Top 10 Tracks of 2013

2013 was a crazy year for music, as many musical artists defied typical convention within their music and the marketing of their music. Jay-Z released an album onto a cell phone, Beyonce released an album without any promotion, and countless artists leaked their own album as an attack at the label they were signed to.  There was a lot of quality music to choose from in 2013, but I managed to find 10 of my favorites, listed here in no particular order.

1)  Phoenix – “Bourgeois”

This is my favorite “arena-rock” style song of the year. The kind of song that sounds best while being blasted loudly in front of a large crowd on a summer night.

2) Local Natives -“Colombia

I had heard a lot of Local Natives songs I liked before, but none of them quite clicked like this one did. It’s haunting, but also distinctly powerful and beautiful.

3) Ellery James Roberts – “Kerou’s Lament

This song immediately sucked me in from the first time I heard it. Its the kind of song that’s either loved or hated, but the songs ambition and passion cannot be argued.

4) Lana Del Rey – “Young and Beautiful

Pretty sure this song will go down as a classic.

5) Vampire Weekend – “Diane Young”

Vampire Weekend’s album, Modern Vampires of the City, was my favorite album of the year. Picking a favorite song was difficult, but “Diane Young”  never fails to get me to sing along to it.

6) Pusha-T – Numbers on the Boards”  (Explicit)

This song was my favorite hip-hop song of the year. Its dark and aggressive, but also funky and smooth. The main character is simultaneously arrogant, paranoid, insecure, and confident, if that’s even possible.

7) Disclosure – “When a Fire Starts to Burn

One of my favorite sample-based songs of the year. Fans of the Avalanches will feel quite at home here.

8) Daft Punk – “Touch

It bobs and weaves, ebbs and flows, gets loud, then gets quiet, and simply goes where no Daft Punk song has ever gone before.

9) FKA Twigs – “Water Me

This song gets pretty full-on weird, but also full-on awesome.

10) Kanye West – “Black Skinhead” (Explicit)

Sits somewhere between rock and hip-hop, and was on the of the most bombastic, loud, and crazy songs of 2013.

 

The Marshall Mathers LP 2 Review : Are Eminem’s Newest Songs More Creative Than His New Album Title?

There used to be a time when the best joke in junior high was coined by Chris Rock who said “You know the world is crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, and the best golfer is a black guy.” Of course, Rock was referencing Marshall Mathers, the controversial rapper from Detroit also known as Eminem, and his demonic alter ego Slim Shady, who together formed 1/6 of rap group D12. Throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, Mathers shredded the mic and was on top of the world (being the best selling artist of the decade between 2000 and 2010), all the while creating a stir with his insane lyrics that he spit with an unmatched natural talent. He reached his peak in 2002 with one of the greatest rap albums in history, The Eminem Show, along with releasing his most popular song to date in “Lose Yourself”. Since then, he’s battled pill addictions, family problems, fame problems, and the death of close friend and fellow D12 member Proof. After realizing the effect his Slim Shady persona had on his personality, he ditched the other half after the comeback album Relapse, and focused on aspects of his rapping that didn’t include previously common themes such as graphic murder, feuds with other rappers, and diss tracks aimed at “haters”. The album to follow was labeled as Recovery and was very commercially successful, sporting themes of redemption and resurgence, spawning hits such as “Not Afraid”, “No Love”, and “Love the Way You Lie”.

The only question is, where would Em go next? He took the rap world by storm after being introduced by Dr. Dre, created a whirlwind of controversy for a handful of years, quietly went away, came back, went away again, and came back better than ever with his previous two albums, Recovery, and the collaboration with Royce da 5’9″ (the other half of “Bad Meets Evil”), Hell : The Sequel. Now though, he’s 40, still doesn’t give a damn about a Grammy (even though he has 13), and is over battling addictions and family problems. That means, even though he has a lack of current event material to write about, Marshall would have to tap into his creative side to come up with content for The Marshall Mathers LP 2.

Which, if you have ever seen him freestyle, means he is still completely comfortably at home. He reasserts his dominance over other rappers lyrical and natural rapping ability in “Rap God”, at one stretch he raps at a speed of 6.5 words per second. In “Headlights” which features fun.’s Nate Ruess, he finally forgives his mentally ill, alcoholic mother who he previously berated in his career with “My Mom”, and “Cleanin’ Out My Closet”. Eminem also brings up past events with “Stronger Than I Was”, lamenting his broken, twice divorced relationship with ex-wife Kim Scott. The best personal history track is doubtlessly “The Monster”, which features Rihanna, with its only weakness lying in the fact that it too closely resembles Recovery‘s “Love the Way You Lie”.

Digging up the past is not where we find the strong points on MMLP2, however. Instead, we find the best tracks stemming from Mathers’ ability to assemble creative lyrics out of seemingly nowhere. Lead single “Berzerk” is rather quirky, sampling both The Beastie Boys and Billy Squier at different points, produced in a style that is reminiscent of “The Real Slim Shady”. There are a few parts that are just a little too strangely mixed for me however, as I feel like the strength in this song lies solely in its chorus. This collection hits its stride with “Survival”, “Rap God”, and “So Far…”, the lattermost sampling Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good”. “Rap God” is simply a lyrical onslaught, with “Survival” sporting a hard beat and explosive distortion, in Em’s fast rapping style in a very reminder of “Till I Collapse”.

So overall, what’s the verdict on the LP? There are places where Eminem has matured as a rapper, and he will straight up tell you about it. And really, that’s the only place where this album suffers. There is not a bad track on this record, I just simply do not terribly care about the past traumas that we’ve heard Marshall rap about before. And with a lack of current drama in his life, his hilariously lyriced tracks (“Without Me”, “Superman”, “We Made You”) are thrown out with his Slim Shady persona. If I want to listen to Eminem rap currently, I want a meaningful track such as “Stan”, or “Beautiful”, or an adrenaline filled diatrabe such as “Till I Collapse” or “Won’t Back Down”.

Which, he does deliver, practically in spades. “The Monster” is his best meaningful track, and it’s very interesting to see the contrast of “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” and “Headlights”. “Rap God”, and “Survival”, along with sections of “Berzerk” showcase Em’s ability to write and rap lyrics like no other.

Is Eminem the best rapper in the world? Probably not. Is he still one of the best writers and pure skill rappers on the planet? Without a doubt. Despite all the media and pop radio attention, the raw talent that Marshall Mathers showcases is evident even when he’s over the hill, and isn’t overflowing with reactionary content to write about. 8/10

10 Under the Radar 2013 Tracks

1. The Vaccines – “Do You Want a Man? (John Hill & Rich Costey Remix)”

This is a little gem of pop-rock perfectly completed with watery basslines flying all over the place.

2. Autre Ne Veut – “Play By Play”

Extremely well produced and poignant R&B. What’s not to like?

3. Mikky Ekko – “Pull Me Down”

Mikky Ekko is very close to breaking out into the mainstream. This is his first big single, but you might recognize him from the song, “Stay”, which he wrote for Rihanna.

4. Volcano Choir – “Byegone”

Justin Vernon (from Bon Iver) is involved. So, its good.

5. FKA Twigs – “Water Me’

Production straight out of the 22nd century, and a weirdly interesting video. Neo R&B at its finest.

6. Phoenix – “Bourgeois”

A great, energetic synth rock ballad.

7. Jai Paul – “All Night”

Great slow jam.

8. Daft Punk – “Instant Crush”

Obviously, “Get Lucky” gets all the attention from their newest album, but “Instant Crush” is a great track as well, though less dance-y.

9. Ryan Hemsworth – “Perfectly”

A very pleasant 3 and a half minutes, that seems to stick in my head all the time.

10. Shlohmo – ” Later”

One of my favorite electronic music songs of recent memory.

 

5 Songs You Should Listen To (if you want to, you’re allowed to hate them too)

This post is not to overshadow the suggestions/preferences of my fellow bloggers nor is this list meant to discourage the future posting of theirs concerning the vastly divergent topic of musical choice. For me, music has been a part of life from experience at home, performing, and “mirror” concerts that produce a brand of karaoke I wish to keep between myself and the man in the mirror. My mother’s career and education heavily involves music that deals with the preferences of older adults and the correlating genre/era of music they tend to enjoy and remember. My upbringing involved a heavy influence on church and, as a result, I participated in church choir for 14 years. I sang in school, in chorus and in musicals, as influenced by my two older sisters who did the same before me. All five of my family members sing and we have performed in family recitals, weddings, funerals, church, and so on. Growing up with so many talented musicians and especially vocalists I learned from an early age that the art and technique involved with producing music meant nothing if you couldn’t enjoy it or take something away from it. But, most importantly, all I could do with my family was sing and recreate what someone else already had. Loving music is appreciating how unique each of those creations are. Embrace the variety, keep your standards high, give the lyrics the credit that they deserve, and try to appreciate music as an art form not a product. You do not ask Van Gogh why the cloud swirl in Starry Night looks the way it does…I try to approach music the same way. I love these five songs for completely different reasons so that’s exactly why they are all on one list.

1. Alt-J Breezeblocks

2. Billie Holiday-I’ll Be Seeing You

3. Feist-Gatekeeper

4. Fleet Foxes-Montezuma

5. Radiohead-Jigsaw Falling Into Place

My Five Favorite Not-So-Famous Songs

Last week I ran a post on five songs that were well-known and rather non-hipster that were among my favorites of all-time. This week however, I’m going a bit of a different direction and throwing five songs out there that are not quite as famous. Although in some instances you may have heard of the band or even the song, for the most part these tracks reflect some of my favorites from albums that are less commercially known. None of these songs were released as singles for mainstream radio play either (at least not in the USA), so unless played at specific request I rather doubt you would hear them by turning the radio dial.

5. Head over Heels (in this Life) – Switchfoot

The follow-up to the follow-up of their most commercially and best received album The Beautiful Letdown, Oh! Gravity adds a distinctly more poppy and upbeat feel than their previous effort of the darker Nothing is Sound. Head over Heels is a very happy song, and has what I would call cute visualistic lyrics. It is nothing too special or fancy, but like drinking a glass bottle of Coca-Cola while fishing on a beautiful spring late afternoon, this song simply puts a relaxed smile upon your face.

4. Howl – Florence and the Machine

Off their debut album Lungs, Florence and the Machine through their two studio albums has solidified as a current favorite of mine in the music scene. I first backtracked from Ceremonials to Lungs and discovered that although not quite as lyrically matured, the good content on Lungs is as good as anything Florence Welch has written. Obviously, “Dog Days Are Over” is probably the most recognized and best song on this release, but even with singles such as “Kiss with a Fist” and “Rabbit Heart” I picked “Howl” to be my second favorite track on the album. The lyrics compare young love and passion to an animal or even perhaps werewolf base desire, and in doing so achieve a dark take on immature destructive love. The lyrics are so poetic, and the way the words roll off of Florence’s tongue is simply mesmerizing.

3. Forest Whitaker – Bad Books

Jonathan Drama’s brother Quintus Dellius first showed me this song through his “What’s the Alternative?” playlist on Spotify. Although I did not think all of those songs were heaven sends, this one jumped out more than enough to me so that I actually took the time to find and download it, something that is rather rare for myself. I confess that I have not listened to anything else that Bad Books has released (this song is off their second studio album entitled II), but if this track is any indication, they definitely have a unique sound. Forest Whitaker has a good beat, creative and relatable lyrics, and is well produced to form a fantastic final product.

2. AKA…Broken Arrow – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Yes, my Oasis obsession continues even through lesser-known tracks that are not even explicitly by Oasis themselves. Besides anything by The Fray, Florence and the Machine, and Lana del Rey, throwing on Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds self titled album is one of my favorite things to do when trying to relax. This song to be honest does not terribly make a lot of sense at first glance, but that’s where I glimpse the most creativity that Gallagher has yet to offer. Judging by some of his previous writings, Noel is no stranger to simply writing nonsense that when turned into song translates to a higher poetic meaning. When asked what the lyrics “slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball” in “Champagne Supernova” meant, Gallagher responded, “I don’t know. But are you telling me, when you’ve got 60,000 people singing it, they don’t know what it means? It means something different to every one of them.” On the surface, Noel doesn’t always make sense when he writes, but when he does it comes off with enough strength that it creates its own meaning and becomes memorable that way.

1. Kings Horses – JET

As Thurston Howell and I both like to point out, JET is best known for their blatant ripoff of Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” in their 2003 hit song “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?”. Beyond some TV adverts and having songs interspersed in films, the Aussie brothers Cester formed a band that was mostly a flash in the pan, something that existed in mainstream popularity in the mid 2000’s. Heralded as the next coming of AC/DC, with their recentish split it seems that Nic Cester has taken his musical style talents elsewhere, probably to be heard of only when he covers “Back in Black” wonderfully with Muse again. Despite producing some utter garbage (check Pitchfork’s review of their album Shine On for proof) that I loved in sophomore year of high school, there were flashes of brilliance, most notably this song “Kings Horses”. The meaning of the song is quite simple, as it is about a person’s regret over a situation where after everything falls apart they realize that they could have easily prevented it from happening. It’s also hopeful in the fact that even though (stealing from the rhyme and the song) “all the kings horses and all the kings men (couldn’t put him back together again)”, that you can always start over. Where this song delivers its genius is by piecing together nursery rhymes into the lyrics and creating a memorable sing-song ballad that is both creative and simply meaningful. Maybe if JET could have written more songs like this, they wouldn’t get an album review that is simply a video of a monkey urinating in its own mouth.

My Five Favorite Famous Songs

Unlike my cowriter Thurston Howell, I do not pride myself in being a hipster enough music geek to know and be a fan of the wide range of underground rap, funk, and indie music that he is so often prone to listen to. Although there are some under the radar songs that I will listen to from time to time, for the most part you will find my iPod or music library filled with albums and artists that the a-little-more-than-casual music listener will recognize. As such, I have decided to post five of my favorite songs that you definitely should know about.

5. Flashing Lights – Kanye West Feat. Dwele

(Caution, mild lyrics)

A lot of people do not like Kanye West because of his media persona of being an entitled jerk (or at least that’s the role he plays). That being said, those people probably do not listen to his music for that reason, and are blinded by their own false opinions. If you have a respect for good production, good beats, and smart lyrics, provided you like rap/hip-hop, you should like Kanye. Flashing Lights is his best song overall, although if you like this he has many, many more to offer.

4. Shoot to Thrill – AC/DC

I have always loved this song, coming off AC/DC’s best Brian Johnson album, Back in Black. But when Marvel (in one of their few good calls) decided to use it as Tony Stark’s hand-picked Iron Man theme, it started working its way into many of my playlists. It is a perfect song for a summer drive, a game of Halo, or jumping out of an airplane in your high-tech prosthesis.

3. Summertime Sadness – Lana del Rey

I will readily admit that I am in love with Lana del Rey. Despite all her obvious shortcomings and eccentricities, and the fact that she writes from a female perspective, I just love her lyrics. The hipster inside me hates that this song receives so much attention, as I thought that maybe “Blue Jeans” or “Young and Beautiful” would be her best known songs, but according to the 88 million views on youtube I might be wrong. In line with hipster methodology, I discovered this song way before it hit radio play, so my love affair with it is definitely longer than yours. The main thing I love about this track is the vividity of her lyrics. If you simply close your eyes and listen, you cannot help but picture in bright color exactly what is going on in this song. It just makes it seem so real.

2. Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones

From Call of Duty : Black Ops, to Scorsese films The Departed, Goodfellas, and, Casino, chances are you know this song perhaps not by title but by tune. Written in 1969, this song is written by Mick Jagger in a apocalyptic type feeling, with the Vietnam war weighing prominently on his mind. Just like Shoot to Thrill, this song is even more perfect (if such a thing exists) for a sordidly hot and sticky summer day with the top down and aviators on. Although Jagger may have written requesting shelter from the violence at the time, today we can create a twofold meeting out of it. Just pick the newest war that our country has decided to take place in, and play it on a Pennsylvanian day in July and you are well on your way to being a complex individual.

1. Wonderwall – Oasis

If you know me at all, this song should come as no surprise to you. In fact, you are probably rolled your eyes just as you saw what song number one was. Although this is not my favorite version of this song (songwriter Noel Gallagher does a killer solo version), it is nonetheless the one that I have deemed my favorite song for at least the better part of my music listening life. Do I know why this song is my favorite? To be honest, not really. I cannot pinpoint an exact reason, because I simply love everything about it. It is simply my favorite song by my favorite band.

Top 5 Songs of the Week

In case you’re wondering what happened in music this week, I’m here to give you the 5 best songs released either as singles or as part of an album this week. Lets go.

1)  The Killers– “Shot At the Night”

I know you might be thinking that the Killers haven’t made anything good since their breakout album, “Hot Fuss”, but this song is a return that album’s 80’s feel and epic synth balladry.

2) The Royal Concept – “Gimme Twice”

This song has been a favorite of mine for a while, but was released this week on their EP entitled, “Royal”. For fans of The Strokes and Phoenix, for sure.

3) Ben Khan – “Eden”

An amazing little piece of electronic pop. Very similar to Jai Paul’s recent work.

4) Aloe Blacc – “Love is the Answer”

A bit of funky soul to end the week on a high note. The production from Pharrell has a great bounce, but gives Aloe the spotlight.

5) Phantogram– “Selling Nothing”

Seeing Phantogram live was pretty incredible. It’s been a long time since their first album, but this second track off the new album shows they are just as on top of their game as before.

BONUS TRACK:This track is not from this past week, but from last month, but its too great not too share. Enjoy!

John Legend – “Open Your Eyes”

 

I Can Wait to See You Again : Another Author’s Opinion on Hannah Erotica

Although I don’t disagree with the opinion voiced by my cowriter, Mr Madison, I would just like to expound on those thoughts while they’re still fresh in everyone else’s mind. Granted, this is all giving Miley Cyrus more attention than she is deserved, but what this writer writes about her isn’t going to affect her inflated ego one way or the other.

I agree with Madison about the fact that we need to be more conscious about the messages that crap Top 40 music is sending us as the listneners. In today’s day and age, it’s easy to avoid the Ryan Seacrest hosted music scene that comes with the garbage that is played over the radio on a daily basis. There’s XM radio, iPods, talk radio, or even CDs to listen to before you turn your radio dial to any popular music station. If you don’t want to be inundated with the trash flow that is played on the radio these days (irregardless of content, the music itself is bad), you have about another million options. And if you don’t want your kids listening to that music, set the precedent in the household that that is simply not the norm. Pretty easily done.

But then, how many of you actually sat down and intentionally watched the VMA’s? I know I sure didn’t, but I was still bombarded with images or news about what happened during them. I chose to watch a much better production in Breaking Bad on my Sunday night, but I was still made well aware of the happenings on MTV. Pretty much any internet news site or social network was completely exploding with VMA information whether you wanted it or not. Every memebase on the web started cranking out VMA related memes that hit the internet as fast as pictures of cats do. Which then leads to people talking about it at your work, or amongst your friends, or in your family. And it’s all part of a genius system, that attracts your attention to something so that it stays relevant.

And then what happens once you see and hear everyone talking about it? You get online and watch the performance yourself. And then, when you hear the song you realize it has a catchy tune you can’t get out of your head, which you hear the next time you accidentally turn on the radio. Which then leads you to turn on the radio more often, leading you to have your brain turned to mush by the dumpster bin quality of what is being played. And then when the moment of clarity comes when you realize what the catchy song is really about, you either don’t care enough to try and change, or you just stop listening to it. Either way though, you bought into The System.

One thing is certain, is that something needs to change. The System has gotten so good, so rich, and so powerful, that unless you literally live underneath a rock, you’re guaranteed to hear about the dunghill news that the entertainment biz cranks out on a daily basis. Whether you choose to invest any actual time and or money into it is a different matter, but it doesn’t change the fact that somehow, somewhere, you’re going to hear about it. And quite simply, that’s a huge problem. Blame it on America, capitalism, the FCC, the degradation of basic morals, whatever. But the fact will always remain that somehow, you’re to blame.

In a system based on greed, the person with the most wins. The most money, viewers, listeners, fans, stuff, etc. In a country where success is equated with excess, bigger is better as long as bigger means more. There’s even a television show based on people who do nothing but hoard things. We rank people and businesses based on the value of their assets, or what they have, instead of who they are and what they do. Album sales matter, not album content. Ratings matter, not what is being displayed on television. Quantity wins over quality every single day without contest.

So how do we avoid more Miley Cyrus controversy? It’s not by restricting what can or cannot be shown on television, or forcing strict morals on society, or issuing harsh statements from conservative watchdog groups. It’s by as a society on the whole, becoming less materialistic and greedy. Remember the old Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” Sure, banning Miley in your household is going to make a temporary difference, but instilling values that don’t consist of the need to accumulate things is what is going to make the lasting difference. When you no longer care about the inane materialism that is in most pop songs, not only will you stop listening to that genre of music and all it glorifies, but you won’t even care to tune into MTV anymore, or the VMA’s specifically for that matter.

Does this all mean that I think it’s okay for Miley Cyrus’ disgusting performance being so raunchy and on basic cable that it overshadows that of Lady Gaga, who chose to wear a thong on-stage? I certainly don’t think so, but I don’t think that the immorality is the inherent problem. Regardless of whether you care (watch) about the VMA’s or not, The System has learned exactly how to maniuplate people into getting what they want. It’s built by people who want or have fame and fortune, as they project that image onto millions of other people who in turn desire the same thing. And if those aren’t your priorities, then you simply won’t buy into the System. The more people that don’t buy into it, the less profitable it will be, and the less we’ll hear about it. It’s not a quick fix, but it certainly is not going to be, after decades of the focal point of this country being the accumulation of wealth and power. Everything in moderation, especially Miley Cyrus.

 

Miley Cyrus: Hannah Erotica

I know you’ve seen it, I know you’ve seen it, and you’re a good person….but I know you’ve seen it. That intoxicating melody of Robin Thicke’s mediocre sex themed song setting it yet? First of all, why do people watch the Video Music Awards? Second of all, why do we care about Miley Cyrus? Thirdly, Britney Spears.

1. Who cares about the VMA’s? Imma let you finish but it’s just a cesspool of manufactured drama and controversy that is designed so you watch the next year and talk about it (yes, like I am now).

2. Hannah Montana is not real and Miley Cyrus has a manager, people. She wants to make money and remaining relevant is her only ticket to doing that, so she took advantage of the biggest stage she could find.

3. That manager is the same as Britney Spears employed. Remember the mousketeer? Then the python, then the loss of clothing, then the Madonna kiss at THE VMA’S, then the shaved head, then the $10 million or whatever she makes to be on the X Factor. Miley is doing the same thing because the business begs her too.

A simple solution to your outrage. Stop listening to awful music. Today’s music industry is more about industry than music. The songs are awful, the lyrics are juvenile, the melodies are computer generated, and the visuals are all sexual in nature. How dare you complain to the world that Miley Cyrus is corrupting your 14 year old daughter when you’re the one that lets her listen to Robin Thicke in the first place. Call it like it is, or prohibit the filth altogether. It’s a business that has nothing to do with music, quality, or decency, so questioning the merits of the VMA’s debacle on those dimensions is idiotic. Just change the channel, read a book, play a guitar, or embrace it for the soft core porn young celebrities represent and the fact that it is worth millions. But, please don’t make this a moral conversation when you’re watching MTV and the lyrics “I know you want it” are repeating in your head when you sit at work and while your daughter sits in school….

10 Songs I Love

A summary of my musical taste in 10 songs:

If I’m going to be writing about music, I think it’s best to give readers a background for my musical tastes. I figure that showing my taste’s will help you understand why I might not like something you like or vice versa. I’ll try to cover the whole spectrum of music I enjoy through 10 different songs, each covering a unique category of music I. Just to note, these aren’t exactly my 10 favorite songs, but more an overview of 10 songs I love. As always, thanks for reading.

1) Classic Rock

Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody

I was pretty close to picking “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, but I think “Bohemian Rhapsody” just edges it out. Every time I hear it, I can’t help but sing along to the line  “I don’t wanna die, I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all!” .

2) 80’s Era “Cheesy” Song I Love Anyway

Toto – “Africa

Any of my friends from senior year of high school can attest to my love of this song. My favorite part is the falsetto harmony “I bless the rain”. Look for that part at 3:32 on the video.

3) R&B Song

Frank Ocean –“Wiseman

This is a much newer song than the first two songs, as it was only released in late 2012. This song was intended to be in the 2012 film Django Unchained, but the director, Quentin Tarantino, couldn’t find a place for the song in the movie, and he didn’t want to dishonor it by throwing it in haphazardly. After listening, you can see why Tarantino cared for it so much.

4) Dance Song

Daft Punk – “One More Time

It’s simple, it’s a bit repetitive, but play this over huge speakers and see how long you can make it without dancing.

5) Hip-Hop Song

Kanye West – “Hey Mama” Grammy Version

Show this to anyone who hates Kanye West. They might still hate him, but they’ll now like one of his songs.

6)Alternative Rock

The Strokes- “Last Nite

The Strokes first album was so good, they spent the rest of their career trying to get close to it in quality, and have not yet succeeded. But man, was that first album great. This song, “Last Nite” takes its opening from Tom Petty’s “American Girl”.

7) Pop Song

Usher – “Climax

Usher is in top form in this 2012 hit song, produced by Diplo. Unlike current pop music, the beat is constantly rising and falling, without ever breaking out into a dubstep frenzy.

8) Old School 50’s Song

Bobby Darin – “Beyond the Sea

Yes, the original was technically written in 1946, but Bobby Darin’s 1959 version is my favorite.

9) A Little Off The Beaten Path Song

Animal Collective – “My Girls

Something about this song is just perfect to me.

10) Favorite live performance song/video

LCD Soundsystem – “All My Friends

Though the quality of the video isn’t the best, the song is.

Please excuse the one s-word at the beginning of the video. The rest is clean.