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Arjanwrites.com Readers' Choice 2006: And the Winners Are...

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The results of the Arjanwrites.com Readers' Choice Poll 2006 are in! Over the last four weeks, hundreds of you voted in this inaugural year-end music survey to give your opinions about what was hot and not.

A large majority of you decided that Dangerous Muse deserves this year's top honors. Also, Kylie Minogue and Timbaland were winners in the poll. Goldfrapp and Gwen Stefani were some of the artists that disappointed most this year.

Thanks for all your votes! Congratulations to Ryan T. for winning an Arjanwrites.com t-shirt and music pack.

The results of the 2006 Arjanwrites.com Music Poll also mark my last post for the year. I'm looking forward to an even sweeter and crunchier 2007 with lots of exciting things coming up for Arjanwrites.com. I hope to share all of that with you soon. Happy New Year!

Full results of the Arjanwrites.com Readers' Poll 2006 after the jump.

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Favorite Song Of The Year

1. Dangerous Muse "The Rejection" (12.9%)
2. Scissor Sisters "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" (10.8%)
3. Madonna "Sorry" (8.6%)
4. Nelly Furtado "Maneater" (8.1%)
5. Gnarks Barkley "Crazy" (7.3%)
6. The Killers "When You Were Young" (6.5%)
7. Justin Timberlake "Sexy Back" (5.1%)
8. Pet Shop Boys "Minimal" (4%)
9. Temposhark "Joy" (3.8%)
10. Rihanna "SOS" (3.1%)

Some of your suggestions: Shakira "Hips Don't Lie," Darren Hayes "So Beautiful," Take That "Patience," Ari Gold "Love Will Take Over,"  Cansei De Ser Sexy "Let's Make Love and Listen to Death From Above," The Gossip "Listen Up," Jamelia "Beware Of The Dog," Madonna "Jump," The Pippettes "Pull Shapes,"  Sarah Nixey "Strangelove," Goldfrapp "Ride a White Horse," AFI "Miss Murder," Lily Allen "Listen Up," Drop Dead Genus "My Eyes," Hey Willpower "Hundredaire" and Peter Bjorn and John "Young Folks."

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Biggest Disappointment in 2007

1. Goldfrapp not touring North America, not writing Bond theme (22.8%)
2. Gwen Stefani's new single "Wind It Up" (19.8%)
3. Closing of Tower Records (17.3%)
4. Brandon Flowing growing facial hair (12.8%)
5. Jessica Simpson's cover of "You Spin Me 'Round" (11.4%)

A majority of you clearly felt that Goldfrapp should have toured North America. I fully agree. Too bad they weren't invited to contribute to the James Bond soundtrack. Hopefully, we get lucky late 2007 with a new Goldfrapp album to make up for some our disappointments. (The Killers are tipped to write the next James Bond tune so no luck there.)

Other disappointments you listed: Janet Jackson's "terrible" new album and "horrible downfall," Beyonce's new album, the break up of Sleater-Kinney, the "continued firewalling of British music by American labels," Madonna's "Jump" video, Britney Spears hanging out with Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera's new record, Dangerous Muse not releasing a full album and Scissor Sisters becoming "an Elton John cover band." 

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Most Memorable Gay Music Moment of 2006

1. Kylie's return to the spotlight (25.1%)
2. Madonna's Confessions Tour (23.8%)
3. Lance Bass' coming out (16%)
4. Rufus Wainwright at Carnegie Hall (12.2%)
5. Darren Hayes' coming out (9.7%)
6. Willie Nelson's "Cowboys" song (5.8%)
7. George Michael's nightly escapades (2.5%)
8. Kevin Aviance victim of hate crime (1.7%)
9. Barbra Streisand on tour (1.1%)

Welcome back, Kylie! Other big gay moments you mentioned: Sirius OutQ and LOGO TV "playing great gay music to a national audience," Pet Shop Boys' new album and tour, "Timbaland using Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake to invade the gay clubs" and Dangerous Muse's "The Rejection."

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Best Year Ever for...

1. Timbaland (19.9%)
2. Justin Timberlake (18.6%)
3. Panic! At The Disco (15.7%)
4. Lily Allen (11.8%)
5. Fergie (7.2%)
6. Lady Sovereign (4.2%)
7. Hot Chip (6.2%)

Beats ruled in 2006! You suggested also: Darren Hayes, Nelly Furtado, Arctic Monkeys, Lo-Fi-Fnk, Robyn, Scissor Sisters, The Gossip, Cat Power, gay visibility in the media, Jennifer Hudson, Will Young, Kylie Minogue and Imogen Heap. Some of you even mentioned Arjanwrites.com, which is just too sweet.

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What's The Most Promising New Act for 2007

1. Dangerous Muse (33.6%)
2. The Feeling (18.7%)
3. Mika (12.9%)
4. Temposhark (9.4%)
5. Lo-Fi-Fnk (8%)
6. Young Love (5.2%)

Once again, Dangerous Muse wins. Even more reason for the guys to put out a full-length record as soon as possible. Looking at some recent comments and the brewing gay-or-not-who-cares controversy, I was surprised Mika did not end higher.

You also had many, many other suggestions you wrote up: Matt & Kim, Lily Allen, Hinder, Sally Shapiro, New Young Pony Club, And The Academy Is, The Gossip, Cansei de Ser Sexy, Under The Influence Of Giants, Antigone Rising, Stefy, Emilie Simon, The Cinematics. The Fratellis, Shiny Toy Guns, Amy Winehouse, Matinee Club, Leona Lewis, Girlyman, Natalie Walker and Be Your Own Pett and many others.

Anything Else?

I also invited you to comment about music and Arjanwrites.com in general. You had some interesting and very flattering things to say. Thank you SO MUCH for all the kind words. Arjanwrites.com remains a labor of love and I'm glad you're feeling it.

Here is a selection of some of your comments:

"2006 was an okay year for music, as in the 'how many hot beats can you put in a 3 minute song' type way."

"Dance music - what a resurgence! threatening to be the new pop."

"Timbaland needs to disappear for a while."

"Music in 2006 carries the potential of pushing artists and listeners toward a new direction in musical trend and creativity, but for now, we sadly are all stuck in limbo."

"Not a banner year for pop, but Nelly breaking out was a pleasant surprise."

"Sorry, but gay music in 2006 was all about The Gossip. I think Dangerous Muse is mediocre, and if it wasn't fronted by a pretty boy, it wouldn't get nearly the attention it does. This homo loves his pizza-fanning, outspoken lesbian punk icon... Beth Ditto."

"I'd like to think 2006 is the year where, after a good five years of vapid one hit wonders and opportunistic heiresses, viable artists started taking back music. The days of the Billboard chart and the huge moneymaking corporations are chugging to an inevitable end. The good cream rises to the top."

"Arjan rawks muh sawks."

December 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (8)

Disco Friday: Meck ft. Dino "Feels Like Home"

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Meck (aka Craig Demich) had a huge smash in Europe earlier this year with his revamp of Leo Sayer's classic "Thunder In My Heart Again" (video). His much-anticipated follow up is "Feels Like Home," another pop-oriented dance tune that features the vocals of Dino Lenny. Some of you might recognize a sample of Felix' "Don't You Want Me' in the song.

The DJ and producer is no stranger to the dance music business. In fact, after working as A&R Manager for the influential Ministry Of Sound label, Meck founded Free2Air Records in 2003 that is now considered one of hottest indie dance labels in the U.K.. Its achievements include three British top ten hits with Jason Nevins, Narcotic Thrust & Mousse T and Meck's own Leo Sayer remix.

Meck puts his savvy to work on the excellent "Feels Like Home." A white vinyl edition will be released to a select group of DJs on January 1.  A commercial release of the song is scheduled of March. Consider this post a early heads up what could easily be one of the biggest dance hits in the early part of 2007.

Stream Meck ft. Dino "Feels Like Home"

December 29, 2006 in Disco Friday | Permalink | Comments (0)

My Favorite Songs of the Year

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Coming up with a collection of songs that I enjoyed most this year is not easy. Often what I like depends on where I listen to music or the mood that I am in. However, there were a bunch of songs that I kept repeating on my iPod throughout 2006. I listed them all with brief commentary after the jump.

I included links to iTunes so you can listen to each of the song, or you can download the entire collection as an iTunes iMix:

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Itunes_1 Arling & Cameron "Shake It"
Fun and frothy, "Shake It" is pop perfection. This one is in my top three for the year.

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Itunes_1 Natalie Walker "No One Else"
Haunting track by a gifted vocalist.

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Itunes_1 The Killers "When You Were Young"
Killer tune. Killer lyrcis. Killer band.

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The Feeling "Strange"

Powerful and true. This is one of the best coming out song I've ever heard. (This is not formally released in the U.S. yet.)

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Itunes_1 Van She "Kelly"
Smooth and silky '70s pop from down under.

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Itunes_1 Dangerous Muse "The Rejection"
A hard-hitting debut with a hooky, minimalist synth riff.

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Itunes_1 Kelis "Bossy"
Pure girl power. Hip hip hop.

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Itunes_1 Scissor Sisters "Everybody Wants The Same Thing"
This song reflects the essence of Scissor Sisters. Lyrically & musically.

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Itunes_1 Imogen Heap "Glittering Cloud"
Immi makes music box magic.

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Itunes_1 Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Gold Lion" 
Brilliant, swaggering post-punk tune. I say yeah, yeah, yeah to this one.

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Lo-Fi-Fnk "Steppin' Out"
Made in Sweden. Fun, accomplished do it yourself pop without pretense.

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Itunes_1 Linus Loves "The Terrace"
Feel good, instrumental dance pop.

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Itunes_1 The Infadels "Love Like Semtex"
Explosive pop rock tune by one of the best live bands I've seen this year. They desperately need some attention. Give them your love.

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Itunes_1 Temposhark "Joy"
New generation British pop music with a bite.

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Itunes_1 India.Arie "Heart Of The Matter"
Heartfelt cover of the Don Henley original. Crystal-clear, high grade studio production.

Honorable mentions:

Stefy - The Orange Album - Chelsea Stefy "Chelsea"

Shiny Toy Guns - We Are Pilots - You Are the One Shiny Toy Guns "You're The One"

Pet Shop Boys - Fundamental - Minimal Pet Shop Boys "Minimal"

The Similou - All This Love - EP - All This Love The Similou "All This Love"

Nelly Furtado - Loose - Maneater Nelly Furtado "Maneater"

The Sounds - Dying to Say This to You (Bonus Track) - Painted By Numbers The Sounds "Painted By Numbers"

The Presets - Beams - Are You the One? The Presets "Are You The One"

Motor - Klunk - Black Powder Motor "Black Powder"

Basement Jaxx - Crazy Itch Radio - Hey U Basement Jaxx "Hey U"

Young Love - Young Love - EP - Discotech Young Love "Discotech"

December 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (9)

A Personal Memory about James Brown

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I found this photo of James Brown in one of my Flickr photo albums. I took this photo of him in the press room backstage during the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City. After his surprise performance during the live telecast, he gladly took some questions from reporters.

A British reporter went ahead and asked him a couple of questions and concluded by telling him that she was a huge fan. He ended up giving her a hug and taking a photo with her behind the podium. A hilarious and memorable moment that broke unwritten press room etiquette but showed that despite his starpower Brown had a whole lotta heart for fans. He will be remembered for many things, but this is something I will not forget.

December 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jennifer Hudson Deserves Top Honors

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They say there is no business like show business. And show business has never been particularly fair. The story told in the terrific new movie Dreamgirls is a good example of that.

How ironic is it that part of the movie is now playing out in real life? The Hollywood Foreign Press Association favored Beyonce Knowles instead of Jennifer Hudson for a Best Access Golden Globe nomination. Anyone who has seen the movie knows that this makes no sense at all. Hudson clearly has the bigger part, bigger voice and bigger presence. Knowles is just so-so.

I hope the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will not budge for the Knowles family lobby when they annouce their Oscar nominations. Jennifer Hudson deserves to be nominated in the Best Actress category.

Anything less would simply be unjust.

December 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (11)