Saturday, March 08, 2008

Rolling up the charts

Now that has been tracking my listening habits for a good while, I thought it would be fun to take a look at my rolling three-month chart to see what's been gaining steam in my iTunes of late (I've culled out a couple of Christmas tunes, just because). There's always something in my top charts that surprises me a bit, so here goes:

10 MGMT, "Time to Pretend (Radio Version)"
Probably my second favorite new song of the year thus far, this anthemic stomper quickly gets under the skin, as do its cheeky lyrics.

9 Will to Power, "Fly Bird"
Will to Power came back to mind last year when I drug out the old cassette single (cassingle) collection. I had their first eponymous album on cassette, but I never had the second album, Journey Home, which spawned the top 10 single "I'm Not in Love," a cover of the 10cc tune. The album is plentifully available from Amazon sellers for a penny, so I snagged a copy out of curiosity. It's fairly awful, but "Fly Bird," an empowerment ballad that bears some musical similarities to their big hit, "Baby I Love Your Way / Free Bird Medley (Free Baby)," soars to similar heights and is their one lost, shoulda-been hit.

8 Icehouse, "Crazy"
The opening wash of moody synths and guitar absolutely slays me — it is '80s perfection and a wonderful lean-in to a great pop song.

7 Goldfrapp, "A&E"
The song of the year thus far for 2008, it's lyrically fascinating. She's in a backless dress on a pastel ward, and I can't get enough of this folky electronica.

6 Goldfrapp, "Number 1"
I never bought Supernature but have gradually been downloading the tracks; this is the latest. The only artist to appear twice in the top 10 — she's my Saturday; she's my number 1.

5 Madonna, "Keep It Together (single remix)"
Following the lead of "Like a Prayer" and "Express Yourself," here's another single mix that easily one-ups the Like a Prayer album version.

4 Jermaine Stewart, "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off"
I didn't give this song a second thought back in the '80s, but it's really a great jam, even if it seems to owe a large debt in production style to Whitney Houston's "How Will I know." And the lyrics are funny-clever: Not a word from your lips / You just took for granted that I'd want to skinny dip.

3 Bryan Ferry, "New Town"
Ferry's "Kiss and Tell" is a classy pop single that just grazed the top 40 in 1987 when it was featured in the Bright Lights, Big City soundtrack and Ferry's Bete Noire album; "New Town" is a hypnotic selection from the latter.

2 Lindsey Buckingham, "Holiday Road"
This one is the result of one of my obsessive quests to obtain a hard-to-find track — in this case, Mavis Staples' "Christmas Vacation," the perfect slice of giddy, holiday pop that is the theme to the movie of the same name (best Christmas movie ever, too). It's extremely difficult to get, and I snagged it on the 10th anniversary Christmas Vacation soundtrack release, of which only 20,000 were pressed and sold only at the Six Flags theme park (don't ask me why). Bunches of them show up on eBay around Christmas. Among the bonuses on that disc are Buckingham's wonderful "Holiday Road" and "Dancin' Across the USA" (two more that aren't out for download) from the 1983 movie National Lampoon's Vacation, whose soundtrack may or may not have ever been released, depending on whom you believe.

1 The Killers, "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town"
Sawdust has been a bit overrated in some quarters — it's a really uneven listening experience — but this live take on the Kenny Rogers and the First Edition classic is a real treat. Some of the first albums I listened to were Rogers' The Gambler and one of his hits collections, and this affecting story-song was on the latter. You've painted up your lips and rolled and curled your tinted hair / Oh, Ruby are you contemplating going out somewhere? Vocalist Brandon Flowers pulls off a tricky one, and the band does a fine interpretation of the music.

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