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Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Well blow me tight, it's The Simple Peasures Top 10 Songs Of 2003!

Much effort has gone into ploughing (much like a plough through snow - ah the gift of the seasonal metaphor) through all the songs I've heard this year to finalise this year. A lot of quality missed out here, which I'm sure they'll get over eventually, but let me console them with the fact that 2003 was ace for music in my opinion.

So enough with the bluster and questionable humour, here are the exalted 10, in reverse order;

10. Jay-Z - 99 Problems
It sounds like an offcut from Licensed To Ill! But with better sound! And better rapping! And actually better than most of Licensed To Ill! It's so ridiculously simple and primeval and effective; big drums, big guitar stabs, big voice kickin' it wildstyle with tales of his greatness.

9. Lene Nystrom - It's Your Duty
The best hit-that-should-have-been of the year. I'm convinced that released in the UK in the early months of 2004 with the right backing this could be a big hit. It's cheeky, funny, danceable, mature, catchy and, above all, ace. As Edward rightly points out, 'twas a good year for the lovely Lene, who's name I still don't know how to pronounce (Lay-ner Nii-strurm right?). More from her later.

8. Basement Jaxx feat JC Chasez - Plug It In
Difficult to pick a track from Kish Kash as it almost defines what an ace album is but this just edges out Lucky Star and Feels Like Home because it has the "bloke from *NSYNC? With Basement Jaxx? Really?" effect on non-pop lovers. My seat is wet with anticipation of the JC album.

7. Jamelia - Superstar
Grower of the year. Sounded fairly standard dance-pop when I first heard snippets, then I heard the whole thing in the changing room in H&M (those trousers were hard to put on) and it clicked. Simplicity crystallised - a great groove, flowing vocals, no over-cramming of ideas (although that's kind of what I like about Plug It In, proving my crapness at writing about this music lark).

6. Justin Timberlake - Cry Me A River
Timbaland's best traditionally written song since Aaliyah's Try Again. Gushes forth from the speakers with over-wrought teen-lust and resentment. In an indiefied world where it's important that songs are remembered in 20 years' time, this song would be important. I've also been assured that Justin is at his fittest in this video.

5. Beyonce - In Da Club (remix)
The groove and riddim that ate the 2003, this song acts as my entry for Beyonce and In Da Club at the same time without me having to put Crazy In Love (most overrated song of 2003?) and Fiddy in. Once word to describe this song: strutting. Beyonce is dominant and imperial as she surveys her kingdom, the dancefloor. Extra marks for the echo-y "Ah-oh"s at the end.

4. Benny Benassi - Satisfaction
A late bloomer for me as it took time to fully drill into my cranium, but it's sitting ugly there at the controls now. If you love this song, it's pretty immediate what's so brilliant about it. Scuzzy, flithy, simple, anthemic (Dave Pearce loves it!), it's been said on ILX that it's a Music Sounds Better With You for the 00s. That would be coooooool.

3. Dizzee Rascal vs Vitalic - I Luv Poney
If bootlegs are dead, here comes a zombie. Put together by the very eminent Siegbran, Dizzee crashes headlong into Vitalic's La Rock and they crush and squeeze into one. The nightmare-scuzz of La Rock complements the Dizzmeister to a T as he tries to spit in its face. Hit that link and download people!

2. Lumidee - Never Leave You (Uh-Oh)
The only song worth bothering with with prominent use of the phrase "Uh-oh". Stripped down and naked over the Diwali riddim, Lumidee sings out of tunely but acely. This is probably the most overlooked track in other end-of-year lists. The soundtrack of many a drive to Basingstoke last summer, which I'm sure was what it intended for.

1. Girls Aloud - No Good Advice
Just under 3 years ago I get Missy Elliot's Get UR Freak On on the radio (ironically on the never-missed Evening Session) and it almost single handedly showed me that indie was a bit rubbish and that hyperactive women spitting over psycho-riddims were acer than ace. This song had a similar effect but with vacant scowling retro-teens. BLAZOW, I was watching CD:UK and this was performed and it was like a thunderbolt. Punchy intro, neat literate couplets of rebellion in the verses, a bridge doing what a bridge is supposed to do (bridge the verse and chorus), and a chorus at once coming from the playground AND having long words in it. On top of that there's the surfed-up guitar solo, the whooshing in the background and doe-eyed spoken word summations of debauchery to finish. Higgins, Cooper, Nystrom, Tweedy, Coyle, Roberts, Walsh and Harding, I salute you and am your pop-prisoner.
Fantastic. My mum complained at the dinner table last night about how when she's at the gym and MTV's on, how all the videos are all so sexually-based, and that Christina Aguilera looks really slapperish.

She really should get a job as a talking head on one of those Channel 4 list shows.

Monday, December 22, 2003

This is terrible. I'm stuck back at home with my parents' shitty dial-up connection and I feel lost in the desert when the tranquil ocean of pop is a great distance away (god, I could write songs with this metaphorin' (or was that a similie?)). I can't use Soulseek really, Popworld is on ridiculously early (how are fully grown adults supposed to get up at 9am when they are on holiday?), and my internet time is severely curtailed.

These are some of the excuses for the lack of blog activity in the last week. On the plus side I have now finalised my top 10 tracks of the year and they will be published with accompanying blurbs soon.

Merry motherfucking Christmas, y'all.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Jay-Z - December 4th

Shawn was a very shy child. He was into sports, and a funny story is when he was 4 he taught himself how to ride a bike, a two-wheeler at that. Isn't that special?

Er, no. I learnt how to ride a bike when I was 4 too, doesn't mean I'm going to be a multi-platinum bajillionnaire rapper (although it doesn't mean I'm not). You're too easily impressed Mrs Carter.

Friday, December 12, 2003

The Darkness - Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)

I'm not a really big fan the Darkness (or the Draknees as I always mis-type them). The whole is-it-ironic-oh-it-doesn't-matter-because-the-tunes-are-good schtick has been done with far more vim and vigour (good phrase, I shall endevour to use it more) by the mighty Andrew WK (you can buy his opus I Get Wet for £3 in Fopp at the moment).

But! I do love the climatic line which leads into (one of) the guitar solo(s) in this;

"You went away, before Boxing Day, now in the hell am I gonna make into the New Year?"

Isn't that pretty? I think so. It's been buzzing round my head for a few hours now.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Fantastic. It worked. Now I can post a better pic of Simon Amstell, the man who should be presenting the All-New Top Of The Pops;

Because I'm bored, I'm going to test posting pics on here. Here's a picture of Tim Kash, presenter of the All-New Top Of The Pops;


Yay! Simple Pleasures is back and baaaaaad. Well, back anyway. Not quite sure what happened these past few days but I'm going to blame Blogger because I'm feeling evil today.

Another Perfect Pop Moment this morning; getting a lift to Uni in my friend's car, So Solid Crew's 21 Seconds is on the radio. She hates that kind of thing so she whacks on a Wham! tape. Wham! song finishes and I decide to go back to the radio just as the first stab of guitar from Justin's Like I Love You came in. It was magical to hear, honestly.

Of course, Sara Cox then spoilt it by fading out the song to chatter inanely before Justin got the chance to say "DRUMS", which as every halfway ace person knows is the best bit of the song. Or any song. Almost.

Daft woman - I almost said I was glad she was leaving the Radio 1 breakfast show, but then I remembered to horror of Moyles to come.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Missy Elliot - This Is Not A Test!

Wow, didn't think much of this on the first listen, but a second listen has changed my mind. I don't think Missy will ever do an album of just floor-filling club-stomping bonkersathons, because she seems to like singing ballads too much, but this seems to spread them out nicely and keep a fairly consistent theme of post-Grindin' booming beats, which Missy aces as you would expect.

Very little Timbaland rapping too, this is very good. Also you barely notice the guests because I think Missy's becoming even more domineering than before.

Fave track: probably Let It Bump, although I'd really like to dance to it properly before deciding.

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