Music to Your Ears – Best of 2018: Songs Part Two

Now that you’ve seen half of my favorite songs of the year (don’t forget to vote on them too!), it’s time to reveal the rest, including my favorite – one that lasted a good duration, holding steady to the spot just in time for the full album release last week. Take a look below and vote for these other four face-offs:

First we have my favorite song of the year pitted against one of my new favorite singers:

1) Give Yourself a Try – The 1975

From the moment the whine of Adam Hann’s guitar shrieks through the darkness of the beginning of this song I was intrigued. Then they did something I’ll always love in songs: a brief absence of sound. It turns your head, makes you ask why they paused. It’s always intentional and almost always effectual. That’s just the beginning, though. When Matt Healy breaks in with some of the best poetry this year, his anguished plea for preservation becomes something of a tragic tale. He enlightens us to his insights on aging gracefully, shucking the mistakes of the past and accepting that pain might always linger. Lucky for us we grow out of our distorted phases, hopefully grasping the reality of maturity, being able to deal with the pain. We might struggle some more, but there’s always something to keep us going, if only we give it a try. The thrill doesn’t let up as Hann’s guitar blares like a klaxon underneath the chorus, fading only for Healy’s final plea to hit home. It’s subtle and garish all at once, just like Healy and company want to represent for the millennial experience.

16) Small Talks – Liza Anne

I don’t think I’ve ever related to a song’s lyrics more than this one. Who among us hasn’t been at a party and forced to deal with complete strangers discussing the most mundane of subjects? Liza Anne perfectly puts to song that feeling of ennui brought on by the banter no one wants to deal with. Not only is it a subjectively engaging piece, but her guitar skills almost match her rapid fire repartee. I’m a sucker for female vocalists, as you know, and sardonic wit is the fastest way to my heart. That double dose of power made Liza Anne my favorite new artist of the year.

Continue reading Music to Your Ears – Best of 2018: Songs Part Two

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Podcast Dec 7 – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Mary, Queen of Scots

Don’t let that title mislead you, this is definitely a podcast about those two new films. You just wouldn’t know it from how they’re discussed.

Cory and Tristan discuss the first film, a new Coen Brothers western chock full of varying vignettes for the first half, entitled The Buster of Ballad Scruggs.

Next up, Tristan holds court by discussing a similar release called The Ballad of Lefty Browna standard western starring Bill Pullman as a put-upon sidekick out for revenge after the death of his best friend.

He also opines alongside Cory about his 2,500th film seen, the 1952 classic Singin’ in the Rain, starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor as performers adjusting to the new world of talking pictures.

Before they go, the pair also discuss the Golden Globe nominations when Tristan suddenly remembers that he actually did see a new film, the period drama Mary, Queen of ScotsNot a good sign for the film that stars Saoirse Ronan as the titular wannabe monarch opposite the one with the claim to the throne, Elizabeth I, played with fierce intensity by Margot Robbie.

Before all this, they both also discuss another awards season controversy with Kevin Hart’s announcement as Oscars host and subsequent dismissal after decade-old tweets got the better of him. Lament alongside them as they wonder what’s come of the world and whether or not the Academy and the Internet and the world at large are doing the right thing, below.

Be careful though, remember to comment responsibly.

Music to Your Ears – Best of 2018: Songs Part One

Crazy to think we were just doing this twelve short months ago, but 2018 truly flew by for a variety of reasons. In it, there was a ton of good music – one might say, one of the best years in recent memory. We’ll get to the incredibly tough decision of best albums in a few weeks, so for now we’ll showcase what I believe to be the best songs.

If you recall last year, we launched our first Music Bracket to decide the best of the best, and this year will continue the tradition. You know the drill – sixteen songs will duke it out for the top spot. Our first four matchups are below, so dig in for the beginning of the best of the year:

First up we have an early spring confessional paired alongside an earnest love proclamation:

2) Recovery – Kimbra

Our first song up and it’s not even a single! This deeper cut off of Kimbra’s early spring release Primal Heart hooked me immediately with its soulful background chanting and offbeat percussion leading our singer into the first verse. Along the way we learn that while she swears she meant to get over her ex, it’s proven much more difficult to release their memory. Instantly relatable and catchy as hell, it’s probably pretty obvious why I latched on to this ode to the level-headed. To last the whole year as my second favorite song is an impressive feat, but given that Kimbra had a head start at the end of last year with premiere single “Top of the World”. There are more experimental tracks  in the album, but this soulful self-discovery hits all the right buttons for me.

15) That Girl Is You – Dave Matthews Band

When attending my first Dave Matthews Band concert this past June, we walked in a smidge too late and weren’t in our seats by the time this song rolled around on the guitar. Given the acoustics of BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ, it became a beautiful spot to listen in – that is, we were virtually alone in the massive courtyard between the lawns and the concessions. Dave’s signature mutter-singing gave way to earnest unabashed high-pitched love as the song crescendos and eventually crashes into you. The epic build serves the song well, and makes for one of the most impactful singles the band has released in over a decade.

Continue reading Music to Your Ears – Best of 2018: Songs Part One

Music to Your Ears – The 1975, Alessia Cara and the Best of Autumn

Much like last year, December has a dearth of music, so this is essentially the last week for new music to debut. I always thought there were decent new releases, but the truth of the matter is probably that the studios want to ensure their music is nabbed in time for Christmas – or Hanukkah, which began last night. Without further adieu, here’s the last two major releases of 2018:

The 1975 –

I fight crime online sometimes” is quite the declaration from the 30-something frontman of the 1975, Matty Healy. Confidently spoken towards the end of their third album, on the splendid piano ballad “Mine”, it signifies the progressive mindset of the group as a whole. That progression blends nicely with a bit of an experimental phase the boys have earned after two stand-out albums. A great single can anchor an album or it can sink it. As I lauded their first single earlier this year, you may know that I feel strongly about “Give Yourself a Try”. My anticipation for the full album was at full tilt headed into this weekend, and I have to say, it doesn’t overshadow the rest of the proceedings. Healy clearly has his finger on the pulse of contemporary art, producing what he is assured is good pop sound. Simultaneously nostalgic for their youth but pushing sonic boundaries, the 1975 bounce back and forth between traditional romantic (“Inside Your Mind”) and creepy dissonance (“TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME”). They know how good they are, confidently bounding between strange instrumentals (“How to Draw”) and simple acoustics: “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)”. They seem to shine when they dial things down, in “Be My Mistake” or “It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)”. If there’s any misstep, it’s in the computer-read story “The Man Who Married a Robot” which might remind some of the time Dennis Hopper read about a monkey with his brain on fire early in Gorillaz’s career. This time the storyteller isn’t quite as effective, and the listener longs for a return to the meat of the music. Lucky for us, this is some of the juiciest meal we’ve gotten in music all year.

Key Tracks: Give Yourself a Try / Sincerity Is Scary / Inside Your Mind

Alessia Cara –

Alessia Cara has settled in nicely to her role as heir apparent to Alicia Keys and Norah Jones. A more sophisticated sound that someone like Rita Ora, she is your older sister’s favorite artists, a young adult answer to those uninterested in heading out to the club. I find myself in that crowd, so it shouldn’t surprise you that I enjoyed her sophomore album. I was lucky enough to happen to catch her live, opening for Coldplay two years ago right after her 2015 single “Here” rocketed her to stardom and top-ten lists worldwide. Heck, she managed to land herself all the way up to number 4 on my albums list that year. So does this hold up to that explosive debut? You may have already guessed so, but in what way? Cara remarkably matured at a fast clip lyrically in the past three years, showcasing a broader template than small-town life on songs like “Wherever I Live” and “Not Today”. She finds a playfulness in her writing, remembering days spent in front of the television in the amusing “Nintendo Game”. She still has time for the romantic longing she infused her debut with in instant classics like “Comfortable” and “Trust My Lonely” while she has a forlorn side after experiencing heartbreak in “Out of Love”. It’s a well-rounded follow-up to Know-it-All and fans of Cara’s should not sleep on this sparkling continuation.

Key Tracks: Easier Said / Comfortable / Out of Love / Girl Next Door


Finally this week we’re wrapping things up with a playlist of my favorite songs from autumn. These will dovetail immediately on Wednesday into the beginning of the best of season, as we’ll cover my top 16 songs of the year. Part one will cover half of those songs and introduce our Second Annual Music Bracket. You’ll be able to vote each article, and whittle the choices down along with me until we crown the best song of the year. I’ll also sprinkle in my favorite television, films and albums. Cory will pop in with a year-end recap of his top ten as well.

For now, here’s your best of the autumn:

 

Podcast Nov 30 – Ralph Breaks the Internet, Robin Hood and Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Three major releases are on the docket this week for the boys at Interjections.

First up, an electric sequel to 2012’s animated Disney hit Wreck-it Ralph, follows Ralph and his new friend Vanellope as they transcend into the internet, in the appropriately titled Ralph Breaks the Internet.

Tristan and Cory share the best pals tale of Lee Israel and Jack Hock in Can You Ever Forgive Me?a true Oscar contender that finds Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant putting up some of their best performances.

Finally, Cory enlightens us to whether or not the latest version of Robin Hood is worth seeing, with Taron Egerton taking on the titular role alongside the villainous Ben Mendelsohn, the perfect sidekick in Jamie Foxx and the lovely Eve Hewson.

All this and more, particularly padding about Disney’s upcoming live-action films, but remember to comment responsibly!

Music to Your Ears – Rita Ora and Lake Street Dive

We’re winding down for the year, folks. Not much else is coming for the rest of the year, as next year’s singles dominate the airwaves, and summer and autumn’s albums are the hot Christmas gifts. Let’s take a look at the last two weeks for some of the final big releases:

Rita Ora – Phoenix

There’s basically two types of radio pop these days, in my mind, at least when it comes to solo artists. There’s a standard beat that everyone uses, their lyrics never reaching any true depths of creativity beyond ‘I want you’. On another hand, there are some pop artists that attempt to transcend that basic lyricism and attempt something more poetic. It’s easy to tell if they may have that special something if the verses are somewhat smarter than your typical love banter chorus. At first I was worried that Rita Ora may fall in the former camp, but by the middle section of her debut album, I was sold that she may be someone special. Her duets add a little verve beyond her main standards, a true highlight coming from Julia Michaels on “Keep Talking”. Ora herself is the true highlight, though, reverberating inside your skull on earworms like the maudlin motif “Only Want You” or the confident “Velvet Rope”. All in all, a truly satisfactory piece of mainstream pop music.

Key Tracks: Your Song / Only Want You / Velvet Rope / First Time High

Continue reading Music to Your Ears – Rita Ora and Lake Street Dive

Podcast Nov 24 – Creed II, Boy Erased, Widows and The Christmas Chronicles

An overstuffed Thanksgiving meal is in store for this week’s Interjections podcast, as the boys celebrate Black Friday with a slew of deals on film that you’re sure to appreciate:

First, Cory takes on a pair of sequels with the boxing drama Creed II, which continues Adonis’ exploits after the success of the first go-around with Rocky’s protégé; and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwalda questionable follow-up to the successful Eddie Redmayne spin-off prequel that highlights young Dumbledore (Jude Law) and his former, and criminal, lover Grindelwald (Johnny Depp).

Oscar season is in full swing as Cory relates to us the buzziest of films:

A Private Wara biopic of journalist Marie Colvin (Rosamund Pike) who was on the front lines of many recent wars, especially in Syria.

Boy Eraseda tale of young Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges), a teenager sent to gay conversion therapy camp by his pastor father (Russell Crowe).

Widows, a heist film from Steve McQueen starring Viola Davis and a group of fierce women.

Not only did we have a slew of new films, but there were plenty of leftovers:

Tristan saw two ’90s time capsules, Reality Bites starring Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke, and The Last Days of Disco starring Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale. Before that, he also discusses Keira Knightley’s aimless youth movie from 2014, Laggies.

Before they go, Tristan regales Cory with a review of Netflix’s newest Christmas classic, The Christmas Chronicles, starring the inimitable Kurt Russell as none other than that patron saint of giving, Santa Claus.

Revel in all this and more, below! Happy Black Friday weekend!

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