Tuesday, February 01, 2011

2010 Number Ones Ranking continued:

11. "Only Girl (in the World)" - Rihanna

This song to me sounds kind of like it was created by a computer with the inputs "upbeat Rihanna dance song." The computer made some sounds, did some crunching and spit out "Only Girl in the World" - a song that seems like it should work, but it just doesn't. I like Rihanna's other big songs that seem to be to be a relatively similar vain - "S.O.S" and "Please Don't Stop the Music" are both solid, but this one feels like it's missing something. I definitely like it more than "What's My Name" but that might just be because I like this type of song a little bit better overall. I want to like and I can listen to it occasionally - it's by no means a bad song, but sometimes it's hard to listen to songs when you know there are other songs out there that are similar but just better in just about every way. Listening to it again I think that hits it on the head best for me - in a vacuum I'd like this song quite fine - and I was thinking to myself, yeah, you know, this really isn't bad. Then I put on S.O.S., and damn, this really is much better. Maybe it's unfair to compare an artist to their previous work sometimes, but sometimes it isn't.

10. "Rude Boy" - Rihanna

The run of three straight Rihanna songs comes to an end, as well as the fourth number one of the year to be produced by Stargate - eight of the seventeen were written by Stargate or Dr. Luke.

If it makes any sense, Rude Boy is the type of song which I am willing to acknowledge might be better than I like the song. I honestly don't know exactly why I don't like it, but in the same way, you don't know you like a song until you find yourself leaving it on when you hear it on the radio, even if you've heard it ten minutes ago, I found myself, when the song was big, turning it off, and switching stations, even when I hadn't heard it in a while. I like it the best of the Rihanna songs of this year, and even listening to it again now, I want to like it more - I just don't. Some of it is probably the repetitiveness, but again, if it was a song I loved, the repetitiveness generally wouldn't be a problem. I like the style (and I kind of like the video as well). Well, maybe with time it will grow, or maybe not. It's the flip side of the unexpectedly liked song - sometimes you just don't like one you think you should.

9. Teenage Dream - Katy Perry

Part 1 in a series of 2 of songs I really wish were done by anybody except Katy Perry. Not much really separate the music in the two Katy Perry songs here or the two Kesha songs yet to come all with winning synth lines from producer of the year Dr. Luke. I don't really like Firework, but with these two its different. In fact, Tik Tok and California Gurls are more or less the same song as evidenced by a tons of youtube attempts at mashing them up (and really, the same song as "Who Dat Girl" by Flo Rida featuring Akon - another mashup waiting to happen). The difference as far as I can tell, is that Kesha's is great and Katy Perry's isn't. And great, yeah, is probably a stretch, but compared to Katy Perry, she is. And this is nothing at all to do with my sometimes personal contempt for Perry or my dislike of "I Kissed a Girl," which would not have been a good song no matter who was singing it. I absolutely honestly just do not like either her voice or the way she uses her voice, or maybe the best way to say it is her sound. I just don't - if anyone else did these songs, well, almost anyone I could really like them. But there's just something about them, and that's all the more frustrating. It's much easier to deal with a song that just all together is terrible than one that could be really good, and just isn't.

8. California Gurls - Katy Perry

This is mostly already encompassed in the previous entry, but speaking of predispositions, as a born and bred east coast guy, I feel a natural objection to songs so blatantly representing the west coast (and more than the west coast, really - southern california - this isn't about San Francisco or Portland or Seattle). Los Angeles is kind of New Yorkers' natural enemy - first, they start stealing our native tv shows (Law & Order: Los Angeles) and then they come after our number ones ("Empire State of Mind" - in my head - "California Gurls" has always been kind of a response to that, though I know of absolutely no evidence that that is true). So, yeah, I do kind of have a visceral reaction to the touting of SoCal so highly.

Also, random credit should be given for whoever suggested that the "gurls" be spelled with a "u" in tribute to "September Gurls" by Big Star (this, I have read somewhere to be true).

I've also always though that Katy Perry's short response lines during Snoop Dogg's rap could be right out of a porno ("yeah", "Uh huh" - just typing them really misses the point though, just listen to them during the song." As well, I can reluctantly give credit for love it or hate it, making a full-fledged ridiculous video - ambitious videos should at least get credit for trying (I actually don't even have a strong opinion about the video, other than it being ridiculous.)

7. Just the Way You Are - Bruno Mars

This fits under the category of songs, when I first saw them on the charts, I hoped they were incredibly random cover songs and were disappointed to find out otherwise. For example, when I first saw Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" (merely two and a half years ago, but how long ago it seems in pop years) some hope harbored it was a cover of Jill Sobule's minor hit, or when more recently Mike Posner's second hit "Please Don't Go" moved up, I thought maybe it was a strangely random cover of the KC and the Sunshine Band song. I thought when I saw "Just the Way You Are" on the charts that maybe, just maybe it was a Billy Joel cover. Alas.

Anyway, I at first didn't like the song much at all - thinking it was a pretty boring ballad, but the more I heard it, I was turned on to some innate sweetness and changed my opinion a little bit. I think I've now gone back past the point where I don't need to hear it again for a while, and I don't think it's great but yeah at least I can see some of the appeal here. It's a nice little ballad, that is bound to be a super generic wedding song for some couples and I'm okay with it being a hit but I have a hard time really championing its cause.

Also, I just wanted to make note that going from not having a wikipedia page at all as "Nothin' On You" climbed the charts, to having two number ones in the year, a third in the first week of 2011, and a top five hit with Travie McCoy and "Billionaire" is pretty fucking impressive.

6. OMG - Usher

This song has one of the stupidest lines in a pop song (I know, I know - there are too many to count, but this ranks somewhere) with "Honey got a booty like pow, pow, pow/ Honey got some boobies like wow, oh, wow." A twelve year old could not have said it better.

Will I Am's production, featuring a whole bunch of crowd noise makes this another anthemic-feeling song on our list, and that's probably it's best quality. Honestly, even without the extra piped in crowd noise in the background, it gets you kind of pumped up, and with all due respect to Usher, the production is really the star here.

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