Friday, January 3, 2014

Top 10 CDs/Songs of 2013

Hey, y'all! So, a couple days ago, I did the New Years Challenge (link HERE if you haven't checked it out and would like to) and one of the questions asked what my top 5 songs of the year were. I started thinking about which CDs I enjoyed the most in 2013, and that's how we got here! I'll be listing my top 10 CDs, as well as my top 10 songs.

Also, since this isn't actually a CDs On My Shelf post, I'll try to stay away from full-out reviewing the CDs, because I will probably have a post on each one at some point (and in some cases, I already have!). So this is just going to be my opinion on the CDs, as well as my top few songs to check out on each one.

This year hasn't been the best for music, in my opinion. Although several of my favorite artists released new music, several of those releases went in totally different directions and were disappointing. Several long-anticipated releases failed to impress, and a few gems were total surprises.That being said, let's dive right in! 

Top 10 CDs of 2013

#10) Fashionably Late (Deluxe Edition)- Falling In Reverse

Notice that I didn't say these CDs were necessarily the BEST CDs of the year. And that's definitely true for this one. Everyone has their "trash" music that they know is absolutely terrible, but they still enjoy it and jam to it. That's Falling In Reverse for me. Though many people don't like them, I thought their first CD was pretty good. Great music, but very mediocre lyrics ("sexy, please text me. I'm ready for you" REALLY? A chimp could write that!). This CD, however, is just funny. Ronnie thinks he can rap, so there's rap, his characteristic not-so great lyrics, and a random country song thrown in. It's such a hodge-podge but somehow I actually enjoy it.

The songs I'd say are the ones I like the most are Bad Girl's Club and Drifter. Bad Girl's Club is really catchy and oh so cheesy and bad, but a total jam song. Drifter is the country song, and strangely, I really like it!

#9) Overnight- Parachute

I avoided listening to this CD for quite a while, because Parachute is one of my absolute favorite bands, and upon hearing the singles, I was very disappointed with the direction they were taking their music. Parachute veers more on the pop side, and their music has always been very chill, relaxing, pop rock. Like so many bands like them, Parachute caved to the electronic pop sound, and I miss the old sound. However, this is still a good CD. It still sounds like them, just a more electronic version. I'm sure I would like this CD more if I wasn't so attached to their original sound. You can tell it's a slow year in music when this is the best thing I can say about my #9 CD of the year.

The songs I'd recommend from this one are Overnight and The Other Side. Out of all the songs, I feel like Overnight has the most similarities to their old sound. The Other Side is a really chill song, and it has a really nice beat to it.

#8) Melophobia- Cage The Elephant

Cage The Elephant is one of the most unique bands I listen to. Matt Shultz has a very distinct voice, and their music has a very distinct sound. They've definitely set themselves apart from the other bands in the industry, but I haven't seen a ton of buzz around them since "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" and "In One Ear" were popular back in about 2009. Melophobia isn't a huge deviation from their sound in previous CDs. I guess the only thing that really disappointed me was that they've had a bit less than 3 years since their last CD, and we only get 10 songs, and most of those songs are really mellow. There's nothing wrong with mellow- CTE does mellow really well- but it would be nice to have more excitement in the CD.

The songs I'd recommend the most from Melophobia are Come A Little Closer and Teeth. Come A Little Closer is probably the most mainstream friendly song. CTE is a very oddball band, and much of their music would leave 'normal' people scratching their heads. This one is one that would probably appeal to a fairly sizable audience. Teeth is the exact opposite. Teeth is the excitement I wanted out of this CD. It's full, oddball, in your face CTE, and I love it. 

#7) Sunflower- Never Shout Never

Never Shout Never (or more specifically, frontman Christofer Drew, who was the sole member of Never Shout Never for a very long time) is one of those bands that goes though endless phases of musical styles. NSN started as a uke/acoustic guitar based pop rock band, ventured into a folksy phase, into a more electric phase, into a more bluesy/ soft rock sound, and then to this. Sunflower is a mix of a couple of the band's phases. Quite a bit of it is rather bluesy, a couple are more of the acoustic sound, and a couple even have the folk in them. Some sounds are more successful than others, but overall, I feel like they've hit their stride by mixing the different sounds, and have bounced back from a couple of CDs that I didn't think were that outstanding.

For me, the best songs on the CD are New Sound and Wild Child. Both are more of the bluesy sound. New Sound has a really fun groove to it, and was a great choice for the first track. Wild Child is my favorite on the album. It's a really unique song, and I'm not sure what else to say about it except that I really like it!

#6) The Pioneer Sessions- William Beckett

We now arrive at the CD I've already talked about on CDs On My Shelf (You can click HERE if you'd like to check it out). William Beckett was the lead singer of The Academy Is... until they broke up in 2011. In 2012, he began releasing a series of EPs, and at the beginning of 2013, he released The Pioneer Sessions, which is basically the acoustic, stripped down versions of the songs on the EPs. Some of them, I actually enjoy the acoustic version more than the pop one, because I really miss him doing alternative music. That being said, this is a CD I really enjoy, and listen to on a regular basis. 

My two favorite songs on the CD would have to be Compromising Me and Dear Life. These are both songs where I really enjoy both the normal and acoustic versions. Compromising Me is a really interesting song, possibly more interesting in the normal version, but I love it either way. Dear Life stuck out at me the first time I heard the normal version, but I think the acoustic might be better. I really like the way the music and vocals mesh together.

#5) Feel- Sleeping With Sirens

Here's another one that I talked about on CDs On My Shelf (link HERE if you'd like to read it). Sleeping With Sirens is one of my favorite bands, and although I'm of the opinion that this CD isn't quite as good as their last release, it's still really strong. I'm not even upset that they collaborated with a rapper on Alone, because I think it sounds really cool. They made some really smart choices with collabs on this CD. In my opinion, the best thing this band has going for them is Kellin Quinn's unique voice. Honestly, I've never heard anyone with a voice like Kellin's. Sure, some people think he and Vic Fuentes (from Pierce The Veil) sound similar, but they each have very distinct voices.

There are so many great songs to mention on this CD. Free Now, a song about Kellin's broken family and how he wants to be a good father to his daughter, Copeland, is really sweet. Alone, feat. MGK, is different for them because of the rap, and I think it works really well. Congratulations, feat. Matty Mullins, is definitely a jam song, as is Deja Vu.

#4) PTX Vol. II- Pentatonix

Pentatonix is an a cappella group that I was introduced to this year. I've completely fallen in love. Each member brings something unique to the group. Kevin is an excellent beatboxer/ rhythm section, Avi has a KILLER bass range, Scott has an insanely amazing and soulful voice, Mitch has a great voice with an amazing range, and Kirstie supplies the necessary female voice. They do great arrangements, and their original music is also really good. PTX Vol. 2 falls just the smallest bit shy of the bar that PTX Vol. 1 set, but that bar was set really high, so it would be nearly impossible for them to do better than that.

My favorite songs on the CD are Can't Hold Us (A Macklemore cover) and Daft Punk (a medley of Daft Punk songs). I really liked the original Can't Hold Us, and Pentatonix just improved upon it. Having Scott, Mitch, and Kirstie take sections of it was great. The arrangement of Daft Punk is great and the bass kills me every time. It's just awesome. 

#3) Save Rock and Roll- Fall Out Boy

Believe it or not, I wasn't a huge fan of this CD when it came out. I'd already listened to My Songs Know and Phoenix, so I was a bit worried about the direction of the CD. And I've since realized that yes, it's a different direction for them, but I really, really like it. There were (and still are) some songs that I don't enjoy as much, but there are quite a few songs that I can listen to on repeat. My only complaint is that this is one of those CDs where a song either falls into the like or dislike pile. There're no middle ground where songs are just ok.

There are several really great ones on here. Save Rock and Roll is one of those songs where I'll be out driving with my windows rolled down, loudly singing along. Young Volcanoes is surprisingly fun for FOB, and I really enjoy it. The Mighty Fall is also another good one, and the only thing I'm not a fan of is the rap on it. It detracts from the song just a little, but Patrick's parts are amazing. The Phoenix is another I like to blast while driving. The cello intro is spot on!

#2) Paramore- Paramore

I really wasn't sure what to expect out of this CD. I hadn't listened to Paramore much since the Farro brothers left the band, and I really wasn't sure where their music was headed. But still, I decided to pick up their CD when it came out, trusting it would at least be decent. It really exceeded expectations. So many of the songs on this CD are standout songs, and have become some of my favorite Paramore songs. I went back and forth over whether this or Save Rock and Roll should be higher, but in the end, Paramore won because of the sheer number of tracks that I absolutely love. However, like Save Rock and Roll, nearly all the songs fall into either a like or dislike pile. There are several that are good, but I just don't care about them in comparison to the outstanding songs.

There are so many amazing songs that it's hard to not talk about them all. Fast In My Car is an amazing combo of music and lyrics. Great opener. Now is especially good because of Hayley's vocals. Grow Up is another great one. I especially love Hayley's vocals in the chorus. Daydreaming is also really fun. Ain't It Fun has a cool sound, with the choir to back it up. Still Into You is such a catchy and fun song. Anklebiters is a really fun, harder song. (One of Those) Crazy Girls is kinda creepy but cool.

Before I continue... My two favorite CDs that came out this year both seemed like cop-outs to put as the #1 CD of the year, because one is the deluxe edition of a CD released last year, and the other is a live CD. Since I couldn't decide which is better, and thought each was a bit of a cop out, I figured I should just put them both as #1... which makes it an even bigger cop out, but whatever!

#1) TIE

10th Anniversary Concert- Royal Albert Hall (Live)- McFly

McFly has been my favorite band for quite some time now, and this CD is really special because it's from their 10th anniversary concert. Also, Busted, a band who broke up in 2005 and is friends with McFly, came back together and performed with McFly. Since they only did shows in Royal Albert Hall, I was unable to go, but this CD makes it a little better.

I love all of the songs! More specifically, though... McFly the Musical is a song written specifically for the concert, and it's all about McFly in the last 10 years. Tom hit the nail on the head writing this one. It's perfect. Five Colours In Her Hair was their first ever single, and to this day, it's still one of their best, and certainly their most recognizable song.

Don't Panic: It's Longer Now- All Time Low

All Time Low is my other favorite band. Just like I can't choose between these two CDs, I can't choose between these two bands. They're both amazing in their own ways. Don't Panic was released in late 2012, and not only did it become my favorite All Time Low CD, but it made its way into my top 2 CDs of all time. Seriously, it's that good. That's why I was so excited to hear they were re-releasing it with extra songs. Although if I were to give each song a rating and then average it out to get an album rating, the rating of It's Longer Now would be lower than the original Don't Panic, the added songs are all really good. 

I'll just choose from the new songs for this, because the old songs are ALL perfect. A Love Like War is really great, and features Vic Fuentes as a guest vocalist, which elevates it even higher. I also really enjoy Canals, because it has a really cool beat to it. But, if you wanna talk about the original songs, my top songs would have to be: So Long, Soldier, Backseat Serenade, Paint You Wings, The Reckless and the Brave, The Irony of Choking on a Lifesaver, and Outlines. Also, I just listed half of the CD, and there are more I wanted to list, but it's just too many. 

Honorable Mentions: 
LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS by 30 Seconds to Mars
Wild & Free by A Rocket To The Moon
Night Visions by Imagine Dragons
Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! by Panic! At The Disco
Hunter Hayes (Encore) by Hunter Hayes

Top 10 Songs of 2013

I gave myself a couple extra rules on this one. The main, and most complicated rule, has to do with when it was released. Obviously, the song has to have been released in 2013. However, if the CD it was on was released before 2013, and the song was released as a single in 2013, it's fair game.

I chose mostly singles (or songs that I know for sure will be a single). I'm keeping it to one song per artist/CD because if I didn't, you'd see the same artists multiple times.

I couldn't put them in a specific order, but I did divide them a bit. I like the top 6 songs evenly, so they're separate from the other 4.

  • Come A Little Closer by Cage The Elephant. Of all of the songs on Melophobia, this is the one I was immediately drawn to. It's very Cage The Elephant, and very chill.
  • This Is Gospel by Panic! At The Disco. I enjoyed several songs on Panic!'s 2013 CD, but I thought this one was the most musically interesting. The beginning has a really cool sound to it, and I especially love the chorus.
  • Do Or Die by 30 Seconds To Mars. 30 Seconds To Mars is a band I listen to fairly casually. Closer To The Edge is one of my all time favorites, but I just don't listen to the band a ton. But I really liked this song. It's very 30STM, and the chorus is really interesting.
  • Benny & Joon by William Beckett. The lead single off of his summer 2013 release. Unfortunately, I couldn't include the songs from Pioneer Sessions because they were released in 2012, but this was the best song on this CD by far. 
Top 6
  • Still Into You by Paramore. This was the hardest to choose, because there are so many tracks from their album that I love. It was between this, Grow Up, Ain't It Fun, and Anklebiters. This one had literally one more play than the other 3, so I chose this one. 
  • Save Rock and Roll by Fall Out Boy Feat. Elton John. Technically, this isn't a single. But Fall Out Boy will be doing a video for all of the songs on Save Rock and Roll, so I allowed it. I went back and forth on which track from their album to choose. It was between this one, Young Volcanoes, and The Mighty Fall. In the end, this one has been on repeat for the longest. I love it.
  • A Love Like War by All Time Low Feat. Vic Fuentes (of Pierce The Veil). This is such a great song, and I love Vic Fuentes. Having him on there just makes it that much better.
  • Can't Hold Us by Pentatonix. PTX Vol. II came out this year, and I've been greatly enjoying it. All the songs are great, but this one is a big standout for me.
  • Love Is On The Radio by McFly. The latest single by my favorite band. It's been playing on repeat ever since it was released.
  • Congratulations by Sleeping With Sirens. It took forever to choose a song from this CD, but I ended up picking this one because of the especially strong vocal performance by both Kellin and Matty.

Honorable Mentions:

Daft Punk by Pentatonix
Ain't It Fun and Grow Up by Paramore
Young Volcanoes and The Mighty Fall by Fall Out Boy
Alone by Sleeping With Sirens
Backseat Serenade and Somewhere In Neverland by All Time Low

Hope you enjoyed my lists for the top 10 CDs and songs of 2013! Let me know in the comments what your favorite CDs and songs were, as well as what you thought of my choices! Also, reminder: the prologue of The Secret Lightning Scar [A Harry Potter Fanfic] will be posted TOMORROW, so don't forget to check that out!

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