Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ten Great Songs From One Great Year


While most people looked at 2000 as the beginning of a new millennium, the next year (2001) actually has this designation. However, this did not stop the enormous celebration and festivities that occurred at it's onset. Soon after the parties died down, the new decade introduced the marriage of giants AOL and Time-Warner, the largest corporate merger in history. Also in tech news, software leader Microsoft was sued by the US government for violating anti-trust laws. In January, the Dow Jones Industrial Average peaked at 11,722.9. This became the peak of the bubble.

In an April predawn raid, federal agents seize 6-year old Elián González from his relatives' home in Miami, Florida and flew him to his Cuban father in Washington, DC, ending one of the most publicized custody battles in U.S. history. Politically, the year brought in the elections of Vladamir Putin in Russia, Vicente Fox in Mexico and of course, George W. Bush in the United States.

In the Middle East, "Palestinians" use Ariel Sharon's Temple Mount visit as a pretext to rioting in Jerusalem. This came just a few short months after Israel completely withdrew her troops from Lebanon. Two weeks later, members of Al-Qaeda, a militant Islamic organization, headed by Osama Bin-Laden, badly damaged the USS Cole in a suicide bombing mission. the terrorist act killed 17 crew members and wounded at least 39.

Lastly, this was the year Charles Schultz died and Dora the Explorer was born.

Kyptonite -- 3 Doors Down

Commonly thought to contain a shout out to the movie Superman ("Kryptonite" is the substance that rendered Superman powerless - it could only be found on his home planet of Krypton), and to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Brad Arnold says this song has neither. He explains how it all came together: "That line is just like a happenstance line. That song is so little about Superman. It's just really about that question. That's just something that everybody can identify with." He says that it was either Part I or II of the Superman movies that had Superman fighting an enemy in space, where they floated around to the dark side of the moon. He says, however, that he wrote this song before the movie came out. "And I was like, 'What?!' he laughs. "And it was after I wrote that song. That was weird."

Smooth -- Santana ft. Rob Thomas

Clive Davis is a legendary record executive who was the mastermind behind this album. Santana had not had a hit since "Hold On" in 1982, so Davis teamed him up with contemporary musicians like Wyclef Jean, Everlast and Lauryn Hill to make sure the younger generation took notice. The result was a wildly successful album that went over well with Santana's old fans and created a legion of new ones. This was the first single, and it spent 12 weeks at #1 in the US.

Oops!...I Did It Again -- Britney Spears

Written by Max Martin, a Swedish producer who wrote Britney's first hit, "Baby One More Time." The songs sound very similar. Spears took on a racier image when she released this as the video played up her sexuality, and the line "I'm not that innocent" made people question her claim that she was a virgin. The first single from her second album, this CD has sold over 9 million copies in the US. Her first album sold 13 million. A record 155 radio stations added this to their playlists the first week it was released. This reflects the hype surrounding the single.

Stan -- Eminem ft. Dido

This tells the story of a fan obsessed with Eminem. When his letters are not answered, he puts his pregnant girlfriend in his trunk and drives off a bridge. The song ends with Eminem answering his letter and realizing Stan was the man in the news who drove off the bridge.
Eminem performed this at the 2001 Grammys with Elton John playing piano and singing the Dido part. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) protested the performance, claiming Eminem promoted hatred. The part of this song that was deemed anti-gay was the line where Stan writes, "We could have been together" and Eminem replies, "That's the kind of thing that makes me think we shouldn't meet each other." Elton John didn't have a problem with it.

Absolutely (Story Of A Girl) -- Nine Days

With bands like Vertical Horizon and Lifehouse all over the airwaves, Nine Days was a welcome addition to playlists with "Absolutely (Story of a Girl)." The song was written by their lead singer John Hampson, and the girl who "Cried a river and drown the whole world" was his girlfriend, Teresa Savino, who later became his wife. The song was a huge success, but Nine Days was not able to follow it up; Epic Records dropped the band and wouldn't release their second album because they didn't hear a hit. Hampson became a high school English teacher. It wasn't until 2007 before they had finally released a followup EP Slow Motion Life (Part One), with 6 new songs.

Breathless -- The Coors

The Corrs are a family group formed in Dundalk, Ireland in 1990 by Andrea (lead vocals), Sharon (violin), Caroline (drums) and Jim Corr (guitar/keyboards). They blend the music of their Irish background with contemporary Pop/Rock. Their popularity was restricted to Ireland until 1994, when the American ambassador to the country invited The Corrs to perform at the 1994 World Cup in Boston. This led to a support slot on Celine Dion's 1996 tour, which the group joined just after an appearance at that year's Olympic Games in Atlanta. Their album Talk On Corners became the biggest-selling Irish album in the UK and was the top selling album in 1998 in Britain.

Californication -- Red Hot Chili Peppers

A song about the deterioration of society, this reflects how the world is becoming very superficial and plastic, much like California. Amazingly it appeared that writers for the Showtime comedy drama Californication did not negotiate with the Red Hot Chili Peppers before borrowing this song's title for their show. Consequently the rock group filed a lawsuit against Showtime on November 19, 2007 seeking damages and restitution and asking the court to issue a permanent injunction barring further use of the title. In addition, one of the characters in the program played by Rachel Miner was given the nickname Dani California, the title of a 2006 Chili Peppers song, and one episode featured a character describing California as "the edge of the world and all of western civilization," a line from "Californication."

Sailin' to Philadelphia -- Marc Knopfler with James Taylor

The title track of Knopfler's second solo release is drawn from Thomas Pynchon's novel about Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, the two English surveyors who established the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland, Delaware and Virginia in the 1760s. The border later became known as the Mason-Dixon Line and has been used since the 1820s to denote the border between the Southern United States and the Northern United States. The album contains featured vocal appearances by James Taylor, Van Morrison, and Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford. AMERICA recorded this song on their most recent release My Back Pages (2011).

She's So High -– Tal Bachman

Bachman is the son of Canadian rocker Randy Bachman, who is famous for his work in The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. This is Tal's first single - his sound is much more mellow and mainstream than his father's. In 2003, Kurt Nilsen's cover version became Norway's best selling single ever. Nilsen is the answer to a great trivia question: who won the only "World Idol" competition? He won the one-off show in 2004 competing for Norway against the Idol winners from other countries, including Kelly Clarkson, who came in second.

There She Goes -– Sixpence None the Richer

This was originally recorded by the The La's, a promising band from England who developed a cult following in America. They released it as a single in 1988, but it didn't chart. In 1990, when The La's finally released their first album, they re-released this as a single - this time it charted at #13 in the UK and #49 in the US. Critics loved the album, but the La's disappeared soon after it was released. Sixpence None The Richer's version became a hit when it was used in the movie Snow Day. Many people believe the song is about shooting up heroin, with "she" being the drug.


Thong Song -- SisqO

Seven years after "Baby Got Back" and "Rump Shaker," the world was ready for another Booty song; something that can play in the clubs and unapologetically celebrate women who show off their fine posteriors, in this case by wearing a thong.Sisqó (real name: Mark Andrews) was a member of the '90s R&B group Dru Hill, known more for their smooth sounds than their club beats. Working with the songwriting/production duo The Funktwons (Tim Kelley and Bob Robinson), Sisqó created this jam that combined his soulful vocals and distinctive look with a pumping beat. With lots of airplay on MTV, the song picked up speed as the network promoted it on their spring break coverage, and it remained popular through the summer of 2000. Sisqó was on the A-list for a few months, showing up in a Pepsi commercial and parties at the Playboy mansion. His follow-up single "Incomplete" charted at #25, but he faded fast, releasing another solo album that tanked in 2001 and falling into obscurity and depression. In 2003, he faced gun charges for shooting at a car, but he emerged a few years later as a reality TV star, showing up on Gone Country and the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother.

Disclaimer: Some of the "facts" listed are from or Wikipedia.

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