Favorite Album of 2013, a.k.a. the One Direction post you all knew was coming

the real one is so awkward/photoshopped I hate it

This is not the album cover BUT IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN. (via)

Listen, y’all. Midnight Memories is where it’s at; like if you don’t know now you’ll never know and I feel so, so sorry for you, man, because this is an amazing pop album.

Okay so obviously I am in way too deep to offer an objective analysis but the good thing about music is that you can always listen to it and decide for yourself? You don’t have to take my word for it, I’m just asking you to give it a chance. And in return  I will try my best to keep this focused on the actual music and not how amazingly cute/funny/cheeky the 1D boys are. For the record, One Direction is the best boy band ever, and I say that as an OG *NSYNC fangirl from way back in the day so.

Last side note: If you are looking for some external validation of the quality of this album other than my ravings, The Daily Beast and Grantland are two sort of high-brow blogs that published not necessarily glowing but favorable and insightful reviews. And there’s a moderate level of flailing in The Hairpin‘s piece but it’s got some good analysis too so definitely worth a peep.

Well there’s only one way to do this and that’s track by stellar track so let’s gooooooooo.

Best Song Ever Old news; this song came out during promo for their documentary in July so nothing too exciting here. Did you guys see This Is Us though? Wasn’t it endearing? I’m asking for the DVD for Christmas.
But yeah, definitely not the best song ever; actually just a pretty standard, fluffy pop jam (“I think it went ‘oh oh oh,’ I think it went ‘yeah yeah yeah,’ I think it goes… [rippin’ guitar solo]”). In the context of the overall album the rock-and-roll vibes definitely become a little more evident, especially Liam’s solo at the beginning of the second verse: “Said her name was Georgia Rose/and her daddy was a dentist.” UGH. Also Liam is hands-down the best singer in the band; don’t fight me on this.

Story of My Life This single also dropped like a month before the album, which takes away a little bit of the shine. Hard to say how much I would have liked it if I hadn’t been blaring it on repeat for a solid two weeks. Also the music video is adorable/creepy? IDK decide for yourself. But this song a good example of how it seems like they made a conscious effort to evenly distribute solos on this album instead of just having one go-to frontman, and for the most part the production accentuates the unique qualities of each of their voices so you can actually tell who’s singing instead of just autotuning them to death, which was one of my issues with their first album.
Also they absolutely smash this one when they sing it live (especially Harry OMG), so it’s a much better promo single than “Best Song Ever” which is important because I want everyone to love One Direction as much as I do.

Diana I almost always skip this one, not gonna lie. Also the chorus is extremely similar to “Last First Kiss” from their second album so yeah like just listen to that one instead; it’s much better. But apparently this song is supposed to be about fans and stuff so I guess it’s kind of a sweet sentiment: “Diana, let me be the one to lift your heart up and save your life/I don’t think you even realize, baby you’d be saving mine.” Aww.

Midnight Memories Is the chorus a blatant rip off of “Pour Some Sugar On Me”? Yes. Does that change the fact that this song will want to make you drive to the nearest dive bar, shotgun a couple of beers and then  reenact every bar dancing scene from Coyote Ugly? Hell no. “Midnight Memories” is the musical embodiment of sexual frustration, y’all, from “5-foot somethin’ with the skinny jeeeeeeeans” (Liam AGAIN ugh) to “baby you and me, stumblin’ in the street” to all the panting, it’s just too much.
Also I’m pretty sure One Direction is infamous at this point for innocent-sounding lyrics that are really practically explicit (“And if we get together, yeah get together/don’t let the pictures leave your phone” from “Live While We’re Young” is the first example that springs to mind), but can we talk about “People talk shhh but we don’t listen”/”Same old shhh but a different day”?!  Which is the closest they have ever come to actually swearing; I know it’s hoping against hope and will never actually happen but if there is a God and he loves me the next One Direction album will get an explicit content warning so they can finally say “shit” because seriously this is ridiculous.

You & I This is the other song I usually skip oops. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that the other ones are so good and I’m too impatient to listen to such a mellow tune. Zayn does absolutely shred the high notes, though, and there’s a pretty sweet, Coldplay-esque guitar solo in the middle so if you’re into that kind of thing and/or in the right mood it might be worth a listen.

Don’t Forget Where You Belong Did I mention that one of the big things that they’ve been talking about with this album is how the band helped write a bunch of the tracks themselves? Not sure exactly how much credit to give but at least one of them is listed as a writer on 12 out of 14 songs for the regular edition, and 15 out of 18 for the deluxe. It definitely seems like at least Louis and Liam were pretty significant contributors so that’s interesting/promising if it’s indicative of the direction of the sound, since they’re signed for two more albums at least. Anyway all that to say “Don’t Forget Where You Belong” is Niall’s one song; he co-wrote it with McFly and it’s really sweet and charming just like everything about Niall, who’s almost single-handedly responsible for holding up 1D’s clean-cut “boy band” image while the rest of them have started lookin’ a lil’ ragtag to be honest. Except for Liam, who is apparently becoming David Beckham? A helpful visual from their recent SNL gig:  Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , ,

Favorite Albums of 2013: Part One

Yess here we goooooooo I love music and this was a really good year, y’all. I am probably forgetting something but oh well. Also I’m including a “top tracks” bit even though obviously the point is that the whole ~album~ is good but you gotta start somewhere so.

Mechanical Bull – Kings of Leon OMG this was the album I was waiting for from them; it literally takes all of the best elements from all of their previous ones and puts them together into a glorious rock-and-roll masterpiece. As y’all may know Youth & Young Manhood was like a formative album for me so it’s nice to hear some of that grittier sound make a comeback. The whole album is basically ace except that I’m not a huge fan of “Beautiful War,” which seems like they threw a bone to fans who only know “Sex On Fire”/”Use Somebody” but I guess it’s the next single sooo what are you gonna do except ignore the continued comparisons to Nickelback cuz you know better.
Top tracks: “Supersoaker,” “Rock City,” “Temple,” and “Comeback Story” which has my favorite lyrics of the year, “I walked a mile in your shoes/now I’m a mile away/and I’ve got your shoes.” GOD. But yeah that’s pretty representative of their whip-sharp writing/undeniable rock-star swagger and I really just love this band so much I don’t careeeee.

Modern Vampires of the City – Vampire Weekend With a title like that you know this album is gonna be good/it better be good cuz damn. I was all about their first album; Contra was alright but never made it into my regular rotation, but this one blows everything else out of the water. It carries over shades of the East Coast upper-crust preppy trust-fund kid vibe from their first two records, but combines that with really cutting religious/Jewish themes to do something that’s totally different and mind-blowing; here is just a tiny sample from the interlude of “Finger Back”:
Sing next year in Jerusalem
You know — the one at W. 103rd and Broadway?
Cause this Orthodox girl fell in love with the guy at the falafel shop
And why not?
Should she have averted her eyes and just stared at the laminated poster of the Dome of the Rock?
Maaaan like I don’t even know what else to say except listen this freaking album already.
Top tracks: “Unbelievers,” “Step,” “Everlasting Arms,” and “Diane Young,” which has my other favorite song lyrics ever: “Irish and proud baby naturally/but you’ve got the luck of a Kennedy.” PLZ.

Pure Heroine – Lorde Y’all, “Royals” like the seventh best song on this album like it’s so unreal. She really really nails the whole melancholy youth thing; thematically it reminds me a lot of Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, which is another good one to listen to when you just want to be sad, and aesthetically their music videos are similar too so that’s interesting. Also she is actually 16 so like how are you so self-aware, grrl? But I think the main reason she’s making it huge now is because of the perfect timing, like everyone in pop music is really really ready for the anti-Miley (although I love her too, bless her twerkin heart): “Team” features the lyrics “I’m kinda over getting told to throw my hands up in the air, so there,” which is just perfect. Also her EP, The Love Club, is freaking amazing so definitely download “Bravado,” “The Love Club” and “Million Dollar Bills” if you haven’t already. (“Biting Down” is a throwaway track in my opinion.)
Top tracks: “400 Lux” (THE BASS IS RIDIC OMG) and “Tennis Courts,” along with the Love Club tracks listed above.

Cerulean Salt – Waxahatchee This is a placeholder for American Weekend, which came out last year but is my favorite out of the two (see: “I Think I Love You,” “Bathtub”). But yeah she is just so raw and super, super cool; it’s like hipster music that you actually want to listen to (oh yeah I went there). She did a sick Tiny Desk Concert for NPR that’s definitely worth checking out and pretty much sums her up soooo yeah.
Top tracks: “Misery Over Dispute” and “Swan Dive,” which I already linked to on this blog but yeah it’s the best.

The 1975 – The 1975 I was really torn about putting this one on here because my main ranking criteria for albums is how hard I can rock out to them in my car and this one only has a few actual jams, but the rest of it the album is soooooo lyrically/muscially good that I couldn’t ignore it. This band totally looks like your average emo indie act but yeah like I said the lyrics just cannot be denied. There’s, “If we’re gonna do anything we might as well just fuck” from “Sex,” and “You’re never gonna quit it if you don’t stop smokin it” from “Chocolate,” but the real kicker comes from “Girls”: “I know you’re lookin for salvation in the secular age, but girl I’m not your savior.” GODDAMMIT.
Top tracks: See above; I would just like to emphasize that “Girls” is just really really freaking amazing. Also definitely up there is “Menswear,” which is a song about getting high and/or loaded at a wedding. Unreal.

Ripely Pine – Lady Lamb the Beekeeper I already blogged once about her too; this is another album with absolutely mind-blowing lyrics like every line is incredible. Most of the tracks don’t have anything like a traditional structure and/or chorus but they are still catchy as hell á la of Montreal at their best. It’s also pretty folksy, which I love, and her vocals are really raw and powerful so that’s dope too. I honestly can’t believe she is so far under the radar like this is such good stuff I don’t get it at all.
Top tracks: All of them, literally. Um I guess the main ones I go back to the most are “Aubergine” (“You said there’s always a reason for leaving, there’s always a reason to stay/I know exactly why I’m leaving: I just can’t stay”) and “Bird Balloons” (if I started quoting lyrics it would be the whole song which is like six minutes long so); special shoutout to “You Are The Apple” for the line “I still need your teeth ’round my organs” like whattttttt ugh.

Magna Carta… Holy Grail – Jay Z Um yeah why was I not listening to rap music before now like …? I have no idea but thank you Jay Z for helping me see the light; I’m even lifting my Justin Timberlake ban for “Holy Grail,” that’s how good that song is. I am mainly here for all of the sick fashion/fine art references; there’s just so much to it and it’s so mind-blowingly good. (I feel like I’m repeating that phrase a lot; hopefully I’m not overselling any of this ha.)
Top tracks: “Holy Grail” obviously, also “Tom Ford” and “Oceans” which features Frank Ocean, natch: “I hope my black skin don’t dirt this white tuxedo before the Basquiat show” like OMG are you serious with this. Side note: I have tried to listen to Channel Orange a couple of times now but just couldn’t get into it? Not sure if I’m doing something wrong or if it’s just not my cup of tea…

good kid, m.A.A.d city – Kendrick Lamar I swear it was some divine intervention or something that made me listen to this album without any outside prompting/recommendation/anything because this is the greatest thing ever for real. I’ve only been playing it for like a week so I’m still trying to wrap my head around it But I can already definitively say that it’s the shit after hearing “Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst” for the first time. Jesus.
Top tracks: See above, also “Money Trees.” I can’t even repeat the best lyrics because this blog is rated G (more or less) but I think y’all probably know the ones I’m thinking of.

Girl Talk – Kate Nash My homegirl Kate Nash comes through again, gah I just love her so much. This album is infinity times more punk-rock than her previous two, but the lyrics are still top-shelf, vintage Kate and the girl power vibe is so strong you cannot help but love it. Also I was front row at her concert in Chi-town last month and it was literally a religious experience; she is so freaking incredible live and also she tOuCHEd my hAnD yeah I literally almost passed out OMG.
Top tracks: “Fri-End?” and “OMYGOD!” in which you can actually hear the irony dripping from her voice when she sings the implausible line “yesterday a dolphin kissed me/but I just don’t feel no different” and totally pulls it off like the absolute goddess she is. “You’re So Cool, I’m So Freaky” is also amazing, just a stripped-down, simple song that pretty much sums everything up: “You’re so cool/and I’m a freaky, freaky, freaky girl.”

Heartthrob – Tegan and Sara I had to double check that this album actually came out this year; it feels like it’s been out forever because I literally listened to it nonstop for about six months. I’m sure you’ve heard “Closer,” which has been enjoying a resurgence on the radio lately (I get so giddy whenever it’s on my local station), but the whole album is just really solid, catchy pop jams.
Top tracks: “Now I’m All Messed Up,” “Drove Me Wild,” and “I’m Not Your Hero,” which features this dichotomy-busting gem of a lyric: “I’m not their hero but that doesn’t mean that I’m not brave/I never walked the party line doesn’t mean that I was never afraid.”

Alright so that’s it for part one! Wow! Stay tuned for part two, a.k.a. my very favorite album of the year. It’s a real shocker lol…

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Top Tracks 2k13

Hi! I have a blog! Like! OMG wow!

TBH the reason I have been so neglectful of this site is bc being on tumblr 24/7 is the only way to feed my insatiable One Direction obsession (shut up, I knowwwww) so yeah.

But I really wanted to do a series of end-of-the-year music posts so here we are; I’ll get to my top albums in a hot sec although if you read the previous sentence there will be no surprises about what’s at the top of that list. I am really an album-oriented music listener but there were a few tracks that I really liked where the rest of the album didn’t quite make the grade. And um yeah they’re all on Spotify and stuff so like you don’t have to take my word for it but I’m too lazy to link sooooooo here we go in no particular order:

Counting Stars – OneRepublic LISTEN THIS IS JUST A REALLY REALLY GOOD SONG. LIKE.  I don’t even like “Apologize” but this is a whole different thing, man. Just freaking catchy, and the lyrics are brilliant, which seals the whole deal. “Old, but I’m not that old, young but I’m not that bold.” Gah. Ryan Tedder, you really get me, man. (Coincidentally he also helped write one of my other favorite songs of the year but I am getting way ahead of myself now.)

This Is Gospel/Miss Jackson – Panic! At The Disco Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! will trick you because a.) that is a really badass album name and b.) the first two tracks are freaking mind-blowing, but everything else is just… ehhhhhh. Trust me on that one; I really, really tried to like this album but I could not. However, I cannot stop listening to “This Is Gospel” and “Miss Jackson”; they have kind of a different sound than you would expect from the top emo-core band of 2005. I guess the best way to describe them is just just like really rockin’ power ballads? IDK. Go listen if you’re curious. And honorable mention to “Girls/Girls/Boys” for producing the most uncomfortable music video I’ve ever seen along with an interesting NPR post comparing it to the D’Angelo video that inspired it.

The Wire/My Song 5 – HAIM Days Are Gone is another album that I really, really wanted to like as much as freaking everybody else in the universe did, but it just didn’t do it for me. I think I liked HAIM better in 2005 when they were The Like. (Seriously, listen to Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking? and tell me I’m wrong.) But I can get down with both of these tunes so.

Q.U.E.E.N. – Janelle Monáe I know I have already pimped this song on here; to be honest I haven’t given The Electric Lady as much of a chance as I should but this song is just so killer I can’t get past it. The ending rap gives me goosebumps every single freaking time.

Pompeii – Bastille You guys, I think sometimes when watching a music video is the first exposure I have to a song, it ruins it for me? Is that a thing? Because I saw the video for “Pompeii” like six months ago and was like “ehhhh,” but then I listened to the song recently on Spotify after everyone I follow on tumblr was goin hard about Bastille and it’s like, so freaking good.  I haven’t listened to the whole album much, but my initial impression is that this is one of those bands with a very distinctive sound that I can only take in small doses, i.e. Muse/Mumford & Sons/etc. But “Bad Blood” and “Things We Lost In The Fire” are pretty dope too sooooo I guess I’m still on the fence with this one. I’ll keep you posted.

Still Into You – Paramore Such a jam. Hayley Williams is a badass; I really wish I was more into her music but most of it gives me a little bit too much of an early-’00s pop-punk vibe. This is one is perfect tho.

I See Fire – Ed Sheeran This song is honestly just a placeholder for +, which came out freaking two years ago? So yeah, way to hop on that bandwagon super-late. But I got into him a few months ago because of his super-dope cover of Masters of War and definitely not because of his involvement with One Direction/Taylor Swift nope not at all. Anyway “I See Fire” is amazing all on its own too because of its connection to The Hobbit/Lord of The Rings, one of my long-time obsessions. Like, I literally almost cried watching the music video and seeing him drinking tea with Peter Jackson and everything OMG IT’S TOO MUCH. 

Started From The Bottom – Drake Yeah I don’t care this is my jammm and also representative of my emerging rap phase which will be represented more fully on my albums of the year list but if you’re looking for a song to like pump you up this is the one, man.


Blood On The Leaves – Kanye West I started listening to Yeezus literally two days ago so I can’t in good conscience put it on the albums of the year list buttt this track??? With the “Strange Fruit” sample??? MAN. I have always been 100% on board with Kanye’s claims about his own greatness/genius even though I will never understand anything having to do with the Kardashians; I got into My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy after one of my coworkers literally would not stop raving about it and haven’t looked back since so yeah. People talk crap about “I Am a God”/”hurry up with my damn croissants” but likeeeeee there’s so many layers of references and self-parody that totally get missed if you don’t pay attention and/or take it out of context so yeah.

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Allen Ginsberg – America

So astoundingly good/continually relevant.

Link | Posted on by | Tagged

Currently Listening, Vol. 2

1. Lorde – The Love Club I have been bumpin’ Royals for like the past month  but that one’s all over the radio now so here’s another one. The entire Love Club EP (& Tennis Court) is golden; she needs to drop a full-length album like yesterday.


2. Estelle – American Boy This song should have been the biggest hit, I do not understand. So I try to make it happen every chance I get. Kanye’s verse is the obvious easter egg in the music video but my personal favorite is John Legend just chillin’.


3. Waxahatchee – Swan Dive Really simple/mellow but something about this song + video just sticks with you.


4. Marina and the Diamonds – Teen Idle Electra Heart is a flawless album, seriously I cannot get over it. This one’s my current fave; she captures the tragedy of wasted youth & teen angst to a T.


5. Blondie – Heart of Glass I.C.O.N.I.C. Also mind-blowing that this video debuted in 1978 but feels like it could have come out yesterday, in my opinion. Debbie Harry rules. That’s all.

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , ,

Kate Nash: Mansion Song

NSFW; lyrics under cut

Continue reading

Video | Posted on by | Tagged ,

“Just the fact that I’m a woman has a lot of negativity about that. It’s much more acceptable for a man to be brusque and rude, and they think it’s charming. I mean, Jon Hamm is the most despicable character on television, but because he’s handsome and a guy, [the response is] ‘Oh, he’s so wonderful.’ If a woman did the same thing, she’d be short of being a prostitute. I’m just saying, the cliches and the standards for woman and men on television and in movies are so weird.”

-Diane Kruger talks to Huffington Post about the double standard for female characters

Quote | Posted on by | Tagged , , ,