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"
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"