Posts Tagged ‘Maroon 5’

A wrap up of this year’s highs and lows in music, as I heard it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Best Americana Album – The Lumineers by The Lumineers
Americana is a musical genre that encompasses traditional American style, including country, bluegrass, folk, etc. With a surge of artists entering this field recently, The Lumineers stood out most this year. Their self-titled debut was infectious from beginning to end. Well done.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Best Dream Pop Album – Valtari by Sigur Ros
Dream pop is a music genre that is rapidly becoming more and more popular. It blends rock, pop and ambient music and is mostly instrumental with faint vocals (if any) which tend to blend in with the music more than stand out in front of it. The perfect combination to send you into a dream and Icelandic band Sigur Ros took it to the next level on their sixth studio album. Just listen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Best Canadian Album – Hello Hum by Wintersleep
A great rock ‘n roll album, with a distinct east coast feel to it. On repeat for several months.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Worst Thing to Happen to Canadian Music – Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger’s Engagement
She used to sing about “Sk8er Bois”. He fronts Nickelback. She married Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 and dated Brody Jenner. He sings the same song over and over. She’s 28, he’s 38. On their own they’re embarrassing enough to our country but now they’re joining forces, tying the knot and becoming one. God help us all.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Best Thing to Happen to Canadian Music – The Weeknd
It’s no secret Canada lacks in representation in the hip-hop/R&B genre. Drake has been doing his best to keep the genre afloat, but he can now take a breather and let The Weeknd do some of the work. A soulful voice guaranteed to reel you in, is all over his three-disc debut album Trilogy. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Female Album of the Year – Born to Die Lana Del Rey
Her songs are beautiful, soulful and her vibe is a throwback to the 60s with a touch of modernity. Her voice is sultry and able to grab anyone’s attention with all its subtleties. This whole album says so much with so few words. Just breathtaking.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Artist Whose 15 Minutes are Up – Lady Gaga
Her antics are played out: her male alter ego Jo Calderone turned no one’s head; sexual ambiguity is so last year. Her unusual fashion sense is tired: shock for shock sake stops being shocking pretty quickly. Though she has had several hit singles, they’re interchangeable. Gaga, it’s about time you got over yourself. We all have.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Douchebags of the Year – Green Day
Green Day planned to release three albums over the course of four months starting in November 2012. Relax guys, you’re not that popular. At a music festival in Vegas, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong threw a hissy fit/temper tantrum claiming the band’s set got cut short. He yelled out profanities and smashed his guitar on stage, while his bandmates followed suit. It always surprises me how they made it past the 90s.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Biggest 90s Comeback – The Cranberries
This year saw album releases by several 90s bands, including No Doubt, Soundgarden, Counting Crows, Smashing Pumpkins and Our Lady Peace. The Cranberries win because not only did they reappear after an 11-year absence, but they have neither toured since then nor has any band member gone solo or formed other bands. A true comeback.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  English/Irish Boy Band Most Likely to Succeed – The Wanted
Most band members are in their 20s, therefore a fan base past pre-teens and they co-wrote some of their songs. One Direction, their toughest competitors, are much younger (late teens) and were discovered on the UK version of the X-Factor. They’ll be famous but it will be short-lived. The Wanted may not rise as fast, but will last much longer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Most Unfortunate Band Break Up – Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters announced an indefinite hiatus earlier this year. It’s technically not a break up, more like a separation or a pause in their music careers. As of now they have every intention of getting back together, but only time will tell. Here’s hoping.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Most Fortunate Band Break Up – INXS
80s band INXS lost their lead singer Michael Hutchence years ago. Eight years later, the remaining band members appeared on Rock Star in search of a new lead singer, and found one in JD Fortune. Aside from releasing one mediocre album, and a little touring, not much else was accomplished by them, so they finally announced their break up this year. Some things are better left untouched.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Band Who Should Break Up – Maroon 5
The band should be renamed the Adam Levine Show because he is seemingly the only member. Every video stars him, he’s a judge on The Voice and often lends his whiny voice to other musicians on their tracks. The band might as well cease to exist because Adam Levine can do exactly what he’s doing with any band. So why not just break up already and put us all out of our misery?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Best Collaboration Track – “Sweet Nothing”  by Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch
Calvin Harris collaborated with several musicians this year including Rihanna, Ne-Yo, Tinie Tempah and Kelis. He’s a talented dude, whose music consistently makes you want to let loose. But what sets this track apart from the rest, is the fierceness of Florence’s voice – there’s no contest.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Worst Collaboration Track – “Good Time” by Owl City feat. Carly Rae Jepsen
Take Owl City’s shrieking teenage girl voice, add Carly Rae Jepsen  – the 27-year-old responsible for the unforgivable “Call Me Maybe.” Combine with cheesy lyrics (ie “Hands up if you’re down to get down tonight) and a super lame video. The result is a track eerily similar to 2004’s cringe-worthy Shania Twain/Mark McGrath collaboration, “Party for Two.” I’ll post both for comparison but just a warning: no good time will be had.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Most Able to Pull Off Dating a 25-Year-Old – Madonna
Madonna is 53. Boyfriend Brahim Zaibat is 25.
J-Lo is 42. Boyfriend Casper Smart is 25.
You do the math.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Most Surprising Song – “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift
Swift’s songs are usually predictable, overplayed and an after thought. She has the squeaky clean, girl next door, goofball image. But this song is clearly a jab at an ex-boyfriend (apparently Jake Gyllenhall), and she manages to pull it off by making him look like a complete idiot, in a very tasteful way. Surprising because it’s unexpected and pretty ballsy, especially for Swift.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Best New Artist – Alex Clare
Clare went from releasing a debut album in the UK that nobody heard, to an overnight sensation in North America due to his single “Too Close” appearing on a Microsoft commercial. He wins this category for ingenuity. In his music: fusing electronic, rock and pop together with heartfelt lyrics and endearing vocals. And in his music videos: they’re odd, confusing and definitely make you think.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Best Live Show – Garbage, Osheaga Music Festival, Montreal
                                         Ben Harper Acoustic Tour, Massey Hall, Toronto
                                         The xx, Massey Hall, Toronto               
Garbage for returning after seven years away and showing up like no time had gone by. Ben Harper for demonstrating true musicianship through his instruments and his voice, while performing all by himself. The xx for making it impossible to sit still and leaving every fan awe struck for days.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Worst Album of the Year – Wild Ones by Flo Rida
For spawning tracks like: “Whistle Baby,” easily the dumbest song of the year; “I Gotta Feeling” and “I Cry,” both sampled from other artists; “Wild Ones” which features Sia, who also appeared on David Guetta’s hit “Titanium” released about a week earlier. Bottom line: Flo Rida wins this category for making an album of the most unoriginal music.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Album of the Year – Coexist by The xx
There aren’t enough words to describe how incredibly beautiful, heart wrenching, soulful and musical this album is – it makes you want to sigh, love and cry all while having a dance party. Once you hear it, you can’t un-hear it and that’s a wonderful thing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Worst Song of the Year – “Starships” by Nicki Minaj
Minaj got out-rapped by an eight-year-old on live TV on her own track “Superbass”. She has decided to dress as either a cartoon or Lady Gaga in public. She is also responsible for songs like “Stupid Hoe” and “Beez in the Trap.” But of all the ridiculous and tacky things Minaj has brought to the music world this year, “Starships” wins: the video is unwatchable, the lyrics easily written by a ten year old sci-fi enthusiast and whenever it plays, I run for cover.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Song of the Year – “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra
This song first took off when Burlington band Walk off The Earth did a cover and put it on YouTube. It immediately went viral and drew heavy attention to the original track by Belgian-Australian musician Gotye. The music is light and fun despite the sadness and anger that runs through it. Kimbra’s vocals take the song to the next level and pull even harder at the heartstrings. Couldn’t get enough of it all year.
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Music brought to our attention this year worth mentioning, for better or for worse; without regard to record sales, popularity or radio play. Just a take on 2011’s music, as I heard it.

Best Folk AlbumThe King is Dead The Decemberists.

This album is a perfect example of why folk is starting to become more and more prevalent in popular music. Tracks like ‘This is Why we Fight’ and ‘Down by the Water’ have elements of folk, country, rock and pop blended together to create a complex sound. And yet they make it sound so simple.

Best TV Show Soundtrack:  How to Make it in AmericaVarious.

The tracks are always hip, perfectly placed and make every scene that much better. My personal favourite, M83’s ‘Midnight City’ playing while “Ben”, actor Bryan Greenberg, and “Nancy”, actress Gina Gershon, finally break the sexual tension between them in the backseat of a cab. So appropriate. Other artists on the soundtrack include Damian Marley, N.E.R.D., Martin Solveig and Otis Redding.

Biggest Loss for the Industry:  Amy Winehouse.

She was only 27 years old and even if you weren’t shocked by her passing – we were all aware of her struggle with drug addiction and alcoholism – you can’t ignore her talent or the music she brought into our lives. She will be missed.

Most Severe Identity Crisis:  Mylo XylotoColdplay.

Who are they trying to be? They blew our minds with Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head. X&Y wasn’t bad, but Viva la Vida or Death and all his Friends was the start of their descent and coincidentally, their ascension in mainstream music. The current album Mylo Xyloto (really?) can only signify they’ve fallen. I blame Gwyneth Paltrow and her obvious hindrance of Chris Martin’s creative mind. Naming your kid “Apple” doesn’t make you cool. Neither does putting out a song called “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall”. Because it isn’t. The intended metaphor is pedestrian for a band like Coldplay, and the whole album is just lazy. I guess once you’ve hit it that big, you don’t need to try anymore. That’s a crying shame.

Best Collaboration Track:  “Paris”Jay-Z/Kanye West.

A great hip-hop/rap offering: it has quotes from the film Blades of Glory, courtesy of Will Ferrell and Jon Heder; it has references to fish filets, Gucci and Mary Kate and Ashley. But most importantly, it boasts lines like “That shit cray”, “Ball so hard” and my personal favourite, “Doctors say I’m the illest/Cause I’m suffering from realness”. Instant classic.

Worst Collaboration Track:  “E.T.”Katy Perry feat. Kanye West.

Katy Perry gave us some pretty useless tracks this year, including ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’ and ‘Firework’. Her lyrics are terrible, her videos worse, she’s more than obnoxious and her permanent bug-eyed look a la Zooey Deschanel is infuriating. This track doesn’t help her credibility as a musician, it only makes things worse. And Kanye, after spitting great rhymes on ‘Paris’, completely fails on this track with lines like “Tell me what’s next/Alien sex?/I’ma disrobe you/Then I’ma probe you”. Poor Kanye, can’t get anything right.

Most Exploited Collaborator:  Pitbull.

Seriously, why does he appear on so many tracks? In 2011 alone, he was featured on J-Lo, Marc Anthony and Timbaland songs; he also released his own album Planet Pit (definitely somewhere I never want to visit), with songs featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack, Nayer, T-Pain, Enrique Iglesias, Sean Paul, Kelly Rowland, Jamie Foxx and Chris Brown, to name a few. Call me crazy, but anyone who gets around that much is kind of a slut.

Worst Summer Anthem:  “Pumped up Kicks” Foster the People

It’s a track with dark lyrics, commenting on teenage gun violence, from the point of view of the shooter. Yet the upbeat, cheerful music with random whistling interludes (clearly stolen from OneRepublic’s ‘Good Life’) give it a bubble gum pop-rock sound. This song somehow went from no one listening to it at the beginning of the year, to mainstream by summer time. I’m still trying to figure out their intention: they obviously want to create awareness for a serious issue, but when disguised with unicorns and rainbows, no one’s really going to pay attention to the message. It was a summer anthem for many, just not for me.

Best Summer Anthem: “Young Blood”- The Naked and Famous

It’s a song about youth and hope, a song about possibilities and liberation. The music is uplifting and unique. Everything summer should be.

Better Gallagher Brother:  Noel.

Both former Oasis frontmen ventured into solo careers, and both released an album this year. Sorry Liam, you and your “Beady Eyes” just couldn’t compare to Noel and his “High Flying Birds”.

Most Confusing Video of the Year: “We Found Love” – Rihanna.
If you hear this track at a club, you can’t help but feel good, alive and full of life. When you watch the video, however, you can’t help but want to curl up in a ball in the corner of the room and cry. It shows two young adults constantly going on drug binges, jumping around, dancing, skateboarding, having the time of their lives, making out and making love. But it also shows them yelling at each other, fighting,  passing out on the floor, crying and sitting in a bathtub fully clothed. It’s like they’re saying don’t do drugs because look at what they do to you; while also saying do drugs, because look at what they do to you. You be the judge.

‘Bad Girl Turned Sad Girl’ of the Year:  Lindsay Lohan.
How many times can she go to jail? How many hours of community service can she do? How many more chances will she get? No one thinks of her as anything other than a pathetic disaster. At age 25 that’s just sad.

Douchebag of the Year:  Adam Levine of Maroon 5.

I can deal with Adam Levine’s egocentricity. I can turn a blind eye at his attempt to resurrect his career by being a judge on “The Voice”. I can even pretend I don’t notice that he’s an exhibitionist as most of Maroon 5’s videos feature him, and only him, semi-nude, getting frisky with a hot blonde. But what I can’t handle is that he claims to have the moves like Jagger. Adam, you’re not even close.

Most Surprising Song of the Year:  “How to Love” – Lil’ Wayne.

I don’t think I was the only person shocked by Lil’ Wayne’s attempt at singing. A love song of all things. We’re all used to his tough guy image, as seen in his gangster rap, his multiple tattoos, his trips to prison and his grills of course. But this track shows a completely different side of him: it’s sensitive, sends a beautiful message and aside from a little creepy raspiness, his vocals are half decent. Props to him for stepping outside the box and giving it a try. Who would’ve thought?

Least Surprising Song of the Year: “When We Stand Together”Nickelback

Why? Because it sounds like every other song they’ve ever written, produced and played. Who keeps telling them to make the same song over and over again? Take a hint Nickelback, none of us are standing together with you. 

Best Canadian Representation:  Take CareDrake.

So I’m not the hugest Drake fan out there, but he’s definitely talented and knows how to make a solid record, Take Care being no exception. He’s had collaborations with the best of them and is recognizable worldwide. He wins this category because everything about him is so Canadian. He always mentions his hometown of Toronto, he’s biracial, he’s friends with Justin Bieber, and he was on Degrassi – it just doesn’t get more Canadian than that.

Worst Canadian Representation:  Goodbye LullabyAvril Lavigne.
Avril first started out as a teeny-bopping, punk-rocking tomboy from Napanee, Ontario who became famous all over the world. Then she married and divorced Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 and her music became boring: Goodbye Lullaby will put anyone to sleep. I understand a musician’s sound changes over time as they age, learn and develop. With experience, they can become more insightful and introspective. Avril may have used this album’s direction to demonstrate her growth and maturity. But then again, she’s dating Brody Jenner.

Hometown Shout Out:  USS ApprovedUbiquitous Synergy Seeker

It’s an eclectic album, fuses all kinds of sounds together and can put anyone in a good mood. Plus they’re from Toronto, why wouldn’t you want to check them out?

Best Live Show:   Ben Harper, Sound Academy, Toronto.
                             Eminem, Lollapalooza, Chicago.
                             Bon Iver, Massey Hall, Toronto.

Ben for his endless stamina and dedication to playing over three hours of live music non-stop. Eminem for throwing everything he had into his performance to ensure every fan out of thousands at Lollapalooza was entertained. Bon Iver for having such remarkable musicianship to bring an entire crowd to silence as they watched in awe.

Most Disappointing Album:  King of LimbsRadiohead.

After waiting four years for a follow up to the epic In Rainbows, all Thom Yorke and co. could do was produce eight mediocre tracks. The only thing they’re consistent at is being inconsistent.

Worst Song of the Year:  “The Lazy Song”Bruno Mars.

Everything about this song is painful. In the video his background dancers don monkey masks with sunglasses, his lyrics allude to him putting his hand down his pants and he himself was runner up for douchebag of the year. I don’t know if I’m more annoyed at him for making this song (or any of his other ones), or at the general public for accepting it. Note: I know everyone was expecting Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ but I’ve decided that she’s suffered enough for one year. She has been teased relentlessly for making a bad song, just like Aaron Carter and so many others have done before. She’s only fourteen, leave her alone.

Album of the Year:   CeremonialsFlorence and the Machine.
                                  Bon Iver, Bon Iver – Bon Iver.

It was a tough call to make so I chose both. They are equally unique and distinctive and stand out above the rest in their own way. The albums as a whole are musical genius. Florence’s voice is powerful and only amplified by the haunting, almost tribal-like music that accompanies it. Justin Vernon’s vocals for Bon Iver are ethereal and complemented by orchestral instruments and perfectly produced sounds. Either way, can’t go wrong.

Song of the Year:  “Someone Like You”Adele.

This was probably the easiest category. There is nothing wrong with this song: from production, to music, to lyrics and especially to vocals. Everything is flawless. And above all, it manages to break your heart, every time. Well done Adele, well done.