Of Ten Amazing Albums

Listening to Music

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I’m that person who has more music than anyone could ever listen to, in fact, I often forget that I own a song or artist until someone makes a request. But I love music, I can spend hours diving into YouTube, iTunes, film/tv soundtracks, or whatever media form, happily looking for new music that makes my soul dance.

Wants 90’s top hits? Small children singing Sunday school songs? Instrumental film scores? Motown? Hip hop from the 80’s-present? Indie jams? Disney favorites? Obscure tracks only released on bonus cd’s in Japan? – I got ya covered.

So with music on my mind I tried to narrow down my massive pile of music to my top 10 albums that I think are absolute perfection. Obviously, I’m going to forget about certain albums and think of them after this is posted. I’m also bound to space on some of my favorite artists. But this selection is quite literally off the top of my head and in no particular order.

Okay, here I go:

1 – Our Endless Numbered Days by Iron and Wine

Iron and Wine

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This album is magic. The harmonies and poetic lyrics often send me into a sort of trance. The world is suddenly more tangible, more magnificent, more present. When this album is the soundtrack to my days, I feel like I’m an observer of my life. The world, in its complicated majesty, is increasingly honest. Making everything around me contain a haunting beauty.

Click here to listen to “Cinder and Smoke.”


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2 – Josie and the Pussycats by Various Artists

Josie and the Pussycats

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Every song on this album, to put it simply – rocks. The uptempo rock songs are not only a snapshot of the rock/ska music of the late 90’s early 2000’s, but are bound to put you in a good mood. Kay Hanley, singing voice of Josie and lead singer of Letter’s to Cleo, performance is full of fun, raw, careless energy. Don’t be deceived because it’s a movie soundtrack. A lot of the songs are originals created for the movie – but even if I hadn’t seen the flick, the music would be able to stand on its own. Not a lot of music from movies can say that.

Click here to listen to “Pretend to Be Nice.”

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3 – The Heist by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

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Don’t let the silliness of the hit Thrift Shop fool you, in fact, if you pay attention to the lyrics you’ll realize that the song is actually mocking materialism. Or a hatred for rap because of the misogynistic lyrics about getting laid and drinking patron, normally found in the genre, keep you from giving this album a try. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are just what the rap industry is needing. Macklemore’s lyrics touch on important issues ranging from gay marriage to overcoming drug addiction. Ryan Lewis is a beat making genius who brings an energy to each track, heightening the emotion behind each song. Plus they’re from Seattle. Woo, Washingtonians represent!

Click here to listen to “Same Love.”

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4 – 20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

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Big Bad Voodoo Day formed as part of the neo swing music movement of the 1990’s. These awesome swing songs are bound to get your feet tapping, and any swing dancer to get up and start showing off on the dance floor. The energy of this album is infectious, and I usually keep it on repeat for at least a few days once I pop the cd in.

Click here to listen to, “Jump With My Baby.”


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5 – Skipping Stone – EP by Alexz Johnson

Alexz Johnson

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Alexz Johnson has one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. In addition she’s a wonderful song writer. Which is why she should be more well-known and is bound to be one of those artists that someday will inevitably spark hipster comments such as, “I hate how popular she is now, I’ve been listening to her for years.” While this album only has five tracks, I’ve played those five tracks more times than I can count. Alexz has a way of pulling you in, of letting her voice function as more than just the vessel for the words, but as an instrument in itself. In short, everything she does is beautiful. But there’s something about this EP that’s extra special. Listen to it – you’ll see what I mean.

Click here to listen to “Skipping Stone.”

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6 – Way to Normal by Ben Folds

Ben Folds

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I think Ben Folds is a genius. While he’s not the greatest singer of all time, he’s a wonderful piano player, and quirky lyricist. This album is everything you could want from Ben Folds. With lyrics that are subtly witty and intelligent, he clearly had fun making this album, and as a result, it’s fun to listen to. If nothing else, his piano skills are enough to make this worth buying.

Click here to listen to “You Don’t Know Me.”

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7 – Tetra by C2C

C2C

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This album only just came out, but I’m already in love. C2C deliver’s a fusion of blues and electronica that will make any blues dancer swoon. So as a blues dancer, that’s exactly what I did. But even if you’re not a dancer, you should appreciate the album for its uniqueness in the world of electronica – standing out is not something that can easily be accomplished within the genre. It’s perfect for setting a pleasant mood for working out, house parties, making cookies, or really whatever you feel like doing.

Click to listen to “Down the Road.”

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8 – Blunderbuss by Jack White

Jack White

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Jack White’s first solo album could not be better. I’ve loved every thing this man has been apart of, and to hear him just on his own, well – it’s awesome. Bluesy rock at it’s finest. In fact, the album is so good that it’s almost hard to describe without writing an essay, but while you can hear whispers of the style of The White Stripes – this solo album has a character all its own.

Click to listen to “Love Interruption.”

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9 – The Story by Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile

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Trying to pick just one Brandi Carlile album is like trying to eat only one Wheat Thin – nearly impossible. So I went with the album that first made me fall in love with her. There’s something about her poetry mixed with her raw, at times barely contained, vocals that make The Story an album you’ll never forget. I know I never did, I heard it once and I’ve been a Carlile junkie ever since. She captivates you in a way where it no longer feels like someone is singing at you, but with you, sharing their soul and inviting you to take part in the journey.

Click to listen to “The Story.”

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10 – Franz Ferdinand by Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand

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This was the first album I became obsessed with outside of Christian rock, and to this day it’s one of my favorites. And while I have all of their other albums and find them all wonderful. THIS album, was THE album, that started my journey with music. Without my discovery of Franz Ferdinand I might not be the musical guru before you today.

Click to listen to “This Fire.”

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Of The Host (Movie Review)

The Host Movie Poster

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I watched the latest Stephenie Meyer teenage-hormonal-angst movie, The Host, mostly because it was the next movie to start when I was at the theater.

To put it simply, it wasn’t good, granted not the worst movie of all time, but I’m defiantly not interested in watching it again. Some parts felt like a western, others syfy, romance, bad puns, unintended comedy, action, and of course drama. The concept was just bizarre – I’ll sum it up for you:

Four personalities, Three bodies, Two romances, One messed up planet.

*Spoiler alert*

Basically these aliens, with shiny circles around their pupils, invade planets and fix them. They are peaceful, non-violent, can’t stand the thought of killing a soul, and don’t lie. But somehow they don’t have a problem taking over human bodies, even though this would require them to kick out someone’s soul. Seems a wee bit hypocritical to me.

So this alien named Wanderer gets put into the body of a rebellious human named Melanie. Only Melanie’s a fighter so she’s like, “Hold up! I’m not going away that easily. Here’s some painful memories. Here’s some sexy memories. Here’s why you should help me.”  It was quite comical watching the actress (Saoirse Ronan) argue with herself.

Eventually Wanderer does as Melanie desires, but not before pissing off the Seeker (Diane Kruger). The Seeker is highly obsessed with finding and taking over the remaining human’s. Whom she believes she’ll be able to locate when she finds Wanderer.

So Wanderer ends up walking through the desert and is found by Melanie’s uncle (William Hurt), boyfriend Jared (Max Irons), and a bunch of other people.

This is where it gets ridiculous. The remaining humans live in these majestic caves located in the desert. Beautiful tunnels, a river flowing through, a wheat field, and large rooms house all these people. And how did they end up there? The uncle fell in. Seriously? Can’t think of any more creative or realistic reason? Like maybe they built it, or they stayed in an old mining cave?

Wanderer (now called Wanda) falls in love with a guy named Ian (Jake Abel). Melanie doesn’t like this.

Eventually people figure out that a human’s soul can stay alive in a possessed body. And Wanderer teaches them how to extract alien souls from bodies without killing the human. Then Wanderer tries to give Melanie her body back and everyone protests. Yeah, protests, which is absurd  Even Melanie is all, “no, you can’t die Wanda! I love you sister.” So I guess Melanie is okay with sharing her body at this point. All the while, the Seeker is hunting them down.

Don’t worry, the ending is clean and simple – but it’s happy. I’ll let you go ahead and figure out what happens, that is, if you haven’t already solved the puzzle.

But if I were you, I wouldn’t watch it. Anyways, here’s the trailer:

Of the X Factor Auditions (TV Review)

X Factor Judges

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Britney Spears is a judge on the X Factor, and because I’m a crazy super fan, this meant that I would actually consider watching the program. I’m pleased to report that she is an honest and critical judge – even the haters can’t argue that. I was expecting the auditions to feel like American Idol, considering that it’s a similar concept (find the next American – better yet, GLOBAL – superstar) with Simon Cowell on the panel. I was wrong, very wrong.

I’ve always felt that the intention behind the American Idol auditions were to make fun of people. They weren’t concerned in their editing to showcase the talented individuals. They wanted crazies, ugly, and terrible singers who genuinely believed that they had talent. I always felt bad for the people auditioning and would wait until the top twelve were chosen to start watching the program. I hate witnessing people embarrass themselves – especially on a national level. It makes me uncomfortable.

Based off the two episodes of the X Factor that I’ve watched I can already tell I like this program better. Instead of trying to make me laugh at bad people, whoever is in charge of editing the program clearly has one goal – pull at your heart. The past few hours of my life I’ve smiled, felt immensely creeped out, laughed, sat in suspense, and cried. My emotions were a whirlwind of chaos as I learned of people’s life stories and watched them either succeed or fail. What I like so far about the X Factor is that they have been able to fairly balance the great and the terrible.

Plus, there’s an element of human interest (that’s how they attack your heart), and they don’t cheat by showing home footage to let me know that someone made it before they audition. Sometimes I’ll really like the person, want them to do well, but they can’t sing. Others are awful human beings who can sing. And when they are likable and can sing, it’s like magic, and I cry all over again.

Warning, spoilers. There’s the girl who was bullied intensely and delivered a powerhouse performance that inspired Demi Lovato to stand up and give her a hug, a man who once sang a duet with Britney in 1999 but failed in such a way that made my mouth drop open and tears fall (again), the little girl who sang like a jazz singer from the 50s, several girls who blatantly thought they were the most talented person to ever exist (some succeeded, some failed), and an unbelievably creepy guy who brought Britney flowers and butchered one of her songs.

I like the show, I didn’t think that I would get sucked into it, but it’s too late – I’m invested. Any show that can make me cry and laugh multiple times per an hour, in my opinion, is worth watching. And I’m a very devoted fan. Britney may have been the reason I bothered to check the X Factor out, but she’s not the only reason I’ll be watching the show.

Of Wanting a Pirate Chick, Literally

Little gives me greater pleasure than diving into the literal, especially in realms where a literal interpretation is not appreciated. Take for instance music. I love lyrics, especially hip-hop, not for reasons of their quality but rather how completely absurd they are. In real life if a person walked up to a girl and said her body is crazy and they will tear it up tonight after she goes down on them – they would get slapped across the face and severely pummeled in the lower regions. Not in hip-hop land.

I’ll give you my (current) favorite example.

Remember the song, U and Dat by E-40 that came out awhile ago? If the answer is no, I assume it’s because you saw how the rapper spelled You and That incorrectly and decided it was best not to waste your time. If the answer is yes, did you listen to the lyrics?

E-40’s desires are simple, he wants the girl. It’s a sweet concept in theory, dark nightclub, sexy and sweaty dancing, inevitable lovemaking with a stranger, followed by a convenient “loss” of phone number – the grand ole one night stand.

What’s most interesting is what he notices about the girl, I’ll paraphrase: just want to get to you and that booty, to you and that monkey …. what you gonna do with this pussy? I think the reason for his attraction is quite obvious. It’s not that she’s behaving in a trashy manner wearing little to no clothing, or even that he expects to hook up with her tonight – the girl is clearly a pirate.

She’s got booty, probably a large pirates chest overflowing with gold coins, a pet monkey, and a cat not-so-cleverly named Pussy as a sidekick that she turns to for guidance. Hell, how could you not want to get to know her? So many questions would come to mind when seeing her: how did she become a pirate in the first place, where do you find a pet monkey, and wouldn’t it be more efficient to deposit her booty in a bank rather than lug around a hug chest of treasure?

I know if I were E-40 I would do everything I could to say hello and pet the monkey, maybe even feed it a banana. Plus there’s the reality of treasure, just a handful of coins could wipe away significant debt and buy me an awesome ship. A pirate chick would no doubt capture and hold my attention for quite sometime. I too would want to get to that monkey.

Unfortunately in the music video they went the slutty route as opposed to the pirate interpretation. But I stand by what I said, the girl is a pirate. Yarrr matey.

Of Movie Crowds

Comic about Disney and Porn

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For three years I’ve worked at a movie theater. In that time I’ve come to recognize particular crowds (meaning that I can usually tell what movie you’re going to watch before you walk up to my till). All I have to do is look at how you’re dressed and who you’re with – I usually guess right.

Of course not everyone conforms to fit a particular movie group, but most do.

There’s the horror crowd: typically teenagers or groups of bros. These people tend to be loud and boisterous. Or they reek of marijuana.

There’s the romantic (comedy) crowd: this crowd almost always comes in pairs. Boys and girls on dates. Or single (probably lonely) girls looking to lose themselves in a life more romantic than theirs.

There’s the comedy crowd: this one’s the most diverse and thus the hardest to predict. These people come in waves and show up almost exactly fifteen minutes before their movie starts (all at the same time).

There’s the fan-club crowd: this changes depending on the fan-base. For example, Twilight, The Hunger Games, Watchmen, The Avengers, Nicholas Sparks Books. These people have read the book and they are beyond psyched for the film release.

But there’s a new crowd that I’d never seen before – the lustful crowd. With the start of male stripper movie Magic Mike, aka Coyote Ugly with penises or The Full Monty with young people. Women walk up to me with hungry eyes and give me this look of ecstasy. As if I’m supposed to share in their glee and desire to stare at men strip and dance. Yeah, I don’t care, sorry. Then they giggle towards their theater.

Normally when checking theaters, to make sure everything’s working smoothly, I see faces or shock, joy, sadness, fear, disinterest, boredom, and so on. With Magic Mike I saw what I can only describe as extreme horniness. Like these women chose to come to this movie so that they could go to a strip club without the demeaning activity of actually going to one.

I haven’t seen the film yet, but from what I’ve seen – these boys are not afraid to be trashy.

Magic Mike GIF

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Of PTX, Vol. 1 by Pentatonix (Music Review)

Pentatonix

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The first EP entitled PTX, Vol. 1 by the a capella group Pentatonix is officially out. Go buy it! All of you, its sheer genius.

WARNING: these singers will make you feel extremely untalented (but in a good way).

I pre-ordered this album weeks ago and was incredibly thrilled to see it had automatically downloaded into my iTunes (no waiting, excellent). When I watched this group on NBC’s The Sing Off last season they stood out in a way that no a capella group ever has, and trust me I’m an a capella nerd. They were modern, attractive, seemed genuinely nice, and have every possibility of creating a buzz that will make them well-known in the mainstream market.

Here’s what makes them so special, they break the boundaries. They come up with unique arrangements, can pull of vocal dub-step/techno as well as pop, r&b, hip-hop, and virtually whatever genre they feel like singing, but most of all each of their band mates has equal importance. Most the time when watching an a capella group perform there is the clear star, everyone else seems to fade into the background while they get all the attention and praise. With Pentatonix everyone shines at all times, they are a team that works together. Plus their bass and beatboxer (who also gets props for knowing how to play the cello) are crazy awesome.

When I started listening to the EP I thought, this is so epic! Followed shortly by, how do they get their voices to do that? And from that point on this album is all I’ve listened to. To give you a taste of this brilliant group I’ve posted their first music video below, which also happens to be the first track on PTX, Vol. 1:

The rest of the EP is up to the same caliber of technical quality regarding their arrangement as well as entertainment. My only complaint is that it’s only seven songs long. When they release a full length album I’ll be giddy as hell, like a kid at Christmas, unable to sleep the night before from the excitement.

Trust me, you need this album in your life.

Of Khloe Kardashian

Khloe Kardashian

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I am:

  • College student
  • 3.51 GPA
  • English major
  • Highly logical
  • Typically apathetic
  • Relatively intelligent
  • Fashion lover
  • Dancer
  • Blogger
  • Lazy chef

  • But I also love reality television. I understand why people hate on the genre, I understand why they bash it, and I understand why they might question my character if they find out I watch it – quite often.
    •  I really don’t care, I don’t believe in closet fandom, people like what they like. Fact. I also own The Suite Life of Zack and Cody on DVD, no shame my friend, no shame.

Here’s the deal, I do have a favorite Kardashian and that would be Khloe.

Here’s why I like Khloe, she seems the most normal. Khloe may not be as “Hollywood” pretty as her sisters but she has by far the strongest personality. She takes care of those she loves and she’s an avid activist. Unlike most of her family she does what she wants to do regardless of what their overbearing mother says – making her the most independent Kardashian. Plus, she’s spunky, funny, and opinionated. She doesn’t care what the world thinks of her. Yes she’s made mistakes (drunk driving for example) but she owns up to them. Even though the girl has a ton of money and success she doesn’t go around acting like she’s better than everyone else.

I find her highly likable especially in comparison to the rest of the more notable Kardashian’s:

  • Kim Kardashian – very materialistic and desperate, plus there’s the whole marriage scandal.
  • Kourtney Kardashian – decent business woman but she keeps sticking around with her loser baby daddy even after he punched a mirror in a drunken rage and lied to her for years on end.
  • Kris Jenner – the mother and the least sane out of them all. She gets highly emotional and irrational at the smallest detail, she’s manipulative, nosy, selfish, and she prioritizes business over her family on a regular basis. (She’s my least favorite reality TV star. Even the chicks in The Bad Girls Club are more likable).

 

Khloe Kardashian No H8

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Of a One-Track Mind

Now, based off the title a lot of people are going to assume the following words are going to revolve around sex. It’s understandable, but not what this is about. Sorry. I’ll talk about sex later – I promise.

This

Girl doing Homework

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Versus

Supernatural Screenshot

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Number Two is the Winner!

A one-track mind is a blessing and a curse. Say I need to get my clean on, an assignment is due in twenty minutes, or crashing the car is not an option. In all these cases having a highly focused mind on one activity is positive, preferable even. I’m afraid that the negatives tend to out way the good, at least currently in my life.

Lately my brain will be focused on one of the two tracks that most frequent my thinking-sphere: success and entertainment. Unfortunately these two trains never seem to be able to occupy my mind at the same time.

When I get on a success kick it’s literally all I care about. I don’t want to hear about your petty boy problems, listen to tales of your children, or even what you’re making for dinner. The only thing that concerns me is not failing at life (I have many a friend that can testify to this). I go heavy into research mode searching for internships, entry-level positions, and jobs for after graduation. I hoard hours at work, beg people to give me shifts and refusing to leave if they try to cut me early. Basically, my resume and money is what matters.

Now, if I could maintain the success kick I would be in a great place, career wise. However, a need to giggle with friends, dance, and be merry eventually creeps up and knocks my success train off the tracks, temporarily. This is where the need for entertainment takes over. I lose my drive regarding school work, I hang out with friends more than usual, suddenly have a dating life, and watch way too much TV. Everyone knows I love television, hell I better considering I want to work in television. When the need for entertainment takes over it’s not just watching anything and everything or never being home. I get engrossed into one particular show, and I usually hang out in the evening with other living beings.

As I said, one-track mind. This time around it’s Supernatural, I’ve been watching that show pretty much whenever I’m not at work. When it’s time to be focused and do homework (i.e. succeed at life) I find myself watching Supernatural while playing four-suit spider solitaire. It’s an amazing show, clever, well-written, and way more interesting than what I’m supposed to be doing. In fact, it’s the type of show I would love to be a part of creating.

Try as I might, it’s not easy to force myself onto the success train till graduation. Somehow I get my work done. Miraculous.

Supernatural gif image

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