1. Nina Persson (The Cardigans) – She has the sweetest voice ever. I am fully and hopelessly in love with it. Her voice is literally what I imagine angels sing like. She has this impossible vulnerability and aura when she sings that I’ve never heard from another singer. I believe everything she sings. She’s the only singer of any sex or genre who I’m almost sure I’ve heard everything she’s done. She’s also an amazing songwriter. To this day, I will put “Lovefool” up against any pop song ever made and “And then you kissed me” up against any song ever in terms of song composition. It’s the most sad and beautiful song written in the history of mankind. I mean that.
2. Sade – Sort of the same thing I have with Nina, except kind of the opposite. Sade could sing the most tacky, tedious and contrived pop song of all time and make it sound like heartbreaking soul (see “Lovers Rock” for a good example of this phenomenon. It’s actually one of my favorite Sade songs of all time, partially because of what a terrible song it is lyrically. “You’re the lov-ers rock/the rock that I cling to in a storm/You’re the one/ I swim to in a storm/Like a lover’s rock”). Her voice is like honey. That’s the only thing I can think of to compare it to.
3. Joss Stone – My girl crush. She is, irrefutably, the most prolific singer of this generation. I’m not a fan of cross-racial comparisons, but she reminds of Patti LaBelle a lot. I just hope she hooks up with some producer who can figure out how to make her a superstar. I don’t even particularly like her music, I just think she’s amazing. To clarify what I mean by a girl crush - I have a crush on her, but it’s completely asexual, the way girls have crushes on each other. I just want to be her friend and tell her how amazing she is. She has the best range of any female singer since Mariah and unlike Mariah, she sings like she means it. She was also the first white pop star to feature a brotha as the leading man in her video.
4. Reba McEntire – My gay crush. Meaning I love Reba the same way gays love Cher or Mariah Carey or Madonna (gays love Madonna, right?). She is the greatest country singer of all time, bar none. But she still seems like a down-home country girl. I watched the first few episodes of The Voice solely because she was on it. She’s one of two people on planet earth I think I might get flustered around. She also kinda seems like a diva – if they have those in country music. She has a presence that you can feel without even being around her. And she made two of my favorite covers ever, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” and “Fancy.” On both of which she destroys the original versions with unforgivably reckless abandon.
5. Mariah Carey – She is probably the most talented pop singer in the history of popular music. Aretha could blow, but Mariah has a five-octave range. Six. And I will always have a special place in my heart for her because of her 1996-2002 stretch of epic hotness and her 2002-2009 decline into epic and pathetic sluttiness. Then she married the awkward kid from Nickelodeon. She is going to have the most fascinating “Behind the Music” ever.
6. Erykah Badu/Billie Holiday – They have basically the same voice and I needed an old school singer on my list. I love Erykah’s style. To this day, “Tyrone” and “Afro” are mesmerizing in some strange way. SIDE NOTE: These two having the exact same voice isn’t news to anyone is it? That British pop singer Duffy sounds exactly like Dolly Parton and for some reason no one has noticed except me. Also, Joss Stone and Patti LaBelle.
1. Tiki Barber – This list is very fluid and this douche is only on top because he’s attempting to come back and play football solely for the money. On his “farewell” tour, in his “last” season, he literally said he wasn’t motivated or excited about football anymore. Then he tried to be a reporter and from all accounts, took his giant, entitled douche personality to NBC where everyone hated him. Then he left his pregnant wife and their four children for a 22-year-old intern that he met there and is still with her. I also always hated the arrogant pomposity that he carried himself with. He was one of the Giants who thought he was better than everyone else because he played football in New (Jersey) York and always seemed to look down on black people in general. He was an easy guy to hate.
2. Peyton Manning – He’s a fake. A phony. A charlatan. I hate disingenuousness more than any other character flaw in the world and Peyton Manning embodies it more profoundly than any NFL player ever. He pretends to be this poor, aw shucks country boy who just works hard and wants to make a living. But none of that is true. He’s a pampered, spoiled, rich kid, frat boy who grew up on his father’s mansion in New Orleans and blames his teammates when things don’t go his way and puts himself ahead of the team constantly. The media never calls him on it because he’s a generally affable guy and has a good reputation. Evidence? Watch his press conference after the playoff loss to Pittsburgh in 2005. More evidence? Him walking off the field without shaking hands with that sullen “Manning scowl” when they lost to the Saints in the Super Bowl. There’s also that little sexual harassment complaint his father and his handlers made go away while he was at Tennessee. Also, he went to Tennessee and even though Danny Weurfel owned him for four years straight and he never beat Florida once, Manning was all anyone in SEC circles talked about during the ‘90s. I started him at number four on this list and just started hating him more as I wrote. Peyton Manning is everything that is wrong with America.
3. Novak Djokovic – Again, fluid list. My hatred for Djokovic started when he just gave up in the Australian Open, the only tournament he had ever won at the time. He was the defending champion and he just gave up because it was too hot. Literally, that was his reason for dropping out. Look it up. Call me old fashioned, but I refuse to support someone who can’t defend the only championship he’s ever won because the temperature is not to his liking. Then he made a shirt with a giant picture of his face and had his father wear it to his matches. Then he had the nerve to give attitude to Federer (I think it was Federer) for telling his family to shut up when they were being loud idiots during a tournament. It sickened me that he won Wimbledon and that he’s the best in the world now.
4. Terrell Owens – I never liked TO. Even when he played for the Cowboys. And it wasn’t the petulant crybaby act that he pulled on the sidelines. I’ve always supported guys who are brash and talk trash and back it up. But once he joined the Cowboys, he was never dependable. He dropped balls all the time and then complained about not getting enough passes thrown his way. Then there was the incident where he posed on the Cowboys star that I never forgot about. I will also never forgive him for driving Bill Parcells out of Dallas and robbing the Cowboys of a Super Bowl in 2007. Never.
5. Tim Duncan – I will always hate Tim Duncan. Always. In addition to being the most boring basketball player ever, in the history of the game, ever, I hate his lack of passion. He plays the game with no passion. Then all of a sudden when San Antonio was going for their second title, he developed this uncontrollable emotion during big moments. I’ve said it before, I hate disingenuousness. I also hate that look he has on his face when he plays. He looks like his mother died two days before and he’s just trying to make it through. And he plays with that same dour, sullen look on his face every game. He also seems like one of those obnoxious nerds that thinks he’s funny, but he’s rich now so he’s excommunicated anyone with the audacity to tell him otherwise from his inner circle.