Archives for posts with tag: jamespaveltop20
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20. Tame Impala – Patience 

They might be the most underrated overrated band going at the moment. They headline festivals despite not having a proper smash hit, but do crank out listenable music at an efficient and consistent pace. They were hipster music before everything rock n’ roll became hipster, therefore some of their elusiveness seems to lack in 2019. Like all of their music, ‘Patience’ has that snake-dancing mesmerizing sound, where you can just drift off into the ocean and starfish for two hours.

19. Tegan & Sara – I’ll be Back Someday

Telling them apart may prove difficult, but their music serves as an ever-changing wardrobe. Whether it be a torturous relationship or just an introduction to music that your parents listened to, the Canadian twins keep it fresh.

18. Matthew Madigan – Best for Me

Madigan parks the acoustic guitar beside his three-legged dog and gives the piano an honest go. The keys play nice with his harsh whispers and delivers an earnest love letter to his Dear Ma. Move over Tupac and Kanye, there’s a new song for Mom and it’s 7 hours away in Dublin.

17. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Black Star Dancing 

It’s a surreal sensation when one finally discovers the genius of Arcade Fire. It took Noel over a decade, but boy, they clearly made an impression. ‘Black Star Dancing’ could of easily sat along side any track on the ‘Reflektor’ album, but here it is in 2019, in Noel’s latest collection.

16. Gothic Topic – Drunk on a Rhythm

People are drinking less and less as we enter the 20s’ 2.0. Non-alcoholic booze, weed shops and apparently people getting drunk on the sound of music. Gothic Topic is stumbling out of the sound booth, but with no dreaded hangover to follow.

15. The Japanese House – Maybe You’re the Reason 

The future is a mash-up remix featuring every genre known. It’s 90s’ sound effects, its 80s’ reverbs, it’s the coolest rapper alive (Posty) dressing like Elvis, it’s The Japanese House releasing a beautiful song that has every trait of a 90s’ song right here in the last year of a bat-shit crazy decade.

14. Catfish & The Bottlemen – LongShot 

You can practically smell the Tom Collins cocktails on these British lads, a Kooks-sounding bunch with a bit more swagger. The song is loaded with the intensity of someone who knows their chances are slim,  reminiscent of an up-and coming Alex Turner. If the Arctic Monkeys are the template, then only glory should follow for the Catfish.

13. Post Malone – Circles 

Maybe he isn’t just another exhausting, pseudo-gangster with face tattoos. Maybe he isn’t just trying to reap the benefits of the shock value that comes with somebody that looks the way he does. Post had the competition running in, wait for it, circles in 2019, when suddenly he didn’t disappear, he instead came back with more brilliant sing/rap content, making him the closest thing that exists to Drake. He’s self destructive, but clearly sensitive and even more apparent, tremendously alert of his talents.

12. Ed Sheeran feat. Chris Stapleton & Bruno Mars – Blow

Sheeran making a collaboration album and not forcing his own creative nature on others was one of the more brilliant moves of 2019. Stapleton has his signature country roar in the middle and Bruno has his signature, cocaine-laced sexual machismo smothering the final segment. Sheeran’s casual demeanor and approach would allow a weaker man to be run over by trends, but it has helped him remain poignantly relevant in the final chapter of the decade.

11. The Killers – Land of the Free 

For all the criticism that we read daily on social media of President Trump, there was rarely an artist or group that took a public stand against his actions. Besides ‘Fuck Donald Trump’ a shallow and simplistic shot at the Orange One, The Killers dug through their closet, put back on their Springsteen costumes and finally gave Trump, and American policy as a whole, a shot to the chin.

10. Foxygen – Work 

One of those songs that sounds like it could spill over into a million pieces, the barely-controlled chaos somehow works. It’s fun, quirky and even a bit foxy.

9. Bear Hands – Backseat Driver 

This is what MGMT was supposed to sound like in 2019. They are off trippin’ on God knows what, so Bear Hands took the indie-synth wheel and gave directions from the leather seats in the back.

8. Taylor Swift – Lover 

Her ‘Nothing compares to you’ moment, Swifty again shifted gears to keep the competition guessing, and predictably, hit another home run. The album as a whole didn’t have the mega-grip on the world that 1989 had, but it kept her firmly in position as the world’s biggest pop star.

7. Kanye West – Selah

It was the most anticipated album of the year, event-like, the way we had come to expect Kanye albums to be received. The music scene has changed drastically during his tenure, but from his Trump worshiping, Kardashian impregnating antics, we weren’t allowed to forget about him. He made Jesus walk, and now he’s declared him King, an uncommon boast for a musician to make, but he has taken it a step further by devoting his entire album to God and making sure there wasn’t one curse on the album. Jesus is King, so with that out of the way, lets hope we can re-crown Kanye again in 2020 as the leader of rap.

6. Vampire Weekend – This Life 

Maybe the most important band that nobody cares about (or at least not as much as they should.) They are incapable of releasing average music and seem keen on only recording albums that show tremendous growth. “This Life” sounds like it should be in a Steve Martin comedy, yes a modern-day ‘Father of the Bride’ if you will, with cheesy shots of people smiling in tuxedos, fat kids eating too much cake and old people dancing.

5. Keuning – Boat Accident 

Sent into exile by Brandon Flowers, or perhaps alternatively, Dave Keuning had enough of the flamboyant front man and managed to put out the surprise album of the year. It wasn’t awful, it wasn’t good, it turned out to be …excellent. It is easy to forget that the Killers are a sum of numerous influences, and a number of them played a significant role in Keuning’s life. The Cars, Rick Springfield and the 80s’ as a collective, made Keuning’s album a reality in 2019.

4. Sam Smith feat. Normani – Dancing with a Stranger 

He’s today’s George Michael, with equal vulnerability, less overt sexuality and way more assertiveness. His voice is second to nobody’s, and anytime he drops a new album, it is as big of deal as anybody not named Drake or Taylor Swift.

3. The Black Keys – Lo/Hi

Just when we thought we couldn’t handle another Black Keys radio single, let alone tour, they mercifully left us alone for a couple years. And in 2019, we pined for them like a drunk lover on the phone begging for a second chance. They welcomed us back, and gave us a big smooch in the form of ‘Lo/Hi’ a Black Keys sounding song if there ever was one. The highs, the lows, the static crunch of the axes and the way they seem to place us all at a dive bar in the south with their two piece duo banging away.

2. Harry Styles – Falling 

While most song writers try to be as opaque as possible about their subjects, bashful Harry is as precise as one could be. Most artists wouldn’t be capable of dominating the song vocally the way Harry does, but his chops are on centre stage throughout his entire 2019 album.

1. Bombay Bicycle Club – Eat, Sleep, Wake / Nothing But You

It has the charm of a quirky cereal commercial that you just can’t get out of your noggin. Of course, the eating and sleeping revolves around one particular individual and not a bowl of Cheerios. Bombay’s shoe-gazing, love-struck syntax follows the lead of the heat-beating bass guitar keeping both tires fully pumped on this gin-fueled bicycle.

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.