Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Life In 2009, According To iTunes: An Epic Blog Post

Click on the link below to see the full list!
iTunes Rewinds 2009 : MUSIC

*This blog is mainly for my own records, but I rarely post, so I made it a public blog. Just know that while you're reading all my drivel*

The iTunes 'New Music Tuesday' email, which, I have been slowly teaching myself to learn, does not need my full and utter attention, appeared in my Inbox at 2:54am and I discovered it just after returning from a meeting.

I was delving into a 85% purchased sandwich from the Deli (Turkey with avocado, with extra cranberry sauce; my favourite) and I had scraped together some money for the Strawberry Cupcake ($1.50 at Crumbs) and had just finished deleting my 5min email, where I did distract myself with a nose-crinkle-inducing online show.

The iTunes New Music Tuesday email consisted of the usual freebies and now over-priced songs and it's Top Selling Songs and other popular and notable Albums, Artists and New Artists as well as Movies, TV Shows, Audio Books and Podcasts.

As I was reviewing the songs and podcasts that were popular for 2009 (not all of them released in 2009), I had memories flowing back to me and other feelings of detachment, as well as some distaste for the likings of the majority of the American public.

Artist Of The Year: Michael Jackson

I purchased Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits album five years or so ago, so I'm not going to rush out to buy his concert album, though I do really want to see the film.

He was a great performer and his songs are classics, that's really all that I need to say.

Other than learning of his death on my way to a Demi Lovato concert, there was no related signifance that his music had to me on 2009, other than getting to hear them more often and all over the place, which is always a pleasure.

Album Of The Year: Only By The Night by Kings of Leon

A popular band I am kind of happy to say has evaded since they first became popular. Sure, every now and then I'll belt out, "Your sex is on fire!!!" before I feel quite silly for uttering such nonsense. Don't know any other songs by them or who the band consists of or anything. Usually I don't like be unaware/ignorant of things, but sometimes I enjoy not being a part of the hype of the time. I'll probably be given the CD to copy someday by a friend and realize what I've been missing for all these years... or something quaint like that.

Best New Artist: Lady Gaga

A talented, creative lady. There is no doubt about it. I enjoyed her costumes and music videos, however I'm still kind of happy that I've never seen or heard the full version of Poker Face, and this is another artist that I'm happy to not be a part of the hype for.

Why, when she is so remarkable? So, now?

There are just some songs that seem far too calculated. That are just too obvious that they come from someone who has studied Media and its history. She created a lot of music she knew the masses would like and calculated it to hit a time where it would matter most and I just find that sort of unsettling.

The age of instant fame, the age when almost every one is obsessed with celebrity and has more access than usual. A time when any one can walk down the street as Lady Gaga did before she was Lady Gaga, like a fucking star.

Sure Celebrity and Fame are old topics as is Delusion and Grandeur, but... there is something cold about her music that I just can't get into.

Luckily, I am still human enough to just sit back and enjoy her music when I let myself just hear it... Bad Romance, mostly.

Country: Best Album: Fearless (Platinum Edition) by Taylor Swift

I didn't have any connections with the Best Albums, Singles and Artists of Alternative, Christian/Gospel and Classical music in the list, which led to the next artist on the list, Taylor Swift.

2009 was certainly my year for loving Taylor Swift. After a few songs, a few very smart choices for music videos and her vlogs, I let myself fall in love with the tall Swift Monster.

I don't care for the rumors or conspiracies, I know her voice is strong and I really don't care how many people helped write her songs, she is still an artist and a damn good one at that. She also really loves her fans and seems to be fighting really hard to stay true to herself and her roots (casting her best friend in her most recent music video, for example).

I brought Sam to her concert at Madison Square Garden and it was a little ridiculous how crazy the crowd went for her. Sure, she milked the applause at all her events, but it was when you saw her go from "act" to "genuine surprise that MSG have been cheering her for far longer than she anticipated", you couldn't help but laugh along with her.

Love Story brought back all my teen love for Jane Austen and that hopeless romance that goes along with it, You Belong With Me made me recall the similar feelings I had when I was a teenager, The Best Day reminds me of times with my Mum... and it's just an innocent little piece of goodness that kept me perky throughout the year. It was also nice to just like a popular teenage girl. There are so many girls of celebrity that irk me, and it always makes me feel bad.

Hip-Hop/Rap: Best Single: Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys

Well, what New York dweller didn't encounter this song in 2009? It was played so often on the radios in New York city and also by a hell of a lot of people in cars. It almost made me sick whenever I'd be walking along the street and someone in car would come by blasting the song. It's an uplifting song, but it made me feel so bitter at the same time for some reason.

Maybe it was because I just felt like the people looked stupid, maybe it was that they were in a car in New York, maybe it was because I poor, maybe I wanted to be cynical because I'm usually so optimistic, maybe it was simply because I was on Avenue A.

Luckily, I still enjoy the song from time to time and if its been on the radio or someone else's playlist, I may find myself humming it later that day as I walk through New York and am feeling particularly cheerful.

Does anyone else actually look at the pavement while singing the song. Whenever I think about the song, I recall staring at a lot of pavements, particularly the dip that leads to the cross-walk.

"Concrete Jungle where dreams are made of!"

Maybe it just made me feel nervous... like maybe, just maybe, I couldn't make my dreams here. That I'd go back to suburbia like so many people and not be able to hack it. That would be disappointing for me, since there's nothing wrong with suburbia, it's just that everything I want to do in life is right here.

I suppose it's especially significant because the end of 2009 was when I started getting my head straight and figuring out how to do what I really, truly want to do for the rest of my life.

Top Seller Songs
I skip songs and in that process the number the song is posted at has been messed up and this stupid long blog has taken me long enough to do without trying to fix that...

1. Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas

I loved Elephunk and some tracks from Monkey Business and I almost admired Will.I.Am's uplifting contributions during the 2008 elections, but I'll admit that when I first heard Boom Boom Pow (I was in Los Angeles at the time) I said, "Ugh, this sounds like they are trying to be the Black Eyed Peas." I searched the song. "Oh my gosh, it is the Black Eyed Peas."

I think what really ruined it was that Fergie (an amazing singer) just sounded like she was over-singing or something. Whatever it was, it was irritating.

2. Right Round by Flo Rida

Played a lot on the radio. Always heard it on the station that the construction crew listened to while they built the offices.

3. Poker Face by Lady Gaga

Successfully avoided.

4. I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas

Another song that doesn't really move me. I added it to my iTunes anyway, in case I ever did have a party that needed a generic "we're meant to be having a good time" song.

5. Gives You Hell by The All-American Rejects

Oh, boys and their hurt, hurt feelings. They can come back so cutting. I find myself absentmindedly singing this song when it comes on and then when I realize I switch it off in defense of women everywhere.

6. Just Dance by Lady Gaga and...

Another construction worker's favourite song.

7. Party in the U.S.A by Miley Cyrus

Well, I couldn't avoid this song even if I wanted to, the news about the award show performance and then the story that she hadn't listened to a Jay-Z song before recording the song or something absurd like that.

Whenever I'm in a good, peppy mood, I enjoy the verses in the song about being the outside but just doing my own thing (not exactly ground-breaking lyrics, but uplifting all the same.)

8. The Climb by Miley Cyrus

"There's always gonna be another mountain, I'm always gonna wanna make it move!" When you aspire to things, the innocent version of you really digs that part of the song.

9. Dead and Gone by T.I. (feat. Justin Timberlake)

Another song I heard for the first time on the trip to Los Angeles. I loved it straight away. It was such a unique message in the music industry. A lot of hip hop music can be really violent and it was really great to hear a song about a guy who realized, what the fuck is all that for? I'm going to do my best to be good and be my best. Plus, Justin Timberlake rocks almost anything.

10. Use Somebody by Kings of Leon

This always sounds like every other popular music band that has their time in the spotlight on Top 40 radio until they sing "Use Somebody!" and then I say, "Ohh, it's that band that everyone likes right now."

11. Don't Trust Me by 3OH!3

Firstly, ridiculous band name.

Secondly, this caused a small apocalypse in my mind when I stumbled on to someone's posting on one of those Q and A sites that asked something along the lines, "What is the Hellen Keller dance? How do I do it? Who is she?" The person replied was exactly the same kind of stupid and it just made me really sad. You don't need to know every fact and figure revolving around Hellen Keller, but how do kids not know about such an inspiring figure, for children above all others.

Thirdly, the only good this song did was inspiring Julia Nunes to create one of her brilliant versions of it, with asides to her Grandma for an extra does of happy!

I also remember hearing this song while in Sarah Austin's Ford Fiesta on our way to Bear Mountain for a hike. After a while we all got really uncomfortable and it was turned off.

12. Skipped.

13. Down by Jay Sean (feat. Lil Wayne)

A catchy beat that would get stuck in my head after hearing it on the worker's radio.

16. You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift

I loved the video so much I bought it. Isn't that silly? I just adored the direction. Sure, there was the overdone "what-kind-of-girl-am-I" montage, but I loved her silly dancing, that's something you don't always see a artist doing because sex is meant to sell. It was just so age appropriate in a time when late-twenty year olds are teaching girls to "pop that!"

I also remember having feelings like that for SO many boys. I don't think it'll ever end.

19. I Know You Want Me by Pitbull

A perfect nightclub song. I think I heard it a few times in 2009 and it was almost always in a club... For the record, I went to ohh, four (one in New York, three on the Las Vegas NightClub tour Kate's Dad set us up on... It was awkward, at first), but it was always a song that got me up dancing like a loon. Just some good ol' fun.

Every experience I've had a nightclub in America has been fantastic by the way. With Ester in NYC, I got wonderfully drunk and danced so much and with Kate in Las Vegas, I got wonderfully tipsy and met some fun guys who gave us a few dances, it was funny.

20. Love Story by Taylor Swift

Okay, so not is her (or her team, whatever) insanely smart for making every girl feel like they were in their own Romeo & Juliet love tragedy, but then the director puts a Jane Austen twist on the music video and sends anyone who has loved that period of dress and "intense but oh so romantic female repression" (I'm being slightly sarcastic here) into a "aww" frenzy.

At the concert she came out in a dress and her "dancers" danced and they made the stage look like a castle. Aww.

21. Halo by Beyonce

Another song to shop to and try to sing to.

22. Single Ladies by Beyonce

I heard the song and didn't care for it. I was like, oh this is just another, we're single, let's go out and dance song! Whoop-dee-doo, Basil! Then I saw the music video and was blown away, like most people.

I loved the dancing, I loved the almost one-take look, the direction, the art... It was just so fresh and made a fairly ordinary song an iconic classic for the decade.

Plus, how many people ended up trying that crazy hip spinning into a squat move Beyonce pulled off so seamlessly? Brilliant fun.

23. I'm Yours by Jason Mraz

Nothing really new sound-wise, but still sweet as Cadbury Caramel Chocolate.

24. Whatcha Say by Jason Derulo

I was a little sad to hear Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap mixed into this hip-hop stuff.

26. Day 'n' Nite (Nightmare) by Kid Cudi

I first heard this song or the brilliant mix of this song in an AXE ad/promotion that was running on YouTube. The ad was good but the music behind it made it all that much better. I'm still searching for the exact mix (by searching I mean, I've written a note to search for it) but I love the song. It's fun.

27. Blame It by Jamie Foxx (feat T.Pain)

Another nightclub classic.

28. Knock You Down by Keri Hilson...

When I think of this song, I see me in the office bathroom listening to this song while washing my hands. Oh, those construction workers and the music I wouldn't have heard.

29. LoveGame by Lady Gaga.

Successfully avoided.

31. Good Girls Go Bad by Cobra Starship (feat. Leighton Meester)

I adore Leighton Meester but I can't remember this song off the top of my head and I really don't think I like Cobra Starship.

I want Leighton Meester to be successful, because I enjoy her perfect performances as Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl AND all the fashion inspiration her character (and the people behind her) has been to this city AND I just like knowing those cool kids are hanging around in the city, making music. It's a sweet idea.

32. Circus by Britney Spears

BLARGH. I don't care. Do what you want.

33. Waking Up In Vegas by Katy Perry

Didn't listen to the song, but hummed the title line a fair few times when I looked out the window of our hotel room in Vegas and Kate would laugh and I would go back to bed.

34. Fireflies by Owl City

Very popular on YouTube for some strange unknown reason. I feel like I'm missing something. There seems to be more than just fandom for Owl City on YouTube but almost like some kind of duty to make him very, very popular. A conspiracy? We'll see.

I think the song is silly. Since usually if you try to catch a firefly, you end up hurting them and they slowly die in your hand or on the pavement where you dropped them and you have to watch as their beautiful magic slowly fades in and out, a glowing green.

So, I wouldn't recommend fraternizing with fireflies or lightning bugs and I bet that man is responsible for the killing of a fair few thousand of them. Bastard. :)

35. Hot N Cold by Katy Perry

How can one who went to YouTube Live not love this song? She did a good job and it was kind of cool seeing her participate in the event and she wore a very tight costume and "PhillyD" abused her with his eyes! Plus her high heels were very high.

Ahem. I actually really like the lyrics too... because boys are so annoying, omg! :P

36. Skipped for stupidity.
39. Skipped because The Pussycat Dolls sound like they are trying to do some Rhianna shit with that song.

40. That's Not My Name by The Ting Tings

This is sort of a guilty pleasure song since a lot of my friends look at me disdainfully when I show any interest in it.

I also can't think of this song without thinking of Gossip Girls and iJustine's version of it... which is confusing... and frightening? The power! I think a lot of YouTuber's though about what they could do with that song, but iJustine is always on the money! Go girl.

43. Paparazzi by Lady Gaga

I tried really hard to not hear the full version of this song for some strange reason, but I didn't escape the music video and it was one of the first things I saw by Lady Gaga and it confused me greatly.

Due to her speaking Italian in the beginning of the video and then seeing her amazing vocal range while performing it at the MTV Music Awards, I made up some weird story that she must be the product of some European mastermind... someone who had analyzed the West's fascination with fame and glamour, and plucked out some unknown former Opera Singer and created a character with her... only to learn, after discussing my imagined findings with Jake, that she was simply a talented New Yorker/NYU student who did some record deals or something and had complete creative control over her look... or something, I really didn't pay attention because I didn't like that version as much as mine haha.

Either way, her performance of this song on MTV was amazing, made me realize she wasn't just laugh and was a nice change from the usual sucky awkwardness (read: Britney or Lindsay Lohan) of any MTV award show.

44. Viva la Vida by Coldplay

I also first heard this song on an award show of some kind, perhaps VH1 or MTV, and felt that it was another well-crafted/calculated track, aimed at being a Number One hit (I guess, I like happy accidents that just fit with the times naturally... what an innocent way to think, because there is no way half the songs I adore aren't calculated and planned perfectly).

I still sing along to some of the lines though, incorrectly I'm fairly sure.

I also tried filming Brooke and I singing and clapping to the song at Angelika Film Center with Luke filming, but by the time we got organized the song had finished.

46. Sober by P!nk

Started singing away to this song after her very good performance at the MTV Music Awards. One of the few songs I've enjoyed since her debut. Everything else by her just felt too simplistic or whiny.

48. Live Your Life by T.I. (feat Rhianna)

The Numa Numa song, right? That's why any Internet loser would know this song... and then there's the catchy "so live you life... ayyyyyy ayyy ayyyy!" Well done, jerks.

51. Obsessed by Mariah Carey

Don't care much for Mariah Carey, she just seems like too much trouble. All I know from this song are the few lines I've paid attention to... ahem, "Why you so obsessed with me?" Yup.
Oh, and then there is that whole story about Eminem trying to prove that they've dated. That's just awkward.

52. Battlefield by Jordin Sparks

She did a duet with Chris Brown and then sung, "why is love always like a battlefield?" That's funny.

53. Skipped because does any consistent YouTuber care for Soulja Boy?

55. Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z (feat. Alica Keys)

Would have loved to have actually heard Beyonce singing along to this song during the MTV Music Awards. That was very cute. The idea of those two being the King and Queen of Manhattan is just adorable to me.

56. Skipped, sorry Shakira... P.S: Your line about "breasts like mountains" from that other song was totes cut out at Whole Foods the other day! I was annoyed, that's my favourite part. : )

57. Don't Stop Believin' by Journey

Journey freaking owes Glee a hug or a great second season or something for bringing this song back to a positive place. Growing up, my parents gave me the impression that this song was for pathetic losers and was just total dribble, and yeah, it kind of is... but then Glee put their magical uplifting, almost-perfect pilot spin on it and it suddenly became perfect for my generation and then I heard it in Rock of Ages and it was one of the few songs I actually knew.

I cried during the pilot episode of Glee and I'm sure that song had something to do with it. Dammit.

63. 3 by Britney Spears

I don't think I've heard the full song by Britney, but I have watched the full video of BrittaniLouiseTaylor's version of 3, about not being Easy, but being a good girl. It was so full of morals that it made me want to go to Church and confess how I stole Nutella from my friend once, but I'm sort of glad I don't have Britney in my head.

64. If You Seek Amy by Britney

This song I have heard and probably danced to at a nightclub... I knew there was something about the title and I couldn't remember what it was... I was all, "Is this about anorexia again? What was it...?" and then I sampled it in iTunes and heard "all of the girls and all of the boys are beggind to Eff You See Kay Me..." and my mine mind was BLOWN. I HAVE NO MIND! HOW CLEVER ARE HER WRITERS? IT'S TRUE, BRITNEY! HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT I WANTED TO FUCK YOU SO BADLY? OH MY GOD, IT'S LIKE THEY SAW RIGHT INTO MY SOUL... AND LOOK HOW CLEVER THEY WERE; SIDE-STEPPING THE RADIO REGULATION PEOPLE! WHOA. MOVERS! SHAKERS! MUSIC MAKERS!

66. One Time by Justin Bieber

Damn. I watched his music videos on his YouTube channel. His ex-girlfriend is also named Caitlin and I stumbled onto that during some kind of ego-session of mine (it happens really late when I've had too many cookies or just feel the need to be an ASSHOLE) and so that's gross.

I saw some footage of him at a photo shoot and he was all, "I've got to do some texting!" in the middle of the shoot and proceeded to grab his phone and take it back to set-thing and it was so awkward. The photographer just went with it and every now and then told him to look up, but it just felt so rude. Can you imagine him doing that on a high profile magazine with a distinguished photographer. Unless they loved him and in were a peppy mood, I would think they'd be fairly unimportant. It's almost like saying, yeah, so make it work, photog, because your art is less important than mine.


Also, Lauren, a friend of mine and talent spotter, spotted this guys videos back when he was even littler and was like, this guy! This guy is gonna be big. Lookee now.

68. Sex On Fire by Kings of Leon

This song was on Triple J's Hottest 100 CD (which doesn't consist of 100 songs) and this song was on it. I purchased in the last time I was in Australia and took my first and only stereo player (from 1998!) and played the CD over and over again while I was there. So I heard this song quite a few times. At first I got into its catchy beat and then it just sort of became ridiculous. Making everybody in the house give me weird looks when I played it.

One awkward moment was when Harry was sleeping over, because he had planned my whole week for me, which was very kind of him, and we had gotten back late and were getting an early start the next day to see more people, and then that song started playing. I thought it was funny. Can you imagine having sex to that song seriously? I couldn't imagine it. I would just feel like such a tool. Ugh. Gross.

69. Say Hey (I Love You) by Michael Franti & Spearhead

I'm not a huge fan of this song but I am really happy to see Michael Franti on this list. To me, he was just an artist that my rather bohemian best friend Emily and her family and friends listened to... and its always fun when you realize that a little fact about your best friend that you sometimes enjoyed to, actually belonged to a world of fans.

It also makes me happy because I think of Em whenever I see his name anywhere.

70. Gotta Be Somebody by Nickelback

My Mum and I really liked one of their albums, we listened to it quite often... and then I came to America and learned that a lot of people actually detest them quite heavily. I don't mind their songs, but that whole way of singing is kind of boring now.

Plus, whenever that song is heard everyone, including me, just mock-sings it... "Gottaah bee sumbodayyy!"

71. Skipped because its called, Birthday Sex. Blargh.

72. I'm on a Boat! (feat. T-Pain) by The Lonely Island

Did you know that though I own an I'm On A Boat badge on foursquare and know most of those famous lyrics, I have never actually seen the music video.

75. White Horse by Taylor Swift

Yeah, it's catchy. I like Miss Swift but I only know about three of her songs very well and this is not one of them.

77. Untouched by The Veronicas

Wow, this has been out for quite a while. "I feel so untouched right now..." I have a video of a certain pretty someone singing along to this song. Tee. Hee.

80. So What by P!nk

This song feels lazy for me and I am always annoyed at myself if I found myself singing along to such a basic song structure... I mean the lyrics are just awful... "So what? I'm still a Rock Star (no you're not), I've got my Rock moves!" Rock moves? Really? It just seems to be blatantly written for the teenagers who want to pretend they are actually famous for a second. We've got to get rid of that want in our society. It's so poisonous.

83. Womanizer by Britney Spears

Yeah, we all know this song. Britney's "great" return. Copied and edited my many a-youtuber. I think it's shithouse... and I use to love Britney. She doesn't seem to grow as an artist... but her team certainly does.

84. Hoedown Throwdown by Miley Cyrus

Why the fuck is this on the list? And why did it so easily amaze so many young people? Telling everyone to do the "throwdown" as some kind of megabyte waste for a video request?
I just don't get it. The dance for one thing is the simplest shit and doesn't even top the "Bootscoot" dance and the song is just a jumble of trash. Rawr.

88. Disturbia by Rhianna

Does anyone know any lyrics of this song than... "Disturbiaaa"? When I only hear these songs on the radio they impact me so passively.

96. Love Sex Magic by Ciara feat. Justin Timberlake

I loved this song when I first heard it. I loved the video clip though Ciara needs to learn how to point her toes if she going to try to dance along with the rest of her dancers. I loved how crassly sexy it was or at least trying to be, somehow that just upped the appeal. I guess I'm still a fangirl for Justin Timberlake, but every move he makes seems to be the right one. I like it.

97. Right Now (Na na na) by Akon

I can't not like any song from YouTube Live. Even though since we were filming a lot of the action, I felt that the audience as a whole, apart from the true hardcore fans at the back, were reacting quite passively. I respected how hard Akon worked to get our attention... he even seemed a little confused. "Why aren't these people dancing?" and then he took his performance to a higher level and we all just got into it. Great night.

So, that was 2009, but I mainly listened to Clare Bowditch, The Beatles, The Killers, David Bowie and other pretty things. I am trying not to buy any new music for a while, to better learn what I owe, but having the radio and iPhone apps occasionally keeps me updated.

Hopefully this year, I delve even further into music's past and really get to know my music and not just the songs but the culture and events behind it... maybe even the people who sing the bloody songs for once...

The Tip of the Hat and The Unsweetened Peach Ice Tea


Chris in the Studio said...

Umm, Caitlin, Jim Farber called and asked if I could get him a job as your understudy. :)

Teddy said...

Prior to reading this, I actually had no idea what "If You Seek Amy" was about. It was something that bugged me slightly, but I didn't really care too much. After I recovered from the mind blow, I'm not sure whether to be laughing at my stupidity or be disgusted at the meaning.