Favorite Songs of 2013

Product DetailsAlthough I haven’t been posting to this blog regularly, I felt it necessary to publish my 10th annual top 20 list (see the archives here).  I wouldn’t say I love all of these songs at this very moment, but the following were my favorites in 2013 (in alphabetical order):

  1. Acapella by Karmin
  2. Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke
  3. Brave by Sara Bareillis
  4. Daylight by Maroon 5
  5. Get Lucky by Daft Punk
  6. Give Life Back to Music by Daft Punk
  7. Gone, Gone, Gone by Phillip Phillips
  8. Ho Hey by The Lumineers
  9. If I Loved You by Delta Rae
  10. Just Give Me a Reason by P!nk featuring Nate Ruess
  11. Let Her Go by Passenger
  12. Madness by Muse
  13. The Man Who Wants You by Amos Lee
  14. Odds Are by Barenaked Ladies
  15. Put the Gun Down by ZZ Ward
  16. Red Hands by Walk Off the Earth
  17. Safe and Sound by Capital Cities
  18. Say Anything by Tristan Prettyman
  19. Thrift Shop by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  20. The Wire by Haim

Not a lot of deep or unexpected tracks this year.  If I had to pick the songs I liked the best, I would probably have to go with Blurred Lines and Red Hands.

Looking back at my Favorite Songs of 2012, most of them are still in favor, though I’m not too proud of recommending “Good Time” by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen.  We’ll see how this list holds up over time.

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Chart Flashback: 1992

It’s the year I graduated from college.  Let’s see how my ratings compare the Entertainment Weekly’s recently published list.

  1. Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot.  EW: A.  JayTunes: B.  It had some shock value back then and has some ironically funny value now, but it’s not exactly a masterpiece.
  2. I’ll Be There by Mariah Carey.  EW: B+.  JayTunes: A-.  A great version of a classic tune at the height of the Unplugged phenomenon.
  3. Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers.  EW: B+.  JayTunes: A.  A great crossover song.
  4. If You Asked Me To by Celine Dion.  EW: B-.  JayTunes: C.  Another nondescript ballad by CD.
  5. Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover by Sophie B. Hawkins.  EW: A+.  JayTunes: C.  Forgettable other than the first word of the chorus.
  6. Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus.  EW: B+.  JayTunes: F.  I remember hating this song back then and I guess I still do.
  7. Jump by Kriss Kross.  EW: A.  JayTunes: B-.  A fun song by a novelty act.  The backwards pants were classic.
  8. Tennessee by Arrested Development.  EW: A-.  JayTunes: B+.  A good song by a group I really liked.  “Mr. Wendal” was better, though.
  9. My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It) by En Vogue.  EW: A+.  JayTunes: A.  Now it’s time for a breakdown: this is a classic.
  10. Wishing on a Star by The Cover Girls.  EW: B-.  JayTunes: I.  I don’t remember this song at all.

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The Ultimate Song of Summer

I found a great list from EW that ranks the best summer songs of the last 20 years on the basis of sense of summer, cultural impact, legacy, and x-factor. Here are my rankings (with EW’s verdict):

  1. Waterfalls by TLC, 1995 (A-)
  2. Crazy In Love by Beyonce, 2003 (A+)
  3. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen, 2012 (A)
  4. California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg) – California Gurls by Katy Perry, 2010 (A-)
  5. Umbrella by Rihanna, 2007 (A+)
  6. I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas, 2009 (B-)
  7. All Star by Smash Mouth, 1999 (D+)
  8. MMMBop by Hanson, 1997 (B)
  9. Bootylicious by Destiny’s Child, 2001 (A)
  10. Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, 2006 (B)
  11. Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO, 2011 (C)
  12. I Swear by All-4-One, 1994 (D)
  13. I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry, 2008 (C-)
  14. Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani, 2005 (B-)
  15. Whoomp! (There It Is) by Tag Team, 1993 (D)
  16. Hot in Herre by Nelly, 2002 (A-)
  17. It’s Gonna Be Me by *NSYNC, 2000 (C+)
  18. Yeah! by Usher, 2004 (B+)
  19. The Boy Is Mine by Brandy & Monica, 1998 (B)
  20. Macarena by Los del Rio, 1996 (F)

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16 Songs Everyone Over 50 Must Own

Don’t ask me how I got there, but the other day I happened to stumble upon this fascinating list of essential songs for seniors at the AARP website:

  1. Frank Sinatra: Once Upon a Time
  2. Neil Young: Harvest Moon
  3. Stevie Wonder: Lately
  4. Dionne Warwick: A House Is Not a Home
  5. Joni Mitchell: Little Green
  6. Coolio: Gangsta’s Paradise
  7. Fleetwood Mac: Landslide
  8. The Eagles: Hotel California
  9. AC/DC: You Shook Me All Night Long
  10. Emmylou Harris: You Never Can Tell (C’ Est la Vie)
  11. George Jones: He Stopped Loving Her Today
  12. Buffalo Springfield: For What It’s Worth
  13. Patsy Cline: Crazy
  14. The Beach Boys: God Only Knows
  15. Elvis Presley: Jailhouse Rock
  16. The Beatles: In My Life

While it’s hard to argue with many of the classic artists on the list, one entry does stick out like a sore thumb.  Coolio?  Really?  Seems like kind of a lame attempt to acknowledge the existence of rap.  I also may have picked different songs for some of the artists (e.g. “The Way You Look Tonight” for Sinatra, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” for Stevie Wonder, “Good Vibrations” for the Beach Boys).  All in all, though, it is a better list than I would have expected from AARP.  Maybe that’s because I am approaching the target age for the list… and because I’m only three songs shy of owning them all.  Any guesses which ones?

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Chart Flashback: 1994

Here’s another Entertainment Weekly Chart Flashback that caught my eye. Let’s see how the ratings compare for one of my first years out of college.

  1. The Sign by Ace of Base.  EW: A-.  JayTunes: B-.  I’m sure this song got a little bump from being featured in Pitch Perfect, but I remember it as being overplayed and annoying.
  2. Bump N’ Grind by R Kelly.  EW: B+.  JayTunes: B.  Not the greatest song, but the chorus is memorable.
  3. Without You by Mariah Carey.  EW: B+.  JayTunes: B.  Mariah could sing, but this cover doesn’t stand out.
  4. The Power of Love by Celine Dion.  EW: B.  JayTunes: C.  I never really enjoyed listening to or looking at her.  Did you know that her greatest hits collection is called “My Love”?  Ugh.
  5. Whatta Man by Salt-N-Pepa featuring En Vogue.  EW: A.  JayTunes: A.  Both of these groups were at the top of their games with this hit.
  6. So Much In Love by All-4-One.   EW: A-.  JayTunes: A-.  A nice a cappella throwback.
  7. Now and Forever by Richard Marx.  EW: B.  JayTunes: C.  Another nondescript ballad. I remember buying the sheet music for it and being disappointed.
  8. Gin and Juice by Snoop Dogg.  EW: A-.  JayTunes: B.  I’m pretty sure I pathetically tried to sing(?) along with this back in the day, so let’s move on.
  9. Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) by Us3.  EW: A.  JayTunes: A.  Easily my favorite song on this list, it came into my life when I was just discovering jazz and rap and it hasn’t left since.
  10. Breathe Again by Toni Braxton.  EW: B.  JayTunes: C.  This yawner was made for Lite FM.

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Guns Blazing

I know that it’s been quite a while since my last post, so I thought I come back with a nice set of new music that I’ve been enjoying for the past few weeks (surprisingly including two that feature guns).  Here you go – enjoy!

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Favorite Songs of 2012

Since there were several artists that released multiple favorites, this year I’ll list my songs of the year by artist.  Here you go:

My song of the year nominees are Someone Like You, Call Me Maybe, and Some Nights.  In a tight race… Some Nights takes home the trophy.  What a great song.

See you next year!

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Grammy Nominees

The nominees for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards were announced last week.  Here’s who I am pulling for:

  • Fun. (Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “We Are Young“; Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for “Some Nights“; Best New Artist)
  • Gotye (Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Somebody That I Used to Know“)
  • Ed Sheeran (Song of the Year for “The A Team“)
  • Carly Rae Jepsen (Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year for “Call Me Maybe
  • Muse (Best Rock Song for “Madness“)
  • Gregory Porter (Best Traditional R & B Performance for “Real Good Hands“)
  • The Muppets (Best Compilation Soundtrack for “The Muppets” and Best Song Written for Visual Media for “Man or Muppet“)
  • Howard Shore (Best Score Soundtrack for “Hugo“)

 Good luck to MY choices!

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New Music for October 2012

I just wanted to mention a few songs that have caught my ear recently:

The first three songs are pretty upbeat, while the last three are just high quality tunes.  Check them out and enjoy!

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Chart Flashback: 1983

I love Entertainment Weekly’s Chart Flashbacks, but I often disagree with their ratings. Let’s see how it goes this time as we journey back to junior high…

  1. Maniac by Michael Sembello (from Flashdance).  EW: A  JayTunes: C  Sorry EW, but it’s not a good song or a good movie. 
  2. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics.  EW: A+  JayTunes: A.  One of the best from Annie Lennox… and that’s saying something.
  3. Safety Dance by Men Without Hats.  EW: B+  JayTunes: A.  This is still one of my favorite songs of the 80s.  I love the intro and the classic keyboard riff. 
  4. Puttin’ On the Ritz by Taco.  EW: B  JayTunes: B.  Nothing like synthesizing an Irving Berlin classic, but I like the Young Frankenstein version better.
  5. Tell Her About It by Billy Joel.  EW: B+  JayTunes: B.  Decent, but not one of Billy’s best.
  6. Every Breath You Take by The Police.  EW: A-  JayTunes: A.  A classic.
  7. She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summer.  EW: A  JayTunes: C.  She probably did work hard for it, but I never cared for her music.
  8. Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler.  EW: A  JayTunes: A.  One of the best power ballads ever.
  9. Human Nature by Michael Jackson.  EW:A  JayTunes: A.  One of Michael’s most underappreciated songs.  It is my favorite from the documentary This Is It.
  10. I’ll Tumble 4 Ya by Culture Club.  EW: A-  JayTunes: D.  I have never liked Culture Club, Boy George, or the word “Ya”.

Overall it’s a strong list and a decent job on the ratings by EW (other than inflating grades for Michael Sembello, Donna Summer, and Culture Club).  I can’t wait for the next flashback!

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