East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Interim top ten

The 2006 edition of my annual MP3 comp 99 Lives is due for release next week. I've chosen the songs, but I'm still finalising the ranking. Reserve a copy by dropping me a line. If you can't wait, track down these ten songs that made the cut:

Irene Schweizer, "Hackensack", "Angel": If I decide it counts, I'll give Portrait, a comp of Schweizer's best performances over two decades on Intakt, consideration for album of the year. No jazz record I've heard this year has seemed like such a revelation. She's terrific when jabbing percussively at her piano, like on the Monk cover. Her secret might be her incredible left-hand swing, which ingratiates Dudu Pukwana's "Angel" until it seems like a standard, whereupon she can start deconstructing it.
Killer Mike, "That's Life": Allowing for the rhetoric, this is the angriest, most astute track in a fine year for political hip hop. George Bush don't like blacks? No shit, Sherlock.
Beyonce, "Irreplaceable": She doesn't scream, since she's not trying to mimic speech; she evokes instead more viscous internal feelings. So now she's an interpretative singer: dig the way she lingers over the word "home".
OutKast ft. Lil' Wayne & Snoop Dogg, "Hollywood Divorce": Time was that Dre's rhymes would be the tightest among the players assembled here; though that's not the case, the sound of his voice, whether crooning or speaking, makes the track by amplifying the production's eerieness. Maybe he should focus on acting.
Scissor Sisters, "I Don't Feel Like Dancing": If you're old enough to remember when Elton was this good, you're old enough to know what it's like to not feel like dancing.
Emmanuel Jal & Abdel Gadir Salim, "Gua": Southern Sudanese child soldier escapes to Kenya, raps with northern Sudanese oud master, Kidman-starring movie to come next year.
The Pipettes, "Pull Shapes": "No," said the boy to the vicar, "I am Shapes."
Jamelia, "Beware of the Dog": Sampling "Personal Jesus" -- who does she think she is, Johnny Cash?
World Saxophone Quartet, "Political Blues": As a rhyme for "Bush, Cheney and Rice", how about "the Republican Party's infested with lice"?



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