As part of my new job, in a convoluted way, I have to hear contemporary music all day. That's the crap that's selling the most and playing on the radio/MTV/etc. So without further ado: James Blunt - "You're Beautiful" - Clearly this is an individual who heard Motorhead as a kid and said "If someone is going to pay that guy to sing, I can DEFINATELY make it". Unfortunately, it's like he heard the sound of Motorhead, and obviously really liked Hall and Oats slow love songs. A combination of awful lyrics and horrendous vocal skills make this a surefire hit for um, something, hopefully a bullet. Having to hear it 2x a day sometimes makes me want to extract my brain through my eye socket. I admit, though, I do get a kick out of holding my nose and faking an overbite and Rod Stewart scratchy throat to sing along. Howie Day - "Collide" - If ever a song was written for the sole sake of hoping a movie would be written for it, this must be it. And a sappy whiny chick flick at that. Not to be mistaken as a song so good someone can come up with an entire movie just to use it (I.E. Bush's "Machinehead"). This song makes you visualize a man and woman walking towards each other on a snowy city street, stumbling into each other and starting a relationship that turns out to be tumultuous then finally resolves itself the same way it started, with the song ending on them looking into each others eyes. Until (in my movie at least) a crazed drunken homeless guy that smells like eggs kicks the guys ass for being a preppy nerd and playing such a faggy song. The chick gets disgusted goes to a bar. Natasha Bedingfield - "Unwritten" - True teenage angst, without the attitude, direction, gristle of Avril Levigne. Very lazy vocal talent. Really annoying to listen to, sounds like she could be a good singer if she didn't force herself to sound sloppy and insert voice cracks here and there where they don't musically fit. Or, she just grew up with people telling her she has a great voice and she didn't bother to ever figure out how to use it until someone said they'd stick a band behind her. It could be a good song otherwise. The end "oh ohhhhhoh" chorus sounds like a half dozen overwieght teenage girls upset that someone ran off with the chocolate fudge cake (no offense meant to overweight teenage girls). Totally disorganized vocally. The studio musicians should move on without her. Faith Hill - "Like We Never Loved At All" - Yet another "Why aren't you as whiny as me?" song from Faith Hill. Stupid lyrics, starting at the first line, heartfelt sadness, country overtones, bouncing melody, and Tim McGraw pops in with purposeless background shout outs that don't go anywhere. For the bazillionth time. She should have stayed in country and not tried to work the pop side so hard. Now she sounds so desparate to get back to country, she's singing any crappy song that comes along with a slight country sound, and they all start to sound the same. Hell, I should write one while her quality radar is down. I'm sure Tim's part is just there so radio DJ's can intro the song as "Faith Hill with Tim McGraw" to get people to listen, thinking it might actually be a cool song. Except in pop music, no one knows who Tim McGraw is, so they end up selling the "With husband Tim McGraw" line, which makes all the desparate housewives think it'll be some sappy piece of crap between a husband and wife. She's a good singer, but somehow got all frigged up. Good vocals are the only thing keeping her head above water now. I met her like 3 or 4 times and used to think she was great. I may meet her again. I think I'm going to tell her this if I do. Think Tim will kick my ass? Carrie Underwood - "Some Hearts" - I thought this song was great when it first came on, then a chord suddenly went totally disharmonious and slammed me into a brick wall. As I peeled my face off it, I found the song was back to being cool again and kept a nice comfortable pace into the chorus. Then in the next verse, all of a sudden Chordzilla comes back and harmonically beats me senseless. I know the song well enough now to be able to mentally duck when the chord tries to attack, so I think it's a cool song now. Rob Thomas - Anything by him - Somewhere, in a club down in Florida, there is a band that's missing it's cocky egotistical wobbley-vocalled front man...because he's making wierd records as Rob Thomas (if you were thinking David Lee Roth, you're wrong, but stayed tuned for my review of morning radio hosts, coming soon). Any time anything by Rob Thomas comes on the radio, I unconsciously forget the radio is on. Maybe it's hypnotic. That's why I can't really do a review, I can't remember what the frig any songs are or what they sound like. Kelly Clarkson - "Because of You" and that other one she has out right now - It took me like 2 years to catch up to popular opinion, but I like her songs. They're great melodies and she's a quality singer, no vocal gimmicks or mediocre production. I wouldn't go as far as buying a CD, but I'd actually turn up the radio for her songs. Who'd have thought an American Idol star would actually be a talented singer with a career that's developed some staying power? Michael Buble - "Last Dance" , "Home" - You can tell this guy was hoping to be the next Sinatra. He may pull it off, too. Personally, I think he's a flat line and there's no better word to describe him than...Annoying. The "Home" song makes me want to shoot myself and possibly others because life is horrendous and should not be lived unless you have a drink in your hand and can lean against a bar in a dark lounge in the middle of the day with a piano player lazily rolling off tunes... Starbucks may be used in place of dark lounge. Daniel Powter - "Bad Day" - Another Rod Stewart wanna be? As Avril Lavigne (yes, I mentioned her already) proved, songs that bounce up and down will appeal to masses. Do the lyrics to this song actually say anything? I think it may just be a catchy chorus that sales people like to sing along to, but the song doesn't make any sense if you look at the lyrics on paper. Lifehouse - "You and Me" - See Howie Day "Collide" review... Kieth Urban - anything - I tried to dislike this guy, but his music is great, singing is good, lyrics (usually) make sense and are nice to hear, production is excellent, and it's true feel good music. I admit I own two Keith Urban CD's now and may even load some songs into my MP3 player to listen to on the bike with my Country tunes... Sheryle Crow and Sting - "Always on Your Side" - Back to stupid lyrics. I swear, this song is so gnawing, all I hear in it is "Butterflies are free to fly" over and over again, and the rest of it is junk. Well it's all junk, but that's the only part I can identify, because it's pounded into my head. Freaking alligators are free to eat small mammals, is anyone using that as a chorus 300 times per song? Come on Elton, how about a song about a gator eating old Red? When Sheryle did that really bad duet with that rap guy that has Rock in his name where he tried to actually sing, I felt really bad for her. Now I don't feel bad anymore...she needs to fire whoever's arranging her duets and picking the songs. For a duet to be cool, the song has to be good, too. I've always thought two stars crossing lines to sing together was really lame if the song sounded cheap and rushed or pointless, like they just grabbed something they could sing together. CMT's crossroads has this idea down pretty good, as this song proves again, individual artists need to use better material when they try it... Nickleback - "Photograph" - While I think it's kinda odd to hear a guy singing a slow and reflective song with that constipated energy, I think it's cool that someone mellow will go buy their record for this song and be slammed into a wall by some of the heavier/faster stuff on it... There's a reason the guy sounds like he sings with too much force... As much as I'm not a Metallica fan anymore, I think they nailed this approach with Nothing Else Matters. That will probably be the Ballad-esque song pop metal bands will be compared to for a while. And in comparison, this Nickleback song feels kinda cheap. Like Metallica is the caviar and wine, and Nickleback is the chips and beer. Ok, I'm done. No one asked for it, but I know my wife is sick of hearing me botch about it when I have some retarded song stuck in my head from work, so I figured I'd vent and you guys might benefit from the warnings of what to watch out for when hanging around women with control of the radio.