Morning Countdown #4 (4/30/09)

Cowon IAudio S9 32 GB1) I’m So Excited – Le Tigre
2) I’ll Be There For You – Bon Jovi
3) Feed the Tree – Belly
4) One Evening – Feist
5) I Think I’m In Love With You – Jessica Simpson

BIG NEWS in Tommyland. I’ve made my first major purchases of 2009. First, I got myself a new tennis racket: the Dunlop Aerogel 300 (200,000 Korean Won=roughly $160). I had read it being recommended on the Tennis Warehouse forums, especially for people with one-handed backhands, and I thought it would help my game, which seemed to have plateaued for a while. Also, it’s the racket of choice for Tommy Haas and Tommy Robredo, so I thought I’d make it a Tommy trio.

After two weeks of playing (I play about three hours every Sunday before heading off to choir practice), I can tell you that it was worth every penny. The racket is considerably lighter and feels a lot more manageable than the Babolat Andy Roddick Pure Drive I had been using. The Babolat was heavy and powerful, but it’s hard to make quick adjustments with it when you’re caught off position. The biggest difference has come from my backhand drive, which feels a lot more consistent and secure. I needed more control (a la Janet Jackson), and that’s what I’ve got. Thank you, Dunlop.

The other major purchase was the newly released 32 gb model of the Cowon IAudio S9 MP3 player. I’ve been using it for the last week or so, and we’re in a musical honeymoon, I’m happy to say. My Sony Walkman was an excellent player, but it had one serious oversight: no on-the-go playlists. Not only does the S9 have no such problem, its sound is also considerably better than the Sony Walkman. It is, simply, the perfect player as far as I’m concerned.

Why? Oh, let me count the ways. Heavenly sound (I personally use the BBE VIVA setting). On-the-go playlists. Supports folder/file browsing. Amazing video screen, and the videos I had on my Viliv PMP worked on my S9 without any conversion necessary. Customizable UI, and I have to give a big shout-out to Claw from http://www.iaudiophile.net whose UI takes care of Cowon’s few oversights: no auto-resume & can’t erase the Favorites list with one click. The man is a genius.

This was the first Morning Countdown delivered by the S9, and it was actually a great batch of songs made even greater by the fantastic sound. Le Tigre got my morning off to a great, peppy start with “I’m So Excited.” The Pointer Sisters sang it as a declaration of female sexuality and liberation, but Le Tigre is all about fun, fun, fun, without worrying about ideologies and empowerment and not. In other words, the perfect start to any weekday morning.

Next came the Jersey Boys, aka Bon Jovi, and I actually whispered, “Ooh,” when “I’ll Be There For You” kicked in. I hadn’t heard it in ages, and it sounded just as good as it ever did. Bon Jovi never had the lyrical depth or subtle power of their state brother Bruce Springsteen, but they sure knew how to write killer rock choruses (something Bruce could’ve used a lot more since his “Born in the U.S.A” album).

Belly’s “Feed the Tree” didn’t seem to have aged quite as well. I remember a period when I was obsessed with the song and listened to it over and over, perhaps trying to decipher what the song’s actually about. I’m still not sure (though it’s probably kinky), but I don’t care now, and as such, the song’s lost much of its addictive power. Still a good song, though, just a bit of a letdown after the fantastic two before it (a minor Belly-flop, if you will).

Things went right back up with Feist and “One Evening.” The good thing about Feist is that while she makes gentle, easy-breezy (thanks, Cover Girl) music, she still recognizes the power of a good beat (pay attention, Norah). The song sways and carries you along on a gentle wave without ever boring you. Excellent.

Now, we’ve reached the most perplexing member on today’s list: the one-and-only Jessica Simpson. I think I’ve already confessed to having this song (and also “Public Affair”) on my MP3 player. I could say that ANY song would be made great by having the Jack-and-Diane sample, but that would be undermined by the fact “Jack And Diane” isn’t one of the John Mellencamp songs I have on my MP3 player. It’s really that there is something irresistible about a girl (perhaps not the smartest one) in glee over the fact that she’s really in love (or at least thinks she is) and willing to tell/sing it to the world. There’s something so simple and innocent about it; something that makes you smile and want to protect it. Although “I THINK I’m In Love” isn’t exactly the most emphatic declaration ever, Jessica really delivers with her vocals here (really the only time I’ve heard her conveying real emotion) and leaves absolutely no doubt what it is she’s feeling. Mock me if you must, but I can’t help myself; she wins me over.

Bon JoviThat being said, it’s not the best of this Morning Countdown. It’s a tough, tough bunch to choose from, but really, it comes down to a three-way between Le Tigre, Bon Jovi, and Feist (now there’s an image). Still, there can only be one winner (thanks, Tyra), and I’ve gotta go with Bon Jovi. Le Tigre’s got the fun kitsch factor; Feist’s got the authenticity; but Bon Jovi’s got the best of both worlds. They’re fun and campy in their own right (the tight jeans, the big hair), but they really ramped up the emotional voltage with this song. When I stood on the subway and heard Jon-Bon start wailing “I wanna be your VAAAAA-LEN-TINEEEEE,” I almost wished I smoked so I’d have a lighter to wave in the air. It’s that kind of song.

WINNER: Bon Jovi – I'll Be There For You

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