The 20 Best Things That Happened In 2014

BestThings2014
Feature Image Via Hulu

Last year, I summed up the most massive annoyances of the year. I decided to be a bit more chipper this year and look at the gifts we were given in 2014 instead. From French men dancing in heels to novelty, white-girl-approved Oreos, the treasures were overflowing. Personally, it was a great year for me as well. I began running, which lasted two months but proved to be the longest documented account of exercise in my life. I had my first full-time job since 17-year-old me was providing you outstanding customer service at every high school in America’s official fashion haus, Hollister. What else…Oh! I almost forgot the time I fell asleep in my running shower from 2am to roughly 4:30am. Such a great year. Here are some more milestones:

1. When Chris Schauble’s life flashed before his eyes.

When you think you’re watching SNL, but are actually watching a real, live news broadcast.

2. This Vine about the Christmas from Hell.
https://vine.co/v/OMh2DAYtmDr/embed/simple

Barbie never stood a chance. It was her time to go.

3. Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.

Unlike Piers Morgan, finally a British political commentator that isn’t a narcissistic asshole. Sure Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are great, but there is something about John Oliver that reigns supreme–and not just his likeness to that of Frozen‘s beloved Olaf.

4. Beyoncé’s “7/11” music video

Christmas came early for the folks at GoPro (basically the creators of the world’s best personal video camera) when Beyoncé decided to make her own video. Does Jay have the purse strings or what? Last year Bey spent $0 in advertisement for the release of her self-titled album, and it goes on to pass the now largely unattainable million-unit sales point. This year, she films a video for roughly $400, the cost of a GoPro Hero4. And guess what? It was still better than everyone else’s multi-million dollar videos. Cheap is the new luxe.

5. When POTUS’s tweets end all other tweets.

The first and, presumably, last president to both A) Know how to access the Internet and B) Figure out “the Twitter.”

6. When Taylor Swift thought she won a Grammy.
https://vine.co/v/Mu5BItuUZ1T/embed/simple

Uh, oh. The Grammy Committee might end up the subject of the next bitter T-Swift song.
“You can take me down with just one, single pronounced “R,”
But you don’t know, what you don’t know…”

7. Instagram enables comment editing.
InstaEdit

Game changer. Now there is no need for the humiliating follow-up comment to your comment that reads “*you’re”. Or if you mistakenly tag your picture in Las Vegas, NM instead of Las Vegas, NV, you are saved.

8. The best summertime ad ever created. You go Target!

If any of you have a backyard like this, and have yet to invite me, we are no longer friends.

9. Florida strikes again.

Holy mother of God. The state that seems to breed stupid like no other keeps finding ways to outdo last month’s crazy. Every time you say, “No” to bath salts, you save an unsuspecting McDonald’s franchise.

10. How To Get Away With Murder

Move over Olivia Pope, there is a new HBIC in town, and her name is Annalise Keating, played by the formiddable Viola Davis. But let’s be honest, I’m only here for Connor Walsh 😉 In all seriousness, this quickly became my go-to show for the year. Someone give Shonda Rhimes a TV MVP.

11. Yanis Marshall, and all his shades of fierce.

Who would’ve thought I’d be wishing for more French men dancing in heels this year? I mean…DAYUMMM. This little pocket rocket packs some serious punch. I’m both in love and terrified. If I didn’t think I would look absolutely ridiculous, I’d say #DanceGoals, but, like, no.

12. Her

Spike Jonze made me want to fall in love with my operating system this year when the innovative “Her” was released. Apart from the wi-fi sex with Scarlett Johanson’s voice, this film was a breath of fresh air. Funny, loving, artsy, beautifully acted and quippy–it did yield one of the best quotes ever: “[Love] it’s kind of like a form of socially acceptable insanity.”

13. The woman who couldn’t handle life after a hailstorm.

Grab your box of tissues. It’s like The Notebook–almost. “Do I just sweep it off? Do I need to put it in a separate receptacle?” I die. It’s so adorable though that she’s so worried about the environment in this darkest hour.

14. Sam Hunt

Country has never been as sexy until Sam Hunt entered the ring, regarding both his music and, obviously, his dreamy self. He looks like he could snap me in two with the flick of his wrist. Anyway, I love that he is pioneering the future of country music by incorporating R&B flavors. It’s exciting. He is, without a doubt, my favorite newcomer of the 2014 music scene.

15. Ariana Grande’s priceless face after dodging a Victoria’s Secret angel wing.
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You might be beautiful, but get yo’ damn wing out my face when I’m singing.

16. Pumpkin Spice Oreos
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White girls rejoice all across the land! The gods have gifted us another fall novelty. After last year’s gingerbread Oreos failed miserably, Nabisco redeemed themselves this year.

17. Kanye West’s style
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I was super excited when I received this copy of GQ in the mail–Yes, I still order print magazines. There is one thing about Ye you can’t deny: this man has style. And I love everything about his style. Okay, so he’s low key my fashion inspiration of late. I have always been a fan of tonal combinations and loose-fitting tops over slim-legged pants, but Kanye just slays it to perfection. Even though he’s been sort-of-but-not-really ex-communicated within the fashion world, he’s doing quite a fine job on his own accord.

18. This stunning nighttime hyperlapse of Los Angeles.

LA Light from Colin Rich on Vimeo.

If you know me, you know my favorite thing in life is a panoramic view of a city by nightfall. This is perfection. And the music selection is genius. Bravo.

19. Katy Perry’s Prismatic World Tour

I never thought I’d ever go to a concert alone, until no one would go with me to see Katy Perry. Let me tell you this: best decision ever. I had a blast and I gave zero fucks. The most entertaining concert I have ever been to.

20. Bey and Jay’s On the Run Tour

Because, obviously.

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.

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

joshgrobancloser

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

aaliyah

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

linkinparkhybridtheory

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

loreenheal

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

avrilgoodbyelullaby

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

mariahcareydaydream

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”

Happy 60th Oprah! 20 reasons why we love you

Let’s face it: Oprah runs this Earth. For all that she does, I want to wish her the best on her big day. Since 60 is the new 20, I have thought of 20 reasons why we love her.

1. She has the power to single-handedly select the President of the United States/Leader of the Free World:

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2. She stands up to domestic violence.

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3. And gives it right back.

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4. We all rely on her to get us through our Plebeian lives.

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5. She secretly wants to be Beyonce too, like the rest of us.

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6. She’s both hood

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7. And classy.

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8. She had a cameo in “The Lion King.”

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9. She deals with basic bitches with elegance.

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10. She’s subtle.

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11. She is very persuasive.

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12. She gives away free stuff.

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13. She fangirls over One Direction too. (If she could time travel).

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14. She’s not impressed.

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15. She’s fabulous.

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16. She has the ability to make you do this:

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17. She’s a boss.

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18. She gives a lot to charity, because with 7 or 8 homes, $3 billion and a private jet, she can.

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19. But at least she earned it.

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20. And last but not least, she’s beautiful.

Oprah Winfrey

50 Shades of Fierce: Watch this man WERK to Beyoncé…in heels.

Heels and attitude have never looked so cool before today.

French choreographer Yanis Marshall lit up the “So You Think You Can Dance” Ukraine stage in a performance of Beyonce’s “Grown Woman.”

The dancer is infamous for his steamy and wild Youtube videos, all of which are done in heels, of course. That child must have been born in stilettos because I have never even seen Bey work it out like that–running and jumping around like a damn fool with a demeanor that reads, “No big deal.” If you’re not in awe yet, Marshall posted on his Youtube video that he whipped the whole performance together in three hours.

I’m just bitter with envy.

Beyoncé’s “XO” criticized by NASA

challengerHouston, we have a problem.

“XO,” the latest track from Houston-native Beyoncé, is being criticized by NASA for use of audio from the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion.

On January 28, 1986, all seven crew members aboard the Challenger were killed after the space shuttle disintegrated 73 seconds after launching. Moments later, NASA public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt voiced to the public in a now famous quote, which was used as the lead-in for Beyonce’s latest single, “Flight control is here looking very carefully at the situation, obviously a major malfunction.”

NASA responded to the song by releasing a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter:

“The Challenger accident is an important part of our history, a tragic reminder that space exploration is risky and should never be trivialized. NASA works every day to honor the legacy of our fallen astronauts as we carry out our mission to reach for new heights and explore the universe.”

Families of the fallen astronauts were also disappointed by the singer’s six-second Challenger snippet. June Scobee Rodgers, widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee, said this to ABC News:

“The moment included in this song is an emotionally difficult one for the Challenger families, colleagues and friends. We have always chosen to focus not on how our loved ones were lost, but rather on how they lived and how their legacy lives on today.”

Beyoncé answered the criticism by expressing her sympathy for the affected families and her interpretation of the audio’s meaning.

“My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster. The song ‘XO’ was recorded with the sincerest intention to help heal those who have lost loved ones and to remind us that unexpected things happen, so love and appreciate every minute that you have with those who mean the most to you. The songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten.”

If you haven’t already heard the song, here it is:

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.

Best of 2013: Top 10 Albums

Here are the ten albums that topped my iPod this year. From UK dance to ATL body grinding, this list has it all.

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10. “Heal” / Loreen

Before the 10 of you that actually know who this is starts hollering that it was technically released in October of 2012, hear me out. If you read my #Addicted post about Loreen, you know that I’ve been girl crushing on her for a couple of months now. I first heard of her this past May, and downloaded most of her album on the spot, which is why I’m lumping it in 2013’s list. It is such a chill album. It’s great to put on at night and cruise around town with the windows down. Her husky voice and R&B grooves are soothing to the soul. Plus, she’s just a badass. Dope.

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9. “Beautiful” / Jessica Mauboy

Jessica Mauboy, my little Aussie burst of sunshine, released her third album this year and it is just what I expected from her: pure fun. There are plenty of catchy, bubblegum pop songs that I was addicted to for weeks. She also sprinkled in some of her soulful R&B style, which in my opinion, is her sweet spot. There’s not much of a statement being made with this, just a lot of fun, and I like to have fun, so bravo.

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8. “Midnight Memories” / One Direction

We all know I have a little weakness (little is debatable) for 1D. I was so intrigued to hear the album’s direction (lame, I know) after they released “Story of My Life,” which is a completely new sound and style for the lads. As it would turn out, they picked up some indie/folk along the way, as well as unleashing their inner rock stars, which oddly sounds like 80’s rock n’ roll. The boys are growing up and the sound on this LP reflects that.

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7. “Avril Lavigne” / Avril Lavigne

I can always count on Canada’s punk princess for solid work. Does this measure up to her last album, “Goodbye Lullaby”? Not so much, but it’s still pretty great. She, like One Direction, also hopped on board the country folk train somewhere in rural Tennessee for inspiration. And again, like “Midnight Memories,” incorporated some edgier rock songs, like the creepily seductive “Bad Girl” featuring the king of creep, Marilyn Manson, and radio-friendly “Rock N’ Roll.” Some of the songs I most appreciated were the “Goodbye Lullaby”-esque tracks like “Hush Hush” and “Falling Fast.”

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6. “Into the Night” / MDNGHT

OK, this is a bit of a stretch. This is only a four-song EP, BUT it still doesn’t mean it’s not brilliant! This UK group is still on the upswing, but I am loving what they’re producing. It’s another nighttime chill album with a falsetto that is music to your ears, well, technically it is, but whatever, you get what I mean.

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5. “Journals” / Justin Bieber

The grand finale of Bieber’s “Music Mondays,” “Journals,” was, to me, a defining moment for the pop star’s career. The set exhibits a matured sound and departure from radio pop to sultry R&B, which is still taking me a bit of time to come to terms with. Standouts are “Roller Coaster,” a funky, summer jam, “One Life,” baby-making sorcery, and “Memphis,” a banger with a chorus that will get stuck in your head for days. Too bad he’s “retired” now; it was just starting to get good!

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4. “Ciara” / Ciara

ATL’s hip-hop princess is back and better than ever. It’s been years since “Promise” was the hottest track around, but now we have “Body Party” and “I’m Out” to make up for that. There is something about her silky smooth ways that I love, almost Aaliyah-like–I repeat, “almost.” Another standout is her collaboration with Future, “Where You Go.”

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3. “Beyoncé” / Beyoncé

Must I explain? We all know Bey is a beast and she just drops album without notice and puts down the whole competition without really trying. It’s all unfair, it really is. Regardless, her secretive project still has everyone in the world in a daze–and their fourth or fifth pair of underpants by this point. After “4,” I was curious to see where the vision would go. Instead of retro and eerie, she went HAM and HAM-ier. Lots of bass. Lots of anthems. Lots of booty. What more could you want?

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2. “Prism” / Katy Perry

I am an unabashed Katy Cat. It’s no secret. At first I was a little underwhelmed by this album, but as time passed, I’m beginning to appreciate it more. Sure it’s not jam-packed with potential number ones, but it’s a cohesive and diverse set. The first half is very “Teenage Dream,” and the second half is very indie pop–Tegan and Sara-ish. There is a little something for everyone. “Birthday” is still a song everyone needs to hear. Mark my words: “Birthday” will be released as a single in May of next year and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 by mid-June.

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1. “Settle” / Disclosure

OK. I don’t even know what planet this duo came from, but I’m so thankful they chose Earth for their Sprinkles cupcake run. This British sensation has been spreading throughout the underground networks for months now and you should definitely check it out. It’s rare for me to find an album that I can play start to finish and not want to skip a song. This album is the duo’s first and features a bevy of featured guests to add to their house-music sound. It’s just magical, for lack of better words and description.