Monday, December 30, 2013

p²'s 2013 Over-Played Playlist -- Part One

By over-played I don't mean over-played on the radio (although that may be true also). These are the songs I played over and over this year, so if you have spent time in the car with me you might think they are over-played.

Usually, I've got 20-25 songs on the list and I can knock it out in two blog posts. For a couple of reasons, the list is particularly bloated this year:
  1. New boyfriend – playing the same ten songs for six months will incur his wrath
  2. SMASH – Katharine McPhee and (for a few episodes) Jennifer Hudson are good for a half-dozen songs
  3. In school with people half my age – overheard people talking about songs and artists I never heard of

So, in order to make the list manageable, I'm pulling out songs sung by artists who got their start on singing competition shows like American Idol and X Factor (both here and in Britain). While I would argue that Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and One Direction have created careers far beyond those humble beginnings, I decided to include them in this list for the sake of consistency.

15. I Got Love (Jennifer Hudson) – The three episodes of Smash that had Jennifer Hudson in them were the best of the season for me. I downloaded the full version of this song, but I'm including the scene from the show in the post because it's just fun to watch her sing. I got love, love, love for J-Hud.

14. See You Again (Carrie Underwood) – She's beautiful. She's got a beautiful voice. I can't prove this one, but she seems to have a beautiful attitude. One glaring weakness – she can't play a war-time singing nun nanny well enough to please the sophisticated tastes of social media users. At least not live on television.

13. Gone, Gone, Gone (Phillip Phillips) – Sometimes, since I don't listen to the radio very often, I have no idea whether a song I like is popular or not. Often, I think I found a hidden gem only to find out it's been in the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 for a few months. It was the opposite with this song. I was under the impression that this was a really big hit (it peaked at number 24). Oh well, I liked it enough to include it on the list.

12. Laying Me Low (David Cook) – I keep trying to make David Cook a thing. I'm pretty sure he's never going to be a thing. But as long as he keeps trying, so will I. There is an “official lyric video” for this song, which I imagine means they wanted to put the song on Youtube and Vevo, but didn't want to spend money making a video.

11. Good for You (Katharine McPhee) – The first of three Kat McPhee songs on the list. She allegedly has an album coming out in March 2014. Just like everything else connected to SMASH, it's pretty much a mess. Originally, they were going to record it in between seasons one and two so it could be released during season two. Apparently, that schedule was too hectic. Not that it mattered, because no one other than me and my boyfriend were watching SMASH anyway so there was no momentum to cash in on. Then it was supposed to be released in the fall. It seems she was too busy having an affair with the married director of the show to have it done in time for that either. I'm still holding out hope that there will be an album. Until then, I'm consoling myself with her songs from the show.

10. 3000 Miles (Emblem3) – I really thought these guys would win X Factor last year, but I lost interest in the whole season after the second or third live show so I don't really know how they ended up fourth. The song from their debut album that made the Billboard Hot 100 isn't on my list, but this is the first of two songs from it that did. It's the second single.

9. Kiss You (One Direction) – Best Song Ever wasn't. This is way more up my alley. I have to confess that I don't totally get the point of the boy band. I mean, I understand that teenage girls go crazy over them. But why are there almost always five of them? Rarely does more than one of them go on to any real solo success. I can only name three of The Jackson Five, maybe two Osmonds, one Backstreet Boy. On the upside, I guess they are creating jobs for guys who otherwise would be home smoking pot in their bedrooms.

8. Original (Katharine McPhee) – I seriously don't remember seeing her perform this song on the show, but I really love it. It's just what I want in a pop song and a pizza – extra cheesy.

7. I Can't Describe (Jennifer Hudson) – J-Hud has had virtually no success in terms of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. With the exception of her first single, she's never even cracked the top 50. This song hasn't even charted (yet). The fact that there isn't a video for it doesn't bode well. She's got a new album coming out in the next few months. Maybe this will be the one that finally makes her a pop star.

6. Tie it Up (Kelly Clarkson) – Kelly continues to be on the same page with me, emotionally. When I was wandering around NYC all tweaked out listening to Beautiful Disaster and Addicted. She released Sober in July 2007, just in time for me to be wandering around NYC listening to it in my first 90 days clean. This year, she went and fell in love. She really needs to hire me as her social media manager so we can hang out.

5. Spaghetti (Embem3) – The version I've posted isn't my favorite (I like the album version better), but given the choice between seeing them and not, I'll always choose seeing them. The thing I love about this song is that it's EXACTLY the kind of song I expected from them based on their performances on X Factor. And not that this should matter, but they are way cuter than One Direction.

4. Caught in the Storm (Katharine McPhee) – Of all the songs Kat sang during season two, this is the one I thought could have been a decent single. Unfortunately, the SMASH producers never seemed to lift a finger to promote any of the music from the show

3. Blown Away (Carrie Underwood) – I tried to like this song when I heard it in 2012, but I just couldn't stand it. Really. Couldn't. Stand. It. Then she performed it on American Idol early this year and I fell in love with it. As much as I didn't like it before, I liked it ten times that much after. It's probably my favorite Carrie song ever now. Every time I hear it I think that they remade The Wizard of Oz, this could be its Over the Rainbow. Of course, then The New York Times (and everyone on Twitter) could claim that “Judy Garland most likely became a drug addict because she foresaw Miss Underwood's leaden portrayal of Dorothy in a dream.” It's a shame Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton owned country music this year, because I really hoped Carrie might get an award for this song or the entire album.

2. I Can't Let Go (Jennifer Hudson) – I can't figure out for the life of me why this wasn't released as a single. Just like with the song Touch Me from the first season, I don't know why they brought someone so talented on the show (in that case Ryan Tedder) and then made no attempt to capitalize on it other than for one scene of television show that was being watched by about a dozen people.

1. Miss Movin' On (Fifth Harmony) – I scoffed when Simon Cowell put these five girls together as a group on X Factor last year. Of course, I had completely forgotten that he put five random guys together on the British version of the show two years before that and the “One Direction” they went was straight to the top of the charts (that is quite possibly the worst pun I've ever written – so bad that I think I'll leave it). The girls finished third (just like the boys did), beating out Emblem 3 along the way. This song not only sounds like a Katy Perry song (and I love songs and groups that sound like something I've already heard), but the title sounds like Kelly's first single after Idol – Miss Independent. It's one of those songs that I have to listen to twice every time it comes up in the rotation. I get to the end and hit repeat (at least once).

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