Now that we've done rundowns of all our favorite SoulBouncey releases of 2008, we can "humanize" ourselves with a shocking disclosure: Last year, we also listened to The-Dream, T-Pain, Beyoncé, and a few more cats that otherwise wouldn't meet our daily criteria. None of this was for lack of trying to look the other way, but certain songs just stuck, whether we wanted them to or not.
The-Dream: "She Needs My Love", "Falsetto" & "Ditch That"
Why I should hate it: The-Dream is one of a handful of current music acts responsible for the "robotting" of modern R&B, with his repetition, nasal monotone and writing for a bunch of artists that are either awful or silly (except Mary).
Why I like it: They're so catchy! They kind of remind me of late-era Jodeci. I realize LOVE/HATE officially dropped in the fourth quarter of '07, but it really gained traction last year and monopolized my iPod that Spring. I love the segues and the changes on this album. Don't get it twisted, there are songs I hate on this album, but those three had me open.
Dishonorable Mentions: Lil Wayne "Miss Officer," The Pussycat Dolls "When I Grow Up," half of Jamie Foxx's Intuition.
Guilty as charged: nOva
Lloyd: "Girls Around The World"
Why I should hate it: Lloyd's high pitched falsetto, the baby hair plastered to his forehead, cornrows on a man over the age of 8 are all tired clichés of so many Pop singers over the past 15 years that are like one huge amalgam of tacky. And Weezy's on it recycling rhymes from Eric B. & Rakim. Ew.
Why I like it:
The song samples Slick Rick
. Also, the beat features an element of ultimate party jam "Pump Up The Volume" (see B., Eric & Allah, Rakim) from '87. In short, this song is like Justin Timberlake
before he wanted to tell us how he was bringing sexy back...and failed. Plus, the video
was a nice study in futurism, patent leather, and buff bodies. Lastly, Weezy's on it (see "Why I should hate it"), and his rhyme is actually kind of alright. Sue me.
Dishonorable mentions: T.I.'s "Whatever You Like," Weezy's "A Milli."
Guilty as charged: ill Mami
Jordin Sparks feat. Chris Brown
: "No Air"Why I should hate it:
I feel like I'm too old to like this song. I mean, I'm probably older than the combined age of the two artists singing the song. No, seriously.
Why I like it: The lyrics, which were written by former TROOP lead singer Steve Russell. And even though it's totally probable that Jordin and Chris recorded their parts separately and on opposite ends of the earth, I really love the way their voices play off of one another. It's crazy. You should see me bobbing my head on the train. Borderline embarrassing. Sigh.
Dishonorable Mentions: Jamie Foxx's "Just Like Me," the way Solange's backup singers move around during the live version of "I Decided."
Guilty as charged:
T-Pain (feat. Ludacris): "Chopped & Skrewed"
Why I should hate it:
It's by the Harbinger of Auto-Tune Hypersaturation himself. Everything
about this song should be offensive to me, from the misspelling of
"screwed" to the flagrant use of shawty to the fact that it's
so digitally manipulated that it could never be convincingly performed
live to the simultaneous lyrical vilification (T-Pain) and
infantilization (Luda) of women...I could go on.
Why I like it: Two reasons. The way those introductory chords
tap into my nostalgia for church/gospel music and the way Ludacris'
voice cuts through the entire song like a warm knife through butter.
Dishonorable Mentions: Teyana Taylor "Google Me," Beyoncé "Diva."
Guilty as charged: Ro
Beyoncé: "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"
Why I should hate it: It's Queen Beyoncé for God's sake; I'm supposed to hate this just on GP. It sounded like a reject from B'Day.
Why I like it: I'm not quite a Bey stan, but I really do enjoy her music. When she's on, she's on and I thought that "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" was on with its stutterting beat and catchy lyrics. It's the standout cut on I Am...Sasha Fierce and sounded like it would have fit perfectly onto B'Day, which stands as my favorite Beyoncé album. It gave a French-manicured middle finger to feminism for single ladies such as myself who want their man to put a ring on it. And the video? Claude have mercy. Beyoncé was working it like only she can. The ensuing web phenomenon that had every queen with a leotard, webcam and Broadband twerking it, too, was a hilarious bonus.
Dishonorable Mentions: Ne-Yo's "A Milli" Remix, Rihanna "Rehab."
Guilty as charged: Butta