Well… the best way to start the year off right is to remember the ups (and downs) of the year just past. So here’s my take on the songs. I’d put them in order… but I can’t play favorites… so here goes…

Justin Timberlake – SexyBack
There was just no escaping this song. JT came back, sounding just like JC Chasez, and knocked it out of the park. This song had a hot beat, easy to swallow lyrics, and Timbaland, 2006’s golden boy.

Nelly Furtado – Maneater
While ‘Promiscuous’ & ‘Say It Right’ have been getting all the attention this dancey little number sounded like nothing else out there this year, but still right at home with all the other great songs. This was the lead single in Europe and I’m still jealous that they got it first. It never got quite the right attention in the US, but it & ‘Say It Right’ are my favorites on the album.

T.I. – Why You Wanna
My love affair with rap music has a distinct ebb & flow. I respect the art, but I can’t stomach all the recycled beats and sound-a-like business going on. This song was a breath of fresh air. T.I. rides a hot little sample of Crystal Waters’ classic ‘Gypsy Woman’ with respect and swagger. If you’re ripping off other people’s songs, at least do it right.

Pink – Dear Mr. President
Pink came back this year. Very few people noticed. ‘Stupid Girls’ got old real quick, but then I heard this song. This is the one that made me run out and buy the cd. A great government bashing acoustic guitar ballad. Don’t expect to hear it on the radio anytime soon though.

Beyonce – Ring The Alarm (Freemasons Club Mix)
I had a hard time picking which Bouncey track did it the most for me this year. I picked this one because I’m shamed by my initial ignoring of it. I was very disappointed by the ‘masons mix of ‘Deja Vu’ and ‘Ring The Alarm’ wasn’t getting much airplay. So I didn’t worry about seeking out the remixes. Shame on me… they worked this song a new asshole. In a good way.

Christina Aguilera – Ain’t No Other Man
I think I’m a little tired of this song by now… but what a breath of fresh air. It didn’t sound like anything else and harnessed everything Xtina was promising with her new album and didn’t really deliver. I’m hoping she releases ‘Candyman’ though, so that can be on the list next year!

Fergie – London Bridge
There was slew of slutty songs this year. Fergie beat out ‘Promiscuous’ and ‘Buttonz’, because the beat was hot, they cursed a lot, and well… I’m a sucker for London references. The beat was SICK tho!

Jamelia – Something About You
Jamelia was my new discovery from across the pond this year. This was the lead single for her sophomore album and I fell in love immediately. It’s like Kelly Clarkson with out the manufacturing. It’s just light luscious pop. And it beat out her second single ‘Beware of the Dog’ because Rihanna did a better 80’s synth anthem rip-off with ‘SOS’.

Rihanna – SOS
Rihanna was in trouble. Her debut launched the monster hit ‘Pon De Replay’, but nothing else on it was really singleworthy. So they rushed out the follow-up album. And they lead the project with ‘SOS’, which could have been risky with such a distinct 80s/dance feel to it. Luckily it took off, and was one of the bigger summer anthems. A special nod to the Jason Nevins remix, as it made a prime cut of dancefloor filler even juicier.

Natasha Bedingfield – Unwritten
Probably the most POP pop song on the airwaves this year. And the first British woman to hit #1 in the US since the 80s. Natasha has made some surprising waves in the US and I hope her second album continues her popularity in the US. Just so long as she doesn’t eclipse my dearest Kylie.

Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
It is so rare that one of those songs I hear getting really popular in the UK simultaneously gets popular in the US. Mostly because your average American has no taste in music. However this song blew up this year and became so popular that now I’m tired of it.

tie: Rapture – Get Myself Into It/Men Women & Children – Dance In My Blood
Dance rock will probably never really catch on in the US. It’s barely catching on in the UK. However I’m really enjoying everyone who’s trying. With bands like the Killers and the Bravery ditching the synth sounds of their debut for more (yawn) organic sounds, bands like Under the Influence of Giants, Rapture, and Men Women & Children are still keeping the guitars and the drum machines united. These two were my most favorite out of all that I’ve heard last year.

Madonna – Get Together
Here’s my take on Madonna. I’m so pleased that she is still putting out music when most of her 80’s contemporaries are out to pasture (koff.. I’m talking to you Michael & Janet). Not every album is perfect from start to finish (but then again… most of her albums haven’t been), but no matter what, there’s still a few perfect songs on there. After ‘Hung Up’ last year, this one is my next favorite song on the album. While some songs like ‘I Love New York’ sound like Lourdes and Rocco collaborated with Mommy, ‘Get Together’ was brilliant in it’s simplicity. Also a great remix package on this one… not a dud in the bunch!

Scissor Sisters – Don’t Feel Like Dancing
The Sisters came back!!! Hooray. A perfect single for them. Fun, nostalgic, unique. The Elton influence was palpable, but worked for them. Also enjoyed the Linus Loves remix for making it just a little more dance-able.

Panic! At The Disco – I Write Sins/The Only Difference Between Martyrdom
So they blew up with the “closing the goddam door” song, but their strength was really in the album cut, “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom & Suicide Is Press Coverage”, which was a brilliant punk/emo song with a heavy taste of techno to it. Great fun, and I’m so proud of some little band whose cd I picked up on a whim at Target for $7, and then they blew up.

Mary J Blige & U2 – One
Mary J has a knack for only picking the covers that suit her best and damn if she didn’t knock this one out of the park. An unlikely pick for the Queen Of Hip-Hop/Soul, But the control in her voice and still packed with emotion, almost has me saying U-who?

Sooooo… those were the highlights for me. I’m saving the low-points for another post… since this one is already long enough… But I’ll close with what I’m looking forward to in 2007:
Kylie Minogue (live album, new album, live DVD), Tori Amos (new album & tour), Cyndi Lauper (new album & True Colors tour – it’ll be like a gay Lilith Fair), Nelly Furtado (is she going on tour or what!?), Sophie Ellis Bextor (new album), Fallout Boy (their new single sounds very promising). And there’s rumors of Bjork being in the studio, and hope that Lil’ Kim will get off her ass as well.