shake You Down
7. Lionel Richie - Love Will Conquer All
8. Jeffrey Osborne - You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)
9. Billy Ocean - Love Zone
10. Ready for the World - Love You Down

11. Stephanie Mills - Rising Desire
12. Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald - On My Own
13. René & Angela - Your Smile (12" Version)
14. LeVert - (Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind
15. Cherrelle - Saturday Love (f/Alexander O'Neal)
16. Robert Cray Band - Right Next Door (Because Of Me)
17. Oran "Juice" Jones - The Rain
18. S.O.S. Band - The Finest
19. Cameo - Candy (12" Version)
20. Prince and the Revolution - Mountains

21. Sheila E. - A Love Bizarre
22. Janet Jackson - Control
23. Chaka Khan - Love of a Lifetime
24. Gwen Guthrie - Ain't Nothing Going On But The Rent
25. Run-D.M.C. - It's Tricky
26. Beastie Boys - No Sleep Till Brooklyn
27. Husker Du - Don't Want to Know If You Are Lonely
28. The Jesus & Mary Chain - Just Like Honey
29. Sonic Youth - Shadow Of A Doubt
30. Laurie Anderson - Language Is A Virus

31. The Smiths - There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
32. Kate Bush - Experiment IV
33. Jennifer Warnes - First We Take Manhattan
34. Suzanne Vega - Left of Center (f/Joe Jackson on piano)
35. Talk Talk - Life's What You Make It
36. Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush - Don't Give Up
37. Chris Rea - On The Beach
38. Billy Bragg - Levi Stubbs' Tears
39. Paul Simon - Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
40. David & David - Welcome to the Boomtown

41. Simple Minds - All the Things She Said
42. R.E.M. - Fall On Me
43. The Smithereens - Blood & Roses
44. Joe Jackson - Right and Wrong
45. Iggy Pop - Shades
46. Charlie Sexton - Beat's So Lonely
47. Talking Heads - Wild Wild Life
48. Lou Reed - The Original Wrapper
49. They Might Be Giants - Don't Let's Start
50. Camper Van Beethoven - Take the Skinheads Bowling

51. Timbuk 3 - The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades
52. Stan Ridgeway - Drive She Said
53. Julian Cope - World Shut Your Mouth
54. The The - Infected
55. Elvis Costello - I Want You
56. XTC - Dear God
57. Public Image Ltd. - Rise
58. Pete Townshend - Face the Face
59. Rolling Stones - Dirty Work
60. Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band - War

61. John Mellencamp - Rain on the Scarecrow
62. Billy Joel - A Matter of Trust
63. Paul McCartney - Spies Like Us
64. Fabulous Thunderbirds - Tuff Enuff
65. Wham! - I'm Your Man
66. a-ha - The Sun Always Shines On T.V.
67. Robert Palmer - I Didn't Mean To Turn You On
68. Belinda Carlisle - Mad About You
69. Feargal Sharkey - A Good Heart
70. Daryl Hall - Dreamtime

71. Robbie Nevil - C'est La Vie
72. Madonna - Open Your Heart
73. Eurythmics - Missionary Man
74. Tina Turner - Typical Male
75. It Bites - Screaming On The Beaches
76. Huey Lewis & the News - Jacob's Ladder
77. The Police - Don't Stand So Close To Me '86
78. Billy Idol - To Be A Lover
79. Don Johnson - Heartbeat
80. Level 42 - Something About You

81. The Blow Monkeys - Digging Your Scene
82. The B-52's - The Girl From Ipanema Goes to Greenland
83. Cyndi Lauper - Change Of Heart
84. INXS - What You Need
85. Falco - Rock Me Amadeus
86. Ciccone Youth - Into the Groove(y)
87. Big Audio Dynamite - C'mon Every Beatbox
88. David Bowie - Absolute Beginners
89. Style Council - Have You Ever Had It Blue
90. Miles Davis - Perfect Way

91. Starship - Sara
92. Simply Red - Money$ Too Tight To Mention
93. Michael McDonald - Sweet Freedom
94. The Human League - Human
95. Duran Duran - Skin Trade
96. Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls
97. Steve "Silk" Hurley - Jack Your Body
98. Farley Jackmaster Funk - Love Can't Turn Around (f/Darryl Pandy) (12" Version)
99. The Real Roxanne with Hitman Howie Tee - Bang Zoom (Let's Go-Go)
100. New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle

101. Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Warriors of the Wasteland
102. Gene Loves Jezebel - Desire (Come And Get It)
103. The Mission UK - Wasteland
104. Sly Fox - Let's Go All The Way
105. The Art of Noise - Paranoimia (f/Max Headroom)
106. Nu Shooz - I Can't Wait
107. Swing Out Sister - Breakout
108. Pretenders - Don't Get Me Wrong
109. UB40 - Rat In Mi Kitchen
110. The Housemartins - Happy Hour

111. Bangles - Following
112. Clannad & Bono - In A Lifetime
113. First Call - The Future
114. George Jones - Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes
115. Randy Travis - On the Other Hand
116. Reba McEntire - Whoever's In New England
117. Dan Seals & Marie Osmond - Meet Me In Montana
118. George Strait - Nobody In His Right Mind Would've Left Her
119. Steve Earle - Guitar Town
120. Dwight Yoakam - Little Sister

121. Georgia Satellites - Keep Your Hands To Yourself
122. ZZ Top - Rough Boy
123. David Lee Roth - Yankee Rose
124. Bon Jovi - You Give Love A Bad Name
125. Slayer - Angel Of Death
126. Megadeth - Peace Sells
127. Metallica - Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

I know I missed some stuff - don't you always? - and still owe you a copy. Anyone else? Trades preferred, not required - you know how to reach me.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

The Offspring's "Hit That" is clearly the first frontrunner for worst single of 2004. Wow, it's just really, truly horrible. I mean, this is bad even by their standards.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

I present to you a contender for the most boring basketball game ever: today, in women's college action, Notre Dame upset #25 Villanova 38-36. The teams combined for 24-84 shooting from the field. That's 28.6% shooting. There's bad, and then there's this; no matter how good the defenses were, that's just hold-your-nose bad.

Downloads going steady:

Since the first time I heard it, I've been telling any and everyone that OutKast's "She Lives In My Lap" would make a perfect match for a mashup with Prince's "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker." [I don't have the software, or werewithall, to do it - if anyone is up for the challenge, please let me know.] It's also the clearest evidence yet of Andre 3000's Prince obsession. Of course, I'd argue that anyone who's ever even heard Sign "O" the Times should have a Prince obsession! I mean, this is a song about a waitress named Dorothy Parker! It also features one of my favorite lyrics of all time: "You're kinda cute. Wanna take a bath?" Don't forget, as well, that as part of their marvelous 33 1/3 series, Continuum Books will publish an appreciation of SOTT by Michaelangelo Matos next month.

The Oscar nominations will be announced Tuesday. One of the dark horses for which I'm rooting vociferously is in the category of Best Original Song, and it's the title song from School of Rock, performed by - duh - the School of Rock (a/k/a Jack Black and a bunch of kids). Written by screenwriter/actor Mike White and the Mooney Suzuki, it's not the best song from 2003. But it's one of the most fun, and sums up the film perfectly.

Scissor Sisters' cover of "Comfortably Numb" is discussed below. Appropriate, too, because while I'm (obviously) feeling better - I say "(obviously)" because I wouldn't be back in music crit/geek mode if I weren't, would I? - I'm still (wait for it, again obviously) kinda numb.

New downloads going up at Rock Me Tonight, too.

Praise be, Marcello's back! And breaking down 1985's UK top 40 singles, no less. [Credit to Matos for pointing this out, and also for alerting me to the brilliance of Andy Kellman's blog Dubscrape.]

Singles going steady:

Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" sounds like what the Strokes would, were they more interesting. Plus, their name is loads better.

"Yeah" sounds like Usher getting crunk, in a PG-13 kinda way. Lil' Jon actually makes sense here, yelling/growling his way through the track. Ludacris sounds a bit more tossed in for extra commercial security - there's none of the magic of the "U Don't Have To Call" remix.

The title track of Will Young's Friday's Child is perfect pop, period. Will's voice has got that little quaver to it, akin to Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook, and this is an easygoing, '60s-easy-listening-influenced record that is nonetheless utterly contemporary. The strings and woodwinds give it a very classy touch, but it ultimately comes down to Will, and he gets it across effortlessly. I believe this will be his followup to "Leave Right Now."

Also on an easy-listening tip, but much more profoundly so, is Air. The raves (and not-raves) for Talkie Walkie are already flooding the blogworld; the Frenchmen have moved years beyond their initial start in the somewhat-electronic sphere. "Cherry Blossom Girl" is classy, not kitschy, adult pop that no one's made since - oh, their countryman Serge Gainsbourg? Relaxing but not sleepy, this might well be their finest single yet.

And then of course there's the new favorite obsession of numerous music geeks (and a possible top 20 record in tomorrow's new UK singles chart), the Scissor Sisters. The advance word on their forthcoming full-length says that it may fulfill promises ignored by the recent likes of The Rapture (but one example), insofar as they're a band whose songs have been kicking around filesharing networks for some time now, but their proper debut may actually live up to expectations (at least, that's what Paul's implied to me). They're certainly getting folks very excited by virtue of their new single, an astounding cover of "Comfortably Numb." The lazy reviewer would say Bee Gees do Pink Floyd - but like I said, that's lazy. Scissor Sisters seem to live in a universe in which, as one review I recently read put it, the '70s are a musical genre unto themselves. But there's '80s here, as well, especially in the production. And the chorus is simply keyb-driven pop nirvana, augmented by the heavily (and heavenly) multitracked vocals. Really, "Numb" is a single unlike any you'll likely hear in 2004. That's a very, very good thing; can't wait to hear the album.

Space Cowboy's "Put Your Hand In Mine," meanwhile, is quality, goes-down-easy tracky disco-house. You already know if you like this kinda thing, right? [cf. his/their '02 cover of "I Would Die 4 U" - it won't change the world, or your life, but it'll make it brighter for 6:32.]

"Do You Still Want To Buy Me That Drink (Frank)" proves that Lorrie Morgan's voice is still sterling, burnished brass, maybe even better than it was during her early-'90s hitmaking heyday. The song itself, however, sounds not very different from her run then, which is both a blessing and a curse. It's good, but it sure would've been nice to hear Morgan come back with a slightly updated sound.

Beyoncé's "Me, Myself and I" is a slinky, midtempo grower with a superb video.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Fucking phenomenal! Coldcut's Strictly Kev did an outstanding megamix/history of the mashup/bootleg last Sunday on London's XFM. Visit the revived Boom Selection for the download (50MB/39:04); here's the tracklisting. Truly amazing.

I saw a sneak preview of tonight's Frankie Goes To Hollywood episode of Bands Reunited today, and lemme tell you, if you love/d FGTH, you've got to tune in (10pm EST, VH-1). And Paul Rutherford, the singer/dancer (I always thought of him as their hypeman - kinda like Puffy back in the day) is totally hot these days. Their greatest single, IMNSHO, is "Two Tribes" - which, so sadly, peaked at #41 in the US as the follow-up to "Relax." In the UK, it spent nine weeks (9!) at #1. And for good reason - not only is this FGTH's finest moment, I think it's Trevor Horn's definitive son-of-Phil Spector production, as well.

Oh, and while there was no catfighting in last night's Klymaxx episode, there wasn't a full reunion, either. But somebody slap me, Joyce "Fenderella" Irby was lookin' good!

2 more (former) coworkers were fired by management at The Planning Council today. They (President Mary Louis Campbell, Director of Human Resources Karen Freeman, and Assistant Vice President of Dependent Care Services Ipek Taffe) are continuing their reign of terror AND LIES. When I asked ice queen Campbell if my supervisor knew what was going on, she told me that yes, of course she'd been told. THAT WAS A LIE. Our supervisor - the best boss I've ever had - told us all that she had no warning of the firings. What was a 6-person department is now 2. Options are being weighed. But if you're reading this, Campbell? This isn't an end - it's a beginning.

R.I.P., Captain Kangaroo. I hope Mr. Moose is telling you some good knock-knock jokes right about now.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Jenn was fired today. This is what happens when a workplace decides to "rid itself" of perceived "troublemakers" - Jenn and I were never afeared to speak our minds about wrongs at TPC, et cetera. But yet someone else in our division was put on probation for her internet usage. And nothing happened (yet) to anyone else. Hmm, does this smell fishy to anyone else? The silver lining is that Jenn's already got another job. [She had an interview set up for today beforehand.]

Today's been a weird day, my mood bouncing between anger/bitterness and verge-of-freaking-out. A number of friends recommended that I take at least one day to just kinda get my head right, which I did. Probably won't do a lot tomorrow, either, apart from get my resumé to Manpower (who first got me my TPC job) and maybe hit Starbucks, 7-Eleven, and Panera (all nearby, all hiring). Fortunately, tonight was "dinner night" with the gang, so I was surrounded by many who care about and love me; I needed that. And Joe's superb meatloaf.

Tonight's Bands Reunited looks superb/ly scary - from the previews, it seems as if there may be a Klymaxx catfight. "The Men All Pause" indeed.

Thanks more than you know to all of you who've left encouraging comments, sent email, and/or called. You know who you are. Your support is stupendous, and means so much.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

So, kids, how was your Wednesday? Mine? Oh, I got fired.

Allegedly, I was "terminated" for violating TPC's internet usage policy - i.e., you're not supposed to use the 'net for anything other than work purposes. And I did. However, if that's the actual reason I was fired, why was I the only one, and not, say, 3/4 of my (former) coworkers? [Not that I want them to be fired, mind you, I'm just making a point here.] It was done by the TPC President and director of HR, very (very) coolly. There was no warning, no option; the guillotine simply came down upon my neck. The more I think about it, the more I'm certain that there's some other reason I was "terminated" (and no, I did NOT look at porn at work, so don't even go there!). For pete's sake, my yearly evaluation was just 7 weeks ago - and I got (what equals) all "good"s and "very good"s. Of course, I'll never know what the reason(ing) behind my "termination" is, as Virginia's a "Right to Work" state - which means you can be fired anytime for any (or no) reason, period.

And you know what? Fuck 'em. FUCK THE PLANNING COUNCIL. I'll find another, better job.

But right now, I'm still in shock. Right now, I'm unemployed. Shit.

Anyone got a job? I'm a hard worker, a quick learner, and friendly. :)

Tonight's Bands Reunited attempts to get A Flock of Seagulls back together - and you're damned right I'll be watching, if only to see what their hair looks like these days. Why not get yourself primed by spinning "I Ran"'s follow-up (which peaked at a pitiful #30 US), "Space Age Love Song"? It's new wave bliss.

Toddo is dead; long live Bloggo Stupendo. [And don't forget Todd's political/news blog, World Report.]

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Won't be staying up for tonight's Romeo Void episode of Bands Reunited - our you're-almost-50 birthday celebration for dear Chas took much longer than anticipated, due largely to some blown fuse (literal, not metaphorical) issues. But that doesn't mean that you should be deprived of hearing their finest moment, which wasn't "Never Say Never." Here's a download of "A Girl In Trouble (Is A Temporary Thing)" - all moody and, well, perfectly moody. Deborah Iyall should've been a superstar; she would have made a fine one, too.

I won't be watching the SOTU Address tonight, as I have other plans. However, for those of you on the fence, this may help sway you: it's the 2004 State of the Union Address Drinking Game! [Link courtesy of mountain man Chas via BJ.]

OK, enough pussyfooting around. After reading plenty of both un- and informed analysis, and watching a lot of C-SPAN (raw, unfiltered campaign coverage - can't beat it), here are some thoughts on the (potential) fallout from yesterday's Iowa Dem caucuses.

1. You know how President Clinton did in Iowa in '92? He placed fourth. As in, where Gephardt placed last night. Now, it's common knowledge that Iowa '04 was much more important to Gep (who won the caucus in '88 - when Dukakis was the eventual nominee) than Iowa '92 was to Clinton, which is why Gep's officially dropping out of the race. But Iowa is not as all-important as the media (liberal bias, my ass!) would like us to believe. The last time pre-Clinton that a Dem was elected Prez was of course '76. That year, President Carter placed second in Iowa - behind "Uncommitted." Translation: Iowans aren't as smart as they'd like to think. Or as they'd like the rest of us to think. [The flipside, of course, is that Iowans seem to vote their consciences, which is good and should be applauded.]

2. Dean is not done. Just watch: if he wins NH (which I think he still will, unless campaign manager Joe Trippi and company completely ignore the lessons they should've learned from Iowa), the press will suddenly re-anoint him the frontrunner. You know what? National polls are useless, because as Markos reminds us, there is no national primary. There's no frontrunner just yet; conventional wisdom regarding the Dem primaries right now is fairly useless. Oh, Joe 'n' Howie, one more thing: no more negative ads, PERIOD, until you're the party nominee. Then it'll be time to bring out the big guns vs. the Rove machine. Until then, just say no. It hurt you in Iowa, and it'll hurt you everywhere.

3. Once Kerry does well in places not named Iowa and NH, then I'll consider taking him seriously. I've not seen anything from him yet to make me do otherwise.

4. Edwards needed this, maybe more than even he knew. I've quietly respected, even liked him for a while now; the clincher was seeing him on the stump in Iowa. Put him in front of a crowd of people, not in a debate setting, and he's electrifying, a close second to Dean in that regard. He's still a bit too Clintonian-centrist for my tastes (and reminds me quite a bit of another young, blow-dried Senator, IN's Evan Bayh), but I could back him. Let's see what he can do with this new, seemingly-outta-nowhere mo'(mentum).

5. I still think that Clark made a huge mistake by skipping Iowa. After seeing what Kerry and Edwards - especially Kerry - did, basically swooping in at the last moment to take advantage of the Gep vs. Dean bitchfight, I wonder if Clark feels it, too. He easily could've placed in Edwards' slot, I think, had he bothered to try. The fact that he didn't puts that much more pressure on him to do well in NH, and last night's result was the worst possible one for him: now, he has to deal not only with Dean, but Kerry and Edwards, too.

6. If Lieberman doesn't drop out next Wednesday (1/28), he's even more of a moron than I've previously thought. Which is quite a lot.

"Michael could spit in a bag and I'd think it was sacred," she says. "Michael could tell me the sky is green and I'd believe him, because he's so truthful."

Ladies and gentlemen, meet some of Michael Jackson's fans. I'm a little bit frightened.

That having been said, please don't forget something in the midst of this MJ trial-mania: whether he's still got it now is certainly debatable, but for about a decade there, Michael was the man. No one was bigger, and in the pop sphere, no one likely deserved to be bigger (save Prince, perhaps). Thriller is still an impeccable album that thrives on its own recognisance. Before it, of course, the hors d'oeuvres, the gorgeous, disco-splashed Off the Wall. By Bad, he'd already started becoming a victim of his own success, but at least half the album is still bad-meaning-good (its title track, for example, impresses with its tough muscularity to this day). Even '91's Dangerous features some fine work, notably the collabos with Teddy Riley, such as "Can't Let Her Get Away" - some of the superb final new jack swing Riley did. Since then, to be fair, he's musically lost the plot a bit. But that fact - and whatever facts are shown in Jacko's upcoming trial - doesn't change this one: his track record for the '80s is pretty much untouchable. Don't bother with either HIStory or Number Ones; just pick up Off the Wall and Thriller (both remastered by Sony) and bathe in their brilliance.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#53 "Signs," Beyoncé featuring Missy Elliott (Columbia)

She's still "in love with a Sagittarius," but I digress. This was one of my favorites from my first spin through Dangerously In Love, and that hasn't changed. An effective, subtle tour through astrology (and relationships) with an (as ever) fine assist from Portsmouth, VA's finest. Missy might've given this to Tweet, so be glad she didn't - frankly, I think B's light-as-whipped-cream voice fits it better, anyway.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#54 "Raining on Sunday," Keith Urban (Capitol)

A non-hackneyed, geniunely sexy country ballad with a guitar solo? God bless - er, Australia.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#55 "Danger! High Voltage!," Electric Six (XL/Beggars Banquet)

Incindiary. Hot like fire. Punks jump up to get beat down. Quite possibly the greatest disco-rock group to come down the pike in, oh, 20 years. And dig that crazy sax, man! Few songs will remind me of 2003 as vividly as "Danger!"

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#56 "Can We Still Be Friends," Mandy Moore (Epic)

The best review I've read of Mandy's Coverage comes from Allmusic's maestro, Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Its last sentence is dead-on:

"Moore and [producer/engineer John] Fields still have the charts in mind, but they're trying to do something of substance within the modern mature-pop framework, and while Coverage isn't always successful, it is always admirable and likeable, and certainly puts Moore on the right path for an interesting, successful career."

Foremost among those tracks which are successful is her cover of Todd Rundgren's marvelous, elegiac "Can We Still Be Friends," a "sweet, sad love song" perfectly matched to Mandy's voice and tenor. The arrangement here fits the song (and Mandy's performance) finely, rich without being overdone, underpinned by a simple (real) piano. As Erlewine says, the entire album isn't a triumph. But it's got enough good stuff on it to show that Mandy's definitely on the right track as far as her career goes, as "Friends" makes eminently clear.

Monday, January 19, 2004

VH-1 has finally come up with a good new piece of programming - and it's actually about music! Bands Reunited is a great idea with even better execution. Tonight's premiere featured Berlin, and it was feel-good all around. Host Ameer Haleem is generally a smug sorta dickwad, but came off as fairly affable and fun. He was able to get all 6 members to commit to the reunion, and they enjoyed themselves and sounded surprisingly good for a band which hasn't played together for nearly 20 years. Lead singer Terri Nunn still looks amazing. It doesn't hurt, either, that "The Metro" is still a classic. Bravo, bravo! Tomorrow night: Romeo Void.

[I'm running a special series of limited-edition downloads keyed to Bands Reunited, this week and next; each one will only be up for 3-4 days. Enjoy.]

I'm absolutely stunned. Give or take a percentage point for final numbers, here's what it looks like from the Iowa caucuses (92% reporting, numbers from AP):

38% Kerry
32% Edwards
19% Dean
11% Gephardt

And according to CNN, Gep's dropping out Tuesday. What does it all mean? I'm not sure just yet. More thoughts to come.

Addendum: Almost forgot to mention: the best place to break it down, go for analysis, and debate the Iowa fallout (and on to NH we go!) - especially if you're a liberal-slash-Dem - is, of course, Daily Kos.

Tonight are the Iowa caucuses, which could be the tightest they've been in decades. Since I'm not there in person, with him, I'll be watching on C-SPAN; it should be fascinating viewing. The Presidential race is starting to get very interesting...

Uninspired, unmotivated, uninterested today. So here's a random 10 from my Musicmatch jukebox:

1. "Do It For Love," Hall & Oates
2. "You Won't See Me Tonight," Nas featuring Aaliyah and Timbaland
3. "The Horror," RJD2
4. "We Be Clubbin' (Eye of the Tiger Remix)," Ice Cube featuring DMX
5. "Sheila Take A Bow," the Smiths
6. "What A Way To Wanna Be!," Shania Twain
7. "Smooth Lady (Michael Jackson vs. Modjo),"
8. "Tiny Dancer," Elton John
9. "Anselma Dub," Bill Laswell and Jah Wobble
10. "Girls, Girls, Girls," Motley Crue

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Today, I've watched football (*sob*), gotten back into current music (as opposed to last year's best, or the '80s'), written a bit, spent a ton of time on the phone with the usual suspects, and watched some Dean events on C-SPAN, looking (in vain thus far) for him on my television. I've not actually left the house, but that'll likely change. The weather's bizarrely balmy today, mid-50s, and I think the rain's finally stopped - and the kicker, I'm OFF tomorrow. So I think I'll go out tonight. I mean, why the fuck not? It always feels so nicely naughty to go out on what should be a "school night."

Newsflash: Will Young's "Free" (from his new, better-with-each-listen Friday's Child) interpolates Bill Withers-by-way-of-Me'Shell Ndegeocello's "Who Is He and What Is He To You." Freaky.

It's said that defense wins championships. That was certainly the case in today's AFC Championship, where New England's D-line was superb, and Indianapolis's, well, wasn't, as the Pats topped the Colts 24-14 to move on to their second Super Bowl in three years.

Though it barely helps balm the end of the Colts' season, I did have some good sports news today, as Purdue's #10 Lady Boilermakers beat the last unbeaten team in D-I women's college hoops, defending their home court in a 65-56 victory over #6 Minnesota, whose win streak stopped at 15. The Big Ten's women's title is still a three-team race (with Penn State), y'all.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2004: songs to download and love*

001 "99 Problems," Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella)
002 "Through the Wire," Kanye West (Roc-A-Fella)
003 "If I Ain't Got You," Alicia Keys (J)
004 "Jackson, Mississippi," Kid Rock (Atlantic)
005 "Confessions Part II," Usher (LaFace)
006 "Talk About Our Love," Brandy featuring Kanye West (Atlantic)
007 "Portland, Oregon," Loretta Lynn featuring Jack White (Interscope)
008 "Happy People," R. Kelly (Jive)
009 "Roses," OutKast (Arista)
010 "Prototype," OutKast (Arista)
011 "Have Mercy," Loretta Lynn (Interscope)
012 "Redneck Woman," Gretchen Wilson (Epic Nashville)
013 "Throwback," Usher (LaFace)
014 "Van Lear Rose," Loretta Lynn (Interscope)
015 "Slow Jamz," Twista featuring Kanye West and Jamie Foxx (Atlantic)
016 "Diary," Alicia Keys (J)
017 "Raiding the 20th Century - A History of the Cutup," Strictly Kev (mp3)
018 "Good Luck," Basement Jaxx featuring Lisa Kekaula (Astralwerks)
019 "Irish Blood, English Heart," Morrissey (Attack/Sanctuary)
020 "Dreams," TV On the Radio (Touch & Go)
021 "Comfortably Numb," Scissor Sisters (Polydor UK)
022 "I Can't Wait," Sleepy Brown featuring OutKast (Interscope)
023 "First of the Gang to Die," Morrissey (Attack/Sanctuary)
024 "Maps," Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Interscope)
025 "Jesus Walks," Kanye West (Roc-A-Fella)
026 "Wanna Get to Know You," G-Unit featuring Joe (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)
027 "Slither," Velvet Revolver (RCA)
028 "Your Game," Will Young (S UK)
029 "Southern Fried Intro," Ludacris (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam South)
030 "On the Couch," Prince (Columbia)
031 "Break Down Here," Julie Roberts (Mercury)
032 "Mono," Courtney Love (Virgin)
033 "Friday's Child," Will Young (S UK)
034 "This Love," Maroon5 (J)
035 "September When It Comes," Rosanne Cash featuring Johnny Cash (Capitol)
036 "Smile," Lloyd Banks (Shady/Aftermath)
037 "What's Happenin'," Method Man featuring Busta Rhymes (Def Jam)
038 "She Got Me," JC Chasez (Jive)
039 "My Band," D12 (Shady/Aftermath)
040 "I Want You," Janet Jackson (Virgin)
041 "So Sexy," Twista featuring R. Kelly (Atlantic)
042 "Musicology," Prince (Columbia)
043 "My Love Will Not Change," The Del McCoury Band (McCoury Music)
044 "Yeah!," Usher featuring Lil' Jon and Ludacris (Arista)
045 "Family Tree," Loretta Lynn (Interscope)
046 "Call My Name," Prince (Columbia)
047 "And the Beat Goes On v2," LoudBomb v Whispers (
048 "Overnight Celebrity," Twista featuring Kanye West (Atlantic)
049 "Frontin'," Jamie Cullum (UCJ UK)
050 "Toxic," Britney Spears (Jive)
051 "Reflection," Prince (Columbia)
052 "Little Red Shoes," Loretta Lynn (Interscope)
053 "All Falls Down," Kanye West featuring Syleena Johnson (Roc-A-Fella)
054 "Splash Waterfalls (Remix)," Ludacris featuring Raphael Saadiq (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam South)
055 "Whiskey Lullaby," Brad Paisley featuring Alison Krauss (Arista Nashville)
056 "Take Me Out," Franz Ferdinand (Domino)
057 "If You Ever Stop Loving Me," Montgomery Gentry (Columbia)
058 "Amazing," George Michael (Sony UK)
059 "Rubber Band Man," T.I. (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)
060 "Megalomaniac," Incubus (Immortal/Epic)
061 "Long Black Train," Josh Turner (MCA Nashville)
062 "Still In Love," Teena Marie (Cash Money Classics)
063 "Closer," Goapele (Skyblaze/Columbia)
064 "Jook Gal (Remix)," Elephant Man featuring Twista, YoungbloodZ, and Kiprich (VP/Atlantic)
065 "Sangue de Beirona (Main Pass by Francois K)," Cesaria Evora Bluebird/Arista Associated Labels)
066 "You Will Be My Ain True Love," Alison Krauss (DMZ/Columbia)
067 "Ch-Check It Out," Beastie Boys (Brooklyn Dust/Capitol)
068 "Tush," Ghostface Killah featuring Missy Elliott (Def Jam)
069 "Me, Myself and I," Beyoncé (Columbia)
070 "Filthy and Gorgeous," Scissor Sisters (Polydor UK)
071 "Naughty Girl (Remix)," Beyoncé featuring Lil' Flip (Columbia)
072 "All Things (Just Keep Getting Better)," Widelife with Simone Denny (Capitol)
073 "With You," Jessica Simpson (Columbia)
074 "Far Away," Kindred the Family Soul (Hidden Beach/Epic)
075 "Extraordinary," Liz Phair (Capitol)
076 "99 Problems Here," DJ N-Wee (
077 "A Million Days," Prince (Columbia)
078 "Lose Myself," JC Chasez (Jive)
079 "All the Drugs," Courtney Love (Virgin)
080 "Red Blooded Woman," Kylie Minogue (Capitol)
081 "Numb," Linkin Park (Warner Bros.)
082 "Miss Being Mrs.," Loretta Lynn (Interscope)
083 "Breathe," Melissa Etheridge (Island)
084 "Float On," Modest Mouse (Sony)
085 "Velouria," The Bad Plus (Columbia)
086 "Big Brat," Phantom Planet (Epic)
087 "Some Girls (Dance With Women)," JC Chasez featuring Dirt McGirt (Jive)
088 "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella)
089 "I Miss You," Blink-182 (Geffen)
090 "She Wants To Move," N*E*R*D (Virgin)
091 "Cinnamon Girl," Prince (Columbia)
092 "Shake Ya Body," Tyra Banks (no label)
093 "Bodies Hit the Floor," Girl Talk (Illegal Art)
094 "Laura (Simone)," Scissor Sisters (Polydor UK)
095 "But Julian, I'm A Little Bit Older Than You," Courtney Love (Virgin)
096 "Not In Love," Enrique Iglesias featuring Kelis (Interscope)
097 "Love's Divine (Deepsky Club Mix)," Seal (Warner Bros.)
098 "Jolene," Mindy Smith featuring Dolly Parton (Sugar Hill)
099 "Take Your Mama Out," Scissor Sisters (Polydor UK)
100 "Gots To Go," David Banner featuring Devin the Dude and Bun B (Universal)

*I'll keep updating this list as necessary throughout the year, which should make my end-of-'04 listmaking much easier. And perhaps be entertaining for you, the readers. But really, it's all about me.

Strange but true: Kelis's "Milkshake" is now a bigger hit in the UK than the US, as this week the Star Trak diva actually moved up a notch to #2 in today's new UK singles chart. [That almost never, ever happens, trust.] She'd be #1 in the US if she could ever get past that dynamic duo, the ATLiens (OutKast, of course).

If it's Sunday, there must be new downloads:

Stupidly, last Sunday I wrote ecstatically about Gerald Levert's debut solo single, 1991's "Private Line," but didn't post a download. Consider that gaffe rectified.

Kajagoogoo are going to be part of the new VH-1 series Bands Reunited, in which ten bands from the '80s are essentially forced to reunite and play live. Hurrah! [It premieres Monday night at 10pm EST.] Of course, you've heard "Too Shy," their one massive global hit. But you also should hear "Big Apple," its follow-up. It's featured here in its original 12" version.

If you haven't yet heard the next Andre 3000 to be taken from OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, now's your chance. Here's the stunning "Prototype," my early frontrunner for the best single of 2004.

Yes, we can blame the Brits for American Idol. And yes, they've got a bad track record with "artists" spun off from viewer-voted competitions - but not as bad as us Yanks ("Gay" Aiken, take a bow). At least they've got Girls Aloud. Before them, however, came Will Young, who seemed like just another drippy balladeer tailor-made for your little sis and grandmother. But two things happened to change that. First of all, almost immediately after winning and releasing his debut single nearly two years ago, he came out - and kept having charttoppers in the UK. And then he did the most surprising thing: he's made a good sophomore album. Friday's Child has spent most of the past 2 months at or near the top of the UK album chart, and is full of classy pop songs. Even the ballads! No, it doesn't have a 100% strike rate; few pure pop albums do. But it's quite solid, and its first single, the former #1 "Leave Right Now," is quite a grower. Will's voice is impeccable, but more importantly, his material is catching up. Now if only he could get a U.S. deal.

The Columbia Journalism Review has now started the CJR Campaign Desk - essentially, a blog critiquing media coverage of the presidential race. Invaluable stuff, incredibly solid. [Link via the even more invaluable Daily Kos.]

Now I'm going back to bed.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Currently rocking me like a hurricane, or, those obscure objects of desire:
+Gold Canyon Candle Company's Ginger Lime candles. The best-smelling candle ever, and not too heavy a scent. As an added bonus for me, my sister sells them. [And no, I don't get a discount.]
+Crest Whitening Expressions Fresh Citrus Breeze toothpaste, used on my new Crest SpinBrush. Perfect after rinsing with Natural Citrus Listerine. I hate mint. Citrus rocks!
+The return of James Masterton's UK Top 40 commentary on the relaunched dotmusic, now part of Launch UK. Not so impressed with the Launch-dotmusic merger. Always impressed with Masterton.
+Camp will be released on DVD February 24th. Yay, queen! Here's a closeup of the cover art.

Ah, sweet irony: #11 North Carolina upset #1 Connecticut this afternoon in Chapel Hill. You know what that means? By virtue of UNC's win (and #2 Duke's victory over #3 Wake Forest), they've handed the top spot in the polls to their hated archrival, the Blue Devils. Now, that's irony of the most delicious kind.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#57 "Faint," Linkin Park (Warner Bros.)

In my year-end countdown last year, I suggested that alienated teens might well be listening to KoRn, and I stand by that. But even moreso, I think Linkin Park is connecting with a lot of those disaffected kids. They don't just bitch like the majority of their brethren, and they're actually making music with thought to it - I love the string sample opening (and underpinning) this single, the second from their boffo soph album Meteora. They also have the rap/sung thing down, and use it effectively, and their use of hip-hop influences feels totally sincere, not like they're reaching. Not to mention that, (presumably) unwittingly, the line "Don't turn your back on me/I won't be ignored" is so Fatal Attraction. This bunch may surprise us yet, and I hope they do.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#58 "My Love Is Like...Wo," Mya featuring Missy Elliott (Interscope)

I wish someone would explain to me why Mya didn't become a blistering superstar last year. She's got the looks, she's got the chops, she's got the attitude, she's got the SAG Award (for Best Ensemble, for Chicago) (!), and girlfriend can dance her ass off. Actually, I think there are two reasons that, coming off her big-screen bow, she didn't go into orbit: 1) Interscope did a mightily piss-poor job marketing Moodring, and 2) For whatever reason, Mya's still not getting the best songs. Follow-up "Fallen" (which barely missed my top 100) is one, and this most certainly is - maybe a collaborative LP with Missy should be in order? Maybe it'll be her fourth album that does it, but either way, "Wo" establishes a new high-water mark for her (musical) career, and allows us to dream of what can be for one of Baltimore's finest.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#59 "You (Better Let Me Love You x4) Tonight," Richard X featuring Tiga (Astralwerks)

Proof that you - and mash-up genius Richard X - can still make original tech-pop, though it certainly doesn't hurt to have electroclash star Tiga assisting (and handling lead vocals). Also makes '03 the second consecutive year to feature a great single with the well-placed lyric "Drums!"

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#60 "Bring It On," Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Anti-/Epitaph)

A true artist, Cave can make a record in 2003 that sounds just as classic as the records he made in 1986. For that matter, apart perhaps from his gift for subtlety (which he's found as he's matured, both as a man and an artist), he could've made this record with Blixa Bargeld and the gang in 1986. And no matter what his age these days, Cave still has a gift for sounding sinister, more with the Bad Seeds than not.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#61 "Milkshake," Kelis (Star Trak)

One of the Neptunes' flat-out weirdest tracks ever, built around subsonic fuzz bass and a triangle. Sassy as it wants to be - or, more accurately, as Kelis wants to be - too. I just hope it doesn't typecast the woman who used to rival Joi as the weirdest chick in R&B as a pussy-poppin' diva.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Ready to "Shake Ya Ass," Mystikal? Shake it real fast.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#62 "Ghettomusick," OutKast (Arista)

Crunk re-envisioned by the techno gods, courtesy of two of the most talented motherfuckers in hip-hop today, Big Boi and Andre 3000. And a Patti LaBelle sample, which makes everything even better.

Odds & ends:

I thought Friendster was dead, but then I found the profiles for Rob Sheffield, Michaelangelo Matos, and Nate Patrin. So the cool kids are still doing it...

Don't these people have better things to do? Anything? Like, oh, working?

It's fuckin' cold here: the wind chill is still in the teens. But at least I'm not at Mount Washington, NH, where the current wind chill is -63F. A coworker of mine calls that "ass-cutting" weather, as in "If you go outside, the wind will cut your ass and you will bleed!" At least, that's what she says.

New, blinding 17-minute mix posted at Go Home Productions, made up of all-new bootlegs (and a great record by Pilot!). "Blurred It All Before," a mashup of Blur's "There's No Other Way" and Sunshine Anderson's "Heard It All Before," is my personal fave.

Including guest appearances, the artist with the most tracks in my top 100 of 2003 is Jay-Z, who's got 6 - all of them in the top 50.

What a sports weekend! Wall-to-wall college hoops on Saturday, and of course two little NFL contests with the Super Bowl on the line Sunday. Also Sunday? The Australian Open begins, and with it Venus's comeback. But can anyone on the women's side beat Henin-Hardenne?

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#63 "Get It Together (Peter Rauhofer Classic Club Mix)," Seal (Warner Bros.)

Seal's latest album is good, but not great; it's a bit cruise-control sleepy paint-by-numbers, and he can do better (cf. "Crazy"). That having been said, his voice is just as sterling and distinctive as ever, it could just use the occasional different musical setting to show itself off. In walks Mr. Rauhofer. He sends "Together" on a journey through the cosmos which culminates on a peak-hour packed dancefloor, everyone full of love and high on life (and maybe X). Suddenly, everything's copacetic and transcendent. Can you feel the love tonight?

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#64 "countryside," brainchild (perpetual.motion)

Well, I'll be damned. Just now, poking around Bill's old blog, I went and found his new one. Bill's this groovy native Hoosier (like me), now in NYC (not like me) into excellent tunage who sometimes makes his own under the moniker brainchild. "countryside," I recall he said upon its posting, is kinda a tribute to-slash-perfect for aimless driving around rural Indiana. A gently bumping 1:08 instrumental, it's sublimely tasty and fits in nearly any rhythmically-orientated mix.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#65 "Emerge," Fischerspooner (Capitol)

How does one explain/describe FS to someone who's never heard them? As a multimedia performance art-gone-pop piece? As classic '80s electrotrash revivalists? As the electroclash posterkids (but then you have to define that)? Maybe I'd just show 'em the DVD packaged with #1, after playing 'em "Emerge," the simplest musical representation of FS. They're not gods. But I'm eager to hear what else they've got up their sleeves - right now, I wouldn't put anything past 'em. And that's a compliment.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#66 "Photographs," Jody Watley (Shanachie)

A couple of weeks ago, discussing this top 100 with Erik, he asked if there were any albums represented which hadn't spun off singles. I immediately named Watley's Midnight Lounge, available in Japan since '01 but only out in the U.S. last year. She's got two songs on my chart, and deservedly so, as Lounge is clearly her finest work. Watley's back where she belongs, making sexy, seductive, deep house records, including this one: "Photographs" is a fairly minimal work, with lots of room to breathe and stretch out.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#67 "Alright," Allen Anthony (Def Jam)

New classic soul the same way that Christion were (remember them?), Anthony, based on this one track, is loaded with potential (Carl Thomas comes to mind too, actually). But where'd he go? He seems to have vanished, which would be a shame if it's the case. Available on the Paid in Full soundtrack.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Back to the top 100 and regular(ish) posting tomorrow, y'all. I was getting a little fatigued - it's a marathon, not a sprint.

I was going to simply leave a comment for Geoffrey regarding his thoughts on isolated gay men/teens and black music (5th paragraph, 14 January post, not linkable dammit!), but my thoughts ended up being bigger than traditional comment-size. So here's my full response, as it were.

Yup. I agree wholly with your thesis re: isolated gay men and black music. I think that's altered somewhat, however, in the past decade-or-so, with hip-hop becoming the dominant black music (and, for that matter, pop music), and more "traditional" R&B shunted to the sidelines of "Adult R&B" radio stations. What seems to have sprung up in its wake? The unfortunate preponderence of DJ-mixed "dance" comps, especially the ubiquitous Ultra series and those by the vile NYC bridge-and-tunnel DJ Louie DeVito. While I think that these records are largely shite, however, at least they're another form of "out" for youth (and available even at Wal-Marts, natch). The big difference, as I see it, is that for you and I, Geoffrey, we were anathema, rural white boys listening to, bathing in, R&B. Trance, on the other hand, is becoming fairly overground. Frat boys like it, even. [Not that there aren't gay frat boys...] And don't forget that it wasn't just R&B I was loving (and identifying with) in my teen years - it was also the Smiths and R.E.M., the Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Twin poles, like parallel lines for me, Morrissey and Chaka Khan - and in some ways, saying the same thing, albeit in dfifferent vocabularies.

And I wonder if metrosexual highschool kids are watching Queer Eye, and what they think of it. Metrosexuality may seem new to much of the adult population, but in highschools, there've always been metrosexual kids: popular, moneyed, athletic. Funny how so many of them end up fat, balding, and with three kids by 30.

Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou, Paul, the daddy of the macks. Thanks to his efforts, I now have in my possession every single song which hit #1 on the R&B chart in the 1980s. Which means Rock Me Tonight is on!

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

The new math, according to "about seven" apparently now equals "many." Could the group of people working on Avr*l's new record be any worse?

The Queer Eye soundtrack, now finalized, looks pretty good. But what really got me in this article was the following:

"A video [for theme song "All Things"]... is in 'large' rotation on VH1."

Since when does fucking VH-1 play videos? Any time I turn it on anymore, I can barely tell the difference between it and E! Ugh. And speaking of "ugh," say hello to charttopper Josh Groban. What is wrong with you people?! [Present company excepted, of course.]

Needed a break from listening to nothing but stuff for this and the top 100 today, so I've returned to an old friend, my launchcast. I'd nearly forgotten how refreshing it is. First 5: Mad Professor, LTJ Bukem, Queen, the Smiths, and Radiohead. I'm hoping for some Prince soon, too.

Ooh, a segue from Suede's "The Drowners" into The Time's "Jerk Out"! This one's for you, baby.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Best ILM thread ever. [Warning: serious music geekage ahead.]

Addendum: for those who don't want to wade through the entire thread, here's a breakdown.

Go do this over at my roomie's blog, and report back with your number (in my Comments, please). Then we'll discuss. Very interesting stuff - how do people come up with these things? I'm a 5, go figure.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#68 "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight," Postal Service (Sub Pop)

The first PS track to reel me in like a gateway drug, this starts out so quietly, so discreetly, before bursting into a twisted love letter to DC, with one of the year's finest lyrics (and they're peppered all over Give Up):

"I am finally seeing
Why I was the one worth leaving."

Lover's laments don't come much sadder, or more cutting.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#69 "Baby Boy," Beyoncé featuring Sean Paul (Columbia)

The first and only appearance in this chart by Sean Paul (have you seen that Shaggy's apparently going to be shilling for rum soon? Invest well, Sean), but not the only one by Beyoncé, who we might as well just name Queen of 2003 and be done with it. A sinuous, sexy, snake-charming track which befits B's seductive tones, and a fine counterpoint to her other big '03 single, which you may have heard of.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#70 "Wurlitzer Prize (I Don't Want to Get Over You)," Willie Nelson and Norah Jones (Lost Highway)

A beautiful, affecting reading of a Waylon Jennings chestnut (one of his most tender moments), done live and so well by golden girl Norah and living legend Willie, whose voices truly mesh like leather and lace.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#71 "Back in the Mud," Bubba Sparxxx (Beat Club/Interscope)

Further proof that Timbaland might well be saving his best beats not for Missy, but for that other white boy. Oh, and have I mentioned that Bubba's totally hot? Not to mention nimble: listen to the way his words skip about Tim's beats.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#72 "Sound of the Underground," Girls Aloud (Polydor UK)

Instakit pop should never be this good. But when you shoehorn surf guitar, d'n'b beats, little techoid touches here and there, and five brassy girls whowonatelevisionpopstarcompetitionandaren'tsingingsomestupidlimpballad into a trad 3:37 pop song format, one of two things will happen: either it will be a wretched failure, or it'll be something marvelous. This doesn't fail. The sound of the overground getting down, more like.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#73 "Love Story (Vs. Finally) (Tim Deluxe Vocal Mix)," Layo + Bushwacka! (XL UK)

One of those perfect dancefloor moments when the DJ mixes two records so superbly, released for everyone to enjoy. In this case, the DJ is Tim Deluxe, the vocals are from Kings of Tomorrow featuring Julie McKnight's "Finally" (a fave of MAW), and the (largely) instrumental track is Layo + Bushwacka!'s "Love Story." Much akin to the 2001 EBTG vs. Soul Vision track "Tracey In My Room," the pairing is so miraculous, you can't imagine one song without the other any more. And why would you want to? L+B!'s deep, sumptuous textures enwrap McKnight's creamy vocal in love, love, love.

Odds & ends:

U.S. film studio has balls, film at 11: Fox Searchlight has announced that they'll be releasing Bertolucci's new film, The Dreamers, with an NC-17, making this the first time in over 6 years that a major studio (they're a division of 20th Century Fox, duh) has distributed an NC-17 film in the U.S. The last time was in '97, when MGM released Bent.

Yet another reason why Jim Irsay is the coolest owner in the NFL (ice cold!): he's sending the original manuscipt of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, well, on the road.

I've been remiss in doing much sports blogging recently. I didn't even mention the split college football championship. But, with only one team at #1, here's Ivan Maisel's pre-pre-preseason college pigskin top 25.

Radiohead are in the studio again! Yay!

But really, tonight all comes down to four little, perfect words. My friends, say hello to the second season of America's Next Top Model (9pm EST, UPN). Apparently, tonight's premiere features a nude photo shoot! How can you not love that?!

< vent>Today, during our bullshit "refresher training" (more like an excuse for our VPs to act like they have any idea what's going on/what the fuck we do), we were "reminded" by not-one-but-two people that "what we do is important," "helping the kids," blah blah bullshit. You know what? Here's why I can never be a "real" social worker: I could give a fuck. This is a job. This (barely) pays my bills. No more, often less. 90% of my clients are ghetto bitches who can't keep their legs closed (and haven't since, oh, age 14 or so). I don't care what happens to them. Period. I come in at 830, I leave at 430. I love my coworkers and immediate supervisor. But the people our program is serving? Fuck 'em.< /vent>

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#74 "I'm Gonna Take That Mountain," Reba McEntire (MCA)

Obviously, the time off from music (four years passed between her last album and Room to Breathe) helped to reenergize Reba, as "Mountain" is her best single in years, a bluegrass-tinged single sweetened with harmonies from Dan Tyminski (Union Station, Soggy Bottom Boys). Lyrically, it's the kind of uplifting "I will survive" kinda record Reba does so well, and vocally, she gives yet another great performance - the problem with much of Reba's career has never been her voice, it's been her material. But this is great material.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#75 "You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl," Brooks & Dunn (Arista Nashville)

"Honky Tonk Women" x (real honky tonk) + (1/2 ZZ Top) = the finest single of Kix and Ronnie's decade-plus career. Proof that sometimes, "you got rock in my country! you got country in my rock!" is a good thing.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#76 "Overture/And All That Jazz," Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger, and Taye Diggs (Epic Soundtrax)

I'm not a fan of show tunes, period. But Chicago broke through that barrier for me due ot its sheer excitement, and the brilliance of its performances. And don't give me that "Bebe Neuwirth was better" blah blah blah. That may be true - but it shouldn't take away from what Ms. Zeta-Jones brought to the role. Her Oscar-winning performance was stunning, the definition of "scene-stealing." The key to it, of course, was her singing (and dancing) - which is astounding. Zellweger and Diggs get credits on this track, but it's all Zeta-Jones. It doesn't hurt, either, that Chicago may be Kander & Ebb's crowning achievement - what a score! And it scores big, natch.

submeat's top 100 tracks of 2003: songs to download and love

#77 "Feeling This," blink-182 (MCA)
Granted, it's not much to say it's their best single ever, but it is. It's also more melodic, and seems more sincere (and accordingly, less snarky) than the bulk of their oeuvre. And is that a cowbell in the chorus?

You're so damn hot, baby. Say hello to Kris, a Cubs-lovin', Creed-hatin', sexy as he wanna be Chicago boy. See, I don't just automatically link ya back reciprocally... you gotta have something. And Kris has got sumthin' sumthin' (don't believe? Read this superb post, and you will). Not to mention one of the best-named blogs ever: Angst-ident Prone (say it out loud!).

Even on the verge of a sure-to-be-a-waste-of-three-hour-"training"-session dictated by our stupid bitch VP, I'm full o' love today. I mean, why not? Life is a good thing.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Geoffrey, for bringing up the inimitable Vesta Williams during our conversation last night. Vesta was an R&B singer in the latter half of the '80s and early '90s with a huge voice - think Chaka Khan with lesser material - who, oddly, had her biggest successes with ballads. Odd, I say, because her voice demanded some fierce uptempo tracks, and once, at least, she nailed it completely. The song was from her 1986 debut album Vesta, and was titled "Don't Blow A Good Thing." I remember hearing it on WTLC out of Indianapolis late one night and marvelling at the power and passion in her voice. I tracked down the 45 and have nearly played it out. She had bigger hits, but none better. "Good Thing" is propulsive, funky, and serious; this song ain't to be fucked with. Why it only peaked at a meager #17 on the R&B charts (she had no crossover success to speak of), I've no idea. The single, and Vesta, deserved better. Hear for yourself: "Don't Blow A Good Thing" has been added to this week's downloads.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Clearly, the best spam e-mail ever:

Sender: Martha Screwart
Subject: Mmmm, the smell of fresh cookies and man juice all over my face
Date: Mon 1/12
Size: 8K

If I'd had/heard The Diary of Alicia Keys about a month ago, it would've been on my Pazz & Jop ballot, period. Possibly as high as #3, just behind Jaxx and Postal Service. It's that good. The (tracks) 5-6-7 punch of "You Don't Know My Name," "If I Ain't Got You," and "Diary" is soul at its devastating best. But "Heartburn," "Wake Up," or "Samsonite Man" could just as easily be highlights - and on a lesser album, would be. Apart from the opening "Harlem's Nocturne," Keys spends a lot less time (than on Songs In A Minor) showing off her prowess, and just shuts up and sings/plays (piano)/produces/writes, and lets her artistry talk. Which it does, loudly. This Diary shows an artist just getting started; she might be a presence for another 20-30 years, yet. She's that good.

At its best, it was among the best, ever. R.I.P., Frasier.

The 9 best U.S. sitcoms of all time
1. M*A*S*H
2. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
3. Cheers
4. The Simpsons
5. Newhart
6. Frasier
7. Taxi
8. Friends
9. Bewitched

spoken: "the morning after"

"What time is it?
Where Where Where are my where are my panties?
Oh my god where are my panties?
What? I don't..
He gon' think I'm a hoe
Fuck that I liked it
I was drunk and it was my birthday anyway
Maybe I should just lay here and let him touch my booty
Mmmm.. but he don't even know my name

I know she think I just think she some kind of hoe
I don't give a shit about givin it up on the first night
That just let me know she know what she want out of life
What a hell of a way to goddamn wake up
Ooo that shit was good
Oo maybe she'll get me some breakfast
She so god damn sweet
Sweet as she wanna be
Oo I just like Oo i wanna lay in her hair
Can't fall for her don't fall for her ice cold (ice cold)
Maybe I'll just roll over and just lay on her booty
Yeah.. naw naw naw
Nah I'll just lay here and be cool be cool ice cold (ice cold)
But what if she's what if she's what if she's if she's the one?"

- OutKast, "Where Are My Panties?" (Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Arista, 2003)

You'd typically expect a skit on a hip-hop album, especially one titled "Where Are My Panties?," to be a nasty, smutty thing about bitches and hoes. But with OutKast - and even more specifically, Andre 3000 - often nothing's as you'd expect. In this case, "Where Are My Panties?" is a realistic look at the morning after a hook-up: what happens next? And what if you found yourself a keeper? "Panties" segues into "Prototype," with its "I think I'm in love again" refrain, and works perfectly, setting up "Prototype." Hip-hop skits are usually a waste of time; some on S/TLB fall into that category, too. But not this one.

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