Thursday, December 28, 2006

2006: The "Singles"

I loved 45’s when I was a kid. If you’re of a certain age, you remember 45’s…singles…seven inches, two songs, warm and inviting sound. There aren’t really singles anymore…just tracks off CDs…but back in my day (he said sounding as ancient as he sometimes feels) 45’s were wondrous things. I had (and have) eclectic tastes in music and 45’s let me sample the breadth of those tastes better than a single LP could (albums too often only had a few good songs thrown in with a lot of disappointing filler…yes, I’m looking at you, Motown…you too, Elvis.)

Great singles became the soundtrack of our lives…they were the insanely catchy pop songs that you knew all the words to, that you turned up loud whenever they came on the radio. There are, of course, tracks (and “CD-singles”) that serve that same function these days but it’s not quite the same as 45’s (I used to love the colorful labels, the familiar soft crackle and hiss of the needle on the vinyl before the music started, and discovering interesting songs on the “b” side.)

That said, there are, of course, still pop songs that are insanely catchy…that you turn up loud whenever they come on the radio…that you sometimes can’t avoid even when you might want to...

The “singles” that got into my head this year included:

Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”
(Absolutely unavoidable and undeniably engaging, this was arguably the theme song of the summer of ’06.)

Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On”
(An infectious slice of summertime pop…it’s hard not sing along to when it’s playing.)

Katie Melua’s “Nine Million Bicycles”
(A lilting, compelling mid-tempo ballad that effortlessly soothes and engages the listener.)

U2 & Green Day’s “The Saints are Coming”
(A delightfully energetic rocker in either its studio or live [recorded at the re-opening of the Super Dome in
New Orleans] versions.)

“SexyBack” Justin Timberlake
(JT brought sexy back…whatta guy! this throbbing, bawdy dance track.)

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