Here’s hoping you haven’t gotten completely burned out on countdowns yet. 2009 was hardly a favorite musical year for many of us, but amid each year’s glut of throwaway items, there’s always a good’un or two (or forty). The following is the first installment of our Best Singles of 2009 list, which will conclude tomorrow morning. Best Albums will follow next week.
As with the Singles of the Decade feature, this countdown has been compiled through combination of four equally weighed Top 20 lists by Kevin, Leeann, Tara and myself. An inverted point system was applied to the individual rankings (#1 on a list meant 20 points, while #20 on the list meant 1 point). The songs were then ranked together by number of total points, greatest to least. The final result is another rather stylistically diverse set.
As always, we hope you enjoy the countdown, and welcome all the feedback you can muster. Happy New Year!
Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
The trio puts a country spin on an old school pop sound, but without forsaking raw emotion. The highlight of the song is Hillary Scott’s smoky performance, which draws out all the anguish and regret you’d expect from a desperate, 1 AM lover’s call. – Tara Seetharam
I can only assume that this song is titled “Moo La Moo” to avoid being confused with the old Billy Hill hit “Too Much Month at the End of the Money.” It’s a shame that choice was made, since “Too Much Month…” is the hook of the song and an eye-catching title to boot.
It would be even more of a shame for this song to be overlooked. Easily the strongest release of Azar’s career, it perfectly captures an experience that countless Americans can relate to: living paycheck to paycheck.
That it manages to do so with dark humor instead of somber commentary is refreshing. It’s a lot closer in spirit to “9 to 5” and “Busted” than it is to “If We Make it Through December.”
He sings, “I don’t know why I’m laughing ’cause it sure ain’t funny,” but it’s hard not to crack a smile at the lyrical wordplay throughout the song. “My checks ain’t bouncing but they sure is shaking. I ain’t broke yet but I sure am breaking. My BLT’s just waitin’ on the bacon.”
Steve Azar Indianola Almost twenty years after he first started touring in the Southeast, Azar signed his first major label record deal with Mercury in 2001. The resulting album Waitin’ on Joe, included a top five single “I Don’t Have to Be Me (‘Til Monday)” and the title track, best known for its corresponding video clip featuring Academy Award-winning film star Morgan Freeman. But Azar’s brand of delta blues failed to bust through radio’s brick wall. Instead of enduring an endless cycle of false starts, he exited the major label system. Released on his own Dang Records, Indianola (named for the Mississippi birthplace of B.B. King) is a tribute to his down-home roots and a symbol of his vast store of experience. He’s pushed most of the right buttons on an album that teems with the gritty reality that stems from a life fully lived. By engineering and producing the set, Read More
Life as a singer-songwriter has run the gamut from major-league success to disappointing failure for Steve Azar. Azar first signed a record deal in 1995, and his most notable single “I Don’t Have To Be Me (‘Til Monday)” earned Top Five status in 2002. The artist has endured long stretches of relative inactivity on the record shelves and on the radio. After leaving Mercury Records in 2005, he struggled in his pursuit of another recording contract, but returned this year with Indianola, an album on his own record label, Dang! Records. His latest single is “You’re My Life”, an ode to undying love and devotion. The song, co-written by Steve and Radney Foster, owns an acoustic country-rock arrangement. Buoyed by a sweet organ sound and the bluesy quality of Azar’s voice, “You’re My Life” is a cut above the rest of country music’s love songs. Is the song revolutionary? No. But Read More