Sunday, January 4, 2015

Top 100 Songs of 2014

I'm not going to lie to you: 2014 was not exactly a banner year for music. Commercial Top 40 music, in particular, was fucking awful. Don't believe me? Just take a glance at this year's biggest artists and hits. At one point in the summer, five songs in the Top 10 had either Iggy Azaela or Ariana Grande on them in some form. Five! The music-buying public went crazy like they had never heard a terrible white "rapper" (Iggy is as much of a rapper as Ke$ha, which means not at all) or a generic teen pop starlet (Miley & Demi both have more personality AND better music than Ariana) before. Meghan Trainor spent about 20 weeks at number one with that "All About That Bass" song, a curves-loving anthem so generic no one will remember it in 18 months. In the same vein, Nicki Minaj had to resort to using the most obvious 90s rap sample to land a top 10 hit (although she redeemed herself with her Pinkprint album by the end of the year). The Sam Smith album sold by the boatload, although I suspect it was more of a "This will do until Adele releases her next album" thing rather than it actually being any good.

And don't even get me started about the new Taylor Swift album. Listen, I thought Red was a revelation when it came out two years ago: a pop-country hybrid that managed to push Taylor in a musical direction outside her comfort zone while retaining her talent for clear, precise and deeply resonant lyrics. Then "Shake It Off," easily the absolute worst song of the year, came out and people start losing their shit. "Oh my God, I can't believe how good the new Taylor Swift album is," I heard repeatedly, as if they deserved a big fucking medal for lowering themselves to listen to pop music. The problem with "Shake It Off," and 1989 in general, is that in completely ditching her country roots for pop, Taylor (mostly) lost what was special about her in the first place. "Shake It Off" is so generic, so cookie-cutter, so completely bland, any pop star could have sung it and it wouldn't have made a difference at all. What other Taylor Swift song can you say that about?

That minor rant aside, the year wasn't a complete waste. I did manage to find 100 songs I liked, after all. Lana Del Rey continued her string of successes with the best album about living and dealing with violence--physical, emotional and self-inflicted--since Rihanna's Rated R. After five years, La Roux snapped the sophomore slump that has plagued so many recent artists in their position after brilliant debuts and sky high expectations. G.R.L., 2NE1 and Fifth Harmony gave new life to the girl group in this post-Girls Aloud world. And a batch of new female artists (Ella Henderson, Tove Lo, Indiana, Kiesza, Tinashe, Charli XCX, Ella Eyre, FKA twigs) and female-led duos (BANKS, Broods) pumped out interesting, provocative, living, breathing music that point to bright futures down the road.

100. Dominique Young Unique "Throw It Down"
99. 5 Seconds of Summer "Long Way Home"
98. Justin Bieber featuring Chance the Rapper "Confident"
97. The Ting Tings "Wrong Club"
96. Ola "Maybe"
95. Mariah Carey featuring Wale "You Don't Know What to Do"
94. White Sea "Warsaw"
93. Britney Spears "Til It's Gone"
92. Jesse McCartney "Back Together"
91. Zara Larsson "Rooftop"

90. Eagle-Eye Cherry & Darin "Dream Away"
89. Bondax "All I See"
88. Keyshia Cole featuring Juicy J "Rick James"
87. Foster the People "Coming of Age"
86. Strange Talk "Young Hearts"
85. Hozier "Take Me to Church"
84. Neon Jungle "Welcome to the Jungle"
83. Tove Lo "Timebomb"
82. The Saturdays "What Are You Waiting For?"
81. Porter Robinson "Sad Machine"

80. Kleerup featuring Susanne Sundfør "Let Me In"
79. Jennifer Lopez featuring Jack Mizrahi "Tens"
78. RAC featuring Tegan and Sara "Hard to Hold"
77. Lykke Li "Love Me Like I'm Not Made of Stone"
76. Charli XCX "Boom Clap"
75. Alison Valentine "Curious"
74. Tove Lo "Not on Drugs"
73. Austin Mahone "Till I Find You"
72. Pitbull featuring G.R.L. "Wild Wild Love"
71. Becky G "Shower"

70. Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne "Rather Be"
69. Lana Del Rey "Money Power Glory"
68. Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige "F For You"
67. Cher Lloyd "Killing It"
66. Selena Gomez "The Heart Wants What It Wants"
65. Chelsea Lankes "Secret"
64. Brett "Golden"
63. The Fooo Conspiracy "King of the Radio"
62. Lana Del Rey "Ultraviolence"
61. Rebecca & Fiona "Holler (Fred Falke Club Mix)"

60. MØ "Say You'll Be There"
59. Nicki Minaj featuring Skylar Grey "Bed of Lies"
58. Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne "Real Love"
57. Shakira "Broken Record"
56. Marina & The Diamonds "Froot"
55. Beyoncé featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche "***Flawless"
54. Neon Jungle "Braveheart"
53. Lana Del Rey "Brooklyn Baby"
52. 2NE1 "Gotta Be You"
51. Ariana Grande "One Last Time"

50. Lana Del Rey "Black Beauty"
49. Danity Kane "All in a Day's Work"
48. Broken Bells "After the Disco"
47. A-L-X "Allure"
46. Sam Smith "Like I Can"
45. La Roux "Sexotheque"
44. Tove Stryke "Even If I'm Loud It Doesn't Mean I'm Talking to You"
43. Mr. Probz "Waves (Robin Schulz Radio Edit)"
42. Foster the People "Best Friend"
41. Jessie Ware "Want Your Feeling"

40. Ella Henderson "Pieces"
39. Walk the Moon "Shut Up and Dance"
38. La Roux "Uptight Downtown"
37. Kylie Minogue "Mr. President"
36. Nick Jonas "Teacher"
35. Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding "Outside"
34. One Direction "Fireproof"
33. Jennifer Lopez featuring French Montana "I Luh Ya Papi"
32. Aretha Franklin "Rolling in the Deep (The Aretha Version)"
31. Sia "Hostage"

30. 5 Seconds of Summer "Don't Stop"
29. Tove Lo featuring Hippie Sabotage "Stay High (Habits Remix)"
28. Paloma Faith "Only Love Can Hurt Like This"
27. Lana Del Rey "Cruel World"
26. Röyksopp & Robyn "Do It Again"
25. Ace Wilder "Busy Doin' Nothin"
24. La Roux "Let Me Down Gently"
23. Idina Menzel "Let It Go"
22. Charli XCX "Break the Rules"
21. Ella Eyre "Comeback"

20. Rixton "Me and My Broken Heart"
Hold me so I'm not falling apart
Me: "'Me and My Broken Heart' contains the best Rob Thomas sample we're ever likely to hear."
will.i.am: *out of nowhere* "Is that a challenge?"
Me: *remembers "The Time (Dirty Bit)"* "JESUS SHITTING CHRIST, NO."

19. FKA twigs "Two Weeks"
Higher than a motherfucker, dreaming of it, it's my lovin'
I first heard an FKA twigs song last year and let's just say that her spacey, avant garde sound wasn't my cup of tea. So, imagine my surprise when "Two Weeks" came on my co-worker's internet radio station, and I was immediately smitten with it. "Two Weeks" is still spacey and avant garde (at least in comparison to what I usually listen to), but it somehow comes together and works.

18. Tinashe featuring ScHoolboy Q "2 On"
Get money, get money like an invoice
How pissed is Ciara that she couldn't get her hands on this jam?

17. Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z "Drunk in Love"
Graining on that wood, graining, graining on that wood
A song that white people will ripoff and ruin for years to come. Still, "Drunk in Love" is a stunning achievement for Beyoncé and pop music in general: a song about sex sung by a woman who clearly enjoys sex but doesn't reduce it to clichés or ridiculous entendres.

16. BANKS "Beggin for Thread"
You should have known, secretly I think you knew
This is what the second Hurts album should have sounded like: dark, emotive, dramatic yet outlined with pop sensibilities.

15. Kiesza "No Enemiesz"
Why stop when there's so much more
Kiesza's first two singles were fine 90s house throwbacks (was there anything released last year that wasn't a 90s house throwback?) but ultimately did little for me. "No Enemiesz," however, is in a completely different league. Great beat, clever wordplay and a chorus that takes a shit on most choruses of this decade.

14. Taylor Swift "Blank Space"
Got a long list of ex-lovers/They'll tell you I'm insane
You think Taylor's crazy? She'll show you crazy. Unlike "Shake It Off," this is a brilliant, Swift-specific takedown of the psychotic maneater the media portrays Taylor to be.

13. Indiana "Solo Dancing"
The music stops/The spell is broken
The Robyn song that was supposed to save pop music in 2014. The swerve at the end from quiet electropop to club banger is one of the year's finest musical moments.

12. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart "Eurydice"
I'll never stop losing you
Despite its depressing subject matter, "Eurydice" is the best shopping mall, "let's try on every outfit in this store" movie montage song since Alphabeat's "Fascination."

11. Fifth Harmony "BO$$"
Michelle Obama/Purse so heavy, gettin' Oprah dollars
How easy would it have been to mention Beyoncé or Rihanna and be done with it? Too easy. The beautiful thing about "BO$$," above and beyond its inherent catchiness, is the fact that the Fifth Harmony ladies are celebrating African American women--Oprah and Michelle Obama--who got ahead on their smarts and aren't pop stars. Nice touch, ladies.

10. Ryn Weaver "OctaHate"
From the day I saw my heart start breaking/No one saved me
Charli XCX had a major year with two U.S. Top 10 hits (Iggy's "Fancy" and "Boom Clap") and another brilliant single "Break the Rules," but her co-writing credit on this song is her finest contribution to 2014's music scene. And let's not forget newcomer Ryn Weaver, whose interpretation of this song is nearly as nutty as Sia's "Chandelier" yet works in much the same way.

09. G.R.L. "Ugly Heart"
I wonder does it stop your heart to know/You're not my sunshine anymore
Go figure that even with the majority of G.R.L.'s output co-written by Max "God" Martin, this non-Martin tune is the one that showcased just how wonderful they truly are. I sincerely hope that after member Simone Battle's tragic passing back in September, G.R.L. is able to regroup and continue on because it would be a shame to lose a girl group with this much potential.

08. 5 Seconds of Summer "She Looks So Perfect"
I got your name tattooed in an arrow heart
The boys of 5SOS positioned themselves perfectly in the pop realm this year: loads of personality, a tad rebellious but harmless enough to get parental approval, room to mature in next few years, and clever songwriting that will serve them well whether they decide to toe the pop-punk line or become full-on punk in the future.

07. Ed Sheeran "Sing"
Then she handed me a water bottle filled with tequila/I already know she's a keeper
I never thought in a million years that I'd have an Ed Sheeran song in my year-end Top 10. I was wrong.

06. Broods "Mother & Father"
I don't want to be just fine
A simple, straight-forward song--it's barely three minutes long--about early adulthood that nails the confusion of the age, the dichotomy between wanting the comforts and security of home and not settling for less than your ideal life.

05. Rita Ora "I Will Never Let You Down"
You know how to love only when you're holding me
I never thought in a million years that I'd have a Rita Ora song in my year-end Top 10. I was wrong.

04. Katy B "Crying for No Reason"
I can lie to everyone but not to myself"
Who else was not expecting this emotional wallop from Katy B? Good Lord. This is what dancing through the tears is all about.

03. Sia "Chandelier"
Help me, I'm holding on for dear life/Won't look down, won't open my eyes
The first time I heard "Chandelier," I couldn't believe it. The bonkers vocal arrangement should push this dark song into drag queen camp, but Sia uses it to add even more emotional depth to an already rich song. Who else but the drunken, on-the-edge protagonist of "Chandelier" would teeter between shouting and running up and down scales to give a voice to her desperation?

02. Ella Henderson "Ghost"
I keep going to the river to pray
Based on the blandness of his own band's music, it's easy to forget that Ryan Tedder is often one of the premier songwriters in the business. "Ghost" is his best songs in years, maybe even since his magnum opus "Bleeding Love." From the opening line, the song casts a spell, alternating between larger than life gospel and haunted blues. And who better than newcomer Ella Henderson, positioned as the reincarnation of Dusty Springfield, to bring grit and soul to Tedder's words and music? Mark my words, by album two or three this woman will be unstoppable.

01. Sky Ferreira "I Blame Myself"
How could you know what it feels like to fight the hounds of hell
I first noticed Sky Ferreira and her song "One" all the way back in 2010. As she moved away from that electropop sound toward something a little more indie, I grew less interested. But then came this monster of a track from her first full-length album Night Time, My Time, and she won me back immediately. Technically, I'm cheating by including it on this year's list since it came out last year. But I didn't really get into it until the beginning of this year, and she released it as a single soon after, so I'm counting it. Besides, how could you expect me to ignore a song like "I Blame Myself," a song that's as raw and painful as anything Lana Del Rey does on a regular basis but wrapped up in an uptempo beat different than anything commercial Top 40 was producing this year. Sky clearly knows who she is; now we just need to get everyone else to discover it for themselves.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Imaginary Boyfriends of 2014

Past Imaginary Boyfriends countdowns: 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

Finn Bálor (aka Fergal "Prince" Devitt)
Hideo Itami (aka Kenta)
Two of the WWE's newest wrestlers (er, superstars) to their developmental promotion, NXT, were actually two veteran indie wrestlers finally hitting the big time. Itami, formerly known as Kenta, is known for originating many of the moves that CM Punk and Daniel Bryan eventually made famous in the WWE. I'm more familiar with Bálor, or Prince Devitt when he wrestled in Japan, whom I fell in love with after hearing his adorable giggle and surprisingly soft voice on a podcast. They're currently working as a tag team, and it's fun watching them go crazy in the ring together. Not only are they talented with great bodies, but don't they look great in suits, too?

Spencer Bledsoe
On the first episode of the Cagayan season of Survivor, I decided that Spencer was "nerdy cute" and claimed him as my own. Over the course of the season, I grew to love him more and more as he fought, clawed and scratched his way to stay in the game every week. Normally underdogs annoy me, but Spencer literally had me jumping up and down every time he won immunity at a crucial moment in the game. Plus, he favorited my tweet once!


Victor Cruz
One of the best things about Fashion Police (RIP Joan) was that it introduced me to a lot of celebrities I would have never been exposed to otherwise. Football player Victor Cruz was one such celebrity and, boy, what a discovery that was. The dude is incredibly built, has a genuine interest in fashion and knows how to dress himself. Oh, and I guess he's good at playing football, too?


Julian Edelman
Another football player? I don't know what's going on either. What I do know is that I saw this gym selfie, and I was a goner.


Tristan Evans
With his gorgeous blonde hair and young age (he's 20), the drummer for The Vamps--a boy band of sorts from the UK desperately trying to make it here in the US--is practically my twink dream come true.

Jack Falahee
Easily the most interesting thing about How to Get Away With Murder that isn't Viola Davis. I came for the prettiness but stayed for his fascinating characterization.


Ronan Farrow
I started watching the news for him. Plus, there's something about a man who graduates Yale Law School at 22 and interviews notable people like Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai but also tweets about the Sugababes and Pokémon on a regular basis.


Martin Garrix
Yes, I'm aware he's a DJ and that's worthy of an eye roll and a groan on its own. In the end, though, he's a total cutie and that's all that matters.

Calum Hood
Unlike The Vamps, 5 Seconds of Summer actually made an impact in the US this year, even if they haven't quite reached the same level as One Direction yet. I thought Calum was the cutest from the day my friend Guy mentioned seeing 5SOS open for One Direction back in 2013. So all you thirsty bitches who hopped on that train after his nudes leaked this summer can back off.

Nick Jonas
Nick was on my inaugural Imaginary Boyfriends list way back in 2008 when he was an underage hottie. Fast forward to 2014 and he's all grown up. Sweet Jesus has he grown up. Some complained about his shameless photo shoots designed solely to pander to straight women and (particularly) gay men. They were indeed shameless, but it's hard out here for music artists who aren't Taylor Swift or Adele. You've got to do it what it takes to move albums. So bless Nick for taking this route.


Randy Orton
Randy was incredibly good looking ten years ago, and, if anything, he's only gotten hotter in the past decade. His shaved head, tattoos, exquisitely trimmed beard with just the right hint of grey in it, misanthropic demeanor and general fluidity in the ring all do it for me every time I watch him.

Monday, July 21, 2014

2013 Diva Cup Awards

The Top 10 Films of the Year
10. Saving Mr. Banks (John Lee Hancock)
09. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
08. The Heat (Paul Feig)
07. Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
06. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)

The Best Picture nominees:

05. Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine)
04. No (Pablo Larraín)
03. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
02. Her (Spike Jonze)
01. Short Term 12 (Destin Daniel Cretton)

Best Actor
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Alden Ehrenreich, Beautiful Creatures
Nicholas Hoult, Warm Bodies
Joaquin Phoenix, Her

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Brie Larson, Short Term 12
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said

Best Supporting Actor
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Will Forte, Nebraska
James Franco, Spring Breakers
Sam Rockwell, The Way Way Back
Keith Stanfield, Short Term 12

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, Her
Scarlett Johansson, Her
Lea Seydoux, Blue is the Warmest Color
Emma Watson, The Bling Ring
Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels' The Butler

Best Director
Destin Daniel Cretton, Short Term 12
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Spike Jonze, Her
Harmony Korine, Spring Breakers
Pablo Larraín, No

Best Original Screenplay
David O. Russell & Eric Warren Singer, American Hustle
Noah Baumbach & Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Spike Jonze, Her
Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
Lynn Shelton, Touchy Feely 

Best Adapted Screenplay
Richard LaGravenese, Beautiful Creatures
Ghalia Lacroix & Abdellatif Kechiche, Blue is the Warmest Color
Pedro Peirano, No
Destin Daniel Cretton, Short Term 12
Jonathan Levine, Warm Bodies

Thursday, February 6, 2014

2012 Diva Cup Awards

Yes, you read that right, bitches. Let's party like it's 2012 once again.

Top 10 Films of the Year
10. How to Survive a Plague (David France)
09. Cloud Atlas (Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski)
08. Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh)
07. Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh)
06. The Forgiveness of Blood (Joshua Marston)

And now, the best picture nominees:

05. Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
04. Damsels in Distress (Whit Stillman)
03. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
02. Amour (Michael Haneke)
01. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)

Best Actor
Colin Farrell, Seven Psychopaths
Logan Lerman, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Channing Tatum, Magic Mike
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Amour

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Ann Dowd, Compliance
Greta Gerwig, Damsels in Distress
Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina
Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games

Best Supporting Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Samuel L. Jackson, Django Unchained
Jude Law, Anna Karenina
Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
Sam Rockwell, Seven Psychopaths

Best Supporting Actress
Isla Fisher, Bachelorette
Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises
Selma Hayek, Savages
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
Rebel Wilson, Pitch Perfect

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Michael Haneke, Amour
Joshua Marston, The Forgiveness of Blood
Whit Stillman, Damsels in Distress

Best Original Screenplay
Drew Goddard, Joss Whedon, Cabin in the Woods
Whit Stillman, Damsels in Distress
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Joshua Marston, Andamion Murataj, The Forgiveness of Blood 
Martin McDonagh, Seven Psychopaths

Best Adapted Screenplay
Tom Stoppard, Anna Karenina
Leslye Headland, Bachelorette 
Skip Hollandsworth, Richard Linklater, Bernie
Jay Baruchel, Evan Goldberg, Goon
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Top 100 Songs of 2013, Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

15. Ke$ha "C'Mon"
We've been keepin' it kosher/But I wanna get it on, for sure
Compared to the high school snottiness of her breakthrough "TiK ToK," Ke$ha's "C'Mon" is the older, (somewhat) wiser answer to that song. I wouldn't exactly call it mature, but it's certainly smarter, more clever and proof of a bright future for our Glitter Trash Pop Queen.

14. Miley Cyrus "We Can't Stop"
It's my mouth/I can say what I want to
As Vampire Weekend lead singer Ezra Koening pointed out, there's an undercurrent of melancholy throughout this song. It's nothing something I was ever able to put my finger on before I read that, but it's the "Eureka!" moment that made me realize what a special and unique song "We Can't Stop" truly is.

13. Rebecca & Fiona featuring Style of Eye "Taken Over"
Nothing's gonna change how I feel for you
*Sobs in the fetal position for an hour*

12. Ciara featuring Nicki Minaj "I'm Out"
Pop her like a molly 'til these bitches recognize
Ciara's return to her 2004 glory was the most unexpected--but also most welcome--comeback of 2013. Not only does "I'm Out" find a rejuvenated Ciara at her most electric in years, but it's also the most inspired Nicki Minaj guest verse since, I don't know, "Monster." Whatever these two did to make this magic happen, I need them to recreate it once a year until the end of the time.

11. Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin "Don't You Worry Child"
I was a king, I had a golden throne
A mournfully nostalgic song about the end of childhood and innocence lost that is impossible not to dance to at the club? Sure, I'll go with it.

10. CHVRCHES "Recover"
But you know you don't need me
The most exciting new electropop group around with one of the most infectiously downbeat tracks of the year. Excuse me while I take some time to "recover" from this corker of a track (Thank you, thank you. I'm here all week).

09. The Saturdays "Gentleman"
Somebody I can take to mama/I need to find my Obama
The Saturdays get back to basics, loosen up a bit and return with their freshest-sounding single in ages. I love the flashes of humor that appear throughout the song, most notably in the "rap" section which lists of various gentlemen the girls would like to date (which include both Larry King and Lil' Wayne).

08. Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais "Summertime Sadness" (Cedric Gervais Remix)
Telephone wires, above/Are sizzling like a snare
As if the original mix of "Summertime Sadness" wasn't depressing enough, somehow Cedric Gervais' masterful remix manages to bring out even more gut-wrenching emotion. It's the perfect song to cry to on the dance floor, lost in a sea of people caught up in the song's rhythm.

07. Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball"
All I wanted was to break your walls
Right power ballad, right time. This will forever be the moment Miley cemented her status as a premiere pop star.

06. Zedd featuring Foxes "Clarity"
Why are you my clarity?
You may have noticed a pattern emerging, particularly in this installment of the countdown, of electropop/dance songs about heartbreak, sadness, depression and unrequited love--all the biggies. The apex of this trend in 2013 was this song by German DJ/producer Zedd and indie pop singer Foxes, sort of the indie version of Calvin Harris & Florence Welch. The brilliance of "Clarity" is that the most intensely sad moment of the song is also the loudest; the instrumental that plays over Foxes crying, "Why are you my clarity?" towards the ends manages to flood us in sadness far better than any ballad. It's as if you know you should be dancing to the song, but the words are so heartbreaking you can't, and that's even more distressing.

05. Ciara featuring Nicki Minaj "Livin' It Up"
I don't believe in much/But I believe in you
The heart and soul CiCi bares on this perfect pop gem only makes me sad that she was so underutilized for so long. Never again, CiCi. Never again.

04. Pet Shop Boys "Love is a Bourgeois Construct"
So I've given up on the bourgeoisie/Like all their aspirations, it's a fantasy
I must admit, I didn't have high hopes for a song with the title "Love is a Bourgeois Construct," assuming it would be some bullshit exercise in mental masturbation. Then I heard the song and I couldn't believe that the Pet Shop Boys were able to make a dance song which uses Communist themes and ideology to tell the story of a man getting over a heartbreak. A smart triumph which tries harder than 95% of all songs that are released yet manages to look as simple and straight forward as an Austin Mahone song.

03. Justin Timberlake "Mirrors"
Comin' back here to you once I figured it out/You were right here all along
At first, I wanted nothing more than the return of Justin Timberlake to the music world. But then I heard "Suit & Tie" and was kind of over it before it even began. But then I heard "Mirrors" and remembered why we should never let JT go.

02. Demi Lovato "Heart Attack"
And every time I try to be myself/It comes out wrong like a cry for help
She had the number one song last year, almost repeated that feat this year. Either I'm stanning for her ridiculously hard or she is truly the future queen of pop. It's probably a mix of both, let's be honest, but that does nothing to diminish her triumph this year. "Heart Attack" is a song that only Demi could have performed, her own history adding way more depth to a song that was already precisely written. It's a showcase for Demi and I'll be damned if she didn't run away with it.

01. Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX "I Love It"
I DON'T CARE/I LOVE IT
What else can I say about "I Love It" that countless blogs haven't already said? It's two minutes and thirty-seven seconds of the purest form of exaltation pop music has ever produced.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Top 100 Songs of 2013, Part 2

Part 1

30. Cody Simpson "Pretty Brown Eyes"
I couldn't move, felt like I was stuck/And then baby girl looked up
In an all-too-common trend this year, the former "Aussie Bieber" ditched the teen pop sound of his earlier music for an acoustic guitar. Not surprisingly, most of it was shit. But, as with all of Cody's work, there is a diamond buried in the mounds of unlistenable garbage, and the sweet, simple "Pretty Brown Eyes" was just that song.

29. Avicii "Wake Me Up"
Life will pass me by if I don't open up my eyes/Well, that's fine by me
One of the weirdest songs on the list: an electropop/country hybrid that summed up the angst and longing of the millenial generation in four short minutes. In an age when a new EDM DJ pops up every five minutes, Avicii continues to prove why he is at the top of the pack.

28. Little Mix featuring Missy Elliott "How Ya Doin'?"
So why don't you leave your name and number/And we'll get back to you
I'd still argue that Little Mix are a tad overrated by a generation of girl band lovers looking for the next Girls Aloud. But when everyone under the sun was doing 90s throwbacks in 2013, this song is a fun throwback while remaining fresh and modern sounding.

27. Ed Drewett "Undefeated" (Cahill Club Mix)
Now I know the world is on my side
Listen, I've been banging the Drewett Bell for years now, so you can hardly expect me to remain unbiased. The single version of "Undefeated" is great, but the Cahill remix raises it to another level. A far better inspirational anthem than "Roar" could ever dream of being.

26. Katy Perry featuring Juicy J "Dark Horse"
There's no going back
Prism never quite lived up its hype: the melancholic edges never quite spilling out in the Rated R-style it could have gone, the singles generic as hell or plain boring. Perhaps the album's only true triumph is this song which pushes the boundaries of Katy's sparkly persona into unrecognizable territory. The result is the most exciting song Katy has released since "E.T."

25. Union J "Carry You"
Nothing's too heavy/Just hold on, I'll carry you
The X-Factor's latest attempt to find the new One Direction came the closest anyone will probably come to matching them. Not in terms of sales, mind you, as this single flopped like it was a Justin Timberlake single from Part 2 of The 20/20 Experience. But this song is a return to the simplicity and catchiness of the One Direction of yore (2010 to be precise). With a little more personality, the Union J boys could be on to something.

24. Mutya Keisha Siobhan "Flatline"
I can feel a flatline that ought to be a wave
All hail the return of the Origibabes! Please save the pop world in 2014. We need you.

23. Ariana Grande featuring Mac Miller "The Way"
You got my heart, don't know how you did it
Who knew 2013 needed a return to mid-90's Mariah Carey realness? And from a former Nickelodeon (!!!) starlet at that?

22. Kanye West "Black Skinhead"
They see a black man with a white woman at the top floor they gon' come to kill King Kong
A late entry on the list, mainly because I stupidly ignored Yeezus until December. Kanye pairing up with Daft Punk is one of the smartest, most fruitful collaborations in years as DP's ominous, intense percussion adds the perfect emphasis to Kanye's insatiable ranting. This song will no doubt be heard on the soundtrack to many angry, badass action scenes for years to come.

21. Natalia Kills "Saturday Night"
The boys I kiss don't know my name
Is this achingly sad, incredibly lived-in song ripped from Natalia's childhood or is she just that good?
 
20. Lily Allen "Hard Out Here"
Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits
A bit of a fourth quarter Hail Mary from the best anti-popstar around. With her tits-to-the-wall take down of the misogynistic undercurrent that ran through most of 2013 (i.e. the "Blurred Lines" and Miley Cyrus controversies), most people failed to notice that "Hard Out Here" was also Lily's sly commentary on the state of pop music in 2013. "But there's so much autotune in it. She's clearly selling out," people complained. Uh, no. As she sings in one of the verses, "If you can't detect the sarcasm, you've misunderstood."

19. AlunaGeorge "You Know You Like It"
Life can be cruel/If you're a dreamer
Someone (probably Evan) gave me this song towards the end of 2012. I probably listened to it once before getting overwhelmed with other new music and tossed it aside. Luckily, I came back to it some time later and completely fell head over heels in love with it. Such are the happy miracles of pop music.

18. One Direction "Best Song Ever"
Said her name Georgia Rose/And her daddy was a dentist
Listen, I've complained ad nauseum on Twitter about the "mature" One Direction sound. Let me just reiterate that One Direction doesn't need to do Mumford & Sons-lite shit because they actually have personality. If they had pushed the snot-nosed, smart-ass punk-popiness of "Best Song Ever" a little harder, they could have matured their sound without having to make an album of "real" music.

17. Bastille "Pompeii"
Oh, where do we begin?/The rubble or our sin?
The best use of the Pompeii volcanic disaster as a metaphor for a dying relationship since the excavation scene in Rossellini's Journey to Italy.

16. Austin Mahone "What About Love"
You cut my wings/Now I am falling
Do I expect Austin Mahone to be the heir apparent to the Biebz's teen heartthrob throne now that he's retiring (LOL)? No, not at all. But I have to give him mad respect for this early 2000s throwback and, in particular, the lyric that references *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye."

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Top 100 Songs of 2013, Part 1

I'm perfectly aware that my blog has become a barren wasteland. That happens when you're only inspired to write a post every five months or so. But I still feel obligated to do my year-end lists, as evidenced by my Imaginary Boyfriends post from a few weeks ago (Let's ignore the fact that I'm still behind on my 2012 lists). To be fair, I doubt many people will care at this point, but c'est la vie.

In the wake of multiple disappointments from pop's heavy hitters (Perry, Spears, Gaga to an extent) the last quarter of 2013, the past year has been labeled a failure by most. Yes, the big guns failed to deliver, but their missteps allowed a host of new acts to find their footing and expand their audience. In the end, it made for a fantastic year for individual songs (if not quite albums as a whole). So fantastic, in fact, I had to expand my year-end list of songs from 50 to 100. Enjoy numbers 100 to 31 right now. The Top 30 (with commentary) will be coming soon.

100. Two Door Cinema Club "Changing of the Seasons"
99. David Guetta featuring Ne-Yo & Akon "Play Hard"
98. Stooshe "Round 2"
97. Fifth Harmony "Miss Movin' On"
96. Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E "Need U (100%)"
95. Avicii "You Make Me"
94. HAIM "The Wire"
93. The Vamps "Can We Dance"
92. Natalia Kills "Problem"
91. CHVRCHES "Gun"

90. Lady Gaga "Gypsy"
89. The Saturdays "On the Radio"
88. The 1975 "Girls"
87. One Direction "One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)"
86. Ciara "Overdose"
85. Miley Cyrus "#GETITRIGHT"
84. AlunaGeorge "Kaleidoscope Love"
83. MS MR "Think of You"
82. Ke$ha "Thinking of You"
81. Cookies N Beans "Burning Flags"

80. Betty Who "Somebody Loves You"
79. 2NE1 "Do You Love Me"
78. Swiss Lips "Carolyn"
77. Britney Spears "Work Bitch"
76. Little Mix "Move"
75. Eminem featuring Rihanna "The Monster"
74. Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull "Live It Up"
73. Demi Lovato featuring Cher Lloyd "Really Don't Care"
72. Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams "Get Lucky"
71. Stooshe "Slip"

70. Janet Leon "Heartstrings"
69. Icona Pop "Girlfriend"
68. Sara Bareilles "Brave"
67. Britney Spears "Perfume"
66. Ke$ha featuring Iggy Pop "Dirty Love"
65. Margaret Berger "I Feed You My Love"
64. Lady Gaga featuring R. Kelly "Do What U Want"
63. Girls' Generation "Galaxy Supernova"
62. Ciara "Body Party"
61. Anton Ewald "Begging"

60. Pitbull featuring Ke$ha "Timber"
59. Johnny Stimson "Human Man"
58. Paramore "Still Into You"
57. AlunaGeorge "This is How We Do It"
56. Pet Shop Boys featuring Example "Thursday"
55. Janelle Monáe "Dance Apocalyptic"
54. Icona Pop "All Night"
53. Miley Cyrus featuring French Montana "FU"
52. Selena Gomez "Nobody Does It Like You"
51. Agnetha Fältskog "Dance Your Pain Away" (7th Heaven Mirrorball Club Mix)

50. Lady Gaga "G.U.Y."
49. Lorde "Royals"
48. AlunaGeorge "Attracting Flies"
47. Capital Cities "Safe and Sound"
46. Jessie Ware "Imagine It Was Us"
45. Lorde "Team"
44. Kelly Clarkson "Underneath the Tree"
43. The 1975 "Sex"
42. Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell "Blurred Lines"
41. Leona Lewis "One More Sleep"

40. Selena Gomez "Forget Forever"
39. Icona Pop "On a Roll"
38. The Neighbourhood "Sweater Weather"
37. Calvin Harris & Alesso featuring Hurts "Under Control"
36. Bridgit Mendler "Hurricane" (Bit Error Vocal Remix)
35. Avicii "Dear Boy"
34. Mariah Carey & Miguel "#Beautiful"
33. Justin Timberlake "Pusher Love Girl"
32. Zendaya "Replay"
31. Drake featuring Majid Jordan "Hold On, We're Going Home"

Friday, December 6, 2013

Imaginary Boyfriends of 2013

Past Imaginary Boyfriends countdowns: 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

Dean Ambrose
Yes, he's kind of white trashy looking at times, and he's definitely not the pretty boy I usually go for. But there's something to be said for his swagger in the ring, both on the mat and the mic. This tweet sums it up, really.


Henry Cavill
Did I see Man of Steel? Nope. Will I ever see Man of Steel? Hell to the no. Can I still appreciate his beautiful face and bangin' body? You know it.

CM Punk
This one can be blamed on my random viewing of his WWE-produced documentary on Netflix earlier this year. After that, it was a serious spiral into outright obsession (If you don't believe me, check out my Tumblr and you'll see he's probably the second most tagged person after One Direction). Just like Dean Ambrose, I don't know if I can really explain why I love him so much. All I know is that it confuses my friends as well (Thanks Jakey!)


(Young) Leonardo DiCaprio
I'm still sad that I'll never be as pretty as Leonardo DiCaprio was from 1995-97.

Alden Ehrenreich
Two words: Beautiful Creatures.

Colin Ford
Or, as I tend to refer to him in real life, "My Boyfriend Colin Ford." He turned 17 back in September, so I think it's slightly more acceptable for me to freely discuss my attraction to him. No? Oh well.

Austin Mahone
Only if he's wearing a tank top and doesn't talk.

Dylan O'Brien
He made the list last year with the rest of the Teen Wolf Boys, but 2013 was all about Dylan. I mean, I considered on multiple occasions watching that shitty looking Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson movie just for his five minutes of screentime. If that's not love, I don't know what is.

Suraj Sharma
I know it's hard out here for a non-white actor in Hollywood, but someone must be able to find him a cute romantic comedy where he gets to be his adorable self for 90 minutes. I would watch the shit out of that (as long as it didn't star Vince Vaughn or Owen Wilson, obviously).

Cody Simpson
The dude has an amazing body. Let's just gloss over the fact that he's 16 (going on 17 in about a month!).

Max Thieriot
For awhile, Max was giving my favorite performance on Bates Motel, but then Vera turned the crazy meter up to 4,000 and he fell to second. Combined with his sexy, trashy turn as a webcam "model" (read: prostitute) in Disconnect, Max had quite a year.

Mike Vogel
Mike Vogel receiving a blowjob from Anne Hathaway in Havoc had a profound impact on me when I was a teen. This year, his fine self gave me the vapors in two brand new TV shows: as the man-of-few-words hero in Under the Dome and as the sexy, sex-slave-owning boyfriend of batshit crazy Vera Farmiga in Bates Motel.