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30. Rick Ross – The Boss (ft. T-Pain)
Let's not fool ourselves into thinking Rick Ross "The Boss" Springsteen is by any means good at rapping. Most of the time, he's kind of annoying. He was by far the worst part of "Blow," which, thanks to the heaviest beat ever, was also one of the best songs of whatever year it came out in. "The Boss" is also saved by the beat, given to us by crosseyed Italian "Bachelorette" contestant J.R. Rotem (who also gave us Rihanna's "S.O.S." and all the good Sean Kingston beats). This song isn't saved by heaviness, but the heavenly, ethereal synth that runs through it. I think this one legitimately gave me chills the first few times I caught it on the radio, namely thanks to the low-high two-note elevation during the chorus. It's also great because "I'm the biggest boss that you seen thus far." Rick Ross might not be good at rapping, but he is good at making sure no one's gonna be able to say "I told you so" when they inevitably locate a boss that is bigger than he.
The video also has Snoop and Slim from The Wire, which I guess makes it THE GREATEST MUSIC VIDEO OF ALL TIME
29. Brazilian Girls – St. Petersburg
it's really hard to find pictures of brazilian girls (the band) on google
Everything about the instrumentation in "St. Petersburg" sounds great, with the whistling and the samba drums (I'm going to assume that's what samba drums sound like), and the little guitar twinkles in the chorus. But I love this song so much for one reason, and it's another Big Musical Moment. It occurs right after the first chorus and before the second verse. It's a little 10-second break that imitates the secondary melody of the verse, and it sounds like the most fragile, loopy theremin there ever was. I've listened to this song dozens of times, often on repeat, only to get to those ten seconds of glorious theremin.
26/27/28. Kanye West – Streetlights/Coldest Winter/Robocop
I knew these three songs would all be on the list, but when it came time to construct the list and separate everything into these different tiers, I found myself constantly juggling them around each other. I really just couldn't figure out which ones I like more. So they're all tied.
I'm a pretty decent 808s and Heartbreak apologist, at least compared to the legions who seem to loathe it. I was honestly considering adding Love Lockdown, which I loved at first and got quickly tired of (thanks mostly to a dorm neighbor blasting it on repeat for days and days and days and days), as well as "Paranoid," and "Amazing," and "Heartless." Strangely, given all of that, I still wasn't TOO crazy about the album. Dawwwww.
The version of "Robocop" is the "demo" version, or whatever you call the first one that Kanye leaked. The studio version completely covers up (with doofy strings) the best part of the song – the verse beat, which sounds kinda like a song you'd hear in the level of Mega Man when he's jumping on clouds and crap like that (I don't remember Mega Man).
I think this is also the first version of "Coldest Winter," which sounds a lot more like a disintegrating demo tape than the official version. I love that. The chorus has such a great melody and is so filled with genuine passion, it's probably the best reason for Kanye to not go back to just producing (this is too self-referential for a blog no one gives a shit about). Also, I think we all miss Kanye's mom. I'm not being ironic here, Hey Mama has always been one of my favorite Kanye songs, and now I just can't listen to it the same. It's another reason I'm forgiving to 808s: it's Kanye's own For Emma, Forever Ago, his completely passionate, messy burst of post-tragic coping. Except… his girlfriend didn't dump him, his mom died in a freak accident. Come on, man.
"Streetlights" is basically Kanye doing his best impression of Keane.
25 . Department of Eagles – In Ear Park
Sometimes lyrics just creep up on you, long after you've given into the music of the song itself. This song was placed at #25 a while before I actually gave the words a real listen and realized just how much more tender the song is when you put the sounds in context.
All of us walk alone, steady line
And now that you're gone
I have nothing but time
To walk with your bags
Down to the docks
And sit in the grass
Right in your spot
I dunno man. I'm about to cry. Department of Eagles is a side project of Grizzly Bear, sort of, or Grizzly Bear is the side project, I dunno. But apparently this was the stuff that was "too personal" for the G.Bears, and it kinda shows.
Oh, live edit: according to SongMeanings.net, the ultimate authority on truth in music, this was written about lead singer/songwriter Daniel Rossen's father, who died last year. He should do something with Kanye.
The original reason I was turned onto "In Ear Park" was, of course, another little moment: the climax of the song, that kind-of-sinister-but-still-pretty piano lick. So check that out.
24. The Roots – Birthday Girl
What's the best way to follow up two songs about the death of your parents? A song about girls turning eighteen so you can finally have sex with them!!! ^_^!!!
Patrick Stump sings the chorus here and it's awesome. Except there's a bit of confusion with the whole age thing. Old enough to see the R-rated show? That's 17, sir. Old enough to buy a gun? That's 18. Age of consent? ROOTS DON'T KNOW AND NEITHER DOES PAT STUMP AND THEY DON'T GIVE A HOOT
23. Walter Meego - Forever
Walter Meego - Forever
Yeah. This is the song from that beer commercial.
And it was an annoying beer commercial, wasn't it? It was horrible. I don't even know what was happening, something about beer, and a girl with a gap in her teeth. I hereby distance myself from that commercial entirely.
The crazy thing is, though… the commercial contained precisely the first thirty seconds of "Forever." And "Forever" becomes a really good song JUST after that thirty second mark. I couldn't tell until I listened to it in my car, and the bass came out, and, somehow, it sounded wonderful in my crapass speakers. It's a bit soft at times throughout, but the chorus? This song is a BANGER. It's incredible. Just gotta listen to it when it isn't coming out of a TV set.
22. TV on the Radio – Crying
TVOTR doing what TVOTR does best, makin real fuzzy funky music that sounds incredible in cars. Really, you can't comprehend how important it is to my subjective ears that a song sounds good in a car.
This song is basically a string of great moments that all work to lead up to this great climax that's entirely magnificent and dramatic, but in a relatively low-key, restrained fashion. Everything that's going on, these complex lines of melody, are still being drowned out by the percussion, and the full array of sound never really attacks your ears. Everything that happens from about 3:05 on is entirely too much for my poor little heart; the synth line and the horns are so wonderful I just listen to it over and over again. And it's one of those cases where, when you try skipping to that point, it just doesn't carry the same weight. So I've listened to this song a lot. In my car.
21. Ray J – Sexy Can I (ft. Yung Berg)
Oh, Sexy Can I. I've read, I think, every year-end songs/singles list that Large Hearted Boy posts… and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one to include Sexy Can I. Which baffles the crap out of me. Even the MTV/Rolling Stone lists, the lists with all sorts of pop, skipped it.
Sexy Can I was the summer of 2k8's silver medal winner, and by extension, the forgotten child, the Jan Brady of 2k8. It was all over the radio, played nearly as much as Love in this Club, and everyone loved it. But it still never hit #1, and it never felt like a #1, like LitC and Single Ladies and Whatever You Like did. So while every reputable and non-reputable list includes those obligatory Top 40 hits, they always forget the silver medalist (and Jesse McCartney).
And it sucks, because this song is really irresistible. It's pure bubblegum pop… even if it's about sexing a stripper or whatever, this is 100% bubblegum. I could listen to the beat for days. I could listen to Ray J's chorus for days. How can anyone not fall for that melody? Or that totally weird horn crescendo at the end of every chorus? Love in this Club got tiring really quickly, because it was absolutely everywhere for a few weeks, and it just didn't have the same staying power/immediate palatability as Sexy Can I, a song I will NEVER get tired of. And Love in this Club (Marsha) ain't making my list, jerks. The underdog wins.