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  WINDY CITY TIMES

2009 rewind
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2009-12-30

This article shared 3957 times since Wed Dec 30, 2009
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This year saw Michael Jackson's premature death resurrect album sales, an overdue comeback from Whitney Houston, the crossover of Lady Gaga and The Black Eyed Peas holding the pole position for 26 straight weeks with the unavoidable "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling." But what do the pop charts know anyway?

Shakespears Sister's Songs from the Red Room is the year's best album. Siobhan Fahey's work under the Shakespears Sister moniker is a far cry from her giddy dance-pop days with Bananarama. The long-awaited release blends the catchy rock and electro influences of Blondie, Siouxsie & The Banshees and Love and Rockets. "Cold" could easily appear on any Twilight soundtrack. The exclusive download "Someone Else's Girl" has the innocent '60s girl group feel with guitars and tambourines. Whereas the electrifying "It's a Trip" and "You're Not Yourself" make for a welcomed return.

Out singer-songwriter Linq prescribes a healthy dose of reassurance on the song of the year, "Life Goes On." On the reprise, Linq repeats "life goes on" in a gorgeous harmony, so hopefully the message will sink into the listeners' heads, especially those constant pessimists and drama queens.

No video was better than The Gossip's "Heavy Cross." Here, lead singer Beth Ditto gets dolled up, celebrating all body types. Culture Club back-up vocalist Helen Terry gets a shout out with Ditto's stylish asymmetrical bob.

As far as the sexiest popstar, it would have to be Guy B. The fit California-based singer looks great in his latest video "Co-Exist." Expect his new album to drop in 2010.

For the best music-related TV show, I was initially going to hand this recognition over to TVOne's Unsung for spotlighting overlooked artists of yesteryear. But then I got hooked on Glee. It is entertaining watching straight guys count to four as they dance. On this prime-time hit, the Benetton-ad-worthy choir performs fantastic musical numbers. It does not hurt that lesbian comedian Jane Lynch is in Glee's outstanding ensemble. Two cast recordings from Glee are now available.

Telling on Trixie's cover of Belinda Carlisle's "Mad about You" is unparallel to the other remakes out there. Openly gay frontman Derek Nicoletto beams as he belts out the big chorus on this rocking rendition. Good luck trying not to sing along. "Mad about You" is on Telling on Trixie's sophomore outing Ugly, Broke & Sober.

In regards to debuts, The Joans' We Are the Joans takes top honors. The set is clever, catchy and oh-so-queer with its homage to Joan Crawford. New Wave-influenced goodies "Mad at the Dirt, " "Joan World" and "Cool" prove this fun Chicago outfit is no one trick pony.

My favorite EP is Definition of Forever by The Balloons. This self-described homo-goth band shows a promising start with Love & Rockets and Orgy inspired material like "Pass the Lines" and "Injection" on this five track digital E.P.

I was worried how Moby's deeply intimate effort Wait for Me would translate onto the stage. During his concert, the two phenomenal female vocalists took liberty on new numbers like "Walk with Me" and "JLTF," as well as prior hits "Honey" and "Porcelain." The set was well-rounded with thumping favorites "Go" and "Feeling So Real," making Moby's recent tour the show of the year.

It has been a decade since I heard a tribute album as cohesive as New Tales to Tell: A Tribute to Love and Rockets. Lossy Coils with Ian Moore's take on "Sweet F.A." fits in among alternative acts like The Flaming Lips redoing "Kundalini Express" and The Dandy Warhols tackling "Inside the Outside."

I am torn awarding the best club song and best collaboration. "When Love Takes Over" by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland was a massive summer hit. Rowland bravely stepped onto the dance floor to open arms. Then there was "Heartbreak Make Me a Dancer" by Freemasons and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. Here, the "Murder on the Dancefloor" singer seduces listeners with her signature raspy voice once again.

The uplifting Magical Dub of "More Than a Dream" from the limited edition of the Pet Shop Boys' Yes remains on repeat. The pair is known for having superbly witty lyrics, but this dub summons a carefree spirit that makes it the best remix of 2009.

The ultimate reissue is Sinead O'Connor's I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. Here, her chart-topping smash "Nothing Compares 2U" is remastered and the bonus disc contains B-sides, remixes, live tracks and a cover of John Lennon's "Mind Games."

The enough already award can be shared between Jennifer Lopez, Black Eyes Peas, Kanye West, The Pussycat Dolls, Britney Spears and Mariah Carey. Their desperate need for media attention and their dumbed-down, disappointing, uninspired music have become too much. Let me know when the backlash begins.

P!nk's "Please Don't Leave Me" and Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck without You" are the worst videos of the year. These clips fail at adding humor to doomed, dysfunctional relationships.

Kylie Minogue rightfully proved she is a diva above all others during her first North American tour. While in Chicago, Minogue heard the fans' chants and sang "Your Disco Needs You" a cappella as her bassist was sorting out a technical difficulty. The pint-sized pop princess hit the high notes and sang the bridge in French. The breast-cancer survivor also welcomed a fan on stage for a hug and photo. Britney, Madonna and Beyonce, take note.

The year's best superstar, Lady Gaga, delivered hit after hit. After her pop crossover finally came, the "Paparazzi" singer never forgot her loyal gay fan base. Whether it was at award ceremonies, in interviews, during an HRC benefit or even at The March on Washington, Lady Gaga remains vocal about her support to the LGBT community. At the MTV Europe Awards, the blonde New Yorker reminded fans to wear a condom. It is rare to see many other celebrities—no matter what list they are on—speak out like Lady Gaga does.


This article shared 3957 times since Wed Dec 30, 2009
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