Author Archives: Paul DeBenedetto


At the end of 2009 the staff at AVERSE pooled together their resources and came up with sixty of the top records of 2009. Then everyone got sort of bored with the process and we didn’t do anything with it. In the meantime Matt Siblo started off our look at last year with the now ironic “2009: The Year Lists Broke“,  I put together a list of my Top Ten Hot 97 Guilty Pleasures of 09 and Thom Siblo constructed his Top Songs of 2009 in three parts, complete with downloads here. Still, there was a lot of effort behind fleshing out our master list, and it seems a waste to throw it away.

Our original plan was to list out the top sixty records, showcasing a few entries here and there that one of us felt needed special consideration. Rather than go through this task I’ve decided to list only our top twenty, with brief (occasionally ridiculous) write-ups for each one. It’s a list I’m really proud of, as I’m sure the rest of our staff is as well. Here are some standouts from selections 60-21:

Destroyer Bay of Pigs
Jay Reatard Watch Me Fall
Nite Jewel Good Evening
Eugene McGuiness S/T
Talk Normal Sugarland
Real Estate S/T
HEALTH Get Color
Memory Tapes Seek Magic
Yo La Tengo Popular Songs
Rick Ross Deeper Than Rap
Polvo In Prism
Drake So Far Gone (Mixtape)
Jarvis Cocker Further Complications
Fool’s Gold S/T
St. Vincent Actor

With all of that talent left out who made the top twenty, you ask? Find out, after the jump.

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Photo Credit: Jezebel

The internet is abuzz with rumors of Jay Reatard’s death. It looks like it may have started at the GONER Message Board. Now BrooklynVegan is running with it.  I’ll try to keep this puppy updated as well.

Wow, looks like it’s true.

Memphis police have opened a death investigation, spokesman Jennifer Robinson said. Lindsey was found around 3:30 a.m. in his bed, Robinson said.

“Yeah, it’s true,” friend Alicja Trout said. “I don’t know much about it yet, because I haven’t been able to get in touch with the police.”

Added Eric Friedl of Goner Records: “Yeah. He was found at his house. That’s all I know right now.”

Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of his music or his attitude it’s absolutely tragic when anyone under the age of 30 dies. Here’s a video of Jay playing live outside the Sailor Jerry store in Philly.

Paul’s Top 10 Hot 97 Guilty Pleasures of 2009

FUNK-FUNK-FUNK....master Flex Night.2009! It wasn’t a terrible year for music, you know? And despite Matt Siblo’s (accurate) insistence that it was the year lists broke we at AVERSE have put together a few lists that celebrate the year that was.

For me 2009 was 365 days of trying something new. It was about taking a lot of recommendations, having an open mind and, ultimately, listening to a lot of radio. Rock radio may be dead but in NY no one gives a shit because Jay-Z came out with a new record. You couldn’t walk the streets of Brooklyn this year without hearing at least one single from Hov blaring from speakers that cost more than the car they’re sitting in. Not a day went by where a remix featuring Kanye, Drake, or Weezy couldn’t be heard. And most importantly: I don’t remember one trip in my girlfriend’s car this year where we didn’t at least casually check up on Funkmaster Flex.

It started out as an exercise in understanding: just what is happening in the rap world, and why should I care? Certainly I knew the basics– I knew, for example, I should probably listen to the new Joe Budden, the new Jay-Z, the new Raekwon– but I haven’t seriously listened to any new rap music in about five years and had no real interest to do so. My girlfriend, to her credit, seemed to get it. When she first turned me on to Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” I was admittedly skeptical but eventually fell in love with it in a completely unironic way. And with good reason: that Drake mixtape ended up being one of the strongest records to come out this year, and while it might not be as life-changing as I initially thought (the songs don’t make a whole lot of sense) it’s strong enough from start to finish to warrant all the hype.

But that’s not the stuff I want to talk about right now. You can read what I think about Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II when I write about it for our Best Records of the Year list, I promise. It’s the other songs I’m more interested in, the ones that played fifty times a day because of sheer mass appeal. The songs that aren’t breaking any boundaries, that aren’t changing the game; the songs that have no real artistic credibility, and whose only real merit is that they’re catchy as hell.

These are my top ten Hot 97 guilty pleasures.

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Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 12)


And here it is, the twelfth post in our Twelve Days of Christmas at AVERSE (we’re taking tomorrow off, obviously.) There was a lot of thought over what song I would put here for the twelfth day. But you know what? A list without the Jackson 5’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is not a very good list at all, is it? And who says I can only post one song? I’ll post as many songs as I want. And you know what else? I’m also going to add the Bruce Springsteen version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, because Thom requested it. That’s right, three songs. IT’S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!*

*”Miracle” being sort of a relative term, since all I’m really doing is posting links to videos that are readily available on YouTube.

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Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 11)

I’ve spent every Christmas of my life in New York with family. One or two times afterwards I’ve spent the night out on the town drinking with some buddies, and what you notice is… well, the thing about Christmas in NY is that if you’re not spending it with family or friends you’re going to the bar, and if you’re going to the bar you’re walking the streets drunk and tired and cold and lonely, and there are all these drunk and lonely people together being miserable and the mood that’s set is just like the feeling you get after listening to the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York.” That’s what I’ve noticed about Christmas in NY. It’s brutal and it’s sad and it’s actually kind of beautiful.

(Watch for the appearance by Matt Dillon.)

Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 10)

I wanted to talk about The Ramones’ “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”, and how it’s a deep look at the holiday season; how it perfectly describes the exhausting feeling of a relationship that’s on the rocks; how it reflected Joey Ramone’s personal life, and the general mood of the band around the holidays; and how it changed the way we look at Christmas songs forever. I wanted to write about all of that but I can’t, because none of it is true– “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” is just another nonsense song with a sped up Chuck Berry riff by the Ramones. If you think that’s a bad thing you’ve obviously never heard the other 200 nonsense songs with sped up Chuck Berry riffs by the Ramones. Enjoy!

Twelve Days of Christmas (Day 9)

There’s a reason the month of December is one of the most depressing times of the year. During a season when we’re all expected to be jolly and full of cheer celebrating with the ones we love there’s not a lot of consideration for the lonely and heartbroken. That’s why the sad songs are always the ones that get to us. Who’s never been alone on Christmas? Who hasn’t missed someone during that time of year? After the cut: a track for the lonely.

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