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Today's Top 40 Spectrum: Addiction Is A Delightful Disease

In case you haven't heard, there's a new Top 40 station in town here in Minneapolis. Formerly B96, your place for strictly hip hop and R&B jams, they've morphed into 96.3 NOW with the tag line "the most hit music." Ultimately, things haven't changed much; they just play the same songs as KDWB, meaning a straight-up pop song or guitar track might sneak in there. They were playing Lady Gaga throughout most of 2009, so this switch wasn't exactly surprising, but it does make for interesting comparisons between playlists between them and the traditional Top 40 Twin Cities mainstay KDWB. Also marketing tactics such as "Commercial Free Mondays" have popped up, which is nice so I can make sure to hear more of the Top 40 on one particular day of the week, though with both of them running through the spectrum, whenever one is on commercials I can go to the other and most likely chill there for a bit. The ability to do this, however, has made me overdose a bit on Top 40 lately. It made me think that Top 40's in a really good spot right now, but as I look at the top five songs on each station's playlist (as I plan on doing from here on out for this feature) it turns out it really hasn't improved: it's just gotten me addicted. Nevertheless, here's the first Top 40 Spectrum for 2010, for better or worse...

"Carry Out" by Timbaland & Justin Timberlake: No video yet for this monster single, but there will surely be one soon, and I can only hope that the food metaphors get translated along the way. Yes, JT and man behind his beats both get on the mic to talk about booties in a way that has been catching on for a while now (Lil Wayne arguably popularized this strange new trend): imagine if we could express lust in a slang covered in references to drive-thrus, IHOP, and supersizing. And yet, as weird as it is, these guys succeed. Now I thought it was slightly droll and negligibly groovy upon my first listen, but I just dismissed it as another limp collab effort. But then my addiction kicked in, Jerksica gave it her stamp of approval, and voila, I'm digging its silly yet clever ways of communicating "let's get together...if you know what I'm saying."

"Bedrock" by Young Money: Let's be clear. I like this song a lot better when I tune in after Lil Wayne has delivered his snaky intro verse. Maybe even after the dopey Gudda verse too. Hell let's just focus on the chorus for this superstar track. A student introduced me to the dude (Lloyd) behind this song's ridiculously awesome chorus about a year ago and I knew the guy had style then. I'm glad he's getting true Top 40 play, because he's like Ne-Yo with a sense of humor, or John Legend with street cred. And unlike Weezy and his contemporaries, Mr. Lloyd can SING. "Call me Mr. Flintstone, I can make your bedrock" is going to be the most memorable lyric of 2010; I'm calling it now. Also that middle verse between Nicki and Drake is sick, because we need more female rappers and this Drake guy while not spectacular at least has a nice calm delivery. I wish the rest of the song was just the chorus over and over though.

"Whataya Want From Me" by Adam Lambert: Kris Allen's track, not quite to the top of pops yet, is actually not half bad. At the end of the day, after getting past the Mraz-esque verses, there's a decent soaring chorus to be heard, thereby making it not much worse than Adam Lambert's big hit here. To compare, the chorus of "Whataya Want From Me" is actually quite forgettable, especially because it falls victim to "just-repeat-the-song-title-over-and-over" syndrome, which is too bad. However, that guitar riff in the verses has a strong emotional tinge to it as it coils up and down on top of nothing but a simple drum beat and Lambert's coarse croon. But then the big arena sound comes in to destroy it to pieces, turning the aching rubble into a blinding beam of white noise. Oh well, try better next time, Adam.

"Evacuate The Dance Floor" by Cascada: I straight-up turn off the radio whenever I hear this song. I usually don't even switch to a CD or Radio K. I just press the power button and allow myself a moment to breathe before I let my ears ingest any more music. And this song is played even more than "Tik Tok" now, which is a damn shame. It's not even that it's particularly annoying, though it is. It's more that it's so blandly loud that until a few days ago I still wondered if it was that old Lady Gaga song about dancing that I don't like or a new Britney track that whizzed past my radar, as so many of her new singles tend to do. It's boring. It's generic. And it's effing LOUD! It's like when those really loud commercials come on suddenly; they're not really that annoying or out of place, they're just for whatever reason way louder than the previous ad. [Sidenote: I heard this was supposed to be made illegal on the TV! When will this go into effect?]

"I Look So Good" by Jessie James: So how could it possibly get worse from the track above, at least in my opinion? Well by putting a song in the top five that isn't necessarily loud or gratingly dull, but just fully ignored by my eardrums. I know I've heard this song, but, if you can follow me here, I'm not sure if I've ever really HEARD this song. Know what I mean? I definitely never listened to it if I ever stumbled across it on the radio, but if I did, I did not even hear the throaty wail of this country popstress nor did I hear the clanging ride cymbal or stock handclap effects. Rather, as I blasted it in my car, I only heard the sound of slush whipping through my tire treads, the whooshing by of cars and semis, and the slight honking of horns in the distance. This song, by all accounts, does not exist in my personal history of pop music. Let us move on and never speak of it again.

P.S. They won't dare chart it in the top five, but "Blame it on the Pop 2009", DJ Earworm's phenomenal mash-up of the top 25 Billboard hits of 2009, is getting some serious airplay on KDWB and it's awesome. Do check it out.

P.P.S. For non-Top 40 musings, don't forget to check out my ongoing rundown of my faves of 2009 at I can't come home, Grace. I'm an adult.

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  1. Blogger DoktorPeace | 4:20 AM |  

    Yeah so I listened to that mash-up, and recognized maybe 2 songs. Shows how in tune with the tunes I am. And how much I care.

  2. Blogger DoktorPeace | 4:24 AM |  

    Also, can someone please explain to me how Beyonce's "Single Ladies" just won a Grammy for best song of 2009 after it was number 2 on MTV's best of 2008 list. It was released in October 2008, and parodied on SNL that November. I knew old song was old. What the f.

    Also I hate it.

  3. Blogger qualler | 11:04 AM |  

    Wow, that Evacuate the Dance Floor really is loud. I was just listening to it on the minimum volume on my work laptop and I couldn't hear the guy next to me softly talking to me. Even in accounting firm headphone standards it's way too loud.

    Evacuate the Dance Floor? More like you just evacuated your bowels on the dance floor with this crap!

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