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.
Posted in 2009: The Year in Music, Paul, Video
Tagged Akon, Beyonce, Drake, Fabolous, Jadakiss, Jamie Foxx, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Keri Hilson, Lil Wayne, Maino, Ne-Yo, OJ Da Juiceman, Swizz Beatz, T-Pain, T.I., The Dream, Trey Songz, Young Jeezy, Young Money
WHAT THE FUCK, INTERNET?
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.
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.)
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!
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.
They called him “the King” for a reason: not one, but two absolute Christmas classics from Mr. Elvis Presley. And while “Blue Christmas” may be his most famous Christmas contribution (originally recorded by the “Texas Troubador” Ernest Tubb), it’s the next track on Elvis’ Christmas Album which is my personal favorite: the upbeat “Santa Bring My Baby Back (to Me).” Decide for yourself– here they are back to back, after the cut.
I tried, dear reader, and I mean I really tried to get a few metal albums into the Averse year-end best of albums list for 2009. Obviously the best metal record of the year, I never bothered to check that Mastodon’s Crack the Skye was released in 2009, thinking it was released in late 2008 probably because that’s when I downloaded it illegally. I suggested Shrinebuilder, Isis, and Baroness but I didn’t even bother trying to hip my peers to the latest Slayer album, easily their best since Reign In Blood, let alone SUNN O)))’s Monoliths and Dimensions. I’m listening to SUNN O))) as I write this in fact, the album is amazing. Today, however, I’m proud to say Baroness’s The Blue Album will be in our top 59 out of 60 best albums of 2009. I’ll let you guess where it sits. That’s why today I’m devoting my day to metal videos. Excited? Relax, it’s one post.