Grimes’ ‘Art Angels’ is confusing, yet brilliant (confusingly brilliant!) Continue reading Grimes Incites a WTF Reaction on ‘Art Angels,’ Which Makes It Brilliant
After a year filled with numerous albums and even more songs, choosing 100 of the best is an incredibly difficult task. Like with the best albums of 2013, there will be surprises as well as snubs. Sometimes the snubs are oversights while at other items there are just so many notable songs that some just get lost in the mix. Regardless, here are 100 songs I found to be notable in 2013.
“I Luv This Sh*t”
August Alsina featuring Trinidad James
From album: Downtown: Life Under the Gun
August Alsina has one foul mouth on him, but his real talk mixed with the slower, horn-accentuated production is a match made in heaven, if a blasphemous one (see the hook).
From album: She
According to highly underrated alt-R&B musician Alice Smith, Hollywood isn’t very kind: “I see no reason for chasing / in Hollywood, got to lose my patience / want this life to be a cabaret…” Hollywood may not be for the ‘faint of heart’, but “Cabaret” it self is brilliant.
“Every Man Should Know”
Harry Connick, Jr.
From album: Every Man Should Know
Sometimes the simplest, and most important life lessons to become a gentleman are best conveyed through song, preferably a mix between traditional pop, jazz, and country.
From album: Ciara
Judging by this track, Ciara is far from being a ‘freshman’… definitely. “I ain’t no amateur / baby I know how to handle ya / If you ready for this ride, get your saddle up / I need a boy with some stamina…”
“Golden Salvation (Jesus Piece)”
From album: The Gifted
We expect nothing less than Wale’s clever wordplay between “piece” and “peace”, particularly on an album titled The Gifted. Specifically, Wale informs us that too many people don’t want to hear about Jesus or his ‘peaceful’, Christian approach; they’re more concerned about the bling-bling (aka Jesus piece).
Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake
From album: Magna Carta…Holy Grail
Magna Carta…Holy Grail certainly left plenty to be desired, but few can deny that Jay-Z is one of the kings – all hail, “Holy Grail”!
From album: Indicud
Basically, Cudi is saying you can’t mess with him… he’s unbreakable… or something like that.
“Let Us Move On”
Dido featuring Kendrick Lamar
From album: Girl Who Got Away
Even English singer/songwriter Dido had to get Kendrick Lamar on the track… can’t blame her. “Let Us Move On” is arguably the best moment from an underrated album nobody bought. Well, I bought it to be fair.
From album: Contrast
The video is a trip…‘course the song is too. Conor may still have some ‘schmaltz’ about him, but he also has some swag. Swag on brother – swag on!
“Pusher Lover Girl”
From album: The 20/20 Experience
Love and sex have been compared and likened to everything at this point (thanks R. Kelly). JT decides to make his lady like a drug dealer, only she deals love instead of say cocaine. What’s shocking is that this album opener works triumphantly.
Wale featuring Juicy J & Nicki Minaj
From album: The Gifted
What does one learn from the ‘cellulite anthem’ “Clappers”? That “Shawty got a big ole butt…OH YEAHHHHHH!!!”
From album: Demi
I’m not going to front, I’ve been listening to Demi put her “defenses up” all summer… I don’t think she could really survive the number of heart attacks she’d receive at the hands of my playlist on repeat though…
“The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here”
Alice In Chains
From album: The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
While the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs (at least that I can remember off the top of my head), I’m not so sure Satan created them… Regardless, this title track from Alice In Chains’ most recent album was among the best hard rock performances of the year, potential misconceptions and all.
“While I’m Alive”
From album: Miracle Mile
While I’m Alive” sports an irresistible, danceable groove; Electronic cues further sweeten things while the soulful guitar is the ‘cherry on top’. Well written, the theme of “While I’m Alive” is getting past the past, broken relationships, and living ‘while I’m alive.’
“Bandz A Make Her Dance”
Juicy J featuring 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne
From album: Stay Trippy
Everyone needs a good stripper anthem in his (or her) lives, right? On the raunchy “Bandz A Make Her Dance”, Juicy J spits: “Bands a make her dance, bands a maker her dance / All these chicks poppin’ p***y, I’m just poppin’ bands…”
From album: Ciara
Just when ‘the art of making love’ was getting boring… Ciara’s here to spice things up!
“Her Favorite Song”
From album: Where Does This Door Go
Yeah, the accompanying music video is weird, even if the ‘dogs’ are meant to represent guys that are dogs (in theory), but the song is brilliant. “But when she gets home, she puts her headphones on / she plays her favorite song and fades away…” I do the same thing… well not quite in the same context though…
From album: The Blessed Unrest
Here’s the gist of the song: STAND UP AND BE A MAN!!! $%^!
From album: When It Was Now
I promise this song is not about a popular brand of condoms or making love… really: “Take a picture you could never recreate / write a song / make a note / for the lump that sits inside your throat…” I promise!
J. Cole featuring Kendrick Lamar
From album: Born Sinner
I know, I know – I somehow missed this gem on my “50 Best Rap Songs”, but the atonement is on this broader list. The one-two punch of J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar is nothing short of fire, period.
Lil Wayne featuring Future & Drake
From Album: I Am Not A Human Being II
“Love Me” may have been a shallow as everything else was on I Am Not A Human Being II, but at least it was enjoyably shallow. “Long as my b*****s love me / I can give a f**k ‘bout no hater…”
From album: Delta Machine
Sure, this track is titled “Angel”, but it surely must be representing a dark angel… Mysterious, chilling, and ‘bothered’, “Angel” finds Depeche Mode doing what they do best.
Pusha T featuring Kendrick Lamar
From album: My Name Is My Name
The rap IQ on “Nosetalgia” is off the charts, particularly with Kendrick Lamar collaborating with Pusha. Pusha T proclaims himself the “Black Ferris Bueller, cutting school with his jewels on…what I sell for pain in the hood, I’m a doctor…” while Kendrick Lamar’s slaughtering verse is capped off with “Go figure mother f**ker, every verse is a brick.” True.
“Ain’t It Fun”
From album: Paramore
Ain’t It Fun” may be Paramore’s best track EVER. Driven by a funky groove, the band goes ‘big’ with a gargantuan bass line, full-force punk-laden guitars, and gospel vocals. ‘ain’t it fun’? – Definitely!
French Montana featuring Rick Ross, Drake & Lil Wayne
From album: Excuse My French
The raunchiest track from French Montana’s debut album is the best. It’s all about popping… and I’ll leave it at that!
After a year filled with numerous albums and even more songs, choosing 100 of the best is an incredibly difficult task. Like with the best albums of 2013, there will be surprises as well as snubs. Sometimes the snubs are oversights while at other items there are just so many notable songs that some just get lost in the mix. Regardless, here are 100 songs … Continue reading The 100 Best Songs of 2013: Part 4 (#25 – 1)
After a year filled with numerous albums and even more songs, choosing 100 of the best is an incredibly difficult task. Like with the best albums of 2013, there will be surprises as well as snubs. Sometimes the snubs are oversights while at other items there are just so many notable songs that some just get lost in the mix. Regardless, here are 100 songs … Continue reading The 100 Best Songs of 2013: Part 3 (#50 – 26)
Ranking the very best albums of any year is incredibly difficult; there are always misses. 2013 was filled with some triumphant musical moments, though not all of their parent albums were necessarily ‘worthy’ of being considered the best of the year. Because of various factors, this list has its surprises and like any album reviewed, its triumphs and flaws. One thing’s for sure – the top ten to fifteen albums are pretty close to the cream of the crop from my perspective. Here are the 50 (+1) best albums of 2013!
Modern Vampires of the City
Recommended Spins: “Obvious Bicycle”; “Unbelievers”; “Diane Young”; “Finger Back”; “Worship You”; “Ya Hey”
Seals The Deal: “Obvious Bicycle”
Give credit to Mr. West where credit is due – previously Yeezus probably wouldn’t have landed in the top five, let alone the top two. But as with certain wines and cheeses (Swiss namely), there is an aging process to provide a delicious and satisfying taste. The same could be said of West über-ambitious Yeezus – or something similar that is!
Recommended Spins: “Black Skinhead”; “I Am A God”; “New Slaves”; “Blood on the Leaves”; “Bound 2” featuring Charlie Wilson
Seals The Deal: “Blood on the Leaves”
The Electric Lady
Don’t put the fork in R&B music just yet – Janelle Monae delivers the year’s most intriguing R&B album that brilliantly encompasses numerous styles and keeps things both classic and progressive. One of a kind, all should bow down to JM.
Recommended Spins: “Give Them What They Love” featuring Prince; “Q.U.E.E.N.” featuring Erykah Badu; “Primetime” featuring Miguel; “Dance Apocalyptic”; “Dorothy Dandridge Eyes”
Seals The Deal: “Prime Time” featuring Miguel
Random Access Memories
The best, and arguably most exciting electronic album of 2013, is shockingly less futuristic compared to its colleagues, drawing back to old-school pop, disco, and soul. Throwback it is, Random Access Memories is one of the year’s finest albums regardless of genre, and stands a solid shot of winning the Grammy for album of the year.
Recommended Spins: “Give Life Back to Music”; “Giorgio By Moroder”; “Lose Yourself to Dance” featuring Pharrell Williams; “Touch” featuring Paul Williams; “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell Williams; “Fragments of Time”
Seals The Deal: “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell Williams
Love in the Future
John Legend redeems himself big time on his fourth studio album Love in the Future following a somewhat disappointing effort in 2008’s Evolver. While there are some more contemporary ideas here, Love in the Future is more about Legend flexing his soulful muscles, a niche he perfectly fits.
Recommended Spins: “In The Beginning”; “Who Do We Think You Are?” featuring Rick Ross; “Made To Love”; “All of Me”; “Stay The Night”; “Tomorrow”
Seals The Deal: “Who Do We Think We Are?” featuring Rick Ross
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite
Blues albums rarely rack up huge accolades on a ‘big stage’, but Get Up! is that incredibly worthy exception. Soulful and consistent through and through, Get Up! Easily ranks highly among the year’s gems.
Recommended Spins: “We Can’t End This Way”; “I Ride At Dawn”; “Get Up”
Seals The Deal: “We Can’t End This Way”
More than just the agnostics, atheists, and secularists will be pleasantly surprised with Black Sabbath’s most important album in years. Why is album 13 so important? It reunites the whole Black Sabbath crew (save for the drummer) for the first time 35 years! Dark and foreboding, yet ‘sinfully’ appealing, 13 is quite the epic heavy-/black-metal album.
Recommended Spins: “End of The Beginning”; “God Is Dead?”; “Zeitgeist”; “Live Forever”; “Dear Father”
Seals The Deal: “God Is Dead?”
Nothing Was The Same
Drake didn’t necessarily ‘step his game up’ on Nothing Was The Same – he just continued to flex his emo-/ alt-rap muscles like the pro that he is. NTWS is filled with gems, all completely different from one another. One thing’s for sure, he may have “Started On The Bottom”, but Drake is on top of the game by all means.
Recommended Spins: “Tuscan Leather”; “Started From The Bottom”; “Wu-Tang Forever”; “From Time”; “Hold On, We’re Going Home”; “305 To My City” featuring Detail
Seals The Deal: “Wu-Tang Forever”
Beyoncé shocked the world with her surprise fifth studio album, Beyoncé. Even so, that’s not the reason ‘Yoncé makes this list. Ultimately, the R&B chanteuse delivers a sharp, risqué fifth effort that separates itself from the rest of her discography and many of the other releases from 2013. Both shocking and alluring, Bey does her thang.
Recommended Spins: “Pretty Hurts”; “Haunted”; “Drunk in Love” featuring Jay-Z; “Blow”; “Rocket”
Seals The Deal: “Drunk in Love” featuring Jay-Z
Few might’ve expected for Arcade Fire to follow-up their album of the year winning effort The Suburbs with an album like Reflektor (I didn’t). However, as all-over-the-place as Reflektor is, there are plenty of moments for alt-rock fans to cheer about. Danceable, conceptual, and ultimately incredibly unique, Reflektor cracks the top ten best of the year, easily.
Recommended Spins: “Reflektor”; “We Exist”; “Here Comes the Night Time”; “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)”; “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus)”; “Porno”
Seals The Deal: “Reflektor”
It truly saddens me to see R&B, a personal favorite style of music, in a state of uncertainty. 2013 found the numbers of R&B down considerably, a trend that is consistent year in and year out. Save for a select few commercial bright spots (led by an unexpected Beyoncé album), R&B only dented the charts. Even so, finding 25 albums with some significance wasn’t difficult … Continue reading 25 Best R&B Albums of 2013
Love songs can be so touching and certainly can propel any relationship (and in some cases hookups…). I have constructed a list of 12 ‘love’ songs that have the emotional and physical connection between lovers in mind… or something like that! I attempted to make some narrative, but like most soundtracks, they’re all over the place anyways! Track 1 Raheem DeVaughn, “Complicated” (A Place Called … Continue reading Playlist: A ‘Relationship’ Soundtrack for 2013 (Or Something Like That)
As I look over my 2013 playlist from my iPod, I realize I have listened to numerous albums this year. In fact, the amount of music that my ears have consumed and my pen has analyzed is pretty scary…and I still missed lots of albums! SMH! Some were special, some made me cringe, and some fell somewhere in between the two extremes. As difficult as … Continue reading Album Playlist: Favorites, Least Favorites, and Honorable Mentions of 2013, Part 1…
September 2013 yielded a number of notable new music releases. As a blogger, music journalist and critic, I found it incredibly difficult to make the time to listen to the over abundance of music provided. That said, I am so glad for there to be an over abundance as opposed to an under-abundance. While all of the albums I listened to left me with something … Continue reading Playlist: 5 Favorite September 2013 Albums
Janelle Monáe Scores A Home Run on The Electric Lady Janelle Monáe⎪The Electric Lady⎪ Bad Boy / Wandaland ⎪⎪ US Release Date: September 10, 2013 Merely calling Janelle Monáe one of a kind would be a total understatement, like really. Janelle Monáe is one of a handful of R&B artists who brings something truly different, fresh, and eclectic to the table. Incredibly nonconformist, Monáe beats … Continue reading Review: Janelle Monáe, ‘The Electric Lady’