2015’s Best in Music

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Guys, my favorite moment of the year is here! I absolutely love looking through my Starred playlist on Spotify to curate my list of the best songs, artists, and albums of the year! This year’s list got pretty lengthy, so I decided to be very selective (which was almost impossible thanks to Spotify’s Discover Weekly) and cut my list down to 25.

Some fun international artists made it on to this list, as well as some artists that I’d heard in the past on mix albums and short EPs. I even got to see Trails and Ways and Neon Indian—two artists on my list below—live this year!

Enjoy my list of 2015’s Best in Music!

1. “Le Bal Des Oubliés,” Paradis, Couleurs Primaires. This EP snuck up on me. I didn’t know it existed until like three months after it came out but it’s an absolute French delight!

2. “I Give It,” Night Beds, Ivywild. Even though I can’t understand what’s coming out of Night Bed’s singer Winston Yellen’s mouth 95% of the time, the tone of his voice is just so good it doesn’t even matter!

3. “Company,” Justin Bieber, Purpose. No matter what crappy thing this boy does to worsen his reputation one thing is certain: he will always deliver good music.

4. “I Can’t Be Your Superman,” Skylar Spence, Prom King. Don’t doubt yourself, Skylar Spence.

5. “Dream About Me,” Trails and Ways, Pathology. These guys sound amazing live. You’ve gotta love a band that even lets the drummer sing lead on a track!

6. “Slumlord,” Neon Indian, Vega Intl. Night School. Psychedelic dreams, this one. I’d enroll in Vega Intl. any night.

7. “Science Fiction,” Christine and the Queens, Christine and the QueensWords cannot explain how happy I am that she decided to release an English version of this album! Also, enjoy this live performance and choreography (you won’t know what hit you at 1:08!):

8. “Light Up,” Mutemath, Vitals. I hadn’t heard these guys since the Twilight soundtrack they were on ages ago. I really hope they come out with a music video for “Light Up” at some point.

9. “Molecules,” Disclosure, Caracal. It was so hard to choose just one song that I loved from Caracal, but I went with “Molecules” because Disclosure sounds damn good singing on their own tracks without featured artists too!

10. “Me and the Rhythm,” Selena Gomez, Revival. This song was on repeat from the moment the full album was released and I regret nothing.

11. “Dopamine,” BØRNS, Dopamine. You just have to love BØRNS with his light pitch and the dopamine-like effect of his captivating lyrics.

12. “Learning for Your Love” (feat. Marcus Marr), Chet Faker, Work. This EP was such a pleasant surprise! I think Chet and Marcus should work together more often. Also, can somebody do a ballet choreography for this?

13. “Undiscovered,” Laura Welsh, Fifty Shades of Grey (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). One of the best soundtracks of the year hands down. But like, really, how awkward would it have been if this film had a bad soundtrack?

14. “FOOLS,” Troye Sivan, Blue Neighbourhood. Troye just keeps making his YouTube fans prouder everyday!

15. “Don’t Need Nobody,” Ellie Goulding, Delirium. Although I do miss her old folktronica and alt-pop sound, I don’t think this is a bad phase for her.

16. “True Believer,” Avicii, Stories. I don’t know why Avicii went that far in manipulating Chris Martin’s voice but it’s definitely laughable. So just laugh.

17. “I’m In Love With My Life,” PHASES, For Life. Such a fun song and music video!

18. “We’re Coming to You,” the bird and the bee, Recreational Love. I can’t explain the utter bliss I feel whenever I hear this song, but it is quite welcomed.

19. “The Line,” Seoul, I Become a Shade. Almost got to see them live. Seoul is such a beautiful mixture of melancholy and tranquility.

20. “The Less I Know the Better,” Tame Impala, Currents. WHERE HAS AUSTRALIA BEEN HIDING TAME IMPALA?! Gosh, they are amazeballs.

21. “I’m a Ruin,” Marina and the Diamonds, FROOT. I was shocked to find how depressing some of the lyrics were on this album but that doesn’t take away anything from its greatness.

22. “Beautiful Now” (feat. Jon Bellion), Zedd, True Colors. Beautiful now and forever.

23. “Testarossa Music” (feat. Gallant), Zhu, Genesis Series. Testarossa music? Try Testa-sexy music! Amrite?

24. “High Up,” The Maneken, Soulmate Sublime. Never in a million years would I have imagined taking a liking to a Ukrainian artist’s music, but I just love The Maneken’s accent!

25. “Spark,” Until the Ribbon Breaks, A Lesson Unlearnt. Until the Ribbon Breaks kind of reminds me of Anberlin. I can’t wait to hear what they’ve got in store for future projects!

Have a Happy New Year, everyone!

2015 Winter Chill Playlist

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So this is going up a week after winter officially started because the last few days were too warm to actually feel like winter. Up until, like, yesterday.

This year’s winter playlist was curated for those cozy moments where you just want to relax and curl up with a good book. I hereby present to you the 2015 Winter Chill Playlist—17 songs for what is probably going to be a long winter since it’s already a week behind…

1. The Boy (Spada Radio Edit), Emma Louise. Let’s start this playlist with something to warm up your cold little limbs.

2. Cirrus, Bonobo. What a melancholic delight this song is.

3. Moonrise, Zimmer. Such are the cries of winter.

4. You There, Aquilo. Time for a little bit of winter mourning.

5. Seance of Light, Jape. The soft ‘oooh’s throughout this tune are sure to relax your stirring mind.

6. Landslide, Oh Wonder. This landslide will most definitely not be bringing you down.

7. White Smoke (feat. Marina Price), Manatee Commune. Bask in the glory of winter relaxation.

8. Slow, Henry Green. Because winter can be painfully slow…

9. Corner, Night Beds. Don’t hide out in the corner all winter.

10. Divine Sorrow, Barfalk. Let’s not have the synth infused vocals on this track make us too sorrowful now.

11. Cocoa Hooves, Glass Animals. Pair this one with a cup of hot cocoa (hold the hooves) and your good to go!

12. Heartless, Kanye. “Cold as the winter wind when it breeze, yo.”

13. Snowbird, Aris Kindt. I can just imagine a bird shaking off the snow to the sound of this.

14. Out Alee, Hundred Waters. Those piano chords are sure to send chills up and down your spine.

15. Better, William Fitzsimmons. “Relaaaaaaaaax.”

16. Dawn, James Booth. Doesn’t this one make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

17. Cloud Generator, Tycho. This one is the soundtrack for the long stretch of time that passes as you wait by the window for the  clouds to generate snow.

Happy winter!

Spring 2015 Rainy Day Playlist

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Spring is here, and if you live in New York then that means you’re still seeing bits of snow from the first day of spring’s snowfall.

Unbelievable. Come on, Mother Nature. Cut us some slack here.

We all know that the coming weeks will bring us tons of rain in exchange for some beautiful May flowers. I can live with that.

Here are 17 songs to help you through the rainy days this spring.

1. Thunder, Gold Fields: Just the right mix of melancholy and perfect bliss for the spring season.

2. California Rain, Betty Who: Let the sweet voice of Betty Who soothe your soul as the rain beats on your window pane.

3. Rain, MIKA: We all hate days like this.

 4. Right As Rain, Adele: Who can resist a little bit of Adele on a rainy day?

5. Rainy Zurich, The Fray: This is the song you make out in the rain to. (You’re welcome)

6. Rainy Taxi, Spoon: Give the rain a bit of mischief with this cowboy espionage induced track.

7. It Will Rain, Bruno Mars: Don’t worry, the rain will never leave us. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not but hey, the plants gotta drink too, right?

8. Netzwerk (Falls Like Rain), Klangkarussell: “You only see the stars when they fall like rain.”

9. Umbrella, Rihanna feat. Jay Z: This is the one and only rainy day classic you’ll ever need.

10. When It Rains, Paramore: I present to you the tearjerker on this playlist, courtesy of the members of Paramore.

11. Raindrops (Radio Edit), SNBRN feat. Kerli: Any rainy day’s a party with this one.

12. Before The Storm, Jonas Brothers feat. Miley Cyrus: Let’s relive some Jonas Brothers magic and Miley Cyrus sanity, shall we?

13. Thunder, Boys Like Girls: Will this always be your thunder?

14. Rainy Girl, Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness: What girl wouldn’t want to get stuck in the rain with a guy this romantic?

15. Come Clean, Hilary Duff: Oh, you’ll definitely be clean by the time summer comes.

16. Rain, Astronaut: Are you gonna wait for the rain to come?

17. A Year Without Rain, Selena Gomez: We’re all gonna feel like we’ve gone through a drought once the temperatures get hot, dry and unbearable in June!

 

Happy spring 2015!

 

6 Things I Learned from My Spotify #YearinMusic

Music junkie that I am, I decided to check out my year in music using Spotify. The results were curated in a pretty cool infographic, which included data about my most played artists, songs, playlists and more using the data collected from the listening habits on my Spotify account.

It was quite the education lesson, I’d say. Here are six things I learned.

1. Apparently I’m into a genre called “Metropolis.” Um, that’s a thing in music-land?

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2. I played the daylights out of RAC, Young the Giant’s Mind Over Matter and Goldroom’s Endless Summer playlist. My ears affirm this algorithmic discovery.

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3. I don’t know how Prince managed to sneak into my fall listening cycle… #ThisShouldntBeUsButHePlayin’

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4. “I Should’ve Guessed” is like, the biggest eargasm in my Starred folder on Spotify. Literally music to my ears.

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5. My music life was empty without Spotify Premium. Now I can listen on the subway all the time! (Until my three months for $0.99 is up in March :/)

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6. Apparently this is how I got over the fact that the weekend was over. Seems legit.
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Spotify also curated a playlist to drool over in 2015. Nothing really stood out to me on it, but I appreciated the opportunity to learn about some new artists!
Screenshot 2014-12-21 at 9.02.40 PMThank you for being a friend, Spotify. My ears are your biggest fans!

Rock out to my Play It Forward playlist in 2015: 

View your #YearinMusic here.

Winter 2014 Hibernation Playlist

Looks like the animals won’t be the only ones hibernating this winter.

Today is the day I walk across the stage with Hofstra pride to accept my Bachelor’s degree in journalism. And after today I’ll be catching up on all the sleep I’ve missed over the passed 16 years for waking up early to go to school.

Here are 14 dreamy tunes for you to fall asleep to this winter.

1. Feel It All Around, Washed Out: This track is a category five chiller. It’s so chill, you can even feel the winter chillwaves “all around yourself.”

2. The Zone, The Weeknd ft. Drake: These two will put you in the perfect zone to sink your head into that pillow and drift off onto cloud nine.

3. Tendency (Satin Jackets Remix), Estate and Liquid Pegasus: You have a tendency to fall asleep when you’re not supposed to, but this track will make you fall asleep when you need to.

4. Glowing in the Dark (Remix), Cider Sky: This song has the perfect bell-sounding synth to lull you right to sleep.

5. Mess I Made, Parachute: So you’ve made a mess of your sleep schedule. It’s okay. This song will get you back on track.

6. Sarah, RÜFÜS DU SOL: Let the somber vibe of this track put all your sadness to rest so that you can get a good night’s sleep.

7. Favorite Sound, Wilhelm Tell Me: You most definitely will not be “waking up through blurry eyes” tomorrow morning, but this might become your favorite sound.

8. Decorate, Yuna: Let Yuna’s voice decorate your brain with sweet thoughts of blissful slumber.

9. Marching Bands of Manhattan, Death Cab for Cutie: The only thing that’s going to drown is your feeling of constant drowsiness.

10. Dumbing Down of Love, Imogen Heap: Let this lovely British lady sing you a lullaby as you drift away from it all.

11. Sixteen, RAC: The interlude to your dreams awaits you.

12. Silhouette, Active Child ft. Ellie Goulding: Surround yourself with the angelic ambience of Active Child and Ellie Goulding.

13. Quiet Life, Stwo: Time for some piece and quiet.

14. 12, The 1975: This is the last call. The angels of sleep have come to take you away.

Have a healthy and well rested winter 2014!

Another Surprise Album By Beyoncé?

Well, it’s not so much a surprise anymore, because as of this morning, the album has been confirmed!

Here’s what we know so far about the new Beyoncé album:

1. The album is a re-release of her groundbreaking self-titled 2013 album as a Platinum Edition Box Set.

2. The bonus tracklist includes two never-before-heard tracks called “7/11,” and “Ring Off.” There will also be four new remixes including the “Flawless Remix” featuring Nicki Minaj, “Drunk in Love Remix,” featuring Kanye West and Jay-Z, “Blow Remix” featuring Pharrell Williams, and “Standing On the Sun Remix,” featuring Mr. Vegas.

3. A digital version of the album will drop a week from Friday (Nov. 14), and a 4-disc physical set is due Nov. 25.

4. The album comes with a live DVD including the following performances:

1. “Run The World (Girls)”
2. “***Flawless”
3. “Get Me Bodied”
4. “Blow”
5. “Haunted”
6. “Drunk In Love” (Featuring JAY Z)
7. “1 + 1”
8. “Partition”
9. “Heaven”
10. “XO

5. “Beyoncé Platinum Edition” is available to pre-order now!

 

 

Taylor Swift Pulls Music from Spotify

Looks like some of us Spotify users will never get to hear 1989.

Taylor Swift made the decision to boycott Spotify, pulling every single song from her artist profile except Hunger Games track “Safe and Sound.”

Spotify issued a statement after the singer’s harsh move, saying,

We hope she’ll change her mind and join us in building a new music economy that works for everyone. We believe fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want, and that artists have an absolute right to be paid for their work and protected from piracy. That’s why we pay nearly 70% of our revenue back to the music community.

PS – Taylor, we were both young when we first saw you, but now there’s more than 40 million of us who want you to stay, stay, stay. It’s a love story, baby, just say, Yes.

Too bad we’ll never hear the song that lyric is from.

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According to TIME, “Artists earn on average less than one cent per play, between $0.006 and $0.0084 to be exact.” It’s no wonder Swift took her music off the app.

As an avid Spotify user, I demand that artists be paid more per play. Spotify has many advertisers and premium users, and they should be able to pay artists their fare share.

As Swift said,

Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.

I hope Spotify will once again host Swift’s rare music gems sometime in the near future.

2014 Summer Dance Party Playlist

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Summer is here, and you know what that means?

It’s party time! And what’s a party without a hip twirling, booty shakin’ dance party playlist?

Here are 20 danceable songs for your summer 2014 dance party:

1. Rock That Body, Black Eyed Peas: You can’t just stand in the corner and pretend no one will notice you at a summer dance party. So get out on the dance floor and “rock that body”!

2. I Love You, Belinda ft. Pitbull: Go ahead, dance with a stranger. You might even fall in love…

3. While We’re in Love, Viceroy (Oliver Nelson Remix): By all means, have fun, but don’t do anything stupid with a mysterious stranger while you’re in love with someone else.

4. I Look to You, Miami Horror ft. Kimbra: This jazz infused track will take you to the future and back.

5. Paris (Party Mix), David Guetta: Ain’t no party like a party in Paris.

6. We Found Love, Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna: It’s true. You can find love on the dance floor.

7. September, St. Lucia: This heavy synth beat will have you and your group of friends jumping all over the dance floor.

8. Love Slayer, Joe Jonas: The dance floor is the place where you can cause “nothin’ but trouble, babe.”

9. Jack, Breach: “I want your body, everybody wants your body, so let’s jack.”

10. Give Me Your Hand (Best Song Ever), The Ready Set: Don’t be afraid to grab a cutie’s hand when your favorite song comes on!

11. Save the Day, Selena Gomez: Dance until the “night starts slipping away.”

12. #thatPOWER, Will.i.am ft. Justin Bieber: You’ve got the power. Now dance.

13. Blackout, Breathe Carolina: “Can you handle the pace”? Don’t blackout. Just. Keep. Dancing.

14. Beam Me Up (Kill Mode Radio Edit), CAZZETTE: Let this track beam you right back to life.

15. Colors, Nadia Oh: Make rainbow love on the dance floor.

16. Crazy, Alexandra Stan: Just go crazy. No one cares how weird you dance…

17. All Night Long ft. Missy Elliot and Timbaland: “Don’t make plans.” We’re gonna dance “all night long.”

18. Disco Romancing (Video Edit), Elena: “Dance until the sun comes up.”

19. Party Rock Anthem, LMFAO: Never apologize for party rockin’.

20. Tonight is the Night, Outasight: Tonight is the night to let your body feel the beat, and lose yourself in the music. Don’t hold back.

Have a happy and safe summer 2014!

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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.

Album Review: Foster the People’s ‘Supermodel’

Foster the People’s second album, Supermodel, was released today, March 18, 2014.

Supermodel is a bit different from the band’s previous album, Torches. It focuses more on the lyrics instead of the cool groovy beats that fans fell in love with on “Pumped Up Kicks” and “Call It What You Want.”

The first single from this album is called “Coming of Age,” which also happens to be the last song to be written for Supermodel.

When it came out in January, I was not impressed. Therefore, I wasn’t too excited about the release of the album today.

However, I decided to listen to the album anyway, and although I don’t completely hate it, I don’t exactly love it.

“Ask Yourself” and “Goats in Trees” are based heavily on acoustic guitar, making them sound very indie-folk.

The weirdest songs on the album are “Pseudologia Fantastica” and “A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon.” “Pseudologia Fantastica” features distorted vocals in the intro, which completely killed my vibe for the track. “A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon” is a crazy mix of loud unruly electric guitar and a broken record-sounding intro, which might come across as quite jarring to the average listener.

“The Angelic Welcome of Mr. Jones” is a short sample of the band’s perfect discordant harmonic abilities.

“The Truth” has some amazing lyrics, including my favorite line, “A purpose is needed before you know that you know / To never wonder what you are / And not forget where you’ve come from.”

Perhaps the most heartfelt song on Supermodel is “Fire Escape,” a very gloomy, stripped-down track. I love the part where Mark Foster sings,

I see the seasons change
All the young faces come and replaces the dying marks
Sit out on Lexington and Vine
All the pimps and prostitutes wave you down at stopping signs

Save yourself, save your yourself, yourself
Save yourself, save yourself.

My favorite’s on the album are “Are You What You Want to Be?,” “Nevermind” and “Best Friend.” I love the electric guitar chord progression in “Are You What You Want to Be?” The track “Nevermind” features a psychedelic repeated acoustic guitar melody coupled with soft vocals that play on the ear nicely. “Best Friend” is probably the closest you’ll get to the band’s old sound, with its groovy bass guitar and horns.

Supermodel is definitely a new spin on the band’s sound as compared to Torches, but fans might grow to like it.

Check out Supermodel on Spotify!