Hold On – Nervo
Titanium - David Guetta feat. Sia
This is now one of my favorites from last year, but I really didn’t come to appreciate it until this year. Sia, typically, annoys the hell out of me. However, she’s come a long way from her ‘I’m Just the Girl You Lost to Cocaine’ days. Sure, her vocal tics are everywhere, but she’s managed to smooth some of the quirkiness out and delivers, here, a more than respectable vocal – in fact, I would go so far as to say the best vocal of her career thus far (though she has a track on ‘The Great Gatsby’ soundtrack that is also quite stellar).
David Guetta has become the Cheese Whiz of clubland; providing fluffy, oil-saturated, brightly colored gunk that doesn’t require a lot of heavy lifting or digesting. Not there’s anything wrong with that. He’s been highly successful of late with many of his collaborations and one of the driving forces bringing the club sound to mainstream radio.
Closer - Tegan and Sara
These Canadian identical twins have been around for a bit and are big on the College Radio charts, but this is the first time I’ve bit (or been bitten). I must admit, part of the appeal is that the song was used for some advertising campaign, and I am a sucker for stuff that pierces my cortex via sneaky, insidiously evil ways. That said, this is a cute, well-made song. I especially like the bridge, “here comes the dream of me and you…” It might as well be sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks, because, for me, the twins register zero in the personality category. Nice and light and poppin’ fresh. Shelf life? Limited.
Lessons in Love – Kaskade feat. Neon Trees
Love Neon Trees. Love Kaskade. They are great together, too. Whether Neon Trees go down as 2012’s Foster the People remains to be seen. Their song, ‘Everybody Talks’, was as inescapable and clever as ‘Kicks’ was the year before. I really like the lead singer, too… especially when he wears those skinny jeans and allows his fingers to play with his lower lip. What’s that about? I dunno. But it’s sexy. Oh, this song? Yeah, it has a driving, bombastic beat like something Sisters of Mercy might have drummed up back in the day. Brooding and heaving, I like it like that.
Gold (Ralph Rosario Radio Remix) – Neon Hitch feat. Tyga
This should have been a breakthrough hit. Why radio didn’t pick up on this little slice of ear candy is anybody’s guess. Yes, the vocals are pitched a little too tightly for my comfort, but there is such personality there; it makes up for it. Tyga neither helps nor hurts. A perfect little gem of a pop song.
I prematurely dubbed this The Single of the Year 2013. Nothing has come along to dethrone it, yet. I find its retro R&B vibe authentic and flattering. Even Jay Z, with his typical dial-it-in effort, can’t wreck this one. Justin sounds credible and incredible. Glad he’s back. He’s a terrific popsmith and songwriter.
Mirrors (Radio Edit) – Justin Timberlake
Anything Could Happen – Ellie Goulding
When Glee chose to cover this I was amazed that it did not shoot into the top 40. Pity, because even though it comes across as a little annoying and desperate, it still contains enough uplifting elements to make it heartwarming. Ellie’s vocals? Yeah, breathy, staccato nonsense, but effective nonetheless. I actually thought the Glee version (yes, I tuned in only to see what they did with this song) was superior to Ellie’s own. But I think everybody’s infatuation with show choirs has worn thin. Pity, because Ellie’s career could have used the momentum.
Superlove – Avicii feat. Lenny Kravitz
I don’t like Lenny Kravitz much – too derivative, too lyrically Dr. Seuss simplistic. But I like this song. Avicii has had quite the year so far, remixing and collaborating almost as much as David Guetta and Calvin Harris. This song has more to do with Avicii at the control panel then it does Lenny’s vocals. Putting Lenny in the backseat? Good idea. This pulses pleasantly along with just the right amount of sweep and build. A tad old school, but then, dance music has yet to move into a new era, so old school will have to do for now.
#Thatpower – Will.I.Am feat. Justin Bieber
A bit less successful than his collaboration with Britney, due to Will.I.Am’s failing to ask Justin to do anything outside his comfort zone. Still, a pleasant, uplifting trifle, typically lacking substance. But Will.I.Am will probably never be a groundbreaker. In a way, he is to pop/dance music what P. Diddy is to rap. Or what vanilla is to yogurt. P.S. – I now own a song that Justin Bieber sings on… a sad chill just went through me.
Kisses Down Low – Kelly Rowland
Ummm…. I love this song. I wanna do some nasty ass shit while this is playing in the background. Ms. Kelly? She got it going on in this old school jam which purrs nicer than any Italian sports car ever could. Kudos to all involved. This is one for the ages. If it fails to hit on radio, one can understand; the subject material is still a bit too racy for the I-Heart-Radio crowd. But it will be popping up as long as anybody needs a dirty deep beat that overstates the obvious – this is lick-o-licious! Ooo. Makes me arch my back!
Glowing (Cazzette vs. Nikki Williams Radio Edit) – Nikki Williams
Beam Me Up – Cazzette
Pointing Fingers (Dave Aude Radio Edit) – Stacy Jackson
Alive – Krewella
I’m throwing these four together because they are sort of cut from the same cloth. I have grown to love all four.
‘Glowing’ still makes no sense to me lyrically, and musically feels like three songs sewn together, but I love the line “Seven seconds till I hit the ground, but you saved my life”. I don’t know what it means or has to do with ‘Glowing’, but it’s enough to keep my interest.
‘Beam Me Up’ is just good fun. What’s to complain about? I love the chug-filled chorus and can imagine a dance floor of sweaty, shirtless male forms undulating in a wave once it hits. Vocals are fine and I am curious what else Cazzette (love the name) has to offer.