As I listen to my Zune playist labeled "The Hotness", I realize there was much more good music that came out this year than I originally thought. I was thinking that I would have to scramble to find a top 15. Instead, I was having difficulty trimming a list of 30+ cuts in half. There were some outstanding songs that had to get cut that are still in steady rotation on the Zune. That's just how it is sometimes though. So without further adieu...
15. Yesterday - Toni Braxton featuring Trey Songz
The original version did nothing for me when it was just her. Then she added Trey Songz and it became more interesting. Probably helped by a Soul Train Awards performance with a kiss that was blown all out of proportion.
14. Second Chance - Shinedown
Every year there is some alternative type band that makes my countdown. It was consistently Nickelback for the longest, but I'm not feeling their new stuff as much. Shinedown gets the privilege of squeaking onto the list with a song that sounds like it could have been a Nickelback joint.
13. Sweet Dreams - Beyonce
I never got her "I Am Sasha Fierce" cd. Not even with Zune Pass even though it wouldn't have cost anything extra. I just kept hearing nothing but bad things about it so I stayed away. Also because the first single just sounded horrible. But it turns out she did have a couple of winners with this one and "Ego" (remix) featuring Kanye..
12. I Invented Sex - Trey Songz featuring Drake
I originally clowned this song because of the mere subject matter. Dude looked 13 talking about he invented sex?? But it started growing on me. Found myself singing along to it. Then the remix featuring R. Kelly came out and I was diggin' it even more. Maybe Trey Songz isn't so bad afterall.
11. Numb Encore - Dr. Dre featuring Eminem
The site I found this on included "Detox" in the subject line as if this was a song off Dre's yet-to-be released follow-up to "2001". Don't know how true that is. If it was somebody that just lifted some unreleased Dre and Em vocals and put them over Jay-Z's "Numb/Encore" mix, they sure did a heck of a job.
10. There's Something Religious - R. Kelly
It's a constant struggle trying to separate the man from his past. But dude keeps churning out hits to make that a little easier to do. There's no denying that he know how to make some GOOD music. His latest cd "Untitled" was probably the best he's had out in a LONG time.
9. Love Him Like I Do - Detrick Haddon featuring Ruben Studdard & Mary Mary
Yes, I know I have some nerve putting gospel and secular on the same countdown. That's just how I roll. Anyway, I don't know why Ruben doesn't do more gospel after hearing this cut. Maybe because it's not very lucrative unless your Kirk Franklin. Of course Ruben's secular joints aren't selling all that well anyway so he may want to at least consider it.
8. Give It to Me Right - Melonie Fiona
Sistas really stepped up their R&B game this year. Melanie is another newcomer who sounds as though she's been doing this for years. In fact, this cut has a very old school feel to it. You can almost envision go-go dancers with white patent leather knee-high boots and bouffant hairdos doing the jerk as this cut plays in the background.
7. This is It - Michael Jackson
I don't even care that this turned out to be a song from the late 80s that is just now getting released as if it's brand new. That's probably what made the song better. Mike's recent music didn't have the punch that his older stuff did; therefore, it was a wise move to put out one with an older style to it. STILL can't believe him gone....
6. Knocks You Down - Keri Hilson featuring Ne-Yo & Kanye West
The best thing about this song is Ne-Yo's part. I'm diggin' that kid's style. He's one of the few cats out there today that has some class about himself without resorting to all the sexual lyrics that his peers do. Plus, he gives me hope that they really do still make hats for folks like us with big heads. Oh yeah...and Keri Hilson's on the cut too.
5. Best I Ever Had - Drake
His cd FINALLY dropped in September. All whopping seven songs of it. I still haven't listened to the whole thing, but this cut (the clean version) reminds me of the hip-hop in the early 90s that was the alternative to the gangsta rap that was coming on the scene. Then I heard the "parental advisory" version and that theory was shot.
4. Don't Stop Believin' - Cast of "Glee"
With each passing episode, their adaptations of popular songs got better and better. It just so happened that this one was featured in the pilot episode. Excellent decision to get us hooked. I would normally question anyone trying to take on Steve Perry, but this version with the accapella percussion gives the original a run for the money.
3. Empire State of Mind, pt. 2 - Alicia Keys
Sorry Jigga, but Alicia Keys was always the best part of "Empire State of Mind". She caught some flack over rumors that her cd "The Element of Freedom" was whack (not to mention her issues with stealing another woman's man). However, the only thing wrong with her cd was she had too much filler on it. This song was part of the solution, not the problem.
2. Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
These cats could come to my front door today and I would have no idea who they are. They could sing every song they've ever released and I still wouldn't know them until they got to this joint. But I'll be doggone if this cut doesn't go hard. If this was a record, the grooves would be worn flat from me playing it over and over.
1. Bad Habit - Maxwell
No clue where he disappeared to for the last 30 years, but he made an amazing come back with his "BLACKsummer's Night" cd. Nope, I still haven't listened to the entire thing. It's been a little hard for me to get around to it when I've been so busy playing this groove to death. Thanks for coming back on the scene to show these young bucks how real grown folks' music is done, Max.