Writer Best of 2010: Marcus K Dowling
by Marcus K. Dowling
Cee Lo Green – Fuck You
The Smeezingtons are old enough to be the grandkids of James Jamerson, Benny Benjamin or even Bruce Babbitt. But in starting as the Sound of Young America and becoming the Best Pure Pop Sound in American History, Motown’s ubiquitous style is recreated here with note perfect excellence. Cee Lo Green was made for this performance, having had an entire career to plumb the depths of his soul in a plethora of directions. Accessing simple adolescent heartbreak in this foul mouthed retort is entirely too easy, and the Funk Brothers style melody is so wonderful and effective that a man shouting obscenities over it sounds absolutely terrific and non-offensive.
Chris Brown – Deuces (Rap Remix)
The “Deuces” remix doesn’t win because Kanye West ethers ex-girlfriend Amber Rose in the most rude public redress of of an ex-girlfriend in hip hop history. Neither is it because Fabolous is surprisingly morose and not rapping about how fresh he is or popping bottles. T.I. is at his best when speaking plain talking sober truths, and this remix is likely more up Drake’s alley on a pop trending side than anyone else featured. But I’ll leave you with the wisdom of wisened hip hop soothsayer Andre Benjamin whose verses on this track are probably the most well-thought and highly crafted performance anywhere in hip hop in 2010.
Swedish House Mafia – One feat Pharrell
Swedish House Mafia are poised to become ginormous mainstream stars with the aid of rock star style documentary Take One, and their constant friezes of electro house synths were the pulsating intensity of many a dancefloor in 2010, namely while at the Electric Zoo Festival in September, the track became ubiquitous as nearly 1 in 3 DJs it felt like included a track or remix in their performances. Axvell, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso are poised to take electro house to new and far more impressive heights than ever before.
Duck Sauce – Barbra Streisand
When A-Trak and Armand van Helden released “aNYway” last year, it’s soulful New York disco groove was a breath of fresh air in the sonic marketplace and won praise from all corners of the musical universe. For 2010’s repeat performance of turning the musical universe on its ear, we got a brilliant flip of Boney M’s “Gotta Go Home” with a simple nonsense name: Barbra Streisand. There is a cadre of the house community that wishes Armand would go back to making eclectic and soulful deep house edits with pop flair. However, when paired with the hip hop loving house appreciator A-Trak, pop confection is on the menu.
Gil Scott Heron – New York is Killing Me
Describing hard times with easy intellect is a staple of Gil Scott-Heron’s legend as a forefather of hip hop. Lead single from album of the year candidate I’m New Here “New York is Killing Me” is all handclaps and Chicago blues, with Heron still espousing street corner wisdom, now sounding like they’re out of the mouth of a grizzled block veteran than a hip young hoodlum.