Monday, December 13, 2004

Le Tigre cancelled their Saturday night B-More show, which totally sucked; I had been wicked amped. The show was set to take place at Sonar, a dance club, which is about one billion times cooler than just another Ottobar show or whatever. And it was going to be them with Measles Mumps Rubella and Lesbians on Ecstacy and, most awesomely, a Diplo DJ set. But so Sonar decided to give refunds and just do the show anyway for free with no Le Tigre, which was great. We missed Measles Mumps Rubella, but Lesbians on Ecstacy were shockingly great. I'd been afraid they'd be shitty ironic low-tech arty electroclash nonsense, but no, they kicked up a huge, inspiring noise like circa-97 Prodigy or Lo-Fidelity All Stars or something, totally beefy and credible thumping techno with occassional and sort of unfortunate sidelines into drum-n-bass. Spank Rock came out for a short set with three dancers and a percussionist, called himself the black Le Tigre. And Diplo killed it: "Drop It Like It's Hot" over "Love Cats" (sounds wack but totally worked), "Nolia Clap", New Order, "Galang", Baltimore club, baile funk, I can't even remember what all.

Pitchfork asked me for my top 50 singles of 2004, so here they are, starting today, with comments!

Tom's Top 50 Singles of 2004 - Part 1

50. Gretchen Wilson: Here for the Party. "Here for the Party" isn't remotely close to being the best song on Here for the Party, but none of the best songs were released as singles. On its own merits, "Here for the Party" is a pretty great country shitstomper with a nice little snakey guitar riff and a hot anthemic hook.

49. Dizzee Rascal: Stand Up Tall. Another case where most of the best songs from a great album weren't released as singles but even the just-OK tracks make pretty great singles. The punchy drums and buzzing farting bass noises are hot, and there's something cute and distinctly British about the plinky synth hook. Dizzee sounds refreshed and energized. It's nice.

48. 8Ball & MJG: You Don't Want Drama. Buzz buzz clap clap stab stab. "You Don't Want Drama" is one of the most devastating crunk tracks of the year because it's so chaotic and focused at the same time: all these attention-grabbing elements should sound like a mess all piled together, but they're arranged just right so they'll all hit hard. Ball & MJG wreck the beat beautiful, of course; that's what they do.

47. Blink-182: I Miss You. I would probably like "I Miss You" a lot more if someone else had sung it; it's hard for me to take anything seriously in that pinched nasal California mallpunk whine. But this is still a great self-pity tantrum; it reminds me of the time I put my fist through a window because my mom wouldn't drive me to my friend's house. Plus: really nice cellos!

46. Jay-Z: 99 Problems. There's not one new thing I can say about this song, so allow me to reiterate: guitar cowbell Rick Rubin cop accent ridiculously huge drums sqealing noises Mark Romanek Vincent Gallo cameo bikers Mike D in the studio you know the type loud as a motorbike but wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight I don't know what you take me as or understand the intelligence that Jay-Z has elegant shit-talking.

45. Plastic Little: I'm Not a Thug. It's just funny. I got a unicorn, mang. The token black dude, up in ya house party. Totally credible snotty I'm-great rapping over totally credible operatic tiny lazer-winding beat. Everyone should be having this much fun. I mean, this is basically what the Beastie Boys were doing in 1985, right? I mean, right?

44. Ja Rule feat. Fat Joe & Jadakiss: New York. This is probably the greatest thing Ja Rule will ever be involved in: cool understated dangerous creepy lowdown growl over beautiful twinkling airy sci-fi beat. I love the way everyone sings the chorus and how MTV bleeps pretty much the entire Fat Joe verse and Jada's wicked asthmatic cough-laugh. I just love it.

43. M.I.A.: Galang. Diplo played this on Saturday night, and I just about lost it; it sounded so good on a giant sound system, the "ya ya heyyyy" part especially. This track is just the beginning, of course, but it still sounds like a monster: bass clusterbombs, jumprope synth riff, skipping drums, Maya's voice. It's beautiful.

42. NORE feat. Nina Sky, Daddy Yankee, Gem Star & Big Mato: Oye Mi Canto. NORE stumbles around like a drunk aging prizefighter trying to find his groove. The reggaeton guys run circles around him, but they're not doing it to be dicks; they're just trying to help NORE get back on track and maybe get themselves noticed. Nina Sky strokes our hair and tells us everything's going to be OK, shhhhh.

41. Yung Wun feat. DMX, David Banner & Lil Flip: Tear It Up. So apparently this song was taken directly from Drumline. Maybe it's this old song that every single Southern marching band plays; I have no idea. But Swizz hooks it up wonderful: those drums put a lot more messy, rippling life into "Tear It Up" than most crunk tracks have. Banner and Flip nail their guest spots; that's what they do. Yung Wun does the thing Lil Scrappy does, teenager acting tough and growling that he's coming into your house to tear out your heart aaat miiidnight, I love it. DMX screams "Ahhh-AHHHH!", and I love that too.