Posted by: tdennis2011 | June 16, 2016

In Memory of Christina Grimmie, 1994-2016

It took me a week to figure out what to say about this. By now you all know that Christina Grimmie was murdered after a concert in Orlando this past weekend. In a year full of bad news for music lovers, this is the most gut wrenching story by far. Every aspect is shocking from the crime itself to the way it has been covered. I don’t normally let my emotions fly on this blog, but I’m making an exception this time.

I should start off by admitting that I am not a regular viewer of The Voice. I only see it every so often and it never left that much of a lasting impression on me. Therefore I did not know who Grimmie was or any other competitor for that matter. It was only after pouring over all the articles and watching the news that I realized just how popular this young woman was. She was a viral sensation before she even auditioned and many feel that she should have won that season’s competition. She clearly influenced a lot of people. Apparently she was also good enough to acquire some high-profile friendships. Yet even after all that, she was never a household name. To me that wasn’t surprising because The Voice is not necessarily known for its ability to make major stars, but that’s not important. What is important is how people kept Christina Grimmie’s name in the back of their heads. She may not have totally broken through, but she did gain loyal supporters.

This is why I was so surprised to hear she had been shot. Even though she had talent and an unblemished reputation, she was not a major star. Typically these types of things only happen to people with obvious fame. I am not saying this to make it sound like she was unworthy of her fame or unimportant. I’m just trying to explain to you just how horrible and tragic this is. This woman’s life was just beginning and now she will never get to experience the thrill and excitement of being a beloved musician. That is why I was so heartbroken to hear this had happened even though I didn’t know who she was.

With that said, I will now turn my attention to the coverage this case has gotten. This is where I will shift my emotions from sadness to anger. First, I am stunned by how little detail there is. Granted the murder is only a few days old, but almost nothing about the shooter has come to light. By now we should have known what his online activity was and heard interviews with family members, but nobody even knows why he wanted Christina dead in the first place. Unfortunately the stupid fool decided to kill himself, so it will take even more time to understand his motive. Further complicating the investigation was the terrorist shooting spree at the Pulse nightclub just two night later in the same city (another despicable act). Since then the worst shooting in American history has shut off most of the coverage about this case. It is, after all, far more historic and consequential, so it would naturally get the lion’s share of the press’ time. I am not bothered by this at all and I am glad that the Pulse shooting is getting all the coverage. I just hope that Orlando can turn its attention back to the Grimmie murder soon and do a thorough investigation. It’s the only way to give closure to her fans, friends, and family.

Second, the reactions of some of the biggest names connected to Christina have been astonishingly blasé. The first Twitter reaction I saw was from The Voice’s official account. There were two tweets, one reacting to Christina being shot and another reacting to her death. The first tweet was very nice. It read:

We are heartbroken. @TheRealGrimmie is a loved member of our family.  Our thoughts are with her and her family.  #PrayForChristina

The second tweet infuriated me. Mind you, this is an official reaction to Christina’s death from the program that made her famous.

There are no words. We lost a beautiful soul with an amazing voice. Our hearts go out to the friends, fans and family of @TheRealGrimmie.

Is it just me, or did they make her murder seem like it wasn’t that big of a deal? This is more like a memorial tweet for an old music legend like David Bowie, not a heartfelt condolence about one of your alumni. What gets me the most is the inclusion of the phrase “there are no words”. HOW LIGHTHEARTED AND TRENDY COULD YOU POSSIBLY GET? What a typical corporate millennial response! I’m surprised they didn’t throw in a YOLO hashtag while they were at it. There is almost no emotion expressed here and the fact that this is their official response is sickening. Sadly, Christina Aguilera, a judge on The Voice made a similar mistake. Here’s her tweet:

So sad passing of @TheRealGrimmie. Beautiful member of #TheVoice family & true #Fighter. My heart goes out to her family, friends & fans. xo

Same cliches, same empty emotion, and she actually did use a hashtag. But the biggest surprise came from another judge, Pharrell Williams, who I expected so much better from. His tweet looked like this:

This is a tragic loss. My heart goes out to @therealgrimmie’s family, friends and all the people that she touched.

Imagine for a moment that you knew nothing about the murder and that you read one of those tweets. Would you have known that Christina Grimmie was murdered in cold blood in front of her fans and brother? Probably not.

Underwhelming tweets are one thing, but wait until you hear this. On Saturday morning, just hours after providing updates on what had happened, USA Today published a list entitled “9 Celebrities Who Were Murdered”. That was not the time to slap together a pop culture list like that and link it to the murder coverage. It is true that the murder was similar to those of John Lennon and “Dimebag” Darrell and I remember thinking of them that day, too. However, I consider it poor taste to publish a list like that and tie it to this crime like it was some sort of trivial event.

I’m sure these people didn’t mean any harm and didn’t intend to sound aloof, but that’s how they came across; at least to me. Fortunately other celebrities made up for all the lousy tributes and half-hearted tweets. People like Ke$ha, Justin Bieber, Fifth Harmony, Charlie Puth, Rachel Platten, and Selena Gomez (a good friend of Grimmie) all paid tribute to Christina during their concerts and actually sounded sincere about it. In fact, Selena Gomez’s stepfather was Christina’s manager and set up a GoFundMe page in her honor. So far it has raised $160,000. On top of that, Adam Levine, Christina’s coach on The Voice has offered to pay for her funeral. That is amazing. Adam Levine, one of the most famous musicians in the world today, wants to honor his protege by offering to pay for funeral expenses out of his own pocket. If that doesn’t make you smile I don’t know what will. And, thankfully, The Voice’s twitter page made up for its pathetic response and blacked out its thumbnail and banner in memory of Christina.

I think Blake Shelton gave the best tribute tweet of all. If you read through the 3 tweets beforehand he was actually anxious to stay on top of the news of Christina’s condition. Once he learned she had died he said this:

I’m stunned and disgusted and heartbroken that we lost that sweet little girl… Keeping @TheRealGrimmie family in my heart and mind.

I have a feeling we will look back on this senseless act as a major marker in music history. There is no excuse for it. Plain and simple, this should never have happened.

Advertisements
Posted by: tdennis2011 | April 27, 2016

In Memory of Prince

Prince 1958-2016

20140421-prince-x1800-1398108255

It’s been quite a year so far, hasn’t it? Last week the world received the shocking news that another one of music’s finest left us too soon. There is nothing I could say here that hasn’t already been said better by millions of others, but here it goes.

Prince was one of rock’s most brilliant minds who could play any instrument and make it look easy. He was also one of those rare talents who was fluent in multiple genres; he could even blend genres if he wanted to. His accomplishments speak for themselves. He sold approximately 100 million records worldwide, won seven Grammys and an Oscar, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and appears in several ‘greatest of all time’ lists. There is no doubt that Prince left behind a voluminous resume.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Prince was his insistence on creative control. His battles with Warner Bros. is well-known, mainly because he was willing to go to outlandish extremes to protect his art like changing his name to a symbol, writing the word ‘slave’ on his face, and giving interviews in a mask. It was all symbolic of how artists can be manipulated for corporate gain.

Prince was a bonafide legend, not just for his musical ability, but for his stance against the music industry. He did things his way and he had the pedigree to do so.

I did not grow up with Prince and only got serious about music 10 years ago. But the fact that Prince was able to impress the heck out of me, a newcomer, in those short 10 years speaks volumes about his greatness. I regret not getting to know him sooner because I could have liked him even more than I do now.

It’s always hard to say goodbye to people we look up to, but at the same time it gives us a great opportunity to re-evaluate Prince’s legacy and appreciate it from a fresh perspective. Right now a new generation is taking a liking to Prince and his music is topping the charts again. It’s okay to feel sad, but rest assured that Prince died as one of the most revered musicians of all time. That is worth celebrating.

Thank you, Prince, for making us happy and for leaving such a lasting legacy. We will never forget you.

prince-rainbow-800

To learn more about Prince’s work, visit his page at AllMusic.com

Posted by: tdennis2011 | March 4, 2016

Censored: The “Jeremy” Video

Censorship has always been a controversial topic for all forms of media. You can almost bet that no matter what is said or done, there will be someone somewhere who is offended by it. To make sure that doesn’t happen (or, at least, to keep the number of those offended to a minimum) review boards and committees are assigned to make cuts and suggestions to the final product. However, censorship is a double-edged sword. Cutting out certain hot button issues can affect the overall quality of art and can sometimes change the meaning of what the artist originally intended. This is especially true of the official music video for Pearl Jam’s song “Jeremy”.

Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t the song’s topic that was controversial. Seemingly all of the controversy surrounding the video stems from one tiny edit made by MTV executives that totally changed the ending. To understand what went wrong you have to know what “Jeremy” was all about.

“Jeremy” was inspired by a newspaper article that lead singer Eddie Vedder read in 1991. On the morning of January 8, 1991 in Richardson, Texas, 15-year-old Jeremy Wade Delle arrived late for class and his teacher told him to get a late slip. Delle left the room, came back with a .357 Magnum, put it in his mouth, and pulled the trigger. He was known to his classmates as a cold introvert who was often in trouble with the school. The sad story was immortalized in song by Pearl Jam and was eventually released as the third single from the band’s debut, Ten.

Two music videos were commissioned. The first one by Chris Cuffaro was rejected by the band’s label, Epic, who ordered a new video. The second one was made by Mark Pellington who chose to intercut reenactments of Delle’s suicide and its preceding events with stylized collage-like images. At the end of the video, Jeremy puts the gun in his mouth and closes his eyes. We then see his classmates spattered with blood, twisting away with horrified expressions and their arms raised in front of their faces in a defensive position. It is an extremely disturbing scene that is definitely not for younger viewers.

MTV was pleased with this version of the video, but before airing the final cut they made one small suggestion. They understood that the image of a gun in a boy’s mouth would ruffle some feathers, so they opted for a close-up of Jeremy’s eyes instead. When the video premiered on August 1, 1992, it received good reviews and proved to be very popular. Before long it was on constant rotation on MTV and took home 4 Video Music Awards in 1993.

The good times didn’t last. In 1996 Barry Loukaitis shot four people at the Frontier Junior High School in Moses Lake, Washington leaving 3 dead. During the ensuing trial the prosecution claimed Loukaitis had been influenced by the “Jeremy” video, in which a kid goes to school and shoots his classmates. Other publications had interpreted the video the same way. After the shooting in Moses Lake and the Columbine massacre in 1999, “Jeremy” became associated with school shootings and was eventually pulled from regular television rotation. What happened here? How could people have gotten the story so wrong?

When you watch the video it’s easy to see how people got confused. MTV’s one tiny cut made it look like Jeremy had shot his classmates instead of himself. Consequently the video’s story seemed much more sinister than it actually was. Because of MTV’s decision to not show Jeremy placing the gun in his mouth, the video’s ending and meaning changed completely. Mark Pellington has called the edit “probably the greatest frustration I’ve ever had.” The original version of “Jeremy” with the gun was not show on television until 2009 on VH1 Classic during “Pearl Jam Ten Revisited”. Fascinating isn’t it; how 1 tiny alteration turned into a huge misunderstanding.

As you can see, censorship is useful sometimes, but it can have unintended consequences. Now that you know what the video’s about, let me ask you this. If MTV had not made that one edit, would the Moses Lake shooting have happened? Perhaps, but I don’t have any way of knowing. Maybe the video had nothing to do with it and was only singled out by the prosecutors to draw a comparison. What do you think?

Here’s the video

Posted by: tdennis2011 | February 23, 2016

My Thoughts on the 2016 Grammys

rs_1024x759-151216073328-1024-grammy-58th

Last week the 58th annual Grammy Awards aired and it was…okay. Don’t get me wrong, the tributes were good and the performances (most of them anyway) were fine, but something about the production felt a bit off. It seems like the behind the scenes people were struggling to keep on schedule. At one point a producer was cut off in the middle of her acceptance speech and the Glenn Frey tribute began a few seconds too soon. Even the David Bowie tribute felt rushed.

Perhaps the most obvious flaw with this year’s Grammys was the sound quality. Poor Adele not only had to deal with vocal issues, but atrocious microphone trouble as well. Not even Taylor Swift was immune from the sound quality plague. Despite Swift’s ability to put on a decent show, I couldn’t hear a word she was saying. Could anyone?

So that’s what I thought of the overall show. What about the individual parts? For the most part they were good. There were a few letdowns. Sam Hunt and Carrie Underwood did a lifeless duet together and I’m still confused about why they booked Pitbull to close the show. Skrillex, Diplo, & Justin Bieber did okay I guess, but their songs are just too lousy for me to care about.

By far the strangest part of the show was the Lionel Ritchie tribute. Who planned this monstrosity? Why have John Legend, Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan, Meghan Trainor, and Tyrese Gibson pay tribute to Lionel Ritchie? What a strange brew that was. John Legend I understand, but why any of those other people? There were a ton of better candidates you could have gotten to do this, like Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, The Weeknd, or Pharrell Williams. Why didn’t they get anybody that made sense?

Fortunately there were good performances to counteract all the bad ones. Tori Kelly and James Bay did a fantastic job. I was surprised to see them performing at all, in the middle of the show no less. Hopefully this is a sign that the Grammys will focus more attention on the lower-teir artists. Little Big Town did a good job, too. I especially liked how they addressed the controversy over “Girl Crush” and how the song gained popularity despite the radio station boycotts. It’s unfortunate that politics has to ruin perfectly good music and it drives me nuts when people get upset because they think it’s a lesbian song.

Let’s not forget about Kendrick Lamar, who brought the house down thanks to his flawless mic skills and politically charged set. I was glad to see that he sounds just as good live as he does recorded. One of my favorite sets was from Alabama Shakes. I’m still impressed with how solid this band is and I’m glad to see them get such good exposure because of it.

Sadly there were lots of legends to pay tribute to this year. The two big ones were for Glenn Frey and David Bowie. For the Glenn Frey tribute, Eagles, Bernie Leadon, and Jackson Browne sang “Take it Easy”, the perfect song for the occasion. Despite the vocal issues, I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the emotion. It was a good way to honor the man. The most anticipated performance of the night was Lady GaGa’s tribute to David Bowie. It was just a cooky as I thought it would be and they couldn’t have picked a more fitting artist for a David Bowie tribute.

The other tributes were very nice.  The Stevie Wonder/Pentatonix tribute to Maurice White was a highlight. It proved you don’t need musical accompaniment to give a great performance. The Michael Jackson tribute was unnecessary and came out of nowhere, but it was competently done. The Hollywood Vampires also did well in their tribute to Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister. It was a good mini concert and a chance to see a very interesting supergroup take the stage.

Out of all the tributes, I believe the one to B. B. King was the best. It didn’t feel forced or out of place in any way and it featured a great lineup. Kudos to Chris Stapleton, Gary Clarke Jr., and Bonnie Raitt for a fitting tribute to the king of blues.

That takes care of the entertainment portions. Now what about the awards? I’ll be looking at the big four. Best New Artist went to Meghan Trainor. I wasn’t thrilled with that. I think I understand why she was chosen, but if we’re going to be honest with ourselves, Courtney Barnett was the much better choice. Record of the Year went to “Uptown Funk”. I can’t complain. It was one of the best songs of the year. I love how Bruno just wanted to accept the Grammy and get it over with like it was inevitable. Song of the Year went to “Thinking Out Loud”. I’ll take that. I liked it enough.

Finally, the big one. Album of the Year went to 1989. I understand people might not be happy with Taylor Swift winning such a major award, but you cannot deny the impact this album has had on the charts and in pop music for the last year. 2014 and 2015 basically belonged to her. With that said, I gladly threw my support behind this decision. Apparently I was the only person on Earth who didn’t know who Swift was addressing in her acceptance speech. I never thought I would hear her say anything like that. Even when he isn’t there, Kanye West can hijack the spotlight.

Those are my thoughts about this year’s Grammys. Was it flawless? Absolutely not, but it was good enough that it kept me interested. What did you think of the show?

To see the full results, go to the official Grammys website.

Posted by: tdennis2011 | February 3, 2016

Some Housekeeping and What to Expect Next

It has taken me a year to return to blogging. 2015 was a very important, unpredictable year full of peaks and valleys. In the last few months I found time to think and reorganize some things, including this blog. I decided it was time to come back and get a little more serious.

So I have returned with a semi-regular blogging schedule. From now on you can expect at least 2 posts a month and several additions throughout the year. Those additions could be lists on specific topics, reviews, music news, or editorials as well as my usual thoughts about award shows and the annual year-end review. This way you are almost guaranteed new material each time you visit this blog.

The current addition is a page designated for my picks of the greatest albums ever made. The list is constantly changing, so check it often. I am also in the process of updating my favorites lists. You may recall that I had posted such lists before, but when I looked at them again recently, I was mortified. They were woefully out of date and no longer reflected my taste. I will be righting those wrongs shortly.

If I find the time, who knows, maybe I’ll give “The Top 100 Shocking Music Moments” another try. There might even be some new album reviews. I haven’t done one of those in a long time…

For the time being, expect new material at least twice a month. I’ll be shooting for sometime around the 3rd and the next to last Saturday of the month. I may not be able to upload anything on those exact dates, but I’ll certainly try. That’s all for now. Remember to keep checking this blog for brand new material and I’ll see you later.

It’s so good to be back…

Posted by: tdennis2011 | January 25, 2016

In Memory Of…

I was planning on posting something else this month, but that will have to wait. Right now I think it’s only appropriate that we honor two fallen legends.

DAVID BOWIE
1947-2016

david_bowie-06

GLENN FREY
1948-2016

20160116-glenn-frey

If you would like to know more about these two great musicians, visit their profiles at AllMusic.com.

David Bowie:
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/david-bowie-mn0000531986

Glenn Frey:
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/eagles-mn0000144847
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/glenn-frey-mn0000657041

 

 

 

 

Posted by: tdennis2011 | January 3, 2016

The Best and Worst of 2015

This is my third annual year-end list since I started this blog. For the past few years I’ve been somewhat disappointed; not only by the mediocrity of mainstream music, but how the fresh, innovative artists of the past 10 years began spinning their wheels. Legitimately brilliant material was buried beneath trendy, hipster one-hit-wonders and obnoxious club fodder. The bad music was horrendous…and became smash hits. I cannot think of a time period that compares to this era. In all probability we may have witnessed the dark age of music.

If you were as depressed as I was, fear not. I am proud to announce that the dark ages may be declining. Quality has slowly been making a comeback. Even the bad stuff was at least interestingly bad. Young talent sprang up from everywhere with new styles. Some artists reinvented themselves and put out some of their best work to date. People I despise started releasing quality products. The best holdovers from last year remained popular and became some of the year’s biggest hits. Songs from a year or two ago finally gained notoriety. Legends from the past returned and proved they were still relevant and just as good as when they debuted. And to top it all off, for the second time in her career, Adele saved the music industry and made albums feel important again.

2015 was a watershed year that will be remembered as the return to artistry, innovation, skill, and quality. Without exaggeration, this could have been the best year of the decade so far, and I can’t wait to share what I experienced with you all. No more stalling. Let’s dive into the best of 2015.

 

THE 20 BEST ALBUMS:

  1. Have You in My Wilderness – Julia Holter

What sold me on this one was the style. Holter is one of those artists who can perfectly mix poetics with eclecticism. Her voice, which sounds like Lana Del Rey if she swallowed Annie Clark, only adds to the atmosphere.

 

  1. E•MO•TION – Carly Rae Jepsen

I was surprised by how much I liked this one. I fully expected Jepsen to fade into one-hit-wonder obscurity after “Call Me Maybe”. Instead she released a listenable album full of fun songs. E•MO•TION contains a mix of 80s synth-pop and modern beats that, for some reason, made me think of True Romance by Charli XCX.

 

  1. 25 – Adele

It broke records 1 week into its release and continues to do so now. Having listened to it for myself it’s easy to see why. Adele is an extraordinarily gifted singer…and she knows it. The hoopla surrounding 25 is well deserved. The only drawback: “Hello” set the bar so high that the rest of the songs couldn’t quite follow it.

 

  1. Traveller – Chris Stapleton

Just a few months ago nobody knew who this man was. Now he’s the most celebrated country musician of 2015. Traveller is an album in the same vein as Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, in that it called attention to the artist’s wonderful voice and used a retro sound to support it. It wouldn’t surprise me if other country musicians change their style to match.

 

  1. California Nights – Best Coast

I had the same feelings for this as I did for Wolf’s Law by The Joy Formidable. I always knew Best Coast was good, but this was the first time they really got my attention. The atmosphere in California Nights is so thick you can cut it with a knife, and it’s a relatively easy listen. Just when you’re about to get bored, a good song appears. Try it.

 

  1. Compton – Dr. Dre

The long overdue album from Dr. Dre was worth the wait. He gathered together his friends and frequent collaborators and made pure rap music again. Compton brought energetic, gritty rap back to the mainstream in a way that hasn’t been heard since the 90s. Unfortunately there were some moments of mediocrity sprinkled throughout, but the rest was sheer brilliance.

 

  1. Before This World – James Taylor

It’s comforting to know that James Taylor hasn’t lost his musical touch. He has the special ability to make reminiscent memories feel special. I loved this album’s mood and the warm environment it created. The atmosphere from beginning to end was marvelous. The production was solid. The vocal harmonies were great. What else can I say about it? If you’re a fan of the classic Americana sound, you should definitely check this one out.

 

  1. Sound & Color – Alabama Shakes

No wonder people got excited about this band when they came out. This was an awesome rendering of soulful southern rock. Brittany Howard knocked it out of the park and the rest of the band deserves applause for successfully blending the stylings of Creedence Clearwater Revival and The White Stripes. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

 

  1. No Cities to Love – Sleater-Kinney

There wasn’t a dull moment here. Sleater-Kinney came back from hiatus and proved they haven’t lost their edge. They are one of the last remaining female rock bands and I hope we get to hear more soon.

 

  1. Drones – Muse

Imagine for a moment that Pink Floyd, U2, Rage Against the Machine, and Queen pooled their talents and recorded an album. That’s exactly what Drones sounds like. It also managed to recapture the kind of rock that disappeared about 10 years ago. My only gripe is that it was based on an Orwellian dystopia to push a political message; a concept that is obscenely overused.

 

  1. Mr. Misunderstood – Eric Church

In 2015 bro country seemingly vanished and was replaced by good old-fashioned country music. Drop to your knees and thank God for that. Eric Church is one of the few modern country artists I respect because he consistently releases well-crafted songs that aren’t about girls and trucks. His lyrics are so much deeper than that. Mr. Misunderstood could be his best work yet.

 

  1. The Magic Whip – Blur

It sounds like Blur has changed with the times. The Magic Whip was pretty subdued. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t exciting. It was an interesting mix of songs that reminded me of everyone from Gorillaz (obviously) and Radiohead. I really don’t have much to say about The Magic Whip except that it’s good!

 

  1. Pageant Material – Kacey Musgraves

Again, thank God for real country music. Lyric-wise Musgraves is a little more innovative than her contemporaries. She is such a skilled lyricist that she can make you think and laugh at the same time without ever once coming across as preachy. Pageant Material is a very approachable album and I have fond memories of it.

 

  1. B’lieve I’m Goin Down… – Kurt Vile

Laid-back and pleasant describe this album. B’lieve I’m Goin Down… is an excellent guitar-driven effort. Kurt Vile knows how to play guitar and makes it sound like the easiest thing in the world to do. There isn’t much to complain about in terms of quality here. However, B’lieve I’m Goin Down… has the same problem as Adele’s 25: the opening song was so good that none of the other songs could beat it.

 

Now we get to the really good stuff. I have an unprecedented 6 top recommendations for the best albums of 2015. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said this was a good year. These albums represent the very best of 2015 and, as always, your collection is incomplete without them.

 

  1. Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit – Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett released one of the most unique albums I heard all year. This solid collection of songs showcases awesome garage rock with funny, witty, interesting lyrics. The lyrics stole the show. I heard someone describe Barnett as a cross between Bob Dylan and Jerry Seinfeld. That’s so true. She has a distinct personality that comes through in each song. It’s exactly the kick in the pants that indie rock so desperately needed this year. This album totally restored my faith in indie rock and I’m genuinely excited for what Courtney Barnett does next.

 

  1. To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar has done it again. He’s only been around a few years and only has 2 albums to his name, but you would never know that. He sounds like he’s had decades of experience and yet he is one of the most exciting young talents in all of rap music. There hasn’t been this much buzz surrounding a young rapper since Nas and 2Pac. For me he is already at their level. To Pimp a Butterfly puts Lamar’s mastery for music, production, flow, and lyrics on full display. He’s clearly smarter than his peers and there’s nothing lame about him.

 

  1. The Clearing – Rachel Grimes

Rachel Grimes’ unique touch is what made this album shine. This is an instrumental album full of experimentation and it remarkable. I love instrumental stuff if it can keep me entertained. The Clearing is so good that even the cover art conveys as much emotion as the songs. That’s how great it is. If instrumental albums aren’t your thing, give this one a listen and you may like it.

 

  1. The Longest River – Olivia Chaney

The Longest River is a testament to craftsmanship and minimalism. It proves you don’t need gimmicks or glitzy production to make a classic. Chaney recorded an absolute masterpiece that would make Joni Mitchell and Carole King proud. Looking back on my listening experience, I can honestly say it was one of the most beautiful albums of the year. I love thinking about how it made me feel.

 

  1. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence + The Machine

I’ve been a fan since Lungs and I was reminded why when I heard this one. Florence + The Machine has only gotten better with each release and has almost reached Van Morrison status. Every member played to his and her own strengths and complimented each other perfectly. The result is one great song after another and their most cohesive effort to date. It’s great to have them back.

 

  1. The Epic – Kamasi Washington

There is no reason The Epic should have succeeded in this day and age. It is 2 hours long, takes up 3 discs, and only contains 4 tracks on which people sing. It doesn’t matter though. This is some of the finest jazz I’ve ever heard. The Epic highlights everything I love about the genre: unpredictable mood shifts, synchronized rhythm and wind sections, a wide range of moods and flavors, and catchy melodies. I remain in awe of how much press this album was given. Not since the days of Miles Davis has jazz felt so relevant. Congratulations to Kamasi Washington for going the unconventional route and for grabbing my attention from start to finish. This was an absolutely magnificent album and I have nothing bad to say about it.

 

THE 50 BEST SONGS:

  1. Hello – Adele
  2. Tennessee Whisky – Chris Stapleton
  3. 100 Lovers – Tennis
  4. Pretty Pimpin – Kurt Vile
  5. Dead Inside – Muse
  6. Angels of Fenway – James Taylor
  7. Strange Encounter – Father John Misty
  8. Queen of Peace – Florence + The Machine
  9. Cherokee – Kamasi Washington
  10. California Nights – Best Coast
  11. Renegades – X Ambassadors
  12. There’s Not a Swain – Olivia Chaney
  13. Far Afghanistan – James Taylor
  14. Nobody to Blame – Chris Stapleton
  15. Touch the Sky – Hillsong UNITED
  16. Sound & Color – Alabama Shakes
  17. E•MO•TION – Carly Rae Jepsen
  18. God Knows I Tried – Lana Del Rey
  19. Animals – Dr. Dre & Anderson .Paak
  20. Lonesome Street – Blur
  21. What Kind of Man – Florence + The Machine
  22. Stay on My Shore – Joan Shelley
  23. Send My Love (To Your New Lover) – Adele
  24. Pedestrian at Best – Courtney Barnett
  25. Hey Darling – Sleater-Kinney
  26. Various Storms & Saints – Florence + The Machine
  27. River Lea – Adele
  28. Holy S*** – Father John Misty
  29. Dear Nora – Girlpool
  30. Today Today Today – James Taylor
  31. Silhouette – Julia Holter
  32. Honeymoon – Lana Del Rey
  33. Alone All the Time – Sick Sad World
  34. Feel You – Julia Holter
  35. Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd
  36. Biscuits – Kacey Musgraves
  37. Kill a Word – Eric Church
  38. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence + The Machine
  39. Your Fool – Natalie Prass
  40. Dopamine – DIIV
  41. This Town – Kacey Musgraves
  42. Magnets – Disclosure & Lorde
  43. Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party – Courtney Barnett
  44. Bird Set Free – Sia
  45. Music to Watch Boys To – Lana Del Rey
  46. Ice Cream Man – Blur
  47. Good for You – Selena Gomez (music video version)
  48. Don’t Wanna Fight – Alabama Shakes
  49. Pageant Material – Kacey Musgraves
  50. There Are Too Many of Us – Blur

 

THE 10 BEST HIT SONGS:

  1. Hello – Adele

Not only is this the best hit song of the year, this is the best song period. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect, emotional pop song last year. What a comeback. What a voice. What a song.

 

  1. Uptown Funk! – Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars

I said 2 years ago that Bruno Mars has found his niche as a throwback soul singer. He’s the real star of this song. The vocals match the smooth funky music exactly, which made this song addicting.

 

  1. Renegades – X Ambassadors

I usually don’t care for hipster guitar tunes, but these guys did it well. This is a bouncy song with cool production and it will not leave your head.

 

  1. Don’t – Ed Sheeran

This is still my favorite Ed Sheeran song so far. It made my top 10 list last year, too.

 

  1. Style – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has officially cemented her status as a pop legend. She practically owned the charts for over a year. Simply put, style is a very well made pop song. It’s becoming clear that I made a huge mistake by not listening to the 1989 album last year.

 

  1. Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd

I can’t say I’m a fan of The Weeknd, but I did legitimately like this song. Michael Jackson was an obvious influence. In fact, there are moments where “Can’t Feel My Face” sounds like a new Michael Jackson song.

 

  1. Love Me Harder – Ariana Grande & The Weeknd

You may remember this song made my top 50 list last year. “Love Me Harder” feels genuine and it’s Grande’s best song. It’s pretty catchy, too.

 

  1. Girl Crush – Little Big Town

This is a slow, steady, stripped down, somewhat emotional love ballad about jealousy and self-doubt. It’s a very refreshing angle, especially from a country act.

 

  1. Sugar – Maroon 5

Say what you will about Maroon 5, but they are capable of producing solid pop songs. That’s all this is. It gets the job done and it sounds fun.

 

  1. I’m Not the Only One – Sam Smith

In my opinion Sam Smith is overrated. His voice has tons of potential, but his lisp is a serious hindrance. This is the only song I’ve heard from him where I wasn’t distracted by that lisp. As a result you can hear the emotion in Smith’s voice.

 

Even though music stepped up its game last year, the sad fact is no year can be 100% great. It is now time for my picks for the worst of 2015. The good news is there isn’t much to talk about.

 

THE WORST ALBUM:

Garden of Delete – Oneohtrix Point Never

I always appreciate when an artist thinks outside the box, and I get what this guy wanted to do, but this was not a good album. It had plenty of weight and experimentation and had one or two impressive moments. However, the execution of the final product was all over the place. Nothing felt cohesive and each song felt choppy and cluttered.

 

THE 10 WORST HIT SONGS:

  1. Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) – Silentó

Uninspired, clichéd, and aggravating are just 3 of the negative adjectives I use to describe this train wreck. Everything about this song from Silentó’s nasally delivery to the synthetic music is terrible. Even the dances he name checks aren’t any good. None of that stopped this song from becoming a smash hit though.

 

  1. Coco – O.T. Genasis

Here is yet another lazy, idiotic hip-hop song that raked in lots of money. “Coco” is so ineptly made that I found myself laughing hysterically at it. I don’t know if that was the intention of the artist or not. If it was meant to be serious then he failed miserably.

 

  1. My Way – Fetty Wap & Monty

This is another hip-hop hit that had me giggling. How can I take this guy seriously if it sounds like he’s talking with his mouth full?

 

  1. Trap Queen – Fetty Wap

Same as the last 2 songs, except this WAS supposed to be taken seriously. The subject matter, music, and Fetty Wap himself are not redeemable. I don’t understand why “Trap Queen” became as big as it did.

 

  1. Where Are Ü Now – Skrillex & Diplo & Justin Bieber

Can you say ‘trying too hard’?

 

  1. 7/11 – Beyoncé

One of the few low points in Beyoncé’s admirable career. “7/11” is as bad as it gets and it’s on an album that was supposedly a game changer. What was Beyoncé thinking?

 

  1. 679 – Fetty Wap & Remy Boyz

See number 3. (Can you tell I don’t like Fetty Wap?)

 

  1. Flex (Ooh Ooh Ooh) – Rich Homie Quan

See number 3.

 

  1. Post to Be – Omarion, Chris Brown, & Jhene Aiko

I can’t quite put my finger on why I hated this song. All I know is Chris Brown was in it and he does a terrible job at trying to be sincere.

 

  1. Fight Song – Rachel Platten

I am not a fan of self-empowerment anthems. They all sound the same both musically and lyrically. We have already heard dozens of them in this decade alone (“Roar”, “Firework”, “Stronger”, “I Really Don’t Care”) and none of them were special. What made this one stand out from the pack is Platten’s shaky voice, but Florence Welch she ain’t. The music in the background, which is really just a series of beats and chords, does absolutely nothing to help.

 

There you have it: my year-end review for 2015. Do you agree? Did I miss anything? Let me know what you think and I’ll be back this time next year for my 2016 reviews. Have a great year, everyone.

Posted by: tdennis2011 | January 2, 2015

The Best and Worst of 2014

It’s over! It’s finally over! After listening to hundreds of songs and ranking them, I have narrowed down my favorites and my least favorites. Here are the results of a month’s worth of hard laborious work.

As always, this is just one man’s opinion. You have every right to disagree with me. I strongly advise you seek out these songs and albums and decide for yourself whether or not they are worthy of your time. You don’t have to take my word for it.

Let’s begin with my picks for the best albums of 2014.

THE 25 BEST ALBUMS:

  1. Lazaretto – Jack White

The former White Stripe has scored another hit. I liked his last solo effort, and although this was not quite as good, it’s still a decent mix of songs. White’s eclecticism bleeds through here more than ever before in his career and it makes for a pretty entertaining record that keeps your interest.

  1. Are We There – Sharon Van Etten

Woeful, depressing, and frightening…in a good way. Are We There is interesting because it forces you to focus on the lyrics while the brooding music serves as a background. Usually it’s the other way around. The highlight is “Your Love is Killing Me”, which sums up most of the album. It’s definitely worth at least 1 listen.

  1. This is All Yours – alt-J

They’ve been dubbed “the new Radiohead”, and this album proves it. This young band uses the same un-radio-friendly techniques that Radiohead perfected with the legendary Kid A album. The difference is alt-J doesn’t bother to polish up their sound, allowing for tons of experimentation. This is All Yours is quite an achievement.

  1. Midnight Sun – The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger

There is no doubt Sean Lennon is John Lennon’s son. This album sounded like something John would have done if he were alive today. I think he would be proud. It’s pretty odd, but it’s worth a taste.

  1. Everything Will Be Alright in the End – Weezer

In 2014 the impossible happened: Weezer made Weezer music again! No more experimenting, just solid, fun rock. Rivers Cuomo feels comfortable being the goofy guy again, too. Here’s hoping Everything Will Be Alright in the End is the start to a massive comeback.

  1. Somewhere Under Wonderland – Counting Crows

Another good, smart collection of songs from one of my favorite bands. I know it sounds kind of like their previous work, but I think that was the intention. A word of warning to Counting Crows newcomers: the poetic lyrics may not be for everybody.

  1. Sparks – Imogen Heap

Another good, smart collection of songs from one of my favorite artists. I’m a big fan of Imogen Heap because of her unique singing style and atmospheric production. Sparks is a very exciting concept album that takes random, everyday sounds and arranges them into pieces of music that somehow manage to sound great. Sparks was well worth the 5 year wait.

  1. They Want My Soul – Spoon

I’ll admit, I know next to nothing about this band. Sorry. Luckily this was a nice introduction album. Really all I can say about it is it was a well-made record with very little to complain about. Probably not a classic, but who cares?

  1. LP1 – FKA twigs

Now THIS is electronic music! Take a careful listen to LP1. It features none of the formulaic, tired, repetitive, lousy, stupid, ugly, idiotic, manufactured, nightclub crap that pop radio plays to death. I was impressed. Will you be?

  1. Between the Stars – Flyleaf

Yet another solid album from one of my favorite bands. I, like everyone else, was concerned about whether or not Kristen May would be a good enough replacement for Lacey Sturm. She is. For you Flyleaf fans who were too worried to take a listen, take a listen. Now. You will love it.

  1. The Voyager – Jenny Lewis

The Voyager is relaxed, alternative, pop music that is remarkably easy to listen to. That’s pretty much all there is to say about it.

  1. Turn Blue – The Black Keys

The masters of fuzz box rock came back with a throwback album to the 70s. I wasn’t a fan of every song, but as a whole it was one of the best of the year. It’s very encouraging to know The Black Keys are already carrying the torch for the next generation of rock and roll.

  1. Salad Days – Mac Demarco

Interesting sound and interesting production. I appreciated the minimalism of Salad Days, perhaps more than the actual songs. It’s good, but the only complaint I have is it’s pretty forgettable. Take my advice and listen to it more than once.

  1. Lost in the Dream – The War on Drugs

Carefully crafted, guitar-driven alternative music is very tough to find nowadays. The War on Drugs made a successful album that way in 2014, proving you don’t need a lot of feedback to produce good rock. The only thing that kept this lower on the list is Adam Granduciel’s pretentious singing style.

  1. Too True – Dum Dum Girls

This is my kind of pop. Too True was an absolute blast to listen to. The best part was its beautiful, overwhelming atmosphere. If you’ve read this blog before, you know I adore atmosphere. The Dum Dum Girls somehow managed to keep the proper mood going without it turning into noise. Take a listen and hear for yourself.

  1. Run the Jewels 2 – Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels is one of the best hip-hop artists since Public Enemy. El-P and Killer Mike have paid tribute to the early days of rap, telling gritty stories of street life with pure, unabashed aggression in the most fun way possible. I always appreciate when rappers focus on real life instead of money and girls.

  1. You’re Dead! – Flying Lotus

I’ll make the bold prediction here and now that You’re Dead! will be remembered as one of the most innovative albums in music history. I have never heard anything like this in my life. Be warned: it’s a very strange album and it may take a few listens to understand everything, but it is more than worth your time.

  1. Ritual in Repeat – Tennis

A modern sound with a nod to classic rock is the best way to describe this album. I’ve heard Tennis be compared with Fleetwood Mac, not for their style, but for their approach to vocal harmonies even though there is only one singer.

  1. Brimstone Coven – Brimstone Coven

When you hear Brimstone Coven you immediately think Black Sabbath reincarnated. I absolutely loved this album. It keeps you riveted from the first note to the last. Another reason I love these guys is because they come from my home state of West Virginia! Seriously. If you don’t think good metal could possibly come from Appalachia, listen for yourself. You’ll be proven wrong.

  1. Shine On – Sarah McLachlan

Yet another good, solid album from one of my favorite artists. Sarah McLachlan is well-known for her feminist approach to music. Women love her for it, but us guys can appreciate her, too, because she is a fantastic artist. Shine On is yet another female empowerment album from McLachlan that never comes across as condescending or dumbed-down, unlike some modern artists (I’m talking to you, Katy Perry).

  1. Ultraviolence – Lana Del Rey

I would like to formally apologize to Lana Del Rey. I used to hate you, and I have no idea why. I was very unfair in my criticism of you and I now realize how stupid I’ve been. All I had to do was listen to Ultraviolence and be blown away by its sound, lyrical topics, and moody production values to understand that you’re not just another poser; you’re the genuine article.

  1. St. Vincent – St. Vincent

Creativity in music was in full-swing this year and this album was the crown jewel. St. Vincent’s self-titled effort was one of the most refreshing albums to emerge in 2014. St. Vincent is a nice balance between wacky and serious, much like Annie Clark herself. I think she picked the right songs to use as singles. Turn on Sirius XMU and you’ll probably hear one of those songs right now. You’ll agree that St. Vincent was one of the year’s very best without hearing the entire thing.

These last 3 albums were the absolute best of 2014. These are the ones I recommended more than any of the 35 albums I heard. These next albums belong in you music collection.

  1. Platinum – Miranda Lambert

Thank God! Real country music! Miranda Lambert is one of the best country artists working today because she tells it how it is. She isn’t the least bit shy to express herself through well-made music that touches on a wide variety of topics, such as overdependence on technology and how aggravating getting older can be. Platinum contains very little to complain about and I’m so happy we have people like Lambert to remind us that country music can still be good.

  1. Wig Out at Jagbags – Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

This one was the magical result of smart musicians coming together to make a fun, listenable catalog of songs. Malkmus took what he learned from his Pavement years and made some quality stuff with special attention to craftsmanship. You won’t be disappointed. Listen and be amazed.

  1. Metamodern Sounds in Country Music – Sturgill Simpson

Again, THANK GOD! REAL COUNTRY MUSIC! This was hands down the greatest album of 2014. Metamodern Sounds in Country Music was the only album this year that blew me away. Sturgill Simpson paid tribute to the original country music legends with a retro sound and an awesome voice to match. Simpson improved the old country formula by introducing off-the-wall lyrics about philosophy and nutty concepts. What other country song do you know of that mentions reptilian aliens? I’m confident this will become a classic within the next decade.

THE 50 BEST SONGS:

  1. Happy Idiot – TV on the Radio
  2. Prince Johnny – St. Vincent
  3. Rimbaud Eyes – Dum Dum Girls
  4. Lake Song – The Decemberists
  5. Vying – Brimstone Coven
  6. Sleeping with a Friend – Neon Trees
  7. The Grave – Brimstone Coven
  8. Turtles All the Way Down – Sturgill Simpson
  9. Burning – The War on Drugs
  10. Somethin’ Bad – Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood
  11. Brill Bruisers – The New Pornographers
  12. Magic – Coldplay
  13. The Heart Wants What it Wants – Selena Gomez
  14. Careful You – TV on the Radio
  15. Weight of Love – The Black Keys
  16. Close Your Eyes (And Count to F***) – Run the Jewels & Zack de la Rocha
  17. West Coast – Lana Del Rey
  18. Inside Out – Spoon
  19. In Your Shoes – Sarah McLachlan
  20. Lazaretto – Jack White
  21. Turn Blue – The Black Keys
  22. Behold, the Anunnaki – Brimstone Coven
  23. Never Work for Free – Tennis
  24. Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth – Parquet Courts
  25. Keep it Healthy – Warpaint
  26. So Blonde – EMA
  27. Cruel World – Lana Del Rey
  28. After the Disco – Broken Bells
  29. Night Vision – Tennis
  30. Chartjunk – Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
  31. Living the Dream – Sturgill Simpson
  32. Don’t – Ed Sheeran
  33. Black Mambo – Glass Animals
  34. The Futurescope Trilogy: I. The Waste Land – Weezer
  35. Rude – MAGIC!
  36. Digital Witness – St. Vincent
  37. Rather Be – Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne
  38. Nara – alt-J
  39. Me the Machine – Imogen Heap
  40. Come With Me Now – KONGOS
  41. Jealous – Nick Jonas
  42. Something for Nothing – Foo Fighters
  43. I Just Don’t Understand – Spoon
  44. Sweet Amarillo – Old Crow Medicine Show
  45. The Haunting Idle – The War on Drugs
  46. Your Love is Killing Me – Sharon Van Etten
  47. Love Me Harder – Ariana Grande & The Weeknd
  48. American Kids – Kenny Chesney
  49. Traitor – Flyleaf
  50. Chandelier – Sia

THE 10 BEST HIT SONGS:

  1. Happy – Pharrell Williams

It’s amazing how this song escaped everyone’s radar in 2013. “Happy” is, without a doubt, the best hit song of 2014. In my opinion, it is also the greatest song of the decade so far. Pharrell has found his niche as a throwback 70s soul singer. I can’t wait to hear what he has in store next.

  1. Not a Bad Thing – Justin Timberlake

This is one of the few JT songs that is not overproduced. For once he put out a song that does not have Timbaland’s fingerprints all over it. “Not a Bad Thing” is a great example of the quality music Justin Timberlake is capable of.

  1. Somethin’ Bad – Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood

A fun collaboration between two of the biggest country stars of this generation. The Thelma & Louise reference was a nice touch, since that’s what we all thought when we heard the song. Sadly, this song did not get the exposure it deserved, leaving it hovering around the bottom of Billboard’s year-end list. That’s why I put out lists like these. You’re welcome.

  1. Counting Stars – OneRepublic

I still think this is OneRepublic’s best song. I talked enough about it last year, so go back and take a look at that review.

  1. Ain’t it Fun – Paramore

I sort of ignored this one last year and forgot about it. That was a big mistake. I should have ranked it higher last time. I’m making up for it here. This was a highlight of Paramore’s 2013 album that defined what the band is like now: fun and not afraid to try new things.

  1. Royals – Lorde

It made the list last year, it made it again this year. See my 2013 review for more.

  1. Cool Kids – Echosmith

This is another song that became popular a year after its existence. I liked the depth of the song and how it focused on the depressing side of American youth. All too often pop songs celebrate materialism and having a good time, when in reality life is very different. Life for this generation is closer to “Cool Kids”, which is probably why it became an unexpected hit. I’m glad it did.

  1. Don’t – Ed Sheeran

This is the first Ed Sheeran song that I fell in love with because it tells a story. “Don’t” is a love tragedy that begins as a casual encounter and turns into a legitimate relationship only to have it crumble after the narrator’s lover admits to being unfaithful. And it’s all set to a bouncy Justin Timberlake sort of beat. Sheeran’s voice floats on top nicely, making “Don’t” an easy pill to swallow.

  1. Rude – MAGIC!

I should hate this song, but it’s done well enough that I liked it. It’s kind of funny, too. If your girlfriend’s father refused a blessing for the two of you to get married, you wouldn’t respond with “Why you gotta be so rude?” Somehow it works here.

  1. Rather Be – Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne

This is the purest pop song to come out in years. There is no unnecessary noise, no repetitive beat, and no empty lyrics. Its only purpose is to make you feel good. You aren’t compelled to get up and jump around or go out and buy the latest fashions. All “Rather Be” asks is that you enjoy the relationship you’re in. It’s admirable and I liked it a lot.

Unfortunately with all the good music that came out this year, there was also plenty of bad music. We all thought last year was bad, but wait ‘til you hear these.

THE 2 WORST ALBUMS:

  1. Alvvays – Alvvays

The critics seemed to like it, so I had to have a listen. I thought it was kinda lousy. For days I’ve tried to put my finger on why critics liked Alvvays. I think it has to do with its fuzz box style. I’m getting tired of fuzz box. People today seem to think if you have analog equipment and plenty of feedback noise you are making retro rock. That’s only true if you’re paying homage to a style from decades ago. Too much fuzz is never good, especially if you’re lead singer can’t sing.

  1. Sweet Talker – Jessie J

I knew it would probably be a mistake to listen to it, but I’m not too bright. My curiosity got the better of me and I suffered for it. Sweet Talker was the only flat out terrible album I listened to in 2014. All I did was shake my head in disappointment for 45 minutes. Jessie J is capable of making good music (“Price Tag”), but for now the evil, corporate, pop industry has her firmly in its clutches. I feel so sorry for her.

THE 10 WORST HIT SONGS

  1. Hot Boy – Bobby Shmurda

There was absolutely nothing good about this song. It offered nothing new. “Hot Boy” is painfully lousy rap set to boring music. For me there was nothing worse than this song.

  1. 23 – Mike WiLL Made-It, Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa, & Juicy J

Just seeing Miley Cyrus and Wiz Khalifa together on the same song should send shivers of terror up your spine. Add two boring rappers and you get a horrendous party song that is a sad remix of itself.

  1. Anaconda – Nicki Minaj

I fought long and hard with myself to name this the worst hit song, but it didn’t happen. I hate how popular it’s become just because it samples “Baby Got Back”. The sampling, by the way, is terrible. “Anaconda” is obnoxiously idiotic to say the least.

  1. Trumpets – Jason Derulo

I HATE, nay, DESPISE Jason Derulo. Not only is he ignorant and stupid, but he can’t sing. There is no reason why this vile excuse for a human should be popular. He has no talent. None. This song puts his lack of brains on full display for stupid people to gobble up and make him millions of dollars. Jason Derulo is a massive, oozing boil on the face of pop music that needs to be lanced immediately.

  1. Timber – Pitbull & Ke$ha

For “Timber”, Pitbull and Ke$ha team up for a pseudo-country club song that is about as worthless as dirt with equally dumb lyrics, just like ever other song Pitbull has made. I’m sick of these two artists, if you can call them that.

  1. Wiggle – Jason Derulo & Snoop Dogg

See number 4.

  1. Shower – Becky G

An irritating voice alongside irritating production. If this is our first taste of Becky G, she will probably never amount to much and will be lost to history as a terrible mistake that should never have existed.

  1. Animals – Martin Garrix

This is a great example of bad electronic music. Even Calvin Harris (who I also hate) has some idea of how to make electronic pop. Martin Garrix has no clue how to make a song. “Animals” is a strange mish-mash of noise with nothing whatsoever to redeem it.

  1. Lifestyle – Rich Gang, Young Thug, & Rich Homie Quan

Again, boring rap with bad production. Nothing more, nothing less. I hate what rap music has become. The music world would be better off without rappers like these.

  1. Stay the Night – Zedd & Hayley Williams

How is it physically possible to make Hayley Williams sound boring? “Stay the Night” is yet another pointless, unoriginal club song in a decade that seems to be crammed full of them.

Posted by: tdennis2011 | December 25, 2014

Because It’s Christmas!!!

Hopefully you’re all enjoying Christmas so far. In the spirit of Christmas, here are my 25 favorite Christmas songs that should put you in a festive mood. Enjoy.

  1. Carol of the Bells
  2. Happy Xmas (War is Over)
  3. We Three Kings
  4. Merry Christmas Darling
  5. Dominic, the Italian Christmas Donkey
  6. The Christmas Song
  7. Toyland
  8. O, Holy Night
  9. O Tannenbaum
  10. Santa Baby
  11. Mary, Did You Know?
  12. Silver Bells
  13. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
  14. The Chipmunk Song
  15. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
  16. Christmas Time is Here
  17. Breath of Heaven
  18. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  19. All I Want for Christmas is You
  20. What Child is This?
  21. The First Noel
  22. Here Comes Santa Claus
  23. Holly Jolly Christmas
  24. (There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays
  25. Skating
Posted by: tdennis2011 | December 19, 2014

Hello Again, People

I’m back!

Now that school is over (for now) I can get back to blogging. Sorry for that longer-than-usual hiatus.

This is the time of the year when music critics and fans alike decide what music was worth your time. My 2nd annual Best of the Year lists will be posted on December 31, same as last year. I’m still listening to all the entries, which include at least 31 albums and a re-ranking of Billboard’s 100 biggest hits of 2014. I say at least 31 albums because I know I’ll probably be adding more to the list every other day.

Some housekeeping:

1) A few months ago I looked at my general lists of favorite music I posted last year and was absolutely horrified. Clearly my tastes have changed. I’ll be updating all of those lists soon, so keep checking back here to see what I like now.

2) The 100 Shocking Music Moments countdown will resume sometime in January.

3) There was plenty to be upset about this year, so you can expect the occasional rant from now on. Possible topics are: VH1, the current state of rap music, and (shiver) bro country.

4) The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just announced its class of 2015. My opinion will be up soon.

5) I realized I left you hanging by not finishing my predictions for this year’s VMAs. Sorry about that. I’ll get around to those, too.

That’s what you can expect for the next month or so. I’ll try to keep a tighter rein on my blogging obligations. Promise.

See you later.

Older Posts »

Categories