Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Favorite 22 singles of 2013

This year the industry showed signs of life again - rewarding some bold moves (Macklemore's DIY success, Beyonce's secret album.... and can we say Miley was a risk taker? I think so) and punishing those who played it safe (Sorry Britney Army, KatyKats and Little Monsters).

But business aside, when I reflect on 2013 it will be through the music itself - each big memory trapped in a song, video or live performance.

Here is my year, boiled down to the 22 brilliant pop ditties that shaped it.

... happy 2014!

macklemore hair cut thrift shop


#22 "There Goes Our Love again" - White Lies

What if you threw in some New Wave + Emo + Bro Music + The Killers in a blender? 

#21 "Madness" - Muse

Muse does Queen ...with a healthy dose of pheromones. 

#20 'Miracle' - Sir Sly


#19 "Walking Lightly" - Junip

Scandinavian pop brilliance.

#18 'The Way We Touch' - We Are Twin

Soulful Pop.

#17 'Darkness' - Du Tonc

Best Video of the year. Brings back story telling. Very sweet.

#16 'Elevate' - St. Lucia

I only have so much room for trendy hipster pop  (Sorry CHVRCHES, Haim, Say Lou Lou).

#16 'When the Night is Over' - The Magician

Favorite dance tune of the year.

#15 'Hanging On' - Active Child


#14 'I need Your Love' - Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding

Infectious. Although, Dear Calvin, time to take a year off or you'll end up as tired as Guetta.

#13 'Cups' - Anna Kendrick

No matter what your day threw up in your face, it's kinda hard to stay angry after listening to this.

#12 - 'Carried Away' - Passion Pit.

Manic pop. Last of the hipster pop entries.

#11 - 'Promises' - Presets

This will probably hit a radio near you in a few years (Following the trend set by Capital Cities and Gotye)

#10 - 'Can't Hold Us' - Macklemore

Epic Attitude. My pick for Sexiest Man Alive... move over Adam Levine.

#9 - 'Hunger' - Born Gold

"My bones are bending from how sick you've kept me love"

#8 - 'When I Fire Starts to Burn' - Disclosure

I didn't care for 90's house when it first happened, and I don't care for it now. The album everyone gushed about put me to sleep. But this propulsive song was just strange enough and fun enough to make a strong dent in my summer.

#7 - 'Stay' -  Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko

Rihanna is one uncanny sci-fi miracle. A sexy, lifelike robot created by record labels to crank out 20 hit singles per minute . 90% of its output is understandably putrid. But occasionally, it/she strikes gold and... feels almost human.

#6 - 'Afterlife' -  Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire prove they can rule the dance floor too.

#5 - 'Do What You Want' -  Lady Gaga

If she only stopped trying so hard..... the most straightforward and best song on ARTPOP.

#4 - 'Casino Lisboa' -  Dirty Beaches

I want to live inside this song.

#3 - 'Headshake' -  Saturday, Monday

Best summer song. And you can't have a decent 'best of' music list without Swedes on top.

#2 'Fall'

Dance pop perfection.


Best pop tune of the year. It was the rarest of things...a catchy song you're not ashamed to hum in public. Anti-bling and full of humor....  'Probably should have washed this, smells like R Kelly's Sheets... pisssssssss...'

A must if you're going to hole up in the Catskills for an icy winter.

Happy new year everyone!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

My 5 Favorite albums of 2013

After sifting through over 100 CD's (I still buy those.. why are you looking at me funny?), I've landed on my favorite albums of the year.  2013 saw established artists - and a couple of brave newbies - experiment,  go rogue and annihilate some of pop royalty's most overblown yet dull offerings (Gaga and JT - I'm looking at you, snooze).


1. BEST ALBUM OF 2013: "Drifters/Love is The Devil" - Dirty Beaches

The most original album of the year.  A surreal, David Lynchean blend of  love poems and seedy, dangerous energy. One track sinks you with longing, the next flicks you into a NYC nightclub circa 1983: smoke... shadows...  possibility. I want to turn this album into a movie. Alex Zhang Hungtai, get in touch with my people.

Tracks: "Au Revoir Mon Visage", "I Don't Know How to Find my way Back To You" 

2.  "Random Access Memories" - Daft Punk

Alors, you think you can blend Moroder, Panda Bear and Nile Rogers into one seamless electro odyssey? And succeed? Ah, the French...pfft.

Well, Daft Punk have made some of the best music this side of 2000. Hell, Kanye West owes his entire, tacky career to their 2001 "Harder, Faster, Stronger". Their Tron soundtrack cemented their versatility and musicianship.  And here -  their crowning achievement to date - they showcase their inspirations, past and present, and own them (who's your master? whip!).  How to top this next year? Answer: by possibly being in charge of Madonna's new album.... (and making my brain explode into all sorts of skittle colored mania)

Tracks: "Doin' it Right", "Contact"

3. "Trouble Will Find Me" - The National

This album doesn't break new ground. And why should it? Beautiful, poetic, full of insights into the way we live and love. A non nonsense kind of album. These guys can do no wrong in my book.

Tracks: "Hard To Find",  "Don't Swallow the Cap"

4. "The Heist" Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Rebels. They took on big labels by recording and distributing this themselves.  They turned hip hop  -  a genre steadily rotting in its own homophobia, sexism and materialism -  into an effective vehicle for a gay rights anthem -  'Same Love' - and anti-bling humor with "Thrift Shop".  And yeah, fuck labels.

Tracks: "Thin Line", "Jimmy Iovine"

5. "Shaking The Habitual" - The Knife

Low on the hooks, high on the unsettling. Together with Crystal Castles - they bring much needed experimentation and mystery to electronic music.

Tracks: "Without You My Life Would be boring", "Full of Fire"

Next up... my favorite 20 singles of 2013... stay tuned... JAPG