17 Tracks Presents the Top 25 Songs of 2009

The 2000s were a decade ripe with fragmentation and it saw old ways of doing things crumble and fail, yet 2009 was full of instances of cultural unity. The Black Eyed Peas dominated the Billboard Hot 100 for six whole months. Michael Jackson's death resulted in wall-to-wall coverage and commemoration that will continue well into next year. The world collectively glared at Kanye, comforted Taylor, and applauded Beyonce following the MTV Video Music Awards. Gagamania swept the globe becoming the biggest pop phenomenon since the teen pop reached its peak at the turn of the century. It was quite the year.

Below are the top 25 songs of 2009. Each song has an embedded video below so you can enjoy the sights and sounds of each song. Most of the videos are provided by Vevo, something that wasn't even available a few short weeks ago when 17 Tracks counted down the top 100 songs of the decade. Basically, its a way for record companies to monetize the vast Internet frontier that is YouTube. The bad thing is you might get commercials prior to watching the video, but just keep watching because it will show up. The good thing is now bloggers everywhere can embed high quality music videos put out by the record labels without them being blocked or getting yanked hours later. I support Vevo.

And with that, I humbly present to you for your consideration, the 17 Tracks Top 25 Songs of 2009. Enjoy.

1. Lady Gaga - "Poker Face"

When Lady Gaga made her debut last year, she seemed destined for indie electro-pop greatness. She would be hailed as the savior of pop on such sites as Popjustice, mentioned on Pitchfork every once in a while, and would develop a cult following among music fans who are obsessed with obscure Scandinavian pop stars. Boy, was I wrong.

Although Lady Gaga ended 2008 as an underground artist, 2009 saw her rocket to a world famous superstar. "Just Dance" became a No. 1 hit in January, but any notion that the singer would be a flash in the pan ended when "Poker Face" followed its predecessor into the penthouse in April.

While "Just Dance" was an amazing pop single (and 17 Track's No. 7 song of 2008), "Poker Face" has quickly become Gaga's signature song. Its grinding synth as suggestive lyrics that use poker as a metaphor for bisexuality cemented her status as one of the 2000s definitive pop stars despite emerging in its final eighteen months.

2. Kasabian - "Underdog"

"Underdog" manages to combine post-punk sensibilities with electro-crunch and a slightly western folk swagger in "Underdog". The results are an anthemic and defiant opener to their horribly titled West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.

3. Girls Aloud - "The Loving Kind"

"The Loving Kind" is Girls Aloud's twentieth and final (so far) top ten single, and one of the best songs they've recorded. A desperate plea for a final shot at love, the track has enough bounce to make it danceable, but enough sophistication to keep it classy.

4. Phoenix - "1901"

I can't hear Phoenix's "1901" without thinking of the Cadillac commercial it soundtracks. "All designed to reignite the soul," the announcer says about 2009 SRX, but it can also be said about the song that features synth reminiscent on 1970s "high-tech" sound effects.

5. Cheryl Cole feat. Will.I.Am - "3 Words"

Former Girls Aloud singer takes a break from her award winning group to make music with Will.I.Am. Earlier this year, that didn't exactly sound like a recipe for success, but both Cheryl Cole and "the new Bob Dylan" proved us wrong with this haunting hypnotic masterpiece.

Cheryl Cole '3 Words' from Tom Lindsay on Vimeo.

6. MPHO - "Box N Locks"

"Box N Locks" was this year's "L.E.S. Artiste", a new wave tune by a female black singer that challenged the idea that she has to make a certain type of music singing, "Supposed to be this ghetto chick making all this urban music...bet you never knew that I could do this too."

7. Kanye West feat. Kid Cudi - "Welcome To Heartbreak"

Kanye West made Taylor Swift cry so he's keeping a low profile for a while. Chris Brown physically assaulted Rihanna and he's got a new album out. Doesn't make much sense, but it also doesn't take away from the greatness of "Welcome To Heartbreak", the thesis for 808s & Heartbreak.

8. Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys - "Empire State of Mind"

Jay-Z has never had a No. 1 single without the help of a leading lady, and even though Hova has lead credits on "Empire State of Mind", it wouldn't have become the smash hit that it is without Alicia Key's and her larger than life hook.

9. Bat For Lashes - "Daniel"

"Daniel" is the most instant track British-Pakistani singer Bat for Lashes has ever recorded. The mystic track channels Stevie Nicks with poetic lyrics about love, loss, and the fictional character Daniel who may or may not be the karate kid.

10. Beyonce - "Diva"

A diva is a female version of a hustler, and "Diva" is a female version of "A Milli", Lil Wayne's freestyle critic charming rap. Beyonce's foray into rapping comes as no surprise considering who her husband is. The track oozes swagger and attitude.

11. Kid Cudi - "Day 'N' Nite"

Kanye West protege Kid Cudi proved he deserved Ye's praise with his debut single. Both the laid back album version and the dancefloor pleasing Crookers remix are steller, telling the tale of "the lonely stoner" and his quest for happiness.

12. Lady Gaga - "Paparazzi"

Lady Gaga capitalized on her two No. 1 hits with "Paparazzi". The insistent beat and obsessive lyrics were set to a stunning music video that clocked in just under eight minutes and provided commentary on the fatal cost of fame. And then you have the blood drenched VMA performance. Lady Gaga was only beginning.

13. La Roux - "Bulletproof"
La Roux lead singer Eleanor Jackson has weird hair and an...interesting...voice. I originally compared it to an electric drill to the head. A few months later, her voice has grown on me, and its definitely not bad enough that you can't enjoy their marvelous "Bulletproof" for three minutes and thirty seconds.

14. Lily Allen - "The Fear"

As a self made Myspace celebrity, British singer Lily Allen has a few things to say about fame. "I want to be rich and I want lots of money, I don't care about clever, I don't care about funny," she sings. Drowning in irony and poking fun at the notion of 15 minutes of fame, the track won over critics' hearts and consumers' wallets in the UK.

Lily Allen - The Fear from Alex Gilbert on Vimeo.

15. Girls Aloud - "Untouchable"
Its a shame that Girls Aloud's 6:44 epic had to be edited for radio. Still, this icy neo-disco track finds the Girls waxing poetic over blissfully pulsing synth. "Without any meaning, we're just skin and bones, like beautiful robots dancing alone." Amen.

Untouchable - Girls Aloud from Mark Adcock on Vimeo.
16. Beyonce - "Halo"

Ryan Tedder has got a lot of flack this year, but can you write songs as good as "Halo", "Apologize", "Bleeding Love", or "Already Gone"? This single was the most beautiful song to pass from Beyonce's lips, especially juxtaposed with her fire breathing Sasha Fierce stuff she did.

17. Shakira feat. Lil Wayne - "Give It Up To Me"

It's a mystery how Shakira's She Wolf never took off with singles like "She Wolf", "Did It Again", and "Give It Up To Me". "Up" features the ubiquitous Lil Wayne and was produced by Timbaland. It should have been a homerun. What does the average American know about good music though anyways?

18. Annie - "Anthonio"

"This may come as a surprise, my baby has your eyes," says Annie to her one time lover over a sophisticated thumping beat. Despite being dropped by her record label, Annie has maintained near universal popularity and acclaim from major music sites and minor blogs alike, and with songs like "Anthonio", it's not hard to hear why.

19. Kasabian - "Fire"

"Fire" is an extremely overused word in the post-punk genre. How else do you show how edgy you are? I'm on fire, you're on fire, sex is on fire. Still, I'll give it to Kasabian for putting the word to good use in their propulsive yet twangy track.

20. Basement Jaxx - "Raindrops"

"Raindrops" made 17 Tracks Summer mix and was then called an Amazonian rainstorm from the future. There's no better way to describe this song which packs primitive beats, colossal synth, and electric guitar into one euphoric track.

21. Lady Gaga - "Bad Romance"

Lady Gaga turned her stage name into a primal chant that has become a catch phrase that you can become a fan of on Facebook, as well as made a music video with a dance that's the closest thing to becoming a cultural phenomenon since "Single Ladies". The dark and danceable beat of "Bad Romance" continued her streak of critic charming hit songs.

22. Rihanna feat. Young Jeezy - "Hard"
Rihanna proves she stronger than before in "Hard". The musical middle finger incorpirates lyrical elements from her recent hit with Jay-Z, "Run This Town", and is the darkest and...well hardest song she's ever recorded.

23. Beyonce - "Sweet Dreams"

Beyonce's first electro-song shares a title with one of the most famous electro-songs ever. That's always a gamble, but B pulls it off, singing about a love that's either, "a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare," that she doesn't want to wake up from.

24. Taylor Swift - "You Belong With Me"
Love rarley seems to work out the way you wish it would. You like someone who likes someone else who likes someone else, and no one's happy. That's why "You Belong With Me" works. That, and its perfect blend of Nashville and Kelly Clarkson which made it a radio smash.

25. Britney Spears - "Circus"
Although it became evident this year that Britney isn't into being a pop star like she used to, when the heavy breathing and guitars kick on in the pre-chorus of "Circus", it's impossible to not be excited. And has she ever had lyrics as thought provoking as, "There's only two types of people in the world: The ones that entertain and the ones that observe"?

Take a look back at: 17 Tracks presents the Top 25 Songs of 2008


Anonymous said...

Great list! I whole-heartedly agree with Lady Gaga being #1!

bcb said...

Great happy birthday list! Amazing year of blogging Hunter!

AmyHatesPeople!YesThatMeansYou;) said...

Lady gaga #1 right on-No Eminem :(-Great list anyway.

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