Friday, January 02, 2009

This is your moment, here in the spotlight

Before we get to my favorite singles of 2008, let me go over some of the guidelines and restrictions. The rules are basically the same as last year, though I've had to elaborate or expand on some things to deal with new situations.

1.) The single must have been released as a single for the first time in 2008. In other words, not only are these singles, singles that were re-released in 2008 or released in a new region don't count, even if I didn't discover them until this year. By the same token, songs from 2006 albums that were 2007 singles are eligible, though I think they kind of suffer in the ultimate rankings just from having been around so long.

2.) Songs that were, however, a brand new release of a reworked version of a song do count, as long as that reworking and release were not just an attempt to re-launch a recently released single or part of the extension of the single's release to other regions. To illustrate via example, September's "Cry For You" would NOT be eligible due to being a single release in Sweden in 2006, despite being remixed, but the Sharam and Daniel Bedingfield release "The One" (a dance version of "If You're Not The One") would be eligible (though it's not actually on the list)--it's not a release that's simply part of extending a previously released single into a new region or a re-release of a single previously released for buzz.

3.) What to do with EPs gave me a little trouble, but I ultimately reached this decision: in order for a song on an EP to be eligible as a single in 2008, there must have been some promo effort that went into promoting the song as a single in 2008 but not in a previous year. That effort could be artwork, a video, or something else, but I have to feel like an effort was made to push that song as a single and not just to push the whole EP package. The implications of this are that Isabel Guzman's "Mysterious," on an EP released in 2008, is eligible since the video for the song was released this year, but, say, Frankmusik's "3 Little Words" is also eligible this year since, despite being on an EP released in 2007, the song wasn't pushed as a single until 2008--as far as I know, both versions of the video came out in 2008, not 2007.

4.) Likewise, I have to feel that the single actually did receive some sort of promo push and wasn't just a mindless continuation of single releases in some territory not native to the artist. That probably sounds pretty vague on paper, so here's an example: Shayne Ward's "Damaged" received radio play in a few countries, including South Africa, but as far as I can tell no real effort was made to push the song there--the label probably just said "this is the new single, tell the South African radio stations" and then didn't do anything else there. If he was a South African artist, that would be enough, but something about the casualness with which the whole thing happened makes me think it wouldn't be fair to count singles with this little thought behind them.

5.) The single must have been commercially released in 2008. The beginning of promotion in 2008 doesn't make a single eligible, so Girls Aloud's "The Loving Kind" cannot make the list, much as I want it to. This rule also disqualifies songs like V-Factory's "Love Struck" and Paula DeAnda's "Stunned Out," both of which would otherwise have made the list--they may be available to listen to on MySpace, but you can't buy them anywhere yet. If the song is commercially released as part of an album in 2008 and promotion began in 2008 but it has a defined single release that will be taking place in 2009, it counts as a 2009 single. If there is no defined single release date and the song is part of an album released in 2008 with promotion having begun in 2008, then it counts as a 2008 single.

6.) This is a list of my favorite singles of 2008, not the best singles. I say this not only as a way of emphasizing that it's all a matter of opinion but mainly because I actually would make a different list for the latter--there are other songs I see as better achievements in music, other songs I would turn to when trying to convince people to look beyond the U.S. music scene. As a result of being a list of my favorites, there will be a lot of "I" usage going on--I may very well spend a whole entry describing my reaction to a song without saying very much about what the song itself sounds like.

7.) This list is hugely arbitrary--I could easily switch songs around in it, though I'd like to think that generally there are various "levels" which are fairly accurate--and probably missing loads of songs I won't find out about until later in 2009.

8.) I will be posting more than one song a day. These posts will also serve as my mp3-oriented posts. I won't be posting mp3s for every song on the list; the songs may be so well-known that there's no point to it, I may feel like I've shared that song recently enough that there's no point in sharing it again, etc. Sometimes, the mp3 I post in association with a song may not be the song I'm writing about but another track from the artist that I feel is worthy of note; it could also be a remix, cover, or something else.

9.) Songs from national finals for Eurovision 2009 that have already begun to take place (for example, in Albania) are not eligible for 2008, as often songs will undergo some tweaking before Eurovision should they win their national final; these songs will be eligible for 2009.

10.) Each post should have a "find it on" section linking you to somewhere to buy a physical copy of the song or, if I don't know of such a place, somewhere to buy a digital copy (the "find it on" won't necessarily refer to the mp3 posted in association with each post, but rather the main single being described).

Some general statistics (though I may end up altering the chart as I go):
  • There are 102 singles on the list. This isn't really a good cut-off point because the songs that just missed out are going to haunt me, but I really couldn't justify subjecting you all to more than that. Heck, it's probably too much as is.
  • 11 artists appear more than once on the list.
  • 24.5% of the songs are American (based on the artist).
  • 25.5% of the songs are Swedish.
  • 16.5% of the songs are British.
  • 23 countries are represented.
  • A plurality are based on a male lead vocal.


Yuяi said...

Cool! I must commend you for your discipline in advance. It's hard enough to rank your faves, but to abide by lots of rules, it just makes it even harder.

Can't wait to see them start rolling out. :)

Laura (EuropeCrazy) said...

Happy new year PPG!!!!!

I'm looking forward to your top 102. I love these year-end charts and I just know that yours will be one of the best :))))

Poster Girl said...

Thanks for the interest, Yuri! Yeah, it looks like an intimidating set of rules, but it's really just for my own purposes, not something I expect other people to be interested in--if I don't try to provide some structure for myself, there would be SO many eligible songs.

Aww, thank you! Happy new year to you, too :D