Music

Reader Best of 2008: Marcus KING KONG Dowling

by Winston "Stone" Ford

Name: Marcus KING KONG Dowling
Location: Greenbelt, MD
Website: True Genius Requires Insanity: http://www.tgrionline.com

So, I got asked by Stone to knock out what I thought were the top five songs of 2008. It’s a hard year to do this, as, if you ask anyone who has forsaken popular music in lieu of the musical revolution online that just EXPLODED this year, yeah. It’s hard. If I wanted to do a “Top Five Songs Art House Hipster Blogophiles Were Playing Off Their iPOD When They Saw that Cute Jenny Lewis Lookin’ Chick At Starbucks,” it’s a far far far different list than the “Comprehensive List of Five Songs That Will Make People Say, That Was The Best Music Anybody, Hipster, Blogger, Old, Young or Otherwise Heard in 2008.” That’s what I take this as, so, let’s go!

Without further ado:

Honorable mentions to TI and Lil Wayne, who made this year excellent, but, were oversaturated. Plus, I want to see if I can do this without their ubiquity.

5. Ne-Yo – Closer: The Smokey Robinson of our era finally has hit his stride as a pop auteur, and is now making a string of hits for himself. Closer was the best of all of them as his voice literally flutters and lands on the track. Beautiful, and oh so amazing.

4. Paper Planes – MIA: THE song of 2008. As in, people who intentionally try to be hip viewed this as their HIP song. You know that douchebag in your office who thinks they know what’s up? Yeah. He just started banging this in 2008. A year too late, asshole! And now it’s Grammy nominated. The song has the best hook I’ve heard in five years. Know who else agreed? The people that made Pineapple Express. People will forget that movie. Know who else agreed, Kanye West. He made a whole different part a great hook. That song, fucking priceless.

3. Electric Feel – MGMT: This song sort of snuck up on me and bit me square in the ass. It’s a song you’ve all heard, and wanted to dance, and wanted to sing, but didn’t know who wrote it or sang it. It’s equal parts eurotrash, funk and 80s power pop, and above all else, a song that made 2008 a lot of fun.

2b. I Kissed a Girl – Katy Perry: It’s such a great great great great pop song. Formulaic as a motherfucker, but with so many people breaking the formula these days, it’s great to have this around. From my own blog: “Controversial. I think not. There wasn’t a more insipid track with a more insipid hook on the radio this year. And sometimes, that’s what we need. Anytime Cobra Starship can make “I Kissed a Boy” and Dirt Nasty can do “She Kissed My Girl,” you’ve got something culturally relevant. Even though the lyrics IN NO WAY support homosexuality, it at least got the issue on the table and allowed gays and lesbians to have a rallying point this year. That’s bold, and that’s wonderful. Plus, it’s a hot little track, too. But yeah. it deserves to be this high.”

2a. Flashing Lights – Kanye West: Yeah. This was the track for me that signified that he was the best MC we’ve ever had. He’s on a Michael Jackson level of genius now, and makes us think. This song definitely shows the cracks that being THE artist of artists in our atmosphere can bring, and was a wonderful entry into the universe he’s in on 808s and Heartbreak.

1. American Boy – Estelle: Perfect in every way. Kanye put vocals on there that didn’t overshadow a brand new artist, and make them seem like AMIL to Ja Rule, if you catch my drift. He instead added to her cache of being important and worth listening to. Unrelatedly, it’s the first time a bespoke suit has EVER been in a song. And, Estelle captures a feeling and mood note perfectly. It’s hip, it’s hot, it’s sexy, it’s funky, it’s pop, it’s soul, it’s hip hop. And it succintly sums up 2008.