Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Photos of 2009

With my top 40 songs for 2009 at last posted, there is but one more list before I can wipe my hands clean of this rather loathsome year... the top photos of 2009. The Smoking Nun has kept its little Canon camera alongside pretty much 24/7 over the past 12 months and we've captured most everything seen or done. I'm ranking the top 5... and classify the remaining...

No. 1: "Morning Dew." Taken while walking down my parent's street in Lynchburg, Va., early one morning over Thanksgiving week. Drops of dew were hanging heavy on a barren tree. I realized I had only a few minutes before the sun would literally dry up the moment. I took several shots on macro, but a cropped normal setting delivered this beautiful glimpse into nature's wonder. It's been my laptop screensaver ever since.No. 2: "Eternal View." Taken in San Juan, when Donna D. and I climbed a wall and crept into this ancient cemetery, where the tombstones face the Atlantic Ocean. What a way to go.No. 3: "Bee Yourself." My final day in Southampton this summer, I walked around the nabe to capture homes and views that I knew I would miss forever—and that included walking into folks' yards (and getting nabbed twice, asked to exit once). In one yard, there were dozens of sunflowers—my favorite—growing tall and proud, and bees feeding like whores. I took more than a dozen pics, cropped, added a little more yellow, and here we are with nature's (more or less) organic beauty again.No. 4: "Goat Day To You." Donna Mae Moose and I went to the Central Park Zoo in the spring, and what a zzz it was... except for this goat, who possessed such human qualities, I swear he told me to get a haircut. Makes one dig the idea of reincarnation... this dude, at some point, must have been a kind, confident gentleman.No. 5: "Lighting The Past." With Francie and Nick in town in late spring, we took their kids to the park on the Upper West Side and at one point, I lay down on a park bench and saw this above me: two light posts, one older and more regal, but both standing tall and proud. Snap, add a little sepia and a nice contrast of old and not-as-old in NYC.More favorites... First, New York views...Live action: Above, Sertab Erener at Istanbulive; below, Kylie Minogue, Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC.Jasmine, Liz D.'s baby... Among dozens of pics of her pooches, these two are precious.Random shots that I just dig...In a gay bar one night, without wanting to make it overly pointed at any one patron. So I simply set the lens to a slow setting and... TWIST. Here's the result.My attempt at porn... Pimp in the background loads his bong, while whore shows off the goods to a potential client, then heavy editing. Congrats to subjects S and L!It's hard not to find stunning natural beauty any day of the week in the Hamptons, including some cool portraits taken at the Hamptons Classic horse show. A handful here.This, at a park along Santa Monica Pier, just by the water, in L.A. Reminded me of Hitchcock's "The Birds."And now, here at home in Brooklyn Heights.Nothing overtly artistic about this, but I love the full flame as Sidi poured lighter fluid on the grill and about set the Hamptons on fire. Ayhan in the background. It does possess a certain drama.Back where we started... Lynchburg, with two strikingly diverse views. Above, the year-round ski park at Liberty Mountain; below, L. Oppleman, which has been in biz downtown for about 500 years. I was struck by the fact that not only does the exterior look dated, but there's a car that coulda been a Ford Maverick from the '70s parked in front, along with a coupla timeless hoods. Moment in time.
Hamptons, Part Deux.And finally... ah, big sigh... This picture represents many Fridays during 2009 (and two years preceding). It's our weekly Lunacy@Lunasa gathering, with good friends and allies, ever a guidepost, no matter how bleak things may seem to be. Raise a glass, laugh a lot and go home with a fucking smile. The crowd ebbs and flows, but no matter who shows up, that is the greatest collective snapshot of the year. Amen.

Dave Barry's Take On 2009

Some delicious quotes from Dave Barry:

It was a year of Hope—at first in the sense of "I feel hopeful!" and later in the sense of "I hope this year ends soon!"

BAD NEWS: The downward spiral of the newspaper industry continued, resulting in the firings of thousands of experienced reporters and an apparently permanent deterioration in the quality of American journalism.
GOOD NEWS: Windows 7 sucked less than Vista.

MAY... the finale of American Idol produces a shocking outcome that sends shock waves of shock reverberating around the planet when the winner turns out to be—incredibly—that guy singer, whatshisname, despite the fact that the overwhelming favorite was that OTHER guy singer.

JULY... when Sarah Palin unexpectedly announces that she will not complete her term as elected governor of Alaska, explaining, in a prepared statement, that she has a hair appointment. Asked by reporters if she plans to seek the Republican presidential nomination, she replies, "You leave my personal life out of this."

And Jibjab's take... my god, it really was a ridiculous year, wasn't it?

2009 Taylor Top 40

For the first time since the early 1980s, I spent little time during the year searching out my own singles, scanning the world charts and creating signature hits for my monthly playlists. In fact, for much of 2009, those usually overflowing playlists were actually combined, a la July/August, September/October, because I was simply... bored with much of what I found. See full analysis below the 40. Enjoy!

1) Battlefield—Jordin Sparks
2) Is It True—Yohanna
3) Bad Romance—Lady GaGa
4) Ask—Sertab Erener
5) Only Yesterday—Emre
6) Party in the USA—Miley Cyrus
7) I Dreamed A Dream—Susan Boyle
8) Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)—AR Rahman & Pussycat Dolls
9) No Surprise—Daughtry
10) Paparazzi—Lady GaGa
11) Hang on Sloopy—McCoys
12) 21 Guns (Radio Edit)—Green Day
13) Already Gone (Radio Edit)—Kelly Clarkson
14) At Seventeen (Live)—Celine Dion
15) Camouflage—Karine Hannah
16) Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo—Rick Derringer
17) Stuck With Each Other—Shontelle
18) You Never Know—Wilco
19) Heart On My Sleeve—Michael Johns
20) I Will Be—Leona Lewis
21) You Blow Me Away—Jill Gioia
22) Light On—David Cook
23) This Universe—Tina Arena
24) The Climb—Miley Cyrus
25) Poker Face—Lady GaGa
26) Something More Than Sideways—Karine Hannah
27) My Life Would Suck Without You—Kelly Clarkson
28) Bitch Slap—Jill Gioia
29) It Might Be You—Tinatin
30) What About Now—Westlife
31) My! My Time Flies!—Enya
32) Shining Light—Annie Lennox
33) Fuck You—Lily Allen
34) It's Alright, It's Okay—Ashley Tisdale
35) On My Darkest Night—Nick & Jade
36) Lovebug (Chuck Taylor mix)—Jonas Brothers
37) La Voix—Malena Ernmann
38) If Today Was Your Last Day—Nickelback
39) Haven't Met You Yet—Michael Buble
40) Looking for a Hero—Lauren Waterworth

It's a wrap! Jordin Sparks took the 2009 lead by mid-year with "Battlefield," and never let go of her tenacious grip; as did No. 2 "Is It True," from Yohanna, the runner-up at this year's Eurovision Song Contest—co-written by Tinatin, who appears herself this year at No. 29 with an unreleased cover of "It Might Be You." At No. 3, I eat plenty of crow; after making fun of Lady GaGa for much of the year, not only does she pop in with "Bad Romance," but she's the only act with two songs inside the top 10, with "Papparazzi." "Poker Face" also owns No. 25. What can I say? When I'm wrong, I'm real, real wrong.

A number of longtime favorite artists mark visits in 2009, as well. Celine Dion's only entry inside the top 40 is a live cover version of "At Seventeen," while Tina Arena and Westlife, who have also scored year-end No. 1 songs, return.

Karine Hannah, who has scored year-end top 20 appearances for the past five years running, maintains her indefatigable momentum, commanding Nos. 15 and 26, both songs produced by Ayhan Sahin—who also stands behind No. 5's Emre, two entries from Jill Gioia, and Nick & Jade. Others making multiple appearances, in addition to GaGa, Hannah and Gioia: Miley Cyrus (I'm so ashamed) and Kelly Clarkson.

Best New Artist? By default, it's gotta be Lady GaGa, but that's by the numbers alone... Do I believe she'll be smacking out the same indelible hooks two albums from now? In a word: Rihanna. (That means forget it.) Best Album: Nope. None. Not a single full collection enamored me enough this year to want to hear a dozen songs from anyone. Obviously, that's why iTunes is now the nation's largest music retailer.

Worst act of the year? Oh, now that's easy. It's not the first time I've awarded this distinction to Black Eyed Peas. The No. 1 song of the year on the national charts was "Boom Boom Pow," one of the worst loops I've ever heard called a "song." Their endless assault throughout the year peaked on the American Music Awards, where Grandma Fergie once again proudly proved to the world that her only perceivable talent merits dollars bills between body parts. Ew.

And there you have it! Ear's to a mighty 2010...

Videoclips, for the top 5, if you please: