Tag Archives: Pharrell Williams

2014 Year In Review

Hey, we haven’t updated this blog in over a year!  It was a busy year.  A good year.  Especially for the ears.

Without further ado, here’s my year in review.  Let’s see if the other ILTSOI dudes can step up too…

Nothing can stop us now.

FAVORITE 14 OF ’14

1. Tove Lo Queen of the Clouds

An absolutely perfect album from start to finish.  Catchy, melodic Swedish pop at its finest.

2. Sam Smith In The Lonely Hour

The lush soundtrack to heartbreak and unrequited love, with a voice so smooth you want to wrap yourself up on the sofa and pass out with a smile on your face (and tears drying on your cheeks).

3. Tori AmosUnrepentant Geraldines

Return to form (groan) for my favorite singer of all time.

4. Taylor Swift1989

Can’t deny the pop perfection.  The love might wane with time, but there’s no denying this beast of an album.

5. Alt-J This Is All Yours

You thought their debut was funky and mind-blowing?  Add a million more layers and a tighter control on the soundcraft.  A lush journey into funky town.

6. InterpolEl Pintor

The second “return to form” (repeated groan) on this list.  Tight, melodic, groovy.  Everything that self-titled shitfest was not.

7. Run The JewelsRTJ2

Very rarely do I hear a song and exclaim, “Fuuuuuuuuuck!!!”  This is an entire album of that.  The lyrics wow, the melodies are delicious, and everything is just hard as fuck.  And Zach de la Rocha.

8. RoyksoppThe Inevitable End

A perfect way for them to go out: darkness, groove and a continued roster of perfectly curated guest singers.

9. Lana Del ReyUltraviolence

Not as good as her debut, but the throwback lushness saves this from sophomore slump status.  A time machine.

10. War On DrugsLost In The Dream

This is #1 on most of the year end lists, and with good reason.  It’s a propulsive, immediate and absolutely dreamy journey through soundscapes.  Dylan, Springsteen, Arcade Fire.  It’s all here.

11. Kaiser ChiefsEducation, Education, Education, War

One of my favorite bands.  They’ve only disappointed me once in 4 albums.  They won’t win any awards, but consistently releasing start-to-finish pogo-pop-rock perfect albums contribute to their long-lasting place in my heart.

12. Coldplay Ghost Stories

Their worst, hands down. But it’s not that bad.  I’ve grown to enjoy this more than when they released it in the summer.  Because it’s NOT a summer album.  It’s cold, sad, lonely, introspective.  Casual fans will love the Parachutesness of it all.  I appreciate that it’s a peek into Chris Martin’s ruined heart.  Take this break, come back with another life-affirming opus.  *hugz*

13. Pharrell WilliamsG I R L

Skateboard P is actually pretty underrated: he’s been producing amazing bangers for over a decade, and yet he’s just blown up in these past 2 years (thank you Daft Punk and The Voice).  This is just another release of Pharrell gems.  Get the throwback party started.

14. Crosses – †††

Deftones will never release anything “classic” now that Chi Cheng passed away (just like — less morbidly — Interpol will never release anything of top caliber without Carlos D), but this Chino side project comes close.  It’s sexy, groovy, relatively calm.  Chino’s voice can still send shivers down a spine like no other.

Albums I listened to to-death that weren’t released this year: Bastille, Clutch, Katy Perry, Avicii, Avatar, Fitz and the Tantrums

Albums that kinda let me down: U2, Beck, Black Keys

 

FAVORITE SONGS OF 2014

As always, this is based purely on play count on my iTunes.  I may have listened to them in other places (see: ipod, burned CD) but this is a fair indicator of my earworms of the year.

1. Lorde – “Yellow Flicker Beat”

2. Coldplay – “Magic”

3. Pharrell and Daft Punk – “Gust of Wind”

4. Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora – “Black Widow”

5. Goldroom – “Embrace”

6. Ariana Grande and Zedd – “Break Free”

7. BANKS – “This Is What It Feels Like”

8. Interpol – “Tidal Wave”

9. Royksopp and Robyn – “Monument (The Inevitable End Version)”

10. Tori Amos – “Trouble’s Lament”

 

GIGS OF 2014

1. Avicii – TD Garden – June 25
An absolute party from start to finish.

2. Tori Amos – Boston Opera House – August 15
First full Toriphile experience for me: waited all day with a group of fans/new friends for a glimpse of Tori, then drinks, then a perfect setlist.  If we actually got to talk to her, it would have been the most perfect day of 2014.

3. Arcade Fire – Xfinity Center – August 19
Nice to see them in a huge amphitheater.  Their sound and presence needs all that space.

4. Clutch – Lupo’s – September 5
Rocked. The. Fuck. Out.

5. Lady Gaga – TD Garden – June 30
Finally.  Happy birthday to me.

6. OneRepublic – Blue Hills Bank Pavilion – June 24
All hits, all the time.

7. Nine Inch Nails (with Soundgarden) – Red Rocks – July 21
My all-time bucket list venue.  My all-time favorite band.  Maybe I’ve seen Trent too much lately.  Maybe my mind wasn’t in the right place.  An otherworldly experience.

8. Jimmy Eat World – Lupo’s – October 18
Futures isn’t my favorite Jimmy album (see: Bleed American) but hearing it start to finish was something else.  Finally got “Nothingwrong” and life is good.

9. Katy Perry – TD Garden – August 1
Much like OneRepublic, this was just an unfair barrage of hits that would make any artist blush.  What a party.

10. Cibo Matto – The Sinclair – February 8
A comeback tour, a new album, old friends.  But when you don’t play “Sci-Fi Wasabi” as you originally wrote it, this nagging fan loses a little interest.

11. Iggy Azalea (and Austin Mahone) – Gillette Stadium – June 15
Free.  Yeah nothing beats that.

 

It was a good year.  Hopefully another year doesn’t pass without an update…  Make it a good one!

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Review: Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

o-RANDOM-ACCESS-MEMORIES-570

It’s finally here.

I debated whether or not to listen to the leak, but I’ve been waiting for this thing for so long that I threw morals out the window.  You ready?  Here we go.

1. “Give Life Back To Music”
Simple, groovy intro of what to expect from the album.  It doesn’t go anywhere, really.  But it’s so smooth and comforting, I’m chomping at the bit.

2. “The Game of Love”
Light them candles, run a bath, get those scented oils ready: it’s time to get DOWN.  I started caressing my keyboard and slowly grinding my big swivel chair — totally naturally — about midway through this song.  A gazillion babies will be made to this track, guaranteed.  Mmm, mmm, mmm… I’m gettin’ all sweaty.

3. “Giorgio by Moroder”
Giorgio Moroder talks over the slick, funky bass of this cool cat track.  It’s like that weird Baz Luhrmann graduation song that was big all those years ago.  Except awesome and badass because it’s Giorgio fucking Moroder talking over Daft fucking Punk.  The breakdown at the end is just buzz-out freaky great.  Oh and it’s 9-minutes long.

4. “Within”
Setting: cyborg piano bar.  Song: this.  Vocoder vox over a lush chillaxed melody.  I’m drifting off into space.

5. “Instant Crush”
Indeed, the robots say with a wink.  The groove throws me back to some Police/Alan Parson’s shit, steady and thrumming.  Is that Cyborg Julian Casablancas on vocals?  Oh yes, it is.  SURPRISE.  I’m still on a high as the synths come in to get the body moving.  Then the electric guiltar solo comes whizzing by.  Is this still Daft Punk?!?  It’s still fucking AWESOME.

6. “Lose Yourself To Dance”
Let me just take a pause here, as the guitars squawk and jive: this is their most human album to date.  It’s so vibrant, so organic, so — oh hey guys, Pharrell’s here early! — groovy.  Pharrell’s falsetto (phallsetto?) pops up a couple songs before “Get Lucky” arrives.  Hand claps, bass squiggles.  Hawt dayum!  This is no club banger, but it’ll keep me slinking and snapping until the end of time.  I feel like it’s a good time to pop on a suit and go strut through my neighborhood.  (but if I’m being honest, it does drag a little if you’re not drunk or high off pheromones… don’t ever say I’m a complete Daft Punk fanboy apologist ;P)

7. “Touch”
We Are Drifting Into Spaaaaaaaaace.  “TOUCH…”  Who is that old guy singing?  It’s Paul Williams (no relation to Pharrell).  Who?  This guy.  I was iffy at first, but then BAM, it explodes into some Mos Eisley cantina type shit.  But classier.  And there’s some angelic choir at the end.  This AOR, borderline elevator-music is not my type of thing, but it’s a pleasant enough journey to take before….

8. “Get Lucky”
…fuck yeah: there’s an additional 2 minutes tacked onto the album version.

9. “Beyond”
OOOOOOH MYYYYYY GAAAWWWWWWD.  Triumph!  Cinematic epicness!  This is some “I Keep Forgetting” Michael McDonald shiiieeeeeet.  Ga-roo-vaaaaay.  The lost in space riff at the end is absolutely delicious.

10. “Motherboard”
I think I hear a flute in there.  Yeah, that’s a flute.  Where was the Collaborator video for that?  This sounds like a come-down song, something to break the monotony of spacing out/making out/gittin’ down/gittin’ it UP.  (There’s some strings in there too.)  but oh wait goddamn THE ENDING.  Are we back in the midst of the ’90s UK rave scene?  LOVE.

11. “Fragments of Time”
This will throw your parents back to their childhood (or grandparents?  how old are you?)…  It’s SO good.  Todd Edwards handles vocals on this track.  You may remember him from Discovery gem “Face to Face.”  Another happy surprise on an album already chock-full of impressive and respectable guest spots.  (there’s even a Discovery alluding keytar freak-out at the end)

12. “Doin It Right”
This sounds like classic Daft Punk — in case all of the relatively mellow stuff on this album is really angering you young “EDM” kidz — but it’s still no club banger.  I guess there are no 4-on-the-floor showstoppers here?  Anyway, this is the one with Panda Bear, oh he of Animal Collective.  This indie hipster inclusion rubbed me the wrong way at first (Daft Punk’s talent is a bit weakened because this sounds like any other Pitchfork/Stereogum-baiting throwaway), but the track is harmless.

13. “Contact”
Is this M83?  JK! JK!  It’s an astronaut in space and yeah yeah we get it, you’re robots.  The doom-and-gloom organ brings back that cinematic feel from “Beyond” and ohmygod this will be a great closer.  Sounds like the closing song to a really badass movie, right before it abruptly stops and the credits roll.  I love the drum and metal breakdown.  Just a not-so-subtle reminder that no matter what you thought of the album, Daft Punk will still kick your ass.

 

Verdict: of course this is fucking awesome hahaha… DUH.

Personal faves: “Fragments of Time”, “Giorgio by Moroder”, “Instant Crush”, “Get Lucky” (duh), “Beyond”, “Motherboard”, “Contact”

Next single: “Fragments of Time”, hands down.

Let’s face it: this album could never, ever, eva eva evah live up to the expectations piled upon it (see: The 20/20 Experience).  No way in hell.  So stop bitching.  But goddamn, is it a smooth, smile-inducing groovefest.  You want bangers?  Head to Homework.  You want more outrageous synths?  Do Discovery.  You want to get bored to death and wish you were really a robot so you could turn yourself off?  Human After All.  Solo dance party in your undies until you collapse from exhaustion?  Alive 2007.  A good warm feeling of joy, life and chest-bursting affirmation?

Random Access Memories.

Out *officially* on 5/21 via Columbia.

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Playlist: April 2013

This’ll be easy.

1. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky” (Feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)

2. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky” (Feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)

3. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky” (Feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)

4. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky” (Feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)

5. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky” (Feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)

6. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky” (Feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)

7. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky” (Feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)

8. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky” (Feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)

9. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky” (Feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)

10. Daft Punk – “Get Lucky” (Feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers)

 

Seriously.  This song is already approaching the 200-mark on my iTunes play count (this is not taking into account my iPod play count, which my Civic can confirm is getting super worn out by this track).  Which is absurd.  No song — NONE — in my iTunes history has ever, EVER neared 200.  Not NIN’s “Hand that Feeds” or “Discipline.”  Not Scissor Sisters’ “Invisible Light.”  Not even previous champ, Gorillaz’ “Stylo”, which was heretofore the reigning repeat champ with a pithy 80- or 90-something.  Ha, Damon, HA.  I was worried my expectations would absolutely crush Daft Punk’s chances at releasing a song that could make me happy (see: The Strokes, Justin Timberlake), and yet they succeeded at releasing the Song of the Year (why even beat around that bush) a full 8 months before the calendar turns ’14.  This song elates me.

But…for the one or two of you in the universe who will ever read this, I suppose the show must go on.  There were other songs I listened to this month.  Sorry for them: NOTHING CAN BEAT DAFT PUNK.  But let’s toss them a bone.

First up, my album of the month is the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mosquito.  It’s a grower, nowhere near as urgent as Fever to Tell, nowhere near as warm as Show Your Bones, and nowhere near as catchy as It’s Blitz.  There’s a lot of slow-building creepiness, with a couple all-out bangers tossed in for those like me with ADD.  It’s really claustrophobic at times, very weird (see: gospel choir, Kool Keith), but it all strangely works.  They never disappoint.

Now, onto the songs…

1. Lana Del Rey – “Summer Wine
Sultry and cool, as Del Rey do.  To me, this is the warm yang to the yin of Nick Cave and Kylie’s insanely dark murder ballad, “Where The Wild Roses Grow.”  It’s a Nancy Sinatra cover, done with Barrie-James O’Neill, the guy she’s currently sleeping with.  Why she didn’t do any songs with singers I’m actually a fan of (see: Ours, Marilyn Manson), this passes the test.

2. M83 – “Oblivion” (Feat. Susanne Sundfør)
This is one of those soundtrack songs that benefits from having seen the movie.  It’s epic as shit.  While the movie is a shameless amalgam of many other sci-fi classics, I still enjoyed the hell out of it.  And when the credits roll, I want to be hit in the head with something cinematic, something grand, something sweeping.  This is perfect.  She sounds like Sia, wailing over a future-throwback track that sounds like aliens recording hymns for an ’80s flick.

3. OneRepublic – “Counting Stars
Ryan Tedder is a little bastard.  I still won’t admit that I enjoy OneRepublic’s music, but he never fails to catch my ear.  This track is driving, like Mumford and Sons strained through Madonna’s “Hung Up” (and by extension, ABBA’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme”).  I’m not embarrassed to say I like it.  Thanks, meimei.

4. Daughter – “Get Lucky
Too good for Daft Punk?  Go kill yourself.  Or listen to this moody cover, which sounds like The xx taking a somber stab at Neil’s Song of the Year.  It’s a great cover, taking the happy-go-lucky vibe of the original, drowning it in pills and self-loathing, then mumbling it out in depressing fashion.  Kudos, you sad kids.

5. Stephen Frost – “Fire and Ice” (Feat. Jessi Coble)
Frosty went pop!  Sell-out!  Naaaaah, I’m just kidding.  This is unabashed pop goodness: a dancefloor-ready track with bold vocals.  It’s ripe for remixing.  Already a hit in the UK (what??????) and on Rdio, it’s an unexpected glimpse of the big time for Lil’ Stevie.  The gays are gonna love this song.

 

 

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