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Today's Top 40 Spectrum: Closing Out 2009 With Misogyny and Narcissism!

In response to this post's title: in other words, nothing new. But this final new set of Minneapolis Top 40 bangers are perfect embodiments of the year as a whole in more ways than one. Not only does the lyrical content veer toward the aforementioned themes, but each represents a certain stylistic fad that was both extremely prevalent in this year of 2009 and we can pray, depending on whether I like it or not, for its imminent death in 2010 or its next step in the pop evolution. Next month look for a traditional Best of 2009 Top 40 post, but for right now, let's take a look at the ones that the final year of a troubled decade will take to its death, ranked from best to worst...

"Tik Tok" by Kesha: The most we can hope for in 2010 is that the M.I.A. swagger will be transferred to more solo female artists, even if it only is in small and tangential doses like it is here. But even with a just a tinge of disaffected punk rock delivery, Kesha creates a more interesting air around her voice than any other on this list. Yes, even with a P. Diddy reference inside the song's first two measures, and yes, even with an unhealthy dollop of unnecessary Autotune, the song still works. The verse is much more lip-quivering fun, with its contradictory happy synth skipping, but even the "I'm gonna party all night long because I'm awesome" chorus is marginally delightful with its hi-hat decimation and (admittedly generic) pulsing dance beat.

"Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga: Another month, another Lady Gaga single. And even in saying that in an effort to sum up 2009's trend of - very simply - Lady Gaga, I feel like I've already used that line to fill space talking about the NYC sensation all year long. That said, this is clearly the best song she's put out among her four thousand singles that have grown like weeds all over the pop culture ether for the past twelve months. In addition, it's the closest she's been able to transition from her faux-avant-garde beginnings to full-fledged as-avant-garde-as-mainstream-can-get, and for that, I can't knock her. And even though I will continue argue that she cannot be our generation's Madonna (Madonna already filled that role, sorry), at least this track does not fit one of the two common 2009 pop song themes (though almost all her other songs do).

"Sexy Chick" by David Guetta & Akon: Well this makes me feel icky. Not only are there all kinds of wrong going on in the refrain's swollen lyric "I'm trying to find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful", but the thing I actually like about this song (the minimalist electro-clash production, which I pray we see more of in '10) also adds to the creepy woman-hating vibe that trounces through both the low, mumbled verses and the ejaculatory chorus. In fact, it's almost knee-slappingly hilarious/appalling how transparent Akon is being here with his ode to a woman's physical beauty and inability to praise it without comparing it to a neighborhood whore, and just straight up saying "damn!" every other line. But oh the kitchen-sink drums how they come and build out of nowhere halfway through the drop-out and bring the beat back while he says "damn you a sexy chick" over and over! So conflicting!

"Body Language" by Jesse McCartney & T-Pain: Hahahaha does T-Pain really start off this song by saying "nappy boy pretty boy collaboration / that thing you got behind you is amazing"?! That's positively spellbinding is what that is. It's a thing of dreams, to find out two people that basically crap in a studio and let producers turn it into wimpy/catchy riffs have come so far to all but admit that that's exactly what they do in the first lyric of their hit single. And if that's not enough for you, they go on to practice some obligatory racist exoticism as they spout off a couple lines in French and Japanese talking about how no matter language you speak, your ass does all the talkin'. And speaking of "the other", I really enjoy how in the video, T-Pain stays locked up in the vocal isolation booth in the distance while Jesse performs on stage for hundreds and frolics on the beach. Lucky for these boys that low-end keyboard and vocal overlapping near the end is totally beast!!! Let's get more of that in 2010!

"3" by Britney Spears: When will she go away? Even as I type that, I don't 100% want it. For as obnoxious as the chorus of this song is (really? counting to three and namedropping Peter, Paul, and Mary while also talking about how you everyone wants you? what's the connection?), she always lands producers that make up for it with at least a couple neat tricks. The subtle post-chorus stop-start breakdown is clever, but even more so, I thought I better stick around for a bridge the first time I heard it because somehow I anticipated something wonderful. I was right; it's a gorgeous comedown that despite the Autotune (c'mon Brit, you don't need to use it that excessively like the other, we know it's all pitch-shifted anyway) is immaculately and lushly executed. Unfortunately, those moments of pop brilliance happen so infrequently that I can't help but place her at the bottom of my list.

P.S. KDWB Music Director, if you're reading this, get "Forever" by Drake on the Top 10 of your playlist already! Requested by me and my friend Molly k thx bye!

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  1. Blogger Brigitte | 10:19 AM |  

    I love bad romance. LOVE IT. i would agree that it's her best single (so far).

  2. Anonymous .molly. | 11:26 AM |  

    "Forever" should be #1! Too bad MN radio is not on point. "Body Language" is diabolically awful AND thank you for pointing out the "peter, paul and mary" reference from Britney. I do believe that song represents the epitome of lyrical laziness.

    Thanks for the shout out!

  3. Blogger qualler | 11:30 AM |  

    3 is about a threesome and therefore lyrically clever!!!!! And I like the autotune!!!!!!

  4. Blogger qualler | 11:31 AM |  

    Damn this Keisha track is BANGIN' too. Well done, Top 40 in 2009.

  5. Blogger chris | 1:48 PM |  

    Were Peter, Paul, and Mary known for their threesomes?

  6. Blogger qualler | 1:56 PM |  

    Peter, Paul and Mary are three people, and also threesomes have the word three in them!!!!! (p.s. I was/am actually being about 85% facetious in my earlier comment about lyrical cleverness.)

  7. Anonymous .molly. | 2:09 PM |  

    Given my unusually expansive knowledge of classic rock, I can definitely say that sadly Peter, Paul, and Mary were not known for their threesomes. None of them dated even. Britney could clearly have made a reference to any of the other gazillion classic rock groups that likely had some hot threesome action going on: Mamas & the Papas, Jefferson Airplane. How about "Lindsey, Mick, and Stevie" (Fleetwood Mac reference, anyone?). That rhymes AND is topically appropriate. LAZINESS.

  8. Blogger chris | 2:13 PM |  

    Haha, Molly, you're a genius! Universal Records should HIRE you, stat!

    P.S. Qualler, I was not being facetious haha, I really was unsure whether or not Peter, Paul, and Mary were known for threesomes and perhaps that was why lyric was penned. I think Molly pwned us both on that, however.

    P.P.S. Do the kids still say "pwned"?

  9. Anonymous .molly. | 3:47 PM |  

    pwned? Er, don't think so. Maybe those 10 or so kids that just can't let it go and are still playing CounterStrike? My research on the "young people" has led me to believe that "FTW" may be the modern equivalent.

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