Monthly Report: December Singles
1. The Airborne Toxic Event - "Changing"
This is pretty old at this point but it took me so long to realize how much I liked this song that by the time I did I had already finished my 2011 singles list, which this otherwise would've definitely had been on. I barely even remember these guys' first big hit, which this sounds nothing like and is why I didn't even know who this song was by for so long, and my only knowledge of them is that they're one of those 'fake indie' radio bands that 'real indie' critics write savage takedowns of, which is probably a good thing. But man, this song is catchy as fuck.
2. Rihanna - "You Da One"
I continue to be confounded as "We Found Love" becomes not just another #1 Rihanna single but her longest running and perhaps her biggest hit since "Umbrella." But even more annoying than that stupid half-song with only one vocal melody is the fact that it's kind of steamrolled over its superior follow-up, which was probably released hot on its heels with the intention of both taking turns at #1 like "Only Girl" and "What's My Name?" had a year beforehand. Instead, this weirdly not terrible Dr. Luke foray into reggae pop is both one of my favorite Rihanna singles of recent vintage and by far one of her least successful, and they've already announced plans to move on and start working "Talk That Talk" as the next single.
3. Melanie Fiona - "4 AM"
After I fell in love with her voice last year with lush songs like "Gone And Never Coming Back" and "Fool For You," this cold, atmospheric track felt like not quite what I wanted to hear from Melanie Fiona and maybe even a jump onto Drake's muffled Canadian slow jam bandwagon. But this song is pretty dope, and that little drum'n'bass break that comes in for a few bars towards the end is a nice touch.
4. Bruno Mars - "It Will Rain"
As annoyingly ubiquitous as Bruno Mars is and as insipid as some of his songs are, I do think he's a pretty talented guy and he occasionally lands on a pretty undeniable tune (I still have a soft spot for "Nothin' On You"). I put up a good defense with this song for a while, especially since it's from a fucking Twilight soundtrack, but a couple times it's popped up on a local R&B station and I've realized that it really does work as an R&B song.
5. Jay-Z & Kanye West - "Gotta Have It"
I have no idea what the logic is behind the single choices for Watch The Throne, but I have to grudgingly respect it since "Niggas In Paris," as annoying as I think it is, was undeniably huge in ways I never would've predicted, and the follow-up is an even more surprising choice, while the songs that once seemed like obvious singles ("Lift Off," "That's My Bitch") languish as album tracks. In a way it's like a sequel to "Otis" and even comes directly after it on the album, except even shorter and more devoid of a typical chorus, which makes it all the more strange and enjoyable to hear on the radio. But the single most surprising thing about "Gotta Have It" is that it was produced by the Neptunes, which my brain still doesn't know how to process.