Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Songs of the Moment 1/19/10 - Best Songs of 2009

Here they are, my most favorite songs of 2009, countdown style! Keep in mind: I was introduced to much fantastic music throughout this year, but this list is limited to songs that actually were released this past year. Still, it has taken me three weeks of painful decisions to come up with this list of my seventeen favorites songs of 2009, which were picked from a whopping 304 songs. I think it's extremely interesting how this line up turned out after having compared the countless memories throughout the year that are tied with each of these songs. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!!!
PS: Props to Muse, Moby, Paramore, Matisyahu, Porcupine Tree, and Creed, which all had songs that narrowly missed this list that have also played a huge part in making this year of music so fantastic for me!

17. The World Ends Tonight by Until June
"If the world ends tonight, will you stay by my side?"
Until June hit me hard with their new half-album this year, which was actually one of my very favorite new releases. I never expected them to stand out so much for me, but this new style of theirs is so captivating. The vocals are the highlight of this song, making the lyrics seem so heartfelt and true. A great song for those late night drives with a loved one :)

16. Don't Haunt This Place by The Rural Alberta Advantage

"We wish you'd come back because we need this oh so bad, because I need you oh so bad."
I've told you guys about thisone before, and it's awesomeness has earned it a second stop on my blog. This song is so unique in my book. It's got the crazy, breakneckly fast drum part, but is somehow still a very mellow song for me with it's cello part and amazing male/female vocal duet. I'm addicted the quirky new style that this band has introduced me to. I wish all music was more like this.

15. Wonderful by Gary Go
"We are all miracles wrapped up in chemicals. We are incredible. Don't take it for granted."
If you know me, then you know that I'm a sucker for anything and everything inspirational. I was fortunate to come upon one of the most inspirational songs I've heard in a long time. It was actually the free single of the week a few months back, and definitely the best iTunes has had all year (yes, even better than Fireflies *bleh*).

14. Spark by Assemblage 23
"One dream that's worth defending. One love that's never-ending."
This is another empowering song, in more ways than one, which I haven't seen the like of in any of Assemblage 23's earlier stuff. I really enjoy the turn they've taken with songs more like these, they make me feel invincible. This song outlines the realization that, if you try, you can become the kind of person who can stand up for their beliefs and change the world. I thrive thanks to this type of music. (click on the Spark on the list on the linked website)

13. Medicine Man by Zero 7
"Keep on keeping on."
This one seems totally out of place on this list with it's funky style and crazy vocals, but I'm addicted to it all the same. I don't think I've ever had so much fun dancing to a song, or ever had a tougher time resisting that urge when this song starts up. As the song says: "Contagious, simply outrageous!"

12. By The Time by Mika & Imogen Heap

"Tell me, how am I supposed to care?"
Here is where we start turning toward the more emotional section of this list. This is basically a breakup song, but it's so much deeper than that. Mika and Imogen Heap is basically the dream team for a song like this. They're vocals are spot-on emotionally. In fact, I love them so much that they each have a song of their own that has made it past this point in my list. I hope for more amazing combinations such as this in the future.

11. A Promise by Broken Records
"And if our hearts all disappear and if our bones, they crumble to the soil, our love will rise again."
Here is another sad one, but it does have a hint of hope. I love this one for the unbelievably beautiful quartet/piano parts and the perfectly fitting voice that goes with them. Another I love about this song is the transition from sadness to hope that is right in the middle, with both halves equally amazing musically and emotionally. Don't miss out on this one

10. I See You by Mika
"You mean the world to me, but you'll never know..."
Here's Mika's well-deserved position on this list. While his album has some songs that I find extremely annoying, there is an equal amount of truly outstanding songs in there as well, and here is the best of them all. This one's a would-be pick for the soundtrack of my life. A story of dreaming about love, this song was incredibly easy for me to grasp and make my own.

9. Spain by Between The Trees
"The rest of the world can wait cause I've been waiting for you."
This is the first of the three songs here from my most favorite album of the year (which has the same title). These songs have become so incredibly special and personal for me that I almost can't bear the emotion that they always incite within me. This particular song is one of the best love songs in history with it's love-filled lyrics and beautiful melody. Don't let this song go by unnoticed in this world. It deserves to get out there.

8. Nobody Knows You by Until June
"Nobody loves you like I do."
Until June jas impressed me further with yet another amazing tune. This one, believe it or not, is even more lovely than their other song on this list. The best thing about it is that I can't decide if this is a happy or sad song. It drags me both ways emotionally and I always love those types of songs the most. Take a listen and decide for yourself.

7. Scarecrow by Between The Trees
"Maybe I wasn't made for this world."
Scarecrow is the second song here from my highlighted band of the year, Between The Trees. This is actually the only one on the album that isn't a love song, but it hits me all the same. I'm sure this one would easily claim a spot on the soundtrack of my life. I guess it's kind of a depressing song, but there's something about the truthfulness behind it that I adore.

6. Wide Awake by Making April
"I was dying for our moment to arrive, now I'm running further just to feel alive."
This song melts my heart, mainly because I can relate to it so amazingly well. It's about the hopelessness of a dreamed love, which is a concept that I've seen so much in my life and in the lives of others. Everything about this song is perfect.

5. Panic Switch by The Silversun Pickups
"If I go everywhere you want me to go, how will I know you'll still follow?"

I get crazy when this song starts playing, more so than with pretty much any song I've ever heard. The Silversun Pickups's songs are so powerful and passionate. Something about their electronic rock always gets my blood pumping. This song is unique among the others on this list because the lyrics have nothing to do with why I like it so much. The beat and rhythms alone have helped this song get so high on my list. I can't wait to see these guys live in April! That will be the best day of my life!!!

4. Half Life by Imogen Heap

"You know you'll never be lonely, you know you'll always be loved, and maybe you never need more than that."
I have a very special, personal connection to this song. It's something that I don't want to share, but this song got me through September, the toughest part of 2009, an experience I thought I'd never get through. Never has a song brought so many tears to my eyes...I'm seriously quivering right now just listening to it. Imogen Heap pulls at hearts in ways I never thought possible. She has blessed my life with this song and I could never thank her enough.

3. Gimme Sympathy by Metric
"We're so close to something better left unknown."

This was my song of the summer, the song of incredible memories of good company and fantastic times. I am always in the mood for this song. I don't know how it's come to please me so much, being that it's so simple, but it's the type of song I'd want playing over a slideshow of my life with friends. I really can't put my finger on it. You'll have to tell me what you think. (Pay close attention to this music video, it's got something extremely cool going on in it and it's definitely my favorite music video of the year)

2. Where I Want To Be by The Dangerous Summer
"There is something in your face that pulls me far enough away."
I know this is a repeat on my blog too, but it fully deserves another appearance here. This one's got a very similar feel to that of Gimme Sympathy, but it's more focused on being happy in love. I always have a great big smile while listening to Where I Want To Be. It just makes me want to go out and be there for someone. It gives me all kinds of satisfaction for what I already have and hope for where I want to be.

1. Changed By You by Between The Trees
"Please just say you'll let me forever be whatever you need."

Somehow I knew this song would make it right in this spot when I was only a few seconds into my very first listen to it about two months ago, and now here it is. It's amazing how that works out. If you haven't already figured it out, I'm quite the loving fellow, and words can't explain the feelings this song brings about in my mind and my heart. I'll leave the first impression up to you. I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do.

There they are, the songs that have guided my life over the past year. I've had a lot of incredible moments with them and I know that there will be many more to come. It's surprising to see how much my musical tastes are expanding, which is made clear by the variety in this list alone. I'm interested to see if my favorite music of 2010 will follow be similar, or if it will throw even more strange stuff into my adored collection. Here's to another year of great music!!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Best of 2009

2009 blew my mind in so many ways. It was undeniably the worst year and the best year of my life with all of the crazy stuff that was going on. I've decided that I need to pay a little tribute to some of the things that made 2009 so amazingly awesome with a couple of countdowns of my favorite things in several categories. So here we go!

Best Movies
5. X-men Origins: Wolverine-I'm a sucker for anything Marvel, and this one was quite good
4. The Blind Side-An extremely touching movie, I loved every minute of it
3. Terminator: Salvation-I loved this way more than the other Terminator movies, it actually put me in a bit of a craze with its awesomeness
2. Knowing-I didn't expect this one to be any good, but it was actually very impressive
1. 9-This one definitely deserves much more attention. I can't get enough of it and I would recommend it to anyone (I'm afraid it might be dethroned by Avatar as soon as I get around to seeing it)

Best Video Games
5. Band Hero-when I first saw it, I thought it was a joke, but I've grown to love it's style and song selection over that of Guitar Hero 5, which would be #6
4. DJ Hero-a very interesting, brand new peripheral makes this game exciting and interesting and it's original remixes have me hooked!
3. Left 4 Dead 2-I would have liked to have seen more improvements, but still a brilliantly terrifying and enjoyable game
2. Lego Rock Band-the whole lego idea is always fun and interesting, but my reason for placing this one in the second position is for is far superior song selection, I love it!
1. Assassin's Creed 2-I loved the first game despite every else's complaints, but the major improvements here have increased my admiration of this series tenfold! Ezio for the win!!!

Best Achievements
5. Driver's License-a very cool achievement, no doubt, but it honestly didn't require much effort
4. 4 on AP Euro Exam-this one, on the other hand, took the most time and effort. It definitely brought me the most relief and satisfaction with all of my hard work over the year
3. Obtained 3rd viola chair out of ten in the Davis Youth Symphony-I was really worried about my audition for this one, but 3rd out of ten of the best violists in the county? Awesome!!!
2. Maintained 4.0 Cumulative GPA-IB pushed me on this one, but I've stayed strong this first semester to remain one of the only eleven juniors who still have this cumulative GPA
1. Voted "Most Outstanding Orchestra Member of the Year"-Sophomore Year-I did not see this one coming, even in my wildest dreams. Despite the obviously far superior talent elsewhere in orchestra, the group voted me the Most Outstanding Orchestra Member of the Year. What makes this extra cool is that I was a sophomore and a violist, which are two reasons that make me even more surprised. I'm very proud of this recognition because of my love for my orchestra, but I still don't see how it happened.

Best Experiences
5. Renovated third garage for my car (December 31)-that's right, the very last day of the year. Well my dad did say it would happen by the end of the year... Now my awesome car finally has some shelter from the cruel weather that has been going on lately, and I don't have to be as cold driving to school!
4. Academic Olympiad (November 18)-I've never hurt so much from laughing. Chosen to represent BHS in a series of tests and competitions, I was joined by eight others, including my best friend Trevor who joined at the last minute (I'm not kidding, it was THE last minute), in one of the funnest days of my life. We actually almost won the quiz game between the 30-or-so high schools, but it really was all about each other's company and the good memories involved.
3. Moved bedroom to the basement (October 17)-every teenagers' dream! It has been an interesting change, but I love the seclusion and freedom from my sisters and the nearness I have to so many enjoyable places in my house.
2. Turning 16 (February 17)-I couldn't wait to be sixteen (who can?) and to get started with the full blown high school experience. This birthday was particularly nice because of all of the recognition and hopeful wishes I received from my friends and family.
1. No Doubt/Paramore/The Sounds Concert with Melissa Regis (May 25)-I would probably even place this as the single best experience of my entire life. It was the first concert I had ever been to and I don't think there could have been a much better show to be my first than what Paramore and No Doubt laid out. They are both beyond amazing! It was made even more amazing by serving as one of my first dates, and I couldn't thank Melissa enough for accompanying me.

Best Trips
5. Various Boating Trips (throughout summer)-the first full summer with our boat resulted in many incredible trips and fun moments. I'm surprised how much enjoyment I was able to squeeze out of the whole thing
4. Seattle with immediate family (April)-I'd never been to Seattle and had always been interested to pay a visit. I got a chance to do just that this summer and I've decided that its one of the coolest cities in existence.
3. EFY with Trevor Wilson (June)-EFY was this was amazing. I had so much fun with Trevor and with the other awesome people in our group, who came from all over the country. This was definitely the hardest trip to put an end to.
2. Orchestra Trip (February)-Orchestra! My favorite group of people ever! I would have hated myself for missing out on this trip. It wouldn't have been nearly as fun without my good friend Darrell by my side 24/7 for four days. I had the time of my life and I can't wait for the trip in 2010!
1. Lake Powell with extended family (August)-I wasn't looking forward to this trip as much as with the other ones, but this year's Lake Powell trip blew me away. I had the best time I've ever had with my mom's side of my extended family and I crave another round next summer.

Best Albums
5. Light by Matisyahu-nothing but beautiful songs of hope and inspiration here. It's a stretch from my usual taste in music, but I love Matisyahu's lyrics and purpose in writing music. I've enjoyed his music in the past, but this album is his best by far.
4. Sound of Defeat-EP by Until June-I think it's pretty impressive for this one to make the list, considering that it only has six songs. Each one of them is really cool and together they create a sound that has given Until June a new musical identity that I absolutely adore.
3. Compass by Assemblage 23-This album also greatly changed my view of its artist. Assemblage 23's sound went from being dark and raw to being extremely uplifting and cheerful for me. I love the feeling I get whenever I listen to this wonderful music.
2. Yeah Ghost by Zero 7-This album is like nothing I've ever listened to in my life, but I'm addicted to it. It will, no doubt, cause some eyes to roll and hands to reach to turn off the stereo, but there's something about Zero 7's new style will have me forever captivated.
1. Spain by Between the Trees-Here it is, the album of year and definitely one of the best albums of the decade. If you're looking for love songs, this whole album is for you. If you aren't, this whole album is for you. Every word and note is so heartfelt and thought through that my heart and mind almost can't take it. I can't wait to find that special person so that I can share this music with them and I have a strong desire to make this album the trademark of such a relationship. Words don't do a very good job at describing how I feel about it.

Best Songs-this one will be coming in a later post because I still need a lot of time to decide. It's a really frustrating process with all of the amazing music of this year. I will, of course, be including much more than only five contenders in this category, so make sure you check back for them!

There it is, an amazing year full of things and memories that I will continue to cherish for the rest of my life. I'm interested to see how 2010 can top it, but I'm convinced that it will!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Songs of the Moment 1/2/10 - 16 New Albums

That's right guys, sixteen albums for Christmas (I'll have you know that any and all money I received for Christmas also went towards these). Better than that, 12 of them came out in 2009 so there's a lot of brand new stuff here. You can't even imagine how much excitement has been whirling through my head over this past week and isn't even close to ending. I'll include one song from each, either my favorite or the one that best represents the mood of the whole album so you guys can get a good idea of the style of each one. I'll also focus more on the albums then the songs because I haven't listen to this stuff all that much yet and, therefore, haven't been able to pay attention to a lot of the songs closely. Since I've got to fit in more songs this time around, I'll stay brief, so here you go.

1. Misguided Ghosts by Paramore from Brand New Eyes
So I thought Paramore was alright before this album and there was always something I preferred to listen to, but they have really surprised me with this album. I might have not received this one if it weren't for my good friend Darrell, who made an excellent choice. A certain maturity reveals itself in this album, and my respect for Paramore. Because I received this album several days before Christmas, I know this album much better than any of the others and I'd recommend this one first and foremost because I know anyone would enjoy it.

2. If The News Makes You Sad, Don't Watch It by Broken Records from Until the Earth Begins To Part
This is definitely the most musically beautiful album out of the bunch with it's outstanding violin, cello, and trumpet work, on top of the usual rock instruments and extremely unique, soothing vocals. I could listen to this one forever. With a slight country flare to it, this album is definitely broadening my musical tastes further than I could have anticipated, but how could I turn this music away? This is probably the most obscure band here, so do them a favor and spread the word.

3. Backfire by Mute Math from Armistice
This album is the most powerful and energetic. It's got heavy beats, some nifty techno bits, and the meaningful lyrics that I always love Mute Math for. It also has some much more mellow bits with softer vocals mixed in here and there. Mute Math is soaring with all kinds of talent in this one. They're making me jealous. For you Stephanie Meyer fans, this album also includes the Twilight movie's theme "Spotlight". Oh, and don't let this music video distract you too much :).

4. Where I Want To Be by The Dangerous Summer from Reach For The Sun
I was honestly a bit disappointed by this album with it's swearing and a few questionable themes, but the songs that are good and sweet make up for most of it. This song here is actually probably one of my top five songs of the entire year, and I've been heading to the internet nearly everyday just to listen to it on Youtube, but now I have it! Basically every song is about the things that go on in your mind while you're in love, and I'm in love with a lot of the special, heartful words in this unique album. (PS: isn't the music video cute?)

5. The Song You Sing by Creed
This is the album I was most excited for because Creed was my favorite band throughout my childhood and I was beyond devastated when they split up in 2005. Fortunately, they've reunited for another round and I love what they've become. I've read a lot on what they went through to get to this point and about how they've changed their lives for the better, using all of their experiences to build this album. If you're inspiration, this is the one for you. My only regret is that I didn't make it to their concert in Salt Lake last October. Hopefully I'll get another chance to see this inspiring band.

6. Swan Song by Brightwood from Wake
I shared a song from these guys last week, and I'm glad to say that my collection of their music has since increased. This song is another that I've been addicted to for a couple of months now, and I'm thrilled that I now own it and can listen to it whenever I want! This is probably the most heartfelt, love-filled album out of the group, almost to point of causing tears in some cases. This is my most played out of my most recently acquired albums. I just can't get enough of it.

7. Snakes by Great Northern from Remind Me Where The Light Is
Great Northern always manages to include some tiny catchy part to their songs that I can't get out of my head. In this case, it's a simple, two note sequence, but every song has a little something that draws you back. I personally always love man/woman vocal mixes in any song, and Great Northern pulls it off in a fantastic way.

8. Electric Twist by A Fine Frenzy from Bomb In A Birdcage
This album is a lot different from past stuff I've heard from A Fine Frenzy, especially this song, but I think it's generally a lot more catchy, and it's catchyness that matters when you're deciding between your sixteen new albums :) (You should try it one time!). With amazing vocals and interesting instrument parts, as always, A Fine Frenzy has expanded their musical flavor and that's what I like to see with developing musicians.

9. Blame It On The Girls by Mika from The Boy Who Knew Too Much
You couldn't have forced me to listen to this album a few years ago. I don't know what's changed since then, but I'm in a Mika craze right now, even though this type of music is stretching my musical taste more than anything ever has. I don't why this guy isn't insanely famous by now because his music gives me such an awesome feeling, not to mention a strong urge to dance. The crazy pop aside, Mika has some really powerful mellow songs, including one where he is joined by Imogen Heap. The diversity is outstanding and I know it will have me craving this album no matter what mood I'm in. (This music video is also very bizarre, be careful)

10. Don't Haunt This Place by The Rural Alberta Advantage from Hometowns
I've had this song for a while now and somehow I keep forgetting how charming and special it is. The rest of album includes other such gems, but it's the type of music that, for some reason, I know will never have much of a standing in today's music world. It's sad that the majority of people today can't respect this sort of stuff. Forget what the band's reputation, forget what the critics are recommending. Go out there and find your own music, that's the only way you can find the really cool stuff like this. Sometimes you all you need is good music.

11. Die Happy, Die Smiling by Maps from Turning The Mind
I love techno, but this is the only electronic album I received for Christmas. It's the second album from Maps, and it maintains same awesome mood that I love from Maps that I can't find anywhere else. I've only listened straight through it once, but I noticed many cool techno rhythms that could easily soon become addictions for me. I think it will take a while to grow on me, like the last Maps album did, but this album seems more than promising for me at this point.

12. Razoreyes by Elevation from Strangelove
Here it is, my favorite album out of all sixteen so far. This one blew me away, especially because I almost didn't get it and I wasn't expecting much when I started it up, but it had me right from the start. Every song is so energetic, but also sweet and mellow. There are at least ten songs (out of a whopping 14!) that are in the running for my favorite from the album. They are all that good. Elevation is already one of my favorite bands.

13. Put The Phone Down by Pilot Speed from Wooden Bones
I fell in love the other album I have from Pilot Speed, and this one already has a few songs that have really captured my attention. After a few more listens, I know it will have me hooked. My favorite part about this album and about Pilot Speed is the vocals, they make every song mellow and soothing no matter what's going on with the instruments. This is the type of music that I respect the most.

14. For Real by Time And Distance from Gravity
This is probably the most disappointing of the bunch, although I really didn't expect anything fabulous from it. It's just that i'm not all that into the teeny pop music. I do admit it though, this album has got some pretty dang catchy melodies, more so than any other music in the genre. It also has some really cool piano parts, and lyrics that are more meaningful than those of similar bands. I'm hoping that it will grow on me, but for now it's near the bottom of my to-listen list out of these albums.

15. Hospital by Lydia from Illuminate
So there I was, struggling to pick the last album I would get. There were four albums that I just couldn't decide between and I knew my gift card amount would only allow one more. So I got on to Youtube to listen to some samples, and I see a song by Lydia in the Related Videos column. I take a listen and there it was, my last pick, just like that! I surprised myself with this purchase, but Lydia is definitely deserving of my money. The atmospheric nature of their songs is enchanting, almost hypnotic. There is also a lot of passion behind these words and notes. I'm more than pleased to have added Lydia to my music collection.

16. Unaware by The Midway State from Holes
I've been searching for a tangible cd from these guys for some time now. It's been tough because their from Canada, but I finally got a hold of their album. I would have include Never Again here instead of last week, but this was another last minute pick and so I'll share another song with you. This guys know how to make music better than most. I personally love the piano parts the most, but every instrument contributes tremendous parts, all greatly improving by charming vocals. This album is impressive, to say the least.

There they are. The most albums I've ever received at one time before this was six, so this has all been really interesting. It's definitely been harder to connect to the songs, but my excitement is seriously at a dangerous level right now, haha. It will be fun to sort it all out in my mind as I continue to listen to this music diligently in the months to come. I hope something caught your attention and if it did, I would love for you to follow up on this music and at least give these artists a chance.