We, the Entertainment editors, have decided to start a new feature, the Finite Playlist. This is where we’ll regale you about the songs that are getting continuous play in our iTunes for the week.
N: Lady Gaga continues to leave me scratching my head and wanting more with her new single “Bad Romance.” The song is incredibly catchy, and I think it’s her best yet, but what’s really addictive is the music video, which is as glamorous as it is confusing. Gaga is kidnapped and drugged by jealous models that sell her off to the Russian mob. The plot is insignificant because the video is such a thrill to watch. Sealed in white latex, she crawls out of what seems like a futuristic coffin and spastically flails about like some sort of alien fashionista. She works her way through at least 5 different outfits, from skimpy lingerie and six-inch heels to plastic breastplates, bear-skin robes, and costumes bedecked from head to toe in jewels. The video is ridiculously futuristic, and gives Gaga a chance to show off her many, umm, assets…
R: You know, Eve’s “Tambourine” is another addictive music video. Even though this song came out two years ago, I usually end up lingering over the video whenever I set out Youtubin’. Bright colors abound — Eve chills out in a room made of hot pink satin; kicks up her legs, wrapped in neon blue lamé leggings, as she calls her man; dances in a nondescript rainbow mist. And, of course, the song itself is immensely catchy. Swizz Beatz calls out “get your tambourine goin!” and alarms sound as tambourines dutifully hit out a beat. I don’t think this single will ever get old.
N: Those are examples of great songs with equally great music videos. “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” by Culture Club, is not like those songs. I’ve been listening to this classic 80s jam repeatedly for the past two weeks, and can’t get enough of the song’s afro-Caribbean undertones and catchiness. Unfortunately, the video is pretty terrible; Boy George aimlessly sashays around 1950’s health clubs and dinner parties, making everyone feel sufficiently awkward. Even after being thrown in jail, probably for his atrocious baggy sweat-suit and dreadlocks, he does his funky little dance with his posse of Jamaican steel drummers and dashiki wearing dancers. Completely absurd, but the song is a classic.
R: Bad video? Great song? Look to Gladys Knight and the Pips, taking the “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Gladys is a powerhouse. Her soulful voice and radiant stage presence have earned her the well-deserved title of the Empress of Soul; of all her singles, “Midnight Train to Georgia” could easily be her crowning achievement. The version that I refer to here is a fantastic, now-legendary performance that she did in 1973 for “Burt Sugarman’s Midnight Special.” Once again, it is easy to find on Youtube, and well worth the viewing. Although Gladys is fabulous as always in the clip, the Pips make the performance, dancing with goofy coordination behind a giant picture frame. There are really no words for their happy countenances. In fact, the best reference to this show is a parody that Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., and Jack Black did, doing the exact dance routine on American Idol (in promotion for “Tropic Thunder”). Check out the real thing, then check out the dead-on mimicry of those class clowns.
N: “Miss You” by the Rolling Stones is another song I can’t get out of my head thats got some pretty sill dancing. It’s got a swaggering, disco-rock beat that I can’t help but groove to. And, watching Mick Jagger sing “Miss You” live reminds me why the Rolling Stones are infamous. Jagger, an icon of rock excess and sexuality, manages to still be one of the coolest front-men in the business as he prances, dances, and skips his way around stage. Even in this display of girlish frivolity, Jagger is seductive and irresistible, in the way that all rock stars are.
R: Speaking of old rockers doing new tricks, let’s look at George Harrison’s “Got My Mind Set On You.” This 1988 hit by the former Beatle should be heinous. It’s drenched in cheese, from the saxophone riffs, to the jaunty little bassline. Yet, despite — or perhaps because of — its bizarre production, this is one song that just won’t go away. It’s quite possibly the catchiest song, ever. Listen to it once, and it will haunt you for weeks. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
N: And speaking of catchy songs, I can’t help but mention the new David Guetta/Akon collaboration, “Sexy Bitch.” Akon serenades his special lady “without being disrespectful” by calling her a sexy bitch repeatedly, which makes me wonder what he would say if he wasn’t censoring himself. Cheesy lyrics aside, it’s a techno-pop hit that I can’t resist blasting whenever it comes on the radio. David Guetta is a master of the techno anthem, and Akon’s vocal stylings compliment the beat nicely. If you don’t mind listening to the questionable lyrics, you’ll be dancing to this song in no time.
R: Now how about something a little more respectful towards women, hmm? “Pristine Christine” is a track from 80s indie-pop sweethearts the Sea Urchins, who were signed in their time to my favorite label, UK’s Sarah Records. The singer croons about a girl that’s simply untouchable — bemoaning her distance much like Akon — yet instead of resorting to calling her a “sexy bitch/chick” (both of which are arguably demeaning), he asks her, gently, to come into his world. I’d take an extended wistful hand over an ass-slap anyday. (Well, most days).