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25 December 2011
1) Adele - Rolling In The Deep [Video Link]
Co-songwriter and producer Paul Epworth, who has worked recently with the likes of Cee Lo Green and Florence and the Machine, provides a perfect backdrop for Adele's vocals on "Rolling In the Deep." Martial beats, pounding piano chords, and chanting backing singers all seem to just gradually ratchet forward and follow the emotion in the lead line. A broken down handclapping bridge is positively spooky. I’m just proud to see her progress so far since the ‘Chasing Pavements’ days.
"Born This Way" is filled with bumper sticker worthy slogans that do not feel kitschy or trite. "I'm beautiful in my way, 'cause God makes no mistakes." "Don't be a drag, just be a queen." "I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way!" True enough, these statements have swept into mainstream pop culture.
The piano melody is gorgeous and combined with Adele's heartfelt reading of her words, the effect is highly emotional. She apologizes for re-entering the life of the past love with hopes that she is not forgotten while wishing him all the best. Emotions are laid bare with some hope for true, lasting love in the future, but Adele sings that it will be in the arms of someone like the lover she lost.
5) Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera - Moves Like Jagger [Video Link]
6) Britney Spears - Till The World Ends [Video Link]
7) Ed Sheeran - The A Team [Video Link]
8) Nicki Minaj - Super Bass [Video Link]
9) Lady Gaga - Marry The Night [Video Link]
10) Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks [Video Link]
11) LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem [Video Link]
"Party Rock Anthem" comes complete with its own accompanying dance, the Melbourne shuffle, which has been a part of club culture since the 1980s but is experiencing a rebirth in popularity. The music video for "Party Rock Anthem" amusingly presents a world in which no one can seem to stop shuffling. This track is pure pop party music that took the world by storm in 2011.
12) Jessie J - Price Tag (feat. B.o.B) [Video Link]
First time out she was doing it like a dude. This time around, she's doing it like Natasha Bedingfield, albeit with a hipper guest rapper and more vocal charisma. Truth be told, 'Price Tag' does come off a little bit corny, but thanks in no small part to Jessie's spunky likability, it's still the best sun-dappled, midtempo head-nodder since Miley's 'Party In The USA' - a tune which she coincidentally had a hand in writing.
13) Jennifer Lopez - On The Floor (feat. Pitbull) [Video Link]
Jennifer Lopez recruited RedOne and Pitbull this time around for her first single on new label Island. Built around a 'Lambada' sample, 'On The Floor' is a Latin-tinged electro-housey party tune that can very well land itself on a Black Eyed Peas record. The result is the antithesis of classy, and while it may not be particularly original, it is one club stomper that has made the charts.
14) Lady Gaga - The Edge of Glory [Video Link]
At its heart "The Edge of Glory" is a simple, straightforward rock power ballad with a major kick. There is a poignant story behind "The Edge of Glory" about Lady Gaga and her father coping with the impending death of her grandfather. Once again very personal life experiences have generated pop magic for Lady Gaga. She utilizes the power of classic rock via a big saxophone solo from the late Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.
15) Beyonce - Run The World (Girls) [Video Link]
Earthy beats, hypnotising hooks and militant drums pound relentlessly as Queen B declares it's "GRLZ who run this mutha". The uber-trendy Major Lazer 'Pon De Floor' sample is free to roam as it sees fit, adding up to an aggressive, head-spinning and ferocious club stomper.
16) Coldplay - Paradise [Video Link]
17) Kelly Clarkson - Mr. Know It All [Video Link]
18) Florence & The Machine - Shake It Out [Video Link]
19) P!nk - F***'in Perfect [Video Link]
20) Katy Perry - E.T [Video Link]
Labels: Best Of Music 2011
24 December 2011
21) Florence & The Machine - What The Water Gave Me [Video Link]
Taking the title from a surrealist painting by Frida Kahlo and lyrical inspiration from the suicide of Virginia Woolf (‘pockets full of stones’), Florence Welch delivers ethereal vocals and the ghost of British folk-rock with such soulful power. Her chosen collaborators are Eg White on songwriting (Chasing Pavements) and Paul Epworth on production (Rolling In The Deep).
22) Bruno Mars - It Will Rain [Video Link]
Bruno Mars plaintively requests, "If you ever leave me baby, leave some morphine at my door..." Clearly, he is talking about true romantic pain here. He touches on the concept that it will rain every single day if a treasured relationship comes to an end. This may not be his most emotional piece (Grenade), but should be a huge pop single from the Twilight OST.
23) David Guetta - Without You (feat. Usher) [Video Link]
Usher has the flair of selling both romantic balladry and uptempo dance music in one, and he does it best on this track. Other than this track and ‘Titanium’ however, the songs from Guetta’s sophomore album ‘Nothing But The Beat’ are starting to feel more like production numbers from a star-studded TV special instead of like someone was concentrating on creating a truly memorable, durable pop record.
24) Lady Gaga - Judas [Video Link]
It takes a lot to be offended by a song before you've even heard it, but such was the case among Christian extremists when Lady Gaga released the lyrics to 'Judas' a couple of months ago. Proclaiming her love for a man who betrayed one of the world's most iconic religious figures was undoubtedly risky, but rather than gasping in dismay, what was produced was a RedOne-helmed, 'Bad Romance'-style sledge hammering beat with a sick bassline.
25) Lady Gaga - You & I [Video Link]
Naturally the track has undergone some minor sprucing in the studio, but the sentiment behind it remains as clear as ever. "You taste like whiskey when you kiss me, ooh/ I'll give up anything again to be your baby doll," she confesses about her on-off lover Luc Carl over a hi-gloss country-meets-'80s rawk melody. This track is truly a torchy, retro-classic, all-American power ballad built for the masses.
26) Rihanna - California King Bed [Video Link]
Opening with gentle acoustic strumming, ‘California King Bed’ tells the heart-wrenching story of the demise of a once-great relationship. Though ‘California King Bed’ follows a routine pop ballad arrangement, the song is a nice change of pace for the Barbadian hitmaker. As much as we love Rihanna’s dance club hits, it’s refreshing to hear a song built around her impressive voice.
27) Beyonce - Best Thing I Never Had [Video Link]
This is the Beyonce millions of fans the world over loved when they made "Irreplaceable" and "Halo" into mega-hits. She is the powerful woman assertive in words but with a softer, distinctively feminine side represented by the beautiful piano accompaniment. Babyface lends his songwriting talents here, while Symbolyc One, producer behind Kanye West’s ‘Power’, works on production.
28) Bruno Mars - The Lazy Song [Video Link]
Bruno Mars is clearly a man of many musical moods. His first hit "Just the Way You Are" was a sweet, almost fawning, love tribute. He followed that with "Grenade," one of the most direct and cutting break-up songs in recent memory. Now he backs away from any relationship concerns to relax with friends and celebrate a day of leisure.
29) Katy Perry - Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F) [Video Link]
The unmistakable musical stamps of producers Dr. Luke and Max Martin are all over this song. Musically, it is relentlessly perky and upbeat, and there is a dose of cheerleader rock in the bridge that leads into a saxophone solo and a reprise of the chorus. She has some clever lyrics in this too, whether it is mentioning Ke$ha's ever-present glitter or detailing just what a mess the Friday night was, if only it could really be remembered.
30) Bad Meets Evil - Lighters (feat. Bruno Mars) [Video Link]
"Lighters" kicks off with the warm, pleasing vocals of Bruno Mars celebrating living out one's life dreams with validation from a sea of admirers represented by the concert tradition of lighters in the air. It is followed by a confident and amusing Eminem rap in which he asks us to forgive his cockiness while he dismisses any haters that would argue with his status as the world's top rapper. Indeed, Eminem can remain powerfully engaging to pop audiences while losing none of the visceral impact of his best raps.
31) Britney Spears - Hold It Against Me [Video Link]
32) Demi Lovato - Skyscraper [Video Link]
33) Florence & The Machine - No Light, No Light [Video Link]
34) Adele - Set Fire To The Rain [Video Link]
35) Robyn - Call Your Girlfriend [Video Link]
37) Will Young - Jealousy [Video Link]
38) Jessie J - Who You Are [Video Link]
39) Christina Perri - Jar Of Hearts [Video Link]
40) Adele - Rumour Has It [Video Link]
41) Katy Perry - The One That Got Away
Labels: Best Of Music 2011
23 December 2011
Album Of The Year
Winner: Adele - 21
Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials
Lady Gaga - Born This Way
Best New Artist
Winner: Ed Sheeran
Foster The People
Best Male Artist
Winner: Bruno Mars
Best Female Artist
Winner: Lady Gaga
Best Male Pop Vocal
Winner: James Morrison - I Won't Let You Go
Bruno Mars - It Will Rain
David Cook - The Last Goodbye
Ed Sheeran - The A Team
Will Young - Jealousy
Best Female Pop Vocal
Winner: Adele - Someone Like You
Christina Perri - Jar Of Hearts
Demi Lovato - Skyscraper
Jessie J - Who You Are
Lana Del Rey - Video Games
P!nk - F***in' Perfect
Best Rock Song
Winner: Coldplay - Paradise
Kasabian - Days Are Forgotten
Paramore - Monster
Radiohead - Lotus Flower
Red Hot Chilli Peppers - The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie
The Strokes - Under Cover Of Darkness
Best Alternative Song
Winner: Florence + The Machine - Shake It Out
Death Cab For Cutie - You Are A Tourist
Florence & The Machine - What The Water Gave Me
Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks
M83 - Midnight City
Rachael Yamagata - Starlight
Best Dance Recording
Winner: Rihanna - We Found Love
Beyonce - Run The World (Girls)
Britney Spears - Till The World Ends
Jennifer Lopez - On The Floor
Lady Gaga - Judas
LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem
Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals
Winner: Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera - Moves Like Jagger
Cher Lloyd & Mike Posner - With Ur Love
Cobra Starship & Sabi - You Make Me Feel...
Coldplay & Rihanna - Princess of China
James Morrison & Jessie J - Up
Nicki Minaj & Rihanna - Fly
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
Winner: Bad Meets Evil - Lighters (feat. Bruno Mars)
David Guetta - Where Them Girls At (feat. Nicki Minaj & Flo Rida)
Diddy Dirty Money - Coming Home (feat. Skylar Grey)
Pitbull - Give Me Everything (feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer)
Professor Green - Read All About It (feat. Emeli Sande)
Rye Rye - Never Will Be Mine (feat. Robyn)
Labels: Best Of Music 2011: The Nominees
Rihanna - You Da One
Lana Del Rey - Off To The Races
Jessie J - Domino
Sunday Girl - Where Is My Mind
Lady Gaga - Stuck On Fuckin' You
Britney Spears - Strangest Love
Nicki Minaj - Stupid Hoe
Labels: 2012 Soundmunches
Top 12 Medley - 'The Edge of Glory'
Melanie Amaro - All I Want For Christmas Is You
Chris Rene - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Josh Krajcik - Please Come Home Tonight
Justin Bieber and Drew - 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town'
Leona Lewis - 'Run'
50 Cent & Astro - 'Wait Until Tonight' & 'In Da Club'
Pitbull & Ne-Yo & Marcus Canty - 'Give Me Everything' & 'International Love'
3rd place: Chris Rene
Melanie Amaro & Josh Krajcik - Heroes
Winner of X Factor US Announced!
Labels: X Factor (US)
22 December 2011
Melanie Amaro - 'Listen' by Beyonce
W.I.N. Totally win. Epic. A++
Chris Rene - 'Young Homie' (Original Composition)
Performing this for the third time definitely doesn't help showcase his versatility, but I appreciate how this song narrates his life story, and his journey in this competition. He's vocally at his best here too, and this might miraculously tide him through to the Final Two. A
Josh Krajcik - 'At Last' by Etta James
This was by far his best performance. He did his own thing, stayed true to himself, and delivered a passionate piece. A
Melanie Amaro & R. Kelly - 'I Believe I Can Fly'
Of all duets, this was the only one that made sense, and put the contestant at an advantage. She wasn't at an advantage though, when the key was more suited to fit his range. This was what I call a Grand Final performance. A-
Josh Krajcik & Alanis Morissette - 'Uninvited'
So damn ecstatic when Alanis appeared onstage. Josh fumbled at 2:46, and he totally lacked chemistry with her. Her album's out next summer YAY! To be honest, I was more excited for her than Josh. B+
Chris Rene & Avril Lavigne - 'Complicated'
I anticipated this to be a major disaster. Once again, I love the guest star ten times more than the participant, so I was rather frustrated with Chris destroying the first few verses of the song in front of the original artist. B
Labels: X Factor (US)
David Guetta - Titanium (feat. Sia)
Duck Sauce - Big Bad Wolf
Dry The River - Weights & Measures
Willy Moon - I Wanna Be Your Man
The Vaccines - Norgaard
Mona - Shooting The Moon
SBTRKT - Wildfire
Bombay Bicycle Club - Leave It
Adam Lambert - Better Than I Know Myself
Willow Smith - Fireball (feat. Nicki Minaj)
Noah & The Whale - Give It All Back
Javier Colon - As Long As We Got Love
Ren Harvieu - Through The Night
Lianne La Havas - No Room For Doubt (feat. Willy Mason)
Labels: 2012 Soundmunches
21 December 2011
Group Performance - 'Shout' by Tears for Fears & 'No Diggity' by Blackstreet
Total Cher Lloyd rip-off.
Florence & The Machine - Spectrum
Nicole Scherzinger - Pretty
One's amazing, one's a disaster.
Top 4 Results (Part I & II)
Contestants discuss their favourite and least favourite performances
Final Contestant Interviews: Chris Rene, Melanie Amaro, Josh Krajcik
Labels: X Factor (US)
Link to the finale.
The final redemption duel was a showdown between Ozzy and Brandon. The duel is just about holding onto a pole, and whoever stays on it longer wins.
OZZY WINS THE FINAL DUEL. Christine won the first five duels and Ozzy won the last six.
Brandon goes out thinking he won because he had a one-on-one chat with God on the island. Again, I don't like Survivor castaways who think that way, because the truth is that he lost. And now Ozzy rejoins the tribe to play for real.
Coach claims he wants to take Ozzy to the end and will try his hardest to protect him. Ozzy wants to take Coach to the end, mostly because Ozzy knows he'll beat anyone at the end. For that same reason, Ozzy is very suspicious of Coach's honesty about wanting to keep him.
The First Immunity Challenge: They must balance a board with one arm while building a huge house of cards with the other.
OZZY WINS IMMUNITY. He may not be able to outwit them, but he sure can outplay them.
The First Tribal Council: Ozzy clearly loves his position. Rick becomes the target because Coach delivers the most ridiculous theory ever that Rick is the biggest threat to win the game. I don't get how that is possible. I don't think the members of the jury even know who Rick is. Meanwhile, Ozzy correctly points out that Sophie is the sleeper threat, and she really showed her true colors during this latest challenge.
Sophie's argument is that she's the best competitor while Ricks argument is that he's worthless. Doesn't surprise anyone that Rick was voted out. Rick also makes it clear he has no respect for Coach and won't vote for him to win since he now thinks the honesty and integrity stuff is nonsense.
The Final Immunity Challenge: Ozzy's only strategy is to win the last challenge to make the finale. He admits he has no back-up plans. The last challenge is a giant obstacle course where they need to grab five puzzle bags and then put it together. Ozzy takes an early lead and never gives it up during the first part. But when it comes to the puzzles, Sophie steps it up.
SOPHIE WINS IMMUNITY.
She beat three athletic guys and this marks her third individual immunity win. At this point, the million dollar prize is pretty much hers.
The Final Tribal Council: Well, Ozzy's plan didn't work out, and since his only real plan was winning immunity, he's screwed and he knows it. Coach even dubs Sophie the new Dragon Slayer, since Ozzy was the dragon.
OZZY IS VOTED OUT.
Albert has no chance of winning, so it's just between Coach and Sophie, and they agree with me, except Albert who is delusional because he thinks he truly deserves to win.
Albert's Opening Statement: He plays up the "social experiment" angle and panders to Brandon by talking about how a higher power brought them all together on the island.
Sophie's Opening Statement: She explains that she outplayed in challenges and outwitted with her alliance and social game. Now that's a speech to win Survivor.
Coach's Opening Statement: He talks about compassion and respect and plays up the concept of redemption and family.
Ozzy's Question: He calls Sophie a privileged, pretentious brat and Albert a useless and lucky guy. He essentially says Coach deserves to win just because they're both returning players. Coach then explains that he's sad he had to break his word at times.
Jim's Question: He wants to know why Coach and Sophie don't deserve to win, and Albert loses him immediately by throwing Jim a suck-up compliment. Albert's only argument is that he made stronger bonds to the jury.
Dawn's Question: She wants to know why Sophie chose to be in her alliance, and she explains that she chose to work with Coach because he's like a young girl who cares less about the game and more about integrity.
Rick's Question: He gets Coach to apologize for stabbing him in the back. He also points out that Albert's using God to get Brandon's immunity necklace was B.S.
Brandon's Question: Like Rick, he wants to know why Coach voted against him even though he swore on God that he wouldn't. Then he demands a "Yes or No" answer from Albert about whether he knew Brandon was going home. Albert obfuscates a lot until weakly saying "No."
Whitney's Question: Albert is sleazy, Coach used Christianity to instill fear and Sophie was condescending. Sophie explains that her stand-offishness is just how she is.
Edna's Question: She points out that using religion to manipulate and dupe people is as old as time, so no one should be surprised. Love her to bits.
Keith's Question: He wants to know if Coach had any intention of using his immunity idol. Sophie uses the opportunity to reveal the truth about how they staged the discovery of the idol, totally throwing Coach under the bus to Brandon.
Cochran's Question: He's the typical fanboy for Coach, except for the fact that all his talk of "honor" is just a big, fat lie. Coach tries to escape doing bad things all season under the guise of honor by apologizing. He pretty much says he's no good at this game.
Sophie 5 [Jim, Rick, Dawn, Keith, Whitney] - Coach 4 [Ozzy, Cochran, Brandon and Edna] - Albert 0
SOPHIE CLARKE WINS!
She totally deserves it. She flew under the radar but still played hard, won more individual immunity challenges than anyone and did a great job.
15 December 2011
41) Katy Perry - The One That Got Away [Video Link]
42) Britney Spears - I Wanna Go [Video Link]
43) Drake - Take Care (feat. Rihanna) [Video Link]
44) David Guetta - Titanium (feat. Sia) [Video Link]
45) Ed Sheeran - Lego House [Video Link]
46) Avril Lavigne - What The Hell [Video Link]
47) Nicki Minaj & Rihanna - Fly [Video Link]
48) Cobra Starship - You Make Me Feel... (feat. Sabi) [Video Link]
49) Coldplay - Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall [Video Link]
50) Red Hot Chilli Peppers - The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie [Video Link]
51) Example - Changed The Way You Kissed Me [Video Link]
55) Birdy - Skinny Love [Video Link]
56) Snow Patrol - Called Out In The Dark [Video Link]
61) LMFAO - Sexy And I Know It
Labels: Best Of Music 2011
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