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top singles of 2005!

January 10, 2006

Well, since everyone’s doing it, I figured I’d jump in on the bandwagon. These are my top songs of 2005: you’ll forgive me if they are skewed to my favorite artistes. But that’s my favorite list, no one said you had to agree.

Luxurious, Gwen Stefani
La Stefani can do no wrong in my books, even though she adorned her platinum-blonde locks with colorful fungus for both the Billboard Music Awards and the video for this song. On this track she boasts of how rich (‘we’re loaded and we’re not gonna blow it’) and loved (‘we got hydroponic love and we’re smokin”) she is, but her strangely textured voice set off by the electronica excuses all her shamelessness. And her madness (‘sensitive and eloquent/kinda like a tube rose’?).

Hollaback Girl, Gwen Stefani
This song makes me wanna stomp ma feet like this! Marvellously inventive piece of rap which evokes ‘Hey Mickey You’re So Fine’ with its obvious cheerleader overtones and pays tribute to Queen’s ‘Another One Bites the Dust’. Only one as brilliantly demented as Gwen Stefani could have come up with something so shallow and brainless and catchy as a retort to Courtney Love. This shit, as they say, is bananas.

Hung Up, Madonna
Disco referencing disco? Madonna samples ABBA (Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!) and shows that she hasn’t as yet scaled the pinnacles of Sodom and Gaymorrah. Still, a wonderfully catchy track which leaches on in your mind and absolutely refuses to let go. Mad fun, and the dance is insane.

Shake It Off, Mariah Carey
Once again, Miss Carey does her strange sounds (shoop, la, shoobedoop, mm, etc) and it works, thanks to a strong beat, a slightly off guitar riff, and her wonderfully poised-between-falsetto ‘who’ she judiciously unleashes to send shivers down the spine. Didn’t reach number 1, but this track has power to endure and MARIAH YOU ARE ALWAYS NUMBER 1 IN MY HEART.

Don’t Forget About Us, Mariah Carey
Just when you thought: another one of her chill songs, cool but blah, the climax of the song arrives and you have to listen to it again. And again. And again. If only to listen to her deluded self refer to herself as ‘MC’. And most certainly to enjoy the impeccable timing and the lovely whistle, brilliantly well executed. Also, Christian Monzon, possibly the hottest man on the planet, stars in the music vid.

We Belong Together, Mariah Carey
Need I say more? 2005’s biggest single, 16 weeks at number 1, because of the great melody, the great beat, the great piano accompaniment, the great technique employed in singing the words at the correct speed (you try and see if you can sing as fast as her!), the great sustained note at the end. Also intelligently pays tribute to Bobby Womack and Babyface. Captures heartbreak perfectly, if a bit cliche. But then again, this is pop music, not great literature.

It’s Like That, Mariah Carey
Because she dares to rhyme ‘party’, ‘bacardi’ and ‘hot tamale’, because she has the audacity to say such stupid things as ‘them chickens is ash and I’m lotion’, because it’s madly catchy and because it’s like tha-tha-tha-it’s-like-that’chall.

Fix You, Coldplay
Beautiful. No one knows what they’re saying (‘Lights will guide you home/and ignite your bones’?), but still good. Wonderful, almost gospel-powerful vocals from Chris Martin, and the quiet, simple ending. Better than Speed of Sound any day.

Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield
Bedingfield’s crazy exuberant track is ultimately singable and strangely comforting. Thank god her creamy voice is nothing like her whiney brother’s, and she hits those high notes with ease and panache.

Wake Me Up When September Ends, Green Day
Love the intelligent lyrics and the relevance to my own situation (I clear leave in September!). Green Day’s first non-shouting, non-vitriolic, non-loud-rockstars-burning-up-the-stage single is, unlikely enough, emotive and touching. And that’s why I liked it: clever, but not too clever-clever (like the other tracks).

Helena, My Chemical Romance.
They sang a song about their dead great-grandmother. How cool is that?! And of course, this song is one of my favorites of 2005 because of the memorable ‘so long and goodnight, so long and goodnight’ part. The rest of the song is just waiting for that.

Because of You, Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson cements her status as a gay icon by singing more ballads about heartbreak. In the mouth of someone less capable, this would have turned out boring and blah, in hers and with her powerful, flexible and emotive vocals, the song is quite wonderfully angsty. Acoustic version at Divas Live is to die for: lush, pure, evocative, and most of all, pitch-perfect.

My Humps, Black Eyed Peas
Fergie singing about her voluptuous crazy body! And she has tons of eye-makeup in the vid so she looks (gasp) pretty! Could you ask for more? This song makes my top list because it so brazenly makes me feel dirty (‘mix your milk wit’ ma cocoa pops’). I don’t know what they did to Fergie’s voice but it is so kawaii!

Stickwitu, The Pussycat Dolls
I hate their other song, the one with the eight girls dancing around to a rhetorical question. Didn’t think they could pull this off, but they did. The vocals are strong and the harmony decent. The harmonica, however, has to go.

Gold Digger, Kanye West
West does it again, rapping with his trademark irony and wit about women who date men for money, resulting in a shamelessly self-referentially funny (‘From what I heard she got a baby by Busta/My best friend say she use to fuck wit Usher’) track. Wonderful use of the Ray Charles sample. Irritatingly catchy and beatsy, like all of his tracks.

Heard ‘Em Say, Kanye West Feat. Adam Levine
An unlikely pairing leads to a startlingly good song. West is as usual his controversial self (and I know the government administered AIDS) and raps his vitriol in the most chill way imaginable (when was being political ever so cool?), while Levine lends a stylish touch to the track. (I hate Maroon5 though.) The piano tinkling ever-so-often is, in my opinion, the best thing in the song, although I can see why some would find it irritating.

Can I Have It Like That, Pharrell Williams Feat. Gwen Stefani
Pharrell Williams’s album is out! Finally. The first showing is astoundingly promising, even for Pharrell. This rap has a vivid-ass appeal, carried by Williams’s silky voice and his mastery of rhythm. Gwen’s appearance is shameless and pointless and I’m loving it. And Pharrell is soooo cute and sooooo gay.

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