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Chart toppers

Time to apply some of the year's best song lyrics to sports

Posted: Monday December 27, 2004 2:28PM; Updated: Monday December 27, 2004 3:53PM
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The Top Spot: Athletes' favorite Christmas toys
Truth & Rumors: Jimmy Johnson to Browns?
Lang Whitaker: Setting music to sports
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I love music. I listen to it for about an hour a day, on my way to and from work. It clears my head, gives me something to think about other than the strangers I'm jammed next to on the subway.

My favorite thing about my iPod and iTunes is the Playlist feature, which allows you to program a list of your favorite songs. And with the end of the year upon us, I compiled a list of songs from Billboard's Top 50 singles of 2004 to remind us of the biggest sports stories of 2004 (This is much like we did for Shaq and Kobe a few months ago,and we can see how well that helped those two to move on).

As Steve Jobs and Apple have urged: Rip, mix, burn. And enjoy ...

TRACK 1: Yeah!
BY: Usher (featuring Ludacris and Lil' John)
KEY LYRIC: "Owww, how you like me now, when my pinky's valued over three hundred thousand?"
GOES OUT TO: The year's No. 1 single was overplayed yet completely infectious, just three simple notes over and over. This one's for all the Boston fans, who got to see the Pats and Sox win titles in the same year for the first time ever. Those title rings probably aren't worth 300 Gs, but those memories must be priceless.

TRACK 2: All Falls Down
BY: Kanye West
"It seems we living the American dream/But the people highest up got the lowest self esteem/The prettiest people do the ugliest things/For the road to riches and diamond rings"
GOES OUT TO: The entire BALCO crew, who cheated themselves and all us baseball fans. This thing was more sordid than Fox's new show, Who's Your Daddy? Yet we couldn't look away.

TRACK 3: Lean Back
BY: Fat Joe and The Terror Squad
KEY LYRIC: "Said my [people] don't dance/We just pull up our pants and/Do the Roc-away/Now lean back, lean back, lean back, lean back."
GOES OUT TO: The guy in the Pistons jersey that Jermaine O'Neal dropped  with that sliding hook during the Brawl in Motown. Man, if anyone ever needed to lean back ...

TRACK 4: Tipsy
BY: J-Kwon
"3, here comes the 4 to the 5 to the 6/Self-explanatory, ain't gotta say I'm rich."
GOES OUT TO: The club anthem of the year goes to the man who revitalized the clubs in South Beach: Shaq.

TRACK 5: Burn
BY: Usher
KEY LYRIC: "Really wanna work this out/But I don't think you're gonna change/I do but you don't/Think it's best we go our separate ways"
GOES OUT TO: Gary Bettman and the NHL Player's Association. It was nice knowing you, guys. I'm sure Major League Soccer appreciates you leaving all that disposable cash on people's table for the taking.

TRACK 6: The First Cut Is The Deepest
BY: Sheryl Crow
KEY LYRIC: "Cause when it comes to being lucky she's cursed/when it comes to lovin' me she's worst"
GOES OUT TO: Lance Armstrong, who won his sixth consecutive Tour de France this year. The song's not particularly fitting, but it's by Lance's girl, so we do what we can. (For the record, this is the song I'd skip every time it came on. Nothing against you, Lance.)

TRACK 7: Numb
BY: Linkin Park
KEY LYRIC: "I'm tired of being what you want me to be/Feeling so faithless lost under the surface/Don't know what you're expecting of me"
GOES OUT TO: Ricky Williams, the dreadlocked rasta who flipped and went road tripping on the eve of the season, and has since turned into some kind of holistic unshaven naturalist. I'm thinking Gillette should ink him to endorse their new razor, the Cannabliss.

TRACK 8: Pieces of Me
BY: Ashlee Simpson
KEY LYRIC: "On a Monday, I am waiting/Tuesday, I am fading/And by Wednesday, I can't sleep"
GOES OUT TO: This ode to falling apart by an artist that had a national TV meltdown goes to Larry Brown and the U.S. men's Olympic basketball team. Good thing Brown benched LeBron and Amare Stoudemire, two of the NBA's best players this season.

TRACK 9: Confessions (Part I)
BY: Usher
KEY LYRIC: "I've been telling you so many lies/ain't nothing good it's all bad/And I just wanna confess 'cause it's been going on so long"
GOES OUT TO: Kobe. You know.

TRACK 10: The Reason
BY: Hoobastank
KEY LYRIC: "I've found a reason for me/To change who I used to be/A reason to start over new/And the reason is you"
GOES OUT TO: Pat Tillman. He gave up fame and riches to defend something that he decided was bigger than himself -- freedom. Thank you, Pat.

Game Of The Week

We'll stick to the holiday-related games. Here you get to drag Santa around a race track. Harder than I thought it would be.

Video Of The Week

Yahoo's UK branch has nominated their Top Ten interoffice video attachments of the year. Interesting stuff -- good for about ten minutes of not doing actual work.

Lang Whitaker is the online editor at SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com. He fully realizes he left OutKast off the playlist, and he feels badly about it.