I love you when you’re singing that song, and I got a lump in my throat ’cause you’re gonna sing the words wrong

Vance Joy – Riptide

This song has been stuck in my head for what seems like months, and I actually never want it to leave. Today I decided to watch just about every acoustic YouTube video of it out there, so I wanted to share my favorite with you.

I think I’m in love.


I’d Like To Dream My Troubles All Away On A Bed Of California Stars

Wilco & Billy Bragg – California Stars

It’s been another exciting couple of months, and I apologize for not sharing more music with you throughout it all. To help make up for my absence, here’s a little night cap for y’all – think of it as a beautiful transition for what’s to come.

Sweet dreams.

Tuesday Tunage: New Music From Beck

Beck – Blue Moon

I’m absolutely in love with this first release from Beck’s 2014 album Morning Phase.

I’m not sure what it is, perhaps the recent passing of the brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman has something to do with it, but Blue Moon reminds me of something that could have been in my favorite movie Almost Famous. It’s beautiful, somber, full of confusion, and yet so hopeful. Beck said his inspiration for it came after reading an Elvis biography, which he encourages every musician to check out.

After 6 lonely years since his last studio release, I’m excited to see what else this album has in store for us.

Learn more here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2014/02/04/268981803/beck-on-morning-phase-the-all-songs-considered-interview

Best Grammy Performances Of All Time

Best Grammy Performances Of All Time

Hallelujah, my favorite day of the year is here!

Last year I created a countdown of my seven favorite Grammy performances – a week’s worth of daily posts before the big show! Even after 2013’s great production, including a JT comeback and collaborative tributes to both Bob Marley and The Band’s Levon Helm, my original top seven remain the same today. Now, I just added a few more and put them into one collective post for your viewing pleasure. Embrace the nostalgia and prepare to be enthralled:

10. Jay Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, T.I., and M.I.A. performing “Swagger Like Us” in 2009

This song will forever remind me of my freshman year of college, and I will always remember being in complete awe throughout this entire performance, mostly because M.I.A. was about to pop. And she did, three days later.

9. Whitney Houston performing “I Will Always Love You” in 1994

One word: chills. Whitney was supposed to perform at the legendary Clive Davis’ after party in 2012, the night after she suddenly passed away. A show that spends months planning and practicing was suddenly struck with tragedy and had 24 hours notice to pay tribute to a beloved member of the music community. That’s when Jennifer Hudson stepped in and performed a more somber, yet impeccable, version of this very song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqTh1MwKB9w

8. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss performing “Rich Woman/Gone Gone Gone” in 2009

As Led Zeppelin’s self-proclaimed biggest fan, I may be a bit biased here, but seeing Robert Plant perform 15 ft away from me last year was easily the most euphoric moment of my life. Therefore, he always deserves a spot in my top ten. But to back me up a bit, the year that he and Alison graced the Grammy stage was also the same year they took home five awards, including Album of the Year, for Raising Sand. Zeppelin has yet to receive that many Grammys to this day. However, they are up for two noms this year for their 2012 release of Celebration Day. Fingers crossed!

7. Sting, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill, and Pharrell Williams performing “I Saw Her Standing There” in 2004

This is what the Grammys are all about: music lovers coming together on one of the most fun nights of the year to recognize each other’s unique and remarkable talents. And who doesn’t love a good Beatles tribute?

6. Pink performing “Glitter In The Air” in 2010

I’m just going to come right out and say it – I hate Pink’s music. However, this is the most amazing performance I have ever seen. What she did up there left every other artist in awe. I’ve seen her perform live and she is in fact an acrobat. How can she do that and simultaneously hit her high notes? I have no idea, but it’s one incredible, poetic piece of art. Be sure to check out her performance at the 2012 American Music Awards as well!

5. Smokey Robinson, Usher, Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, and Carrie Underwood performing “Earth Song” in 2010

I believe this to be one of the most underrated songs of our generation. Its message is loud yet none of us seem to truly hear it. When Michael Jackson suddenly passed away that summer, these legends came together to honor his message in the Grammy’s first ever 3D performance – and it was breathtaking.

4. Beyonce performing “If I Were A Boy/You Oughtta Know” in 2010

This was clearly a great year for the Grammys with three performances on my list, but Beyonce obviously takes the cake. Singing the ultimate girl power medley, B got another standing ovation from her talented peers. I even got to play with the sound production of this song when I visited the Grammy museum in Los Angeles – and it was incredible!

3. Christina Aguilera performing “A Man’s World” in 2007

I couldn’t imagine anyone else paying tribute to James Brown as well as Aguilera did here. She poured every ounce of emotion she had into this performance. It’s a phenomenal example of a classic song done right.

2. Eminem and Elton John performing “Stan” in 2001

Another one of the most memorable moments in Grammy history- instead of hearing Dido’s backup vocals from the original radio release, audiences were stunned to see Elton John at Eminem’s side in one of his most raw performances to date. Both singers are well known for picking feuds with other celebrities, including each other. Then, they joined forces and erupted the Grammy stage, leaving both their own peers and the viewers at home speechless.

1. Michael Jackson performing “The Way You Make Me Feel/Man In The Mirror” in 1988

Once MJ graced the Grammy stage that year, it was never the same. Even with our advanced technology, creative set designers and brilliant collaborations that have made so many other performances stand out since then, Michael remains king because he simply needs no gimmicks. It reminds me of what Sheryl Crow once said- that many performers have the ability to entertain a room, but Michael actually changed the molecules.

This Sunday, January 26th brings another promising crew of performers, including the recently announced duet of Beyonce and Jay Z! Other performances to look forward to include Paul McCartney, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Daft Punk, and Macklemore. For some reason they have also invited Taylor Swift back to the stage, for the umpteenth year in a row, despite me annually throwing inanimate objects at the screen throughout her entire “performance”… Silly Academy.

Although I believe many of the nominees this year were chosen wisely, I do predict Lorde and Daft Punk just might be the night’s big winners. And if Same Love doesn’t win Song of the Year, I will probably be throwing more than a fit. (Remember, Record of the Year recognizes the entire production of a song, where Song of the Year focuses solely on the songwriting and writer.)

Happy award season, folks!

Now, what are your favorite Grammy performances of all time?

Best Songs of 2013

This post is a bit delayed after discovering many of my favorite songs from this past year actually came out in 2012, if not earlier. Regardless, it was an amazing year for new music. Here are my top 25 songs from 2013 album releases:

25. Avicii – Wake Me Up
24. Fitz and the Tantrums – Out of my League
23. Haim – The Wire
22. Portugal. The Man – Modern Jesus
21. Noah and the Whale – Heart of Nowhere
20. Foals – Bad Habit
19. Cults – High Road
18. Kendrick Lamar – Poetic Justice
17. Bastille – Pompeii
16. Grouplove – Ways To Go
15. Blood Orange – You’re Not Good Enough
14. Daft Punk – Get Lucky
13. Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?
12. Cold War Kids – Lost That Easy
11. OneRepublic – Feel Again
10. The Royal Concept – On Our Way
9. Kanye West – Black Skinhead
8. Nonono – Pumpin’ Blood
7. The Ceremonies – Land of Gathering
6. Beyonce – XO
5. Ellie Goulding – Burn
4. Justin Timberlake and Jay Z – Holy Grail
3. Lorde – Ribs (and every other song from her album)
2. Flume ft. Chet Faker – Drop The Game
1. MS MR – Hurricane

You’ve already seen many of these featured in other posts here. I know there are plenty of other songs I’m neglecting (and yes, I’m aware Miley “most searched” Cyrus did not make the cut)  – So tell me, what are your favorites from 2013?

Happy (belated) New Year!

All Hail Queen B

Just when we thought 2013 had seen its final share of musical surprises, the entire world erupted at midnight on Friday when Beyonce dropped her self-titled album. No warning, Bey? I like it – you sure know how to keep us on our toes. Not only did she pull off both the recording and releasing process of a full 14-song album in complete secrecy, but she also gave us 17 videos to accompany them. Bey, you cray! I can only imagine the disclosure paperwork involved in this epic stunt – from the water boy to the hair stylists – how did they do it?! In the words of the Queen: Bow down, b*tches.

Naturally, I was one of the first to purchase this iTunes exclusive. It sold more than 80,000 digital copies in its first three hours – from midnight EST to midnight PST – becoming the fastest selling album in history! And today, she started releasing her videos to YouTube so all could enjoy her genius. Finally, after hours of listening, I’ve concluded that this album kills it in terms of today’s pop music standards. But for Beyonce standards, she’s definitely done much better.

It’s pretty clear that more work went into creating the music videos and pulling off this entire project of epic proportions, rather than into each song itself. I’m not envisioning any of them becoming timeless tracks, but as a whole their release will go down in history. No one else has done this before – It’s truly insane if you think about it.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t nearly shed a tear or two when I watched this introductory video telling her fans why she did this – so I think you should, too. Art is alive, my friends! And it’s a beautiful thang.

The featured track here is “XO”. All singles will be available on iTunes December 20th. Be sure to ‘check up on it’!

A Charitable Christmas In L.A.

The Killers – Christmas In L.A.

For the seventh year in a row, The Killers have released another Christmas single benefiting the (RED) organization, where 100% of the song proceeds will go to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This project was started in 2006 by U2’s Bono, along with American Activist and Democratic member of Santa Barbara, Bobby Shriver.

The video stars actor Owen Wilson and also features music from the band Dawes.

I was fortunate enough to see both The Killers and Dawes live this year, and they were nothing short of amazing. The Killers came to my favorite Columbus venue, The LC Pavilion, and easily put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. The production was genius from start to finish, and they remain in my top favorite bands of all time. Dawes played a live set at Forecastle Festival in Louisville this summer, which soon became one of the greatest weekends of my life.

Kudos to everyone involved in this project for using their talent and fame to benefit others in need. ‘Tis the season!

Learn more here: http://www.rollingstone.co.za/musicrev/item/2975-the-killers-endure-a-lonely-christmas-in-l-a-premiere