It's time for the Semi-Demi-Hemi-Annual It's a Hit Awards! No, it's not the Grammys—for one thing, I think the last time I did one of these was two years ago. Three? Anyway, the no-prizes go to the following winners.
Best New Single by a Dead Guy: Sorry, 2Pac! Jimi Hendrix has been dead longer and recorded for less time, but he still kicks your ass for prolonged posthumous creativity, in both quantity and quality. "Valleys of Neptune" (Legacy) only sounds unfinished if you know it in advance; the song's full-bodied and crafty, like a lot of his studio work that's spent four decades streaming out, and this sounds more vibrant than much of it.
Worst Song Title of 2010 So Far: The first thing I thought when I saw the name of Balance's "Please Do Not Swagga Jack Me" (MP3) was, "Did Morrissey write this?" ("Please, Please, Please Do Not Swagga Jack Me"?) That's not what you want people to think if you're a jerkin' rapper, even one this rote. (The idea of Morrissey writing this song, by the way, has plagued my imagination for weeks.)
Biggest Oh-Come-On Moment in a Country Song: Trace Adkins spends the entire first verse of "Ala-Freakin-Bama" (Capitol) on the lamest buildup to the lamest punch line he can muster—the title. "She said, 'Where you from?'" Oh, take a wild, loud, obnoxious guess.
Best Newly Collected Outtake: Local electronic-shoegaze favorite the Sight Below, whose "Blown" was included on the Ghostly Essentials: Rarities One freebie download (http://bit.ly/cpkOuS). Baleful and ultra-minimalist, it's a severe, hypnotic ambient work that—and I don't throw this around too often—reminds me of My Bloody Valentine's "Soon."
Tongue-Twister Credits Prize: That would be for "Do You Remember," the annoyingly vague follow-up to the bland number-one hit "Down." Who's it by? Jay Sean featuring Sean Paul and Lil Jon. First of all, say that 10 times fast. Second, how much of a difference would anyone notice if this record were credited to Jay Paul, Lil Sean, and Sean Jon?
The "Who Thought of This One?" Collabo Award: K'Jon is a quiet-storm singer whose signature song is last year's lovely R&B hit "On the Ocean." Obie Trice is an old Eminem associate with a minor hit in 2003's sophomoric "Got Some Teeth." "On the Ocean (Remix)" (www.clockwork-music.com) isn't as odd as it might be, but it's still odd to hear an Obie rhyme on K'Jon's gently percolating track, even for one verse.