Tag: sara-bareilles

sotd: Sia – Chandelier

Let’s be honest, this is not just a song of the day kind of a song; it has been my song of the moment since it first came out. I have been living for this song, and after seeing the INCREDIBLE video, I seriously cannot get enough. Rarely, there is a song that is in heavy rotation on the radio, and I turn it all of the way up each time it is on; but this is one of those songs. Hearing Sara Bareilles’ amazing cover of this recorded a one of her recent concerts has only made me love this incredible song even more. Check out the video, and the incredible talent of the dancer, Maddie Zeigler, as well:

Also, this is up for video of the year at the MTV video awards; coming up; if it doesn’t win, there doesn’t really need to be a video awards for MTV anymore, because THIS is what music videos used to be all about, and unfortunately, few capture the musicality of the song this perfectly anymore. Bonus: check out Sia singing/the video being recreated live on Ellen; WOW.

my favorite albums of 2013… finally

I know, I know, I know. For whatever reason, being a nurse has turned me into a bad blogger; honestly, I deal with so much at work, that I don’t really want to deal with doing much on my days off other than just relax. That being said, I have wanted to write this post for nearly 5 months now, and goddammit, I am going to do it. I made a promise to the few of you that still read this old blog, and I promised myself. There were some AMAZING albums released last year, and I wouldn’t feel right not sharing my love for them, like I’ve been doing for several years. So… while this may be late, and it may be way overdue, at least it’s here now… finally.

Just like in 2011, there were two albums that I simply could not get enough of, and honestly those two were so far and above everything else; with one exception… each other! It should be no secret at this point that I LOVE LOVE LOVE both Sara Bareilles and City and Colour; they are both two of my most favorite artists, and last year, they both released amazing albums within about a month of one another.

1. (tie) Sara Bareilles – The Blessed Unrest
Sara’s incredible third full length album did not disappoint. Seeing her live just before this album was released was a real treat; and it turned out to be the show that was recorded for the live album release later that year (the one that I was featured as a photographer on, nonetheless!). She only sang a few new songs, but man, they really built up my expectations for the new release; and per usual, I was not disappointed. Sara has this quality that I think a lot of artists wish they had; she can capture her thoughts, feelings, disappointments, triumphs, frustrations, and most of all, love all within a song. She can transform a thought into a feeling, and turn that feeling into a beautiful piece of music that makes you feel what she wanted you to feel; it takes you right to where she is in that moment. I love that the first song she released from this album, the penultimate Brave, was an ode to her dear gay friend, in hopes that she could help him be brave, and he could come out to his family. This is such a supportive anthem that I really resonate with, and one that is miles beyond a simply catchy chorus and beat. Sara has crafted another beautiful album without a single misstep, and it is apparently getting her more and more attention; it was, after all, nominated for album of the year at the Grammy’s. While she didn’t win, I definitely thought it was the best one of the bunch, and I am appreciative of her talent that she continues to share with us. Song Highlights: Brave, Manhattan, Satellite Call, Islands, December.

1. (tie) City and Colour – The Hurry and The Harm
Just like Sara, City and Colour is an artist that once I heard him for the first time, I knew I was hooked on something amazing. Dallas Green, aka City and Colour, is definitely an old soul. He is so evocative in his song writing, and so prolific in his musicality, that there is no doubt in my mind that he has been through a few life times; even if only through hardship, love, and loss during this one. He writes music that is so emotion-filled, and beautiful, that I honestly get choked up during many of his songs. He weaves this imagery that makes me feel his music, and makes it an experience, rather than just listening to something catchy or beautiful. There are song that he has on this album, just like on his previous three, that I turn on, turn up, close my eyes, and just feel. When he released the first song from the album, Of Space and Time, I was elated. I was not only in love with this amazing track, but I was once again blown away at how someone could be this talented; he continues to up the game at each turn. The entire album followed suit, and while it is a bit more “polished” than his first albums, I think the raw nature of his craft is front and center. Dallas, please keep making such amazing and beautiful music; I know there are many fans like myself will follow you to the end of time. Song Highlights: Of Space and Time, Harder Than Stone, Two Coins, Take Care, Ladies and Gentlemen.

3. Haim – Days Are Gone
These three rock-n-roll sisters came out of nowhere. I first heard The Wire on a video show, and I loved it. After that, I checked out the album, and I was blown away; who are these ladies, and where did this amazing album come from? According to many sources, these girls loved Fleetwood Mac growing up, and that style influenced their musical style. While I only hear subtleties, I think these ladies have created a truly incredible debut. Very rarely do you come across a new group that is this incredibly talented, and able to turn out a practically flawless debut album. This is one album that I listened to over and over again, because each song is incredible, and not like anything else I heard this year. Seeing them live a few weeks ago was the icing on the cake; they are INCREDIBLE live, and totally slayed the concert. I hope this is a start of a long and illustrious career for this talented trio. Song Highlights: The Wire, Honey & I, Go Slow, If I Could Change Your Mind, Forever, Falling.

4. Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob
I’ve really liked these twin sisters for quite some time, but never so much as I do since this album came out. Embracing a bit more of an electronic sound, added to their tried and true acoustic, guitar driven sound from the start, they tried something different and completely succeeded. In my honest opinion, they have never been stronger, both in their “new” sound as well as lyrically, I have no doubt that they have attracted many new fans with this album. Much more polished, and cohesive, Heartthrob is definitely my favorite Tegan and Sara album thus far. I found myself loving more songs that ever before, and the album in and of it self is cohesive, solid, and very well made. Not saying that haven’t been this strong in the past, as these ladies are incredibly talented; they just have come into something different, and in my opinion, more developed and polished than ever before. Seeing them live recently also made me appreciate their new album even more; they are incredible live, and this show was better than the one I had seen years ago. Song Highlights: Closer, Now I’m All Messed Up, Shock to Your System, I Was a Fool.

5. Lady GaGa – ARTPOP
What can I say? It’s Lady GaGa. I have loved her since the first time I heard Just Dance, which was a good 8 months or so before her debut dropped, and since that time, she has gone from a pop diva to a full-fledged pop phenomenon. While many critics agreed that this was a “weak” album for the superstar, especially when compared to her near-flawless previous releases, I think that this album is merely a minor misstep in an otherwise flawless career thus far. GaGa is hugely talented, and that goes without saying; those that don’t like her can’t deny her level of talent is through the roof, and with this album, she reinvented herself yet again. This time, however, it didn’t blow everyone away like it had before. HOWEVER, I feel like this album is a well-rounded, very strong effort from a massively talented artist. With Applause, the first single off of her new album, GaGa released, what I think, is one of her strongest singles to date; but for whatever reason, I didn’t resonate as strongly as previous efforts. The album release was considered somewhat of a “flop”, because it didn’t blow her previous effort out of the water, but I think that GaGa had insurmountable odds to overcome, and as opposed to trying to best herself, she put her best foot forward, and made a record that she felt comfortable with and loved. It is clear that her passion is still front and center, and while there are a few missteps on the album, this is more GaGa gold that fans can enjoy like before. Song Highlights: Applause, Sexxx Dreams, Venus, Gypsy, Dope, Do What U Want.

6. Miley Cyrus – Bangerz
This album fits squarely in the column of, “I really shouldn’t like this, but… it’s just so… dammit, it’s just so darn good!!”, AKA, what most people would label as guilty pleasures. That being said, I would say that nothing should be a guilty pleasure; if you like something, for whatever reason, just enjoy it! This album was so much better than I was expecting, that I was honestly a little blown away by it. Not only is Miley an extremely talented singer (trust me, she slayed live), but her choices on this album show that not only does she know how to pick a hit, but her choice of producers to work with shows the potential making of a star; after all, you’re only as strong as the music you put out. Remember when Britney was seemingly unstoppable? It was largely because of who she was working with, and I can definitely say that Miley has taken note, and is doing something spot on with her “new” career. With this album, and honestly, with one “stripped down” video for Wrecking Ball, she left her purely innocent pop past as Hannah Montana squarely in the past. Couple that with an infamous racy performance at the MTV music awards, and Miley had transformed herself into the most talked about woman in the room. The attention is well deserved, as this is an incredible pop album, and while it isn’t her debut, it might as well be. I’m not ashamed to say that I love the “new” Miley Cyrus, and if she keeps making albums this strong, she’s got a very long career ahead of her for sure. Song Higlights: Wrecking Ball, Adore You, We Don’t Stop, Drive, #GETITRIGHT, Maybe You’re Right.

7. London Grammar – If You Wait
The first time I heard their sleepy hit Strong, I knew I had stumbled onto something incredible. When they released their album, shortly thereafter, I found myself entranced and hypnotized by Hannah Reid’s haunting vocals, which are beautifully paired with saccharine, wispy harmonies and delicate beats. While the album leans towards possibly being a bit monotonous (and I don’t mean this in a negative way… more cohesive), in that a lot of the songs blend so seamlessly together, and nothing stands out as strongly as well, Strong, the album is beautiful, and there is nary a misstep to be found on it. Definitely a great chill out album, reminiscent of, and I have to believe, playing tribute to, gorgeous music from trip-hop artists like Portishead from the past. This is one band that I would love to see play live, as I am sure they are incredible. I love discovering music like this, especially when bands this incredibly talented come out of pretty much nowhere. This is truly an excellent debut, indeed. Song Highlights: Strong, Stay Awake, Hey Now, Wasting My Young Years.

8. Hayden – Us Alone
I’ve loved Hayden for quite some time, and his latest sleepy-rock album is another fantastic addition to an ever-increasingly magnificent music cannon. Hayden is like a very fine wine, he only gets better with each subsequent release. While this is a short album at only 8 songs, he packed in some truly beautiful songs about love and loss, a subject he seems to know all too well. Hayden’s tenderness always shines in his music, and this is another heartfelt album that more people should be listening to. Song Highlights: Almost Everything, Oh Memory, Just Give Me a Name, Motel, Rainy Saturday.

9. One Direction – Midnight Memories (Deluxe Edition)
These lads were a hot point of contention for me at first; they are sort of responsible for the break up of Westlife, my favorite boy band of all time. Once I got past my heartbreak on losing Westlife, I couldn’t help but fall deeply for these guys and their ridiculously catchy pop. This is an album that is far better than it should be; there really isn’t anything on here that’s bad. This being their third album, I can tell that those that are not firmly in the 1D camp need to either wise up or get out of the way; they aren’t going anywhere for a while. After seeing them on SNL, I saw the star power they possess, and their live shows are probably a big reason why their popularity has continued to soar. They are the new incarnation of the boyband, and they are really doing it really, really well. This is another fantastic pop album chock full of singles; which begs the question, why haven’t more singles been released?! Here’s hoping that will be remedied in the coming months; there is enough material on this album to spawn many more hits. Song Highlights: Through the Dark, Best Song Ever, Strong, Story of My Life, Don’t Forget Where You Belong, Little White Lies, Better Than Words.

10. Rosi Golan – Fortuna
This may be an EP, but it is filled with such amazing songs, so I felt compelled to include it in the best albums of 2013 for that very reason. I have loved Rosi Golan ever since I heard her amazing duet with William Fitzsimmons, Hazy. Her voice is hauntingly beautiful, and on this gorgeous EP, she has given fans a beautiful mini-album full of some of her best work. Unfortunately, I discovered her previous album, Lead Balloon many months after its release, and it missed my best of 2011 as a result. Fortunately, I saw this immediately on its release, and was able to give a little love to Rosi this year, as it is so well deserved. This is one of those artists that is so incredibly talented, but for some reason, tends to fly just under the radar. If you still haven’t heard of her yet, this is your notice; check out Rosi Golan and this incredible release. This is a gorgeous record, and as with her previous work, it has me excited for what she puts out next. Song Highlights: Curtain Call, Give Up The Ghost, Your Forgiveness, Churchyard Sleep.

11. Leslie Hall – Songs In The Key Of Gold
With Songs, Mother Gem released a delicious remix album of her hits, along with a couple of new songs (four to be exact!!) to keep the party moving. I was fortunate enough to see her perform this amazing album live earlier this year, and I had such an amazing time (I always do at her shows!!). This is a best of/greatest hits album with the dance knob turned way up, and the lycra extra tight; Titus Jones remixed all of these songs, and made already danceable fun tracks into the ultimate dance party. I always joke that if I could see Leslie perform about once every month, I would never be sad or worry again. I honestly wish it were an option, because this is always the highlight of my week when a Leslie show is on the books. Thanks for another fabulous album, Mother Gem; it is gem-fantabulous!! New Songs: Neon Blood, #1 Cat In America, Happy Birthday, Of Course You Where Glasses.

The rest…

The Postal Service – 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition – a pivotal, influential album gets a remastered re-release; still perfection 10 years later.
30 Seconds To Mars – Love Lust Faith + Dreams – another great 30 seconds album.
Beyonce – Beyonce – secret release, some great singles that I can’t get enough of, some stuff I didn’t love.
CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share – I should have liked this more than I did, even though I really, really did like it.
Ciara – Ciara – a few good songs, mostly, I’m Out and Body Party.
Dawes – Stores Don’t End – great stories tellers, love, love, love, Most People.
Shane Filan – You and Me – so much potential, so much repetition.
Goldfrapp – Tales Of Us – I just didn’t get into this one, shame as I love Goldfrapp.
Selena Gomez – Stars Dance – great guilty pleasure; some real bangers on here.
The Great Gatsby Soundtrack – excellent movie, GREAT soundtrack.
Icona Pop – This is… Icona Pop – love these two; some missteps pull down the album.
Jessie J – Alive – amazing singer, great pop starlet, just not as dynamic as her debut.
Little Mix – DNA (US Deluxe Edition) – this is pop, dammit! If it weren’t for the nose dive on the back end of the album, it may have been in the best of list above…
Lorde – Pure Heroine – loved it, just very, very, very overplayed.
Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady – super talented, super talented, super talented.
MSMR – Secondhand Rapture – some great singles, didn’t get into all of it, unfortunately.
Olly Murs – Right Place, Right Time – honestly, it just missed the best list…
Kate Nash – Girl Talk – a lot darker, a lot more punk, a lot less catchy and fun.
The National – Trouble Will Find Me – another fantastic and amazing album from super talented guys.
Tom Odell – Long Way Down – good stuff, just didn’t take me by storm.
The Paper Kites – States – opened for City and Colour; love finding a new, great band.
Silver Bells – Bitter Rivals – a bit tamer than their debut, but still pretty darn good.
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City – always count on them for a great album.
The Wanted – Word of Mouth – not going to lie; a little disappointed given their previous work.
Jessie Ware – Devotion – pretty good, just didn’t blow me away.
Katy Perry – Prism – potential… wasted (Dark Horse is brilliant, though).
The Saturdays – Living For The Weekend – I think they were a little rushed; at least it seems like things were thrown together for this; definitely not as strong as their previous albums. Some AMAZING singles, though.
Britney Spears – Britney Jean – her “most personal”, yet her weakest album to date, with the weakest lead single of her career; very disappointed (Perfume is incredible, though).

2010: my 14 favorite albums

So instead of dragging this thing out any longer, and seeing as how my motivation has been at an all time low recently, I am just going to be sort of brief this year. There are 14 albums that I would say are solid 5 star albums (actually there were 15, but one was a greatest hits album, and sorry kids, but those aren’t eligible), so I will rank those for you in one nice little post (that is, if anyone even reads this anymore). The “rest” will be briefly presented following the top 14 as well, because, hey, they just barely missed the mark, and it isn’t fair to count them as down an out when they were really close in some cases. Let’s do this:

My top 14 albums of 2010:

1. Robyn – Body Talk: All I can really say is wow; Robyn killed it this year, and dominated my ear drums and my attention. I had a hunch that she had the top spot the moment I heard Dancing On My Own, and release after release of singles from the three stellar EPs Body Talk parts 1-3 proved that hunch to be true; only to be punctuated with an exclamation point with the full album release, Body Talk (which compiles tracks from the three EPs). I am glad Robyn is making music this fantastic, because there is no one even close to her making pop right now. Seeing her live in November was delightful icing on the cake; it was sincerely the best concert I’ve seen in a long time. Standout Tracks: Dancing On My Own, Hang With Me, Indestructible, Fembot, Time Machine.

2. Sara Bareilles – Kaleidoscope Heart: Those of you that know this blog know that I have a special place in my heart for Ms. Bareilles, and this is because she is such an incredibly talented musician. Her sophomore effort was on par with her debut; it was chock full of fantastic songs about love and loss, all set to beautiful melodies and pop sensibility. She showed a bit of growth with this album without abandoning that sound that lets you know it is Sara B; the sound that I fell in love with the very first time I saw her live. Overall, a great follow up to an amazing debut; she clearly has the talent to back up the hype I’ve been building about her. Standout Tracks: Basket Case, Hold My Heart, Machine Gun, King Of Anything.

3. Marina and the Diamonds – Family Jewels: Marina had me salivating for the last half of 2009 for more material after I fell head over heels with the amazing I Am Not a Robot, and with her debut Family Jewels, she did more than just deliver; she nailed it! Marina is a breath of fresh air, and a true artist. She isn’t afraid to experiment with different sounds, but in the end, knows how to write a killer hook with an irresistible backing track. This album is fun from beginning to end, and it was well worth waiting until 2010 to get my hands on it. Standout Tracks: Oh No!, Hollywood, I Am Not A Robot, Obsessions.

4. The Script – Science and Faith: Wow, this was a major surprise for me; while I really enjoyed their debut, I had no idea they had this much punch hidden in their arsenal. This is the album that many pop-rock outfits wish they were good enough to make, and the Script make it seem effortless. Almost every song on this album screams hit, and it’s funny that the song they have currently on the radio still spinning is from their debut that came out three years ago (especially when they have a whole new album of would-be replacements). Perhaps with the recent proper release of this album stateside, the Script can go from two “old” hits kicking around on US radio, to bona fide stars; this album has the grit, and the pure strength to back them up on that quest. Standout Tracks: This = Love, For The First Time, If You Ever Come Back, You Won’t Feel A Thing.

5. The National – High Violet: The National were one of those bands that I had heard people talk about, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t listening. Well, in comes the video for Bloodbuzz Ohio, and I am suddenly all ears. These guys are wrought with emotion both in the music and lyrics; it goes all of the way through to the core. This album is melancholy, damaged, but beautiful in its quest to be loved. I’m glad I paid attention. Standout Tracks: Bloodbuzz Ohio, England, Sorrow, Lemonworld.

6. Sleigh Bells – Treats: This is one that we will either agree is brilliant, or you will disagree and hate it; either way, it’s one of my favorites of 2010 hands down. I first heard of Sleigh Bells when I saw them open for Major Lazer, and I was blown away. They are raw energy, and their debut rattles your eardrums from beginning to end. The more I listened to this album, the more I came to appreciate the nuances of each song, and the way in which they danced so close to the edge of the insane to make such powerful rock-hip-hop driven music. This is album conveys pure untapped energy, an energy that captured me completely; and I am so glad to have discovered them in 2010. Favorite Tracks: A/B Machines, Tell ‘Em, Infinity Guitars, Riot Rhythm.

7. Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can: I feel bad, because I kind of wrote off Laura Marling previously; I liked her first single a few years ago, but didn’t really feel the rest of her debut. After a fellow blogger turned my attention the incredible Rambling Man, I quickly snapped up her new release, and loved it from beginning to end. This is a powerful album, and comparing Marling to a second coming of Joni Mitchell is more than clearly hitting the nail on the head; this woman is extremely talented, and we should all be glad that she has chosen to speak (and sing) so beautifully. Standout Tracks: Rambling Man, Goodbye England (Covered In Snow), Maid By Maid, I Speak Because I Can.

8. Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More
I actually heard this at the very end of 2009, but luckily, it wasn’t released in the US until 2010, so it gets to make the list. This album is beautiful from beginning to end, and the tone and quality of the lead singer’s voice is amazing. This album really has its ups and downs, going from all out strumming rock and roll to tender ballads; both of which they do very, very well. These guys have been getting a lot of attention, and it is all well deserved; after one song, you too will notice the raw talent they possess (but listen to the whole album, because it is all fantastic!). Standout Tracks: The Cave, After The Storm, Little Lion Man, Timshel.

9. Antony and the Johnsons – Swanlights
While I don’t want this to be a criticism, this album didn’t blow me away nearly as much as 2009’s number 2 album, The Crying Light; simply because that album is perfect in every way, and perfect is hard to follow. That being said, on Swanlights, Antony coos that ‘everything is new’, and while his tender broken-ness is still forefront, he tries a few new things musically, and makes for some very beautiful results. Overall, another wonderful album from one of my favorite artists, which is always a welcome treat. Standout Tracks: Fletta, The Spirit Was Gone, Thank You For Your Love, Christina’s Farm.

10. Jonsi – Go
I’ll be honest, I was never a fan of Sigur Ros; not because I didn’t like them, but simply because I haven’t heard their music. While I may not know them, the band’s lead singer Jonsi stepped out on his own, and I am all ears now. The first time I heard Go Do, I was mesmerized; I thought, what the fuck is the amazing fairy music, and why in the hell do I love the shit out of it?! Well, shortly after, I heard the impressive album Go, and I was hooked on this fantastic out artist’s solo effort, which is filled to the brim with whimsy and delight. His style reminds me a little of Bjork; simply in the way that he so comfortably dances a strange, yet completely delightful jig outside of the box, and couldn’t seem any happier to be doing it that way (well that, and they both hail from Iceland!). This album took me by storm, and it is one that I have seen rightfully on many other’s top album lists for 2010 as well. Standout Tracks: Go Do, Animal Arithmetic, Tornado, Hengilas.

11. Melissa Etheridge – Fearless Love
Melissa is the ultimate rock and roll chick, and she shows with this new album that she still firmly has it. After beating cancer, and a break up, Melissa turns to expressing her feelings in the music, and has made a passionate and very well crafted pop/rock album. I have always been a fan of her lyrics, and she doesn’t disappoint on Fearless Love. She may not have reinvented her style or the wheel with this album, but what she does is what she has been doing well all along; make some great music. This is one artist that proves that longevity is possible in the music industry, and that quality is at the forefront of their craft; Melissa seems to only be getting better with age. Standout Tracks: Fearless Love, Company, Heaven On Earth, To Be Loved

12. Kate Nash – My Best Friend Is You
While it becomes clear early on that Kate was noticeably harder, and more in your face on this album, I was more than pleased that she didn’t totally abandon her whimsical charm and cleverness in the process. I absolutely love the way in which she crafts her lyrics, and the way she tells stories in her songs, and she keeps that going on this album. I can’t help but think, however, that Kate was a bit upset at times during the recording of this album, because she goes a bit off the deep end at moments, but manages to pull it back and has made a great sophomore album overall. It’s not as radio friendly as her debut for sure, but it’s Kate through and through, and as a fan, I definitely enjoyed it. Standout Tracks: Do-Wah-Doo, Paris, Pickpocket, Kiss That Grrrl, I Hate Seagulls.

13. Vampire Weekend – Contra
I was unnecessarily hard on Vampire Weekend last year. When Horchata came out, I was really disappointed, because I LOVED their debut, and I didn’t really care for that song at all. Well, my disdain maintained, and I largely ignored this album for way too long. Looking back, I don’t know what my problem was, because this album is actually a great build on their amazing debut, and is wonderful throughout. I guess I was in a bit of a funk, and I took it out on them, which, in hindsight, I wish I hadn’t, because again, Contra is wonderful. Oh well, I guess this means I am making amends, because it is turned out to be one of my favorite albums of 2010. Standout Tracks: Giving Up The Gun, California English, Cousins, White Sky.

14. Erik Hassle – Pieces
While this album should have come out in 2009 (it was released in Sweden only as Hassle) it got renamed and slightly tweaked, and finally got the chance to be released early in 2010. Despite featuring brilliant pop song after brilliant pop song, this album didn’t really go anywhere, and even though his amazing ballad Hurtful was a free download on iTunes a while back, people still aren’t paying this guy the attention he deserves. His music is fresh, and he is making fantastic pop music that deserves to dominate the airwaves. I just don’t get how people this talented get grossly overlooked (and in this case time and time again), but I can only hope this guy knows that there are those of us that love his music, and hope that he keeps doing his thing, and keeps killing it like he did on Pieces (and Hassle for that matter). Standout Tracks: Hurtful, Amelia, Isn’t It Obvious, Back To Bed.

…and the rest:
These are the albums that almost made the cut, but for whatever reason, fell a little short of five-stardom. I’ll make a few brief comments about each. In alphabetical order:

  • A1 – Waiting For Daylight: A great surprise from the reforming of a late 90’s- early 00’s boyband. Favorite Track: Perfect Disaster.
  • Aqualung – Magnetic North: I’ll always love this band; great sound, consistently great music. Favorite Track: Remember Us feat. Sara Bareilles.
  • Broken Bells – Broken Bells: Pairing Danger Mouse with the James Mercer of the Shins; great idea! Favorite Track: Vaporize.
  • Cee Lo Green – The Lady Killer: Besides the amazing Fuck You! (no, NOT Forget You, the shit radio version; sorry Cee Lo), great album overall. Favorite Track: Love Gun feat. Lauren Bennett.
  • Elizabeth and the Catapult – The Other Side of Zero: A little more up and down than their amazing debut, last year’s Taller Children, but still wonderful overall. Favorite Track: Do Not Hang Your Head.
  • Goldfrapp – Head First: Almost five stars; just barely missed the mark for me. Full of energy and great danceable tracks; I love how Goldfrapp reinvent themselves with each new album and continue to create such fantastic music. Favorite Track: Rocket.
  • Hot Chip – One Life Stand: This one surprised me; I liked the whole album more than I have their previous efforts (which usually just had a track or two to catch my full attention). Favorite Track: I Feel Better.
  • Kelis – Flesh Tone: Wow, what a re-invention. She shows that she can kill whatever she attempts. Welcome back Kelis, we missed your sassy ass. Favorite Track: 22nd Century.
  • Kylie – Aphrodite: I know my fellow gays will weep that I didn’t declare this second coming, but it didn’t blow me away. I really liked most of it though! Favorite Track: Get Outta My Way.
  • Greg Laswell – Take A Bow: Finally got see him live this year, and another great album as well. Favorite Track: Lie To Me.
  • P!nk – The Greatest Hits… So Far!! This one is a definite five star album, but it’s a greatest hits compilation, so it doesn’t qualify for album of the year (no matter how great it truly is; P!nk has had a great career… so far!!). Favorite (new) Track: Raise Your Glass.
  • Scissor Sisters – Night Work: It starts off and ends brilliantly; really, most of the album holds some of the best stuff of their career. As one of my favorite bands I really wanted to love this wholeheartedly, but I can’t ignore the middle to near-end where things seem to just go weird. Eh, can’t win ’em all, can you? Favorite Track: Whole New Way.
  • Stars – Five Ghosts: I love these guys. Great stuff; not many other bands sound like them, and their uniqueness is refreshing and the music is hauntingly beautiful. Favorite Track: We Don’t Want Your Body.
  • The Bird and the Bee – Interpreting the Masters Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates: Great band does a great tribute/cover album; I only hope there are many more up their sleeve. Favorite Track (which is original to them, and not a cover, actually): Heard It On The Radio.
  • The Saturdays – Headlines EP: An EP with a couple of recycled tracks, but some AMAZING new songs. These ladies keep on taking their pop higher. Favorite Track: Higher.
  • Shayne Ward – Obsession: After two amazing albums, with the last being his best, I had high hopes. Some songs are beautiful and great pop, but it really goes tits up in several places; which is surprising given his track record. The Nickelback cover is completely unnecessary. Favorite Track: Foolish (sadly, the best track wasn’t even on the album; Future Love was just a B-side on the aforementioned Nickelback cover, Gotta Be Somebody).
  • Westlife – Gravity: What can I say, it’s Westlife, and here they do what they’ve always done, consistently and wonderfully. More great ballads, and boy band pop that I have loved for more than a decade from these beautiful men; what’s not to love? Favorite Track: Safe.

Honorable mentions:
The Wanted – The Wanted: Some great singles, guys!!
Step Up 3D Soundtrack: There are some MAJOR tracks on this album; my number 3 song of the year came from it!
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World Soundtrack: The music in this movie is so much fun!

Well, there it is, my favorite albums of 2010. There was a lot that fell to the wayside this year, because of how busy I was, but there is some really great music on this list. I feel like I didn’t get to know each album like I would have wanted to, again, because of being so busy, and I missed a lot of potentially other great albums out there, but overall, I have to say this list isn’t bad. What do you think? What do you think I missed? Do you think I nailed it? Let me know your thoughts! Now… to start collecting great music for 2011’s best of list!!

5SF: october 8 – the return?

So, I basically stated that the 5SF was kind of dead because of my inability to host/post songs anymore, but one lovely and delightful reader (hi Doug!) said that he would like it if I still did a 5SF, and he could just look up the songs (I mean, iTunes is really easy to use, after all, and you kids do know how to use google, right?). So, as much as I would like to post the songs for you to hear, I can at least tell you about them so that you know what to go out and try to listen to, right? I think it’s at least a good idea for the meantime… let me know if you agree. So, let’s get to some songs that I really think you need to go check out (I’ll try to post links to youtube or whatever I can so that you can listen to it without looking too hard… if I can. Side note: I wrote this first, and after writing the whole post, I was able to find links for each and every song this week. You’re welcome!).

The Script – For The First Time
I have always really liked the Script and their style with that kind of rock-rap hybrid, and I was such a fan of their self-titled debut, that it came it at number 19 on my year end countdown way back in 2008 (which is honestly surprising, since they still have a hit from that album on the radio right now, even though their new album should be making more of a splash). I’ll be honest, when I first heard this first single from the new album, Science and Faith, I was a bit ‘meh’ on it, but now, I freaking love it. It is such a grower, and it should, by all accounts, be a big radio hit for them. Fingers crossed that it will be. Listen to For The First Time here.

Elizabeth & The Catapult – You and Me
I was absolutely elated when I opened up iTunes and saw that the amazing Elizabeth & the Catapult had released a new single last week; and rightly so, it’s amazing. I adored their previous album, Taller Children (which was my number 13 album of the year last year), and I am pretty excited to see that they have a new one coming our way on October 26th. The single has all of the playful energy and delightful lyrics of their previous album, and an updated, more polished newness to it as well (also, the beginning reminds me of one of Marina and The Diamonds’ amazing songs as well! Bonus!). This single was a big surprise that revealed an even bigger surprise that I cannot wait for; I found out about the album release because its release date was on the single’s album art! Listen to You and Me here. (I like what the author of that site had to say about it, too).

Sara Bareilles – Basket Case
I know you are probably tired of hearing me heap praise on Sara Bareilles, but honestly, I don’t care if you are or are not; she’s amazing and she deserves it. After seeing Sara at the Variety Playhouse last night, I just had to post this, my favorite song, from her new album Kaleidoscope Heart. This song is EPIC. It is already one of my favorite of 2010, and is fast becoming one of my favorites of hers as well (Gravity is still on top… for now). Overall, her concert was beautiful and amazing (as I expected it to be, since I have seen her many times), and I had a wonderful night (it was nice to finally see Greg Laswell live, and to discover Holly Conlan as well). The performance of this song was especially beautiful, and I was glad I got to see her perform it live; it only solidifies how amazing it is. I love the new album, and Sara has solidified herself as one of my favorite artists of all time because of songs like this. Listen to Basket Case here.

P!nk – Raise Your Glass
It’s about time P!nk released a greatest hits collection; she’s had a shit load of fantastic singles spanning her career, and it will be nice to have them all in the same place. Plus, it gives her a chance to pull out a great song for the radio, to entice would-be buyers; and that is exactly what she has done with Raise Your Glass. This song is playful, fun, radio-ready (although, check out the, I guess, NSF…R? version. I hate bleep outs), and oh-so P!nk. I love it! It’s kind of So What part II, which makes it all that much more perfect. Here’s hoping for another number one for you, P!nk! Listen to Raise Your Glass here.

Kelly Rowland – Forever and a Day
After the big surprise that was Commander earlier this summer (summer anthem bitches!!), I was again blown away by Kelly a few weeks ago when I heard this amazing new single! Again produced by David Guetta, this song is incredible, and should be a big hit for Kelly… it should be. However, I doubt it will, since it doesn’t seem to be getting a release here in the states (at least not yet). At least she will have success overseas, because a song this good deserves some attention. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Kelly girl, hold on to D. Guetta’s number! He’s doing you so right!! Listen to Forever and A Day here.

Okay, so I guess was able to make all of the songs available for you to at least go and listen to them. I hope that you will, and I hope you enjoyed them as much as I have been. It feels good to do another 5SF after so long!! I hope you enjoyed it, and will leave your comments letting me know how you felt. If this “new” format works for people, 5SF might be alive and kicking folks!!!

5SF: august 27

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was an alright day (I had to spend almost all of it in class), but it got better by the evening; a great dinner with lots of great friends. Overall, 32 feels a lot like 31 at this point, so I can’t complain. At some point, I’m sure I’ll start counting down instead of up, but as of now, I’m cool with where I’m at (well, at least numerical age-wise). But enough about all that, let’s get down to some new AMAZING music, shall we?

Sara Bareilles – Hold My Heart
It is exciting enough for me that Sara’s new album Kaleidescope Heart hits shelves the week after next week (September 7), when earlier this week she offered a web-debut of TWO songs from the album, with this being my favorite of the two of them. After one listen, I had chills; this song is amazing. It is seriously top caliber work by her, and it shows that Little Voice may have only been an appetizer for the rest of the delectable meal. This song is definitely one of her best, and it has her personal stamp all over it; you know it is Sara when you hear it, and if you are anything like me, you are glad it is her. Sara is one of the most refreshing and delightful singer/song-writer’s on the pop scene right now, and what she does, she does very, very well. Those that know me know that I have a strong love for this woman and her music, but I am not ashamed; she is a brilliant singer/song-writer, and she deserves all the admiration she gets.

The National – England
A while back, I featured the amazing single Bloodbuzz Ohio, by the National, as a song of the day, and since then, I have fallen for their entire new album, High Violet. Well, after a crazy summer, I put it down for a minute, but I picked back up where I left off a week or so ago, and I have been loving it more and more with each listen; especially this song. The orchestration is haunting, the marching drum beats are enchanting, and the delicate vocals are hypnotizing. This song is epic. I love it, and I am loving my new (and recently rekindled) love affair with The National. Expect to see them on my year end ‘best of’ list.

Cee-Lo Green – Fuck You!
Now obviously, this has some “bad” language, so don’t listen to it through your speakers at work, duh. However, this song came out of left field, smacked my ear drums and made me fall in love with Cee-Lo, all over again (I first truly fell for him with the first Gnarls Barkley album; see Transformer). I love the throw-back sound, that here, has such a freshness to it, and the way it is complimented by the clever kiss-off lyrics; not to mention Cee-Lo’s distinctive vocals. This song is delightful, and I can’t stop listening to it. Like I said, it was a total surprise for me, but there are a lot of people out there talking about this one on the internets right now; and I am glad to be another person heaping some praise on it.

The Saturdays – Higher
A few weeks ago, I featured The Saturday’s new single Missing You from their then still-to-be-named new album; which sadly turned out to only be an EP (Headlines; out now!), which rehashed several songs from their previous, amazing album, Wordshaker. Bummer. Regardless of that minor let down, when I finally got my hands on it, I was NOT expecting this. Higher is perfect in name and form, because it shows that The Saturdays are going to keep taking this thing Higher, as this is hands down, one of their best songs to date. These girls are making brilliant pop, and this song should be a number one hit (that is, if they release it; they have a tendency to ignore their most brilliant material. *cough* Here Standing *cough*). That beings said, I hope someone from their PR team reads this, and does what needs to be done; GET THIS SONG ON THE CHARTS! Higher is brilliant, and one of the best pop songs of 2010 by a mile.

Sofia Fresh – This Instant
Last but certainly NOT least this week is the AMAZING single, This Instant, ‘fresh’ off of the Step Up 3D soundtrack. Now, I will be honest, this song was one of the only reasons I actually wanted to see the movie, because I wanted to see what kind of sick dancing they would do to this incredible song. The base in this song is so slick, and the energy and ferocity of these girls reminds of me TLC, Blaque, and even Destiny’s Child. I hope this is the beginning of something amazing from this trio, because this song has been on major repeat for me over the past couple of weeks. I usually detest T-Pain, but he is tolerable in this song, and since he discovered these girls, I am willing to throw a little forgiveness his way. A big thanks to my friend Stu for playing this song for me (and for forcing me to go see Step Up 3 (not even in 3D the theater was so ghetto)), because I cannot get enough of this amazing song. I am certainly clapping my hands to the beat this instant, this this instant!!

Well, this turned out to be a pretty major 5SF; what did you think? There are some amazing songs featured today, and I would love to know what you thought of them!!

5SF: the first saturday edition, august 14

Well, so remember last week when I promised a 5SF for this week? And remember how it didn’t happen yesterday? Well, my bad. To make amends, I offer it up a day late, and as such, offer up the first five song Saturday that I believe I’ve done. All in all, a day late isn’t all that bad, now is it? Let’s do this, then!

William Fitzsimmons – So This Is Goodbye (Pink Ganter Remix)
On Thursday night, I dragged my fat ass out to spin class, and while I was suffering through a particularly difficult class, this amazingly beautiful song came on. Being friends with the instructor, I asked her if it was indeed a song by William Fitzsimmons (who usually does almost whisper-driven folk), and I was pleased to find out that it was. So, as soon as I got home, I was happy to find it on iTunes, yet I was a bit bummed to find that it was on his last release, Derivatives, which was an entire album re-working of some of his previously recorded songs; mostly because I all but ignored it when it came out. I am all for remixes and whatnot, but a lot of the time, they don’t work out as well as people planned, and at the time, being in full nursing school swing, I wasn’t obviously in the mood for his album of reworks. Shame on me! Shame on me big time. Because I ignored the remix album, I missed this bonus new track, and this, its beautiful remix as well. Oh well, at least i found out about it eventually. It’s incredible.

Ry Cumming (feat. Sara Bareilles) – Always Remember Me
I’ll openly, and gladly admit that the way I found this song, was the featuring of the amazing Sara Bareilles. I saw it under her listed songs on iTunes, and after one listen, I was in; this song is incredible, so I can see why she would have gotten involved. Ry’s voice is gentle and beautiful, and the delicate picking of the guitar and sweet serenity of the violin throughout the track are delightful, and the tender lyrics are beautiful. What a delightful, albeit random, find; but you know me, I love wonderful surprises, especially if they are musical ones.

30 Seconds to Mars – Closer to the Edge
I KNEW that this album would have more in store for me musically than the amazing lead single, Kings and Queens; and I knew that it wouldn’t be in time for this album to potentially find its place amongst my favorite albums of 2009 (since it came out only a couple of weeks before the end of the year). On that front, it may be kind of a bummer, but at least the music is still around, and this latest single is incredible, and I cannot get enough of it. The energy is heavy, and the haunting vocals and combo of electronic and rock music makes for a great, radio-ready single. I love Jared Leto’s vocals, and here he is doing what he does best, again. The only thing I could do without is the inclusion of choir of what seems to be kids (even though I am pretty sure it is fans); eh, can’t win ’em all, can you?

Selena Gomez & The Scene – Round and Round
I HAD to post this one, because I want to get something off of my chest about it. For some reason, I wanted to hate Selena Gomez, and for a while now, I kind of have. I don’t know why, but I just have. With that being said, I recently heard this song for like the 10th time, and yet again, I didn’t want to like it, but low and behold I realized something; this song is actually quite brilliant. Not only is it catchy and super saccharine sweet, but it shows the total likability of Selena Gomez, and it highlights probably the very reason I didn’t want to like her. Well, obviously, that was a futile battle that I am happy to finally concede defeat over. Now, I can enjoy this sweet decadence in peace!

Robyn – Hang With Me (single version from Body Talk Part 2)
I don’t have much to say other than more brilliance from our resident ruling queen of pop. Robyn has churned out another amazing single, one that I am already proclaiming one of the best of 2010; which, along with Dancing On My Own, that takes the count of over-the-top amazing singles up to 2 for 2010. I am glad that there is someone out there like Robyn who truly knows how to make amazing music, and has the chance to share her amazing, unstoppable pop brilliance with the rest of us. It seems I will always be in a place of excitement over what she might do next; after all, her track record has been pretty spotless, and she continues to exceed all of my expectations rather effortlessly. I will continue to heap praise on her as long as she deserves it, and from where I’m sitting, that is going to be a pretty long time.

Well, that was nice, wasn’t it? What did you think of my choices? Any suggestions for me? Let me know in the comments!

sotd: Sara Bareilles – King Of Anything

Sara Bareilles – King of Anything from Sam Garvey on Vimeo.

I posted several weeks ago about this fantastic new single from one of my most favorite singers in the world, the amazing Ms. Sara Bareilles, and I STILL cannot get enough of this fabulous song. I seriously cannot wait for the new album, and in the mean time, I have this amazing single (and the cute video!) to keep me company. What really puzzles me, is why this song isn’t soaring up the charts right now; it has hit written all over it. Eh, I guess the American music-buying-public don’t know good music, do they? Then again, that’s no surprise, now is it (just take a look at most of the current top 10… need I say more?)?

5SF: may 28

Woo hoo! Guess who’s back!! This has been a crazy week for me (literally, 5 tests for school!), but I have made it intact through all of it, and I wanted to celebrate a nice weekend by kicking it off with some great music; especially since it’s been a couple of weeks since the last 5SF. So let’s do this.

Sara Bareilles – King of Anything
What can I say about Sara that I haven’t already said a thousand times? She’s an amazing singer, incredibly talented performer, exquisite singer, and a brilliant song writer. Her debut turned out to be one of my favorite albums of the last decade, and with this new single from her hotly anticipated forthcoming album, Kaleidoscope Heart, she has proven that she still has a lot more amazing pop music to offer us. The song is a cleverly written “fuck you” song, and brilliantly fits within her previous work, and serves as the perfect set up for an exciting new release this fall. I for one cannot wait for her new album, as I have been a huge fan of hers ever since I saw her perform live, and if it is anything like I have come to expect from her in the past, I know that it will probably be one of the best albums of 2010; and if this song is only a testament to that, it’s bound to be! Glad to see that you’re back, and in top form Ms. Bareilles!

Aqualung (feat. Sara Bareilles) – Remember Us
I honestly thought I had posted about this song already; so let me say, what an egregious error I have made by not doing so sooner! This is from the recently released album Magnetic North, from the always quite amazing Aqualung, and I thought it appropriate to post this one today (since I hadn’t already), not only because it’s my favorite track from the album, but also because it is incredibly beautiful (well, that and it allows me to keep the Sara Bareilles love rolling on). I remember seeing Aqualung a few years along with Sara Bareilles, and I never thought that their meeting would turn into a beautiful musical relationship like this. Matt really has proven to be a beautiful song writer, and this collaboration just sends it over the edge; this song is definitely one of his best.

Kylie Minogue – All The Lovers
“Dance, it’s all I wanna do, so won’t you dance? I’m standing here with you, why won’t you move?” Well, since you asked so nicely, Ms. Minogue, I will oblige!! While I don’t consider myself to be a Kylie super-fan, I do enjoy a lot of her music, and her previous release X was probably my favorite of hers thus far. After enjoying that release so much, I was excited to see she would be releasing a new album this summer, and given how much I like the lead single, I think it may be another one I can count amongst my favorites. My favorite part in this song is when she delicately sings that line above at about 2:10 in; beautiful!!

Robyn – Dancing On My Own
This is my, “unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should have heard this amazing, brilliant, pop masterpiece by now, but since I am sure some people haven’t (crazy?!), I have to post it” song. Seriously, Robyn, is a pop GODDESS. I was extremely excited when Fembot came out a few months ago, and the promise of THREE new albums was made for release this year, and so far, all I can do is stop typing, clap my hands in raucous applause, and scream bravo to Robyn. Her previous self-titled release, showed the world of pop music exactly how high the bar could be set, and with these new releases this year, it appears that only Robyn can reach the dizzying heights where she herself placed that very bar. I can’t wait to see how this whole situation plays out this year, because as I predicted even before hearing Body Talk, Part 1, I tentatively called this year musically going to Robyn; and it looks like my prediction is even closer to reality. This song is brilliant music-making people. Take it in!

Sleigh Bells – A/B Machines
Before I even knew who Sleigh Bells were, I got to see them in concert; they opened for Major Lazer a few months ago, and I was at the show early enough that I got to see their set. While I didn’t know who they were when they took the stage, I can definitely say I wanted to know who they were by the time they were done. They were incredible live, and their debut album Treats (which is pretty amazing as well), just came out last month. Overall, this is probably my favorite song from the album, and as I said elsewhere before, it is a song that, if I were a fashion designer, I would send my collection down the runway to. This song is power, raw and unabashed, and it demands attention. I love the well placed scream towards the end of the song that makes me just want to dance all night. I love when I find bands that I have never heard of, and they turn out to be amazing; lucky for me, Sleigh Bells is definitely one of those bands.

I hope you enjoyed today’s 5SF, and as always, let me know what you thought of the picks. Have a great weekend everyone!

5SF: july 24

I can’t believe that July is almost over; this year is FLYING by. Oh well, at least it has been bearable outside lately, which is very odd for a summer in HOTlanta… but don’t worry, I am NOT complaining. The five tracks I chose for today, will probably have a little something for everyone, and one track is even a little blast from the not-so distant past. With that in mind, let’s get started, shall we?

Florence + The Machine – Bird Song

This song isn’t actually on Florence + The Machine’s impressive new release, that is, unless you managed to get the deluxe (or extended?) edition, which is a shame, because this is hands down, the best song on the album for me. I love the way that it starts so soft, and the way that she builds with the beating drums and the pounding rhythms to crescendo; only to instantly screech to a halt and bring it back down again. The ache and wailing of her voice is nicely coupled with the sharpness of the beat; all of which make this track stand out more than any other on the album to me. Definitely a great reason to get the deluxe version!

OneRepublic and Sara Bareilles – Come Home

I was checking out Sara’s website earlier this week to see what she was up to recently (I am wanting a new album soon, after all, I really love Sara B as you should all know by now), and she posted that she had collaborated with Ryan Tedder on this track and that it was now available on iTunes. One listen, and I can see why she was spreading the news; it is a beautiful song, and per usual, her vocals are amazingly beautiful. I have this weird relationship with Ryan Tedder, in that I like SOME of his stuff, but overall, I’m not what I would consider a fan. However, you put Sara Bareilles on the track, and I AM THERE. Beautiful song (even if I think she out sings him by a long shot…).

Mayer Hawthorne – Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out
The vocals of this one remind me a bit of Biz Markie, but after seeing the video, I love how this nerdy white boy is laying down smooth classic R&B like this, and doing it so well. The music style reminds me a lot of the Delfonics, and I think it really does a great job of bringing such an amazing classic sound back into the limelight. Something about this song is just really sweet, and full of a sentiment that made me instantly love it. While the song has been out since last November, it just came across my desk this week, so I am delighted to pass it on to you.

Greg Laswell- Not Out
It was kind of weird how I discovered Greg Laswell. I was supposed to go and see the AMAZING Elizabeth and the Catapult earlier this month at Edie’s Attic, and unfortunately, I bought tickets before I knew James and I were going out of town for a wedding. I put the tickets in a friend’s name, and went to see who else was playing with them to give her the heads up before she went. That’s where I saw a picture of Greg, and if you know anything about me, you would know that I am a sucker for a guy with a beard, so I instantly knew I had to go and check him out (even though I unfortunately wouldn’t be seeing him live). Well, I downloaded his most recent release, Three Flights from Alto Nido, and I was impressed with how beautiful an album it is! I love his musical style, which is very similar to Mat Kearney and even has touches of Hayden and Duncan Sheik to it. All in all, I discovered a new artist that I really like without even seeing him in concert, because I was supposed to go to the show, and couldn’t! Weird? Yes, but the music is fantastic, and at least I got to take that away from it (I wish I could have seen him live though).

Fiona Apple – Parting Gift
Here’s my blast from the not-so distant past track for today. I realized this week that I hadn’t listened to Fiona Apple in such a long time, and as a huge fan of hers, I was wondering why, so I decided to remedy that. Well, after listening to Extraordinary Machine again, I recall just how happy I was when it was finally released, which seems like a while ago (2005), and it is just as amazing now as it was then. I love the whole album, and I especially love Fiona’s beautiful lyrical style. I love how she can cut you to the bone with an almost effortless ability to spin very well written lyrics, like this opening BITE from Parting Gift, “I opened my eyes/While you were kissing me once more than once/And you looked as sincere as a dog/Just as sincere as a dog does,/When it’s the food on your lips with which it’s in love”. All in all, I hope that Fiona comes out with another album some time in the near future, because it has been a while since Extraordinary Machine made my day when it was finally released, mostly because she is an extremely talented artist whose music I really enjoy.

Well, there’s your Friday five… what did you think? Let me know, and also let me know what I am missing out on out there, wouldn’t ya? Also… I just found out; apparently I got into the GPC nursing program… finally. Duane’s finally gonna be a nurse someday, everybody!

5SF: april 3

I have been hella busy today, but it is finally time for the Friday five that I know all of you have been waiting patiently for! So without any further adieu, here they are:

Angel Taylor – Not Even Human
First up today is the amazing Angel Taylor, who I posted about a while back, when I fell deep in love with her amazing first single, Chai Tea Latte, and just had to share it with you. Well, I noticed that Angel’s debut quietly album came out on Tuesday, when I saw that iTunes was featuring a song of hers for free this week. With that, I knew I had to check it out. Well, I can definitely report that I am loving some Angel Taylor right now. She undeniably reminds me of one of my all time favorite singer-songwriters, the indelible Ms. Sara Bareilles. In fact, this beautiful song is so similar in sound to Sara’s amazing song City, that I believe it would be a crime not to mention it. Despite the striking similarities, Angel’s voice is pretty different, and good on it’s own, and her style is a bit different (save this song) from Sara’s. This is one of my favorite tracks off of her debut, and I am glad that I took a chance on her and downloaded Chai Tea Latte not so long ago; because in doing so, I have found myself another great singer songwriter to listen to!

Bon Iver – Blood Bank
Now, I have heard of Bon Iver before, and I have seen the insane amount of hype surrounding this fella. I didn’t get it. I didn’t see it. However, I was watching Monday’s episode of Chuck, and this amazingly beautiful song was playing in the background as Sara took Chuck to find his father. This was that song. At first, I thought it was a really depressed Coldplay song, because Bon Iver sounds EXACTLY like Chris Martin with a dash of Mat Kearney, but I came to find out that it was actually Bon Iver, thanks to the amazing power of the internets. Thank GOD for websites that post this type of information, because I love this song, and I had to have it immediately. It is beautiful! I can definitely say that I have a greater understanding of some of that hype for Bon Iver now. I guess I can thank the producers/music coordinators (?) of Chuck for including it!

M. Ward – For Beginners
Today has turned out to be rather folky, hasn’t it?! Oh well, let’s continue down that road, because after all, I really do love the softer side of music. This song struck me instantly with it’s sweet country-alternative sound, smoky vocals, and toe tapping rhythm. I really liked what M. Ward did with Zooey DeSchanel in the group She & Him, and he doesn’t disappoint on his own either. This is a really beautiful song, and really sparked my interest in his recently released solo album, Hold Time. I love how distorted and weathered his voice sounds, and I especially enjoy the simplicity of the arrangement of the song.

Kelly Clarkson – I Do Not Hook Up
When Kelly finally released a very commercially viable single after years of trying to escape the depressed state that My December painted her into, I was all for it. I have been a big fan of Kelly’s from the beginning, and I knew that if anyone had it in them to burst back onto the pop scene, unscathed, it was her. Well, her recent release may have a few duds (3 in fact) that I would have preferred that she just left on the cutting room floor, the rest of the tracks are definitely strong, and all highlight the Kelly I fell in love with back with Breakaway. This track takes the energy of My Life Would Suck Without You, and revs the engine and slams down the pedal, sending you on a fast spin around the track. I absolutely love her vocals on this track, and can’t get the chorus out of my head, no matter how hard I try. Welcome back Kelly! (Note: I know that this song was written, at least in part, by Katy Perry, and while I can’t stand her, this song is just too pop perfect to ignore because of the stuff that she has done; plus, she didn’t sing it!).

Ciara – Love Sex Magic
For me, Ciara really will never do better than One, Two Step. It isn’t her fault, because that track is literally hip hop-pop perfection. It is a song that, no matter how many times I hear it, it always gets me dancing. However, that love didn’t translate into following much else that she has done, but when I saw that she was coming out with a new CD, I will admit that I was curious to see if there was to be another One, Two Step-like track amongst the bunch. Well, this song, which is a duet with Justin Timberlake (and which is something that usually turns me off instantly), is definitely a dance floor filler, and while it may not have the staying power of One, Two Step, I am definitely enjoying it more and more with each listen. I will say, that after seeing the video, I want to know who in the hell choreographed it, and especially who the wardrobe person was. They should be fired on the spot! She wallows on the floor most of the time, all while clad in a very unflattering animal print unitard. It was not the video I would have expected for this song, and I really don’t think that it does anything flattering for either Ciara or the song. Oh well, I guess you can’t win ’em all.

Well, I hope everyone has a fantastical weekend; I will be inside, to prevent rubbing my nose off in a tissue. Let me know what you thought about this week’s 5, and as always, tell me what YOU are listening to!