Posts Tagged ‘Justin Bieber’

Okay, so 2016 has been quite the year. We’re all aware of all the genuine musical talent we’ve lost, so I’m not going to dwell on that. I also have to admit, I’ve been a little distracted this year, and feel like I’ve fallen behind in my musical game, so I apologize for that. All that aside, it’s time to pay due to that music that did get us through this roller coaster of a year (note: as always, I haven’t listened to every single album released this year, so keep that in mind.)

Best New Artist – Banners

Hailing from the UK, Banners (aka Michael Joseph Nelson) dropped his debut EP this year, and it was soulful, thoughtful and proved how he can use his words to shed a beautiful on love.

Best Live Show – The Tragically Hip: Man Machine Poem Tour

The entire country was in shock when we heard of lead singer Gord Downie’s terminal brain cancer. After everything this band has done for music, for Canadians, it’s hard to imagine world where they don’t exist. However, The Hip didn’t hold back from putting on one helluva live show. Downie was on fire, the crowd was on cloud nine, and it was one of the best concert atmospheres I’ve ever been a part of.

Best Collaboration – “I Need a Forest Fire” James Blake feat. Bon Iver

Two of indie music’s geniuses came together and made some wonderful music. Sublime.

Worst Collaboration -“I Hate You, I Love You” by Gnash feat. Olivia O’Brien

There’s no love here for this track, just haterade. It’s such a cliché, teen angst attempt at being “deep.” Also what’s with the leather jacket in the blazing heat while walking through the forest?

Guiltiest Pleasure – “Pillowtalk” by Zayn

It’s so bad, but I can’t help it.

Coolest Artist – Alessia Cara

She’s only 20 years old, she’s Canadian and signed to Def Jam. She’s mature, gracious and writes music with real meaning. She’s everything other female singers in her age group aren’t. Let’s be friends, k?

Best Canadian Album – 99% by Kaytranada

A breakthrough in the Canadian hip-hop scene, Kaytranada brings all kinds of sounds together and tops it all off with tight vocals. Truly a unique album, and one everyone should hear.

Best 90s Comeback – Temple of the Dog

They reunited on the 25th anniversary of the release of their one and only album, for one last tour. There is nothing more 90s than Chris Cornell and Eddie Veddie making music together again.


Saddest 90s Comeback – Britney Spears

It’s Britney, bitch. And apparently she’s back. I think. Except it looks like she’s trying to use the same tricks she used back in the day, just with more botox. Don’t get me wrong, I want to root for her, I do. It’s just time for her to throw in the towel (and get rid of her figure skating costumes.)

Best Song feat. Sean Paul – “Cheap Thrills” by Sia feat. Sean Paul

This right here, is my jam.

Best Folk Album – Cleopatra by The Lumineers

There’s something to eloquent and peaceful about this band. Every track on this album is a story full of emotion, and displays the kind of musicianship that says so much, by doing so little. I also saw them perform in the rain, and couldn’t stop swooning. So there’s that.

Best Break Up Album – This is What the Truth Feels Like by Gwen Stefani

The best thing to come out of her very public split from Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, was this album. It’s part screw you, part self-reflection, and all Team Gwen. Plus, her live show game is phenomenal.

Best Dance Track – “Let Me Love You” DJ Snake feat. Justin Bieber

Hate on Biebs all you want, but you can’t deny this song gets you up on the dance floor (even if that dance floor is your living room.)

Most Overrated Artist – Chainsmokers

I just can’t with these guys. They’re wannabe hipster douchebags, whose first single was entitled “#Selfie.” They claim to be DJs, but I’m pretty sure their egos just like being on a stage with big headphones. Also, smoking isn’t cool.

Most Underrated Artist – Solange

Solange (ie Beyoncé’s younger sister) definitely gets a lot of critical acclaim, but I don’t think the general masses really understand her talent. She’s full of soul, heart, and has a voice that makes her a Queen in her own right.

Best Video of the Year – “Wow” by Beck

This track is several steps away from anything Beck has ever done. It’s rock, but synth, but kind of hip-hop, with tints of indie. And the video has everything you could ever want, including Beck dancing in the middle of the street.

Worst Video of the Year – “7 Years” by Lukas Graham

Truth be told, there are probably worse videos out there, but this one wins because it’s trying so hard to be something, but no one understands what. Not to mention, “Lukas Graham” refers to the 3-person band, not just the lead singer whose name is also Lukas. I’m confused.


Worst Album of the Year – Following My Intuition by Craig David

He tried to come back after years off the map, and it was horribly bad. Just so so bad (I swear I tried really hard to like it!)

Album of the Year – Lemonade by Beyoncé

This album is Bey at her Queenest, bringing her A+ of A games, while simultaneously slaying everyone in her path. She collaborates with artists of all genres, including Jack White, Kendrick Lamar and Diplo. All hail Queen Bey.


Most Disappointing Song of the Year – “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake

It’s disappointing because we all know JT can do so much better. It’s a sad attempt at a very poor man’s “Happy” and falls totally flat.

Worst Song of the Year – “Treat You Better” by Shawn Mendes

I never enjoy knocking down Canadian artists, but Mendes gave me no choice. When I hear this song, it sounds like nails going down a chalkboard, and my ears bleed. His voice is so nasal/whiny, the lyrics are so cheesy (yes, I know he’s only 18) and it just needs to stop.

Song of the Year – “River” by Bishop Briggs

Anything you could ever want in a track, and then some. Love, love, love.



Okay, so I’m aware that summer ended a few weeks ago; for me, the arrival of October marks the official demise of summer. When leaves start changing colour, when daylight savings time kicks in, when Thanksgiving happens, when pumpkin spice is on everyone’s mind. If you’re feeling nostalgic about the summer, try these on for size.

5.”Where Are Ü Now” – Skrillex and Diplo feat. Justin Bieber

Bieber’s foray into the electronic world and it wasn’t too shabby. The beats courtesy of Skrillex and Diplo have a Middle Eastern vibe. Bieber’s vocals go well with the track, and it’s a decent attempt at him trying to change his image. Most of all though, it makes you want to dance, and isn’t that what summer’s all about?

4.”Renegades” – X-Ambassadors

This song needs to be on every road trip playlist. You feel like you’re in a car, heading somewhere great on an epic adventure. Or that image may have come from the Jeep ad where this track is also featured. These rockers from NY are getting their sound out there, and even have a blind keyboard player. It’s a makes you feel like anything is possible kind of track, and comes with a solid video too.

3.”The Gates” – Young Empires

This is one of the tracks that makes you feel like dreaming a little. Sends your mind into spirals of thoughts and feelings, making you believe in the potential of what’s to come. It sounds similar to Midnight City’s “M83”, but still a force on its own. Plus they’re Canadian, so there’s that too.

2.”Lean On” – Major Lazer and DJ Snake feat. MO

We all know this is a super ultra mega hit and it’s still going strong. The combination of music, vocals and even the arrangement of the track is pretty addictive. Makes you want to feel like finding someone to lean on.

1.”2 Heads” – Coleman Hell

A bit of an underdog on this list, which is probably why it’s at the top. Hell is a singer/songwriter/producer from good old Thunder Bay (I’m not joking.) Hell turns things up a notch here, and delivers vocals full of yearning, and lyrics full of emotion. Coupled with a little banjo and this track becomes unstoppable.

At some point in their lives, every kid dreams about becoming famous. Who doesn’t want to be popular and admired by millions of people? Teen pop stars accomplish a whole lot and more, before they’re even allowed to drink. They are so overexposed, being involved in everything from music to television, to films to fashion. It’s inevitable for some to lose their way – they’re expected to act like adults in an adult world, while they’re still kids. The music industry is geared towards using sex to sell (because it does), but does that apply to teenagers also? Here are a few teen pop stars who have gone through image makeovers in order to survive in the industry. Question is, did it work?                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lindsay Lohan (aka Lilo). What a train wreck. She started out as an actress at age 11, appeared in several Disney and non-Disney movies (including my personal fave, 2004’s Mean Girls) all of which were pretty successful. As her movie career took off,  in a very predictable move, Lilo decided to launch a music career. Her first single was released at age 16, entitled “Rumours”, off her first album Speak. It’s a plea to the increasing number of paparazzi that were following her around, to leave her alone. Now, I’m not even going to get into how bad of a musician she is, because it’s just  too obvious. However I will say this: the music video is shot in a club, which I’m pretty sure Lilo wasn’t even legally allowed to enter at the time (feeble attempt at appearing older); she isn’t a wearing a whole lot (clearly forgot her bra that day) and is dancing provocatively throughout the video. I’m not sure about you, but last I checked, 16 years old was nothing like this video. Lilo’s troubles have been in the spotlight ever since, being involved in countless DUIs (she started attending AA meetings at age 20), drug possession scandals, and way too many failures at drug and alcohol rehab. Her career basically peaked at age 18 so I think it’s safe to say it will be on hold for a while.

Enter Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana. Another product of Disney, Miss Cyrus began her acting career at age 14 with her very own show entitled Hannah Montana. Child of none other than Billy Ray Cyrus himself, Miley to date has starred in several TV shows and films; she was deemed one of Barbara Walter’s Most Fascinating People in 2008, as well as Time Magazine’s Most Influential People; she has recorded 2 studio albums as herself (and another one as Hannah Montana; don’t ask, I don’t quite get it either); and has also found time to date a Jonas brother. Oh, and she’s 18. Talk about high expectations. Miley’s scandals include a “revealing” photo shoot at age 15 which upset a lot of her fans’ moms; heavy criticism for thinking a pole dance was an appropriate choice for a live performance (then age 16); and most recently, video footage of her smoking something from a bong. Her first album, Breakout, released when she was only 16 was your typical wholesome teenage fun. However her second album titled Can’t Be Tamed was Miley deciding to shed her good girl image and release her inner sexual being. She was clearly having a sixth-life crisis, at age 18. The first single, “Can’t be Tamed” is all about a girl telling all the boys out there that they can’t tame her. Um, ok. Relax Miley. Everything about the video is so unnecessarily provocative (reminiscent of Britney’s “I’m a Slave 4 U” and Xtina’s “Dirrrrrty”), that it seems as though she thinks that expressing her sexuality all of a sudden makes her an adult, and will get people to take her more seriously. I wouldn’t say her career is completely done, but she is definitely on her way down.

Last but not least, Mr. Justin Bieber. Here’s a kid who comes from small town Ontario, and was discovered at age 12 because of his YouTube performances. Sure, he’s just starting out in the music business, but he’s exploding everywhere and fast – I think we’re all familiar with the term Bieber Fever. If you actually check out Bieber’s YouTube videos, he plays guitar and drums and is quite a talented kid. His voice is actually good, yet none of his current music reflects that. Let me explain. I expect his songs to be cheesy and make the hearts of all 12-year-old girls melt (though when he talks about being in love, I can’t help but laugh), but I don’t think the dance moves, hipster jeans, special effects, etc are necessary. Usually all this extra “fluff” is used to mask how bad a singer’s voice is, almost to distract the audience’s attention away from it. But as hard as it is to admit, Bieber doesn’t need the distractions. Don’t get me wrong I completely understand why he’s presented that way – he’s more appealing to the girls when he dances, or wears certain clothes, I get it. But I am also convinced that he’d be just as famous and make just as much money, without all that other stuff. In his earlier YouTube videos, he has more of a boy-next-door look, but when he signed with Usher‘s label and he got more popular, he started looking and acting a lot more like Usher. I’ve seen him wearing leather jackets galore, shades at indoor venues, and behaviour befitting of someone who thinks he’s “the man”. Now I have nothing against Usher, but the last thing the world needs is another one. So far, Bieber’s career has been relatively scandal-free; however I do think it’s still too early to tell, but here’s hoping.

Not every teen pop star’s career leads to tabloid headlines, some are actually squeaky clean (see Taylor Swift). But the major issue seems to be that kids who start out in the industry at such a young age, are constantly faced with adult situations. They have to deal with paparazzi, rumours, controversies, etc. It’s as though acting like a kid only sells for so long, and in order to maintain their fame, they have to alter their image, usually by becoming more sexually expressive. Just recently, Demi Lovato a veteran of the industry at only 18 years old, checked into a treatment facility for emotional and physical issues. Who’s to blame? The parents? The media? Is it even anyone’s fault? Who knows. All I do know is infamy is ever increasing amongst teenage pop stars. And that my friends, is not alright.