Posts tagged tlc
Posts tagged tlc
I would like to start tonight’s (or today’s, depending on your time zone) blog post with two facts. Let’s begin.
So there’s that.
It’s time to halt the tomfoolery and tell you that I saw a picture of Leonardo Dicaprio today that made me realize the universe is a place where many good things can happen, and though I can never be with Leonardo Dicaprio in any romantic sense (P in V), I can use my blog as a platform to share the joy this world has to offer. I choose to do that today by presenting:
The Ten Best Top 40 Hits of 1995–2005 (Female Edition)
If I have to tell the truth (and I do because of a curse cast upon me by a witch in a fairy tale yet to be written about my life that will resemble the plot of Liar, Liar), I have been obsessing over this list for weeks. I am a complete psychotic maniac when it comes to playlists, and when playlists are supposedly “definitive” (as in, you actually agree with what I am about to say and I all of a sudden get a book deal to write about cultural fluff and astrologically unscientific assumptions, re: Malcolm Gladwell), I freak out. My brain can do nothing but think about how to include and exclude all that is important in only ten songs. Why did I choose the number ten then? This is my freaking blog after all. Well, there were ten disciples, ten dwarfs, and ten Beatles albums*. Ten is obviously the best number.
*According to Malcolm Gladwell
1. Spice Girls — “Say You’ll Be There” (1996)
It will be of no surprise to anyone that I was the Spice Girls’ number one fan. Not number two. Not number one point five. I was the number one. When Geri quit the group, I crossed her face out on the 75 Spice Girls posters that were plastered all over my custard yellow walls. This song has three amazing things that you don’t often find in pop songs: a math equation, a harmonica solo, and a 4-second rap break. Rather than an Easter egg hunt this year, I would suggest playing this song to your young cousins and asking them if they can hunt for these three unlikely elements. I promise you, their fragile hearts will be shaken to the core with unpredictable perfect popdom.
2. Aaliyah — “Are You That Somebody?” (1998)
I am not naive to think that Chuck Klosterman hasn’t already written about this song, along with every other nerdy music writer who has a hard-on for young, female R&B singers. But guess what? Their penises are talking; even Klosterman is thinking with his gross firecrotch wang when he thinks about Aaliyah’s music. You know why? Aaliyah was basically the best looking human to ever grace this planet. Combine that with her intentional abuse of female style in 1998 (sports bra, exposed midriff, baggy pants) and you have a recipe for male praise worldwide. Do you want to know why this song is actually good? It’s because of how deliberate its rhythm is. Every staccato pause in this song (of which there are many) makes it one of the a) best songs to dance to ever written and b) most amazing displays of an incredible pop talent. When Aaliyah fills the pauses and breaks with that angel voice—god damn. Even girls pitch a tent, nah mean?
3. TLC — “No Scrubs” (1999)
Pop songs, like product jingles, do not shy away from introducing strange vocabulary in order for you to remember, then consume. Before “No Scrubs” came out, I hadn’t heard the word “scrub” since I was, like, 9 months old in a bathtub and my mom was talking some mad baby talk: “Scrubby wubby wubby!” (You know the deal.) Though “scrub” never really became a thing (though more of a thing, thank god, than “pigeons”—the horrible retaliation by Music Hall of Fame inductees, Sporty Thieves), you knew what it was and you knew you definitely didn’t want one. Pair that with Left-Eye’s rap, in which she says “Do it clear as DVD on digital TV screen,” you’ve got yourself a pop song for the past, present, and future.
4. Mariah Carey — “Heartbreaker” (1999)
Aspiring musicians, TAKE HEED TO MY WISDOM. I bumped this song on my Discman from the first day I heard it until my 22nd birthday, and do you want to know why? The surefire recipe for an infallibly perfect pop song is adding the repetition of an imperative demand (“Gimme ya love”) with the swag of a still-misogynistic Jay-Z rap, all topped off with the use of a difficult-to-say word like “incessantly,” which often sounds like “incestuously.” Ingenious.
5. Christina Aguilera — “Come On Over” (2000)
I know this is likely an unpopular choice for all 90s/00s pop music aficionados (though I’m certain I’m the only one), but I will swear on Christina Aguilera’s tummy bejeweling that this song changed female popdom for the better. First of all, it’s all revival. This could be a fucking Jackson 5 song if there weren’t a misplaced dance routine/rap refrain/heavy breathing. Pop music has never been as good as it was during the Motown age, and Aguilera lets us feel that a little bit. Not to mention, I will wholeheartedly back any artist who is self-referential. Listen for that moment at 3:05. (Also, this video looks like a Target commercial.)
6. Destiny’s Child — “Say My Name” (2000)
A little known fact about Beyonce “Beyonce” Knowles is that before megastardom, she was a member of a girl group called Destiny’s Child. Oh, you guys knew that? Of course you fucking did, because she was the only member of Destiny’s Child. The other three, then two, members were just ploys who neither sang nor talked nor looked directly in Beyonce’s eyes, and served the singular purpose of making Beyonce look better, as if that were even necessary. The notorious “Darkchild, nah nah” in the first two seconds of this song sends chills up my spine even now because I know that I’m about to get verbally bitch-slapped by some sassy fucking ladies … and like it.
7. J.Lo — “I’m Real” (2001)
In the same vein, when Ja Rule abusively demands of us to tell him his motherfucking name (memory loss, I assume), we know that we’re about to hear one of Jennifer Lopez’s only and best accomplishments. It was controversial (is J.Lo allowed to say the n-word?), it had a beat comprised of a light flute and plucky harp (not kidding), and was riddled with question-answer technique (“Tired of bein alone? “Yeah, yeah,” etc). And realistically, whoever made the decision to put Ja Rule’s gruff, grimey raps in a song with sweet, syrupy-voiced J. Lo should start campaigning—that dude for president in 2012, please.
8. Britney Spears — “I’m A Slave 4 U” (2001)
Did you really think we’d make it through this list without at least one Britney song? Boy, you playin. I know I already blogged about the necessity to watch this video, which I happening to be doing now … for the 19 bazillionth time. (I just noticed that DJ Skribble has a cameo. Remember that shmuck?) This song, thanks to wunderkind Pharrell Williams, was (and still is) years ahead of its time. It has a light touch (per Pharrell’s style) and the chorus is discordant and jarring. AND YET, if TRL has taught us anything, it is that pop music is all about sex, and combined with a brazenness only Britney was dumb enough to agree to, dance floors everywhere have been mistaken for strip clubs since the day this song was released. Get it get it, get it get it.
9. Beyonce — “Crazy In Love” (2003)
When I told you that this playlist had been haunting me for weeks, a large part of that was in regards to Beyonce. I thought it showed a lack of integrity paired with a conflict of interest to put both a Destiny’s Child and Beyonce song on the list. Not to mention, that makes two songs that Jay-Z is featured on. I was awash with guilt and uncertainty. And then, a revelation. At minute 3:01 of “Crazy In Love,” there is a harmony that was unknown to the natural world until this song was written. “BABY YOU’RE MAKING A FOOL OF ME / YOU GOT ME SPRUNG AND I DON’T CARE WHO SEES.” (Words bolded are the words to listen for.) The build-up is so perfect, so pure, that the 5-6 layers of Beyonce’s voice dubbed over Beyonce’s voice are almost violent, too aggressive. Sincerely, I tried to keep B to only one song on this playlist, but it was impossible. When sister sings like that, she’s got me so crazy in love. (The Sophie’s Choice of my life would be if I had to choose either Beyonce or Britney to live, while allowing the other to die. I’d sacrifice myself before picking one of them to perish.)
10. Gwen Stefani — “Hollaback Girl”
Full disclosure: I hadn’t ever seen this video before writing this blog entry, and I fiercely recommend that you don’t watch it. It’s pretty ridiculously wack and I don’t want you to be focused only on that when you read what I have to say. I shall now proceed. After getting over the break up of the Spice Girls, Gwen Stefani became my bona fide idol in my tween to teenage years and fuck, she still is. When her solo album came out, she got a lot of flack for how different it was from No Doubt. You know what I was doing when people were hating on her? On my breaks from bumpin “Heartbreaker,” I was spinning Gwen’s solo album in my Discman, which was bright orange, if you must know. Despite my distaste for this shitty video, this song is incredible for a few reasons. Another track on my list produced by Pharrell, the use of a marching band and cadence-like drums gives me a major boner in my pee pee. I was a trombone player in my high school’s marching band and I think back to those times with great affection. Further, any song with a chant about a fruit full of potassium is all right by me. According to Wikipedia, this song was written about a feud between Courtney Love and Stefani, which immediately gives it more cred than any song on this list. Let’s get more feud songs in pop music.
So there it is, my gigantic and tiring list. As this was the female edition of the top ten, stay tuned for next week (or month, whenever I am least lazy) for the male edition. And for those who were able to make it this far, I have a reward for your vigilance.
Your humble author in her teenage years:
I look like an overfried nine-days-old lesbian that has been left out in the sun to rot slowly till death. I request that you all save this jpeg to your external hard drives so that when I become a famous person in some regard (or in no regard like Kim Kardashian), you will have the ultimate blackmail. Permission to blackmail me granted.
Ugh, I just vomed all over my computer screen. Bye.