American Authors – Best Day of My Life
Each year brings us an indie band that seems to break out of “indie” status with a major pop crossover. Following the likes of Kings of Leon, Mumford and Sons, and Of Monsters and Men is this year’s offering, American Authors. The New York based band brings us a true ray of sunshine with Best Day of My Life. This song is an instant classic with a lighthearted mandolin melody, upbeat lyrics, and a relentlessly catchy chorus that will have you singing along for days.
The downside? Its all a bit too well polished. This is the kind of song that lends itself to commercials and movie soundtracks almost too easily. It has almost too much mainstream pop appeal, which just seems a little off for a supposedly “indie” band. There’s no rawness or soul behind the song…its almost so happy that it borders on being blissfully unaware of how bland it is. Then again…maybe that’s part of the appeal?
Shakira – Can’t Remember to Forget You (ft. Rihanna)
Shakira and Rihanna teaming up on a single track? This should be a no brainer! They have so much in common! They’re both fierce performers, exotic beauties, bold and charismatic divas, and unique vocalists. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they fail to turn Can’t Remember to Forget You into a memorable experience.
The song features a really exotic, island sound to it. It combines Shakira’s Latin roots with Rihanna’s Caribbean influence to create a lively and refreshing sound. With electric guitars, a reggae beat, and a rousing horn section, the song is a solid piece of Ska-Pop with a unique identity. Unfortunately, the duo does little with the opportunity they’ve been given. The lyrics fall flat, the vocals aren’t nearly as strong as they should be, and the chorus borders on annoying. Aside from the song’s lush instrumentals, little else makes this song worth remembering.
Coldplay – Magic
After the awkward responses to their unexpected single, Midnight, Coldplay proves that they were just trolling us! Just a few days later, they released the real lead single from their upcoming album! See guys…I knew they didn’t suck that badly.
Magic is definitely more true to the classic Coldplay sound. Its a moody, atmospheric song with a heavy bass and a thumping drum beat that is both heavy and smooth. Chris Martin’s unaltered vocals ring clear, creating a lush and ethereal tone. The guitars kick in towards the middle for a rapturous climax, complete with Martin’s signature falsetto. This song brings us back to the days of Yellow and The Scientist, while still adding a new texture to Coldplay’s sound, giving us a clearer picture of what Ghost Stories has in store. I am officially excited!
Austin Mahone – Mmmm Yeah (ft. Pitbull)
Austin Mahone is the latest teen heart throb to step out on the scene. He’s often been compared to Justin Beiber, and understandably so. His latest release, the thoughtfully titled Mmmm Yeah, is without a doubt going to be his Baby. Both songs are stupidly catchy teen pop tracks with ridiculous choruses. Here, we trade “Baby, baby, oh!” with the equally annoying “Mmm-mmm-yeah!-yeah!” We trade a quest rap from Ludicrous for an equally terrible rap from Pitbull. Really, the only redeeming quality I can find in this song is that the beat is infinitely more enjoyable, and Austin is immensely more likable.
However, with his rise to stardom imminent, I just wonder if he will remain grounded and humble unlike his predecessor. Judging by his penchant for going shirtless at the drop of a hat, and the fact that he’s on Lil Wayne’s record label, I’m gonna say no. Please prove me wrong, Austin!
Avicii – Hey Brother (ft. Dan Tyminski)
After scoring a massive hit with Wake Me Up, Avicii is back at it with a worthy follow up. He continues the latest trend of genre mashing; this time, by combining EDM with a hint of Bluegrass. Yes…two genres that seemingly have nothing in common just merged into one monster track!
The song obviously features Avicii’s signature EDM production. A throbbing bass, and a barrage of synths work to create a solid and infectious dance beat. However, the addition of country guitars and Dan Tyminski’s drawling vocals give the song a totally unique sound. Unfortunately, the song just feels slightly less organic than Wake Me Up’s fusion of folk, blues, and dance. Whereas the former worked seamlessly, Hey Brother feels like Avicii went out of his way to find a way to combine these two genres. Don’t get me wrong, it worked marvelously…just less organically.
The Chainsmokers – #Selfie
This song has become a talking point for proving just how far pop music has fallen. And you know what? I’m going to have to disagree with everyone on this! Perhaps I’m giving this song a bit too much credit, but I really do think this could be a piece of satire, poking fun at the girls too busy dancing along to notice, and too stupid to realize. This song is, in effect, this most genius troll effort to date.
Everything about this song is just so stupid. From the bland and relentless dance beat, the mindless drivel that can only loosely be called “lyrics,” to the obligatory hashtag in the title. And yet, its genius. This DJ duo simply rolled every trend into one trolltastic song to make club sluts world wide go “OMG! That is SO me!” Instant. Fucking. Hit. And they didn’t even have to try.
Genius. Yes. Still…the song is fucking annoying. #murderthedj
Jennifer Lopez – I Luh Ya Papi (Ft. French Montana)
If we want to talk about the dumbing down of pop music, look no further than J.Lo’s latest release. The title alone is pretty indicative of the level of sophistication that we’re dealing with. Not only have we made “ya” and appropriate substitute for “you,” but now we’re trying to make “luh” a thing.
The song is pretty much exactly what you’d expect. Mindless drivel about “my papi,” a pop beat that is so catchy its stupid, and mediocre vocals from someone who is one greatest hits album away from being a has-been. Add a completely disposable rap from none other than French Montana (who?) and you have…well…don’t quit American Idol, Jenny. Stay on board that sinking ship!
Pharell Williams – Happy
After jumping back into relevance on two of the biggest songs of 2013, I would be happy too. Following up Get Lucky and Blurred Lines, Pharell is going it alone for his first solo track in almost six years. Continuing his trend of blending soul, motown and current pop music, Happy is yet another undeniable hit.
Jaunty keyboards, upbeat hand claps, blissful backup vocals, and euphoric lyrics make this song a breath of fresh air. Its a song that you can’t help but sing along to, dance along to, and…well, just be happy to. See, American Authors, this is what I was talking about. Put a little soul into the music. But, then again…the song is sometimes a bit too repetitive, and it is beginning to suffer from a massive case of being overplayed. No doubt that its a solid, upbeat song, but…it too, is almost so catchy that its stupid…
Cash Cash – Take Me Home (ft. Bebe Rexha)
Now that EDM is a worldwide trend, it seems only right that artists that have been at this for years are finally coming into the limelight. Cash Cash was and EDM act that was previously only known to scene kids and DJ’s. However, they’ve finally scored a massive hit with their latest single, Take Me Home.
This song features all of what fans of this group would expect. We have an absolutely stellar combination of dance beats, synthesizers, guitars and keyboards. It creates a vivid, colorful, and energetic sound that is guaranteed to energize dance floors across the world. Throw in some powerful vocals by pop singer Bebe Rexha, and you’ve got some dance floor gold.
Iggy Azaelea – Fancy (ft. Charlie XCX)
I’m always leery when a model tries their hand at a music career. Either you have a pretty face, or musical talent. You simply shouldn’t be able to have both! Its not fair to us normal people! And yet, Iggy proves to be the total package. Fancy is actually a pretty solid hit. It features an insanely cool synth beat that hits its stride instantly, and rolls along smoothly as her crisp and biting rap grabs you by the throat. The chorus injects some indie-rock inspired vocals courtesy of Charlie XCX, making the song an effective blend of genres. There’s something here for everyone. Fancy is simply one of the coolest tracks of the year so far.