Monday, December 20, 2010

Top Ten Albums of 2010


1. Sleigh Bells - Treats

This "noise pop" duo from Brooklyn create more than simply noise on Treats. From the high-energy intro to "Tell 'Em," the album doesn't drop the energy as smooth harmonies are laid over heavy guitars with thicker beats. Earns the number one spot for it's consistency from start to finish.
listen to: Run The Heart, Infinity Guitars, Riot Rhythm


2. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles II

Another lesson in the importance of consistency, Crystal Castles delivered a record of interesting, and always danceable, indie electronica. Every track has a different flow and vibe, creating independent and yet cohesive tracks. Minimal and well-placed vocals make this one all about the music, and it does not go without notice.
listen to: Baptism, Vietnam, Pap Smear


3. Yeasayer - Odd Blood

Perhaps the most intriguingly diverse record of the year, with 80s pop songs and slow power ballads and a slew of instruments. Funky, soulful vocals balance the experimentational music style, creating the record that put Yeasayer on the map.
listen to: Love Me Girl, Rome, Mondegreen


4. Eclipse Soundtrack

Movie franchise aside, this selection of tracks stand apart as a blend of songs worthy of their own merit. The tracks are moody, bouncy, rhythmic, and original, and still work together to create a cohesive unit. This album will help anyone discover their new favorite song.
listen to: Atlas - Fanfarlo, Chop and Change - The Black Keys, Let's Get Lost - Beck and Bat For Lashes


5. Vampire Weekend - Contra

Proving they can avoid that sophomore slump, Vampire Weekend know how to deliver their signature sound while mixing in more of a pop vibe. The end result is a solid CD that would be welcomed from any fan of the Vampires.
listen to: Giving Up The Gun, White Sky, Holiday


6. Mumford And Sons - Sigh No More

Possibly the breakout band for the year, Mumford & Sons arrived in America with their acoustic folk and soulful lyrics, laced over either fast-strumming acoustic or lighter-picked melodies. They made their mark and proved they are not going anywhere.
listen to: Little Lion Man, White Blank Page, I Gave You All


7. A Day To Remember - What Separates Me From You

While the reviews are mixed on ADTR's second effort, there is no denying that the gang stay true to the spirit they've captured with their debut record. Perhaps more melodic and radio-friendly, but not at all a bad thing as ADTR deliver strong vocals blended perfectly with their guttural growls.
listen to: All I Want, 2nd Sucks, Better Off This Way


8. Katy Perry - Teenage Dream

Silly and fluffy, but still musically and vocally strong as Perry delivers the same energy that made her first album so popular.
listen to: Teenage Dream, Circle The Drain, Firework


9. Bad Books - Bad Books

The brain-child of Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra, these indie superpowers work together to make a record full of soft rock and acoustic ballads. Being featured in copious commercials doesn't hurt, either.
listen to: You Wouldn't Have Yo Ask, You're A Mirror I Cannot Avoid, Please Move


10. Bionic - Christina Aguilera

Altogether a commercial letdown, Xtina experiments with an electronic and altogether pleasing sound on her latest. Always one to try something new, these tracks are danceable and vocally impeccable, proving even without big sales, Christina can till bring it.
listen to: Bionic, Prima Donna, You Lost Me

honorable mentions:
neon trees - habits
the spill canvas - formalities
tokyo police club - champ
kanye west - my beautiful dark twisted fantasy
margot and the nuclear so and so's - buzzard

Top 25 Singles for 2010

My pick for top singles of the year:

1. tell 'em - sleigh bells

2. whip my hair - willow smith

3. baptism - crystal castles

4. animal - miike snow

5. all I want - a day to remember

6. little lion man - mumford and sons

7. teenage dream - katy perry

8. one - yeasayer

9. we r who we r - kesha

10. runaway - kanye west

11. xxxo - mia

12. infinity guitars - sleigh bells

13. animal - neon trees

14. post acid - wavves

15. dog days are over - florence and the machine

16. monster- kanye west

17. magic - BOB ft. rivers cuomo

18. internet killed the video star - the limousines

19. boyfriend - best coast

20. you wouldn't have to ask - bad books

21. like a G6 - far east movement

22. dancing on my own - robyn

23. radioactive - kings of leon

24. king of anything - sara bareilles

25. bed intruder - antoine dodson

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top Ten Albums of 2009

My list for the top picks of the year:
(appearing alphabetically)


A Day To Remember – Homesick

Where melodic meets hardcore, a solid CD packed full of chugging anthems and hard riffs, with strong harmonizing vocals contrasted by a guttural growl.


All Time Low – Nothing Personal

A perfect summer CD. Catchy pop-punk melodies and flawless vocals – another solid effort from the boys of All Time Low.


Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown

Following the formula of the Rock Opera once again, it still doesn’t resonate in the way American Idiot did. Still, it’s Green Day and there are standalone tracks that still carry the CD.


Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster

Gaga lets the monster out on this eight-track collection of everything The Fame left out. Led by the mega hit “Bad Romance,” this EP is Gaga at her best.


Owl City – Ocean Eyes

So bubbly and happy, it’s easy to have these songs in your head all day. A feel-good CD that stays consistent.


Paramore – Brand New Eyes

The band took chances with their follow-up to Riot, and it paid off. Mixing acoustic tunes with the usual full impact rock jams, it's laced with interesting harmonies and arrangements.


Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

A pure driving-at-night CD. Infectious to the core.


Regina Spektor – Far

A more constructed and popish sound, her voice still floats over smooth melodies, creating a great blend of songs over a strong album.


Single File – Common Struggles

My pick for breakout album of the year. The sound throws back to the pop-punk of the beginning of the decade, with strong vocals and guitar melodies consistently throughout.


The Lonely Island – Incredibad

This CD highlights their best moments at creating clever parodies that are as random as they are a social commentary.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top 25 of 2009

My picks for the top singles of the year:

1. Bad Romance - Lady GaGa
With four hit singles in 2009, a dramatic VMA performance and a stint on SNL, Lady Gaga reigned queen supreme. She continued the streak with her new single off the EP, The Fame Monster.

2. The Downfall Of Us All - A Day To Remember
A chugging guitar riff blended with a catchy, melodic chorus made this an easy sing along, and runner up for song of the year.

3. Ignorance - Paramore
2009 saw a return of Paramore, back with full force and in standard form. Hayley's piercing vocals on the chorus separate the track from the rest and place it among the top ten.

4. 1901 - Phoenix
1901 became the ultimate driving song and the theme track for the electro-indie scene. Danceable, smooth, infectious: Pheonix have created magic here.

5. New Perspective - Panic! At The Disco
The first new material after the infamous split, the duo showed fans there's nothing to worry about. The song is still catchy as ever, and Urie's vocal are smooth as can be, making us all eager to hear more.

6. Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't) - All Time Low
This song instantly became a summer anthem. A poppy drum beat and chorus of "oh oh oh," it's simple melodic pop-punk at its best.

7. Starstrukk (feat. Katy Perry) - 3OH!3
Remixed with Perry's vocals, the gang has supplied a faster and funkier version of the original. The song banter between Katy and the guys creates a nice bridge and brings the duet back onto radio.

8. I'm Yours Tonight - The Academy Is
Fans have been yearning for an Academy for reminiscent of 2005's "Almost Here" and it seems this is the closest we're going to get; this song should delight any fan of TAI.

9. Fireflies - Owl City
Perhaps the cutest and most infectious song of the year. No one could deny that they were humming along with this one, perhaps filling a Postal Service shaped hole.

10. Horchata - Vampire Weekend
Bringing a more pop-friendly chorus with a up-tempo slew of drums, it's a bright cheery tune for any time of the y

11. I Belong To You - Muse
12. Heads Will Roll - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
13. Sweet Dreams - Beyoncé
14. Pursuit Of Happiness (Feat. MGMT & Ratatat) - KiD CuDi
15. When We First Met - Hellogoodbye
16. Weightless - All Time Low
17. The Reeling - Passion Pit
18. Day 'N' Nite (Crookers Remix) - Kid Cudi
19. Empire State Of Mind - Jay-Z
20. All The Pretty Girls - Fun.
21. 3 - Britney Spears
22. Down - Jay Sean ft Lil Wayne
23. Evacuate The Dance Floor - Cascada feat. Carlprit
24. Stillness Is The Move - Dirty Projectors
25. For Your Entertainment - Adam Lambert

Friday, January 9, 2009

the Top 40 of 2008

These are the singles that rocked this year:

1. Viva la Vida - Coldplay

"I used to rule the world, seas would rise when I gave the word." The larger-than-life lyrics and sound make this song stand on a pedestal (or rather, throne) above the rest, claiming the top spot for the year. 

2. D.A.N.C.E  - Justice

with a flashing video full of literally "graphic tees," this catchy tune had me doing the d-a-n-c-e all summer. 

3. I Don't Care - Fall Out Boy

Recording a CD in private, getting married, naming a child after a New York borough. A lot has happened this year for Pete Wentz. And what does he have to say? "I don't care!" 

4. I'm Yours  - Jason Mraz

this song exploded this summer with it's simple melody and island vibe, and the most beautiful lyrics ever written. Never fails to put my mind at peace. 

5. Four Minutes - Madonna Ft Justin Timberlake

quite possibly the biggest radio hit of the year, the queen and king of pop join forces for a truly epic collaboration. Why hadn't this happened any sooner? 

6. Nine In The Afternoon  - Panic at the Disco

2008 brought about a less enthusiastic panicking at the disco. They traded angst lyrics for feeling good at imaginary hours of the day. If you listen closely, it's still the same four boys, just with a more earthy (and possibly herbal) influence. 

7. Don't Trust Me - 3OH!3

Award for most innovative band ever, this song told us all to "do the hellen keller" by talking with our hips. It's electro/dance/pop at it's finest.

8. Rather Be With You - Joshua Radin 

A man that can do no wrong. This is a run-though-a-meadow-barefoot kind of song. 

9. Flashing Lights  - Kanye West

A monster hit this year, the electro beat and simple "flashing. lights." hook grabbed us all in. You can't hide it, you liked this song.

10. Disturbia - Rihanna

With a truly disturbing video to match (or do I just mean overdone?) The song stands alone as a surprisingly catchy hit. 

11. Dear Maria, Count Me In - All Time Low 

A band I grew to love tremendous amounts this year, helped in part by this song. Their first "MTV" hit, songs about strippers have never been this catchy. 

12. One Of THOSE Nights - The Cab 

Heavy guitar riffs (Ian Crawford, you are love) plus guest vocals from Patrick and Brendon, and you might just have a hit on your hands. Fist pumping, windows down, full blast fun. 

13. All Over You - The Spill Canvas

This hit gave Spill Canvas the recognition they deserve. "This life is way too short to get caught up in all this stuff," the chorus boasts. Indeed. All he's asking for is some love, after all. 

14. Thrash Unreal - Against Me!

A more melodic song from these Florida punkers, singing about working all week and doing what you need to get by. We can all relate. 

15. A-Punk - Vampire Weekend

One of the more original bands to emerge this year, features on MTV and various commercials made this the new song buzzing around in your head. A unique combination of vocals and instruments gave this song a cutting edge. 

16. Lexington. - Chiodos

With more violins and piano than ever before, Chiodos softens their sound a bit, without losing that famous Craig Owens high-pitched wail. A staccato piano melody made this one easy to bounce along to. 

17. Please Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna

Despite the overuse of samplings in her songs (it's Michael Jackson in this one), this one became a dance floor anthem. "I want to take you away, let's escape into the music." Thumping can't even describe this bass line, that's complete with synthesizers and handclaps. 

18. The City Is At War - Cobra Starship

A band that always knows how to have a good time. This time around, it's with lethal pies, giving Gabe and Co. their first hit on the airwaves. 

19. Sensual Seduction - Snoop Dogg

A 70's vibe (with a video to boot) gave an unusual hit to Snoop Dogg this year. He's singing, too. Who would've thought?

20. I Kissed A Girl - Katy Perry 

The anthem of every club this summer, Katy had the surprise hit of the year by boasting her bi-curious tendencies. The definition of a guilty pleasure song, you know you were singing along to this at some point. 

21. Foundations - Kate Nash 

British singer with quirky tendencies  - not anything we haven't seen before. But the gentle, 40's style voice, mixed with the uptempo beat and lyrics about a slipping relationship, separate Kate from other wannabes. 

22. Honey - The Hush Sound

The Hush Sound made a return this year bringing more of what they do best. A more 20's vibrato, mature sound, Greta's voice shines through with the same swinging piano tempo as always. 

22. Shut Up And Let Me Go - The Ting Tings

Reminiscent of Blondie's "Rapture" The Tings Tings bring that same singing/speaking style into their funky hit. It's fun, catchy, and easy to dance to. What more do you need? 

24. About A Girl - The Academy Is...

Dedicating an entire CD to the woes of high school, TAI's new single played into young puppy love by simply denying its existence. "I'm not in love, I'm not gonna waste these words about a girl." It still feels like TAI, and that's all that matters. 

25. Devour - Shinedown

With a chugging, whiny guitar opening made famous by MTV's "The Island," the nearly forty second instrumental lead-up pays off once the verse hits. A surprisingly melodic chorus and big vocals give this song an old school rock anthem feel. 

26. New Soul - Yael Naim

Gaining fame by promoting the new Macbook Air, the opening piano bars are more famous than the rest of the single. But with a chorus of simply "la la la" over and over again, it'll make you want to frolick in a meadow on a sunny afternoon. 

27. So What - Pink

"na na na na."  It's the perfect opening lyrics for Pink's new single; it's that little kid bully singsong that subliminally, is the meaning behind the whole thing. Plus. a live cover from Dashboard Confessional that's too perfect, it's scary. "So what, I'm a rock star." Hell Yeah. 

28. Piece Of Me - Britney Spears

The song that finally brought Brit three VMA's this year, it's her own personal ode to the viewing public. "I'm Miss American Dream since I was 17," she boasts. Pictures of your derriere in a magazine - your dream or mine? 

29. That's What You Get - Paramore

Nowhere near the success of "Misery Business" or "crushcrushcrush," a feature on Rock Band brought attention to this grooving anthem that's more toned down than the huge hits of last summer. Yet still every bit as good. 

30. Falling Down - Atreyu

The return of Atreyu in 2008 brought a softer sound to the hardcore band, bringing reactions on both extremes. A more radio-friendly tune grabbed some mainstream attention. It's a refreshing balance of singing/screaming this time around. 

30. Handlebars - The Flobots

Empowering, optimistic, and egotistical, sure. But smart. Famous only perhaps because it's "that one song that kind of sounds like Eminem" but with more guitars and trumpets. Regardless, a unique sound to emerge in '08. 

32. Outta My Head  - Ashlee Simpson

Admittedly, the guilty pleasure single of the list. (Timbaland does it again.) It's more New Wave than anything else, with a video that's more ridiculous than anything else. "ay yayayaya, you're talking way too much." Agreed, Mrs. Wentz. 

33. Womanizer - Britney Spears

Yes, yes, they say she's back. In classic Britney form, it's a dance song with a catchy hook. Who would've thought? But still, I can't hear this song and not think of Chuck Bass, so thank you, Britney, for that. 

34. Sex On Fire - Kings Of Leon

So damn catchy, it's contagious. Seems like everyone loves this song, and with good reason. It's got great vocals, and really, the chorus is just "your sex is on fire, consumed with what's to transpire." Genius. 

35. Creator - Santogold

Not likely to catch your ear on the first listen, there's more to this Santogold song than a Gossip Girl feature. It's heavy on synthesizers and layered vocals and....nothing else. That's the entire song, which makes it surprisingly refreshing. Is it singing, is it rapping? You be the judge. 

36. Elevator - Flo Rida

The hottest rapper of the year gets the hottest producer of the year, TImbaland, to create this monster jam. The only hip-hop song to sneak into my list, I couldn't let this one go. It's good times. 

37. I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab For Cutie

Simple, mellow, melodic: a standard Death Cab song. Plus, the phrase "you've gotta spend some time, love" hooks into your brain and makes you hum this one all day long. 

38. Homecoming - Hey Monday

Home-state newcomers have the full support of a Decaydance family to boot, and enough Wentz shoutouts to create at least some buzz. Seems there's room for more than one chick-fronted band in FBR world. 

39. Keeps Gettin' Better - Christina Aguilera

Xtina embraces electo-dance for this song that has become Blair Waldorf's personal theme. 

40. Do The Panic - Phantom Planet

A successful TV ad gave some life to this psuedo-British-rock single from the Planet. 

Friday, January 2, 2009

Top Ten Albums of 2008

10. Forgive Durden - Razia's Shadow
Released: 10/28
I've been excited for this album since the first clip of Brendon leaked on the internet. Overall, I really like the way it turned out, and there's more guest vocals than you can shake a stick at.  
Memorable tracks: Life Is Looking Up, Doctor Doctor, The End And The Beginning  

9. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend 
Released: 1/29
The perfect CD for summer. A unique sound with a blend of island groove, plus lyrics about collegiate life (who really cares about an oxford comma?) made me love this CD this year.  
memorable tracks: A-Punk, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, Oxford Comma

8. The Audition - Champion
Released: 1/22
The first great album of 2008. I listened to it on a whim, not giving it much thought, and it blew me away. So melodic and catchy, the hooks stay in your head all day. Some of my favorite pop-punk songs ever are on this CD. 
Memorable Tracks: Warm Me Up, Hell to Sell, Make It Rain 

7. The Hush Sound - Goodbye Blues
Released: 3/18 
An album that was long overdue. It's strong throughout, Greta's voice maturing much more since Like Vines. Nothing too over-the-top or ambitious, simply more of the sound I love from them (just more Bob the next time around, thanks). 
Memorable tracks: The Boys Are Too Refined, Honey, Not Your Concern 

6. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Released: 6/17 
A stripped-down sound for Coldplay, and sticking to the basics seemed to work. I played this CD almost every night this summer. It's upbeat and mellow at the same time, and I kid you not, I have four versions of "Lost!" on my computer. 
Memorable tracks: Viva la Vida, Lost, Lovers in Japan 

5. Joshua Radin - Simple Times
Released: 9/30 
So underrated, I didn't even know he was releasing a CD this year until he was streaming it on his website. Still, more of the fantasticness from the man who just might be my soulmate. More up-tempo than We Were Here, and not as resonant in my mind, but still, this is a man that can do no wrong. He is by far my favorite musical discovery of the year.
Memorable tracks: Rather Be With You, Sky, Vegetable Car 

4. The Cab - Whisper War
Released: 4/29 
A solid, seamless album from these boys. I fell in love with the CD even more after catching them live in August. Just a rocking, popping good time. Every song has this huge anthem feel, and it's all just so catchy. Plus, I've developed quite the crush on Ian Crawford along the way. 
Memorable tracks: One of Those Nights, Bounce, I'll Run, Take My Hand  

3. 3OH!3 - Want
Released: 7/08
I had a hard time placing this CD on the list, because I love it so hard. My second favorite musical discovery of the year, I had this album on my computer for a long time before I actually listened to it. I remember "Chokechain" coming up on a shuffle one day, and I was grinning so hard I immediately put the CD on for good. These songs still don't get old to me, it's an instant party.  
Memorable tracks: Don't Trust Me, I'm Not Your Boyfriend Baby, Starstrukk  

2. Fall Out Boy - Folie A Deux
Released: 12/16
I didn't even think we were getting a fall out boy album this year, until all those CFOB mixtape shenanigans. Way to be sneaky, boys. Add months of clues here and there and bakery deliveries and an annoying CD delay, and it's finally here. And it's still Fall Out Boy. It doesn't stick with me the same way Cork Tree and Infinity on High did, but it's fluid from track to track and has everything that I love about them jam-packed in each song.
Memorable tracks: Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes, Headfirst Slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet, 27, I Don't Care  

1. Panic At The Disco - Pretty. Odd. 
Released: 3/21 
I was hesitant to admit it, but it's true, I am so in love with this album. There was so much anticipation to hear something new after Fever, and while not everyone embraces the new Beatle-esque sound, I can't deny that I love every song on this CD. Brendon's voice has grown tremendously and the instrumentation on each track is truly superb. It's got fun little diddies and ballads and weird lyrics and everything that's still Panic. Plus, I've got so many great memories tied to this CD, so it truly makes it number one in my mind. 
Memorable Tracks: She's a Handsome Woman, Folkin' Around, Mad As Rabbits, Northern Downpour  

Runners Up: Every Avenue, The Matches, The Spill Canvas, Hit The Lights, Forever the Sickest Kids

Sunday, December 28, 2008

How to Attend an Indie Rock Concert

No one is born well-versed in the music scene. It is a skill that can only be developed with time and observation. Did a friend invite you to hear "this new band" but afraid to go because you'll look out of place and awkward? Nobody wants that, especially me. These quick tips make it easier for one to slip into the music scene and leave behind that "out-of-place" feeling.

Things You'll Need
  • money for tickets/transportation (most local shows run under $20, and venues are usually easily accessible in major cities).
  • spending cash for after the show/at the bar (dehydration is a significant factor)
  • comfortable, breathable clothing
  • at least one accessory that can be considered "hipster" "indie" or "emo" (scarves work the best, visible tattoos a plus.)
  • an open mind

Step One
Be knowledgeable about the band playing. Most every band has a myspace music page; check out their profile before the show. Listen to the songs posted, and try to remember your favorite one. When (or if) they play it, you can turn to your friend/date/whomever and say "this is my favorite song!" They'll be so impressed, they'll think you've been doing this for years. Fun facts about the band never hurt either. For instance, while the band is setting up, you can make casual conversation by saying, "did you know the lead singer has been vegan for seven years?"

Step Two
Take your wardrobe into consideration. If you don't want to feel out of place, I'd skip the khakis and polo. Skinny legs and V-necks are musts at most shows. Bold colors work best (the more neon, the better). Hair is usually dramatically swept to one side, and disheveled. Flats and Chuck Taylors are the most acceptable footwear. As noted in the "Things You'll Need" section, accessories don't hurt. Scarves, chunky bracelets, facial piercings and sleeve tattoos are commonplace.

Step Three
Be organized and observant. Most concert-goers will have an "I don't care" feel to them, but this is a lie, and a strategically practiced attitude. Have tickets (or money ready) well before the show, and secure the location of the club or venue (it's always a good idea to call ahead and confirm when the band takes the stage). Walk around the venue. Be sure to locate the bathroom, bar, merch table, and band entrance (this may be the best place to catch a quick conversation). Avoid carrying a large bag/purse in with you, as you may not leave with it. Store all cell phones, cameras and cash in your pockets, and check them frequently.

Step Four
Show an appropriate amount of enthusiasm. As you will notice along the course of your indie rock concert adventure, the die-hards will push into front row and may form a mosh-pit. It is strongly advised to stay away from this area. The sides of the stage usually remain mellow, or the back of the venue may prove easier for conversation. Singing and dancing are encouraged to an extent, but this is not an NSync concert. Nod along and clap after songs; lighters and cell phones usually come out during slower numbers.

Step Five
Hang around after the show. The band will more than likely talk to fans afterwards. Walk around the venue outside; normally, word gets out where a band is greeting fans and a small dedicated group will already be gathered. This is your moment to observe and learn more about the scene, or even make new friends. Conversations with strangers prove easier when everyone is still on a post-concert high and anticipating meeting the band. If the band does come out, strike up an interesting conversation ("there's this great vegan restaurant downtown"). Some bands will hang out afterwards at bars, clubs, or even house parties. Keep your ears and eyes open, and you may be partying with the band that night. At that point: congratulations, you have successfully assimilated into the music scene.

Tips & Warnings
  • Remember: comfortable, closed-toed shoes! Crammed crowds are the best places to get smashed toes.
  • You will sweat, so heavy-antiperspirant is recommended.
  • Be early! You may just catch the band walking around.
  • Music WILL be loud
  • You WILL reek of smoke afterwards
  • You WILL want a cold drink and a hot shower afterwards

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A CD in Review: Folie A Deux

1. Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes - fantastic opener. It's reminiscent to Thriller, in that it's got the same feel musically. I love the hook so much, and the chanting "detox, just to retox."

2. I Don't Care - I love this song even more after hearing the whole CD. There's a thing about FAD where every song sort of fits in nicely, and musically this song is still so good. This is seriously a CD of chugging rock anthems.

3.She's My Winona - I still love the opening chords every time I hear it. Super-catchy song. Not my favorite lyrically (the thunder?) but I'll judge lyrics more once I have the booklet to read what Patrick is actually singing. (also into cats, anyone?)

4. America's Suitehearts - I like the little groove it's got to it and the huge chorus; I think this'll do nicely as a second single; it's definitely a radio song. My favorite part is still the "let's hear it forrr" at the end of the song.

5. Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown On A Bad Bet - quite possibly one of my favorite fob songs ever. Since I've played it out so much it's lost a little shine, but when Patrick comes in yelling "Does your husband know?" I still get chills and crank it up.

6. The (Shipped) Gold Standard - the opening for this sounds like some super catchy pop song, but ngl I love it. There's a lot of good lyrics in this song, I kind of compare this song to "don't you know who I think I am?" for some reason. They have the same feel to me - like a good old fob song feel. idk.

7. (Coffee's For Closers) - beautiful music in this song, I love the strings so much. Songs like an Obama campaign song with the "change will come." The whole "I will never believe in anything again" doesn't really fit in with the rest of the lyrics in my opinion. But the song's so freakin beautiful I don't even care.

8. What A Catch, Donnie - I still can't get into this song. Musically, it's great, it just kind of bores me until the last minute (I adore all the cameos and the retrospective feel to it). That kind of makes up for it.

9. 27 - lovelovelove so hard. Patrick's vocals here are my favorite ever. The way he sings reminds me of ginasfs, and that's my favorite fob song of all time. The phrase "the planets align you're just like mars" kills me the way he sings it. And can we appreciate Joe Trohman on this album for a second? Epic guitar solos.

10. Tiffany Blews - One of my favorites, the opening is so good. And the harmonies in this, oh Patrick. I love the line "baby you're a classic, like a little black dress" for some reason. I actually like the Lil Wayne cameo, it's not like this crazy rap verse.

11. w.a.m.s. - I find that intro bass really creepy. The whole thing is in this creepy minor key but that's why I like it. And I love the chorus. Still curious as hell what wams stands for. I'm not sure how I feel about the whole music dropping out and Patrick singing this bluesy little acoustic tune; I kind of wish that it was a separate short track, like an interlude. I think the way they faded the music was weird, the first time I heard it I was like "wtf is going on?" It's cool and Patrick sounds awesome (the melody sounds like "no diggity" by blackstreet, doesn't it? I swear, look it up, it's the same.)

12. 20 Dollar Nose Bleed - it's like a cheery musical romp, if the lyrics weren't so depressive. But I love Brendon's part (actually, I think it sounds more like a panic song than a fob song) but the horns are great, and it reminds me so much like "i've got all this ringing..." (lol at me and all these old fob references, but it's what I think of when I hear them.) I like how it doesn't fit in with the record (and I think there's a church organ towards the middle somewhere). Patrick's vocal are killer, too. I didn't like Pete's spoken part at first, but now I love it. Wouldn't be a fob CD without it ;) (and a little screaming, finally! Leads in nicely to the last track.)

13. West Coast Smoker - I love how harsh this is. The second "oh hell yes" is badass. The whole father, son, holy ghost thing is a little weird, but I just go with it by now. Then there's that eeiry church chanting in the middle before pete's screaming "i'm a nervous wreck" (which I love, this cd was lacking pete screaming.) And the song just kind of stops and the cd is over, I like how it's abrupt. Makes you want to put it back on.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mayhem! Music! ...Fashion?

One of the biggest award gatherings of the year, the VMA's bring together musicians from every genre to celebrate the art of the music video. What's even more celebrated, is what the stars (or their stylists!) choose to wear:


Edgy, unconventional, yet uniform. Rihnanna's rigid top and bottom create a combat-syle dress that flatters her figure and shows of her fabulous arms. A perfect look, except for the shoes - they're to match the white in her hair, probably? Overall, a good look for the Disturbia singer. 4/5

Kristen Stewart

A newbie to the VMA's and award shows alike, perhaps Kristen is just trying to find her own style. Her baggy, heavy dress doesn't accentuate her petite frame, making it look like a decorated potato sack. The dress color is dull, along with the pattern, and her two-tone hair and overdone eyeshadow make the look even messier. It's your grandma's dress and pumps - and not in a good way. At least she didn't show up in sweats? 2/5

Lauren Conrad

LC's white dress makes her skin look flawless, but the boxy cut of the top does little to show off her bust line - in fact it makes her look like there's not much at all. A negative effect than she wanted, I'm sure. But her flowly, loosely pulled hair with the shimmery dress shows that SoCal look that Lauren is famous for. 4/5

Katy Perry

Another newcomer to the scene, Katy steps out a creates a fashion look all of her own. Claiming all of her pieces come from thrift stores (she made the hairpiece herself!) she ignores red carpet cliches and instead, chooses a vintage top and high-waisted shorts circa 1950, throwing in purple pumps. Only backdraw? The tight shorts make her middle look puffy, almost as if she's wearing a diaper. Almost, but not quite right. 3/5

Christina Aquilera

This new mother is no stranger to the red carpet, always glamorous. Her floor-length gown highlights her new, curvy shape, hiding any bad areas left from pregnancy. But with a swooping gown, her hair falls too heavy and bangs too thick - it's mall meets glam, and it doesn't work. A sexy updo would complete the look and show off her smooth shoulder line. 3/5


The usually risque Pink chooses a carnivalesque, old-Hollywood glam for this year's red carpet. With a spiky bleached 'do, her shoulders look toned, and her black high-waist keeps the outfit together. It hangs long and heavy, reminiscent of curtains, but overall, adds to the effect. 5/5

Hayley Willams

Hayley tries to bring out her inner punk with teased hair, a green 80s prom dress with a bowite to match. No thank you. The hair is early scene-queen (Audrey Kitching, anyone?) the dress is a pasty green that clashes with her bright hair and pale skin, and the bowtie shows that she's trying too hard. Throw in her ripped mylons and boots, this look is more Halloween costume than read carpet. Find another way to express your inviduality, Hayley. 1/5

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sounds of Summer

Ah yes, summer: sunshine, sand, sublime tunes. The climate change isn't complete without music to fill your ears. Whether it's lounging by the pool, beach, or indoors, these picks will make your summertime just a bit sweeter:

Joshua Radin - We Were Here
We Were Here is a soulful, acoustic blend of harmonies that will buzz in your ears through those hot months. Even the frosty track "Winter" is warm enough for those hot days, with soft vocals laced with gentle harmonies. The tracks have a feeling reminiscent to first loves, and that blissful feeling of relaxation. Don't worry if you find yourself drifting away while easing into his chilling tunes.
Download: Sundrenched World, Winter, What If You

Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend is a band that seemingly emerged out of nowhere, reeling the public in with their catchysong "A-Punk" (being featured in a commerical or two doesn't hurt, either). The rest of their self-titled debut doesn't disappoint: their next single, "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" features a bongo beat that would fit in perfectly on any tropical getaway. Effortless, smooth vocals create tracks that are easy and appealing to listen to. The summer heat doesn't feel complete without some Vampire Weekend.
Download: A-Punk, Oxford Comma, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Coldplay - Viva la Vida
The title track off Coldplay's latest effort starts with chugging violins and the lyric, "I used to rule the world." While he may not rule the world anymore, Chris Martin certainly rules on Viva La Vida. The band's fourth album drifts from the established Coldplay sound displayed on the previous records; Martin embraces a more mellow vibe, with two completely instrumental tracks featured. The second single "Violet Hill" is perhaps the most upbeat track - which hints at just how mellow the rest of the album is. Fans new and old of Coldplay can appreciate the positive vibes. As the song "Strawberry Swing" goes: "It's such a perfect day."
Download: Viva la Vida, Strawberry Swing, Violet Hill