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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:39 pm 
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And now, we begin the countdown of my favorite songs of 2009:

#75) Kind of a Girl (Tinted Windows)

We kick this thing off with a power pop bopper from a supergroup consisting of Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick) on drums, Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) on bass, James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins) on guitar, and Taylor Hanson (Hanson) fronting the whole thing. Yes, Hanson. MmmBop Hanson. Stop laughing and go check out the latest cd by Hanson called “The Walk”, They MmmmBop no more and have matured into a very talented unit. Anyway, yes. Tinted Windows. A propulsive little ditty here. Tasty.

#74) Kingdom of Days (Bruce Springsteen

I was somewhat disappointed with The Boss' latest album, from which this comes. Not that it's awful or anything, but it plays more like a collection of songs that didn't make the cut for his previous release, “Magic”. Many of the songs sound like ones from that album. I do like this song in particular, although it sounds a lot like “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” to me.

#73) Don't Waste The Pretty (Allison Iraheta)

I still think she deserved better than her 4th place finish on “American Idol” last season. This one gets its strength from a wall of strumming guitars and a strong vocal from the almost 18 year-old.

#72) When The Rain Comes (Valley Lodge)

Loping rocker cut from the T. Rex cloth.

#71) I'll Fight (Wilco)

Organ dominates this slice of rootsy rock.

#70) Marry Me (Train)

Pretty, quiet accoustic number.

#69) Let's Just Fall in Love Again (Jason Castro)

Sappy, goofy yet amiable piece of sunshine pop that has managed to charm its way into my heart. Another “Idol” finalist from a couple of seasons ago.

#68) Let's Get Carried Away (Research Turtles)

Power Popper with a seasoning of classic rock.

#67) Happier (A Fine Frenzy)

Bouncy yet sad at the same time. The melancholy in her voice belies her assertion that she'll be fine.

#66) Let Me Love You (Dreaming in Stereo)

Big, drippy power ballad oozing with desperate longing. I know it's bad for me, but cut me off a huge slice anyway.

#65) The Lucky One (Vertical Horizon)

Nice, hooky chorus on this upbeat ballad.

#64) Battlefield (Jordin Sparks)

OK, when I mentioned guilty pleasures in an earlier post? Exhibit A. I never cared for this Season 6 “Idol” winner. So why do I like this? Ummmmmmmmmm......................I dunno.

#63) Heartbreak Warfare (John Mayer)

Yeah, the guy's a jerk. But he does come up with a catchy tune here and there.

#62) Slice (Five For Fighting)

This guy's melodies hit that sweet spot between my ears. This one's an ode to those of us who came of age when Don McLean was driving his Chevy to the levee all across our airwaves. I was 15 myself.

#61) When Will I Be Loved (John Fogerty with Bruce Springsteen)

Just a fun romp through an old chestnut. From Fogerty's album “The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again”, a sequel of sorts to his first post-Creedence solo project way back in the early 70's.

#60) Love To Love Me Back (Mandy Moore)

Sweet but not sappy. Think Joni Mitchell at her most innocent. The instrumental backing fits Mandy's voice like a glove.

#59) Charged By The Minute (The Respectables)

Big ol' sloppy rocker with a touch of glam.

#58) Two Weeks (Grizzly Bear)

How to explain THIS? Somebody I read somewhere described it as “outer space Doo Wop”. I guess that's as good as anything I could come up with. There is a commercial that uses this music, but I can't remember the sponsor.

#57) Take Me Out To the Ballgame (Bernie Williams)

From the former Yankee Center Fielder/now guitarist's 2nd cd. Bernie never “officially” retired, and I swear you can hear the longing to play one more game in his guitar. Very poignant and almost brought me to tears when I first heard it.

#56) I Win (Fooling April)

Amusing little ditty about the changes in fortune amongst the attendees at a high-school reunion.

#55) Go (Bleu)

Another big, lushly orchestrated ballad. I can be a real sucker for these things.

#54) Wicked Blood (Seawolf)

Very much in the vein of Coldplay. Cool pounding piano.

#53) Belle of the Boulevard (Dashboard Confessional)

Sad and pretty power ballad.

#52) Wishing Well (Jeff Larson)

Larson worked in what was essentially a partnership with Gerry Beckley of America on the cd this comes from. The result sounds just like Beckley's group.

#51) The Mountain (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)

This is “In the Hall of the Mountain King”, rocked even harder than when Electric Light Orchestra did it on their “On The Third Day” album.


#50-#26 coming up shortly.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:45 pm 
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#55 - Go - is also on Hanson's album "The Walk" - Bleu wrote it and plays on it and at least one more. Both versions are good.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:26 pm 
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#50) Friday I'll B Over U (Allison Iraheta)

It's actually a pretty smart move to position Allison in the Pink/Avril Lavigne mode, as she is a little too edgy to be a Radio Disney princess, and unfortunately the Joplinesque rock that she excels at is not fashionable these days. This is a perky, not-TOO-pop not too rock number that is not dumbed down on production values. Catchy, too. Did I mention catchy.

#49)Fern Dell (Mandy Moore)

Again I have to invoke Joni Mitchell. This one has a little jazz flavoring to it and would not be out of place on “Court and Spark”.

#48) Someday (Elliott Yamin)

Another former “Idol” finalist (from what I feel was the show's best season, #5). If you watched back then, you remember Yamin's close bond with his mother. I'll never forget seeing the look on her face when she rode with her son in an open car, passing thousands of fans cheering her son during the “homecoming” episode. Mama Yamin passed away a couple of years ago. This is her son's tribute to her. Have a hanky nearby.

#47) All The Pretty Girls (Fun.)

Here comes one of my goofball analogies. Ya ready? ELO meets Queen with Leo Sayer singing lead.
Seriously.

#46) Welcome All Again (Collective Soul)

These Georgia dudes are always good for a few excellent basic rockers per disc.

#46) The Black Rats of London (Bruce Hornsby)

A tongue-in-cheek tribute to the unsung disease-carrying heroes that helped us forge our society. And who can resist a rock accordion?

#44) When I Go Away (Levon Helm)

Levon's voice is full of even more dirt and gravel than when he sang and drummed for The Band. Not surprising, considering his serious health issues. It's a wonder he's singing at all. That weary, “seen-it-all” voice is a perfect fit for this down-home gospel workout.

#43) Roll With It (Greg Pope)

Amiable pop-rock with a bassline on the verses straight out of “Lady Madonna”.

#42) Undisclosed Desires (Muse)

This band gets compared a lot to Queen, but what I hear is more Duran Duran-like in this particular song.

#41) Since You've Been Gone (Tower of Power)

A powerhouse vocal backed by those mighty, mighty horns do right by this Aretha classic.

#40) Smoke in a Bottle (John Paul Keith & the One-Four Fives)

The sound here is akin to what you hear whenever Nick Lowe gets together with Dave Edmunds. Actually, if you brought down the rockabilly guitars a little in the mix, and added a pumpin' piano, you'd get a “Killer” Jerry Lee Lewis style raveup. Good old-time Rock-n-Roll.

#39) Flaming Arrow (Jupiter One)

Accoustic-based toe-tapper.

#38) You Belong With Me (Butch Walker)

Not being a Taylor Swift fan, you can imagine my perverse glee in what Walker has done here. His reconstruction is quite enjoyable. Walker is better known these days as a producer (Pink is among the folks he has worked with), but once upon a time he was the leader of the irreverent Power Pop band The Marvelous 3.

#37) Even If It Breaks Your Heart (Will Hoge}

Meat and potatoes, solid midtempo Tom Petty-ish offering.

#36) The Last Waltz (Fat City Reprise)

A whirling dervish, mad carnival ride of a song.

#35) Down in Front (Roger Joseph Manning Jr.)

Weird analogy time again. Paul Revere & the Raiders hop into a station wagon with The Beach Boys and drive into the 70's, where they pick up E.L.O. and 10cc. (yeah, I know, you're starting to worry about me now). My favorite part of this song is when the background voices sing out “sit your ass down!” Cracks me right up.

#34) Note to the Unknown Soldier (Five For Fighting)

A pretty and touching song that is just what its title implies.

#33) My Mona Lisa (The One) (Billy Schaffer)

A sweet and simple melody backed by a few strings. Nice.

#32) (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To (Weezer)

Sprightly rocker.

#31) Take a Chance (The Humbugs)

Pretty Beatlesque ballad that drips 1965 innocence.

#30) Calling (Jeff Larson)

You could be forgiven for mistaking this as a long lost track by America. If you liked things like “Daisy Jane” and “I Need You”, you'll like this one for sure.

#29) Ain't No Secret (Alternate Routes)

Tom Petty/John Mellencamp territory here. No frills midtempo rootsy pop-rock.

#28) Best of Times (Glenn Tilbrook & the Fluffers)

Cajun-spiced offering from one of the founders of Squeeze.

#27) Welcome to Suburbia (Jeremy Messersmith)

The pretty but haunting arrangement makes this “welcome” a wee bit threatening.

#26) You Found Me (The Fray)

Piano-based ballad. One of the few on my list that was actually a hit.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:50 pm 
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Here we go with the homestretch:

#25) First To Believe (Billy Schaffer)

Wistful, nicely building ballad.

#24) When The Lights Are Out (Cheap Trick)

Remember the group Slade? They were huge in England in the early-mid 70's and managed to show up on American TV shows like “In Concert” and “Midnight Special” but didn't have a chart hit until the 80's (“Run Runaway”). Their biggest chart success was when Quiet Riot covered Slade's “Cum On Feel the Noiz” (they also covered the band's “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”). Anyway, “When the Lights Are Out” appeared on a Slade LP in the mid-70's. I always thought it would've made a great single. If I had ever become a big time rock star, I was gonna make sure we covered this tune. Had an arrangement in my head and everything. Well, apparently Cheap Trick had the same idea. They actually recorded this early in their career, then it sat on their shelf for decades before they dusted it off, spruced it up, and placed it on 2009's “The Latest”. And yeah, they've done a better job with it than I would've (sigh). It fits CT perfectly. So good that I'll forgive them for stealing my idea.

#23) No One Sleeps While I'm Awake (The Sounds)

Straight out of the girl group sounds of the 80's.

#22) Remembered Well (Rob Thomas)

The closer on his “Cradlesong” album. It's a melodic “bon voyage”.

#21) Know Your Enemy (Green Day)

I know a lot of people hated this...repetitive , three chords, goofy lyrics,...ok, I get all that. But it always gets my head-a-bangin' and makes me rock the air guitar. Sometimes that's all that counts.

#20) Words of Love (Pat Di Nizio)

From his album of Buddy Holly covers, The Smithereens' frontman does a lovely spin on this one, adding a string quartet to sweeten the deal.

#19) Headfirst and Blind (Fooling April)

Easygoing powerpopper. Catchy as hell.

#18) Lazy (Dreaming in Stereo)

An ode to the joys of sleeping in. Deliberately paced, it FEELS like the drowsy pleasure of flipping the alarm clock the bird. For some reason I hear a Badfinger influence in this song.

#17) Kiss Me (Bleu)

This could've come straight out of the Wham! Songbook. Even though I'm not a George Michael fan,
that wasn't intended as an insult. Some Philly soul influence going on here as well.

#16) Up My Sleeve (John Lefler)

Stylistically, it's “Mother Nature's Son” with a splash of “Julia”. Yup, a very “White Album” vibe.

#15) Not Gonna Let You Go (Benjamin R.)

Plays like The Cars on the verses, and Gin Blossoms on the choruses. Yummy.

#14) San Francisco (Jill Sobule)
A pretty story-song. The chorus will stick in your head for days.

#13) Transfer (Five For Fighting)

Another beautiful piano drenched melody from the guy who has a truckload of 'em.

#12) Speed of Life (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)

These guys have been in existence for around 45 years. Fittingly, this is about how quickly time passes. A smiling sigh of a song.

#11) Little Moon (Grant Lee Phillips)

Easygoing foot-tapper with a breezy little melody.

#10) She Does (Collective Soul)

I always marvel at how often these guys can take a pack of classic rock staple riffs and elements and somehow craft songs that manage to consistently find the sweet spot. This one cooks along so nicely I can easily overlook the fact that I've heard these riffs before.

#9) Messing With My Head (Tinted Windows)

Oh, the sheer head-bopping joy of this. Makes me feel 15 again. This is Power Pop 101: Buzzing guitars, a propulsive rhythm section augmented with handclaps and a well-placed falsetto-hook in the chorus to bring it home. If you're not groovin' on this, you probably think Beatlemania was overrated.

#8) This I Know (Sam & Ruby)

Gentle but not sappy accoustic love song that sounds fresh and “first time in love”-ish.

#7) Blind Tom (Grant Lee Phillips)

This song haunts me. Absolutely beautiful. Based on a real-life person, an African-American autistic savant who became quite successful as a performer in the 19th century.. Mark Twain actually wrote about this man. It's a heckuva life story. Hard to do it justice in a line or two. Here's the Wikapedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_Tom_Wiggins

#6) Sleeping Dogs (Greg Pope)

Sounds like it came straight off of Todd Rundgren's “Something/Anything”. Understandable, since Pope also plays all the instruments and sings all vocals on the 7 songs that make up the Extended Play CD “Pete”, from which this killer track originates (I like all 7 songs on it, actually). Pope is not necessarily a virtuoso on all of the instruments (his drumming in particular is pretty rudimentary), but it actually enhances the “homemade” charm of the disc. This song is loaded with hooks, and the falsetto in the chorus carries it into pop heaven. Love love love this song.

#5) Invisible (Bruce Hornsby)

Quirky. Perky tune with excellent instrumentation. Another one that refused to leave my head (I find myself humming it at odd times at work, for instance).

#4) Need You Now (Lady Antebellum)

To be honest, most modern country music leaves me cold, but when one does hit me, it hits me hard. This reminds me of the early Linda Ronstadt country-flavored recordings. It's anchored by a melancholy piano riff, and the lyrics will speak to anyone who ever found themselves having had a little too much to drink and thinking about the wrong person a lot too much. And let's face it, most of us have been there, done that at least once.

#3) Breakeven (The Script)

This band from Dublin didn't impress me much with their debut cd except for this one song which I can't seem to shake. Reminiscent of Maroon 5, is a piano-based soul/pop number that I love for no good reason, I just do.

#2) Uprising (Muse)

A mighty powerful, fist-pounding anthem that you've heard if you saw the tv ads that promoted the debut of the show “V” (“We...will....be...vic-TORRRRRRRRRRRRR—ious!!”). The singer comes awfully close to channeling Freddie Mercury for bombast and bravado here. This'll rile ya up.

AND The Boney for my favorite song of 2009:

#1) CONTINENTS DRIFT (BRUCE HORNSBY)

Breathtakingly beautiful. The synthesizer riff that is the center of the song will haunt you and Hornsby's singing moves me. Then, about 5 minutes in, Hornsby's nephew R.S. Hornsby begins an unbelievable guitar solo that escorts the song into the stratosphere. It carries through to the end and is a staggering performance that is made all the more gutwrenching by the fact that R.S. was killed in a car accident less than a week after recording this solo. It's almost as if he knew it was to be the last thing he recorded, so he made it one for the ages. Brilliant.

So there you have it. If you've made it this far, thanks, and hopefully you might find something here to like. Let me know if you do.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:11 pm 
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Thank you for this yearly review. I find all sorts of new artists because of you.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:18 pm 
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Ritterskoop wrote:
Thank you for this yearly review. I find all sorts of new artists because of you.


You are more than welcome. You have returned the favor much more than a time or two.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:29 am 
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This is very exciting, TBone. Lots of stuff to check out! Thank you for doing this! Once again you're expanding my musical tastes! Haven't listened to Bruce Hornsby for years......how lovely he plays so heavily in your top songs.

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