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by vivrant thang on Top 10 Songs of 2008

We’re nearing the finale of of my year-end countdown. For those just joining us, here’s what you’ve missed.

Next  up, are my ten favorite songs (plus some honorable mentions) that you’ve likely had in heavy rotation as well.

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1.Erykah Badu, “That Hump”

I was one of the few that dug New Amerykah from first listen.  There were many standout tracks for me. However, once I heard that slow, thumping bass line  of “That Hump,” I knew it was a song I would have on repeat. Many a day over the past year, I was right there with her. I look forward to what’s in store for Part 2. If you want a sneak peek you must follow her on Twitter. (And yes, it’s really her). If nothing else, you will be thoroughly entertained.

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2. Eric Roberson, “Let Me Know”

I first heard this song on the radio late one night and nearly lost my mind. Is that Erro?! I heard he had a new song out but had no idea it would have a soulful house flavor to it. It’s hard to sit still when this one comes on, as evidenced by my very shaky video of his performance this past summer. I won’t even bother to try to capture it when he comes to DC for Inauguration Weekend. I’m just going to let my hair down and follow his command and “shake it!” I hope we see more of  this on Erro’s next project.

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3. Jazzanova f/ Leon Ware and Dwele, “RockinYou Eternally”

This entire project would be on this list if I had the room. However, this remake of this 1981 classic by Leon Ware featuring Dwele drew me in from first listen. When this comes on, I have to just sit back, close my eyes and just groove. I dare to say it surpasses the original for me. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, Dwele needs to stick to guesting on other’s projects and step away from the solo material for a minute.

I would also encourage you to take a listen to Leon Ware’s new project Moon Ride. Like Al Green’sproject, it’s simply good ole classic soul that doesn’t seem dated. Both projects would make great stocking stuffers for that seasoned person in your life who is still hip but has no use for what’s on the radio.

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4. Al Green and John Legend, “Stay With Me (By The Sea)”

This was another album that you could just let play through. Classic Al, but it didn’t feel dated. That’s what happens when you get Questlove involved (who is also on Twitter here and here – and yes, it’s really him. Ya’ll better get it while it’s hot!). There were so many outstanding collaborations but there was just something about John and Al that made the perfect combination. Or maybe I’m just a big ole romantic at heart.

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5. Q-Tip, “Life Is Better”

I had about four different songs here as my top pick from Renaissance. “We Fight/We Love. ” “You.” (I had to give this one an honorable mention). “Gettin Up. ” “Manwomanboogie.” They have all been in constant rotation since I got my hands on this album. However, Norah Jones’ sound (which I wouldn’t have recognized had I not looked at the liner notes) and the hip hop history lesson made this song a must-add. However, what pushed me over the edge was re-watching my videos from the concert last month. This song just begs for live instrumentation.

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6. Foreign Exchange, “Sweeter Than You”

Another album where it was absolute agony trying to choose my favorite. This is also my album of the year.  When I saw the live performance of “Sweeter Than You,” I felt like I was transported back to the 1920s and 30s, one of my favorite eras. I could picture myself sitting in one of those jazz clubs dressed to the nines and smoking those skinny cigarettes. Phonte on the mic crooning and then the band comes in. Watch and you’ll see what I mean.

Now that I think about it, this should have been an easy choice. Sweetness has been a recurring theme throughout my year end list:  Hil St. Soul’s “The Sweetest Days” and Angela Johnson and Julie Dexter’s “How Sweet Life Is.”  Hmm…may be something to ponder for the ’09.

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7. Eric Benet, “You’re The Only One”

I’m glad Eric released this as the first single on his album. In my opinion, this is the standout track on an otherwise so-so album. This is vintage Eric, taking me back to his first two releases which still remain in constant rotation to this day. It makes me feel sexier than “Chocolate Legs”  does (although I must say his acapella version and explanation makes me rethink that statement. Hell nobody said the man couldn’t sannnng any woman’s granny panties off. No dispute about that!) Overall, this album, sans this simply beautiful song,  just didn’t do it for me.

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photo credit: tamara dulva

8. Raphael Saadiq “Oh Girl”

It was love at first listen. It’s the track I keep going back to on this album. It you don’t want to throw this on and grind real hard with your boo, something is wrong with ya! I had to include the live performance with this one because the choreography only enhances the listening experience. And looking at that picture, that is one seasoned gentleman I wouldn’t mind getting down on one knee and crooning to me!

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9. Estelle, “No Substitute Love”

Another outstanding release where it was hard to pick a favorite. I need at least one island flavored track on my list each year and Estelle does that so well. Besides, the sentiment was one I had to express a little too often this year for my taste. Here’s hoping for a better 2009 in that respect.

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10. The Roots f/Chrisette Michele and Wale, “Rising Up”

In the words of DJ Stylus, it’s plain and simple. This. Joint. CRANKS. Impossible to sit still on this one. That go-go beat, over which DC native Wale represents, is infectious. Even if you don’t get down with go-go, there is no way this track doesn’t move your body. Except if you live in Baltimore. They were stiff as hell when The Roots performed this at the show up there back in May. I can’t forget my girl Chrisette Michele who is absolute perfection on this track (come back soon!).

Very Honorable Mentions

Erykah Badu, “Master Teacher”

John Legend, “I Love, You Love”

Anthony Hamilton “Please Stay”

Q-Tip “You”

Musiq Soulchild, “SoBeautiful”

Robin Thicke “Sidestep”

Avant,”When It Hurts”

As always, share your favorites in the comments.

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