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The 42 most memorable pop music moments of 2009: Part III

December 23, 2009 |  9:00 am

POP_2009

Best reference to Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, and proof that pretension can rock: The Parisian rock band Phoenix turns to its schoolbooks for the opening song on “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” which references the hysteria that greeted Liszt in the 1800s. But you needn’t have paid attention in college to enjoy the upbeat, synth-rock rush of the tune. “From the mess to the masses,” Thomas Mars sings in “Lisztomania,” as cheerful electronic and organic sounds deftly split the difference between art and arena rock. (TM) Photo: Getty Images

Spock85 Best celebrity fannishness: Everyone knows that U2 runs with the rich and famous (as well as the Nobel-winning and the house-arrested), so the many Hollywood types in the crowd at the band’s triumphant Rose Bowl show in October were not a surprise. I was, however, slightly startled to see Zachary Quinto, stocking cap pulled down but booty fully shaking, dancing for the entire opening set by the Black Eyed Peas. He even pumped his fist. Spock, you are so 3008! (AP) Photo: Paramount Pictures

Stvincent85 Best example that early exposure to Disney classics is a good thing: Annie Clark, who records as St. Vincent, is a merciless guitarist, splitting, slicing and deconstructing brief bursts of guitar noise throughout her sophomore effort, “Actor.” But she’s not interested in rocking out. Her early 2009 release is a collection of mini-symphonies, an expansive array of digitally constructed orchestra sounds. Fantastic strings, backward guitars and dizzying harmonies can be found each of the 11 cuts on “Actor.” If it weren’t for the sometimes brutal lyrics, one might think Clark was composing for a sequel to “Sleeping Beauty.” (TM) Photo: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times



James_brown856 Best mind-bending video intersection of alternative musical universes: At first, you can’t help but suspect that clever video editing is responsible for this YouTube video of James Brown and Luciano Pavarotti teaming up on Brown’s R&B masterpiece “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” But sure enough, they really were onstage together, and odder than that, this duet marrying two of the greatest, if most disparate, voices of the 20th century works brilliantly. (Randy Lewis) Photo: Getty Images

Mary_poppins1 Best reedited movie trailer proving that music matters: Film aficionados Chris Rule and Nick Eckert created this alternative promo reel for “Mary Poppins” accompanied by music more befitting something from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. They dubbed it “Scary Mary” and it’s guaranteed to induce a whole new level of appreciation for the power of film music composers. It’s gotten almost 10 million YouTube hits. (RL) Photo: YouTube

Darryl85 Worst country song about life’s minor travails: Darryl Worley, the guy who sang the 2003 hit “Have You Forgotten?” and had the audacity to rhyme “Bin Laden” with “forgotten,” came up with another gem this year in “Sounds Like Life to Me,” which he wrote with two collaborators. The song’s narrator chastises a buddy for whining about insignificant little irritants of daily life, like the clunker car that conked out, the washer that went on the fritz, and, oh yeah, “We had to put momma in the nursing home.” Here’s hoping Worley’s kids inherit his sensitivity. (RL) Photo: Associated Press

RELATED:

The 42 most memorable pop music moments of 2009: Part VII

The 42 most memorable pop music moments of 2009: Part VI

The 42 most memorable pop music moments of 2009: Part V

The 42 most memorable pop music moments of 2009: Part IV

The 42 most memorable pop music moments of 2009: Part III

The 42 most memorable pop music moments of 2009: Part II

The 42 most memorable pop music moments of 2009: Part I

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