Instead of attempting to make sense of the last 365-or-so days with a neatly organized list and regurgitated commentary, I decided that I'd make a mix to wrap up my year in pop-music fandom. Check it:
- Cassie - Me & U
- Prince - Black Sweat
- Remy Ma - Conceited
- Clipse - Trill
- Nelly Furtado & Timbaland - Promiscuous
- Diddy & Keyshia Cole - Last Night
- Mr. Lif - Brothaz (9th Wonder Remix)
- Ghostface Killah - Kilo
- Shareefa featuring Ludacris - I Need a Boss
- Beyonce featuring Jay-Z - Upgrade U
- Christina Aguilera - Ain't No Other Man
- Lyfe Jennings - Down Here, Up There
- Fantasia - Bore Me (Yawn)
- Gwen Stefani - Wind It Up
- Kirk Franklin - Looking for You
- Basement Jaxx - Everybody
- Junior Boys - The Equalizer (Morgan Geist Graphic Mix)
- Omarion - Ice Box
- Justin Timberlake - My Love
- T.I. - What You Know / Lil Wayne - What U Kno
- The Knife - From Off to On
- Ciara - Promise
- Monica - Sideline Ho
- Janet Jackson - Take Care
I really fucking hate lists and being forced to quantify my taste and interests (reason 3,666 why I'll never deserve the esteemed title of "music journalist"). What I choose for my Top 10 of 2006 today would look different than tomorrow's, next week's, next month's, next year's tallies (seriously, I look back and wonder how I can get my hands on that potent, potent shit that I was smoking that led me to not put Mariah's "We Belong Together" as my No. 1 of last year). I figure it's probably more useful to touch on the major points of pop music that, in turn, touched me in one, big blend of sound. That's how the year in music plays in my head (at this point, anyway).
This was a bitch to assemble, as non-house/techno mixes tend to be. So many tempos, so many styles to mash together to reflect my ADD-addled taste. While I cover many of the strictly defined singles I dug, there are also some album tracks thrown in -- it's the Internet, I'm allowed to be wild.
I'm not thrilled with all of the transitions (sadly, I can't really justify mating Gwen Stefani and Kirk Franklin...although, maybe that's not so sad, after all). I also regret that I couldn't work in Cherish's "Do It To It," as it will forever remind me of the highlight of my year (and quite possibly, the highlight of my life): seeing Mary Carey at a South Jersey strip club. Cherish's track is just too damn slow (like 75 bpm!) for its own damn party vibe. On the upside, it was nice being reacquainted with some stuff that came out early this year, like Prince's "Black Sweat" (just like, undoubtedly, it was nice for the purple one himself to be reacquainted with synths) and Remy Ma's "Conceited" (line-for-line, the funniest hip-hop track of the year). Also, in the process of compiling this, I became obsessed with Clipse's "Trill." I now understand what it is to love and slang.
If you listen to only one transition, make it the bridge between the Knife and Ciara. I'm proud of it.
And speaking of CiCi, mix climaxes with "Promise," the one track whose rank is unquestionable to me (it's, without a doubt, my favorite track of the year; maybe of the decade, too, but I'll get back to you on that). Normally, I'd end the mix there, but I wanted to sail out with something more atmospheric as (prepare for total retardation) denouement. That's why the final song is Janet's "Take Care," 20 Y.O.'s saving grace, if anything was. It's been a rough year for Jan, but it's OK -- she'll take care of herself. It strikes me that it wouldn't be possible to come up with a more brilliant metaphor for her tattered career than what the lyrics of "Take Care" hold: empowerment via masturbation.
That's it for '06 on the pop side (well, for now, at least). I plan on doing something similar, though more narrow in scope for dance music I liked this year within the coming days.
Now, all I need is a room with a pole in it...