Monday, December 14, 2009

Playlist of the Week: Debuts!

Every week at Vertigo Shtick you will be treated to a brand new Playlist of the Week, cunningly crafted to fit a certain theme. This may be thematically designed around a certain notable date or artist, sometimes commemorative of a certain milestone (for Vertigo Shtick or for someone or something it reveres), and sometimes around something entirely random.

This week, to commemorate our launch, I felt it appropriate to string together some of the more notable debut singles (or first major singles, at least) by a few of my favorite artists. Some you'll remember like they came out yesterday, while others might elicit more of an "oh yeah!" either of excitement or unexpected remembrance. I'm sure that out of the 21 songs I've selected for you, however, you'll get an hour or two of great listening in.

As a note, this and all subsequent playlists are both free and legal for you to listen to any time and at your leisure just by stopping by Vertigo Shtick and pressing "play!" You can also pop the playlist out in a new, discreet window from the sidebar here for discreet listening at work! Enjoy...I know I am!

1. "What You Waiting For?" Gwen Stefani (Love.Angel.Music.Baby., Interscope Records, 2004)

Gwen pounced off the block in 2004 with this rollicking pre-Gaga dance smash that solidified her break from band No Doubt.

2. "...Baby One More Time" Britney Spears (...Baby One More Time, Jive Records, 1998)

Britney's first blockbuster single from her similarly titled debut album brought the soon-to-be Princess of Pop her first number one single (a feat not matched until ten years later, with "Womanizer").

3. "Crazy in Love" Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z (Dangerously in Love, Columbia Records, 2003)

Uh oh, uh oh, oh no no...what drugs did those horns take, anyway? Beyonce shook off any thoughts of Destiny's Child with the first of many blockbuster hits from her soon-to-skyrocket solo career with this unforgettable track featuring then-boyfriend and current husband Jay-Z and made us fall dangerously in love with the Houston diva.

4. "Like I Love You" Justin Timberlake (Justified, Jive Records, 2002)

The former N*SYNC lead heartthrob hit the solo scene with this George Michael-riffing, Grammy winning collaboration with Clipse.

5. "You Oughta Know" Alanis Morissette (Jagged Little Pill, Maverick Records, 1995)

The same year No Doubt danced onto the stage, a 19 year old Canadian with two dance albums under her belt took the industry (and a generation) by storm with this angry diatribe that won two Grammy awards and a massive following for an album the singer has yet to top.

6. "Rehab" Amy Winehouse (Back to Black, Island Records, 2006)

British crooner Winehouse hit it big internationally with this multi-Grammy-winning smash single from her second album, Back to Black, months before she finally said "yes, yes, yes" (and has yet to return).

7. "Fallin'" Alicia Keys (Songs in A Minor, J Records, 2001)

Hard to believe Keys was only 19 when she recorded her Grammy-winning debut album and this, its smash hit lead single.

8. "Baby" Brandy (Brandy, Atlantic Records, 1994)

While technically the second single from Brandy's self-titled debut album, this was the one included on the Grammy Awards album for the year that Brandy was nominated as Best New Artist (and a personal favorite).

9. "London Bridge" Fergie (The Dutchess, A&M Records, 2006)

Oh shit! The Black Eyed Peas songstress stomped her way onto the solo scene with this bizarre rap that showed off none of Fergie's gorgeous voice but sold over two million copies and launched her solo album toward five hit singles. (But what the heck does it MEAN?!)

10. "Pon de Replay" Rihanna (Music of the Sun, Def Jam, 2005)

Only five years ago, Rihanna could have been just another dancehall throwaway when this stomper hit the mid-2000s dance club circuit and wound up at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the reign of Mariah Carey's behemoth "We Belong Together." Obviously, she had more stashed under her um-ba-rella (ella, ella).

11. "There You Go" Pink (Can't Take Me Home, LaFace Records, 2000)

Whoa, Pink, how far you've come! Hard to believe the same songstress behind rock powerhouses such as "Sober" and "Who Knew" debuted with this single that sounds straight out of Destiny's Child's songbook.

12. "Genie in a Bottle" Christina Aguilera (Christina Aguilera, RCA Records, 1999)

Just as Britney Spears began blowing up speakers everywhere, her biggest competition arrived in the form of fellow former Mouseketeer Aguilera. The blonde faux-Latina (while of Ecuadorian heritage, Aguilera had to learn the words to her Spanish-language version of this hit, "Genio Atrapado," phonetically, since she didn't actually speak Spanish) had her true breakthrough recording the pop version of "Reflection" from Mulan, but this was her first non-Disney pop hit.

13. "Do You Know (What It Takes)" Robyn (Robyn is Here, BMG, 1997)

Along with similar top-ten hit "Show Me Love," this fabulously mid-nineties ditty signaled that the Swedish pop darling had busted over to our shores. Unfortunately, it took another ten years of label troubles and creative styling for the fully-fledged pop genius to resurface stateside, but the wait was worth it.

14. "Just Dance" Lady Gaga feat Colby O'Donis (The Fame, Streamline/Kon Live/Interscope/Cherrytree, 2008)

It's almost hard to recognize the envelope pushing dance diva in her debut single, and in retrospect the boost up from Colby O'Donis (who?) seems hardly necessary. But this club smash took the better part of half a year to catch on, climbing the Hot 100 from its debut in August to its peak atop the chart in 2009. Since then, Gaga has proven up to do anything but just dance.

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