Morning Countdown #9 (6/5/09)

AkonToday’s a holiday! Well, not technically, but it’s one of the random days off bestowed by my school throughout the semester (I think it’s to make sure all school years have the same number of days in session). It’s much, much appreciated, especially as I’ve been fighting a cold all this week. Of course, it hasn’t helped that the whole swine flu situation has been major news for the last couple of weeks. One major English hagwon chain closed all classes at several branches after a couple teachers were found to have it. But I’m confused as to how to tell apart a case of swine flu from a case of standard, non-swine-related flu. I asked some people what the symptoms of swine flu were, and the answers were basically fever, coughing, and fatigue. Hmm, and this would be different from regular flu HOW, exactly??? Anyhow, I’m feeling a lot better, thank goodness. So on with the Countdown!

1) Love Me Tender – Elvis Presley
2) Diamond Girl – Nice & Wild
3) Ghetto – Akon
4) Always Come Back To You – Ryan Cabrera
5) Surprise Surprise – Celine Dion

The countdown starts with Elvis’s lullabye love song, “Love Me Tender.” It’s beautiful and sweet, but the song is a bit too measured, too perfectly pristine to make the same emotional impact that “Always On My Mind” (Winner of Morning Countdown #2) did. Still, you gotta love that voice.

Then it’s time for some 80’s freestyle with “Diamond Girl.” My brother loved this song, and it’s insanely catchy and highly annoying all at once. It also sounds a little bit dated now, so here’s hoping someone (Frankie J?) does a remake soon.

The third song is “Ghetto,” by far my favorite Akon song. It’s laid-back, but still lays down a smooth groove, and it’s one of the songs that make me wish I had a car in Korea, because you know it would be a great song to drive to in the middle of the night. It’s hard to mix a picture of despair with a killer beat and make it believable, but Akon makes it all flow naturally.

Ryan Cabrera sings the next song, the sweet pop rocker, “Always Come Back To You.” It’s very catchy, and it’s actually got a sensitive singer-songwriter sound all over it, rather surprising since it turns out Cabrera’s an MTV reality star who dated Ashlee Simpson for a while. Still, it’s all about the music, and I’m not sure what he’s doing now, but he’s definitely got some talent.

And the final song comes to us courtesy of Unassuming Diva Celine Dion. “Surprise Surprise” finds Celine channeling her rock goddess side, and surprise, surprise, she pulls it off with panache. It’s one of the best tracks from her “Taking Chances” album, which I really liked. Celine chose terrible singles to promote the album (the decent-at-best “Taking Chances” and nowhere-as-good-as-the-original “Alone”), which kept it from being a hit, but it really showed that Celine could handle rock ballads every bit as good as, say, Kelly Clarkson.

In the end, it’s a pretty close contest between Akon and Celine, but I’ve gotta give the edge to Akon. The song so good that it makes me think, “Oh, yeah, I FEEL that,” even though it’s all about living in a ghetto, and my family’s always pretty much been in the lower-to-mid working-class bracket (i.e. always, always worried about money, but never starving). Now THAT’S good.

Winner: Ghetto – Akon

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