Are you tired of all the year end lists yet? Well, here at Popdose, we love our lists — and it seems our readers do, too. But one list that was begging for a Mix Six was our Top 20 Albums of 2010 that ran last week. Punning Pundit of Indignant Desert Birds — who’s one of our faithful readers — lamented that we didn’t include any music samples in our Top 20. So in order to rectify that omission, I thought I would put together a little sampler from said list. Now because I’m constrained by the whole “Mix Six” format of this feature, you’re only going to get six songs that I thought really mixed well. So, with a lot of help from my Popdose colleagues, here we go with a sampler culled from the Top 20 Albums of 2010!
“Stars 4-Ever,” Robyn (Download)
Kelly Stitzel was, um, all ga-ga over Robyn’s Body Talk album — which was released in three EPs. Robyn’s mastery of dance floor pop had Kelly thinking that the Swedish native has already yanked the Queen of Pop crown off of Madonna’s head. Considering the weak output of Madonna these days, stealing her crown might not be all that difficult, but this collection of songs by Robyn will make it tough for Madonna to steal it back.
“Lavaux,” Prince (Download)
In the Popdose virtual office, there’s been a lot of arm wrestling over who the biggest Prince fan is. And while the battle to wear the purple cloak of fandom is seemingly ongoing, Dave Steed currently dons the cape after winning this year’s championship, and then cleansing himself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. In his review of 20-Ten, he couldn’t understand the lukewarm reception this album received by the music press. And while he’s not an “Everything Prince touches is gold” kind of guy, he was convinced that this was by far the best album he’s produced in many years.
“Dark Fantasy, Kanye West (Download)
Mike Heyliger encourages us to get beyond Kanye’s ego and his crybaby antics and focus on the music. On My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, West demonstrates why he is just that good, and track after track will pull you into his twisted world where the sacred and the profane stand side by side in a compelling ballet of the human condition.
“Blazin,” Nicki Minaj (Download)
In my review of Pink Friday, I said for all the swagger and bombast hip-hop artists are known for, Minaj channels something close to the blues in tone rather than style. This isn’t evident on every track on the album, but she certainly does an impressive job weaving her wounded soul into rhymes that runs the gamut from fierce to fragile.
“Dear God 2.0,” the Roots (Download)
Michael Parr, Kelly Stitzel, and Mike Heyliger were unanimous in praising the Roots’ latest album, How I Got Over. Kellly was bowled over by the band’s sophistication, Mike (Heyliger) says they are “the torchbearers for musicianship, intelligence and maturity in hip-hop,”and Michael (Parr), said the album “is possibly the group’s most consistent work yet; not a second is wasted, giving the record a real sense of urgency.”
“I’m Not the One,” the Black Keys (Download)
Some albums just grab you by the collar and demand to be listened to. With the Black Keys’ Brothers, Rob Smith says that many of the lyrics “will kick you in the groin,” but you’ll be begging for more. After listening to this album, you’ll be saying: “Thank you sir, may I have another!”
And before I sign off, you’ve undoubtedly heard that Teena Marie left this veil of tears on December 26th. I first found out about her death from Mike Heyligner’s Twitter feed –and this is well before any major news outlets posted the story. I can’t say that I was a big fan of her music, but like many pop music fans, I was captured by her 1984 song, “Lovergirl.” I was just starting out in radio at the time, and the song was all over the place — mostly because MTV gave the video a huge push. But because I was a young and naive kid at the time, I thought Teena was a new artist (which happens when you’re young and naive). It wasn’t until one of the “older” DJs at the station told me Teena had been recording since the late ’70s, that I went to the record store to find her earlier albums and learned about her tumultuous connection to Rick James — that was back in the day when some record store clerks had encyclopedic knowledge of bands and singers.
Since “Lovergirl” was the first Teena Marie song I ever heard, I wanted to feature it in the spotlight dance on this week’s Mix Six…
“Lovergirl,” Teena Marie (Download)