Monday, January 25, 2010

Bachelor Jake Pavelka.... all the dirt from this season so far!

When the new season of The Bachelor debuted on January 4th, little did I know that there would be so much drama. The first week was pretty typical with Jake meeting all 25 hopefuls and narrowing down the field to 15. Some girls had a crazy way of showing their eagerness to get to know Jake. Christina, a restaurant manager from San Diego, CA gave out candy to all the girls to "sweeten" the fact that all these girls were going to lose and she was going to win. Elizabeth, a nanny from Imperial, NE played a game of touch football with Jake outside. Michelle, one of the most controversial women to be on the show, poured her heart out to Jake on the first night!

Following the first elimination, these women moved on (in the order which he gave them a rose):
Tenley, 25, College Admissions, Newburg, OR (first impression rose)
Ella, 30, Hair Stylist, Lafollette, TN
Elizabeth, 29, Nanny, Imperial, NE
Ali, 25, Advertising Account Manager, Williamstown, MA
Vienna, 23, Marketing Rep., Sanford, FL
Christina, 25, Restaurant Manager, San Diego, CA
Gia, 26, Swimsuit Model, NYC, NY
Ashley, 29, Teacher, Pittsburgh, PA
Rozlyn, 28 Model/ Make Up Artist, Richmond, VA
Jessie, 25, Cosmetic Sales Manager, Ontario, Canada
Corrie, 23, Wardrobe Consultant, Kissimmee, FL
Valisha, 31, Homemaker, San Bernadinom CA
Ashleigh, 25, Account Manager, N. Potomac, MD
Kathryn, 25, Corporate Flight Attendant, Lexington, KY
Michelle, 26, Office Manager, Anaheim, CA

Episode 2:
Jake's first group date was with Christina, Gia, Rozlyn, Corrie, Valisha, and Ashleigh; they went to Santa Monica for a magazine photo shoot with InStyle magazine. Following that, they had dinner on the roof of a hotel where Christina had way too much to drink, Gia rocked a bikini, and Rozlyn was a tease and used her sex appeal to wrap Jake around her finger. Jake offers Rozlyn a rose.

Ali received the first one on one date and went on a plane ride where Jake was the pilot; Ali was very nervous but Jake eased her fears. They then drove to a secluded spot where a private concert featuring Chicago was played just for them. Jake says Ali is a beautiful person on the inside, and Ali says she will fight for what she has with Jake. He gives her a rose.

Elizabeth, Vienna, Ashley, Jessie, and Kathryn go on a group date with Jake to an amusement park. Elizabeth writes him a letter asking him not to kiss her until she is the last one standing. Jake is intrigued and offers Elizabeth a rose.

Michelle threatens to leave because she did not receive a date.

Christina and Ashley are eliminated but Rozlyn is too. She is disqualified for having a physical and sexual relationship with a staff member from the show. The staff member was fired for his actions. Other girls reported what they saw to producers and apparently this is how Rozlyn was found out. I mean seriously, Rozlyn, you are going on the show because you want to be with Jake, you think Jake is the perfect man for you. You decide to convince him of that by sleeping with someone else? You are seriously diluted. I am happy she got kicked off and was found out.

Episode 3:
Vienna, who is causing more bickering in the house than anyone, gets a one on one date with Jake to go on a helicopter ride and bungee jumping. Surprisingly, both are afraid of heights, and share a kiss while upside down. Vienna goes back to the house and brags all about her date with Jake. The rest of the women are none too pleased.

Tenley, Elizabeth, Ali, Ashleigh, Corrie, Kathryn, Jessie, and Michelle have a group date at a comedy club with Jon Lovitz who teaches them how to tell a joke. The women then must deliver their comedy routine to an audience and Jake. Corrie makes her comedy routine all about Vienna, which is telling to Jake. He questions Corrie and the other women; hopefully he will eliminate her this coming week. Michelle forces Jake to kiss her which prompts him to send her home.

Ella has her one on one date with Jake at Sea World; he brings Ella's song because it is Ella's birthday. Jake sees that she is a great mom and gives her a rose.

Valisha and Elizabeth are sent packing. Elizabeth questions whether or not she should have kissed Jake.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haiti and the Human Spirit

The earthquake tragedy in Haiti this past week brought a lot of things to the forefront of my mind. I thought a lot about the world we live in; two things in particular came to mind. The generosity of people, especially in the midst of tragedy; people who don’t even know one another are willing to help each other. The second thing that came to mind is the pain that one human being can inflict on another human being(s). And they do it with no fear, compassion, or sorrow in their eyes; it is frightening.


Haiti is a place where the majority of people have nothing in comparison to what we have, so for them to lose the little that they have is devastating. It is the poorest country in the Americas with a per capita income of $2 a day, 1 in 4 people have a dirt floor in their home, only half of the population can read. Knowing that people are/ were alive under the rubble and couldn’t get out, it hurts. A life is a life. The death toll as of today is up to 200,000; law enforcement is now dealing with looters who are threatening rescue efforts. People at the United Nations said it is the worst natural disaster that they have ever dealt with. The United States has pledged to give $100 million and send troops, 1,000 have already been deployed to the country another 9,000 will be deployed within the next few days.


At my church today, the second collection was for relief efforts in Haiti; Catholic Relief Services which is where the money is being sent to is one of the most successful organizations of its kind in the world. Make a donation here: http://crs.org/. George Clooney is organizing a telethon that will air on ABC, CBS, NBC, HBO, CMT, MTV, CNN, The CW, FOX, and VH1 on January 22nd. Clooney will air live from Los Angeles, Wyclef Jean (native of Haiti) will air live from New York City, and Anderson Cooper will be on air in Haiti. Angeline Jolie and Brad Pitt gave $1 million to doctor’s without borders, Sandra Bullock gave $1 million to the same cause https://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=197&hbc=1&source=ADR1001E1D01, David Blaine is having a 72 hour magic marathon in NYC, all proceeds will go toward the Haiti earthquake. People are banning together, helping in any way that they know how; and yet sometimes we feel like we’re doing nothing at all. The Haitian Student Union at my alma mater, Northeastern University is collecting items to send to Haiti on January 19th at 6 p.m. at the student center; there will be a candlelight vigil following http://www.jamn945.com/pages/helphaiti.html?_show.


Haiti made me think about a lot of things: Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, Darfur, The shoe bomber (Richard Reid), Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab who tried to hijack a plane in Detroit just less than a month ago; it was this rush of memories and feelings and emotions. When I thought about it hard, it made me cry, because I just don’t know how I would be in the midst of tragedy like that. I help and donate to causes, donate clothing, and all the while I don’t feel I am doing enough. I don’t think I could ever be a doctor or member of law enforcement, or our military, and yet despite that, I have enormous respect for each and every one of them. I don’t believe I would be strong enough to do any of those jobs.


I wanted to write this because I needed to make how I felt known, I needed to feel like I did something to help. I am an optimist, I believe that despite the evils of this world, there are good people out there.


Today, following a week of thinking about tragedy, I decided to watch the movie World Trade Center. It came out about three and half years ago but I could never bring myself to watch it. It was so intense and so difficult to watch but it teaches you about the strength of the human spirit. It teaches you about how people fall apart in tragedy but how they come together and bond and help each other. I knew the outcome going into the movie, and yet I found myself praying for lives to be saved. I don’t want to give away the movie because I think it is something that everyone should watch but especially Americans. If you want to read about Officer William Jimeno and Sergeant John McLoughlin, you can do so here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McLoughlin_(World_Trade_Center_attack_survivor) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Jimeno . These two men were so brave and they kept each other alive talking to one another about the people that loved them. Both men have since retired from the police force. They both walked across the stage together at Ground Zero ceremonies as the last column on the memorial was revealed; both men received the Port Authority’s Medal of Honor.


There is terror, but we must never forget about the good things in this world, and helping other people for no other reason than is it the right thing to do.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Favorite Songs of 2009: Part 3

*“Million Dollar Bill”, Whitney Houston from the album I Look to You-- Alicia Keys wrote the track that became known as Houston’s comeback song; Key’s easily could have made the song a hit herself but chose to give it to Houston who is a longtime idol. The song has an old school R&B beat, and samples Loleatta Holloway’s “We’re Getting Stronger”; it was produced by Swiss Beatz who has produced for everyone from Mariah Carey to Beyonce to Alicia Keys. What I love most about “Million Dollar Bill” besides Houston’s vocals is the fact that she looks like a million dollars in the video.


My Fave Line from the Song: If he makes you feel like a million dollar bill/ Say oh oh oh, say oh oh oh !/If you go left right up down/ Make you spinning round and round/ Say ooh oh oh oh, say ooh oh oh oh !

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Hip-Hop Songs: 16
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs: 1


Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNIcVTmUSOU


*“Paparazzi”, Lady Gaga from the album The Fame-- And once again, we will go to Gaga so that she can tell us what this song is all about:“The song is about a few different things – it's about my struggles, do I want fame or do I want love? It's also about wooing the paparazzi to fall in love with me. It's about the media whoring, if you will, watching ersatzes make fools of themselves to their station. It's a love song for the cameras, but it's also a love song about fame or love – can you have both, or can you only have one?” With “Paparazzi”, Lady Gaga joined Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, and Fergie become the only women this decade to collect four Hot 100 top ten hits from their debut albums.


My Fave Line from the Song: I'm your biggest fan I'll follow you until you love me,/ Papa-
paparazzi,/ Baby there's no other superstar you know that I'll be your/ Papa-paparazzi/ Promise I'll be kind, but I won't stop until that boy is mine,/ Baby you'll be famous chase you down until you love me,/ Papa-paparazzi

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 6
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs: 1
U.S. Billboard Pop Songs: 1


Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMvrNO9fUM0


*“Pretty Wings”, Maxwell from the album BLACKsummers’night-- His first single in seven years, the last being the amazing “This Woman’s Work”, “Pretty Wings” welcomes Maxwell back the to R&B scene in a big way. The song is nominated at the Grammy’s for Song of the Year, Best R&B Song, and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Maxwell told MTV that “Pretty Wings” is a song about meeting the perfect girl at the wrong time in your life, it’s a love song. Maxwell also told Billboard Magazine: "I met this girl who I still respect very much, and although it didn't work out, I got lots of inspiration from it. This track speaks of my time with her;” we can all only hope that Maxwell continues to be “inspired”. This to me is, clearly, one of the most beautiful tracks of the year.


My Fave Line from the Song: If I can't have you, let love set you free/ To fly your pretty wings around/Pretty wings, your pretty wings/ Your pretty wings around

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 33
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Hip-Hop Songs: 1


Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkPy4yq7EJo


*“Run This Town”, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kanye West from the album The Blueprint 3-- “Run This Town” definitely had radio presence despite the fact that it did not receive the critical claim that it should have. I don’t think anyone could have performed the song as well as these three artists did. Rihanna’s contribution to the song was her first following her altercation with her ex boyfriend Chris Brown. The song is nominated for two Grammy Award’s which it has a good chance of winning.


My Fave Line from the Song: Rihanna: Feel it comin' in the air/ And the screams from everywhere/ I'm addicted to the care/ It's a dangerous love affair/ Can't be scared when it goes down/ Got a problem, tell me now/ Only thing that's on my mind/ Is who's gonna run this town tonight…/ Is who's gonna run this town/tonight…/ We gonna run this town

Kanye: Reebok/ Baby/ You need to drop some new things/ Have you ever had shoes without shoe strings?/What's that 'Ye?/ Baby, these heels


Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 2
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Hip-Hop Songs: 3
U.S. Billboard Rap Songs: 1

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVA-xTBeHyM


*“Russian Roulette”, Rihanna from the album Rated R-- Following the Chris Brown debacle, “Russian Roulette” was Rihanna’s answer to critics who thought she was just another weak victim. Written and produced by her good friend Neyo and Chuck Harmony, the song and the video showed a new side of Rihanna that was intense and mature beyond her years.


My Fave Line from the Song: And you can see my heart beating/ You can see it through my chest/ And I’m terrified but I’m not leaving/ Know that I must pass this test

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 9


Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ2nCGawrSY


*“She Wolf”, Shakira from the album She Wolf-- Billboard’s review praised “Shakira's ability to sing fast, crowded phrases in a way that forces the listener to pay attention. It's an unselfconsciously sexy, stylish ode to a woman on the prowl". Shakira told Rolling Stone magazine that “She Wolf” came to her one day when she was in the studio and had a bad mood; she went off to a corner by herself , and from that came “She Wolf”. The song, she says, is about a woman who is in touch with her own desires, a woman who listens to her inner self. As for the saucy video that goes with the song, Shakira admits most of it was improvised.


My Fave Line from the Song: I've been devoting myself to you Monday to Monday and Friday to Friday/Not getting enough retribution or decent incentives to keep me at it/ I'm starting to feel just a little abused like a coffee machine in an office/ So I'm gonna go somewhere cozy to get me a lover/ And tell you all about it

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 11
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs: 1
U.S. Billboard Latin Songs: 1


Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=booKP974B0k


*“Sweet Dreams”, Beyonce from the album I Am…Sasha Fierce-- All I have to say is thank goodness they did not end up calling the song “Beautiful Nightmare” because that is what the song was leaked as. Yet again, it is a song by Beyonce laced with Michael Jackson influence (think: “Beat It”). The video, like all B’s videos, dazzles and shows us that is not only an amazing artist but a fashion icon. On a personal note, I listened to this song while I was having my wisdom teeth pulled, and I assure you all , I was having “sweet dreams”.


My Fave Line from the Song: I mention you when I say my prayers/ I wrap you around all of my thoughts/Boy you're my temporary high/ I wish that when I wake up you're there/ To wrap your arms around me for real/ And tell me you'll stay by side/ Clouds filled with stars cover the skies/ And I hope it rains, you're the perfect lullaby/ What kinda dream is this?

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Hip-Hop Songs: 48
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks: 25
U.S. Billboard Pop Songs: 5
U.S. Billboard Radio Songs: 2
U.S. Billboard Rhythmic Top 40: 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs: 1


Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlxByc0-V40


*“3”, Britney Spears from the album The Singles Collection-- The controversial song about threesomes was the lead and only single released off Spears’ second compilation album. The music video features Spears and back-up dancers dressed in black and white; surprisingly the video received positive reviews from critics. I understand why because it displays that Britney is back to her true and sexy form. I cannot help but add in this quote from the video’s director Diane Martel: “I think it's her next sexy video. It's a very simple video for her – I don't think you've seen her this much under a magnifying glass. Everything's really strong and playful. We collaborated on the wardrobe and had meetings about hair and makeup people, we talked a lot on the phone and met Tone and Rich — two of the best choreographers. [..] [Spears]' so sweet and funny and so normal and down to earth. It's really fun as a director to see her in front of the camera. She's so creative with this stuff. The video is very simple, it's very, very minimal. So it's her, her, her. And she's totally engaging every second. She really knows how to work with a camera and move. I was really impressed, and I have worked almost with every female artist in the business".


My Fave Line from the Song: What we do is innocent/ Just for fun and nothin' meant/ If you don't like the company/ Let's just do it you and me

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance/ Club Play Songs: 16
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 1


Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTs6oQx1WJY


*“Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart”, Alicia Keys from the album The Element of Freedom-- The message of this song can make me smile but at the same time can bring me to tears; a classic love song is born with “Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart”. If this song is not nominated for oodles of Grammy’s next year, not only will I be amazed and disappointed but I will personally send a letter to the Grammy “people” expressing disapproval. MTV News's Tamar Anitai said that the song is "is one of Alicia Keys' most lush love songs since "No One," and every pleading note is coated in passion and power. Absolutely breathtaking and more and more beautiful with every replay, it's an instant classic on every level”. The video begins with a quote, "There are those among us who are blessed with the power to save what is loved by another. But powerless to use this blessing themselves". I did not realize the meaning of this until I watched the video a few times, but, wow is it a powerful message! Ms. Keys is a woman who continues to inspire the woman in me.


My Fave Line from the Song: Have you ever tried sleeping with a broken heart/ Well you can try sleeping in my bed/ Lonely, only, nobody ever shut it down like you/ You wore the crown, you make my body feel heaven-bound/ Why don’t you hold me, need me, I thought you told me/ You’d never leave me

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 27
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Hip-Hop Songs: 9


Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvjuEsfdiT4


*“Video Phone”, Beyonce (remix features Lady Gaga) from the album I Am…Sasha Fierce-- The eighth single off I Am…Sasha Fierce, “Video Phone” has an original version and a remix version with Lady Gaga, both of which have charted. When I first listened to this song, I did not like it; however, once I listened to it a few times the beat really grew on me. But listen to the lyrics, because listening to the song around the wrong person may make you uncomfortable. What I love about Beyonce is that she can share the stage with any diva, and she still manages to draw such interest towards herself; she and Gaga do a fine job of sharing space. The video and the song itself are downright sexy; it has this oddness to it, kinda like “Diva”, but it’s a better song. I am still waiting for radio to play “Video Phone” more than they do.


My Fave Line from the Song: Them hustlas keep on talkin'/ They like the way I'm walkin'/ You saying that you want me/ So press record, I'll let you film me

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Hip-Hop Songs: 37 (original version)
U.S. Billboard Hot 100:65 (remix version)


Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGkvXp0vdng


*“Waking Up In Vegas”, Katy Perry from the album One of the Boys-- One of the most fun songs of ‘09, “Waking Up In Vegas” was inspired by some of Perry’s real life trips to Vegas with friends, boyfriends, etc. She says that when she was 21, she went to get fake married with her then boyfriend in Vegas. The song received generally positive reviews for Perry who had been criticized for her ballad “Thinking of You” (even though I thought the song was heartfelt). The video, directed by Joseph Kahn , is classic Katy Perry, and it sucks all of us in. Interesting fun fact: Penn and Teller appear in the video!


My Fave Line from the Song: Shut up and put your money where your mouth is/ That's what you get for waking up in Vegas/ Get up and shake the glitter off your clothes, now/ That's what you get for waking up in Vegas

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 9
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs: 1
U.S. Billboard Pop Songs: 1


Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-pUaogoX5o


*“Walkin On the Moon”, The Dream feat. Kanye West from the album Love vs. Money-- I don’t have much to say about this single that I believe had some of the most beautiful lyrics of the year, possibly of the past decade. The Dream is a red hot writer and producer right now who is finally starting to prove he can also make hits for himself. The video pays homage to the Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson “Scream” video.


My Fave Line from the Song: Cause I'll pull down a cloud for you/ I'll circle the stars and bring you one back/ I'll walk through the sun for you/ Cause there's something you do/ That got me walking on the moon

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Pop 100:74
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Hip-Hop Songs: 38


Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqaTjzvMq18


*“Whatcha Say”, Jason Derulo from his upcoming debut album-- Yes, the song did take punches for liberally sampling an Imogen Heap song (“Hide and Seek”); however, it also launched the career of up and comer Jason Derulo. He is not new to the music business, after all, he has been writing songs since he was 16 for the likes of Danity Kane, Diddy, Lil Wayne, Cassie, and Sean Kingston to name a few. He was “discovered” on Showtime at the Apollo by music producer J.R. Rotem who almost immediately signed him to his record label Beluga Heights/ Warner Bros., and the rest, as they say, is history.


My Fave Line from the Song: Cause when the roof caved in and the truth came out/ I just didn't know what to do/ But when I become a star we'll be living so large/ I'll do anything for you/ So tell me girl

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 1


Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBI3lc18k8Q

This year's "My Fave Songs" list is dedicated to Michael Jackson, so many people miss you; I know I do. Rest in peace and God bless you for giving us such inspiration for music and life.
 
 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Favorite Songs from 2009: Part 2

*“Ego”, Beyonce from the album I Am… Sasha Fierce-- “Ego”, Beyonce says, is about , “someone being very confident and having this swagger when they walk and when they talk, and that being one of the reasons why I'm attracted to them." The fifth single off her acclaimed CD, “Ego” gives praise to the old school R&B song that exposes the real voice complete with imperfections and limitations. The video, shot in black and white like “Single Ladies”, “If I Were a Boy”, and “Diva is very much like the premise of the “Single Ladies” video, B. dancing in a leotard with two back up dancers. Who could tire of that? The song is also up for best Rap/ Sung collaboration at the Grammy’s (for the remix version with her and Kanye West).

My Fave Line from the Song: It's on baby, let's get lost/ You don't need to call into work 'cause you're the boss For real, want you to show me how you feel/ I consider myself lucky, that's a big deal

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 39
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Hip-Hop Songs: 3

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbnPkK76Ask


*“Empire State of Mind”, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys from the album The Blueprint 3-- It has topped just about every chart, been featured in movie trailers (Sex and the City 2), at Yankee’s at bats (namely Derek Jeter), on Gossip Girl (cause it takes place where else, NYC), and it is the new anthem for New York. “Empire State of Mind” exceeded the expectations of just about everyone and became Jay’s first #1 hit as a lead artist on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The song was originally supposed to be recorded with Nas but due to scheduling conflicts Jay-Z called on friend Alicia Keys, and the rest, as they say, is history.

My Fave Line from the Song: Jay-Z: Yeah I'm out that Brooklyn./ Now I'm down in Tribeca./ Right next to DeNiro/ But I'll be hood forever/ I'm the new Sinatra/ And since I made it here/ I can make it anywhere/ (Yeah they love me everywhere)
Alicia Keys: New York!!!!/ Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,/ There's nothing you can’t do,/Now you're in New York!!!/ These streets will make you feel brand new,/ the lights will inspire you,/ Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 1
U.S. Billboard Rap Songs: 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Hip-Hop Songs: 1

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UjsXo9l6I8


*“Fifteen”, Taylor Swift from the album Fearless-- James Reed of The Boston Globe wrote that “Fearless’” most interesting songs are the ones Swift wrote alone. You can practically see the lyrics for “Fifteen” scribbled in a diary, chronicling Swift’s freshman year in high school.” I couldn’t agree more. “Fifteen” is a positive song about the innocence of youth, how a young woman should never sell herself short and believe in who she is. Incidentally, the song is based on a true story about Swift supporting her best friend Abigail Anderson after she gets her heart broken by a fickle boy. Swift says that she sings the song as a sort of advice to other young women; if this is true, Swift sings it with such conviction that I would listen anytime.

My Fave Line from the Song: Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday/ but I realized some bigger dreams of mine/ and Abigail gave everything she had to a boy/ who changed his mind and we both cried

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs: 7
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 23
U.S. Billboard Pop Songs: 11

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb-K2tXWK4w


*“Give It Up To Me”, Shakira from the album She Wolf-- The song was originally to be recorded with Timbaland and Shakira for Tim’s CD, but he was first replaced by Flo Rida, and then Lil Wayne expressed interest in the record, and so Shakira decided to record and release the song with him (I should mention the song was still produced by Timbaland) . “Give It Up To Me” shows a new side of Shakira; she is always sexy, flirtatious, but her Latin flavor is infused with a hip hop style that takes everyone by surprise.

My Fave Line from the Song: What you give is exactly what you receive/ So put me in a cage and lock me away and I'll play the games that you want me to play/ You can have it all/ Anything you want you can make it yours

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 29

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXQXs3Lr0UA


*“Halo”, Beyonce from the album I Am Sasha…Fierce-- The other song involved in the “Already Gone” controversy (see “Already Gone” in Part 1). “Halo” was co written by Evan Bogart and Ryan Tedder; It is currently nominated for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at this year’s Grammy Awards. The song, sung in Beyonce’s lower register, was first offered to Leona Lewis who did not have the time to record it. The video features actor Michael Ealy as B’s love interest and has bright sunlit scenes throughout it. What I really love about the song is just how beautiful she sings it, and how lovely the words are; it really is a classic power ballad.

My Fave Line from the Song: Everywhere I'm looking now/ I'm surrounded by your embrace/ Baby I can see your halo/ You know you're my saving grace

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 5
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play: 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs: 16
U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 3

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnVUHWCynig


*“Happy”, Leona Lewis from the album Echo-- Music is most touching when delivered in the right way; Leona Lewis hits “Happy” out of the park and truly solidifies her “diva” status. “Happy” is the child of Leona Lewis, Evan Bogart, and Ryan Tedder who say that they did not want to try and copy anything that she did before (i.e. “Bleeding Love”). Music critic, Nick Levine of the Digital Spy went as far as to call, “her vocal run from 2.39-2.44 the most incredible five seconds of singing we’ve heard all year,” and I have to say that after listening to the song he may just be right. The song is somber in parts, yet the message it delivers is so uplifting; Victoria’s Secret even used the remix version of the song for their fashion show this past December. What could be better than beautiful, intelligent, lingerie models walking down a runway to your song?

My Fave Line from the Song: So what if it hurts me?/ So what if I break down?/ So what if this world just throws me off the edge?/ My feet run out of ground/ I gotta find my place/ I wanna hear my sound/ Don’t care about all the pain in front of me/ I just wanna be happy/ Happy.

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 31
U.S. Billboard Hot Gospel Songs: 26
U.S. Billboard Pop Songs: 32

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSTYgeor9k8


*“I Gotta Feeling”, The Black Eyed Peas from the album The E.N.D.-- Produced by French House DJ David Guetta; “I Gotta Feeling” is the feel good song that I would not have expected to go to number one but it did. The song is nominated at this year’s Grammy’s for Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. This is what will.I.am thinks about the song:
this song is dedicated to everyone who is getting ready to go out...
its the song to listen to when you drive to the club or party...
its the song to listen to after a long day or week at work...
its the song to that makes me wanna throw my stress away...
Honestly all of those statements are true.

My Fave Line from the Song: I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night/ That tonight’s gonna be a good night/ That tonight’s gonna be a good good night

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 1
U.S. Billboard Pop Songs: 1

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19rG2CHvCQY


*“Love Game”, Lady Gaga from the album The Fame-- The story behind “Love Game”, as told to Rolling Stone by Lady Gaga, “ I was at a nightclub, and I had quite a sexual crush on somebody, and I said to them, 'I wanna ride on your disco stick'. The next day, I was in the studio, and I wrote the song in about four minutes.” The song’s video was so provocative that it was banned in some countries; there are similarities with Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video. It is believed that Jackson wanted to work with Lady Gaga in the months leading up to his death.

My Fave Line from the Song: Let's play a love game,/ Play a love game/ Do you want love or you want fame?/ Are you in the game?/ Dans le love game?

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 5
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs: 1
U.S. Billboard Pop Songs: 1

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cnv7uKYcJo


*“Love, Sex, Magic”, Ciara and Justin Timberlake from the album Fantasy Ride-- It was one of the first songs that I thought of when I was making my list even though it was released at the beginning of last year. The video was so sexy, and it confirmed my belief that any project that Justin Timberlake works on turns out to be a success (Rihanna’s “Cold Case Love” penned by Timberlake will be on this list next year). Ciara saw working with Timberlake as an opportunity to make her record better, so much so that the song is nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals at the Grammy’s. The pair definitely had vocal chemistry, one critic said, “Ciara purrs, and Timberlake more than rises to the occasion”.

My Fave Line from the Song: Justin: I ain’t goin stop you if you wanna grab my neck/ Talk sexy to me like that/ Just do what I taught you, girl/ When I give you my heat and I need you to push it right back
Ciara: Baby, show me, show me/ What’s your favorite trick that you wanna use on me/ And I’ll volunteer

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 10
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Hip-Hop Songs: 10

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raB8z_tXq7A


*“Meet Me Halfway”, The Black Eyed Peas from the album The E.N.D.-- Fergie told the British newspaper the Daily Mail that she thought of Madonna in 1985 and her Like A Virgin tour; she wanted to take on Madonna’s persona in the song in honor of her. The song is about as close to a ballad as the Peas will get and Fergie’s vocals are beautiful and sincere.

My Fave Line from the Song: Meet me halfway, right at the borderline/ That's where I'm gonna wait, for you/ I'll be lookin out, night an day/ Took my heart to the limit, and this is where I'll stay/ I can't go any further than this/ I want you so bad it's my only wish

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 7

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=DrakeOfficial&annotation_id=annotation_129316&feature=iv
 
 
 

Friday, January 1, 2010

My Favorite Songs from 2009: Part 1

When I began putting this list together for the second time; I knew that I was in trouble. Music had a great year, and there were a number of artists we can attribute it to; they appear multiple times on this list. I read the list over to a friend, and he said, "Wow, that's a good list; I really like all those songs". I cannot wait to see some of these people on tour, or hear their next single, or listen to their new album. Some of the songs on this list are currently still climbing the charts, some missed the Grammy cut off and will no doubt be considered for awards next year. I urge all of you to take a listen to these songs, watch the videos, and be inspired as I so was. I have even thought about putting together a CD with all these songs on there, but maybe I am getting ahead of myself; let me blog about it all first.


*“21 Guns”, Green Day from the album 21st Century Breakdown-- Nominated for Grammy’s in early 2010 for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Best Rock Song, “21 Guns” is arguably the group’s biggest hit since “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. The song appears on the soundtrack for the movie “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” movie. On an album that Rolling Stone called “the most personal, emotionally convulsive record Armstrong has ever written,” 21 Guns is an exclamation point.

My Fave Line from the Song: When you're at the end of the road/ And you lost all sense of control/ And your thoughts have taken their toll/ When your mind breaks the spirit of your soul/ Your faith walks on broken glass/ And the hangover doesn't pass/ Nothing's ever built to last/ You're in ruins

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs: 3
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks: 10
U.S. Billboard Rock Songs: 5

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r00ikilDxW4


*“Already Gone”, Kelly Clarkson from the album All I’ve Ever Wanted-- This song was proof positive that Clarkson is back as one of pop music’s leading ladies. The song, co written by Clarkson and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, also caused some controversy when Clarkson claimed that Tedder used the same musical arrangement on the song “Halo” recorded by Beyonce Knowles. Tedder denied the accusations and said, "'Already Gone' is one of the best songs I've written or produced since 'Bleeding Love' and stands tall on it's own merits apart from 'Halo.' They are two entirely different songs conceptually, melodically, [and] lyrically and I would never try to dupe an artist such as Kelly Clarkson or BeyoncĂ© into recording over the same musical track, the idea is both hurtful [and] absurd. I think when people hear 'Already Gone' they will hear what I hear—one of the greatest female vocalists on earth giving her most haunting and heart-breaking performance on a song she helped write. I challenge people to listen and form their own opinions."
Despite this, Clarkson promoted the song starting in July 2009 and reworked the arrangement to make it sound different.

My Fave Line from the Song: Looking at you makes it harder/ But I know that you'll find another/ That doesn't always make you wanna cry/ Started with a perfect kiss/ Then we could feel the poison set in/Perfect couldn't keep this love alive

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 13

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0T3WAbU6tg


*“Bad Romance”, Lady Gaga from the album The Fame Monster-- Half the time, I have no idea what the song is about and what she is saying and don’t get me started on the video because it’s just plain weird. However, I think Lady Gaga’s eccentricity is what so many people love about her, and she has had the year of her life in 2009 and 2010 only stands to be better. “Bad Romance”, says Gaga, was a song she wrote while on tour that was about the various “monsters” (paranoias) she faced during that time; one was the “love monster” which explains the inspiration for “Bad Romance”. She performed the single on Saturday Night Live and Gossip Girl, and “it dancers” Nathan and Mollee danced to it this past season on So You Think You Can Dance. On the November 2, 2009 episode of It's On with Alexa Chung, Gaga pointed out that she was listing Alfred Hitchcock films in the verse, "I want your psycho, your vertigo shtick/ Want you in my rear window, baby you're sick." She stated, "What I'm really trying to say is I want the deepest, darkest, sickest parts of you that you are afraid to share with anyone because I love you that much." Now that’s deep!

My Fave Line from the Song: I want your loving/ And I want your revenge/ You and me could write a bad romance

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 2

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkFwYuuHIYI


*“Battlefield”, Jordin Sparks from the album Battlefield-- The single was first performed on American Idol which launched the career of the young pop star and developed into a top 10 hit. Sparks explains what drew her to the song, “The melody starts off very soft and then it gets massive and kinda angsty”; it also helps that the song was written by the Runaways (Louis John Biancaniello, Sam Watters, Wayne Wilkins) and Ryan Tedder, The video shows a mature side of Sparks that I look forward to seeing in the future.

My Fave Line from the Song: Why does love always feel like a battlefield, a battlefield, a battlefield? Guess you better go and get your armor!

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 10
U.S. Billboard Pop Songs: 6

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suPlYwJ3YvM


*“Best I Ever Had”, Drake from the album So Far Gone-- With a slew of honors and awards, “Best I Ever Had” was probably the top rap solo single of the year. It was named Hot Rap Song of the year for 2009 by Billboard. It is nominated for two Grammy Awards, Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Song; it has a good chance of winning both. The song is supposedly about Drake’s girlfriend Camille; I think there are a lot of women out there wishing they were Camille.

My Fave Line from the Song: Baby, you my everything, you all I ever wanted/ We can do it real big, bigger than you ever done it/ You be up on everything, other hoes ain't never on it/ I want this forever, I swear I can spend whatever on it

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 2
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs: 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Tracks: 1

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f70uR_S0Jg


*“The Climb”, Miley Cyrus from the film Hannah Montana The Movie-- The song was not even originally written for her movie but “The Climb” turned Cyrus into a country music star. Critical reception to this song was surprisingly positive; it was called “one of the year’s strongest ballads” and a “liberation anthem”. I will admit the music video is a little bit cheesy , but I can forgive it since Cyrus sings the song with so much conviction. Cyrus used the song as the closing number on her Wonder World Tour and it is fitting because “The Climb” is about life as a journey and she is just beginning the climb of her life.

My Fave Line from the Song: Keep on moving/ Keep climbing/ Keep the faith baby/ It’s all about/ It’s all about/ The climb/ Keep the faith/ Keep your faith

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 4
U.S. Billboard Hot Christian Songs: 42
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs: 25
U.S. Hot Adult 40 Tracks: 5
U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 7

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG2zyeVRcbs&feature=related


*“Cowboy Casanova”, Carrie Underwood from the album Play On-- co-written by Underwood the song is not about trashing a guy but rather warning women about him. The song is the fastest climbing on the charts of Underwood’s career thus far. The fact that I found the most surprising was that Carrie has the most top 10 hits on the country charts of any country solo woman of this decade with 10 hits. So truly these past few years have belonged to her. Not to mention, the video for this song is super fun and the chorus is catchy.

My Fave Line from the Song: He’s a good time cowboy casanova/ Leanin up against the record machine/ He looks like a cool drink of water/ But he’s candy-coated misery/ He’s the devil in disguise, a snake with blue eyes/ And he only comes out at night/ gives you feelings that you don’t wanna fight/ You better run for your life.

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs: 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 11
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Pop Songs: 27

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu32vyCldh8


*“Day N’ Nite”, Kid Cudi from the album Man on the Moon: The End of Day-- This is the single that made Kid Cudi a household name in 2009, especially in the genre of contemporary rap music. Despite the fact that the single was leaked in December of 2007, the song is being considered in categories at the 2010 Grammy’s. Like “Best I Ever Had”, it is up for Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Song. Cudi has worked with Kanye West, Common, and Lady Gaga, and you can really hear their influence in his unique sounding rap music that critics says has relaxing beats.

My Fave Line from the Song: The lonely nites, they fade away he slips into his white Nikes./ he smokes a clip and then he’s on the way,/ To free his mind in search of…/ To free his mind in search of…/ To free his mind in search of…/ Day n nite.

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 3
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs: 5
U.S. Billboard Pop 100: 9

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrDfSZ_6f4U


*“Diva”, Beyonce from the album I Am …. Sasha Fierce-- One of her many hits this year, B. agreed that “Diva” is the female version of “A Milli”. I especially dig the music video for this song, B. donning dangle shades, and then she’s dancing in her famous leotard.

My Fave Line from the Song: I done got so sick and filthy with Benji's, I can't spend/ How you gone be talkin' shit?/ You act like I just got up in it/ Been the number one diva in this game for a minute

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 19
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs: 3
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play: 1

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNM5HW13_O8


*“Doesn’t Mean Anything”, Alicia Keys from the album The Element of Freedom-- Buried within her fourth full length album, “Doesn’t Mean Anything” should have garnered more attention than it did. The premise of the song is set to piano and heavy drum beats with a catchy hook; I will be amazed if next year’s Grammy’s don’t earn Keys numerous nominations resulting in awards. The video opens to Keys standing on the balcony of a NewYork City high rise; she looks out and speaks about the city seeming empty, “all the people in the world and you can still feel lonely.” “What’s the point of having it all without the person you love, sometimes you just need to start again in order to fly”. This journey is one I think millions would be willing to take with Keys; I know I would.

My Fave Line from the Song: I know I pushed you away/ What can I do that would save our love/ Take these material things/ They don’t mean nothing/ It’s you that I want/ All at once…/ I had it all/ But it doesn’t mean anything/ Now that you’re gone

Chart Positions:
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 60
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Hip-Hop Songs: 14

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLclkP9x_68