Top 10 Songs Part 1 – #10 to #8

2010 has almost come to an end, and that means… Top 2000 lists! Various radio stations in the Netherlands and Belgium (and other countries?) will traditionally broadcast the top 2000 songs ever (or a variation of it) during the last week of the year. I forgot to vote as usual, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking long and hard about my personal top 10. The top 6 or 7 usually isn’t much of a problem (although the exact order is another story), but the last 3 or 4 spots is a major headache. After a few hours of listening music extensively, I have settled on the following 10 songs, although I probably would have made a different list if I was writing this on a different day (in fact, I’m rearranging the list as I am writing this).

N.B. If you have a Spotify account, clicking on the title will take you directly to the song.

10 . Michael Jackson – Billie Jean

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure that any of Wacko Jacko’s individual songs warrants a mention on my personal top 10, but I don’t feel comfortable leaving him out. His oeuvre is just too impressive, and I have too much respect for his music, so this number 10 spot is more or less reserved for him as a form of tribute. And once I decided to include Jackson, can there really be another choice than Billie Jean? The singing, the instruments, and the synthesizers, the bass; they all just fit together perfectly. Even the “hee hee” and “ooh” sounds seem to be a more natural fit here than in his other songs. This is as slick as a song has any right to be (Just remember to always think twice… Do think twice!), but it manages to stay far away from being cheesy. Unfortunately the lyrics don’t resonate with me — it’s not every day that someone accuses me of being their lover after all.

9. Usher – Nice and Slow

This is the only modern R&B song on the list, which is a mild surprise as I used to be a huge, huge R&B fan, but I have slowly gravitated away from this genre throughout the years. But I still retain plenty of fond memories from artists like Blackstreet, Keith Sweat or Christión, but Usher remains my favourite. Strangely enough, I hardly took any notice of this song when it was first released in 1997. It wasn’t until the album 8701 came out in 2001 that I became a fan of Usher, and I still remember being completely blown away by it (and again by Confessions in 2004).

But why Nice and Slow instead of for example U Remind Me or U Got it Bad? Well, it’s kind of hard to explain, but for me Nice and Slow is the embodiment of the perfect R&B song. Did I say that Billie Jean was a slick piece of music? Well, it has got nothing at all on Nice and Slow. From the lyrics to the vocals to the mellow synthesizer sounds to the guitar (listen for it in the background as well); nothing is overly complicated and everything fits perfectly within the mood. The end result sounds like something you can easily dream away upon, and yet at the same time it is a really fun song to sing along with. It helps that the vocals are relatively easy, so that you can actually feel like a good singer 😛

8. Bon Jovi – Always

This remains perhaps my favourite song ever to sing aloud when I’m alone. It helps that I was about 15 when this song came out, so there is also a bit youth sentiment involved as well.

The song starts quite slowly and melancholy (This Romeo is bleeding, but you can’t see his blood), but you can just feel that the song is working towards a more emotional and powerful mood. This tension is released the first time he sings the refrain, but only somewhat. It is still a little bit restrained, as if he is just holding back a tiny little bit.

The second couplet then starts more slowly again. But whereas the first couplet remains melancholy and unspecific throughout as a sort of introduction, the second couplet contains a much more powerful core and goes much more directly to the feelings and desires, and well, I am a sucker for feelings and emotions after all. And the following has to be my absolutely favourite line of the entire song. Has to be. As it basically sums up my exact feelings when it comes to love:

When he holds you close

When he pulls you near

When he says the words you’ve been meaning to hear

I wish I was him and these words were mine (!)

To say to you till the end of time

This is a line I can belt out over and over again without ever getting bored, especially with the transition to the second refrain… And I will love you, baby… aaaalways! Ah, great stuff. For me personally, I don’t need to hear the rest of the song anymore. Ok, ok, I admit it all comes across as a little cheesy and it comes with an even cheesier video clip (well, at least the girl is cute). And I will forever be annoyed by the fact that the guy cheats on his girlfriend in the clip exactly during my favourite line. Grrr…

Well that’s it for now. Be sure to check back soon for the top 7 songs!

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