Suicide Blonde - INXS: I never really had a huge, huge draw when this song came out originally. It is definitely one of INXS's best and most visceral songs, and the video is appropriately sexy. But when you're just 20, turn onto the main drag just after sunset in Satellite Beach, Florida during your spring break, driving a fabulous white convertible BMW, this song comes on the radio, and every light in sight suddenly turns green in front of you, it just hits you in the gut: you are SO in the right place at the right time, and you own the goddamned world. Flooring it never felt so liberating.
This Used To Be My Playground - Madonna: You know what's really sad? Knowing just how gracelessly Madonner is aging nowadays, pandering to the kids and forcing them to worship her in the least attractive way possible. (Seriously: I think M.I.A.'s flipping off the cameras during the Super Bowl concert was meant in every way toward Madonna...and to steal her thunder, too.) But doubly sad is listening to this lush and poignant bit of adult contemporary, and hearing what she could have been capable of, had she just accepted that people get older, and life moves on. And considering what a soulless wasteland adult contemporary music can be, that's high praise. (More high praise: this is the best of her late '80s-early '90s ballads, including the stunning "Spanish Eyes" and "Take a Bow.") Then again, maybe she took the lyrics too much to heart: "Say goodbye to yesterday/Those are words I'll never say." Compare this to the shite she's putting out there now. It's embarrassing. Still partying like she's 29, I guess. Sigh.
iTunes v. 11: MUST DIE. Dramatically simplified player, my ass. I know the desire to stuff every last medium into what was once a strict music player, to make a product all things to all people. I'm over it. This is enough, seriously, to make me seriously consider giving up my iPods (yes, plural) and just stick to my Android goods. Steve Jobs, we hardly knew ye.
El Alem Allah - Amr Diab: If this guy - pretty easy on the eyes, BTW - had any stateside exposure back in 2000, he would have seriously ruled the pop charts for a bit. As it is, Egypt got the spoils. And traditionalists in defense of Islamic culture screamed bloody murder because ZOMG WESTERN INFLUENCE MUST DIE!!! But hey...it's a breezy, bouncy, and insanely catchy pop tune in the vein of Ricky Martin. Besides, melding Arabic and Western music seems to be working for this guy - he's been the top Egyptian pop star for nearly 30 years. I found this one about three years ago, and it's been in heavy rotation in the car ever since.