My Favorite Songs of 2014

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Feature Image Via SoundIsStyle

When you live in a big city and spend an absurd amount of time on public transit, your iPod is your best friend–My iPod is actually my longest-lasting relationship. And as you may know, my musical tastes could use some Adderall, but these are the 50 songs that kept me most sane this year.

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I’m so glad Sam Smith took up where Adele left off in 2014. This song just sucks you in the minute it starts with that booming drum. And who doesn’t know all the words to this one? Radio didn’t really give us a choice. It was like, “You will listen to this song 20 times a day and you will like it.” We did.

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I don’t really have a long list of ex-lovers to really relate, but according to a Buzzfeed quiz, I’m capable of smashing a guy’s car with a golf club. I see it. Is anyone else really happy T-Swift finally switched over to pop? It’s also refreshing that the whole truck bed and fireflies era is over. I like psycho Swift. Good work.

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Happiness. This was my official morning song for a month straight this past spring. I’d wake up on the weekend, turn on this song and just take in the morning light. That’s all it took for me to be happy. Imagine being Jessica Beal and actually having that same morning, except JT is actually next to you.

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Heeeey-ey-ey! One Direction wasn’t the only boy band stirring up 9-year-old girls’ tears this year. 5SOS and their ode to American Apparel underwear (which sadly passed without any A.A. sponsorship–their loss) had me jamming like a fool. I also learned to be super careful with my Snapchat from these guys. Thanks for the song and the help, guys!

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Oh, John Legend. This song gives me so many feels. I JUST WANT TO BE CHRISSY TEIGEN. If any of you saw his performance at the Billboard Music Awards, you’d maybe understand the aura I feel: a beautiful man, a polished, black piano and dimly-lit retro light bulbs. It is magical.

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So, from sweet and loving to hard and dirty. An ode to R. Kelly’s hit debut album, this song features two of our most suave R&B fellas joining forces to take our pants off for us. I ain’t mad. If you want a good slow jam with a killer hook, this is it.

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Last year I didn’t bat an eye at this song from Prism. Then when it became an official single this year, it stuck, and then I couldn’t get enough. I was humming it. It was my ringtone. I craved tacos like crazy. Katy Perry is capable of creating audible cocaine and I don’t know how she does it. An ode to besties and all of the shenanigans you got into (orand still do, hopefully), this song has a catchy swag you can’t shake.

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It wasn’t even intentional for TWO 5SOS songs to end up in my top ten, but, damn, it happened. I don’t know what it is about this song, but it’s perfect. Part throwback to the days of Good Charlotte, Bowling For Soup and All-Time Low, part chill production, “Never Be” was a perfect gem off of their debut album.

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There was no better hook in music in 2014 than the first ten seconds of this summer jam: Dun, Dun-Dun. Buh-duh Dun Dun-Dun. Buh-duh Dun Dun-Dun, Buh-duh Dun–“First thing’s first, I’m the realest.” BOOM. Iggy Iggz was all up in our face outta nowhere. And then the hilarious Jimmy Kimmel skit happened. To me, this was the most iconic song of 2014 and one of those tracks that you will always remember for the rest of your life–love it or hate it.

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First of all, the album art is perfection. Look at those fine ass headlights and taillights. That alone accounts for 10% of a great single. This song is so euphoric to me and makes me feel alive. It came at a time when I was away with some close friends on a weekend trip to Palm Springs and would play every time we were in the car. From there it just developed this whole piece of nostalgia itself which carried me through the rest of the year. EVERYBODY FIST PUMP.

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Bryce Christian Presents: Neon Sands (vol. 1)

It is almost summer! In honor of the summer solstice this weekend, I am sharing my summer playlist with all of you! I have made playlists for years and thought I should finally share and see if anyone else likes them as well. The concept behind the playlist is EDM meets summer day songs. As a whole, it progresses from day to night. Sadly, three of the tracks do not exist on SoundCloud (1, 7 and 10), but below I included links to all of them! Check it out and let me know what you think!–Good? Bad? I should never make a playlist again?

01. Here Comes the Sun / Smith & Thell (YouTube)

02. Wild Wild Love Ft. GRL (Jump Smokers Remix) / Pitbull (SoundCloud)

03. Problem Ft. Iggy Azalea (Revol-uution Remix) / Ariana Grande (SoundCloud)

04. Standing On the Sun (Country Club Martini Crew Remix) / Beyonce (SoundCloud)

05. Birthday (Cash Cash Remix) / Katy Perry (SoundCloud) (iTunes)

06. Team (Elephante Remix) / Lorde (SoundCloud)

07. Wolves Ft. Youngblood Hawke / Digitalism (Tumblr) (YouTube)

08. Wasted Ft. Matthew Koma / Tiesto (SoundCloud) (iTunes)

09. Sleeping With a Friend (HyperBits Radio Edit) / Neon Trees (SoundCloud)

10. Treasure (Cash Cash Remix) / Bruno Mars (iTunes) (YouTube)

11. Love Never Felt So Good (Fedde Le Grand Remix) / Michael Jackson (SoundCloud) (iTunes)

12. Feel Good (Pierce Fulton Remix) / GOLDHOUSE (SoundCloud)

13. Satellites / Cash Cash (SoundCloud) (iTunes)

14. Rather Be Ft. Jess Glynne (Cash Cash x Valley Remix) / Clean Bandit (SoundCloud) (iTunes)

15. All Night (Cash Cash Radio Edit) / Icona Pop (SoundCloud) (iTunes)

16. Summer / Calvin Harris (SoundCloud) (iTunes)

17. Pretty Hurts (Country Club Martini Crew Remix) / Beyonce (SoundCloud)

18. Live Right Now (Lotus Cocktail Mashup) / Rihanna vs Krewella (SoundCloud)

19. Under Control Ft. Hurts / Calvin Harris & Alesso (SoundCloud) (iTunes)

20. Sparks Ft. Matthew Koma (Vicetone Remix) / Fedde Le Grand & Nicky Romero (SoundCloud) (iTunes)

21. Bright Lights / Syn Cole (SoundCloud)

22. Young Hearts (Marcus Santoro & JAKKO Bootleg) / Strange Talk (SoundCloud)–Free Download

23. Ahead of Us / Tom Swoon, Lush & Simon (SoundCloud)–Free Download

24. All of Me (Tiesto Remix) / John Legend (SoundCloud) (iTunes)

Top Ten: Summer Songs

Technically, summer isn’t here yet, but when school’s out, it’s 80 degrees and we’re in June, it’s summer. I said so. While laying poolside the past two days and listening to my summer essentials playlist, I got to thinking: “What are my top ten favorite summer songs?” We all know I’m a freakazoid when it comes to lists and I will agonize and spend countless neurotic hours perfecting these lists until I can sleep tight, so I decided to subject myself to such intolerable cruelty to bring to you my top songs of summer:

10. Let’s Run Away / Haley Reinhart

The former “American Idol” contestant hit such a sweet, tropical jackpot with this song from her debut album, Listen Up. If you don’t find yourself smiling at least once during this song, you’re not human. It’s magical.

9. I Like It / Enrique Iglesias Ft. Pitbull

Auto-tune at it’s finest. This song just makes me so happy as soon as the synthy intro drops. And with the assistance of Mr. I-Can-Name-Nearly-Every-Country-In-The-World Pitbull, it’s like a Miami dance party on the beach.

8. Gin & Juice / Snoop Dogg

I don’t even think I need to explain this one. Classics are classics.

7. California Gurls / Katy Perry Ft. Snoop Dogg

Even though this song has only been out for four years, it is already Billboard’s No.1 summer song of all time. It’s fun, it’s flirty, and a diabetic coma ready to happen. And it’s all about sunny California! What more could you want? A whipped-cream dispensing bra? Yeah, it has that too!

6. If It’s Lovin’ That You Want / Rihanna

Awww, how sweet and innocent were Rihanna’s Barbadian princess days? It’s a taste of the tropical and will forever be one of my favorite Riri tracks.

5. Summer of ’69 / Bryan Adams

Just a summer classic. It has this innate nostalgic appeal that makes you so happy without really knowing why. Maybe it’s because it came from a time when a summer jam could be made without referencing sex, naked men/women and alcohol…

4. Summer Love / Justin Timberlake

Just another great track off of the great Future Sex/Love Sounds album. It’s the perfect daytime cruising song with the windows down and swag all the way up. Does anyone actually dislike this song, though?

3. Standing On the Sun / Beyonce

After being used for an H&M ad campaign last summer, the song never made the final setlist for Beyonce, which I still don’t understand. Regardless, the song is cracked out on major summer endorphins and is so relaxing to the ears. You literally feel like you’re standing on the sun–which doesn’t actually sound relaxing, but whatever.

2. Rock the Boat / Aaliyah

Arguably the smoothest artist of all time, Aaliyah dropped major summer dopeness with this island jam. It’s so bittersweet listening to it though, considering the tragedy that unfolded after filming the video, but it’s still one of those songs that puts me in sunny, breezy bliss.

1. Honey / Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey is the queen of summer music: Heartbreaker, Touch My Body, #Beautiful, etc. This woman knows how to make a smooth jam for those chill summer vibes. And how amazing does she look in this video? It’s kind of the first time we saw Mariah bust a move too. This was also the song where she turned black and never looked back.

WATCH: Usher’s Getting Lippy In “Good Kisser” Video

Time to put your lips to the test. Ursher, baby is turning up the swag in his new music video. The track is the lead single from his upcoming eighth studio album, which is still untitled–or is it? The video opens with a dark room lit only by a neon “XY.” Could that be the name for the new set? Since biology 101 has been a hot minute for most: “XY” are the chromosomes that make up a male human. It’s a pretty dope album title if you ask me. But back to the song, check it out below:

After the “Voice” coach went EDM on his 2012 album, Looking 4 Myself, it appears he is returning to his smooth R&B vibes that we all fell in love with way-back-when. “Good Kisser” features lots of funk, lots of the cool moves and lots of that sweet falsetto that could charm a rattlesnake right out of its pot–not euphemistic at all. Parts of the flick are also reminiscent of D’Angelo’s “How Does It Feel” video–you know, the one where he’s just naked under a shower head the whole time?

What do you guys think? Are we happy he’s getting sensual again?

The answer is: Yes.

Music Trend: The Summer That Disco Returned

summer_tumblrAs spring is in full bloom and the good vibrations of summer begin to kick in, it’s time to break out those sunny summer playlists. Mariah Carey’s “Honey,” Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat,” Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” are some of my staples for chillin’ poolside with my shades on and a cherry limeade by my side. But this year, we all have some updating to do because it is all about disco. Yes, you heard me right. It’s time to “Saturday Night Fever” our brains out for the next few months as 70’s funk comes surging back in 2014 via a wave of new music that is unleashing the disco ball on pop music. Sure, Bruno Mars, Daft Punk and Justin Timberlake have been paving the way for a year now with their R&B-funk vibes, but it is only escalating–perhaps to an even truer, more authentic disco sound–Barry Gibbs and Diana Ross would be oh, so proud. Now get out there and shake your groove thing to these new jams, but leave the bell bottom jeans at home, please, for our sake.

Katy Perry / “Birthday”

The colorful Cali gurl has just unleashed a possible summer smash with this flirty, sexy and insanely saccharine single. (And my birthday is in two weeks, so it’s like a personal message directly from her to me.)

Blake Lewis / “Disco In Space”

The former “American Idol” runner-up has been keeping busy with the upcoming release of his third album, Portraits of a Chameleon. “Disco” is just one of the many shades Blake is showing off of the set here and it’s groovy, man.

Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake / “Love Never Felt So Good”

The King of Pop has posthumously returned to his earlier days with this smooth, disco track, reminiscent of “Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough.” And with the help of modern throwback-er JT, this makes for one fine collabo.

The Saturdays / “Disco Love”

The U.K. girl group have put on their rollerblades and they are skating to Donna Summer all-year long.

Jesse McCartney / “Back Together”

Yes, he is still around! And good for us because this song is pure magic. The song was released on a four-track EP late last year, but will be included on a new album this spring, according to Billboard.

Karmin / “I Want It All”

They just need one more night. And if that night is anything like the lavish 70’s-themed party at the end of the video, I’m so down.

Pharrell Ft. Justin Timberlake / “Brand New”

If “Happy” already has you dripping with infectious swag, this collabo with JT (He is everywhere) will not let you down.

Bruno Mars / “Treasure”

Yes, I know this was out last summer, but it’s just that good. If this doesn’t scream “SUMMER” to you, you must be from northern Siberia, or just flat-out weird.

Foster the People / “Best Friend”

Indie rock does disco. Trumpets and requisite use of falsetto.

 

Josh Kaufman’s “Voice” performance is EVERYTHING

Last night marked the beginning of the live shows for season 6 of NBC’s hit-show “The Voice.” The night featured some amazing performances from a diverse lot of contestants. One particular contestant came out guns blazing yesterday evening, and that would be Josh Kaufman from team Usher. His cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” was perfection, and the type of performance that gives a singer a sea of popular momentum. (Think Andrew Garcia’s cover of “Straight Up” from “Idol.”)

Kaufman flaunted his radio-ready voice with all the flavor you could want: high and low, rich and silky. The thumping percussion against his dancing falsetto was pure magic. Most of what makes performers great on these singing shows is not just great voices, but great artistry and mass-market appeal. This guy is ready. Usher knows it too; the cameras couldn’t resist capturing the cheesy grin plastered on his face.

Are you currently trying to download the performance on iTunes? Me too.

And to think that Adam Levine eliminated Kaufman in the second battle round is just mind-blowing. Christmas came early for Usher this year, who snuck in and snatched up a strong frontrunner.

“Stay With Me” is resonating with the rest of America too. The song has already skyrocketed up to number four on iTunes, which will have a multiplying effect of five on his voting results.

Adam, what on EARTH were you thinking?

One Direction releases shape-shifting “You and I” video

Calling all Directioners! Grab your party hats, tissues, stress balls–whatever it is you need to weather new One Direction material–because the new video is taking you up close and personal with the heartthrobs. If you liked the transformations in the “Best Day Ever” video, you’ll love this one too.

Is anyone else exhausted from walking the never-ending boardwalk to nowhere? Sheesh. And when did Liam age 20 years? Are they doing a “Lincoln” sequel I don’t know about?

After being thoroughly confused and slightly horrified by Niall transfiguring into Liam (Professor McGonagall would be so proud), it all started to make sense. One lyric reads:

“Not even the gods above / could separate the two of us.”

And all of the guys are in one body because they can’t be separated! Whether that means they’re in a five-way relationship or not, I don’t know, but I cracked the Direction code–a lot faster than the Da Vinci code, that’s for sure.

The awkwardly candid section of the video gave way to the presence of all five members (bad break-up?) leap-frogging and jumping into suspended versions of themselves. All-in-all, I’m still a little lost and a little weary from the journey. It’s still one of my personal faves from “Midnight Memories” though, so… yay!

What do you guys think? Love it? Hate it? Whatever, it’s One Direction?

Top 10: My favorite albums

 I have found the process of ranking albums particularly difficult because, you know, my life is so hard and this is the apex of my concerns at the moment. There are two ways of looking at an album: it produced a lot of songs I like vs it’s a coherent, focused piece of work. I eventually put emphasis more on albums which were more focused around a certain sound rather than a clusterfuck of catchy tunes. So without further ado, here are my top ten albums (not that you care, but I like lists so I’m going to post it anyway):

10. Teenage Dream / Katy Perry / 2010

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This little bundle of sugary pop confectionary damn near gave me diabetes in the fall of 2010. A “dream” is an apt title for this album because it’s so all over the place that no other title would rationalize the A.D.D. on display: peacocks, melting popsicles, aliens, break-ups, fireworks, sad faces, happy faces, etc. But for a diverse album, it sure did give us some solid hits.

Pick three: “Teenage Dream” / “Hummingbird Heartbeat” / “Part of Me”

9. Closer / Josh Groban / 2003

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Can classical music be mainstream? Yes. Josh Groban made us all a little classier and worldly with this 5x-platinum sophomore release. Italian, French, Spanish, English–You name it, it’s sung. “Closer” is just such a beautiful album and Groban’s voice is like super dope and can make the hairs on your neck do the Harlem Shake. It’s a great publicity tool for Rosetta Stone too.

Pick three: “All’improvviso Amore” / “Si Volvieras A Mi” / “Remember When It Rained”

8. Confessions / Usher / 2004

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One word: YEAH! Not only was THE song of the first decade of the millennium on this album, but it was also the birth of Ur-sher, baby. Soulful R&B and Usher’s falsetto just play so well together. From dancing on table tops to dropping panties in a blink of an eye: that is the magic of “Confessions,” along with some relationship faux-pas. If only everyone could sound so sexy and amazing for being a lowly, cheating douchebag.

Pick three: “Yeah” / “Can U Handle It” / “Burn”

7. Own the Night / Lady Antebellum / 2011

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I can just smell the cornfields already. Lady Antebellum does such an amazing job at making country music that has cross-market appeal. This album in particular is so soothing and easy-going. It makes me want to bust out a flannel shirt and sit on a porch swing from dusk to dawn in the middle of October. My descriptions are very specific. So weird to think I saw them open for Carrie Underwood once and was like “Another song? Can they just get off–like, now?” How times have changed.

Pick three: “We Owned the Night” / “Dancin’ Away With My Heart” / “Wanted You More”

6. 4 / Beyonce / 2011

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This is perhaps the funniest selection on this list. I vividly remember throwing an epic tantrum after sampling this originally. I. Was. Piiiiissed. “This album is horrible. Who does she think she is now? This ain’t 1960. Who killed Sasha Fierce? Where she at?” And then time passed and mended all of my Beyonce wounds. I can now appreciate the restraint and artistic direction she went with this, it just took some time. I like to go hard to Bey and this was not affording me the chance. “4” is just so unique and a breath of fresh air amid the dance-music revolution that was happening all around it.

Pick three: “Run the World (Girls)” / “End of Time” / “Love on Top”

5. Aaliyah / Aaliyah / 2001

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Too many thoughts to write down. I think it’s a known fact–my feelings toward Aaliyah. One of the best ever. The production on this album in conjunction with her smooth chops just slays everything. She pushed the boundaries of soul into the future on this album and it makes for such a cool vibe. Mad swag alert.

Pick three: “Rock the Boat” / “I Care 4 U” / “We Need A Resolution”

4. Hybrid Theory / Linkin Park / 2000

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Whodathunk that hip-hop and rock would sound good together for the duration of an entire LP? Linkin Park burst onto the scene in 2000 with this epic debut, pushing the boundaries of musical labels. The sound was different from anything I had heard before and I remember my dad (rock lover) playing this all summer long until the point that I even put my Spice Girls on hold to listen to it instead. It also reminds me of the time when 11-year-old me would listen to “In the End” with a heavy heart because I thought I had AIDS and was going to die. Medical hypochondria set in very early for me, clearly.

Pick three: “In the End” / “Papercut” / “With You”

3. Heal / Loreen / 2013

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I have always stood by my claim that no one does pop music better than the Swedes. This album confirms that. But it’s more than just pop; there are shades of R&B and dance interwoven throughout. I have a “thing” for chill, night songs that have dance/trance elements incorporated and this album gave me a big, fat American-restaurant serving of that. It’s just so freaking cool. I also just happen to be obsessed with Loreen, which you can read all about in my #Addicted post dedicated to her. It’s dark, brooding and magical–like Harry Potter, sexed up with a strobe light.

Pick three: “Euphoria” / “Do We Even Matter” / “Crying Out Your Name”

2. Goodbye Lullaby / Avril Lavigne / 2011

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I adore this album. Like “We Own the Night,” it’s just an effortless album to listen to. The tracks are all coherent and incredibly cute. And like “4,”this was not one of Avril’s best-selling albums by a long shot. All of the angst and screaming was stripped away and there she was, introspective and sad–I enjoyed it. It’s like Adele, I like you being miserable, because you make good music for my ears. Just a tad selfish?

Pick three: “I Love You” / “Stop Standing There” / “What the Hell”

1. Daydream / Mariah Carey / 1995

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Nothing can ever or will ever top this album. I don’t know what it is about it–it’s just an untouchable. I mean, there is the fact that this album produced three MONSTER hits–“Always Be My Baby” being my favorite song of all-time. Mariah’s voice on this album though is just in a class of its own. I also feel like this album was the perfect blending of her pop beginnings and eventual R&B persuasion, which helped push it seven-times platinum in the US (her second best, after her eponymous debut album). I have always longed for her to abandon her routine, Jermaine Dupri R&B productions and revert back to this spirited and lively period in her music, but apparently she likes the declining trend in her record sales. This album is best for sitting out on a summer’s night atop the cool grass gazing up at the stars. Try it. I can’t anymore in L.A. because a) there is no more grass and b) air pollution has killed stargazing abilities.

Pick three: “Always Be My Baby” / “Fantasy” / “One Sweet Day”

Steamy Jelena dance routine surfaces

Are they? Are they not? The debate around Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s relationship status has been just as flighty as—well, Justin’s sanity recently. Days after Bieber posted a picture of  his ex-girl on Instagram, claiming how gorgeous she is, this dance video from their weekend rendezvous in Texas was posted to YouTube.

Yesterday, reports from the Canadian pop star’s legal deposition (something about a photog being roughed up by his bodyguard blah blah blah) claimed the Biebz got infuriated when asked about Gomez.

“Don’t ask me about her again,” he said multiple times before storming out of the room.

Whether or not it’s official, I think it’s safe to say Selena wants in on the train wreck. God bless.

Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” music video has arrived

Hide ya Cheetos, hide yo husband! Pharoah Katy Perry is on the loose in her new “Dark Horse” music video.

Set in Egypt “a crazy long time ago,” Perry’s Celopatra figure can be seen “nope-ing” (a la Tinder) potential suitors, not before stealing their goods. Gimme those fiery hot Cheetos! Seriously. It happened. She also showed off some of those sassy bounce-with-it dance moves that have you going, “OK, Katy Perry. OK.”

Apart from the color palette explosion and gaudy outfits–and grillz–there are some pretty moments but are sadly short-lived. Check out the video and then answer the poll at the bottom: