Kofi's hat

Kofi's hat

MP3s, music news and reviews, and a sprinkling of pop culture. Named by Aqualung's Matt Hales, after his son.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ink in my blood, a song in my heart. Metaphor is my middle name.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Allegedly Best Lyrics Of This Generation

Recently, USA Weekend and Billboard jointly conducted a poll -- yes, it took both of them to conduct one this special. They asked Billboard.com visitors to answer a question most people likely ponder every day: "What are the best song lyrics of the past 13 years?"

Billboard's Executive Editor found it "no surprise" that the song that came out on top, with 33% of the votes, was "We Belong Together", written and sung by the melismatic Mariah Carey. Billboard staffers might have a good handle on the lyrical tastes of Billboard.com poll respondents, but it's a pity those tastes lean toward the insipid.

A sample from the winning lyrics:

When you left I lost a part of me
It's still so hard to believe
Come back baby please cause
We belong together
- "We Belong Together"

Really, 33% of the "more than 5,000 music fans" who voted in this poll? You think that's - not your favorite song - but the one with the best lyrics of the past 13 years?

The earworm factor alone could account for Santana/Rob Thomas collaboration "Smooth" and Alicia Keys ' "Fallin'" snagging the spots right below "We Belong Together".

Not that the lyrics from each of these songs aren't very clever indeed:

You got the kind of lovin' that can be so smooth
Give me your heart, make it real,
Or else forget about it
- "Smooth"

I keep on fallin'
In and out of love with you
- "Fallin'"

(It might be because he writes songs that remind her of smooth peanut butter and she prefers chunky.)

Outkast's fun, hook-laden "Hey Ya", fifth on the list, is a better choice, as is Everything But The Girl's pretty, sad ode to lost love, "Missing" (eighth).

Some of the songs on the list are pretty well-written. Others, less so, particularly in comparison to more deserving tunes. It might be difficult to think back on 13 years of music without fairly recent, pretty popular songs lodging themselves in your head and refusing to make room for memories of older, better-written songs.

Poor "Tubthumping" deserves better, but you ain't never gonna keep it down.

The Top Ten:

1. Mariah Carey - "We Belong Together" (2005)

2. Santana featuring Rob Thomas - "Smooth" (1999)

3. Alicia Keys - "Fallin'" (2001)

4. Eminem - "Lose Yourself" (2002)

5. Outkast - "Hey Ya!" (2003)

6. Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories - "Stay" (1994)

7. Coolio - "Gangsta's Paradise" (1995)

8. Everything But The Girl - Missing (available on Amplified Heart) (1994)

9. TLC - "No Scrubs" (1999)

10. Mary J. Blige - "Family Affair" (2001)


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