2016’s Best in Music

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My favorite part of the year is here again! 2016 was a great year in music for my indie darlings and popular artists alike. As usual, thanks to Spotify, I was introduced to countless new music making geniuses, causing a great deal of stress while creating this “best of” list.

Nonetheless, I made a decision to only choose 15 songs. I don’t know how I did it, but here it is: 2016’s best songs, artists, and albums!

1. “Dans Un Autre Reve,” Brett, ModeI played this song all summer after I discovered it. Loved the EP, and I’d love to see Brett perform live in 2017!

2. “Instantané,” Paradis, Recto VersoEvery. Single. Heart. String. Every single one is sent afflutter when I hear this gem. This full length album was well waited for.

3. “Always,” HalfNoise, Sudden Feeling. I love how the instrumentals on this albums have a smidge of hopefulness in them, yet the lyrics come across a bit heart-wrenching.

4. “Belong,” Roosevelt, Roosevelt. Another full length album that was well worth waiting for. So happy I got to see Roosevelt perform live this year!

5. “Breaks,” Goldroom, West of the West. Not going to lie, I still want Goldroom to reissue this album with his vocals on all of the tracks.

6. “Baby You’re Bad,” Honne, Warm on a Cold Night. Almost saw them live, but I was in the process of getting settled in my new apartment when they came to NYC. So many great songs on the album, but this one stood out the most.

7. “Onirism,” REFLEX, Lucid Dreams. Such a quirky album. If you’re looking for a good Balearic/House band, look no further.

8. “Coast to Coast,” Satin Jackets (ft. NTEIBINT), Parnorama Pacifico. Satin Jackets blew me away with this album. Those beats hit deep.

9. “All Over You,” LEISURE, LEISURE. The most laid back band with the most laid back album of 2016. Guaranteed.

10. “Public Radio,” TW Walsh, Fruitless Research. I feel like I’ve been transported to the 1970s whenever I listen to this album. Love the distortion on this track specifically.

11. “Knew Better / Forever Boy,” Ariana Grande, Dangerous Woman (Deluxe). This “Dangerous Woman” told ’em like it is.

12. “House on Fire,” Sia, This is Acting. I remember coming down with a cold while listening to this album at work. Played this album on repeat while getting better (thanks Sia!).

13. “Somebody Else,” The 1975, I Like It When You Sleep… So many different emotions on one album. The 1975 is just too many vices not to enjoy.

14. “Go!” M83 (ft. Mai Lan), Junk. I was really sad about this album not having Morgan Kibby on it, and the title didn’t calm me until I heard it in it’s entirety. Loved Mai Lan’s vocals, and I hope she works with M83 again soon.

15. “There’s No Need,” Empire of the Sun, Two Vines. “I think I said goodbye to [2016] tonight…”

Here’s to 2017!

2014’s Best in Music

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2014 was another amazing year for music. So many new artists came onto the scene and killed it! This year’s list includes not only albums, but EPs and official motion picture soundtracks as well. And, of course, Taylor Swift’s 1989 would be on this list under the song “Wildest Dreams,” but she pulled her music from Spotify and I don’t want any holes in the playlist.

In no particular order, here are my 25 picks for the best songs, albums, and artists of 2014:

1. “I Should’ve Guessed” ft. Speak, RAC, Strangers Part II: There’s just something about that light pizzicato in the chorus. It gets me every time.


2. “Speeding,” LIGHTS, Little Machines: LIGHTS, we don’t want you to stay still. Keep speeding, girl.


3. “Mind Over Matter,” Young the Giant, Mind Over Matter: Don’t shake the world too hard now, Sameer Gadhia.


4. “Are You What You Wanna Be?,” Foster the People, Supermodel: Questions to ask yourself in the new year…

5. “I Want It All,” Karmin, Pulses: Amy and Nick need to go elope already.

6. “I Need You,” M83, Divergent: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: So many amazing songs on this soundtrack, and M83 did fantastic job with this ballad.

 

7. “Freakin’ Me Out,” The Ready Set, The Bad & The Better: The song itself won’t freak you out. I promise.


8. “Feelings,” Maroon 5, V: I’ve got some feelings about Adam Levine’s falsetto…


9. “Dust Clears” ft. Noonie Bao, Clean Bandit, New Eyes: This song was my alarm tone all summer. Noonie Bao adds some serious sass to this tune, and I just can’t get enough!


10. “Runaway,” Ed Sheeran, x: Just don’t run away without releasing and ÷, Teddy.

11. “Happy Little Pill,” Troye Sivan, Happy Little Pill: Mr. Sivan, you’ve done your fans proud, YouTube and beyond.

12. “Stay With Us,” Seoul, Magestic Casual 2: As long as Majestic Casual releases another mix album, I’ll stay. Keeping a close eye on Seoul as well!


13. “Run-Time,” Imogen Heap, Sparks: Imogen Heap can do no wrong.


14. “Together” ft. Gwen Stefani, Calvin Harris, Motion: Honesty time. Every time the bridge comes around I fall into a state of utter bliss and whisper, One day…”.


15. “Simple and Sweet,” Jon Bellion, The Definition: Jon Bellion was a very pleasant surprise this year. He’s got a very nice balance between philosophical and impulsive creativity on this album.


16. “Roses,” Angus & Julia Stone, Angus & Julia Stone: Hearing “Roses” for the first time made my heart skip a beat. Indietronica! YES, PLEASE.


17. “This is Not a Game,” The Chemical Brothers ft. Miguel, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I OST: It most definitely is not a game, guys. Lorde, this soundtrack is sheer brilliance.


18. “Little Bit More” – Bodhi Remix, Bo Saris, Bondax & Friends – The Mix Album: Can I just take a moment to thank Bondax and their friends for this stellar mix album?


19. “Young Love,” Jesse McCartney, In Technicolor: Jesse McCartney brought some lovely color to the music scene this year.

20. “Teacher,” Nick Jonas, Nick Jonas: My Jonas fever will never die for this one…

21. “Espoir,” Darius, Romance: “Espoir” is French for “hopeless.” Darius might be hopelessly in love, but I have high hopes for his music.

22. “Why” ft. Nate Salman, Le Sins, Michael: “Wanna go there?” Chaz Bundick and Nate Salman take you there on this track. Still trying to figure out who Michael is though…


23. “Vanilla Chocolat” ft. Connect-R, Alexandra Stan, Unlocked: This Romanian beauty took all the romance languages she could find and used them to connect with her fans on this album. All the vanilla chocolates for you, my darling…


24. “Shot Me Down” ft. Skylar Grey, David Guetta, Listen: David Guetta demanded that we listen, and listen we did. And Skylar Grey, don’t let ’em shoot you down.

25. “Two Bodies” ft. Emma Louise, Flight Facilities, Down to Earth: Emma Louise, your voice is precious. Flight Facilities, your rhythms capture the essence of life’s absurd conundrums. And Rod Sterling, thank you for inspiring the glorious intro portion of “Two Bodies.”

 

Happy New Year, everyone!

Album Review: The Ready Set’s ‘The Bad & The Better’

The Ready Set is back with some new sounds just in time for summer 2014!

The album, titled The Bad & The Better, was released today, May 27th.

The Bad & The Better is a wonderful concoction of fun, medium tempo pop beats and heartwarming ballads.

The two singles on this album are “Give Me Your Hand (Best Song Ever)” (released back in 2012) and “Higher.”

Fans of The Ready Set may have already heard the big buzz about bonus track “For the Better,” which is a song tribute to Taylor Swift and Kanye West’s feud fueled by the incident that occured at the 2009 MTV VMAs.

Jordan Witzigreuter made it clear that the song is a tribute to the country singer, as he makes countless allusions to her songs and personality.

“So take that 13 luck and find, there’s a 100 waiting in line,” he says, mocking Taylor Swift’s favorite number. For the chorus, he hones the melody of her song “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” as he sings,

Whatever, ever, ever
It’s for the better
Hey, hey whatever, ever, ever
It’s for the better.

“For the Better” even quotes Kanye’s infamous line “Imma let you finish.”

I must say, this is a clever one, Jordan. Was this the inspiration for the album title?

The rest of the album includes fun summer songs “Carry Me Home,” “Luxury,” and bonus track “More Than This.”

The Ready Set plays with some synth in “Are We Happy Now” and bonus track “Terrible Things.” The synth adds to the emotional heaviness of both songs.

The albums ballads include “Don’t You Need Me” and the very heartfelt, tear inducing track titled “Castaway” featuring Jake Miller. “I’ll step back from the doubts overtaking me. They were breaking me,” Jordan sings as the swift violin melody swings back and forth between the lyrics.

Listeners that enjoy beautifully structured lyrics, will find my favorites, “Freakin’ Me Out,” “Bitter and the Sweetness,” and “Bleeding.” Jordan’s soft falsetto mixed into the melody of these three tracks are enough to make you melt faster than an ice cream cone in the summer heat.

And of course, this album would not be complete without one weird song, “Fangz.” I don’t even know how to explain that one.

I think The Ready Set fans will enjoy The Bad & The Better. Jordan Witzigreuter put together an interesting collection of melodies for our enjoyment this summer.

Listen to The Bad & The Better on Spotify.

This Week In Music: Karmin’s “I Want It All” Music Video

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Karmin’s Amy and Nick in “I Want It All” music video

#TheSassIsReal!

Couple and pop duo Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan of Karmin are back with a sassy new hit titled “I Want It All,” featuring the jazziest of melodies.

The song features a ear-gasmic crescendo of “da da das” in the intro, which carries throughout the rest of the song as well. The chorus becomes a party when the trumpet melodies come flooding in, mixing perfectly with Amy’s voice.

In the music video, it appears that Amy “want[s] it all,” but there’s a gold plated wall blocking her from taking hold of her desires?

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Fortunately, the gold wall doesn’t stop Amy, Nick and the supporting dancers. The groove of this song coupled with the old-school jazz themed music video will make you feel like you can have it all, right there on the dance floor, even while dancing on roller skates.

Yes, the video contains roller skate dancing. No, just the dancers, not Amy and Nick, I’m afraid.

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The most interesting thing to realize about “I Want It All” is the fact that in it, Amy does not rap a single line. This could be a problem for fans who love her female rapper techniques most.

Luckily, the music video might be just what the doctor ordered.

Enjoy!

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

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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.

Album Review: Parachute’s ‘Overnight’

Today marks the release of Parachute’s new album Overnight!

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I’ve been in love with Parachute ever since a friend got me hooked on their song “She is Love.” Since then, I’ve also been hooked on “Mess I Made” and “All I Know.”

Now Parachute is back with a brand new album that I am listening to for the first time as I write this review. So, all of my opinions will be first impressions.

As soon as I heard the first song on the album, “Meant to Be,” I knew this was going to be a good album. I just love lead singer Will Anderson’s voice! The lyrics as so captivating, as he sings,

“When I found you
You could run so fast
You never really wanted love
And it couldn’t really hold you back.”

This song set the bar high for the rest of this album.

I had already heard “Can’t Help” and “Hearts Go Crazy” before the album was released. “Can’t Help” is one of those love sick songs with an addicting piano melody. I love the bell sounds in the song “Hearts Go Crazy.”

“Drive You Home” was kind of a let down for me, because the intro led me to believe that it was going to be a really slow tempo ballad, but it isn’t. I think the song would have been better if it were slower.

“Hurricane” has a bit of an R&B feel. The drum is like a heartbeat throughout the song. I don’t hate it but I don’t love it either. Will Anderson’s falsetto is great in this song.

I really like the beat of the song “Overnight”, the song that the album is named for. They layer some really cool beats, including the cool guitar rift and snare on the chorus. I also love it when “I should be sleeping” repeats for the bridge.

I think “Didn’t See it Coming” is the most creative and catchy song on the album. I love the talking bits, especially when he says, “And I was told don’t speak with your mouth open / But I couldn’t help it…” I also love how Will Anderson goes up the scale as he sings the word “coming” in the chorus. This song is brilliant, and will most likely be stuck in my head all night.

“The Other Side” is a sweet, slow ballad. Anderson sings “Darling don’t look back, no need to worry / I’ll be here waiting on the other side.” So heartwarming. “The Only One” is also a ballad, although the lyrics are much more powerful than “The Only One.” The chorus is so beautiful:

“Standing by the bedroom door
Staring at an empty face
I can see it in your eyes
Some things you can never change
Nothing else that I can do
While I’m waiting for the end to come
I know youre gonna walk away
But you should know that you’re the only one
You’re the only one.”

The way the word “one” echoes at the end of each chorus really gets to me.

The song “Waiting for that Call” will have your feet tapping and your head bobbing up and down. I love the slight raise of volume on some of the lyrics. Anderson even swears in this one. It was well placed, though.

“Disappear” is really heavy on the acoustics. I guess they decided to focus more on the lyrics for this one.

I’m not going to lie, I was kind of weirded out when I heard the intro for the last song on the album, “Higher.” Its a mixture of crashing sounds, combined with a church choir and a loud guitar. I kind of like it.

In general, I think this album was alright. Parachute tends to grab me with 3-4 songs every album, so I guess this time my favorites are “Meant to Be,” “Didn’t See it Coming” and “Waiting for that Call.”

Check out the album on Spotify!

Katy Perry ‘Prism’ Truck, “Roar” Single Art, and Teaser

Katy Kats! It’s time for The Third Coming!

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At the end of July, Katy Perry announced the release of her third studio album Prism.

Up until its release on October 22, 2013, the golden Prism truck will be touring the United States.

If you find the truck she might retweet you!

I cannot wait until it gets to New York!

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This week, Katy Perry released the single art for her single “Roar” and two teasers titled “Burning Baby Blue” and “The Third Coming.”

“Roar” will be released on August 12th, and UK fans can already pre-order the track here.

The teasers speak for themselves. Katy Perry’s symbolic rendition of her separation from the old sound fails to disappoint with the burning of her signature blue wig and a funeral service.

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“Roar’ Single Art

I just love how she chuckles when the camera focuses on her during the funeral in “The Third Coming.”

So mark your calendars, Katy Kats! She’s coming!

August 12th: “Roar”

October 22nd: Prism

And don’t forget to tweet your photos of the golden Prism, coming to a city near you!