My top 20 songs of 2008

Random J's top 20 songs of 2008With 2008 officially at a close, I thought I'd recap the year by sharing with you my favourite songs of yesteryear. This list is not in any form of order. It's simply a run down of songs that I adored and acted as the soundtrack to my 2008. Okay! On with the list...

20. Danity Kane - Strip tease
The now pretty much finished Danity Kane had mad potential, which was evident on their debut album - but showcased to better effect on their follow up album Welcome to the dollhouse: which offerred up the sass, catchy hooks and solid songs that The Pussycat dolls second album failed to. "Strip tease" was the one song that I went crazy for. The beat is insane and it cemented why Danja is THAT n***a. The melody switches between the verses, the beat boxing, the synth work - everything is just on point. Why P. Diddy didn't release this as a single, we'll never know. But then again, he was never the best label CEO. The song is bananas!One of the sexiest and sassiest songs of '08.
A review of the album this song features on: Welcome to the dollhouse album review

19. Madonna - Miles away
Hard candy was a patchy album, which saw Madonna jumping on a bandwagon and pimpin' a couple of n***a's and a w***a in the process. But the album did yield a couple of great songs. One of which was "Miles away". A stunner, with a beautiful backdrop of guitars, beat boxes and synthesizers. Even the usually stone cold and lifeless Madonna sounds quite warm and endearing on the song. Justin Timberlake's additional vocals are not to go un-noticed. I can't stand the guy, but he does the damn thing with the vocal arrangements. This song would not have been as hot without his input.
A review of the album this song features on: Hard candy review

18. Crystal Kay - It's a crime
When I first heard Crystal was working with Bloodshy & Avant I was skeptical we'd get a song that sounded like a reject from Britney Spears' Blackout. But I stunned to find she'd gotten a cracker of a song that blows anything Britney's done with Bloodshy & Avant out of the water. The auto-tuned vocals and synth pop angle has been worked to death over the past 2 years. But it's hard to hate on a song working the synth pop angle when it's done to perfection. "It's a crime" was a stand out song from Crystal's Color change! album and I'm pissed that her record label didn't release it worldwide via iTunes in a bid to get both the song and Crystal some US exposure. The song could've been a big hit in the West, but it's a missed oppurtunity now. A song I urge EVERYBODY to check out if they haven't already. I hope Crystal works with Bloodshy & Avant again for a future album.
A review of the album this song features on: Color change! review

17. Janet Jackson - Rock with U
The euro pop vibe, repeated verses and a chorus consisting of harmonized "Ooooh"'s made this a song that was club ready and also single ready. Unfortunately due to Janet getting shitted on at Def Jam and not seeming to care enough herself to push her album, this song came and went without much fanfare; even though it had the potential to be a worldwide smash and a staple in the gay clubs.

16. Hikaru Utada - Fight the blues
30 seconds into this song and I was sold! This song always lifts me out of any crappy mood I'm in. The chorus is crack, as is the beat: which knocks pretty nicely. I loved Hikaru Utada's Ultra blue album and this sounds like a song that easily could've fit on it - which is probably part of the reason I fell for it straight away. She recorded a short promo video for this and I was hoping we'd get a full length one, but nope.
A review of the album this song features on: Heart station review

15. Mariah Carey - I'll be loving u long time
One of the best songs on E=MC², and one for the list of the best songs Mariah's done. The song was primed to perfection. Hot beat: check! On point vocals: check! A catchy chorus: Check! Short 'n sweet: Check, check! It's just a shame that the single releases from E=MC² were such a mess and that Mariah's 'live' performances were such train wrecks that this song never really stood a chance. Still, a great song is a great song, and years from now this'll still sound hot.
A review of the album this song features on: E=MC² review

14. Madonna - Heartbeat
I was shocked to find Pharrell Williams produced this song because it was unlike anything he'd done before. He did a great job of channelling that old 80's Madonna sound and having Madonna not sound like some deadpan robot. Many have called out the song for Madonna's screetchy vocals on the chorus, but I kinda like 'em. It breaks up the monotony of her vocals. I absolutely love the beat on this song, and I cannot get enough of the chorus. It's a shame this wasn't released as her second single from Hard candy, and that her live rendition of this song on her Sticky & sweet tour lacked the punch and bounce of the album version.
A review of the album this song features on: Hard candy review

13. N.E.R.D - You know what
I always thought that The Neptunes sound would be good for Michael Jackson, but this song cemented it. "You know what" has a laid back groove that Michael Jackson would sound perfect on. But credit where it's due, N.E.R.D do a great job with this song themselves and own it completely. Pharrell's vocals aren't fantastic, but they work in the way they always do. Plus the lyrics are kinda cool, if a little stupid. One of the best songs on N.E.R.D's album Seeing sounds.

12. The Ting-Tings - That's not my name
My guilty pleasure. This song is so addictive it should be illegal. I remember the first time I hit a club and heard this song, I went ballistic! I was throwing elbows and kicking about the place and proper dancing like a crazy crack-head! This song splits people completely down the middle: they either find it incredibly annoying, or love it. Me? I love it - perhaps a little too much.

11. Beyoncé - Single ladies (Put a ring on it)
I hated this song the first time I heard it. Absolutely couldn't stand it. But once I saw the video, gave the song more of a chance and began to hear it more, I just couldn't deny what a hot song it was. I soon found my self in fits of "Woah, ho, hoa!! Whoa, ho, hoooa...hoooa, ho,-hoa. Woah, ho, hoooaa!!". I even know part of the dance. (Shit, who am I kidding...?) I could be a back up dancer for Beyoncé with the amount of the "Single ladies" dance I know! The song stank of "Get me bodied", but it was so damn catchy and hot that you let it off the hook.
A review of the album this song features on: I am... Sasha Fierce review

10. Usher - Trading places
"Trading places" was my jam from day one. It actually took me a while to give the rest of Usher's Here I stand album a chance, because I was just overly sprung on this song. I loved the old skool Prince vibe the beat had and also the cool 'n quirky lyrics. I loved the whole concept of completely switching roles and the guy being the one who gets taken out, scooped up and ends up being submissive during all the shenanigans in the bedroom. One of Usher's better slow jams for sure.
A review of the album this song features on: Here I stand review

9. Ciara - Work
When this song first leaked I thought it was some forgettable bullshit. But then a re-mastered version touched down and it put the song in a whole 'nother league. It has an old school 80's, Afrika Bambaataa vibe that suits Ciara down to the ground. Had this been released as a single in the middle of 2008 with a hot video complete with Ciara goin' hard with the dancing - this song could've done big things. Just when I thought Danja couldn't pull any more tricks out of his sleeve, he goes and serves up this treat for Ciara.

8. Brandy - Right here (Departed)
This song marked the return of Brandy after a 5 year hiatus, and a welcomed one at that. I was not expecting her to drop a song like this as a single and was shocked that Rodney Jerkins laced her with such a beat. The song wasn't perfect, but it had an irresistible quality that just drew me in. The music video was dusty and that the song bombed commercially on the charts - but that's how shit goes down with Brandy these days. Thankfully she manages to bring it where it counts: the music.
A review of the album this song features on: Human review

7. Kanye West - Coldest winter
808s and heartbreak is probably one of Kanye's most controversial albums to date - due to his complete shift in sound and adopting a more pop form of thinking as far as his songwriting and production goes. Many couldn't stand Kanye's shift in sound, I welcomed it. Especially when it produced songs as amazing as "Coldest winter". It's the only song on the album where Kanye's vocals aren't heavily processed and one of the few songs on the album where Kanye's emotions truly come through in spades. I feel this is one of Kanye's best songs. It's stunning and a fitting tribute to his mother.
A review of the album this song features on: 808s & heartbreak review

6. Thelma Aoyama - Rhythm
When I first heard this girls' album, I became an insta-fan. Her album wasn't brilliant, but I felt she had mad potential and reminded me of Crystal Kay. "Rhythm" got played to death when I first heard it and has stayed on rotation all year. The whole song is just perfect. Thelma's vocals are on point and the music is just hotness. On an album where not every song seemed to really sell Thelma's style - this song was a hit on the target.
A review of the album this song features on: Diary review

5. Friska Viljor - The cure
I stumbled across Swedish alternative rock band Friska Viljor in Summer of '08. "The cure" was the first song I'd heard from them and it was love at first listen. This song was easily in my top 10 most played songs during the Summer. Everytime I hear those strummy guitars and infectious bassline, I just cannot help doing my little indie step. A kick arse song that I've love forever!

4. Crystal Kay - One
After Crystal's amazing single "Konna ni chikaku de..." I was curious and a little scared for her, as I didn't think she'd manage to release a song that could match its greatness. But she suceeded with "One". A beautiful song, and the archetypal goodness you'd expect from Crystal. The video was garbage and the song didn't do nearly as well as it should have. But the song was no less amazing as a result. "One" never gets old for me. It's sappy to say, but I love how this song makes me feel. I see rainbows and Lucky charms and shit everytime I hear this song.
A review of the album this song features on: Color change! review

3. Brandy - Warm it up (With love)
I can always rely on Brandy for some solid music. Whenever she drops ana bum, it gets played to DEATH for the remainder of that year and beyond. I was a tad underwhelmed by Brandy's fifth studio album Human. But it was a good album. One song I liked and had on repeat from the word go was "Warm it up (with love)". An ode for everybody to come together and make the world a better place. Corny, but when you hear the song you can't helped but me moved by the way in which Brandy delivers the message with her smooth vocals. Rodney Jerkins outdid himself with the minimalistic, but stunning production. I just love the piano that twinkles away in the background, the strings, the synths and the bassline which knocks in towards the end. One of Brandy's best for sure.
A review of the album this song features on: Human review

2. Ayaka - Kimi ga iru kara
"Kimi ga iru kara" makes me smile. Just try listening to this song and not smiling: it can't be done. The uplifting instrumentation, matched with Ayaka's optimistic vocals just take this song into 'happy territory' without feeling overly sappy. One of my highlights from Akaya's stunning second album Sing to the sky. I'm surprised this wasn't made a theme to a J-drama. It has that vibe about it.
A review of the album this song features on: Sing to the sky review

1. Hikaru Utada - Heart station
I decided to ween myself off of listening to Hikaru Utada's singles, because I didn't want her Heart station album ruined for me when it eventually released. So "Heart station" was a song I didn't hear until her album released. Once I'd heard it, I kicked myself for not succumbing and listening to it sooner. Many fans dismissed the song in favour of the other A-side release "Stay gold". But "Heart station" was the one for me. I love how Hikaru took it back to the R&B flavour of her second album Distance and fused it with the etheral dance influenced sound of her forth album Ultra blue. Her vocals were really nice, the message of the song is beautiful and that bassline. Oh wow, that bassline...
A review of the album this song features on: Heart station review

The honorable mentions: songs that weren't in my top 20, but got played to absolute death none the less...

Ne-Yo - Closer
I detested this song when I first heard it. But upon hearing it in a club on a night out, I soon realized how good a song it was and became hooked on it. Even now I stay playing this song. The original was great, but fortunately some great remixes were put out of this song, giving the song a greater staying power.
A review of the album this song features on: Year of the gentleman album review

Friendly Fires - Ex-lover
I bought Friendly Fires' debut album after hearing one song ("Paris"), and it turned out to be one of the best music purchases I'd made in 2008. The whole album was just encapsulated in nothing but effortless cool and funk. "Ex lover" has everything I love about Friendly fires: cool vocals, funk, pop, dance and rock all rolled into one kick arse little 3 minute and 50 second package.

The Forehead - Disturbia
This bitch gets on my nerves, but I cannot deny how catchy "Disturbia" is and how often I ended up playing this song and liking it. Nothing about the song was particularly new or ground breaking. It towed every popular line that other songs were tugging the hell out of at the time; but the catchy chorus and bouts of "Bum. Bum. Bi-dum-bum. Bum. Bi-dum. Dum" made this song a winner. One of my mates and I even have a dance we do in the club to this song. Not sure what that has to do with anything, but I thought I'd share that with you all!

Crystal Kay - I can't wait
Another song by Crystal Kay that should've got some western exposure, but stupidly didn't. Veteran producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis managed to lace Crystal with the hotness they failed to give Janet for a good few years. "I can't wait" was a hot song, not just because of the beat and Crystal vocals; but because of the lyrics which pushed Crystal into grown woman territory. She gets all sexy and sassy on us with lines like: "If you really want it. C'mon geddit, geddit!" and "If you catch me, boy then it's satisfaction guaranteed!". Gotta love it!
A review of the album this song features on: Color change! review


  1. HA! I did a top 20 artists of '08 feature on my Facebook... and nobody read it. I need a blog, man.

    Great minds... but, goes to show how different our musical tastes are. You intro'd me to Kuri, and she ended up on my list. Now I'm forever searching for that Kuri soundalike. I gotta take your suggestions seriously, because I never know.

    And Ciara's "Work" is a song I could see some Irish n***as doin a serious River dance to, cuz the beat's wacky like that. Every time I hear it I think, river dance. Don't TELL me you don't see it!

  2. The only things people read on Facebook are statuses. And the only thing people are genuinely interested in on Facebook are pictures...scandalous pictures. You shouldn't have bothered posting your top 20 shit on there. *lol*

    If you e-mail me your list or link me to your post on Facebook - I'll definitely read it!

    *LOL* @ "Ciara's "Work" is a song I could see some Irish n***as doin a serious River dance to"

    I can honestly sat that didn't cross my mind until you mentioned it. But in some wierd way, I do get what you mean.


  3. Nice list J! I just knew "Warm it up (with love)" would be in your top 3. As for your number 1, I'm with the crowd that likes "Stay Gold" better, but "Heart Station" is definitely a great song.

  4. What's your e-mail? I figure I might as well use it to add you on Facebook, if only to detract from the big yawn that it is.

  5. Cool! Check out the 'contact' section at the top of my blog for my e-mail address. I look forward to checking it out! :)


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