Archives for category: Uncategorized

Opinion
By James Pavel


20. Where we’re going – Gerry Cinnamon 
 Gerry Cinnamon sounds like a classic voice our parents grew up with on the radio. In 2019, the world seemed as connected as ever but in 2020, the year of sans travel, Cinnamon’s accent sounds more beautifully foreign than ever. English all sounds the same until you hear a Scotsman belting one out. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIfFJCfCiWg

19. Melody – Matthew Madigan 
Dublin’s finest peers out the window of past relationships and reflects on the parallels between music and love. The tune bops its way to a hand-waving chorus – the marching drums and soft guitars pair perfectly with Madigan’s raspy, vodka-stained words. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Youh1viTGg


18. There must be more than blood – Car Seat Headrest
Car Seat pounds on a solo piano key like a kid learning the instrument, but accompanied by a piercing electric, heavenly synth waves, this song is great before it even really begins. I can’t decide if it’s the worst or the most brilliant band name in recent memory, but they have us distracted with a wicked 2020 single for now. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXnIyPhdDV0


17. All of us – Sam Roberts 
Every album reveals a new sound for Sammy and company and yet they maintain a clear and obvious sound. What every band would kill for is someone who can write a banging hook and Sam seems to be sitting on a plethora of them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4870i_lbPN0


16. Save your tears – The Weeknd
Canada’s Michael Jackson thankfully values quality over quantity (looking at you Drizzy) and when he drops an album, it’s always a guaranteed banger. Weeknd has done his 80’s homework, and isn’t afraid to borrow from the nostalgia lost and found. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6lihZAcy4s

15. Real love song – Nothing but Thieves 
The guitar is not a guitar in this one -it is a modern-day spaceship, blasting a million miles an hour towards the raging sun. It torpedoes over and over, a high-speed atomic missile detonating all over 2020 rock stations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gX_mRmCmNE

14. Wild – John Legend feat. Gary Clark Jr. 
Johnny boy seems like the neighbour you’d gush about and the friend you’d call if your car broke down. The album itself has Legend stepping a little too far out of his comfort zone, but “Wild” is Legend playing in his safe zone, meaning triumphant choruses and inspiring mantras. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=279RNoP5UyU

13. New president – Mt. Joy
A new president was declared the solution to everything the minute Donald Trump shockingly won back in ol’ 2016. The left has gotten their wish and now time will tell – Can Biden miraculously save the most contentious, ego-centric country to ever exist? A year where you would think protest songs would be everywhere, Mt. Joy is one of the few that managed to get their point across with a song easy enough to enjoy. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clCPFPVAMFc

12. Champion of the world – Coldplay 
Coldplay went global a long time ago, but their music has never sounded as culturally diverse as their 2020 input. Martin’s voice is far from perfect and yet it remains smooth and comforting particularly in the most turbulent year maybe ever. If anybody can tell us everything is going to be okay and we believe them, it’s Coldplay. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kayI9QB1-IA


11. Into happiness – Phantogram
What begins like a gothic ballet quickly sails into a swimming pool of happiness. It dries off for a minute only to climb the ladder and take a leap off the deep end into a thousand smiley faces. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEiPkSxQVk8

10. Just exist – Eliza and the Delusionals
Lyrics are clear as day and when they resonate in all the right places, an audience will develop. Being heartbroken is perhaps the loneliest feeling known to us – if one could just not think about that person for a day, for even a minute, it would make existence infinitely easier. But it remains  a right of passage – have your heart removed from your chest in order to grow stronger. It provides wisdom and teaches empathy. To just exist without the perpetrator is unfortunately not possible and it is for the best.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSyixJf9Yt8

9. Chinatown – Bleachers feat. Bruce Springsteen 
It’s generally rap songs where you are counting down the seconds for the guest appearance to finally kick in – in this case, it’s when you can finally hear the grizzly Bossman’s sandpaper rapture. He wasn’t going to hop on a track if it didn’t have some whiff of classic Springsteen – Bleachers made sure they researched what would make the legend tick, and inevitably add his vernacular to “Chinatown.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4uA85iWsIg

8. Sad happy – Circa Waves 
It’s the Pet Shop Boys for the Tik Tok/Vape generation. I was happy I was quarantined because I could spend infinite time with my family and yet sad because the world was falling apart before my eyes. One of the many paradoxes we live in is this dual feeling of sadness/happiness. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_8MAhaoyVk


7. This is the end – Sea Girls
 ‘I found heaven in your highlights’ – The fact that we are referring to highlights in 2020 is further proof that the 90’s continue to puke all over this dumpster fire of 12 months. Is 2020 the end? It certainly could be. Never has the existence of aliens seemed more certain and the economic collapse that we have still not fully experienced will make the Great Depression look like Scrooge McDuck’s money pool. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuCtyp9X4w4


6. Hit the coast – Future Islands 
Hit the coast – travel – move – explore. Ideas that were once certainties have suddenly become fantasties. Does a Canadian see California again without a mask? Does arriving at a beach require proof of vaccination? Is the proverbial letting one’s hair down only allowed in groups of 6 or less? Our freedoms are currently being sacrificed, ostensibly for the greater good – but we do this with the assumption that freedoms will return in full. We hope that to hit the coast remains with no strings attached. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6D8yHOCZ-c

5. Why are Sundays so depressing – The Strokes 
The New York lads were back in 2020 and they didn’t disappoint. They’re singing about depression and yet, Julian hasn’t sounded this happy since ‘Last Night.’  Did the Strokes put out the album of 2020? Probably. They are a band that can never be more important than their first album because if they were, they would be in Beatles territory. They’ve seem to have finally come to terms with the idea of just cranking out great rock music is what the world needs from them right now – classic or not. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5iQzD2Bs5Y

4. I’m going nowhere – Kings of Leon 
A collective, global quarantine – We were all trapped within our four walls, forced to reflect on where we live, who we are with and where we are at. No escape to the pub, no jaunt to the gym – the clock became temporarily useless and we lived in what we thought could only exist in a sci-fi movie. We all went nowhere and allowed the powers that be dictate how and when the world would go back to a new normal. For the first time, even filthy rich musicians had to play by the rules and Caleb allowed us to feel closer to him than ever. Arguably the greatest voice in rock n roll ,a guy that could sing along to the blowing leaves and make it sound like a classic, bared his soul with a truly relevant and reflective moment. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSXGQyi37ik

3. Second best – Younger Hunger
In 2020, every second rock band sort of sounds like Foster the People. A world filled with unlimited options has proven overwhelming in the best of times. What a crushing blow to discover that not only are you not the apple of someone’s eye, but merely a number in a long list of potential suitors. ‘My heart’s about to break for the seventh time today’ is one of the more compelling and accurate descriptions of a scorned lover’s anguish in recent memory. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehg7SeHa3C4


2. August – Taylor Swift
 It is too easy to forget that she might just happen to be one of the greatest songwriters ever. Who is she dating? Who cares. Who does she support politically? Yawn. Swift, unlike the majority of famous people in 2020, doesn’t get paid to do nothing. Swift gets paid to create 4 minute vacations into her soul. This is her life, or maybe it’s a character in her endless library of stories – August went from forgotten month in the summer to one of the greatest songs of 2020. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn_0zPAfyo8


1. My own soul’s warning – The Killers
Brandon Flowers told us this one was special and he wasn’t lying. A band that had to shed two members, whether it was Brandon’s ego or it was the dread of yet another monster global tour, the remaining members refused to hang it up. Brandon easily could have slid out the back door and continued on with his solo career, but he recognizes the magic in the name, the history and the future of the giant ‘k.’ No band tries harder to make concert anthems and they’ve had plenty that failed miserably – but as the English say, MOSW is a proper belter. You can practically hear the crowd screaming “I just wanted to get back to where you are” and they haven’t even had the opportunity to feature the track in front of a full, live audience. The Killers have realized they aren’t for everyone – but they also realize that there are bands that want to be like them. They haven’t aged badly – they’ve benefited greatly from misplaced nostalgia. People assume that Mr. Brightside is either a) older than it actually is b) is from the 90s (way off) or c) they grew up always loving it. There is an argument to be made that Mr. Brightside has never been bigger. When you are a hustler like Brandon Flowers, you seize this moment. You perform Brightside for the Las Vegas Raiders opener despite having a new album, and you make sure the record you put out is worth a listen for the Spotify generation – and boy did they ever. The boys sound alive again – “Wonderful, Wonderful” was beautiful but also confusing. “BattleBorn” was almost a half-made album. “Imploring the Mirage” is comparable to “Hot Fuss” in that half the album sounds like hit singles. MOSW is about remaining true to one’s self – a possible pledge for the next decade to not be absorbed with even more selfies, mindless videos and hedonistic values. Nobody bleeds authenticity like Brandon Flowers – he holds his heroes up for all to hear and see and more often than not, he does them justice. MOSW is the song Bruce Springsteen himself could only dream of writing – The Killers are 15 years in the game and continue to have the hungriest of hearts. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4go_DzY8wHc

warblog

Opinion
By James Pavel

The latest onslaught of new television shows debuting this Fall may have different characters and storylines, but they all contribute to the same cause – to push forth a pro-American war sentiment. ‘S.W.A.T,’ ‘Seal Team,’ and ‘The Brave,’ all showcase American soldiers in a ‘save-the-world’ complex. This ensures that television viewers have no doubt who to cheer for in the fictional world and of course, in the real world.

Tensions with North Korea are at an all-time high, the Middle East remains in shambles and there has never been this many question marks surrounding Russia in decades. The United States is a country of divided cultures and ideologies and never has a president created such polarizing conversations.

So what better time than to introduce entertaining propaganda disguised in televised format, to convince the war-mongering attitudes of the USA can continue despite a fervent anti-war and anti-gun movement within its boundaries. The shows will paint Middle Easterners as hell-raising terrorists’ intent on destroying America. The shows will cast the foreigners as villainous antagonists threatening nuclear war. And most importantly, the programs will continue to show American soldiers and government officials in a favorable light.

What a grandiose chunk of the population seems to know, that America are the intruders and the aggressors, does not matter. The American war-machine can’t be stopped and television will continue to help push this agenda, regardless of the inaccuracies.

liam-gallagher

Opinion
By James Pavel

Going solo was always going to be easier for Noel. He was the songwriter and the soul of Oasis and his individual creations versus Liam’s in the post-breakup era have been comparable to a Manchester City versus Crystal Palace matchup. But despite Liam’s Beady Eye shortcomings, more is still expected. He is, after all, the primary voice of the greatest British insurgence outside of Beatle mania.

So here in 2017 arrives yet another kick at the can from Liam, but this time ensuring no confusion over who or what is behind the project.

‘Greedy Soul’ is immediately forgettable and comes across as a Beady Eye B-side. ‘When I’m Need’ demonstrates what quitting cigarettes and alcohol can do for the system. Liam reaches notes he hasn’t hit in decades and the determination pays off. It’s the song John Lennon would have made in his last days if he hadn’t been too busy rolling around naked in the hay with his little China girl.

‘Wall of Glass’ has that grimy, down in the allies of England feel to it. Do you secretly hope to hear Noel come raging in for the chorus? Absolutely. But Liam holds his own on this one, making it arguably the first proper single he has put out, post-Oasis.

The gem of the album is ‘Chinatown.’ It captures Liam in a state of reflection, a song that finally displays who he really is – a man who has seen and been through some shit. It features instrumentation potentially viewed as too soft for an Oasis bloke, but not in 2017. ‘Show me that you’ve seen some places,’ dares Liam, as if he couldn’t fathom another individual matching his singular experiences.

‘I’ve all I need’ is Liam at his most honest, and honesty serves him well in his now advanced age. It sounds as though he has reconciled any angst or sourness with his brother, yet is still profoundly aware that their relationship is beyond repair. ‘There’s no time for looking back,’ he exclaims, which is true for both parties as Noel prepares to release his latest material. Some situations are meant to remain unresolved and we are better off going our own way – This track may be Liam’s way of convincing himself.

Liam and Noel could both wait for the next wave of 90s nostalgia to grasp the youth and cash in on an Oasis reunion. But they are both too stubborn, too bull-headed, but also too ambitious. Liam knows and believes he is a rock n’ roll God and that music still needs him. It’s that faith in one’s self that seems to define the greats. While many bands are happy to play the hits, Liam finally punches out a solo project that refuses to be dismissed.

bradpittfightclub

Opinion
By James Pavel

 

‘Killing them Softly’

·         The most disorganized bank robbery in history. Could you imagine going into such a crime without ever discussing the ins and outs before hand? My adrenaline was thrusting through the ceiling, but I can’t imagine the internal struggle going on between these two knuckleheads.

·         Brad Pitt at his most intimidating.

·         The film takes a useless detour with James Gandolfini ranting about hookers and booze.

·         The moment Brad Pitt’s character enters the movie, it loses almost all excitement. While the bank robbery scene is pure excitement and the bind that Marky (Ray Liotta) finds himself in, introduces a highly-intriguing plot, it is all lost upon the introduction of Pitt’s character.  

·         The final scene delivers the greatest line – ‘America is not a country. It is just a business. Now pay me.’ Potentially everything wrong with America, all in one paragraph delivered by Pitt.

 

‘Fight Club’

·         Fight Club remains the character Brad Pitt seems forever linked to. When we reflect on his career, it may remain as his signature work.

·         After a third watch, the film finally makes complete sense. Try it.

·         This desire to fight random strangers is clearly a plot reaching for a higher idea. So why were men in the late 90s so desperate to feel something? The film tackles materialism, the greatest internal and societal war that men appeared to contend with. Now 18 years in our rearview mirror, it is astonishing to see that we have appeared to have traded in our materialism ideals for narcissism. Status symbols and name brands have been slightly blurred while the way one is perceived by others online has taken greater prominence. Material items can easily be forged in today’s online world. What is important in today’s world is the appearance of materialism and not necessarily actually owning a Mercedes Benz or dressing like the Queen of England every day. What would Tyler Durden have to say about 2017? It seems that we need a Fight Club more than ever. To truly feel, to truly connect is lost on today’s world – nothing could solve that faster than a punch to the ribs.

·         The fact that Tyler Durden is as cool as he is remembered is a remarkable feat – He wore absurd red sunglasses, tops intended for hookers and slept and bathed in an abandoned dungeon. 

 

’12 Monkeys’

·         Pitt displays his greatest range at this point. As a result, he won a golden globe award for best supporting actor.

·         By the end of this journey of Brad Pitt films, this will contend for the title of his greatest film.

·         Pitt at his ugliest. Cross-eyed, witch-haired and sufficiently bat-shit loco.

 

‘Spy Game’

·         Pitt was two weeks away from graduating from Journalism college, before dropping out. With that in mind, his role in ‘Spy Game’ seemed to come naturally to him.

·         The flash-backs make the entire movie. A viewer will wish that the movie focused more on the spy’s past together as opposed to the present-day circumstance Pitt’s character finds himself in.

·         It’s possible that the film began Pitt’s fascination with spies as he will go on to play a spy in at least two more films. ‘Spy Game’ is likely the greatest of the Pitt/Spy genre.

To be continued..

 

Opinion
By James Pavel

  • The greatest takeaway is what a severe injustice it is that this actually happened. The Chinese attacked a home based on peace and harmony and the Dali Lama STILL hasn’t been able to return home?! That is next-level evil.
  • I wish I had an Austrian background to determine if Brad Pitt had successfully nailed the accent or butchered it beyond repair.
  • Brad Pitt’s hairstyle in this movie is sooo 2017. Style is cyclical.
  • The idea of England ruling over India in today’s day and age just seems ridiculous.
  • The greatest twist of the film? Brad Pitt DIDN’T get the girl. Wow, did not see that coming. I thought the tailor was in the bag the minute he met her. Nope!
  • Is it really seven years? He was in prison in India for the first 2 years so should it not be ‘7 years abroad’? or ‘5 years in Tibet’?
  • Was Brad Pitt’s hiking partner able to keep his toes? Those puppies were looking awfully frozen at one point.

Opinion
By James Pavel

The Killers announced this week that not only will their bass guitarist Mark Stoermer not be touring with the band on their upcoming venture, but lead guitarist Dave Keuning will also sit this one out. The Killers release their 5th studio album this month, but only their second since 2009. After a bustling start to their career, the band’s material has slowed and unfortunately, so has their popularity. The two guitarists have done next to nothing compared to what lead singer Brandon Flowers has done during the band’s extended hiatuses. Rather than helping revive the group and planning a tour stronger than ever, the two guitarists seem to have zero interest in taking the band to the next level.

Even watching the two on stage, it seems that the life has been sucked of them. They have not been anywhere near as excited as they were prior to the Day & Age tour and now seem to almost dread appearing on stage with the other two members. Watching Dave perform at this year’s Lollapalooza was a clear indication that he no longer believes in the spirit of the Killers. The most energy he conveyed during the show was when Flowers announced they would perform a cover of Muse’s ‘Starlight.’ He is constantly dead-panning the audience and seems content with shoe-gazing during the entirety of live shows.

Stoermer has always looked like the weak link in the group and now his desire to not tour at all has made this suspicion valid. If you can’t tour and promote the new material, their shouldn’t be any room for this sort of negativity and failure to remain united.

Brandon and Ronnie have already announced their replacements and they have already proven to be more than up to the task.  Ted Sablay and Jake Banton will officially take over the roles of the two lost souls that once made up the Las Vegas quartet. Ted has already taken on the majority of the backup vocals from Dave and seems poised to take over the role completely. Jake has been Brandon’s right-hand man since his solo debut ‘Flamingo,’ and appears to be much more engaged and enthused with performing.

If Dave and Mark can’t help the group on their biggest tour in years, it should serve as a clear indication to Brandon and Ronnie that it’s time to make some serious adjustments to the starting lineup.

 

2016

Opinion
By James Pavel

20. One Dance – Drake feat. Wizkid & Kyla

Nobody matters more in rap music than Drake. Kanye has finally had his Britney Spears moment and it would be wise to not hold our breath anticipating past greatness upon his return. Drake has been the ultimate 6 man for what must be at least four years running, and has made the duties of a DJ remarkably simple in 2016. Drake followed by Drake followed by Drake featuring Drake. The song was only for one dance, but Drake got about nine out of you before the night was all set and done.

19. Waste a moment – Kings of Leon

Their biggest premier single off an album since ‘Sex on Fire.’ All the ‘ooohhs’ a KOL fan could hope for plus a stupidly fun guitar riff that a 12-year-old could play.  The Kings like to tell stories of cowboy renegades, almost living out southern fantasies they were never quite able to dream about while under strict Christian rule as youths. “Take your time to waste a moment,” was the second-greatest life mantra of 2016, falling only behind Donald Trump’s slightly altered “Grab life by the pussy.”

18. Kids – One Republic

They refuse to apologize for staying longer than their suggested five minutes. There is a spiritually, uplifting vibe that One Republic always manages to achieve, no matter the year. There are many things taken from us, but being a kid may be the greatest.

17. Ooh Love – Ria Mae (Neon Dreams remix)

Roller-skating in the summer licking ice cream is what ‘Ooh Love’ was made for. This song should not be listened to in the peak of winter as it may lead to false hope and empty promises.

16. TerraForm – Sam Roberts Band

Sam Roberts is what it sounds like to drive through the Canadian Rockies. He’s what it feels like when you first enter the city of Toronto. He’s what it looks like when the sun sets in Quebec. ‘Terraform’ is a Canadian escape, a new chapter for the band and the soundtrack for adventure for new listeners. The Tragically Hip has unfortunately signed off as Canada’s band, and Sam Roberts Band is running for office.

15. This is what you came for – Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna

Now, we talk about the accolades of Beyoncé and the never-flailing popularity of Taylor Swift. But in 20 years, what we may look back on when discussing female vocalists, is the ridiculous number of hits that Rihanna had during the stretch of the 2000s. A greatest hits performance by her is essentially a tour of what people were listening to on popular radio in the new millennium.

14. Secrets – The Weeknd

The Weeknd drops the single ‘Starboy’ and it was..meh. This is the same dude that dropped the hottest song of 2015, right? Turns out, the album is constructed around the idea of being a ‘Starboy,’ and not to worry because upon album purchase, you immediately become swim-fan obsessed with track six.  He takes a famous Romantics’ idea, ‘secrets in your sleep,’ and gets all iconic MJ on us.  If you can finally feel your face again, Abel Tesfaye is about to enter your dreams and hear all your secrets.

13. Love on the Weekend – John Mayer

It’s a simple song, but by a complex man. John Mayor is a self-healed egomaniac going back to the basics. He’s managed to nail every celebrity south of Seattle and now seems ready to get back to the organic details that make relationships special.

12. The kid who stays in the picture – Hot Hot Heat

They announced it is their last album and then manage to release the single that might just lift them from obscure Canadian band to just obscure band.  The song sounds familiar, likely because it is a clear demonstration that Las Vegas group The Killers have begun to rub off on predecessors. The irony is that this is the exact sort of track the Killers could use to find a home again on pop radio.

11. Never be like you – Flume feat. Kai

Points for being the most original-sounding track of the year. The base vibration takes the listener on a bumpy journey with this successful Australian/Canadian collaboration.

10. Black Beatles – Rae Sremmurd feat. Gucci Mane

If you didn’t freeze frame with your homies at some point in 2016, then you just weren’t paying attention. ‘Black Beatles’ became the mannequin challenge anthem, the latest trend in Internet mind-numbness. We’ve planked, we’ve dabbed and now we’ve remained in pause while appearing to be in the middle of an everyday task. The memories and function of this song will forever trump the sound and any sort of appeal the track ever had.

9. Pillow Talk – Zayne

Zayne needs no directions when it comes to the bedroom, at least per ‘Pillow Talk.’ There has been nothing released by One Direction that comes even remotely close to as modern as Zayne’s successful attempt at pop glory.

8. Can’t stop the feeling!- Justin Timberlake

The most universally-liked entertainer, maybe in history, makes detention halls, senior homes and prison yards brush off their dancing shoes. The track was almost as contagious as the Zika virus in 2016, but for JT, we welcomed its global dominance.

7. Daddy Issues – The Neighbourhood

What initially sounds like a love song is a letter to the ghost of Daddy. Daddy wasn’t there, but that’s okay because the Neighborhood is.  Dependence, promiscuity, and yes-pure craziness, can derive from daddy issues. If there were ever a song to unite strippers worldwide, this may be the one. We know the power of a mother’s touch, but the presence of Daddy can also become one of the defining sensations in a child’s life.

6. Too Good – Drake feat. Rihanna

The most hyped album of the year by Toronto’s hype man didn’t quite live up to the mmm hype. Rather than deny the “too soft” complex that haters have and will continue to spew, Drake made an album loaded with slow-dance material, none better than ‘Too Good.” Drake and Rihanna is hip-hop’s most functional non-couple. They are a pair that may or may not have slept together, but for a refreshing first, audience are more concerned about what their next single will sound like and not when their next photo op will be.

5. Ful Stop – Radiohead

Radiohead have the rare ability to make any noise, any glitch, or any bleep sound remarkable. They rejoice in the ugly and linger in the unnatural.  No one seems to care less about how they are perceived, maybe because their legacy as one of the greatest bands of the past 25 years has been so firmly established. They are our version of Bob Dylan, but without any backlash and with instruments from outer space.

4. Threat of Joy – The Strokes

Julian hasn’t sounded this blissfully romantic since 2014’s ‘Chances.’ It is not the lyrics of music alone that create that warm sensation in our souls. It’s the words, it’s the synth, it’s the timing, it’s the syntax and it’s the drums.  ‘Let’s get into trouble, be there on the double’ is so simple and easy, but when heard on ‘Threat of Joy’ it sounds like Mark Twain with the warmth of Turks and Caicos.

3. Wow – Beck

Beck cools it on the country folk and drops a pound of shrooms for his latest endeavor. His eyes are as big as pool balls and all he can muster out is a resounding ‘Wow.’ Nobody likes to get weird like Beck and nobody made psychedelic rock music feel important in anyway in 2016 except for this American chameleon.

2. In a world possessed by the human mind – The Tragically Hip

In a country called Canada we were possessed by a live concert that showed an emotionally vulnerable, eccentric, sobbing lead singer muster his way through the hits for one last time before the world’s last greatest mystery takes hold. The live Hip show on the CBC was unquestionably the concert event of the year.

1. Don’t let me down – The Chainsmokers feat. Daya

Electronic dance music found a friend in Emo and managed to give soul to a genre crucified for being made for distracted robots incapable of comprehending or caring for lyrical-based content.

Chainsmokers have now been inescapable for two full years. Along with Drake they have held dance floors ransom, with no bidder in sight.

‘Don’t let me down’ separates from the pack because as much as it is a dance song, it is a song with human vulnerability. Sure, Calvin Harris’ monotone voice has attempted to inject a soul into what is predicted as a fleeting musical fad, but it took the smoke pit to successfully perform the procedure. The sign of a genre with legs is when the rest of music begins to incorporate its signature sounds rather than vice versa. Rap music has unquestionably fallen for years and rock music seems to have almost completely fallen out of grace with anything resembling the masses.

The Chainsmokers create music for a generation of debit tapping, snapchattting, Insta-filtering megalomaniacs that need a soundtrack that speaks to them with mechanical vigor, yet with straight-forward text-friendly lingo.

‘Don’t let me down’ has a star-gazing wanderlust buildup before a cliff-diving drop into a chorus that begs not to be disappointed. We welcomed the track’s inescapable methods and for this alone, it was the defining track of 2016.

drake2

Opinion
By James Pavel

No rapper in hip hop embodies the quintessential modern-day word smith like Aubrey Drake Graham.

Drake is less gun play more word play.

He proves that in the modern era, one exerts more swag by wearing a well-tailored suit on the cover of GQ rather than throwing up esoteric gang signs on the cover of XXL or The Source Magazine. Drake’s upcoming album ‘Views from the 6’ is the most hyped album of the year by a titanic size. Drake’s stake with the Toronto Raptors features a role that rappers a mere 15 years ago openly fantasized about without a notion that it would one day be possible for an MC from Canada.

It is too early to deliver a verdict on ‘Views from the 6’ but the fact that it has become such a centerpiece of music conversation for such a lengthy period of time speaks to the influence that Drake controls. Yes, Kanye West’s new album has gained plenty of attention but partially because Kanye is such a desirable centre of ridicule. West admitted that 2014 was the year of Drake and not of Mr. West. The problem for ‘Ye’ is that he has yet to reclaim the throne from the Canadian MC. Jay-Z jumping on a track every time a Drake album drops places a clear stamp of approval on Drake’s Toronto forehead regardless of how differently Drizzy nay-sayers or even Kanye, may feel.

Along with Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan, Drake is the face of the Toronto Raptors. Yet as you obviously know, Drake does NOT play for the Raptors. Think about that. He has actually made a Raptor hat more famous than a Raptor can. Drake sits court side because he can afford it but mainly because he is the official ambassador of the Toronto Raptors. Sure, he slaps hands with Steph Curry and Lebron James when they are in town because who the hell wouldn’t?

Drake reigns supreme because he’s reppin’ a city that never has been repped outside of Canada. And folks, he’s not just rapping about it. He’s singing, he’s crooning and he’s dancing inside glowing fluorescent cubes without a care in the 6.

og-dre

Opinion
By James Pavel

5. Let me Blow Ya Mind – Eve feat. Gwen Stefani

It was widely recognized that Gwen Stefani was one of the most talented and desirable women in rock n’ roll, but she had yet to be used in any context outside of No Doubt. That all changed in 2001 when Stefani collaborated with Moby on ‘Southside,’ and then more impressively, with Eve for the Dr. Dre/Scott Storch produced ‘Let me Blow your Mind.’ It was the whitest of the white girls tag-teaming a Dre banger with a black woman who had bear paws tattooed on her ta tas. It proved to be a beautiful contrast. Dre teaming with Gwen was surprising, but it helped him broaden his talents and made an even wider group of club-goers bounce to his music without them immediately recognizing that one one of their favourite pop stars was singing to beats conceived by a hip-hop icon.

 

 4. Who Am I? (What’s My Name?) – Snoop Dogg

It is one of his most raucous and heavy sounding beats of the 90s. ‘What’s my Name?’ was a child of the ghetto wailing proudly for the cities of Long Beach and Compton to boogie to. The beat was pure gangster-funk, a term Dre’s cousin Warren G would come to further define and utilize throughout his successful 90s career. Nothing sounded better in your friends Acura Integra bolstered with amps or in 2016, in your signature Dr. Dre headphones.

3. Nuthin’ but a G thang – Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg

It was that siren spinning through the introduction, like a snake slithering its way over Dre’s Compton keyboards that helped transfix fans with this song from 1993 til’ infinity. It’s G-Funk for the California beaches because hey, gangsters need to lounge too. This track would signify the beginning of the true domination of Dre-produced tracks, an era that would launch the career of Snoop Dogg and then several years later, the real Slim Shady.

 

 2. In Da Club – 50 Cent

In an interview accessible through YouTube, 50 Cent’s nemesis Ja Rule describes his reaction to when he first heard the thunderous boom of ‘In Da Club.’ – Oh Shit. Ja Rule, Murda Inc. and the rest of the hip-hop world would be at the mercy of Fiddy after he dropped a track that featured Dre’s most pulsating and intimidating beat of his career. One could argue that this release was the pinnacle of rap music in terms of sheer popularity. There was no mass EDM scene, rock n’ roll was going through its most awkward phase of its existence and country music remained loyal to true cowboys and cowgirls. Dre’s production juxtaposed perfectly with Fiddy’s monstrous size and legendary survival tales. It would mark yet a fourth rapper that had their career grossly augmented by a superb beat via the Doctor of hip hop. This track had originally been bookmarked for Dre’s elusive and essentially mythical album ‘Detox,’ but he decided it would better serve the 50 Cent agenda. We can only hope that Dre receives annual Christmas Cards from the G-Unit household.

1. Still D.R.E. – Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg

Green, neon goosebumps. It’s the sensation every rap head aged 12-30 experienced when this G’d up piano with bandanas falling off its keys absorbed our living rooms and our mental soundtrack for the entirety of 1999. This track roared that Dre’s not just back, he might even be better than he was back in 1993. He made Snoop Dogg relevant again after his ill-advised stint with No Limit Records, and he reminded everyone what California Love sounded like, with one of rap music’s defining orchestras.

 

sam roberts band

Opinion
By James Pavel

5. No Sleep

His rustic gruff saves Sammy from going full indie, but even if he did, even just for this track, we would still adore him. It shows off his ability to romanticize tragedy, as he mournfully swoons about the realities of growing old despite feeling like a young chic. The addition of French to the second verse is gorgeous, a trick borrowed by Arcade Fire frequently throughout their own respective career.

4. Canadian Dream

No other track of Sam’s does he bluntly reveal exactly where he stands on the political spectrum. He doesn’t hint or mince with metaphors – he literally spells it out for you:  Socialism. Sam represents what a modern-liberal is, or perhaps what a modern socialist should represent – a tri-lingual, artistically-driven musician who contributes music that speaks to the social conscience and not to personal gains, unlike the way the majority of current pop music deems fit to behave.

3. Never Enough

After navigating through the crunchy, bluesy raucous that defined the album ‘Collider,’ his latest endeavour steers back to heart-melting, sun-hailing guitar riffs. “Never Enough” is not a complaint, but a revelation. The wonders of Roberts’ life never quench his desire to explore more in depth and to love more intensely. Roberts’ practically pinches himself mid-song at his great fortune, but it is the fans that have gained the greatest from the spoils of Roberts’ superb musical collection.

2. Brother Down

It’s the track that would come to define not only his overall sound but also his coherent, progressive ideas for a utopian Canada. He is not a blinded hipster but an awakened and evolved force of pacifism, preaching the importance of seizing the moment without infringing on the lives of others. “Brother Down” captured the campfire sing-a-long harmonies that were in full force at this moment, essentially the Jack Johnson era, and as easy as it would have been to remain in this cavalier position, he would use this track as a catapult to grimier and yet more polished sounds in the years to come.

1.Uprising Down Under

If you have ever been to Australia, which is every third, red-blood celled westerner between the ages of 20-35, you can appreciate a song dedicated to the wonders of down under.  Roberts paints a vivid and flush fusion of love and Australia, the waves of Byron Bay moving in synchronicity with his unwavering patience for pure harmony.