Posts Tagged ‘Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’

Here it is, folks, another round up of the year’s hits, misses and surprises. (Note: this break down is based solely on my personal opinion, and is not a reflection of popularity, success or earnings.) Enjoy!

Best Indie Album – AM by The Arctic Monkeys

An impressive fifth album from these Brit-rockers. Their sound seems to have matured, and draws the listener in, intriguing them with mellow rock tracks highlighted with electronic accents, reminiscent of 80s synth-pop.

Best Teen Sensation – Lorde

She’s 16 and putting out music way beyond her years, and even surpassing some of her veteran colleagues. She will undoubtedly be around for a very long time. You go, girl.

Worst Teen Sensation – Austin Mahone

He’s 17 and putting out music that’s tired, overdone, and lacking substance. He will soon be replaced by his very own carbon copy. Sorry, buddy.

Best New Artist – Bastille

This four-man band from the UK has took over my musical mind this year. It’s hard to place them in a single genre because they take elements of rock, indie, pop, and electronic and make them all shine. There’s something about the lyrics, something about the music, something about lead singer Dan Smith’s voice. When they fuse together, it’s innovative, harmonious, original, and it just makes sense.

Worst New Artist – A$AP Rocky

He has a dollar sign in his name, just like pop star Ke$ha. That is not a good thing. Rap music has taken a turn for the worse over the last few years, and it has become incomprehensible how so many of them are so successful. He’s no exception; in fact it’s probably why he has these issues:

Most Successful Secret Album – Beyoncé by Beyoncé

She wins this category mostly because she was the only contender. Dropping an iTunes-only visual album (ie each track accompanied by a video) in mid-December had never been done. As if that was not enough, Bey managed to pull this off with no one – including the media – knowing about it until it was released; in fact she set Internet ablaze. I think it’s about time we all hail Queen B.

Best Soundtrack – Great Gatsby

Lana Del Rey, The xx, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Florence and the Machine, Gotye, Sia. Not sure how many more reasons you need.

Douchebag of the Year – Kanye West

He claimed leather jogging pants was his idea, and no one else’s. This year alone, he compared himself to Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, and God. He got into a Twitter-feud with Jimmy Kimmel. He’s obsessed with himself and Kim Kardashian – his girlfriend/baby mama/finacee/soon-to-be-wife – and feels like the rest of the world should be too. Hence this video. Hence the winner of this category.

Best Summer Song – “I Need Your Love” by Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding

Harris is already a champion DJ, and Goulding’s voice is unbelievably infectious. It’s fun, it’s light, it’s care free. Everything summer should be.

Least Lovable Artist – Katy Perry

She’s redundant, she’s ordinary, and she’s formulaic. She’s boring, she’s predictable, and she lacks any sense of creativity. My disdain for her is so intense, I actually have a visceral reaction to her music, and am done hearing her roar.

Most Lovable Artist – Imagine Dragons

This band from Las Vegas is just so darn delightful. Their music is uplifting, and during live shows, they are full of excitement, like kids in a candy store. In spite of their successes, they remain humble and grateful for the opportunity to play their music to the masses. I have yet to get tired of them, and that’s saying a lot.

Biggest Loss to the Music Industry – Lou Reed

Reed was an original and founding member of The Velvet Underground, one of the most influential rock bands of all time. He also managed to have a solo career after the band split up, and created his own music for over thirty years. A true icon.

Most Pretentious Artist – The Arcade Fire

For their upcoming tour in support of Reflektor, this Grammy-winning band put out a press release stating fans attending their live shows must wear a costume or formal attire. It’s unclear what the consequences are if their demands are not met, but regardless of their musical prowess, who do the think they are?

Worst Collaboration Track – “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly

Country duo Florida Georgia Line team up with rapper Nelly, in a failed attempt to marry both genres. It does not help that Florida Georgia Line look like the biggest douchebags on the planet, who have no game at all. Add to that the fact this video features sub par “video hos” who seem completely out of place. I do not know which musician is more pathetic for trying to use the other for fame, but neither one succeeds.

Best Collaboration Track – “#Beautiful” by Mariah Carey feat. Miguel

Regardless of Mariah’s diva tendencies, there’s no denying she has one of the best voices out there. Combine that with the sexiness and sultriness Miguel’s vocals bring, and what you get is this gorgeous track. Mariah strikes again.

Most Overexposed Artist – Miley Cyrus

She developed an obsession with dressing either semi or fully naked. We have all (unfortunately) seen far too much of her unhygienic tongue, and she felt the need to not only try to twerk, but also to suggestively use a foam finger. None of that however, seemed to have stopped her tracks from playing everywhere. She can’t stop, she won’t stop. Must be because she’s a wrecking ball.

Has-Beens of the Year – 98 Degrees

The 90s boy band put out an album this year, 13 years too late because no one cares about them anymore. They tried to stay relevant by joining Boyz II Men (down one member) and NKOTB on “The Package ” Tour. Riding the coattails of other washed up boy bands is no way to resurrect a career, boys.

Most Mancrushed Musician – Justin Timberlake

He’s got the voice. He’s got the moves. He’s got the charm. He plays guitar and piano, he’s well dressed, he collaborated with the one and only Jay-Z. His bromance with Jimmy Fallon is endearing, and his SNL appearances pretty hilarious. And he puts out videos like this – why would you not want to be like him?

Best Live Show – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis @ Osheaga Music Festival, Montreal

This year was a bit slower than most when it came to live shows. Several stood out, but none really reached unreal heights, except this super charming hip-hop duo who were entertaining, interactive, and incredibly full of energy. The crowd was living off adrenaline the entire show, including moments like this:

Best Rap Album – Marshall Mathers LP2 by Eminem

It’s Eminem at the height of his game. Rhymes you would not believe spit perfectly, rapidly and with the right amount of umph to turn heads, without having to drop Tom Ford’s name. He’s angry, he’s comical, he’s dark, he’s real. Hell, he’s Eminem.

Album of the Year – Trouble Will Find Me by The National

What else is there to say, other than this is one of the most beautifully written albums I have heard in a long time. Every track, from start to finish endlessly evokes emotions, to the point where you find yourself distracted because you get so involved with the music. Berninger’s controlled voice both subtly and eloquently adds many layers to the music. It’s truly a work of art.

Worst Song of the Year – “Accidental Racist” by Brad Paisley feat. LL Cool J

The problem with combining two genres of music is that it can sometimes completely backfire. This track tells the tale of a white man going into a coffee shop sporting a Confederate flag on his t-shirt. The barista is a black man who takes offense to this t-shirt and the track becomes a dialogue about slavery, racism, other things. They have both tried to explain themselves publicly, but none of it makes sense.

Song of the Year – “Wake Me Up” by Avicii feat. Aloe Blacc

EDM is becoming more and more successful by the minute, and Avicii is one of the younger DJs immersed in the scene. Avicii introduced a country/blues-esque feel to the track with Blacc’s vocals, and took it to the next level by fusing two genres that are typically worlds apart. It’s creative, it’s ingenious, plus it’s freaking catchy.

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I refuse to get into it. If you want to know why Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs was so atrocious, there’s plenty of internet chatter about it. Aside from disturbing a lot of individuals, the worst thing it accomplished was it took away from some much more noteworthy moments. So let’s talk about those. (Note: MTV has done a great job of keeping all the relevant videos on their own site, so to see any or all of the awards show, click here.)

1. Besties

Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez seemed attached at the hip. Total bffs. Dancing together, making comments to each other, probably bonding over the trials and tribulations of dating bad boys (ie One Direction’s Harry Styles and Justin Bieber.) They were even dressed alike and hugged the crap out of each other when either one won an award.

Jimmy Fallon’s uncontainable man crush on Justin Timberlake as exemplified when he presented him with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. He was excited, giddy and his voice kept getting higher and higher pitched. It was kind of adorable.

2. Robin Thicke

A bi-product of Miley’s horrid performance was how ridiculous it made Robin Thicke look. It made it seem like he was a total perv who wanted to get with her, because he agreed to this duet for his hit track “Blurred Lines.” Why is the only question that comes to mind. Regardless of whether he knew what she was going to do, Miley Cyrus doesn’t add anything to any song. She outdid him by being even raunchier than the video for “Blurred Lines.” Saddest of all, he didn’t even win any awards.

3. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

It’s impossible not to love these guys. Independent hip hop musicians, a white rapper and a DJ, singing about real issues and still scoring some awards. Having said that, why were they seated so far away from the stage? At the tail end of their performance of “Same Love,” Mary Lambert and Jennifer Hudson got into a bit of a beautiful sing off. They should win awards just for being so darn awesome.

4. ‘N Sync

During Justin’s epic and lengthy performance, he enlisted the help of his ‘N Sync boys to perform “Girlfriend” and “Bye Bye Bye.” It was a treat to see for so many reasons. Lance Bass clearly could not keep up with the choreo and kept trailing behind; JC was so obviously reliving his famous days as the “other lead singer” and even tried to take over the spotlight for a second. Justin very quickly took it back. Joey and Chris made it through the mini dance routine but seemed exhausted after. Man, what age does to you.

5. Drake

When he starting getting into “Started From the Bottom,” I cringed a little because that song is so illogical on so many levels. What “bottom” did he start from? Rihanna was unimpressed, every rapper in the crowd was jamming like the song was their life story. Best of all, Jaden Smith seemed so enamored by Drake, he looked like he might even cry. Drake acts like he’s from the ‘hood and somehow has garnered all this street cred. He was wearing a cut off tee, but it seemed like it was made by a designer. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m laughing at how ridiculous Drake has become. I just can’t help it.

6. Justin Timberlake

You can hate on him as much as you want to. You can dislike him music with a passion, go ahead. But he dominated that arena with his performance and you can’t deny that. The moves, the voice, the interaction, the ease with which he does all of it. He even got ‘N Sync back together! He deservedly won “Video of the Year” for “Mirrors” – he has a dance off with himself in a room full of mirrors. Who else can pull that off?

Osheaga Music Festival took place this past weekend in Montreal. Parc Jean-Drapeau was once again host to the epic series of live performances. Sadly, this year I was only able to attend one day of the festival (I blame my age) but boy was it a great day.

The first band I made it for was Stars. They were playing to a hometown crowd and the fans were eating it up. Lead singer Torquil Campbell did spend a little too much time going off on Prime Minister Steven Harper which was a bit of an unnecessary buzz kill. Next up were darling twin sisters Tegan and Sara. From outfit to hairstyle to accessories, these girls decorated the stage with their immense talent. Their latest album Heartthrob has made huge waves for them. Well done ladies.

The next artist was supposed to be Miguel. He was a last minute addition to replace Frank Ocean who bailed due to damaged vocal chords. I was dying to see Miguel, having fallen head over heels for his album Kaleidoscope Dream, and I was in the mood to swoon. However, at the very last minute he also cancelled due to scheduling conflicts with his band. Who substituted him? K-Os. Normally this would have been fine. But K-Os actually had a slot the day before, where he took a hissy fit and stormed off stage when the sound system wasn’t co-operating. Not cool buddy. The few minutes I did witness him rocking a Jays’ hat, trying to remind the crowd why he was still relevant, weren’t all that impressive. Therefore I will not post any footage.

Imagine Dragons came on after and completely saved the day. The band was happy the entire time. Smiling, dancing, singing their hearts out, playing their instruments like they were having the time of their lives. The energy was contagious and there wasn’t a single person standing still in the crowd. Lead singer Dan Reynolds was dynamic, entertaining and the only one I’ve ever seen who plays a massive bass drum. I kind of want to be friends with them. What a great performance.

It was time. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were about to hit the stage and I couldn’t contain my excitement. It started to rain (thankfully I was well equipped with a bad ass poncho) but that wasn’t stopping anyone. The crowds had been gathering all day to see these guys and although I was tempted to worm my way up close, I knew it was going to be a battle and I wasn’t in the mood to fight off drunken 19-year-olds. So I stayed back where I wouldn’t be succumbed to the smoke, smells and sweat from being pushed up against someone. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis did not disappoint, they were off the hook. He did an acapella version of “Otherside” and during “Same Love,” a track about equal rights for homosexuals (damn right he supports it) he treated his fans to a beautiful moment in music: he called on Tegan and Sara to sing the chorus. They are darling twin sisters who are also both lesbians. It was just perfect.

And then this happened during “Can’t Hold Us”:

 

The main headliner was 90s rock legend Beck. I was unable to make it long enough to watch his set, but heard that it was fantastic. Here’s a look.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’ve never been to an outdoor music festival you don’t know what you’re missing. There’s just something about that environment that causes some sort of strange euphoria (not the drug-induced kind) that makes everything better. Try it, you’ll see.