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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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?

The Demise of Zayn Malik’s Hair

Despite the amazing news that One Direction was named the best-selling musical act worldwide in 2013, tragedy is among us–and it’s a…hairy situation.
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1D hearthrob (and my husband, for those not invited to the intimate rooftop affair) Zayn Malik was spotted sporting a new grungy look–a complete departure from his standard, picture-perfect hair.

“The Zayn” hairstyle influenced thousands of guys around the world with its edgy undercut and a gravity-defying quiff. By thousands, I mean myself and all of the YouTube personalities I came across featuring a how-to guide for Mr. Malik’s signature look. I also may or may not have gone into my stylist’s salon and shown him a picture of Zayn for reference. And there’s a possibility that I did not.

Regardless, I will not stand for this injustice. I will let you all know that I have it under control and texted him that, “We need to talk when you get home.”

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?

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.

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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.

Best of 2013: Top 50 Songs

First up on the Best of 2013 series, all of the songs that had me happy, sappy, poppin’ and droppin’ low.

50. You and I / One Direction

49. Drive / Miley Cyrus

48. Gypsy / Lady Gaga

47. Power Trip / J. Cole Ft. Miguel

46. Tomorrow / Wynter Gordon

45. Glitter and Gold / Little Daylight

44. Best Song Ever / One Direction

43. Treasure / Bruno Mars

42. Take A Picture / Carly Rae Jepsen

41. Disco Love / The Saturdays

40. Wake Me Up / Avicii Ft. Aloe Blacc

39. Walking On Air / Katy Perry

38. Bitchin’ Summer / Avril Lavigne

37. Where You Go / Ciara Ft. Future

36. Pop A Bottle (Fill Me Up) / Jessica Mauboy

35. Does He Know? / One Direction

34. What About Us? / The Saturdays

33. Heartbreak Party / Jessica Mauboy

32. Wildest Dreams / Brandy

31. Latch / Disclosure

30. Kiss Me / Ed Sheeran

29. Sweater Weather / The Neighbourhood

28. Hold On / Nervo

27. I Love It / Icona Pop

26. Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix) / Lana Del Rey

25. Little White Lies / One Direction

24. Through the Dark / One Direction

23. Still Into You / Paramore

22. Roller Coaster / Justin Bieber

21. Birthday / Katy Perry

20. American Girl / Bonnie McKee

19. I’ll Be There / Jessica Mauboy

18. Beautiful / Mariah Carey Ft. Miguel

17. Standing On the Sun / Beyoncé

16. I’m Out / Ciara Ft. Nicki Minaj

15. Glowing / Nikki Williams

14. 22 / Taylor Swift

13. Rock N’ Roll / Avril Lavigne

12. Partition / Beyoncé

11. Euphoria / Loreen

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10. Ho Hey/ The Lumineers

This song is the epitome of “adorable.” It makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Who knew banjos, tambourines, alligators in the bayou, and scrawny white guys could be so charming? It also helps that the video meshes well with the song–I’m a big stickler with that. My only complaint is that it has to be,possibly, the shortest song in my entire iTunes library. Sad face.

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9. Can’t Stop / One Republic

Oh, Ryan Tedder, how you make me swoon. When not being a REAL creative genius for others, he is bestowing his musical gifts on his own band. I have an affinity for “night songs,” and Tedder seems to have a knack for that too. The brooding percussion and falsetto combo just makes my figurative panties come off. See, off.

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8. Into the Night / MDNGHT

Let the hot night songs continue! I found this UK band earlier this year from another one of their songs, “I Will Lead You On,” which is a great, chill track. This particular song is part of my 3-song falling-asleep playlist that is played on loop with a 30-minute timer every night. It’s so relaxing and the vocals are fan-freaking-tastic. I hope they continue to put forth music like this because I am definitely a fan.

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7. Body Party / Ciara

As a part-time body roller, this song keeps me very busy. It’s so dark and sexy. Thank God Ciara finally is back in our lives and better than ever, in my opinion. This song will always just put you in the mood without fail. The melody in the chorus starting with: “You can’t keep your hands off me” will get stuck in your head forever.

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6. Love Me / Katy Perry

My girl, my girl. I was so ecstatic for new Katy music that I leapt into “PRISM” like a starved hyena and judged far too quickly. After the monumental success of “Teenage Dream,” I found myself thinking, “But where are all of the hits?” And then I realized it wasn’t about the hits, it was about her healing and what she needed to create for herself, not us. Silly, selfish me. But then once I let the album slowly sink in, there were a couple sneaky dark horses (ha…ha…) that became favorites. I love the simplicity of this song. It’s kind of Indie, and reminds me of Tegan and Sara, but for some reason I am addicted. I guess you can tell by now that I like heavy bass and percussion mixed with delicate falsettos.

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5. Stay the Night / Zedd Ft. Hayley Williams

I fell in love with Zedd at last year’s KISS 102.7 Jingle Ball. He performed “Clarity” (before it went big) and “Spectrum,” and I remember thinking that this guy was going great places. I already love Hayley Williams, her voice and style, so the pairing of these two is just a match made in heaven. The song is one of those transporting songs that just takes you places, if you close your eyes and listen. I don’t know how to describe it that well but “Teenage Dream” is one like that too; it makes you feel the youthful energy and summer fling senses. Anyway, I love the restraint of Zedd on this song not to overproduce and add all of the clapping/dubstep madness.

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4. Underneath the Tree / Kelly Clarkson

I would not have ever guessed a Christmas song would be making my top 5–ever, unless Mariah Carey channeled her 1994-1997 beast years, but here came Kelly Clarkson dropping her first holiday LP with a KILLER debut track. Like the dismemberment of the Spice Girls, I remember where and what I was doing when I first heard this song. I was sitting outside of the Coffee Bean on 3rd & Hauser,  peering down 3rd towards the Grove at dusk. It was chilly and I had my usual vanilla ceylon tea latte in hand. I clicked on play and then Christmas perfection unleashed itself in between my ears. There were tiny little elves running and banging candy canes on all of my nerves and I’m pretty sure my eyes glazed over to any concerned bystander. It is basically the 21st century “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Instant Christmas classic.

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3. Work Bitch / Britney Spears

What. A. Banger. I think I initially passed it up the first time I listened to it, but when I heard it full-blast on the car stereo after the Carly Rae Jepsen concert, I was like “Oh, damn. It’s Britney, bitch.” I wasn’t sure how thrilled I would be after finding out that will.i.am was executive producing her new album, Britney Jean. Unfortunately, this track is really the only thing worth listening to off of the album, so bravo Will. Bravo. And even better than the song, which finds Britney in her newfound love for the British accent  once again, is the music video! It was like 2001 Britney climbed out of the TRL archive and lit up my screen.

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2. Roar / Katy Perry

The joy I felt when this song dropped…it was that of a new parent welcoming their firstborn into the world. Katy had me in such a crazed addiction mode after she kept previewing these little videos teasing #roar. On the final teaser, a snippet of the chorus was added and I damn near pissed myself. And then finally the song, in its entirety, was released and I was instantly hooked. It just had number-one smash written all over it, and eventually did achieve just that. It’s an anthem that is easy to relate to and belt out because it’s just oodles of fun. It was the soundtrack to the beginning of the school year. The chorus though, the final one, where everything is amped up and louder, gives me chills every time.

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1. Hold On, We’re Going Home / Drake

Hands down the BEST song of the year. Not only was it just the best song of the year, this is going straight onto my “all-time” list. In just a few months, it flew all the way up my iTunes play counts to knock off “Teenage Dream” as my most-played song of all-time. It’s my ringtone, I fall asleep to it every night, I hum it all the time. Props, Drizzy, props. It’s just a cool ass song that just makes you feel good. And the beats hit so hard and crisply. Just get outta here. Too good.

Album Review: ‘Midnight Memories,’ One Direction

onedirectionmidnightmemories2If there is one thing One Direction is not good at, it’s taking a breather. These boys have been hitting the ground running for the past three years nonstop. The management team is so keen on not letting the ephemeral nature of boy bands hit the fellas that they are sucking every ounce of their souls out to keep them alive and relevant. But for our own selfish desires, this is quite lovely. Last year’s “Take Me Home” was such a beaming bundle of happiness and eternal youth that it left me wanting more–and more I am now receiving one short-year later.

1. Best Song Ever: 10/10

This was such a good lead track for many reasons. First, it’s just infectious and an all around good time. The track also is a good transition from the “Take Me Home” sound to the new sound of “Memories.” I love choruses that just have so much depth and dimension and this one in particular soars. Can we talk about how great the video was too?

2. Story of My Life: 9/10

“Best Song Ever” is the transition and this is the start. The sound on this album has a more mature sound, while still keeping true to who they are. There are two distinct styles that are played with: 80’s pop/rock and, what I call, the “Mumford Effect,” which is the use of country/folk elements in pop music after Mumford & Sons made it cool and mainstream. I just wrote about that exact same thing on Avril Lavigne’s new album, and there have been countless other examples of it in recent releases. Anyway, this song just reminds me of sitting next to a warm campfire all bundled up.

3. Diana: 7/10

Why Diana? That is so not a hot name anymore in 2013. Let the 80’s begin. Fun little retro pop song. Could be in an 80’s high school movie. This has grown on me a lot.

4. Midnight Memories: 7/10

From 80’s pop to 80’s rock. This song is like a mix of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and Kiss’ “Rock N’ Roll All Night.” An ode to the crazy rockstar lifestyle they’re living. Sounds like fun. I’d join. I just honestly want to be in a boy band so much.

5. You and I: 9/10

This might be my favorite 1D ballad ever. Their voices sound so good on this. And the production is understated but powerful. This is going to be such a killer arena hit. I see the lighters now.

6. Don’t Forget Where You Belong: 6/10

Intro sounds like “Somewhere Only We Know.” They’re like…growing up. I am getting a little emotional. Even their artistry is evolving. Well, the chorus is a bit like a bad church youth group performance. I can relate to this song a lot though.

7. Strong: 6/10

This is one of those songs that just kind of sits in the middle. It’s not terrible, but it’s also not being raped on replay. Zayn’s little solo toward the end is obvi my favorite part, but that’s slightly biased 🙂

8. Happily: 8/10

Back to the country/folk sound. “We’re on fire, we’re all on fire.” I don’t ever want to grow up, and as long as I have 1D, I never will. This is so much fun. It’s like a swampy summertime jam. For some reason this sound matches them so well. The “oh, oh, oh, oh” breakdown is like amazing.

9. Right Now: 8/10

This so sounds like a One Republic song. Zayn’s voice is just growing so much. There is so much depth to it now. God help me. This is definitely an example of their sound maturing. It’s like no longer being able to play on the playground for recess. So sad, yet necessary.

10. Little Black Dress: 5/10

Fun, flirty song. Not really much else to say. It was over so fast.

11. Through the Dark: 10/10

Mumford-esque. Love. Love. Love. I think this is officially my favorite track on the album. “Oh, I would carry you over fire and water for your love.” You can’t help singing along and being happy, especially when Zayn is telling you all of the things he would do to be with you! Or, whatever bandmate you have claimed as yours.

12. Something Great: 6/10

It’s so magical. The music is so infectious. I feel like I’m in an enchanted forest with tea lights hanging from the trees and fairies whizzing around. That could just be the shrooms talking…. It’s kind of static though, the melody, and doesn’t really stray from the same note.

13. Little White Lies: 10/10

This was the first track I heard outside of the two lead singles and I was sold. Sold. SOLD. One Direction just hits such a sweet spot in my ears and heart. The chorus is great.

14. Better Than Words: 7/10

The sound is a bit eclectic. I can’t really put a finger on it. It’s really hard to dislike any 1D song because they’re so masterfully produced by dream teams so they kind of always sound good, but this is another one of those down-the-middle ones. Definitely has a good melody that is stuck in my head.

15. Why Don’t We Go There: 4/10

Sounds like Neon Trees. It doesn’t really seem to flow though. Love the bass and “ooh ooh oohs.” Probably my least favorite song on the album.

16. Does He Know?: 9/10

Straight up “Jessie’s Girl” re-make. Dancing like an absolute lunatic right now. Feel-good pop-ery. The melody is so incredibly catchy, especially in the pre-chorus. This should be a summer 2014 release.

17. Alive: 7/10

Another 80’s rock song. There is definitely a reoccurring theme on the album: be young and love. “Don’t look back, live your life.” That line toward the end when the bass kicks back in is golden.

18. Half a Heart: 6/10

It’s like the “Little Things” sequel. Their voices sound good over the gentle guitar strums, well, save for Louis. I know I’m going to catch hell for this, but I just don’t like Louis’ voice (on slow ballads); it doesn’t blend with the rest of the group. It’s so jarring because it’s so high and nasal. Anyway, it’s really sweet, but in the battle of the ballads, I prefer “You and I.”

Overall: 7/10

I am exhausted from this album. All this jamming and smiling. Worn. Out. It’s such a departure from their sound on the first two albums but this somehow feels more genuine. Gradually the label will allow them to exert more influence in what the albums sound like, but you can definitely hear the rebellious, good vibes in this album. Can’t wait for the next album, which at this pace, should be out by summer!

Best Day Ever: ‘Midnight Memories’ leaks

onedirectionmidnightmemories“And we danced all night to the best song ever…”

This lyric could not be more accurate as millions of Directioners are in the midst of a meltdown tonight of epic proportions as the British boyband’s “Midnight Memories” trickled online earlier today. The third studio album from One Direction was due out Nov. 25, but met the inevitable fate of the digital music word: leakage. The 18-track set exhibits an evolved sound for the lads, an ’80’s pop/rock flair mixed with folky, campfire vibes. There is much to be danced to.

I was already having a great day today. I had brunch with some friends at an outdoor cafe. I got in some retail therapy. (Can I just brag that I got a rocking black peacoat, originally $100 for $35?). And best of all, it was the tree lighting at the Grove! I was amid the Christmas madness at the Grove when I got word that “Midnight Memories” leaked. My reaction:

disneylandgirl_omgmommy

And after the tears dried:

jonahhillexcited

And my confused friends:

easya_screaming

To top it all off, after rocking out to the new One Direction material, Katy Perry goes and announces her Prism World tour.

#dead

Ready. Set. Music madness: 2013 holiday rush

elf_santaChristmas is coming.

How do I know this? No, it’s not the christmas décor popping up in retail stores. No, it’s not even new Christmas music releases by Mary J. Blige and Kelly Clarkson. It is, however, the absolutely chaotic album release schedule for the remainder of 2013.

It appears all of the music industry heavyweights were in on the same game plan: album releases appropriately timed for the holiday season. This late surge will hopefully be redeeming for the music industry: According to Billboard, album sales for this past week (ending Oct. 27), are down 28% from the same week in 2012. For the year, at this point, album sales are down 7%.

Here is just a snapshot of what’s to come:

November 5

  • Avril Lavigne, “Avril Lavigne”
  • Celine Dion, “Loved Me Back to Life”
  • Eminem, “The Marshall Mathers LP 2”
  • James Blunt, “Moon Landing”
  • M.I.A., “Matangi”

November 11

  • Kellie Pickler, “Woman I Am”
  • Lady Gaga, “ARTPOP”

November 19

  • Daughtry, “Baptized”

November 25

  • Norah Jones & Billie Joe Armstrong, “Foreverly”
  • One Direction, “Midnight Memories”

December 3

  • Britney Spears, “Britney Jean”
  • Chris Brown, “X”

December 10

  • R. Kelly, “Black Panties”

Get ready people! There’s a lot of good music heading our way. And will Beyoncé sneak her next LP in before the 2013 curtain falls? For the full list of 2013 album releases, click here.