Archive for the ‘Reggae’ Category

Now that it’s 2019, and New Year resolutions are on the rise, here’s a guide on how to curate the ultimate workout soundtrack.

1. Go Techno

Whether it’s classic DJ beats, techno, drum ‘n bass, or newer age Calvin Harris-infused tracks, pick your poison. They’re all designed to make work out harder, faster and better.

2. Feel Nostalgic

Pick a song that takes you back, that you know all the words to, that makes you feel good, confident, and like you have a friend alongside with you. Then, run with it (no pun intended.)

3. Guilty Pleasures

When you’re working out, it’s you and your headphones, so be free, have fun, and laugh at yourself a little. You can go Bieber, Britney, Backstreet, or even this gem here (don’t judge.)

4. Choose Reggaeton

Reggaeton is a combination of hip-hop, Latin beats, and dance. It’s impossible to stay still while listening to the sensual Spanish lyrics and hypnotic rhythms.

5. Be Bhangra

Bhangra is high energy, drum heavy, feel-good music from northern India. Even if you don’t understand what they’re saying, you will undoubtedly keep you moving forward.

6. Michael Jackson

Every workout playlist MUST include a Michael Jackson track. Period.

7. Seek Therapy

At the end of a long, difficult, frustrating, craptastic day, sometimes you just want to get mad. Take that energy, and sweat it all out (while listening to these guys scream of course.)

8. Flavour of the Week

Add the song that you’ve had on repeat most recently, that you just can’t get enough of, because it’s catchy and sure to motivate you.

9. Podcasts

For those lighter, stretching kind of work outs (or whatever suits you,) try a podcast. It’s like listening to a couple of friends shoot the shit, and definitely helps the time fly by.

10. Beyoncé

Every workout playlist MUST include a Beyoncé track. Period.

11. Reggae

I’m talking anything from Bob Marley, to Beenie Man, to Sean Paul (but mostly Sean Paul.) You’ll have trouble keeping still, and will be forced to move faster.

12. 90s Hip-Hop

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: 90s hip-hop is the ultimate hip-hop of of all time, and the perfect workout music.

13. Get Lost

If you like to disappear in your head, try indie music. It’ll entrance you with your deepest emotions, and innermost thoughts; all the while letting you continue your workout.

 

Advertisements

2019 is just around the corner (sigh) so let’s recap the best and the worst of 2018, musically speaking. (Disclaimer: as always, the selections are based solely on my opinion, and I have not listened to every single album/song that was released this year. I’m only human.)

Best Newcomer  – Greta van Fleet

With these guys around, rock ‘n roll will never die.

Best Live Show – The Killers

Blew me away, once again.

Worst Grunge Comeback – Smashing Pumpkins

Almost every member of the original band reunited to release Shiny and Oh So Bright Vol. 1/LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun. They shouldn’t have.

Best Collaboration Album – Everything is Love by The Carters (ie Beyoncé & Jay-Z)

This album puts both wife and husband on the same playing field, and finally admits that Queen Bey is actually the boss.

Worst Collaboration Album –  44/876 by Sting & Shaggy

Whose idea was this? Why was this? But mostly, can this never happen again?

Sexiest Sex Symbol – Maluma

That hair, that half smile, that sense of style, that Spanish: impossible to resist.

Best Boy Band Track – “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” by Backstreet Boys

BSB are the OG boy band. They will always win.

Worst Boy Band Track – “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B

So Maroon 5 isn’t technically a boy band, but close enough. Adam Levine’s voice is whiny (as usual), and as hard as this song is trying to say something, it isn’t.

Best Young Artist – Troye Sivan

At only 23, Sivan’s music has the wisdom, introspection and maturity of someone who’s been around a lot longer.

Worst Young Artist – Lil Xan

At only 22, Lil Xan has managed to make some of the worst music ever, and really should just stop.

Best Rap Track – “Mogambo” by Riz MC

Is there anything Riz MC can’t do? No, no there isn’t.

Worst Rap Track- “Chun-Li” by Nicki Minaj

Is anyone else kind of tired of Nicki?

Best Diss Track – “The Story of Adidon” by Pusha T

The feud between Drake and Pusha T got so heated, Pusha used a diss track to reveal Drake had a son.

Worst Diss Track – “Rap Devil” by Machine Gun Kelly

I don’t understand why this no-name wanna be rapper even tried to take on Eminem.

Most Irrelevant Rap Beef – Ja Rule vs. 50 Cent

Ja and 50 win this one because in 2018, nobody cares about either of them. At all.

Best Break-Up Song – “Thank You, Next” by Ariana Grande

Grande takes the higher road here, appreciating everything she learned from past mistakes, instead of hating, blaming and shaming.

Worst Break-Up Song – “Without Me” by Halsey

She quotes Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River”, and makes it part of the track. Huh?

Best Reggaeton Track – “Te Bote” by Casper, Nio García, Darell, Nicky Jam, Bad Bunny, Ozuna

Instant classic.

Worst Collaboration Track – “Havana” by Camila Cabello feat. Young Thug

I just can’t with this song. Nothing original about it, and the extra “na-na-nas” are an earworm no one ever asked for.

Best Collaboration Track – “Nina Cried Power” by Hozier feat. Mavis Staples

All soul, all power, all goosebumps.

Best Video of the Year – “This is America” by Childish Gambino

Was there any other choice?

Worst Video of the Year – “Happier” by Marshmello feat. Bastille

Just to be clear: I love this song. But as a new dog lover, it’s emotionally manipulative, and I’m not here for it. It’s supposed to have a happy ending, but my tears are all sad ones.

Best Drake Song – “Nice for What”

Drake puts the spotlight on strong females, so this track wins.

Worst Drake Song – “In My Feelings”

When a song goes this viral, it should never be played again.

Toughest Musician Death – Dolores O’Riordan 

For me personally, O’Riordan’s was the hardest to handle. Too many memories, and I’m still not over it.

Best Indie Track – “Hymnostic” by Big Red Machine

Anything Justice Vernon (of Bon Iver fame) produces is the most beautiful, eloquent, wonderful, ethereal, musical experience. No exception here.

Worst Indie Track – “Four Out of Five” by Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys went from solid Brit rock, to jazzy elevator music on this track (and the entire album – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.) I just couldn’t love it.

Best Slow Jam – “With You” by Mariah Carey

Mimi will always win at slow jams.

Best Soundtrack – Suspiria

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke wrote and performed all the music on this soundtrack, and therefore nothing else can compete.

Best R&B Album – Dirty Computer by Janelle Monae

Start to finish, front to back, this album will electrify you in all the best ways.

Worst Album of the Year – Man of the Woods by Justin Timberlake

I have no idea what this album was: is he trying to convince us he’s a down to Earth lumberjack? That he’s low maintenance? That he lives in the woods? So many questions, not enough answers.

Album of the Year – High as Hope by Florence + the Machine

It’s no secret I’m a little obsessed with Florence + the Machine, but it’s hard not to be when every new album they release is completely different than their last, but equally impressive.

Worst Song of the Year – “No Brainer” by DJ Khaled feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo & Chance the Rapper.

Didn’t this song already happen? (see “The One”)

Song of the Year – “Miracles” by Chvrches

Play it once, and you’ll have it on repeat for days.

It’s pretty certain most us would like to put 2017 behind us, and move forward to the (hopefully) better and brighter 2018. Musically speaking, 2017 was a decent year, so let’s celebrate all it had to offer (Note: once again, these are solely my opinions, and as usual I didn’t listen to every single record that was released this year.)

Best Rap Album: DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar

I’ll be honest: I didn’t fully get the “hype” behind Lamar until this album came out. It wins because Lamar’s lyrics are smart, honest, and he’s actually saying something. Plus, the album as a whole is a solid mix of rhymes, dope beats, and a whole lotta love.

Guiltiest Pleasure: “There’s Nothin’ Holding Me Back” by Shawn Mendes

He’s so plain and vanilla; boring and unoriginal. Yet this songs makes me dance, and I just can’t help it.

Worst Collaboration: “Something Just Like This” Coldplay + The Chainsmokers

Coldplay has been dead to me for some time now. The minute they shed everything that made them them, I cut the cord. The Chainsmokers were never on my good list, because there’s nothing good about them. This is a musical abomination on so many levels.

Best Collaboration – “I Know You” by Craig David feat. Bastille

David’s smooth vocals against Bastille’s rock operatic ones; David’s R&B sound, with Bastille’s rock-electronic vibe. Mash it all together and what you get is beautiful music. Not to mention: Craig David is back!

Best Latin Collaboration: “Mi Gente” by J Balvin, Willy William feat. Beyoncé

The original of this infectious track has over 1.4 billion views on YouTube alone. Add Queen Bey into the mix and it’s completely unstoppable.

Most Surprising Track: “Rockstar” Post Malone feat. 21 Savage

At first glance, Post Malone leaves nothing to be desired. That should teach me to judge a book by its cover. Although he screams drug addict trailer trash, with nasty grills and hair that hasn’t been washed in months, his music is actually pretty good (I can’t believe I just admitted that.)

Most Disappointing Track: “Walk on Water” by Eminem feat. Beyoncé

This wins this category because in spite of its huge potential, it falls flat. The content of Em’s flow is pretty good, but his delivery is lazy, slurry and sounds a little too much like Macklemore (sorry Em!) Bey’s chorus makes the track listenable, but otherwise, it’s a bit of a snoozefest (I can’t believe I just admitted that.)

Best Indie Track: “Nobody Else Will be There” by The National

It’s moody, dark, and puts your stomach in knots. Everything a National song is supposed to be.

Worst Indie Track: “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man

It’s so catchy that it very quickly becomes too catchy, which automatically makes it intolerable. It’s just trying too hard.

Best Club Track: “Unforgettable” by French Montana feat. Swae Lee

I dare you not to bust a move right now.

Best R&B Track: “Skywalker” by Miguel feat. Travis Scott

One of the best tracks off Miguel’s release War & Leisure, it shows off his velvety vocals, a sick beat, and also appeared on HBO’s smash hit Insecure.

Best New Artist: Amy Shark

Delicate vocals full of vulnerability and soul, Australia’s Shark is a singer-songwriter who has managed to dominate radio waves, in spite of the fact she’s only ever released a 6-track EP. Look out for her in 2018.

Worst New Artist: Cardi B

There are just so many things about Cardi B that, despite my best efforts, I just can’t.

Best Track from an Ex-Member of One Direction: “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles

This track wins mostly because the sound is just more to my liking. A little more rock ‘n roll, a little edgier. Niall’s offering was too cheesy boy band pop; Zayn’s was too over the top and all over the place.

Worst Track from an Ex-Member of One Direction: “Strip That Down” by Liam Payne feat. Quavo 

Payne just isn’t vocally strong enough to be a solo act. Everything about this screams someone who’s a little too keen on changing his image. Newsflash, Liam: it’s not working.

Best TV Soundtrack: Big Little Lies

It has everything from Leon Bridges, to Alabama Shakes, to Martha Wainwright. Oh, and this killer theme song.

Best Movie Soundtrack: Atomic Blonde

Question: what’s better than watching a stiletto-wearing Charlize Theron kick ass to the sound of new wave/rock/pop/punk 80s music? Answer: nothing.

Best Canadian Album: Everything Now by Arcade Fire

I will agree that Arcade Fire is definitely an acquired taste. But once you get into them, there’s something unique about the way they make music and put it all together, that sets them apart. This wasn’t their best album, but a solid one nonetheless.

Best Comeback: N.E.R.D.

It’s been 7 years since N.E.R.D. released an album, and 16 years (!) since their anthem “Rock Star” was released. This year’s No One Ever Really Dies is such a force, both musically and lyrically; there’s nothing out there that sounds anything like it. Bravo.

Worst Comeback: Theory of  a Deadman

Technically ToaD put out an album in 2014, but let’s be honest – it’s been at least 12 years since they released anything anyone heard, and, frankly, it should’ve stayed that way. They are, and have always been a poor man’s Nickelback.

Most Underrated Artist: Billie Eilish

Ms. Eilish released her debut EP, Don’t Smile at Me, this summer. At only 15 years old (!), she blew me away.

Most Overrated Artist: Ed Sheeran

Look, I know it’s easy to come down hard on Sheeran, but it’s just as hard not to. His music is formulaic, his vocals aren’t anything special, and he’s a ginger. Somehow, he’s heralded as the best of the best, and his smugness exacerbates with each accolade. I will never understand his appeal.

Best Cover Song: “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by London Grammar 

The key to a good cover song is to maintain the integrity of the song, while putting your own spin on it. London Grammar has done exactly this with The Verve’s 1997 classic. Grammar stripped it down, and made it more haunting. As far as covers go, it’s perfection. Not to mention, lead singer Hannah Reid kills it on vocals.

Worst Cover Song: “You Get What You Give” by Felix Cartal

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you’re going to cover a song, make sure it’s a song that’s worth covering. The New Radicals’ original from 1998, wasn’t a good song. It was mediocre at best. Then completely changing the sound from pop/rock to techno is an even worse decision.

Best Live Show: The xx 

I’ve been to my fair share of concerts, and I can say without a doubt, The xx came out on top this year. Their music builds up so subtly, until it takes over and pulls at every emotion inside your body. The only option you have left is to dance off the emotional wreck you have become – it’s the best way to heal.

Worst Album: Reputation by Taylor Swift

Swift needs to take a chill pill. Her attempt at shedding her “good girl” image is so predictable, and so not working. No one believes her to be this villainous vixen (except maybe her millions of fans.) She tried to throw shade at the Kardashian-Wests, her music gets worse and worse with every album, and she needs to stop with the red lipstick.

Album of the Year: I See You by The xx

This album has the ability to make you feel things you never thought you could feel; it’ll make you hear things in ways you never thought possible; it’ll break your heart, sweep you off your feet; it’ll understand you like your best friend, and hurt you like your past love. All while making it impossible to resist dancing like no one’s watching.

Worst Song: “Take a Knee…My Ass” by Neal McCoy

This requires zero explanation.

Song of the Year: “Performance” by The xx

The first time I heard this song, it permeated through my skin, invaded my soul and sunk my heart; time actually stopped. The story it tells is one that resonates with us all, and its honesty is so real, it hurts. In a good way.