Sunday, January 21, 2007

Top 20 Worst Pop Hits Of The Last 20 Years

I'm usually not the one for most top lists. Aren't there enough of them nowadays? I remember looking at the cover of a Spin magazine a couple of years ago and the whole issue was about them.

I compiled this list of the wor
st pop songs I've ever experienced.

# 20 . UB40 - I Can't Help Falling In Love With You - This cover of t
he Elvis Presley crooner was made for the soundtrack to the movie "Sliver"
A terribly bad song fitted for a terribly bad film. It re
ally just sounds like the band is loaded up on morphine and sedatives phoning it in.

#19 . Tag Team - Whoomp! (There It Is!) - This monster hit came out just shortly after southern bass music group 95 South dropped "Whoot! (There It Is!) Up until this point in hip-hop, the originators get the props and the seniority, but the contrary happened here. M
aybe the Atlantic City based Tag Team benefited from a more clean and polished sounding track. As a longtime fan of hip-hop and rap music, I have found this one to be limited, repetitive and annoying after the third listen.

#18 . C+C Music Factory - Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) - Clivile
s and Cole, two producers emerging from obscurity formed this fake group in the early 90s. Taking their cue from Milli Vanilli, they featured a young attractive woman singing the hook in the music video that was sung by an older, heavier woman in the studio. That coupled with a guy rapping who sounded like Ice-T if he was German and grew up in Nazi Germany, (telling us to get up and move on the dancefloor, now!) made this commercial club track an awful distraction.

#17 . Britney Spears - Hit Me Baby One More Time

#16 . Bloodhound Gang - Bad Touch - With the horrendous hook, "You and me baby ain't nothin' but mammals / So let's do what they do on the Discovery Channel" one-hit wonders Bloodhound Gang crapped this retro sounding synth fodder into a 24-track mixer and took off before they could see how bad it stunk.

#15 . Sugar Ray - Fly - The award for premature songwriti
ng self-importance goes to Mark McGrath, the singer of Sugar Ray for the line, "All around the world statues crumble for me"
Add reggae icon Super Cat to the formula and it still yields horrible results.

#14 . Madonna - Ray Of Light - She never got by on her
vocal stylings. It was mostly her image, attitude and over-the-top sexuality that propelled her through the stratosphere of pop music. She also took many risks women in music before her never attempted. She also took a great risk when she crafted this frenetic dance track with her high pitched notes cracking breaking and faltering throughout the song.

#13 . Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You - This wa
s a case of the theme song to a movie that was bigger than the movie itself. Unless you were living in a dungeon in 1992, you couldn't escape this bombastic ballad that ends with Ms. Houston holding on to a note that begs furiously to disappear.

#12 . Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories- Stay (I Miss You)

Another soundtrack single for the list? Are you starting to see a pattern? Stay ( I Miss You) makes it to the worst 20 pop hits list because of three major reasons:
It's whiny co-dependent psycho babble, which was a decade early for its time.
The stripped down acoustic guitar sound works best with gutsy folk rock or hippie rock
and this isn't either.
The narrative goes from first person to third-person storytelling without any legitimate point. If someone spoke to you like this in your life, you would leave too.

#11 . Jennifer Lopez - (I'm Still) Jenny From The Block - The jury's still out on what J. Lo has in common with any of today's Bronx boriquas. Maybe she heard someone say that you can take the girl out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the girl. There is no way that J. Lo would still ride rapid transit (unless her record label payed the New York MTA to block off a line for a day) nor would she live outside of her posh Hollywood Hills mansion or any of her luxurious homes around the world. She even jerked Bronx rappers/beatmakers The Beatnuts over on the beat she pulled from one of their tracks.

#10 . Backstreet Boys - I Want It That Way - 1997 marked the year of the return of the bubblegum pop teeny bop groups in America. Just a few months before the Spice Girls burst on the scene, the Backstreet Boys scored a minor hit with another track, but it was this harmonious pile of dextrose top 40 crapola that caught too much airplay.

#9 . The B-52's - Roam - The B-52's followed up their success with "Love Shack" with this constantly annoying high register track. Unfortunately, it was briefly revived a few years ago by a wireless phone company plugging their diplomatic roaming charges policy.

#8 . Bayside Boys - Macarena - It's the song that inspired a ridiculous dance craze that doesn't rely on using your feet; great news for paraplegics and couch potatoes. But unlike other dance crazes, this one spanned various generations - people did the Macarena with their gram gram at their cousin's wedding. The song however was a synthesized mindfuck of an experience.

#7 . Marcy Playground - Sex & Candy - Maybe it was the slow melancholy rhythm added to the trying-so-hard-to-sound-like-Kurt Cobain vocals that made this miserable song a massive hit.

#6 . Chumbawumba - Tubthumpin' - A song about hanging out in a bar or pub getting hammered on a combination of different drinks lands a statewide success, then female singer of the band provokes Americans to steal their album in a major record store chain on a late night talk forum. It only led me to think, "was she tubthumpin' that night?" The song also left a lot to be desired, much like the whole bar and pub experience itself.

#5 . Spice Girls - Wannabe - The U.K. introduced us to Sporty, Posh, Ginger, Baby and Skanky Spice and the rest was history. Carrying a simple message, "Girl Power!" was all they needed to win the hearts of slightly retarded girls in America. The confusing demand "if you wannabe my lover, you gotta get with my friends" opened up a new world of possibility with group sex that was previously unexplored.

#4 . Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby

Looking like a half-Elvis half-Uncle Sam car dealership cardboard figure, Vanilla Ice (ne Robbie Van Winkle) entered the pop music landscape in late 1990 and singlehandedly set white people back forty years. Rhyming on this track about blasting a nine and rollin' in his Ford Mustang, he took rap storytelling to a whole new low. Eventually exposed for the poseur he was, he attempted to reinvent himself several different times with no success. Now you can see him on the VH1 washed-up celebrity reality shows.

# 3 . Harvey Danger - Flagpole Sitta - There were misconceptions about this group when they tapped through alternative radio airwaves in the late 90s, being called indie rockers, they rode the wave of mainstream hoopla on the strength of this profoundly annoying song. The lyrics that spoke nonsense and the singer's whiny and nasal presence made this one a definite radio knobturner.

# 2 . Hanson - MmmBop! - A band of very White heartland kids make a godawful infectious pop song about (what, I have no idea) and it hits the top of the BillBoard charts. They harmonized their high range vocals and kept a clean groove, but they didn't have any remorse for anyone with the creation of this musical tumor.

# 1 . Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On - Her name is Canadian for "crappy diva."
The highest grossing film of all time at the moment is "Titanic" and unfortunately this overly done exaggerated love ballad didn't sink with it. Celine must have thought the name of the song was "My Note Will Go On" explaining why she awkwardly sang certain parts as if trying to send an emergency bulletin to Jupiter. This wonderfully awful song managed to be played all the time in 1997 and 1998, probably because little girls flooded radio stations with their requests.

That's the worst of it. Check out the other side here:
The Top 20 Best Pop Hits Of The Last 20 Years
Naturally only twenty songs made the top twenty but there are quite a few honorable mentions:

(Gerardo-Rico Suave, US3-Cantaloop, Ace Of Base-The Sign, Barenaked Ladies-One Week, Aqua-Barbie Girl, Sisqo-The Thong Song, Third Eye Blind-Jumper, Creed-With Arms Wide Open, Ricky Martin-She Bangs, Green Day-Good Riddance [Time Of Your Life] )

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

U.S. Defense Department Pulls A Paranoid Schizophrenic Move

Something that may or may not hold any truth appeared in the press today. Where once a paranoid schizophrenic individual might be concerned about the radio in the car talking implicitly to them or that the FBI and CIA, working together to plant a recording and transmitting device into their teeth, the U.S. Defense department has retracted a claim about spy coins. Here's the story:

U.S. retracts Canada spy coins claim By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Reversing itself, the Defense Department says an espionage report it produced that warned about Canadian coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters was not true.

The Defense Security Service said it never could substantiate its own published claims about the mysterious coins. It has begun an internal review to determine how the false information was included in a 29-page report about espionage concerns.

The service had contended since late June that such coins were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada.

"The allegations, however, were found later to be unsubstantiated following an investigation into the matter," the agency said in a statement published on its Web site last week.

Intelligence and technology experts were flabbergasted over the initial report, which suggested such transmitters could be used to surreptitiously track the movements of people carrying the coins.

Experts said such tiny transmitters almost certainly would have limited range to communicate with sensors no more than a few feet away, such as ones hidden inside a doorway. The metal coins also would interfere with any signals emitted, they said.

Experts warned that hiding tracking technology inside coins would be fraught with risks because the spy's target might inadvertently give away the coin or spend it buying coffee or a newspaper.

Robert Moroz, who organizes an annual technology conference in Canada said one vendor in 2005 attached coin-sized transmitters to casino chips as part of a proof-of-concept demonstration.

Moroz also cited previous industry proposals — later abandoned — to build such transmitters into the euro. But he was skeptical about the Defense Department's claims even before the Pentagon said its own report was false.

"To make it work with current, commercially available technology — I don't see how it could work," Moroz said.

The now-disavowed report never suggested who might be tracking American defense contractors or why. It never described how the Pentagon discovered the purported ruse, how the transmitters worked or even which Canadian currency allegedly contained them.

The service initially maintained that its report on the spy coins was accurate but said further details about the spy coins were classified.

The report was filled with other espionage warnings. It described unrelated hacker attacks, eavesdropping with miniature pen recorders and the case of a female foreign spy who seduced her American boyfriend to steal his computer passwords.

They (Quite Possibly) Will Run For President

They are in the media a lot these last few days. Appearing on morning news programs, releasing videos and statements about their possible bids for presidency. They are juicing their very own hype machines that will continue to grow as the stage is being set for a presidential election likely to have more issues to debate over than the history of a halfway house.

But why does a strong and charismatic personality like Senator Barack Obama need to form a presidential exploratory committee , which I think is a litmus test to his own popularity in the general public. Forming this committee is a brilliant idea because on one hand he is easing himself into the platform he will choose to run on without finalizing his decision to go for the presidency.

That gives people who aren't supporters some time to warm up to him and his politics. On the other hand, the committee can explore what's happening up on Capital Hill between the lobbyists, the other senators and folks who are in the middle of a bipartisan paradigm shift.

Hillary Clinton on the contrary, is going to have to really come on the campaign trail with some
fire. Even though she has much more experience in politics than Obama; she has done major work while husband Bill was in office for two terms and her Senate position in New York recently, she has a history that will be scrutinized by the Republican party.
There was the incident in the Oval Office between Bill and a government clerk involving a cigar.
There were pointed stands on issues, and botched attempts at gaining support for them.
It looks like Hillary has a lot to eat when she aims for the primary race.

Ultimately, these two folks are up against some serious odds. Obama needs to overcome the racial barrier while Hillary needs to take advantage of the relatively new concept of women in high political office; Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House setting the bar for more women to make major moves. Both Obama and Clinton have a lot of work to do, and sure enough they will.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Media Blitzkrieg In Short Form

This is the media blitzkrieg, short form style.

Item #1: Apple has released its latest technological innovation,
the iPhone
It's a phone, an iPod and a mobile internet device. Everybody is going to want one of these. People love new innovative gadgetry and Apple has been cornering the market with their multiple lines of iPo
ds the last four years. My bottom line on the iPhone - how about a cell phone that simply is a cell phone? The battery life on these things are ridiculous if you do anything outside of placing a call. I want a cell phone that doesn't drop my calls and has quality sound. That's it. No 1.1 megapixelated camera or 1G mp3 storage. I don't need a keyboard that flips out.

Item #2: Meat Loaf
Who has a new album out titled: Bat Out Of Hell III which is wack for the lack of creativity in the title alone. The rock opera concert shtick is played out and there's no room for it now. Mr. Loaf, your role as Bob in Fight Club was exceptional, but this shit has got to stop.

Item #3: The tabloid media coming up with the catchy one-word celebrity name mash-ups

I think it all started with Bennifer, the one-word pseudo buzz phrase to say when regarding the relationship of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.
It's just plain stupid and only adds power to their unreasonably exalted celebrity status. So no more TomKats and Brangelinas, you fake fickle tabloid newspeople. I don't want to see the name you would create if Skeet Ulrich started dating Queen Latifah.

Item #4: It's 2007 and you still have the Bush-Cheney '04 bumper sticker on the back of your ride
It's a bumper sticker, not to be confused with the Support The Troops or We Support The War magnets you also like to put back there too. Rip them off already. This is for your own good and credibility as someone who has a vested political interest. The way things have been going, this administration is destroying its image and character faster than Pee-Wee Herman's hand in a Florida pornhouse.
The same deal applies to all of you out there with the John Kerry - A Better America bumper stickers. We know you want people to keep in
mind you voted for the lesser of two evils, and you are not as naive and misguided as the other camp. It's 2007 and there are some new political figures to consider.

Monday, January 08, 2007

January Mostly Uneventful

The truth is, January is a mostly uneventful month aside from that big Sunday game at the end of the month and the occasional presidential inauguration. The only thing to really look for are the W-2 tax stubs your employer will have sent to you in the mail.

There is a somewhat highly politicized discussion whether breathalizers or a comparable system of detecting blood-alcohol levels in drivers will be made standard in all motor vehicles. The talk about some of these devices disengaging the ignition when the driver proves to be inebriated is not extreme in my opinion.

As I was driving south on the parkway last night, trying to change lanes because a woman decided to text message someone while doing 80, I gave it some thought.
Making these devices mandatory in all vehicles would do much more justice than just installing it in DUI offenders' vehicles. It would serve to be a true preventitive measure.
As I type this, I know there are probably a dozen or so companies working feverishly to be the one to have their brand name on the devices. Toyota has already produced a system that detects blood-alcohol levels from the sweat glands in the driver's hands. Any measure to reduce and remove the amount of careless and selfish destructive drunk drivers out there should be taken into consideration.