2013’s Best in Music

music illustrationA lot of great art came to be in the entertainment world this year. The music industry especially saw some amazing projects across all genres. From pop/rock to indie, the albums that were produced in the year 2013 were spectacular, and have been on my Spotify playlist since the first week of their release. Here are 20 of the best albums created in 2013, along with my favorite song from each one:

1. Santa Fe,” Andrew Belle, Black Bear
Andrew Belle really blew me away with this album. His new dream pop sound is eargasmic, and I hope he sticks to it for a little while.

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2. International Smile,” Katy Perry, Prism
Prism was a mixture of sentimental Katy and fun Katy, her wild side tamed to a bare minimum. The upbeat tracks on the album are a blast to listen to.

3. Deja Vu,” Urban Cone, Our Youth
Thanks to the MTV VMAs, ever since “New York” played during the award show commercial break, Our Youth is one of my most played albums of the month. Their relaxed alternative vibe is definitely one to tune into.

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4. Fashion!,” Lady Gaga, ARTPOP
What would Lady Gaga be without  her fashion?! ARTPOP is a giant koons ball of a treat for the Little Monsters.

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5. Rooting for My Baby,” Miley Cyrus, Bangerz
The most talked about celebrity of the year managed to blow up during the second half of 2013 with her VMA performance and raunchy music videos. Had a bad day at work? There’s a Miley song for that!

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6. “Origami,” Capital Cities, In A Tidal Wave of Mystery
Capital Cities is one of 2014’s bands to watch. Their 80s electro-pop vibe is groovy like no other.
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7. Everlasting Arms,” Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
Vampire Weekend has done it again, coming in at number one on Rolling Stones “Best Albums of the Year,” and rightfully so. Each track on MVOTC has its own unique story.

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8. Trying To Be Cool,” Phoenix, Bankrupt!
The French invasion by band Phoenix proved to be a success with the fans in New York after an amazing night at Barclay’s Center this year. Wish I could have been there!

9. “Mountains,” Yuna, Nocturnal
Yuna’s combination of sweet songbird and vibrant melodic sass come together to create a beautiful array of island paradise on Nocturnal.

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10. “Confident,” Justin Bieber, Complete My Journals
I can’t even handle how grown up Justin Beiber’s voice is on this album. It’s unreal how the little kid that once upon a time had a song called “One Time” on Radio Disney turned out to sound like this!

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11. “Instant Crush,” Daft Punk feat. Julian Casablancas, Random Access Memories
Daft Punk + The Strokes = Perfection. Have you seen the amazing music video for their latest single?!

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12. “When It Was Now,” Atlas Genius, When It Was Now
The smooth alternative rock of Australia’s Atlas Genius is “almost too much to be enough.” It really is.

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13. “Save The Day,” Selena Gomez, Stars Dance
Even though Selena is planning to take a break from singing after this year, I have to admit, despite her inability to sing well live, Stars Dance is her best music project to date.

14. “Closer Than This,” St. Lucia, When The Night
How we all long to get closer to Jean-Phillippe Grobler. The old fashioned synth of St. Lucia is so addicting!

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15. “A World Alone,” Lorde, Pure Heroine
I sometimes forget that this girl is only 17. She’s got such a bright future ahead of her. Just keep it coming with the bedroom confessionals, Lorde.

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16. “DNA,” Empire of the Sun, Ice On The Dune
“Be mine, be my DNA,” Luke Steele. Trust me, you’ll want some of it too. Everyone does. (Except for the horrified woman whose house they invaded in the music video).

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17. “Dear Boy,” Avicii, True
You can always count on Avicii to be true to his fans. This entire album is about dedication to the EDM fandom.

18. “Thunder,” Gold Fields, Black Sun
Without Empire of the Sun, Black Sun would not be on this list, because I only know of them due to the fact that Gold Fields opened for them earlier this year. “Thunder” is literally the first song I play on Spotify whenever it’s pouring rain outside.

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19. “Great Escape,” Washed Out, Paracosm
Earnest Greene, can I live inside your head? Can I be in your paracosm, as a fairy perhaps?

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20. “Rose Quartz,” Toro Y Moi, Anything in Return
The sexual tension on this album is too much for words. “I feel weak. Uh huh.”


2013 music

Here’s to a great year of music, and another opportunity for loads more in 2014!

30th Disney Parks Christmas Parade

christmas parade

Christmas magic was in full bloom over at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California.

Our hosts for the morning were the one and only Neil Patrick Harris in Florida along with Laura Spencer and Nick Cannon in California.

Of, course, Neil Patrick Harris can’t host a show without having his own little dance number, so he kicked off the morning with a routine to the song “Are You Ready for Christmas?” Before the routine, he confesses to the statue of Mr. Walt Disney that it has always been his dream to be at Disney World on Christmas, and he doesn’t want to screw it up. Walt Disney responds, “When you wish upon a star, your dreams will always come true.”

Over in California, Nick Cannon is running late, so he asks Neil Patrick Harris if he can keep singing for two more minutes. Well, you don’t have to ask that man twice!

I’m always afraid of Neil Patrick Harris hosting PG rated shows, because, as we all know, his jokes can sometimes be a bit inappropriate. However, he kept the jokes clean for the Christmas Parade.

Here are some of the funny moments from our hosts Harris and Canon:

1. When Neil Patrick Harris says to Darth Vader “Sounds like somebody’s congested!” Does he want to die?!

2. Harris dons a pair of 3D glasses to watch the floats in the parade. As if anything looks different.

3. When Nick Cannon takes a sip of eggnog and decides its “A little heavy on the egg and light on the nog.”

4. Upon the arrival of Santa Claus, Neil Patrick Harris realizes he has been replaced by Darth Vader and his crew. Clearly they’re out to get him.

5. The end of the show where Harris is on the Jingle Safari with Darth Vader and his crew. After countless lame jokes, Darth Vader manages to choke him without even laying a finger on his neck. Woah.

Parade Highlights:

1. Monsters University Cheerleaders: I can’t get over how adorable those little girl cheerleaders were in their fuzzy green leg warmers!

2. “Let it Snow” by Dove Cameron: I don’t know much about Dove Cameron, but I do know that this girl has the sassiest voice I’ve ever heard on a person of her size! Her dress was cute too!

3. “Baby it’s Cold Outside” by Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo: These two were so adorable! Jordin showed off her gorgeous curves in a long purple dress that looked absolutely fabulous. Jordin even kissed Jason on the cheek at the end. How cute!

4. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Mary J. Blidge: Mary J. was the morning’s lady in white. She sang her little heart out on stage for us.

5. “Feliz Navidad” by Il Volo: Okay, who are these handsome Italian men, and why have I never heard of them before?! Their baritone and tenor voices are crazy sexy, and I love Gianluca’s sequined blazer!

6. “Let it Go” (Frozen) by Demi Lovato: The vocals were a little flat but Demi still managed to shine on stage with her blue hair and gorgeous statement necklace.

7. Santa Claus: Father Christmas looked spectacular upon his Christmas decorated float!

8. “Deck the Halls/Let Me Love You” by Neyo: R&B singer Neyo closed out the show with a “Deck the Halls” and “Let Me Love You” medley. I think he was the only performer who actually burst a sweat up there! The dancers made the performance complete.

I hope you all enjoyed the parade, and have a very Merry Christmas!merry christmas

Winter 2013 Playlist

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The end of the year is approaching, and the frigid cold weather is coming. It’s time to gather around the fireplace with some peppermint hot chocolate! The wintertime makes for great snuggle weather, so while you’re getting all cozy, here are twelve songs to make you feel warm and fuzzy.

1. Lighting Strike, Snow Patrol: If you’re planning to drift off to sleep, this sixteen minute song is all you’ll need. The track is split into three parts: “What If This Storm Ends,” ‘The Sunlight Through the Flags,” and “Daybreak.” Part three of the song might bring you to tears with its soft vocals and heartwarming guitar rifts.
Part 1: “What If This Storm Ends”
Part 2: “The Sunlight Through the Flags”
Part 3: “Daybreak”

2. If You Want to be Used, I Am Apollo: This song is the anthem of the vulnerable. Let it remind you not to fall into just anyone’s arms to escape the cold this winter.

3. Freedom, Emma Louise: The soft synth beat of Emma Louise’s “Freedom” might make you want to get up and dance the cold out.

4. Impossible, Anberlin: Another anthem of the vulnerable, yet this one is about giving in. Anberlin knows what it’s like to feel their “teeth clench” and their “hands shake” during the winter.

5. Siberia, LIGHTS: This is the perfect song to cuddle with your special someone. The lyrics are especially cute, as LIGHTS sings “No matter where we are / Or which way the wind blows / Or how heavy the snow / Nothing can change where we will go.” There’s also a really cute acoustic version here.

6. Northern Lights, Cider Sky: The Aurora Borealis looks amazing at this time of year, so if you live in a place where they’re visible, take some time to admire them. And for those of you who can’t see them at all, let this song give you an idea of how beautiful they are.

7. The Saltwater Room, Owl City ft. Breanne Düren: We’ll all be singing along with Owl City as he sings, “I was feeling the night grow old / And you were looking so cold / Like an introvert, / I drew my over shirt / Around my arms and began to shiver violently before.” This extremely romantic song features the sweet voice of Breanne Düren.

8. Everything You’re Not, Demi Lovato: The bell sounds in the intro of this track will get you in the holiday spirit. And let Demi’s sass power you through this winter.

9. Back to December, Taylor Swift: It’s that time of year again to reminisce on what we once have, and what we’ve lost.

10. Conspiracy, Paramore: Yes, mother nature, explain this conspiracy of cold weather you’ve plotted against us.

11. Rowboat, Emily Haines: This song is especially sad, with its melancholy trumpet and piano melody. Don’t be a rowboat left in the rain this winter!

12. Canvas, Imogen Heap: Maybe we should all take Imogen Heap’s advice when she says, “The more you look the less you see, so close your eyes and start to breathe.” The winter might breeze by faster that way. And let’s all thank God that we don’t have to haul a black canvas through a winter storm.

Have a great winter, and stay warm!winter

Album Review: Jesse McCartney’s ‘In Technicolor (Part 1)’

In Technicolor Part 1

After three years of silence in the music industry, Jesse McCartney is back with his new EP In Technicolor (Part 1), out today, December 10, 2013.

For those of you who are a bit puzzled, the answer is yes, Jesse McCartney is the kid that used to look like this:

Early #BeautifulSoul album cover ideas that didn't make the cut. #TBT #Throwback

A post shared by Jesse McCartney (@jessemccartney) on

Except now he’s 26, his hair is dark brown, and his music has more of an R&B feel instead of the pop tunes he sang back in the 2000s.

In Technicolor (Part 1) is a short EP of four songs, totaling 12 minutes.

The EP begins with the introductory 1:41 track “In Technicolor (Part 1).” The first chorus hits home, as McCartney sings,

Get a job, pay the rent,
Rinse, wash, repeat do it again, oh
We all live in a black and white world
But let’s face it, while time’s wasting,
We’re all here with the same motivation,
Trying to find that someone who sees your worth.

This verse sets up the premise for the song, which is the concept of living a life with the main goal of finding someone to be with as it all unfolds. This person makes your dreary, everyday, black and white world turn technicolor.

How beautiful!

“Back Together” and “Tie the Knot” sound very Justin Timberlake, with their funky, upbeat, R&B feel, complete with trumpets and bass guitar melodies.

“Tie the Knot” features some impulsive elope-sounding lyrics. “I’m ready, you’re ready, we’re ready, been ready / Come on girl let’s tie the knot,” he sings excitedly. Is there something you’re not telling us about you and Katie Peterson’s relationship status, Jesse?

The EP concludes on a serious note with “Checkmate,” the only ballad on the album.  “You are gonna lose ’cause you chose to make the moves you make” is the lyric in the chorus that stands out the most.

It’s nice to hear Jesse McCartney’s voice back on the market again. I’m assuming there will be a part 2 to this sometime in the near future?

Please don’t take another three years to release it, Jesse!

Listen to In Technicolor (Part 1) on Spotify.