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Top Jams of 2008: Guilt's A Waste Of Time

In the past we've tabulated (to the best of our ability anyway) a Top 10 Guilty Pleasures list of the year. But not only was it tough (read: impossible) to quantify everyone's guilty pleasure into one list, the whole concept of "the guilty pleasure" had faded sometime in the middle of 2007, approximately. Everyone started realizing that to feel guilty about something you enjoyed was a waste of time. Why not just embrace what tickles your metaphorical (and literal) pickle and jam it out? So here we bring you the first official Blogulator Top 10 Jams of 2008. These are the songs that we blasted in the car on the freeway, swayed with by our lonesome on headphones, and played video game versions of with extreme and unrepentant ecstasy:

"That's What You Get" by Paramore: I may have heard this song for the first time on Rock Band 2 just a week ago, but that doesn't make it any less of a song. What is it about this jam that makes it the perfect jam of the year? Perhaps it's the soaring chorus that wouldn't sound out of place on last year's Blogulator album of the year. Maybe it's the chugging offbeat verse leading into the chorus that our 12-year-old cousin described as "weird". Perhaps it's the crisply produced pop-emo sheen that, admit it, YOU LOVE. Or maybe it's that it was the only frequently played song Rock Band 2 that didn't end up irritating me completely. It's obvious that pop-emo in 2008 is the equivalent to nu-metal in 1998; if that's the case, I'm pleased to be living in the present. -Qualler

2. "Love Lockdown" by Kanye West: Kanye had a hard year. I mean, other than the fact that he released, like, five awesome songs in the span of a little over than a year, it was pretty hard. Sure, personally he had some hard times. But in a totally selfish way, it's made his music totally more excellent. This one is wracked with self-doubt, aided by a thunderous drum beat and extra vocodor. I'm not crazy about Kanye singing in general, but the piano + drum kills me. It didn't officially slay me until a shopping trip to the local Urban Outfitters, which is fitting somehow. -Qualler

3. "Whatever You Like" by T.I.: Soft and respectful isn't exactly the way many people like their hip hop, but I don't even know if this modest yet monumental high point for Top 40 radio could be classified as such. It sounds more like a soulful electro-pop song that simply happens to have some idiotic rhyming about beating out the broke boys for a nice lady friend (but hey, at least T.I.'s using his money to treat his woman right instead of buying guns in a Walmart parking lot). Despite its lyrical shortcomings, the gorgeous precipitation of cuddly computer bleeps and synth buzzes is addicting to absorb at full volume during a midnight car ride. These are some grown up beats and melodic weaving for a track that on the surface seems so simple. -Chris

4. "Disturbia" by Rihanna: I never fully got on the “Umbrella” bandwagon. For me, that megahit vacillated between obnoxious and obnoxiously likable. But for some reason when she comes back swinging with a song that one can't help but think of Shia LaBoeuf when listening to, I'm shaking my tush and doing the cabbage patch like it's 1991 and I just got my first batch of Columbia House CDs in the mail. Never has a mainstream pop track carried so much suspenseful weight with it from verse to chorus. It shoots through its parts like a candy cheetah on the proverbial prowl, feeling simultaneously dark and sweet. It's not as ball-busting as the track which claimed her fame, but it's sleeker and therefore easier on the ears and pelvis. -Chris

5. "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" by Beyonce:
Apparently Beyonce, now that she's married, has had to invent a new personality for herself ("Sasha Fierce") that can dance biscuits and demand bling from her jealous commitment-phobic boyfriend, and this is the anthem of that descent into Sybil-ville! The video is mildly insane, with wild gyrating and gesticulating and a metallic hand? But all in good fun, because "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" is probably the catchiest non-feminist feminist tune (narrowly beating out Britney Spears' even more non-feminist feminist "Womanizer") to hit the radio this year. -OHD

"Hot N Cold" by Katy Perry: It feels dirty putting such a despicable person on a Top 10 list, but that's gotta tell you how great the song is when we're willing to put all personal grievance aside and focus on what's at hand: pop perfection. Her first single was untoward: a gut-wrenching melody wrapped up in an offensive cliché and on top of it all, an unkind and re-appropriated copycat of a fine mid-90s Jill Sobule song. “Hot N Cold”, however, caused me to exclaim “Nerds! This is great!” to myself in between choruses, which I sang along with gleefully, when I heard it for the first time. It's Avril on hot pink steroids, it's Hillary Duff with a giant pair of shiny metal testicles; basically, it's Perry flipping out with a driving beat and catchy riffs galore without ever sounding grossly self-serving (I'm looking at you, Pink). -Chris

"Low" by Flo Rida: Call me a populist; I'm fine with that...now. But I was smitten like so many others when I saw Tom Cruise's moronically awesome character Les Grossman dance for just a little bit too long to this song in Tropic Thunder not just once but twice. It was probably the 4th best joke in a movie this year, by my totally arbitrary estimations anyway. I hated this song at first, but after Thunder and Rida's second solid single “In The Ayer”, I revisited it and couldn't get enough of the whirlwind hurricane chorus booming down with declarations about furry boots and shawty on the dance floor. And I don't know if you noticed, but when he sings “low low low low low low low,” his voice gets lower and lower in pitch! Get it?! -Chris

8. "Human" by The Killers:
If The Killers aren't genuinely a good band, then why do they keep making such freaking perfect songs?!?! Yes, the lyrics to this song are the musical equivalent to this year's worst movie Seven Pounds but luckily, music isn't just lyrics, it's music, too. (Brandon Flowers, maybe you want to work that last sentence into some of your lyrics.) It's Flowers' passion for singing, and acting like he has discovered singing for the first time every time he sings a song, that does me in. And when the quivering keyboard comes in in the second verse, I'm dead. Thanks for making me human again, The Killers. -Qualler

9. "Run The Show" by Kat De Luna:
I don't know what it is about "Run the Show" that makes me want to get up get down, but when I first heard it, at the Whiskey Girl in San Diego a month or so ago, I was so transfixed that I Twittered the artist and song title via text message so I could download it later. At first listen, Kat de Luna sounds like a second tier Beyonce/Shakira love child, and maybe that's all she'll ever be, but the pulsing, near-frenetic energy of the two singles of hers I know (this and "Whine Up", which manages to be a kick-ass jam itself despite making little to no sense lyrically) makes them fun additions to any party playlist. -OHD

"Love In This Club" by Usher: Yes, the beat was made using GarageBand. Yes, the chorus is virulent in nature. Yes, Jeezy's raspy snarl is the only abrasive rap voice that could ever fit nicely on a Top 40 jam. But really, it's the sheer audaciousness of Usher's request to literally conjugate sans shame in a public setting that sets “Love In This Club” apart from basically every song ever written. The man doesn't so much as flinch when he lyrically macks (do the kids still use that verb?) on his lady friend as the strobe lights flash, the DJ thumps the venue, and everyone stares in amazement when she whispers in his ear, “want to go to my place?” and he basically says, “that's a waste of transportation; let's make sweet special love right here, right now, Usher-style.” No one questions this guy! He gets away with it and we're all grooving and singing along while the glorious creation of life is happening before our very eyes! In this club! -Chris (P.S. Check out my personal countdown of the Top 100 Songs of 2008, which starts just below this post!)

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  1. Blogger Infra | 8:34 AM |  

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Anonymous OHD | 8:53 AM |  

    Not such a huge fan of "Love Lockdown," but I LURV "Heartless."

  3. Blogger Dave | 8:59 AM |  

    1. This is a fantastic post. I really like the links to the youtubes so I can hear the songs.

    2. When I first heard the new Kanye, I said "its terrible but I know I'll hear one of these songs in a bar in a few months and love it". Qualler beat me to it.

    (sorry, posted with my work email before)

  4. Blogger Lady Amy | 11:26 AM |  

    Has anyone seen the Katy Perry video for "Hot N Cold?" It's amazing! She's chasing down her man in a wedding dress that just happens to rip off into a tight spandex leotard. Hot!

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