1) Disco Heaven – Lady Gaga
2) Missing You – Fly to the Sky
3) Cooling (Live) – Tori Amos
4) Could I Have This Kiss Forever – Whitney Houston & Enrique Iglesias
5) Always On My Mind – Elvis Presley
“Disco Heaven” started my morning off on a poppy, peppy note; it’s my 2nd favorite Lady Gaga track, behind “Just Dance.” I still can’t believe it’s only a bonus track on her album. “Missing You” is the only Fly to the Sky (Korean male duo) song on my Mp3 player. It’s a decent song, and the lead singer, Famy (not kidding about that name), can definitely sing, but Famy also recently starred in a bizarre Korean variety program where celebrities pretend to be married to each other (not as in sex, as in bickering, jealous fits, and reconciliations which involve singing to each other or possibly a peck on the cheek). His “wife” was another Korean singer, Park Hwa-yo-bi, who apparently had masochistic tendencies, as she actually LIKED the term of endearment that Famy came up for her: “Dog poop” (I am SO not kidding about this; ask your Korean friends).
It’s the 2nd time in a row that we’ve had a live Tori performance on the Morning Countdown, and this version of “Cooling” is even better than her “Landslide” cover. I’m not sure where this was recorded (it’s NOT the version on “To Venus And Back”); all I know is that it comes with an extended intro, and her vocals are just killer on this. Whitney and Enrique’s song is one of three duets from her Greatest Hits double album. All of them were solid, but strangely, none of them were hits. Last on this morning’s countdown was the King himself with his gospel-tinged take on “Always On My Mind.”
Overall, it’s a pretty strong list (though “Missing You” lags behind quite a bit), but the Final Two are Tori (again!) and Elvis. “Cooling” is one of my favorite Tori songs, and it was also my favorite song performed when I finally got to see Tori in concert in Los Angeles a couple of years back. This version is just wrenchingly beautiful. Now, let’s get to Elvis. It’s amazing how un-dated his “Always On My Mind” sounds. It’s just a great, timeless song sung by a great, timeless voice. And he doesn’t go for the slow, somewhat sad vibe that Willie Nelson opted for. Instead, he sings like he’s leading the church choir, and it just works. As great as Tori is, I’ve got to go with Elvis on this one. The difference comes down to this: Tori touches, but Elvis inspires. Long live the King.
(Very Worthy) RUNNER-UP: Tori Amos – Cooling (Live w/Extended Intro)