Top 10: Albums of 2014

Another end of year, another chance to make best-of lists. I don’t even care if anyone reads them, it’s more of a personal hobby that goes nowhere–hey, if it makes me feel like a hot shot music critic (far from), what the hell? This is also not a statement as to “these are the absolute best of the year”–they’re my favorite albums. If I want to put One Direction ahead of some obscure indie pop standout, guess what? I will. It’s all about what kept me coming back for more. I think the Mona Lisa is great, but would I want that creepy woman lingering in my house? Hell to the no.

10. In the Lonely Hour / Sam Smith

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I can relate to this album in more ways than one, which should actually make me rather depressed and bitter…but thankfully emotional eating exists. His voice is just too good to not be on any list.

9. LP1 / FKA Twigs

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I don’t know where she came from, but Tahliah Barnett is the shit. My ears are forever grateful for these angelic-hypnotic- futuristic, slow night jams. Unlike Meghan Trainor, FKA Twigs is actually from England. (I went around for 4 months under the assumption Meghan Trainor was English.)

8. Queen of the Clouds / Tove Lo

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I’ll admit it: I do not like “Habits (Stay High).” But I will tell you: there are plenty more gems to be unearthed on this post-breakup album. Brooding, high-energy pop will keep you danc-y and, um, frisky. The best part about the set is her candid and millennial-appropriate lyrics: “I’m not the prettiest you’ve ever seen, but I have my moments.”

7. Where It All Began / Dan + Shay

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First, Dan + Shay are just über adorable. This whole album is like a ray of morning sunshine and it fills me with happiness. I’ve never been prone to country music but somewhere in the past 6 months I fell in some moonshine and I can’t get out. I just want to cuddle with them on some beach and eat gummy worms.

6. My Everything / Ariana Grande

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2014 was all about Ms. Ariana Grande. Who knew that pink-haired weirdo I used to watch on Nickelodeon with my younger sister would sneak her way on to my iPod as a sultry tigress. I’ve never thoroughly enjoyed singing along to unrecognizable lyrics more until this came into my life. It’s retro, it’s sexy, it’s cool, it’s EVERYTHING. Ha…Ha…get it? I digress.

5. 1989 / Taylor Swift

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For anyone who knows me well, they know how significant this is: a Taylor Swift album in any kind of association with my name. Yes, while I was not the biggest T-Swift fan for years, I have always been fair to say, “Good music is good music.” Well, Starbucks lovers (don’t argue with me on this one), James Dean eyes and rabbit holes made for some pretty killer jams. I love this new approach to music. I think it suits her well and I hope she sticks to it. Now I will never feel alone when sitting in my bed with tear-stained cheeks holding a butcher’s knife.

4. Four / One Direction

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You knew it was coming. One Direction will forever give me life and I don’t care what musical merits you care about, they make me happy and act a fool and I’m completely okay with that. Their musicianship has matured though, to be fair. Four is not as folky as Midnight Memories, or as pop-y as Take Me Home…it’s…weird, but still good. If another “Tarzan” movie ever happens, “Ready to Run” HAS to be the theme song.

3. x / Ed Sheeran

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Lawd, help me. This guy kills me. So simple, so unadorned, yet full of feels and life. I rarely like to be in a rainy day kinda mood, but I will for this album. I could do without the more urban tracks like “Sing,” but the other offerings are pure gold. If anyone can find the words like Ed Sheeran can, we would all be married and living happily ever after. A man, his guitar and a splash of insane musical wizardry makes this a must-have.

2. Aquarius / Tinashe

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Just turn the lights out, throw this album on and cruise through the night–you won’t regret it. Tin-ash/Tin-ash-ay/Whatever gave us such a refreshing debut effort, opting to show her airy, raspy vocal prowess over ratchet bangers. At times I get these vague Aaliyah vibes, which is probably why I’m so drawn to her style.

1. Montevallo / Sam Hunt

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If this is the future of country music, I. AM. DOWN. Sam Hunt is like the Drake of country, if that makes any sense. It’s a completely unique sound that had me hooked from the first time I heard “Break Up In A Small Town,” where Sam semi-raps his way into a booming chorus. His voice is also pure sex, not going to lie, especially on “Speakers,” which feels like “our” song for me and my non-existent lover. There are also some pop country tracks which are just as infectious. Bravo. Bravo, Sam. Marry me, please?

Top 10: Signs You Live With A Latina

Picking a roommate is a very serious decision, if you’re lucky enough to be in the driver’s seat. Living with other people is not easy. Given how ill-tempered and OCD we can be, matching personalities is a fine art, if not an extinct art. When I coerced my best friend from back home on the east coast to move out and replace my old roommate, who ditched me for Australia on a wild whim in a matter of months, I thought I had won the lottery. I’m not saying I haven’t–we get along just great. It’s awesome to be able to live with your best friend. But sometimes you overlook the cultural differences that aren’t apparent when you don’t live with someone. Now that I’m living full-time with my Puerto Rican nugget, I get to soak in a completely new way of living. This is what happens when you move in with a latina:

1. There has been a coup d’état in your kitchen and Goya is your new leader.

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2. You can buy as many Bath & Body Works flowers as you want, but nothing can erase the pervading scent of garlic and olive oil.

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3. Conversations with her mother can be heard through two doors and two walls.

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4. Saturday mornings consist of gallons of bleach and salsa music.

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5. The Catholic guilt is real. “Did I wake you with my breathing. I’m so sorry. I feel horrible. Do you hate me? I’ll go throw myself off a cliff. “

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6. ESL moments become your favorite part of the day.

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And she tries and tries to get herself out of it, but it only gets worse.

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7. You are never able to keep all of their siblings straight.

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8. There are ALWAYS avocados AND plantains in the house. Maduros for life ❤

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9. Those times where you realize you’ve been watching Telemundo for the past 20 minutes and didn’t notice.

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10. Their family adopts you as their own and your real parents have no say in it.

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Bonus: God forbid you don’t cry when you eat her food because if you’re not crying tears of happiness, then obviously you hate it and just personally insulted her, her mother and her grandmother and 5 previous generations.

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But I wouldn’t change a thing.

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.

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”

Worst of 2013: Top 10 Annoyances

Every year we are blessed with many great things. But this isn’t Disney World. For every beautiful thing we encounter, there is one that proves to be mind-numbingly annoying or disastrous and it haunts us for an entire year. I’m still recovering from Psy one year later. After reading this post, you can join me for a drink and we can pray for a mildly-improved 2014. Cheers.

10. Beats by Dr. Dre Pill

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If you think twerking was the most featured item in music videos this year, you would be wrong. The Beats Pill is a wireless speaker system that is wi-fi enabled, allowing you to control songs from your phone or other device, and retails for more than an iPhone 5 (contract-renewal price) at $299. Whether it’s better than my $30 iPod speaker system, I don’t know, but it was annoying to see it shamelessly promoted in nearly every music video this year, excpet for Paris Hilton’s “Good Time,” because she tried to swallow it.
Let’s play Where’s Waldo?: Beats Pill Edition:

“Work Bitch” / Britney Spears
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“Stay the Night” / Zedd Ft. Hayley Williams

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“We Can’t Stop” / Miley Cyrus

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9. The Real Housewives of Capitol Hill

capitolhillThe catty brawls and embarrassments featured in the “Real Housewives” franchise paled in comparison to the hot mess of babbling old white men (plus Barack) running the government. From cliffs to sequesters to filibusters to shutdowns, I have been bombarded by really long words that I don’t understand all year long, and I’m over it. Behind closed doors, these weasels were running around like sexually-charged teenagers sexting, cheating and snapchatting God knows what. And then if Obamacare and the NSA tucking you in at night wasn’t enough, these degenerates went and closed the United States of America like it was a damn Target store. But it wasn’t that big of a deal, except for the few pissed off Mexicans that couldn’t be legally verified and families that had to cancel their Yellowstone family vacay. Let’s hope in 2014 we can get our shit together.

8. “Chinese Food” by Alison Gold

Major eye roll. Because rich kids can’t be satisfied with unlimited credit cards, jet-setting, and spa treatments, we need to cater to their aspirations of fame by creating Satanic music videos that would make Helen Keller cover her eyes and ears. From the same producers of Rebecca Black’s “Friday” comes “Chinese Food,” the glorification of craving fried soy sauce-covered cat in restaurants that cater only to five-year olds. At 2:14, our favorite child-molesting rapper from “Friday” reappears to have a slumber party with the little girl singing. Sleep tight, don’t let the panda bite. If you can make it to the end of the video without bleeding out from your wrists, you are not human.

7. Candy Crush

candycrushThe game that ruined relationships, marriages and families is, apparently, still going full-steam into 2014. What started as a fun, addicting game turned into mood swings, depression and texts from your mother at 10 p.m. asking commanding you to “Send me a ticket!” I fell into the black pit of blinking and exploding candies for about two months before I just got exhausted. I was having nightmares that “jelly” was chasing me. I couldn’t close my eyes without visualizing candies switching spaces at light speed. It was also extremely infuriating that there was no end to the game; it was constantly updated with new rounds. I’m a competitive person. I like to win. Where is the fun in playing a game that never ends?! It was all just too much for me to take, so I moved on and hopefully you did too.

6. Dairy Queen

oreoblizzardNews flash: fat kid problems. It is no secret that I unabashedly love Dairy Queen. From birth, Dairy Queen has been the godmother I was never appointed and never will be, now that Kris Jenner refuses to get back to me. Summer or winter, I will always be down for an Oreo Blizzard. Ever since I moved to L.A. last year, I have been in a state of semi-depression since there are no Dairy Queens in the immediate L.A. area. The closest DQ is the Culver City location about 20-minutes away. I finally made it to the Fox Hills Mall over the holidays and was elated to see my dear old DQ. Like a kid in a candy store, I ran up and ordered my Blizzard like I had a gun to my head. As I whisked away, Blizzard in-hand, into the Disney store to buy my Christmas Stitch, I had a sad, sour moment: something in this doesn’t taste right. I verified my suspicion that the milk was not up to par in my ice cream with my friend and decided to return to the store and give them polite hell. Because customer service is the top priority for this particular branch, the worker tasted the ice cream, looked at me, and said, “It tastes fine to me.” Worst. Day. Ever.

5. Apple

ios7Let me preface this by saying that I am a happy Apple customer. I own a Macbook Pro, an iPhone and an iPod, and I like them very much. What I don’t like, however, is being bullied around by a bunch of blue-shirted geeks. Change is good–and needed–but it has to be gradual. When the iPhone 5 was released, I was not thrilled with new charger. Both my iPhone and iPod use the old cord, and everyone else in the world owns it too, which is nice when you forget yours. Granted, yes, everyone will slowly adapt to the new cords, but WHY? Was it absolutely necessary? And then workers and Apple nerds get brainwashed and say, “Why, oh, yes. This cord is a “lightning cable” and is 0.32694-times faster and has AbraKadabraAlakazm technology.” People, it’s a charger. Last time I checked, all of my devices charged properly, what is the need for a “LIGHTNING CABLE?” If that weren’t enough, they go and release iOS7. I refuse to have my phone look like a cheap ass Asian toy–I mean, Android. Like I said, change should be gradual and subtle. Converting my phone display into a psychedelic clusterfuck is not subtle. I am still using iOS6 and will continue to do so until Jobs resurrects and forces me to convert.

4. Justin Bieber

justinbiebrI’m going to catch major hell for this–a death threat or two. I’m a Belieber though, so that should give me some credibility, I hope. To say the Biebz fell from grace this year would be a bit of an understatement. Once he started his European tour, all hell broke loose; it was one catastrophe after another. He was late for a show and the fans were pissed. He threw up on stage. He got into a fight with the paparazzi. At some point he acquired a monkey and then as quickly as he got it, it was taken awa6. He was throwing parties–or his friends were throwing parties–and his neighbors were not having it. And then he kicked his friends out of his home, but that didn’t really solve anything. And then he goes to Brazil and becomes a pimp. All the meanwhile, he’s confessing he’s an “artist” and not a “joke” and not being taken “seriously.” Well, it’s kind of hard to do when you’re acting like a narcissistic punk.

3. North Korea

The hatred I have for the North Korean government. They toyed with my emotions like no other this year. They knew I had an anxiety disorder and preyed on me like fresh meat, throwing around claims that they have nukes aimed at the U.S. I had a very bad case of indigestion and anxiety back in ’04 after an asteroid was supposed to have a pretty close call with Earth. I was up all day and night worrying myself sick. I was beginning to have flashbacks with all of this nuclear mayhem. Would it just be a flash and that’s it? Would it burn? Is there an underground lead bunker located nearby I can relocate to? I just couldn’t believe that I was letting their Gerber baby leader push me around like this, that is, until I educated myself and realized that they were, like, legitimately retarded. They haven’t even cracked the satellite code yet, so how are they to be taken serious with long-range nuclear technology? And randomly Gerber baby and Dennis Rodman are bffs?

2. Kimye

Shake my head. Shake my head. Everything about them is just annoying. First, they just got together. That was strike one. Then Kim gets pregnant and desperately tries to squeeze herself into couture, which violated many, many fashion laws. Case and point. And I thought manatees were an endangered species?

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They named their daughter North. How cute? Not. This is about as far as Kim is concerned, the rest of the year’s annoyances were all spawned by Mr. West. There was the creative genius rant. There was the awful “Bound 2” video, which was not “genius” at all. The comparisons to Jesus continued, which…sigh…Actually, I’m just done with him. Apparently he’s a really nice guy. I will have to be the judge of that myself.

1. Miley Cyrus

mileycyrusCall it genius, call it over-the-top antics, whatever it was, I did not like it one bit. Her “Bangerz” album was actually not bad, but the social media circus and public appearances were just too much to handle. Can you put yo’ damn tongue away? It’s not cute. It’s not funny. And can you STOP “twerking.” And while we’re on that subject, you’re not even twerking properly. Watch Riri twerk, that is twerking. You, are acting a hot mess while moving your ass quickly. Your body is not Beyonce’s body, we don’t need to see that glow-in-the-dark corpse. And can you stop licking shit? This whole year was like watching my 10-year-old sister, under the influence, stripping and grinding on old men and teddy bears and it was just very, very disturbing. Let’s pray in 2014 the antics are cut, and her artistry speaks for itself, without all of the smoke and mirrors.

Best of 2013: Tweets

Twitter is easily one of the best inventions of all-time. The microblogging site can be a treasure chest of hilarity, or a massive pain in the ass. For people with anxiety disorders, Twitter is a nightmare because we constantly feel like we’re missing something or not doing something right. It’s never-ending. And then when people don’t respond to your perfectly-crafted tweets, your therapist visits increase. Whatever Twitter means to you, it is still a great source of comic relief on-demand. Here are my 10 favorite tweets, in no particular order:

The following two are combined. Oh, the joys of fantastically-devised hashtags:

Ravens? 49ers? Who?

Be on your best behavior:

Something we can all relate to:

Even Apple bows down to Bey:

When dumb people try to be smart, it’s funny:

Run, bitch. Run!

Age is nothing but a number, right?

Who needs a PR agent?

“What to do when Beyoncé drops a new album” was not in the parenting manual:

Best of 2013: Top 10 Music Videos

I’m a very simple person. I am literal. I am happy-go-lucky and driven towards aesthetics. You mix all of those together and you get a certain taste for music videos. Don’t hand me a highly conceptual music video with allegories upon allegories; I won’t know what the hell to do with it. If I get confused, I’m done. Over it. It’s not fun. It would be like being forced to watch “Inception” over and over again, and I already fell for that once. Never again. Without further ado, here are my favorite music videos of the year!

10. “Blurred Lines”/ Robin Thicke Ft. Pharrell and T.I. / Directed by Diane Martel

The song of the summer had an equally fun-loving video to accompany it. The video itself is pretty simple, reminiscent of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” featuring dapper gents and skimpy supermodels against a warmly-lit white wall. And what is a video without a goat, ginormous dice, a stationary bike, and sausage links? But the real star of this video is not Robin Thicke and his selflessly promoted goods under the hood, rather the cute and endlessly adorable Pharrell Williams.

9. “Carried Away” / Passion Pit / Directed by Ben and Alex Brewer

Sometimes we do indeed get “carried away” in relationships. The video is centered around a quirky couple that I swear is based off of Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s characters from “500 Days of Summer.” I mean, could the lead girl NOT resemble Zooey anymore? This video made me smile and feel oddly charmed by their neuroticism.

8. “Shot At the Night” / The Killers / Directed by Roboshobo

Being a maid in Las Vegas would be understandably depressing; you’re cleaning up after a bunch of bimbos living in excess and having the time of their lives. You would also live in Vegas, which is equally just as depressing if you can’t even enjoy The Strip. If JLo’s “Maid in Manhattan” were set in Las Vegas, then you would have this video. It’s a Vegas love story and a pretty good promotional piece for Vegas tourism. We also get to see Brandon Flowers. Win.

7. “Overgrown” / James Blake / Directed by Nabil

It’s kind of creepy, but totally worth it. So it starts out with Harry Potter in bed inside Hagrid’s hut. And then Harry watches the ocean in hyper mode while he is seemingly depressed, or contemplative–I’m not sure. But then he got dizzy and decided to go on a walk to the shore, which might be death, but again, beats me. As he’s walking–BOOM–the dementors show up! They’re chasing him, but he doesn’t see them, and I’m yelling “Expecto Patronum! Expecto Patronum! Bitch, turn around!” Well, he must have said it with his mind because then they disappear and he still looks rather sad. The end.

6. “Stay the Night” / Zedd Ft. Hayley Williams / Directed by Daniel Campos

First off, Hayley, grow your hair back, please. You look like a deranged fiery cuckoo bird. The video features Zedd slamming away on his piano while Hayley sings and dances in a room full of hanging lightbulbs, which look stunning. In the meantime, there is a couple entrenched in a contemporary dance routine that fills the video from beginning to end, along with tornado-like warping effects to mirror the realities of a one night stand, perhaps? I still need more Zedd + Hayley collabos in the future.

5. “Y.A.L.A.” / MIA / Directed by David Sannwald

This is a colorful hot mess, honestly. It was my first seizure I ever experienced, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. In a quasi-“F.U.” to Drake, the “You Always Live Again” video unleashes the colors of the neon rainbow against sick beats which make for one hell of a trippy ride. Words to the wise: start with your eyes half-shut. That should help.

4. “Burn” / Ellie Goulding / Directed by Mike Sharpe

Although it’s not “deep” on any level, I absolutely love this video. The visuals are stunning and there is so much life and energy popping out at you that you wish you were raving it up on an airstrip. It also matches the video really well. Nothing seems out of place or separated. You can naturally listen to the song while watching the video and not feel a disconnect. This is a must for me with videos. An example of the opposite would be Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” video which just obliterated the song badly.

3. “Work Bitch” / Britney Spears / Directed by Ben Mor

I have been obsessed with this video since the day it came out. I was completely mesmerized watching it for the first time in my roommate’s car, and my first words afterward were, “It’s like 2001 Britney was resurrected on your phone.” There’s really not much to the video, just Britney being a beast and dancing again (finally). Again, lots of shameless self-promotion, but whatever, she’s hot and she’s Britney effing Spears. The “doorography” from the “Criminal” video also resurfaced again. It’s just a good ol’ time.

2. “Happy” / Pharrell Williams / Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud

If you want to feel so incredibly giddy and happy, watch this video. You cannot physically make it through all four minutes without smiling, clapping along, bobbing your head or even injecting your own swagalicious moves. I am actually contemplating asking Pharrell to marry me…

1. “XO” / Beyoncé / Directed by Terry Richardson

Two words: in love. Yes, there many good videos on Beyoncé’s self-titled sneak surprise, but the simplicity and pure-hearted joy of the video made it stand out even more. It reminds me of Mariah Carey’s video for her 1995 number-one hit, “Fantasy.” Beyoncé finds herself enjoying a day at the pier riding roller coasters and playing games, all while looking genuinely happy. I’m just addicted to the good vibes this video is giving off. Long live Queen Bey.

Top 10: Christmas Songs

Now that it looks like the North Pole threw up in my apartment, it’s time to let the Christmas music blast!

HomeXmas

There is nothing more magical than Christmas music. The warmth and joy it builds is so comforting and relaxing. It also makes me like other people and want to be a better person (for this short two-month span only). I smile at everyone on the street to their delight–sometimes horror and skepticism. My usual frustrations and passive-aggressive tendencies morph into “God bless you-s” and “Merry Christmas-s!” You could tell me “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” got canceled and I won’t have an existential breakdown, because I know Santa will make it all better.

Let’s count down, shall we?

10. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”: Brenda Lee

This song evokes memories from my childhood, watching Macaulay Culkin dupe dumb and dumber, and wishing that one day I could be as wise and clever as he–newsflash: still hasn’t happened. It has that vintage Christmas feel that makes you feel at home.

9. “White Christmas”: Michael Bublé

This is the quintessential Christmas song on anyone’s Christmas list, regardless of which rendition you prefer. Yes, there is the classic Bing Crosby version, but I’m as far away from a traditionalist as one can be, and this one just has that warm feeling while still feeling current and cheery. Bing’s is a little…sleepy.

8. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”: Mariah Carey

Obviously, Mariah Carey is like the Queen of Christmas. No one can touch her Christmas swag, or sell a holiday album like she can. There is just something about her voice that just lends itself to the holiday spirit–big, clear and commercial, yet husky and warm.

7. “Cold December Night”: Michael Bublé

If Mariah Carey is the Queen of Christmas, Mr. Bublé is the King. This is one of the original songs crafted for his holiday album, and it’s my favorite. Christmas music depends on my mood: if I’m sitting by the tree or fire being relaxed, I want the softer, homier songs, but if I’m out and about, I want those commercial uplifting songs. This is one of the latter. And the cover art for this album was uh-mazing.

6. “Mistletoe”: Justin Bieber

I know, I know. Don’t even go there with me. I hated this the first time I heard it. As a devout guardian of the Christmas spirit, I was appalled at the use of “shawty” in a CHRISTMAS song. And then those guitar strums got stuck in my head and it was over. Now I love it.

5. “Last Christmas”: Cast of Glee

This is going to be a little extra emotional now. RIP Finn 😦 There aren’t many “Glee” versions that I like better than the original, but I absolutely love this song. It also helps that the video was super festive and cute, shopping for a Christmas tree with hot cocoas in-hand.

4. “What Christmas Means to Me”: Stevie Wonder

Oldie, but goodie. It makes you want to dance and you can’t deny it. One of those songs that just appeals to everyone and puts a big smile on your face.

3. “Underneath the Tree”: Kelly Clarkson

Yes, I realize this just came out. And it’s already no. 3? Yep. It’s that good. I knew instantly this was going into the Pantheon of Christmas songs. Pop Christmas perfection.

2. “Someday at Christmas”: Stevie Wonder

This one hits close to home, literally. I grew up on Stevie’s “Someday at Christmas” album. My mom played it every year when we would decorate the Christmas tree and get the house set for the season. I hated it. And then you get older and then you love it because it’s home. It’s your tradition. This song is the first track on the album so it was always the song to commence the holiday season. ❤

1. “All I Want for Christmas Is You”: Mariah Carey

Must I explain? No.

And just for fun. How about this trip down memory lane?

Top 10: Signs you’re a journalism student

10. When watching newscasts, you’re judging, hardcore.

9. The AP Stylebook lies on top of the Bible on your nightstand. Ouch.

8. You see some type of event going on and your mind starts racing: “Where’s my camera? OK, who am I going to interview? How’s the lighting? Wait, I’m not on assignment. Go home.

7. You can’t take a picture without audibly saying, “Rule of thirds!”

6. You want to give every solicitor on the sidewalk a hug. “I feel ya, bruh.”

5. It is not uncommon to find you sitting in your closet speaking into a microphone.

4. “Wait, so can I use the past tense? No, that’s for broadcast, right? Or print? Oh, the other way around? No? Whatever.

3. You spend more money on gas and parking then rent, food and other living vitals.

2. You look like an asshole wherever you go: tripod, camera, microphone, headphones, notebooks, pens and a demeanor of utter desperation, verging on suicidal: “Excuse me, do you min–OK, great. Have a nice day…fucker.”

1.  Hitler has a better standing in your book than uncooperative sources.

But it’s all worth it because we’re all going to be super rich journalists!

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Top 10: Nene Leakes GIFs

The inaugural top 10 list will be dedicated to one of the most fabulous people to ever roam this planet, the one and only, Nene Leakes. Here are my favorite Nene GIFS:

10. They Stupid. ‘Nuf said.

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9. Let’s start the bidding.

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8. WHAT do you want?!

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7. Let me tell you what I really think.

nene_lowdownmonkeywithawig

6. Just a necessary evil in this world.

nene_yagottapullsomeonesweave

5. When life becomes too much:

nene_igiveuphands

4. I dare you to push my buttons. DO it. I’m all kinds of crazy.

nene_whothefyoutalkingto

3. What’s actually happening when I say “Oh, no. That’s fine. Don’t worry.”

nene_rolleyesonphone

2. I’m done with you. Seriously. Stop.

nene_handinyourface

1. The epic classic.

nene_iamveryrichbitch