Thursday, March 2, 2017

Goodbye 2016: A Year in Film, Pt. I - SOUND

Most people think each year ends on December 31st, but it actually varies. For example, the godforsaken year that was 2016 ended on February 26th, 2017, as celebrated at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony. I am officially ready to bid the film year adieu.

To kick things off, we'll honor the oft-overlooked world of soundscapes. Hard to notice when they're good, impossible to miss when they're bad.


Sound editing is the production of individual sound effects, from the recording process to the post-production polish. Some runners-up: I'm a sucker for ocean sounds, and Finding Dory, Moana, and The Shallows had those in abundance. Same goes for space battles and  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Trek Beyond. PEW PEW PEW! And finally a shoutout to the battle scenes of the surprisingly decent 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Michael Bay can do some things right.

The nominees are...

Arrival: The heptapods are amazing. Mysterious, seemingly benign, but maybe not. The sound design captures this perfectly, with whale-like calls that are once familiar and foreign. Comforting but also deeply unknown.

Deepwater Horizon: The disaster unfolds bit by bit, allowing the audience to observe every piece of the rig's failing machinery. The screeching metal and unstoppable mud flows are almost as startling as the explosions, which just about blow you out of your seat.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: For the signature sounds of the franchise and the new creatures of otherworldly descent. The beasts are such fun, imbued with distinct personalities. And I'm still not tired of the magical sounds of every spell cast.

Hacksaw Ridge: I never lost what was going on in those crucial battle scenes, and there is a lot going on. People firing in the distance, people sneaking up and attacking at close range. The rain of gunfire is effectively juggled.

Zootopia: Everything pops. You just know the sound editors were having a good time coming up with the designs for all these animals. You can literally hear the little details. My personal favorite: the pitter-patter footsteps of the tiny creatures.

And the winner is...



Sound mixing involves the blending of multiple audio elements -- dialogue, music, sound effects -- into one final mix for the film. Sully has impressive moments with its repeated plane crash scenes. I also would have loved to include Hacksaw Ridge for its aforementioned balancing act, or Deepwater Horizon for its punches of sonic terror, but I simply ran out of room.

The nominees are...

Arrival: Again, the heptapods. But also, the canaries. And the breathing. And the intercoms. Everything here is mixed to optimum effect. Sound as a source of tension.

The Jungle Book: Effectively convinces the audience that we are in the jungle, home to ever-present life. There is careful emphasis on the animals' calls and roars, as well as wonderfully realistic nature sounds.

La La Land: The musical numbers are wonderful, and in the interim, you rarely lose the tunes bouncing in the background. Fortunately it functions as a mood-setting device rather than a distraction.

The Shallows: The waves! The shark! The screams! The birds! The sound team here really knows how to disorient you. Especially incredible work in that first shark attack.

The Witch: Easily the creepiest use of sound I encountered all year. Much of the film is eerily quiet, so when a goat bleats or the crunches under someone's feet, it adds to the sense of dread.

And the winner is...


Next up: MUSIC

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Last-Minute Oscar Predictions

Happy Oscar Nomination Morning! I did predictions for every category but ran out of time to post them all. Here are my literally last-minute predictions in the top six categories! I am sure I will miss a lot this year because it has been an unusual season with little consensus and a lot of category confusion. Here goes nothing!

Best Picture

  1. The Martian
  2. Spotlight
  3. The Revenant
  4. The Big Short
  5. Room
  6. Carol
  7. Mad Max: Fury Road
  8. Bridge of Spies
  9. Inside Out
  10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Wild Card: Ex Machina
Alternates: Brooklyn, Creed, The Danish Girl, The Hateful Eight, Joy, Sicario, Son of Saul, Steve Jobs, Straight Outta Compton, Trumbo

Best Director
  • Inarritu, The Revenant
  • Haynes, Carol
  • McCarthy, Spotlight
  • Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Scott, The Martian
Wild Card: Boyle, Steve Jobs OR Coogler, Creed OR Russell, Joy
Alternates: Abrahamson, Room; Garland, Ex Machina; Gray, Straight Outta Compton; McCay, The Big Short; Nemes, Son of Saul; Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Best Actor
  • Crantson, Trumbo
  • Damon, The Martian
  • Depp, Black Mass
  • DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Wild Card: Caine, Youth OR Hanks, Bridge of Spies OR Hardy, Mad Max: Fury Road
Alternates: Bale, The Big Short; Carell, The Big Short; Dano, Love & Mercy; Jordan, Creed; Keaton, Spotlight; McKellen, Mr. Holmes; Redmayne, The Danish Girl; Smith, Concussion; Tremblay, Room

Best Actress
  • Blanchett, Carol
  • Larson, Room
  • Lawrence, Joy
  • Ronan, Brooklyn
  • Vikander, The Danish Girl
Wild Card: Mulligan, Suffragette OR Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road
Alternates: Blunt, Sicario; Danner, I'll See You in My Dreams; Mara, Carol; Mirren, Woman in Gold; Rampling, 45 Years; Smith, The Lady in the Van; Tomlin, Grandma

Best Supporting Actor
  • Bale, The Big Short
  • Dano, Love & Mercy
  • Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Stallone, Creed
Wild Card: Chandler, Carol OR Ford, Star Wars: The Force Awakens OR Gleeson, Suffragette
Alternates: Carell, The Big Short; del Toro, Sicario; Elba, Beasts of No Nation; Hardy, The Revenant; Keaton, Spotlight; Shannon, 99 Homes

Best Supporting Actress
  • Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • McAdams, Spotlight
  • Mirren, Trumbo
  • Vikander, Ex Machina
  • Winslet, Steve Jobs
Wild Card: Chastain, The Martian
Alternates: Allen, Room; Banks, Love & Mercy; Fonda, Youth; Mara, Carol; Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria; Walters, Brooklyn

Friday, February 6, 2015

Ranked: Taylor Swift, Pt. 1

One of the goals I set for 2015 was to get back in the blogging game. I thought "Why not start with one of 2014's biggest stars?" Thus began my insane attempt to rank all the songs of one Miss Taylor Swift, reigning ruler of pop and my heart.

Despite her young age (twenty-five years old!), Swift has a substantial discography: five albums and countless singles and guest appearances. Needless to say, sorting through her songs is a slightly grueling task. This was particularly true for me, a dedicated Swiftie since 2006. I have followed her evolution from spunky country teen to sophisticated chanteuse, and my emotional investment in her music is high. Goodness knows it took a million years longer than I wanted it to, but I actually managed to finish this list, in spite of my compulsion to change it daily.

So on to the good stuff...

You'll notice a "Best Moment" for each song. Taylor Swift is all about moments -- from the casually beautiful to the monumentally tragic -- and it shows in her craftsmanship. Whether with a clever couplet or expressive delivery, she knows how to take listeners by surprise and turn a good song into a great one or a great one into a classic in a matter of seconds.

One last thing before I get started! I left out the following:
  • Songs where Taylor is a featured artist (e.g. Half of My Heart)
  • Live covers (e.g. Drops of Jupiter)
  • Holiday songs (e.g. Last Christmas)
  • Acoustic or remixed versions of her songs
  • Songs not available on iTunes

Love her or hate her (for shame!), check out the list and tell me your own Swiftian faves!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar Predictions 2014

Real quick before they announce them!

  1. Boyhood
  2. Birdman
  3. The Imitation Game
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. The Theory of Everything
  6. Selma
  7. American Sniper
  8. Gone Girl
  9. Nightcrawler
  10. Foxcatcher
Watch Out For: Whiplash, Into the Woods, Unbroken,  Mr. Turner, A Most Violent Year, Interstellar

  • Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Ava DuVernay (Selma)
  • Clint Eastwood (American Sniper)
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman)
  •  Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Watch Out For: David Fincher (Gone Girl), Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game), Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), James Marsh (The Theory of Eveything), Angelina Jolie (Unbroken), Mike Leigh (Mr. Turner), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler)

  • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  • Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)
  • Michael Keaton (Birdman)
  • David Oyelowo (Selma)
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Watch Out For: Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Bill Murray (St. Vincent)

  • Amy Adams (Big Eyes)
  • Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
  • Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
  • Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
  • Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
Watch Out For: Jennifer Aniston (Cake), Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night or The Immigrant)

  • Robert Duvall (The Judge)
  • Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  • Edward Norton (Birdman)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  • J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Watch Out For: Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Tyler Perry (Gone Girl), Christoph Waltz (Big Eyes), Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice), Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler)

  • Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
  • Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
  • Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
  • Emma Stone (Birdman)
  • Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)
Watch Out For: Rene Russo (Nightcrawler), Laura Dern (Wild), Imelda Staunton (Pride), Carmen Eiogo (Selma), Naomi Watts (St. Vincent), Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer), Carrie Coon (Gone Girl)

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Nightcrawler
  • Selma
Watch Out For: Foxcatcher, Pride, A Most Violent Year, Big Eyes, Mr. Turner, St. Vincent, Top Five, Ida, Interstellar, Love is Strange, The Immigrant

  • American Sniper
  • Gone Girl
  • The Imitation Game
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash
Watch Out For: Inherent Vice, The Lego Movie, Wild, Into the Woods

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood 
  • Gone Girl
  • The Imitation Game
  • Whiplash
Watch Out For: The Grand Budapest Hotel, American Sniper, Nightcrawler, The Theory of Everything, A Most Violent Year, Inherent Vice, Interstellar, Into the Woods

  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Mr. Turner
  • Unbroken
Watch Out For: Interstellar, Ida, Selma, Gone Girl, The Theory of Everything, A Most Violent Year

  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
Watch Out For: Big Eyes, Unbroken, Inherent Vice, Guardians of the Galaxy, Mr. Turner, The Theory of Everything, Selma, Foxcatcher, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Snowpiercer

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Into the Woods
  • Maleficent
  • The Theory of Everything
Watch Out For: Inherent Vice, Mr. Turner, Guardians of the Galaxy, Selma, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Big Eyes, A Most Violent Year, Belle, Noah

  • Foxcatcher
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
Other Options: Maleficent, The Theory of Everything, Noah, The Amazing Spider-man 2

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Godzilla
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar
Other Options: Transformers: Age of Extinction, Maleficent, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Night at the Museum: Age of Extinction

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Interstellar
  • Whiplash
Watch Out For: The Imitation Game, Unbroken, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy, Fury, The Lego Movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Into the Woods, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • The Imitation Game
  • Into the Woods
  • Whiplash
Watch Out For: Unbroken, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Interstellar, Fury, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Theory of Everything, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Lego Movie

  • Gone Girl
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • The Theory of Everything
Watch Out For: Unbroken, Maleficent, Fury, The Judge, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Under the Skin, The Homesman, Nightcrawler, The Boxtrolls

  • "Big Eyes" (Big Eyes)
  • "Glory" (Selma)
  • "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" (Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me)
  • "The Last Goodbye" (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies)
  • "Mercy Is" (Noah)
Watch Out For: "Something's So Right" (Muppets Most Wanted), "Lost Stars" (Begin Again), "Yellow Flicker Beat" (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I), "Opportunity" (Annie), "Miracles" (Unbroken), "Everything is Awesome" (The Lego Movie)

  • Force Majeure
  • Ida
  • Leviathan
  • Tangerines
  • Wild Tales
Other Options: Timbuktu, The Liberator, Accused, Corn Island

  • Big Hero 6
  • The Boxtrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • The Lego Movie
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Other Options: The Book of Life, Song of the Sea, Cheatin, Jack and the Cuckoo-Cluck Heart, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Rocks in My Pockets, Miniscule - Valley of the Lost Ants, Penguins of Madagascar, Rio 2, Henry & Me, Giovanni's Island, The Hero of Color City, The Pirate Fairy, Planes: Fire & Rescue, Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

  • CitizenFour
  • Last Days in Vietnam
  • Life Itself
  • The Overnighters
  • Virunga
Other Options: Jodorowsky's Dune, Keep on Keepin' On, Finding Vivian Maier, Art and Craft, The Case Against 8, The Kill Team, The Salt of the Earth, Tales of the Grim Sleeper, Citizen Koch, The Internet's Own Boy

  • Coda
  • The Dam Keeper
  • The Duet
  • Feast
  • Me and My Moulton
Other Options: The Bigger Picture, Symphony No. 42, Footprints, A Single Life, The Numberlys

  • Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
  • Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace
  • One Child
  • Our Curse
  • White Earth
Other Options: The Lion's Mouth Opens, Joanna, The Reaper (La Parka)

  • Baghdad Messi
  • Boogaloo and Graham
  • Butter Lamp
  • Carry On
  • The Phone Call
Other Options: My Father's Truck, Aya, Parvaneh, Summer Vacation, SLR

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Golden Globe Predictions

In the family of "prestigious" award shows, the Golden Globes are the loud, trashy, loveable aunt who shows up to every reunion a little tipsy and then proceeds to get completely wasted. They are known for being a huge party that worships Hollywood's biggest stars, and I don't think that will be changing this year. Check out my predictions below!


Best Motion Picture, Drama: Boyhood
  • I think this is between Boyhood, the ambitious critical darling, and The Imitation Game, the standard British biopic. The Theory of Everything is overshadowed by Imitation, I fear Selma has not been seen enough, and Foxcatcher should just be happy to be there.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama: Jennifer Aniston, Cake
  • The only actress I can't picture winning this is Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything). Julianne Moore (Still Alice) has the overdue factor, Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) is the breakthrough star in a big hit, and Reese Witherspoon is America's Sweetheart making a comeback. But I think Jennifer Anistion has the edge because of the surprise factor -- she came out of nowhere with this film almost no one has seen -- and because people generally want good things for her. She gets the star vote.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
  • This is a crowded category. All of these performances and actors have significant fans. Ultimately though, I think it will go to Eddie Redmayne due to the simple fact that he is one of the Oscar frontrunners, alongside Michael Keaton (in the Comedy/Musical category). But I wouldn't be surprised if he lost either.
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: Birdman
  •  People love Birdman. A lot. The Grand Budapest Hotel is another much-loved film, but it is a dark horse here. It lacks the direct connection to showbiz that I think has made Birdman such a big hit with awards bodies.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: Emily Blunt, Into the Woods
  • This is a crapshoot. I should probably predict Amy Adams because many people think she is O-V-E-R-D-U-E for an Oscar (and the Oscars definitely matter here). But people aren't crazy about Big Eyes and Adams just won a Globe last year, so it's possible that Blunt, the star of a major hit and Best Musical/Comedy nominee, will come out on top.
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: Michael Keaton, Birdman
  • Ralph Fiennes could be a surprise winner if the HFPA goes for Grand Budapest Hotel in a big way (like by giving it a Best Musical/Comedy award), but this is most likely Michael Keaton's to lose. He's a comeback story in a Best Picture frontrunner. He's got this.
Best Animated Feature Film: The Lego Movie
  • There may be no bigger frontrunner this year. No discussion needed.
Best Foreign Language Film: Ida
  • Ida started its reign all the way back in May when it was released in U.S. theaters. It had a solid box-office run and has built a large fan base (relative to other foreign films) since then. It's even a threat for surprise Best Picture Oscar nod. Force Majeure and Leviathan have their fair share of supporters this year, but there's been no other foreign film like Ida this year.
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  • People really admire the dedication of the Boyhood cast, and Patricia Arquette is routinely cited as the MVP of the cast. Even if the movie loses, she'll probably win. She does have competition though: Meryl Streep (Into the Woods) is always a threat, and Emma Stone (Birdman) could ride the Birdman wave (plus people love her in the movie and in real life).
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
  • Simmons is a veteran actor in a Sundance hit that has had a year to gather fans and gain steam. His fellow nominees (minus Robert Duvall) are in similarly big films, but none can match Simmons' precursor support.
 Best Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
  • Birdman love aside, no director has garnered as much praise and respect this year as Richard Linklater, and rightfully so. Boyhood was a huge risk that could have ended in disaster. Instead, it ended with one of the biggest critical hits of the decade thus far. It will be shocking if the award does not go to him or Birdman's Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Best Screenplay, Motion Picture: Gone Girl
  • A stacked category to be sure, but I think the twists, turns, and black humor of Gillian Flynn's zeitgesty script in combination with it's big box-office numbers will help it overcome the likes of The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman.
Best Original Score, Motion Picture: Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
  • I think they'll either be boring here (Desplat) or throw caution to the wind and pick the nominee that is -- gasp -- not eligible for the Oscars (Antonio Sanchez, Birdman).
Best Original Song, Motion Picture: "Yellow Flicker Beat" from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
  • Because the Globes aren't afraid to be young and hip sometimes. But really anyone could win. Maybe Lana Del Rey for "Big Eyes" after last year's embarrassing Oscar snub? Who knows? No one. No one ever knows what will happen with the Globes song category unless you have a "Skyfall" or "Let It Go" situation.
All right, the rest of these will receive no explanation because I do not follow TV like I follow film. Do not trust my predictions here.


Best TV Series, Drama: The Good Wife
Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama: Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama: Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy: Orange is the New Black
Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Best TV Movie or Mini-Series: True Detective
Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Freak Show
Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie: Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie: Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart

2014 Roundup: Naomi's Music Picks, Pt. 2

In an attempt to get a full picture of the musical year, Naomi completed a listening marathon: she took in album after album, trying to find out what really was the best of the year before crossing that December 31st finish line. She compiled the results in the best-of list you see before you. Behold! The top tracks of last year.

Honorable Mentions

Top 100 Songs of 2014

The Playlist

100.) "Turn Down for What" by DJ Snake and Lil John - Turn down for what? 
99.) "Cardiac Arrest" by Bad Suns - Same old story since day one, but I’ve got no place to run
98.) "Ancient Ways" by Interpol - Shape the right through sound, become dutifully bound to the ground
97.) "Quartz" by TV On the Radio - Take me nowhere my poor heart can’t follow
96.) "Undone" by the bird and the bee - I wanna be cruel, I wanna be the girl that you wanted in high school
95.) "Lampshades On Fire" by Modest Mouse - This is what I really call a party now
94.) "Sweat Like the Dew" by Say Hi - My girl: big eyes, big lows, big highs
93.) "Make Me Fade" by k.flay - You make me brighter when you make me fade
92.) "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)" by Run the Jewels feat. Zack De La Rocha -
Everything I scribble’s like an anarchist’s cookbook
91.) "Try to Make a Fire Burn Again" by Dawn Landes - Don’t you wanna love me all over again?

* * *

90.) "No Direction Home" by Mirah - This is a sorrow everyone knows
89.) "When I Get My Hands On You" by The New Basement Tapes - Everywhere on Earth you go, you’re gonna have me as your man
88.) "Gimme A Chance" by Azealia Banks - Lamento informarte, no funcionó la brujería
87.) "Problem" by Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea - I should be wiser and realize that I’ve got one less problem without ya
86.) "Divisionary (Do the Right Thing)" by Ages and Ages - Do the right thing, do it all the time
85.) "Goddess" by BANKS - She could have done just anything or anyone
84.) "Isaac" by Bear’s Den - With you head pressed against the stone, you look so alone
83.) "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" by Against Me! - You know it’s obvious, but we can’t choose how we’re made
82.) "BO$$" by Fifth Harmony - I’m a Maybach and you’s a Volvo
81.) "Mess Is Mine" by Vance Joy - This mess was yours, now your mess is mine

* * *

80.) "Boom Clap" by Charli XCX - The sound of my heart, the beat goes on and on and on
79.) "Time Forgot" by Conor Oberst - Here we go, man, it’s beautiful, get your trumpet, get your drum
78.) "West Coast" by Lana Del Rey - Down on the west coast, I get this feeling like it all could happen
77.) "Left Hand Free" by alt-J - O-M-G, gee whiz, girl, you’re the one for me
76.) "She’s Not Me" by Jenny Lewis - She’s not me, she’s easy
75.) "Bitter Water" by Big Haunt - Dress me all up in white and put my head low in the black water
74.) "Basic Instinct" by The Acid - Coming up for air
73.) "Summer Dress" by HIGHS - If we meet again, I hope you wear that dress that you wore back then
72.) "Crazy" by Kat Dahlia - I don’t understand how someone just can walk into your life and everything before them you forget
71.) "0 To 100 / The Catch Up" by Drake - I’m only twenty-seven and I’m only gettin’ better

* * * 

70.) "Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone" by Lykke Li - There is a war inside my core; I hear it fight, I hear it roar
69.) "Hunger of the Pine" by alt-J - Realization grew on me as quickly as it takes your hand
68.) "The Righteous One" by The Orwells - Smoke in the air, I don’t have a care
67.) "Eyes of the Muse" by King Tuff - There is no other when I am with her
66.) "My Silver Lining" by First Aid Kit - Be it for reason, be it for love, I won’t take the easy road
65.) "I Know Places" by Taylor Swift - Love’s a fragile little flame, it could burn out
64.) "The Father Complex" by Captain - Do you really talk to God? And I wonder what He tells you
63.) "Yellow Flicker Beat" by Lorde - The scars that mark my body, they’re silver and gold
62.) "Water Fountain" by tUnE-yArDs - Nothing feels like dying like the drying of my skin and lawn
61.) "Money On My Mind" by Sam Smith - Please, can you make this work for me? ‘Cause I’m not a puppet, I will work against your strings

* * * 
60.) "You are the pins in my ears. You are the salt in my eyes." by The Love Junkies - I’m sitting on the fence pleading for some sense from my Lord my Buddha Muhammad Allah
59.) "Hey Mami" by Sylvan Esso - Hey mami, I know what you want, mami
58.) "Your Graduation" by Modern Baseball - Stood out for hours as you complained about how you haven’t seen your friends yet, that you’re too drunk to stand, and you not knowing if you can love him forever
57.) "Body" by Karen O - Gotta make it right for yourself if you love somebody
56.) "My Song 5 (Remix)" by HAIM - Honey, I’m not your honey pie
55.) "Classic" by MKTO - I’m out of my mind, thinking I was born in the wrong time
54.) "Pickles from the Jar" by Courtney Barnett - You like mornings, I like nights; I love you ‘till the day I die
53.) "Paris" by Magic Man - It’s just a fantasy taking over like a disease, pull me out of this
52.) "Anaconda" by Nicki Minaj - My anaconda don’t
51.) "Love Ain’t Enough" by The Barr Brothers - Love is enough when you don’t look back

 * * *

50.) "All the Rage Back Home" by Interpol - She swore love is never done so easily
49.) "This Is How We Walk On the Moon" by José González - Each step is moving, it’s moving me up
48.) "She Used to Love Me a Lot" by Johnny Cash - She used to love me with a love that wouldn’t die

47.) "Black Me Out" by Against Me! - I don’t want to see the world that way anymore, I don’t want to feel that weak and insecure
46.) "Gold Rush" by Mirah - There’s nothing ever saving us from that we’re gonna die
45.) "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX - I’m so fancy, you already know
44.) "Beggin For Thread" by BANKS - Stooped down and out, you got me beggin for thread to sew up this hole that you ripped in my head
43.) "Take Me to Church" by Hozier - If the heavens ever did speak, she’s the last true mouthpiece
42.) "Sanctified" by Rick Ross feat. Kanye West and Big Sean - All I want’s a hundred million
dollars and a bad bitch

41.) "Hard" by SOPHIE - It’s just so hard

* * *

40.) "Archie, Marry Me" by Alvvays - You’ve expressed explicitly your contempt for matrimony - you’ve got student loans to pay and will not risk the alimony
39.) "When You’re Gone" by Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s - When you’re gone, I drink tap water and I sleep on the couch
38.) "Cut Your Bangs" by Radiator Hospital - When you lie to me, it’s in the small stuff
37.) "Girls Chase Boys" by Ingrid Michaelson - All the broken hearts in the world still beat, let’s not make it harder than it has to be
36.) "Say You’ll Be There" by MØ - This time you got to take it easy, throwing far too much
emotions at me

35.) "Heroine" by D W N T W N - Father was a man, was a man of the road
34.) "Moaning Lisa Smile" by Wolf Alice - Scrap the blues if the blues don’t work, flash your teeth, though the inside hurts
33.) "Who Needs You" by The Orwells - Listen up, forefathers, I’m not your son
32.) "i" by Kendrick Lamar - You know the miserable do love company, what do you want from me and my scars?
31.) "Sheezus" by Lily Allen - It makes me angry, I’m serious, but then again I’m just about to get my period

* * *

30.) "Guilt Trip" by PUP - How many bones must I break ‘till all my filaments rust to decay?
29.) "White Fire" by Angel Olsen - I wish sometimes I could take back every word I’ve said
28.) "Ain’t No Sunshine" by Coeur de pirate - It’s not warm whens she’s away
27.) "Fleetfoot Ghost" by Mirah - You are the season I will not find again
26.) "The Greatest Bastard" by Damien Rice - I helped you open out your wings, your legs, and many other things - didn’t I?
25.) "Break the Rules" by Charli XCX - I don’t wanna go to school, I just wanna break the rules
24.) "Work Song" by Hozier - My baby never fret none about what my hands and my body done
23.) "Blank Space" by Taylor Swift - It’s gonna be forever or it’s gonna go down in flames
22.) "Coffee" by Sylvan Esso - I know my words will dry upon the skin just like a name I remember hearing
21.) "Vessel" by Captain - I am a collapsible bridge, a link between rib, and I’ve caved in

* * *

20.) "Covered In Chrome" by Violent Soho - HELL FUCK YEAH!
19.) "Careless" by Alex Winston - Still I feel the weight of every pound like an anchor to the ground
18.) "It’s Alright Now" by Bombay Bicycle Club - It’s alright now, I can wait
17.) "Unfucktheworld" by Angel Olsen - I am the only one now I am the only one now I am the only one now

16.) "Sister" by Kate Nash - There was this cool, cool girl, she was about your age...
15.) "M0rgan Stop" by Kitty - Can you walk on the red seas and see into the dark and make it light again?
14.) "Waiting" by Alice Boman - I want you more than I need you, I need you bad
13.) "New Romantics" by Taylor Swift - Please leave me stranded, it’s so romantic
12.) "Fire Escape" by Foster the People - My spine is made of iron, my heart pumps out old red paint
11.) "Oxen Hope" by Mirah - Did you know you’d struck the final blow to my faithful oxen hope?

* * *

10.) "Blue Moon" by Beck - I’m so tired of bein’ low
9.) "Night at Lake Unknown" by Conor Oberst - I can’t live outside the moment and it keeps leaving me behind
8.) "Dearly Departed" by Shakey Graves feat. Esmé Patterson - You and I both know that the
house is haunted, and you and I both know that the ghost is me

7.) "Cedarsmoke & Young Bodies" by Sea Wolf - This is where I admit I don’t know shit and I never did
6.) "Fine, Great" by Modern Baseball - I hate worrying about the future ‘cause all my current problems are based around the past
5.) "Carissa" by Sun Kil Moon - I’m going out there to get a look at the landscapes, to get a look at those I’m connected by blood and see how it all may have shaped me
4.) "Warm Foothills" by alt-J - I tie my life to your balloon and let it go
3.) "URL Badman" by Lily Allen - I don’t like you; I think you’re worthless, I wrote a long piece about it up on my WordPress
2.) "Habits (Stay High)" by Tove Lo - Spend my days locked in a haze tryin’ to forget you, babe
1.) "Houdini" by Alex Winston - I knew you would leave by the way you grind your teeth in your sleep

That's all, folks.

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 Roundup: Naomi's Music Picks, Pt. 1

For those of you who don't know her, my sister Naomi is a bit of a music nerd, as am I. We have been complaining to each other for months about 2014's uninspired output. Sure, there were a few gems here and there, and one monster album that no one could hide from, but mostly this year sent a huge wave of "meh" through our speakers. Naomi, on a desperate search to find good music, listened to more albums than she ever had before and came up with the following lists, just for you, dear readers.

Here's Naomi's take on 2014, parte uno:

Songs I Would Like Someone To Apologize For

The MVP of 2014

Charli XCX

I will be the first to admit that “Boom Clap” isn’t exactly a masterpiece, but even when she was off this year, Charli was still the most captivating and down-to-earth of all the 2014 newbie mainstream artists. Charli XCX is a synthpunk pop princess, and I couldn’t be happier that she is getting the credit she deserves.

Best Album of 2014

Changing Light by Mirah

It’s hard to think that such a sweet, ethereal voice comes from a levelheaded forty-year-old, but that is part of what makes this album so intriguing. Mirah is so intelligent and sincere that when she compares her bad breakup to “the ending of the world,” you will believe her. This is not sad white girl music, this is a grown woman reflecting on the choices she’s made. Her introspection covers a broad spectrum of emotions, coming in waves of shrouded metaphors (“I Am the Garden”) and blunt criticism (“24th St”). The album reads like a storybook, a tale of love lost and hope restored.

Next up: the best songs of 2014.