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