Tuesday, August 18, 2009

50. Jimmy Eat World "The Middle", Destiny's Child "Say My Name" (Tie)

"The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World (2001)

The earnest optimism of the lyric ("don't write yourself off yet!") and infectious melody combine to make "The Middle" a power-pop gem.

The song's total lack of profundity is the key to its charm. "Everything will be just fine," sings lead singer Jim Adkins. And for 2 minutes and 43 seconds, everything is.

"Say My Name" by Destiny's Child (2000)

"Say My Name" is one weird R&B song. It shifts styles from its straightforward chorus, to its syncopated verse, to the pitter-patter vocals of its bridge. In fact, it's a bit of a mess.

It also contains an novel, albeit paranoid, lyric. The singer is on the phone with her boyfriend, who is at an unknown location. She suspects he's there with another girl ("you acting kinda shady"). She asks that he say her name, to give away that he's talking to his girlfriend ("say 'baby, I love you'"). The song is basically a demand for him to blow his cover. It's a taunt set to music.

The song is great because it turns the traditional prove-your-love pop song on its head: the singer seems to be done with her man; all she wants is to prove herself right.

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