Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

The Singles Jukebox End-of-Year Best-Off 2009: Round 1, Group 8

Dermot O’Leary: Gooooooorevenin’ ladies gennulmun, and welcome to THE SINGLES JUKEBOX END-OF-YEAR BEST-OFF 2009!


Yes and it’s a very, very important show here tonight, as it’s The Last. Of. The Group. Stages. Yes, five songs will be going in tonight, but only two will make it through to the second round of the competition. Here to give their thoughts on tonight’s songs – issy X Factor Judges!!!


Right, first up we’ve got “Llllloba” by our little Colombian firecracker, Shakira Shakira, so good Wyclef – WYCLEF, EVERYBODY!


Yes, that’s right, so good Wyclef named her twice. Louis Walsh, what do you make of it?

Louis Walsh: Dermot – I gotta tell you, Dermot, well, what we’re looking for here tonight is the best single of 2009, and Dermot, y’know, I mean, Shakira’s got it all.


I mean, she’s got the look, she’s got the voice, she’s contemporary, she’s modern, the kids love her, she’s having fun up there, and I really think she’s got what it takes to go all the way and win this thing.

Dermot O’Leary: Thanks Louis, now our next one is “Sweat It Out” by our very own Mr Smooove himself, The-Dream – what are your thoughts on that one, Mzzzzz Dannym’nogue?

Dannii Minogue: Well, Dermot. I don’t know about the rest of the girls in the audience, but that certainly made me sweat!


The beat, the song, the voice – it was all working tonight, it was fun, it was funky, it was cool, it was contemporary and I really hope he gets what he deserves for it.


Dermot O’Leary: Dream, of course, real name’s Terius Nash, he’s had an incredible three – three – singles in this year’s Best-Off, but not one of them has managed to make it into the second round thus far. Will tonight be his night well we’ll just have to Wait And See. Now. Next up, another feller who’s not had much luck so far in the tournament, it’s our very own Mr Smooove himself, Maxwell and his “Pretty Wings”, so let’s find out what our own Geordie songbird, Mzzzzz Sherrullcole, has to say about it. Cheryl?

Cheryl Cole: I tell yer what, the moment I heard this song, I really fell in love with it, I really did.


He brings so much energy to the song, he makes it cool, it’s sexy, it’s funky, it’s modern, it’s contemporary, and I think it deserves to be in the second round.


Dermot O’Leary: Fantastic, thanks for that Cheryl – now then. Misser Simoncowll. Our fourth track in this heat is “You’re a Jerk” by New Boyz, what do reckon its chances are?

Simon Cowell: Look, Dermot. I’ve got to be honest – I don’t think they’ve got what it takes to go any further in this competition.


Look, OK, maybe it’s just me, but perhaps I don’t think that just having some chorus where someone calls someone else a jerk, y’know – to me, that isn’t music, that’s not what this competition is about, and I don’t think it deserves to go any further. But, y’know, that’s just my opinion, if you want to boo, great, but if there’s one thing this competition, and this site, doesn’t do, it’s negativity and cynicism, and I don’t see that a song with two guys talking about being that word fits in with what we’re trying to do here.

Dermot O’Leary: Strong words, as always, and I’ve just been told we’ve run out of time to talk about our fifth song, which is So Good by Electrik Red – anyone got any thoughts on that? No? OK, then…

Andrew Brennan: “Loba” is brilliant, sensual, passionate, and it has disco strings (5 points)! “Pretty Wings” is a sweet song that gets a bit sappy, but its passion and catchiness rate it above the rest of the songs in this group (3 points). I disliked “You’re a Jerk” at first, now I appreciate the synth pings and use of the “you’re a jerk” line as a sound element rather than a lyric (2 points). It’s more playful and interesting than The Dream and Electrik Red. “Sweat It Out” is mostly slow and plodding (1 point), and it’s saved by its slightly catchy chorus, and I hate “So Good”’s smarmy swinging beat. We already have an excellent song of the same name by Rachel Stevens — this is completely unnecessary (0 points).

STANDINGS: Shakira 5, Maxwell 3, Boyz 2, Dream 1, Red 0

Andrew Casillas: This was a pretty difficult group to rank. However, there was no major issue with the top. “Loba” is one of the most infectiously fun songs of the year, full of dizzy disco strings and delightfully off the wall Shakiraisms (5 points). “Pretty Wings” (3 points) edges “You’re a Jerk” (2 points) slightly, mostly because Maxwell’s patient, reverent vocal is in full power on the former, while the latter could theoretically have been sung by anyone with the right fitting pants. Electrik Red (1 point) got the nod over their svengali The-Dream (0 points). Not because I have anything against the-Dream, I love the guy. It’s just that “So Good” will probably be the best song that Electrik Red will ever record, and “Sweat It Out” is not even one of the best 5 songs on Love vs. Money. Gotta give the girls a little bit of credit.

STANDINGS: Shakira 10, Maxwell 6, Boyz 4, Dream 1, Red 1 (KONNNN-VIIIICT)

Jessica Popper: This group was quite difficult as I wasn’t a big fan of any of the songs. “Loba” was my first choice simply for the reason that’s it by Shakira, and she is a brilliant, unique popstar (5 points). I quite enjoyed the Electrik Red song and thought they looked cool in the video (3 points). I chose “Sweat It Out” as my third favourite as it reminded me slightly of Nivea’s brilliant single, “Laundromat” (2 points). Maxwell’s song is pleasant listening but a little too mellow for my tastes (1 point). My least favourite was “You’re a Jerk”, which was amusing for about 30 seconds before it got annoying (0 points).

STANDINGS: Shakira 15, Maxwell 7, Boyz 4, Red 4, Dream 3

Hillary Brown: Two of the strongest songs of the year top this list, and Shakira (5 points) just barely beat out The-Dream (3 points). “Loba” may be the best single she’s ever released, with its Residents-esque choir of harmonizing robot voices that suggest Daft Punk gone to heaven, while “Sweat It Out” is warm, sexy, and wonderful. It’s a tough decision between those too. Fortunately, the other three are easier, with a fairly catchy but not tremendously inspired song from Electrik Red (2 points), Maxwell being smooth and classy but relatively boring (as usual) (1 point), and New Boyz supplying the soundtrack to a dance that really isn’t much of an improvement over “Chicken Noodle Soup” (0 points).

STANDINGS: Shakira 20, Maxwell 8, Dream 6, Red 6, Boyz 4

Mallory O\’Donnell: This contest is all about hunger — almost everyone here is dealing with some recycled-sounding music, so they’ve been rated according to how hard they sound like they want it. New Boyz wind up on top (5 points) because they link the insouciance of today’s hip-hop youth with the naifness of hip-hop past, and have fun doing it. Ditto Elektrik Red with R&B (3 points), who breathe life into a truly mediocre set of lyrics (or should that read ‘lyric’?). Maxwell (2 points) & The Dream (1 points) both struggle with the meh, but Maxwell at least seems like he’s trying to care. And despite everyone else just loving Shakira’s attempt to Thriller-ize this electroclash reject she found in the studio archives, I found it repulsive and dated (0 points), like taking your zombie grandmother to the cluuub.

STANDINGS: Shakira 20, Maxwell 10, Boyz 9, Red 9, Dream 7

Matt Cibula: Much more difficult, sincerely love all four of the top five here and “You’re a Jerk” is adorable (0 points). But had to go with all the unfolding dirty beauty of the The-Dream cut (5 points) slightly over the tumbling lush Maxwell track (3 points), and both of those over “So Good” (although the Lil Wayne remix would have been top two) (2 points) and “Loba” (1 point), which I will play at every party I ever attend but is still a half-step down.

STANDINGS: Shakira 21, Maxwell 13, Dream 12, Red 11, Boyz 9

Jonathan Bradley: “Gotta keep it separate like the Jim Crow laws”: Whatta jerk indeed! But 2009 was the year of the Jerk, from Kanye West gatecrashing Taylor Swift at the VMAs to a couple douchebags gatecrashing the White House, and of, course, a host of cocky Los Angelinos, including this duo, who with their high school dance parties, gatecrashed the American charts (5 points). It’s almost the polar opposite of the luxurious ode to cheating The-Dream’s came up with for the ladies of Electrik Red; listening to “So Good” I feel just like they do, singing, “I shouldn’t have let you hit that, cause now I can’t forget that.” Ooh, shit, damn, indeed (3 points). Dream has a hit of his own in contention here, but his girl’s mussed-up hair just ain’t that sexy, and his synth bed, usually so intoxicating, is a little too bare this time round (1 point). His attention to detail in the lyric should have carried over into the instrumentation. But at least he’s trying to do something interesting with R&B; Maxwell shoots for tasteful, and, save for a couple of B-grade Prince moments, ends up with soul more akin to margarine than butter (0 points). I believe Shakira’s half-hearted howls over his empty mutterings. But who wouldn’t enjoy lycanthrope disco (2 points) over “grown and sexy” boilerplate that is far less interesting than being either grown or sexy? Too harsh? “Sorry that it hurts.”

STANDINGS: Shakira 23, Boyz 14, Red 14, Dream 13, Maxwell 13

Anthony Miccio: Smirking over fast snap (New Boyz, 5 points). Imitating a trumpet over lithe disco (Shakira, 3 points). Improvising a sequel to “Playin’ With Your Hair” (The-Dream, 2 points). Reading said improviser’s romantic fantasies back to him (Electrik Red, 1 point). Reading romantic poetry on BET Jazz (Maxwell, 0 points).

STANDINGS: Shakira 26, Boyz 19, Red 15, Dream 15, Maxwell 13

Erick Bieritz: It was Terius “The Dream” Nash’s year – everyone else just tried to keep up. Sometimes all a great pop song needs is a slightly different way to say something so familiar, and Terius found one in the simultaneously sensual and sophisticated “Sweat It Out” (2 points). As if his own output wasn’t enough to lock in his end-of-year credentials, he and cohort Tricky Stewart teamed with Electrik Red to create a fantastic, stately, pneumatic drill march, vivified by four wonderfully limber voices (5 points). “Loba” freezes disco thump and clipped guitars in a desert night chill punctuated by Shakira’s terribly fun howl (3 points). Maxwell’s surprisingly delicate “Pretty Wings” (1 points) and the Schoolly D-esque “You’re a Jerk” (0 points) are solid entries, but come in a distant fourth and fifth in this particularly strong group of songs.


1) Shakira, “Loba” – 29 points
2) Electrik Red, “So Good” – 20 points
3) New Boyz, “You’re a Jerk” – 19 points
4) The-Dream, “Sweat It Out” – 17 points
5) Maxwell, “Pretty Wings” – 14 points

And it’s another shocker, as Electrik Red overcome only carding a 5.00 in the regular season to snatch second place from New Boyz by a single point, thus getting a chance to avenge their four-times slain master in the next round. Maxwell can console himself with having topped the R&B chart for, like, eight months or something, while Shakira’s reasonably runaway-esque win stands her in good stead for the knockout stages.

Brian Moore: Hello again, I’m Brian Moore, and I’m here to bring you the draw for the second round of this The Singles Jukebox End-of-Year Best-Off 2009. Just a reminder that from here on in, it’s a straight knockout tournament – the remaining sixteen songs will face each other in head-to-head clashes, with the winner of each match progressing to the quarter-finals, then those winners progress to the semi-finals, before the grand final, where two songs will battle it out to be named The Singles Jukebox’s Most Best Single of 2009.

We now cross live to London, where Graham Kelly will conduct the draw for the second round.

Graham Kelly: Hello.

The draw for the second round of The Singles Jukebox End-of-Year Best-Off 2009 is as follows:

“You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift
“Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” by Florence and the Machine

“Hyph Mngo” by Joy Orbison
“Loba” by Shakira

“Hey Playa! (Moroccan Blues)” by DJ Quik & Kurupt
“Da Style Deh” by Busy Signal

“House of Flying Daggers” by Raekwon featuring Inspectah Deck, Method Man, GZA and Ghostface
“The Girl and the Robot by Royksopp featuring Robyn

“Zero” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
“Fifteen by Taylor Swift

“Lisztomania” by Phoenix
“Trap Goin’ Ham” by Pill

“9xs Outta 10” by DJ Quik & Kurupt
“So Good” by Electrik Red

“Stillness is the Move” by Dirty Projectors
“Heads Will Roll” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

That completes the draw.

Brian Moore: Many thanks to Graham, there, and if there’s one thing that draw proved, it’s that there really are no easy games at this level, and I’m sure you’re just as excited as I am at what looks set to be an very closely fought second round. The pick of the round looks to be that battle between “Fifteen” and “Zero”, the two songs that managed to get the third and fourth-highest scores in the regular season; there’s also tough ties in prospect for our two giant-killers, Dirty Projectors and Electrik Red, as they prepare to face the might of “Heads Will Roll” and “9xs Outta 10” respectively, while “You Belong With Me” certainly won’t be taking anything for granted against surprise package Florence and the Machine.

Now, due to a combination of the recent bad weather in the North of England, the recession, sleepiness and other factors, the schedule for the tournament has been delayed somewhat – these second-round ties will now begin on Sunday 27th December, with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final following in the week commencing Monday 4th January. For now, though, we’ll leave you with a song that just narrowly missed out on qualifying for the finals – Jazmine Sullivan’s “Lions, Tigers and Bears” – and wish you all a Merry Christmas.

12 Responses to “The Singles Jukebox End-of-Year Best-Off 2009: Round 1, Group 8”



  2. shakira should have 29 points there in the final standings.

  3. Daaammn. All of these songs are a [9] at least. Better than some of the other groups to a number.



    I was actually most interested in which the losing songs would be here, ie the last two voted into this tournament by the writers (we already knew that the 16 highest scorers of the year were through and could work out which two were left, as well as the draw for the next round which indicated that Electrik Red had been voted in). Actually very surprised that New Boyz and Maxwell were voted in ahead of Richgirl and Jeremih, who I’d predicted.

    Anyway I’d have gone Electrik Red > The-Dream > Maxwell > Shakira > New Boyz. First two are both very good (though not the absolute best) representations of two of the year’s best albums. I prefer “Bad Habits” and indeed most other tracks on BLACKsummers’night to “Pretty Wings”. I like “Loba” but never seem to crave it, so I don’t get it when people are enraptured by her. And I like “You’re A Jerk” but it sort of pales next to the jerk that I have craved this year by Pink Dollaz, The Bangz, New Era, Babydollz et al.

  5. Also negatively comparing Electrik Red to Rachel Fucking Stevens made me fall out of my bed in shock.

  6. Jazmine Sullivan represents here, for me, a number of very old-fashioned soulful R&B numbers that I totally loved this year but didn’t make it into this 40. Chrisette Michele is another major example.

    I didn’t care all that much about this heat. I find the off-key moments of Elektrik Red occasionally put me right off them, when I generally love most everything else, and the others I like but don’t love.

    There are a few hideously tough battles in the next round.

  7. I’m not sure what off-key moments in “So Good” you speak of.


    Every time Will references my country my heart swells.

  9. Both of the Jazmine singles we covered this year were good enough to make it into the top 20 tracks we had to vote into this tournament, but I didn’t vote for either because I think of Fearless and its campaign as belonging to 2008, and I gave it plaudits then.

    Finally saw her live in September though – stunning, as expected.

  10. Something tells me that “Lions, Tigers, and Bears” would have done well in the best-off :(

  11. Are there really going to be 14 more of these articles, just so you all can declare again that you like Taylor Swift? Can you go back to new singles sometime soon?

  12. i am sympathetic to this line of thinking (i have total list burnout now) but let Will have a half-holiday, eh?