Tag Archives: Miley Cyrus

WAP Grammys 2021 Performance is Not Empowerment or Feminism–It’s Misogyny

16 Mar

Visibility is imperative. Pushing norms is progress. But disguising the objectification of women for the male gaze as empowered feminism is super-problematic, and that’s what is happening here. Cardi b and Meghan Thee Stallion’s Grammys 2021 performance was supposed to push boundaries, and shock. And it did! Madonna pushed boundaries of female sexuality with her cones and simulated sex scene prior to this. But I see the Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke twirking on all the negative YouTube videos for ‘top 10 cringe moments’, ‘celebs that are problematic’, ‘people who got cancelled’, etc, etc… And let’s not forget how Janet Jackson was ENDED over a fraction of a sec of nipple pasty action at the Superbowl. Can you say, double standard?!

Anyway, I keep seeing a lot of arguments for the merits of this song/performance because it matches what men do. Men have scantily-clad women on their videos, demean women as “bitches” (and far worse) in their lyrics, talk about sexual acts in explicit detail, and are “pimps” when they rack up the number of women they conquer. So people are arguing it’s cool that now women can do that too.

Except here’s the thing:

Feminism isn’t doing whatever you want or being as disgusting as men, it is breaking away from objectification, truly empowering the individual self and collective group of women.

Joining in on objectification of women is not empowerment!

em·pow·er·ment (N)- Authority or power given to someone to do something. “individuals are given empowerment to create their own dwellings” the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.

This performance isn’t about women owning their bodies, sexuality, or controlling the narrative. This is women selling their image in a package that men like in order to make money and gain fame in the small niche that female rap artists have carved out.

Women in this patriarchal society have to fit in a box–the Madonna/whore dichotomy. Women in music, already in that narrow box of patriarchy, have to fit into an even smaller box of being a role model to girls while having sexual appeal for the general public. The rap category is an even teenier box a couple of select women have to fit in to keep going. In the end, the box is so small and limited, there is no space left.

People online are praising the performance as visible female sexuality, black women owning their own bodies, and empowerment. Which, I agree might be present (though in this writing, I’ll argue it’s in diluted form). I felt the performance was harmful to women’s progress. What I don’t want to do is add the the terrible narrative that black women’s sexuality is wild/animalistic/scary/out of control that colonialism, racism, sexism, and patriarchy has painted it. I find the performance harmful because it is misogyny in feminist clothing, to borrow the sheep expression.

I know there’s a whole song, and the music video that goes with it. I don’t know much about either so my critiques are based solely on the following video of the 2021 Grammy performance:

My racap of the action:

-A stripper pole-references the men’s domain of the strip club where women take off clothes and dance suggestively for men’s entertainment.
-Cardi B backs up and puts her butt-crack on the pole. Side-note: Butt implants are for men. A women can die getting plastic surgery to enhance her body. Her clothes will fit differently. She will have to move differently, walk differently, lay down differently than she did before putting plastic in her butt. And she may have complications later. Leaking, autoimmune issues, cancer… This is not for a woman’s pleasure–women’s butts are not an erroneous zone, or secondary sex characteristic. A big butt is for men’s pleasure.
-In case the viewer couldn’t put it together, a giant, clear plastic stripper platform shoe flanks the stage. The type of shoe men like to look at, but women have trouble walking effectively in, and certainly running from danger is out of the question in such a shoe. It shows the power dynamic–females are weakened by such a shoe but men get pleasure from them wearing the shoe. Men are in power here. The women are just props for them to use to achieve sexual gratification.
-Other suggestive moves that drive home this is a performance to cater to men’s sexual desire: Splay legs, she grabs/rubs her puss, gyrating hips and doing suggestive humping dance moves. Cardi B elevates and licks her own leg. Countless squats split legged. Laying with legs far apart on the bed. Crawling on the bed. Split legged humping. Laying on her back with split legs. The two women crawl toward each other on bed. They scissor their legs together. [Pet-peeve] this is NOT a thing! I mean, it might technically exist in the way the pile-driver is a thing, but not used in real life, it’s only for porn. This scissoring maneuver is performative and it’s is ignorant/Lesbphobic. As a matter of fact, if two out, butch lesbians did the same move, I’ll bet the reaction would be totally different. Then to finish the show, more split legs.

Here’s the test to know

a) if this is two women owning their own bodies, displaying confidence and empowerment

OR

b) this is a sexually suggestive performance for the male gaze

In the above video and descriptive paragraph, trade out the women for men.

Have you seen men doing a similar performance before? Does it seem like the same type of performance? Would it garner the same reaction?

I’d say fail.

You do not/would not see two men: Dancing on a pole. Licking their own leg. Crawling toward another man on a giant bed. Or scissoring legs together with another man…

This is not women owning their sexuality. This is objectifying & commodifying women for the male gaze.

Research by Calogero has shown that the male gaze can have detrimental effects on women’s self-esteem and self-objectification, leading to increased body shame and a worsened mental state. The male gaze creates a power imbalance. It supports a patriarchal status quo, perpetuating women’s real-life sexual objectification.

So that’s why I don’t like it. I’m not even going to mention being role model for girls, b/c the conservatives always trot that out to shame women. But I will say it would be nice if society was better at recognizing misogyny. I can understand why it’s difficult because it’s ubiquitous and pervasive. But we need to educate ourselves a lot better, because things are still BAD for women. And I would love to see women being successful by truly own their own bodies and sexuality in an empowering way. I hope it happens.

But this was not it.

The Good: 2020 Albums Countdown (30-14)

11 Dec

#28

Eminem (2 amazing 9 good 2 alfred talking(3 tot); and hated 4 of 17  =

11.8% awesome; 

52.9% good songs; 

Awesome good avg = 32.35%

23.5% hated = 

Awesome – hated = neg%

Good – hated = 29.4% good

Awesome good avg – hated = 8.85%

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/30/eminem-music-to-be-murdered-by-album-review/

I had to deliberate long and hard to decide where to place the album on the list.  It contains probably the best rap song of all time (yup, I said it) and also a really powerful song, that’s ne of the best of anybody this year.  Unfortunately, it also contains that Eminem-brand misogyny, violence, and toxic masculinity, as well as a denial of white privilege.  I used to overlook those things a lot because I was younger, and I could think of the guy’s real life upbringing and struggles and somewhat justify all that toxicity.  Rap is a historical record of racial politics and socio-economic struggle.  But also, it’s 2020, and these issues are at the forefront, and Marshall Mathers has had plenty of time to get counseling, perspective, and education.  So I could not bring myself to rate it in the Awesome grouping for those reasons.

#27

Alanis Moressette (3 awesome; 3 good; OK; 1 meh; 2 dislike OF 11 = 

27.3% awesome; 

27.3% good; 

9.1% meh; 

18.2% dislike

Awesome – dislike =

9.1% awesome

Good-dislike =

9.1% good

Awesome good avg – dislike = 

18.2%

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/11/alanis-morissette-such-pretty-forks-in-the-road-album-review/

I feel like half of this album is my favorite.  It’s a more mature version of Morissette, though she’s still got that edge I’ve always loved.  She is honest and emotional, independant, yet in this album, there’s more vulnerability then I remember on prior works.

But then half of the songs fall into the “trite” category.  Maybe a little too saccharine for my liking.

#26

T.I. (3 awesome; 9 good; 3 ok; 2 meh; 2 dislike of  20 = 

15% awesome; 

45% good; 

Awesome good avg = 30%

15% meh; 

10% dislike

Awesome – dislike = 5% awesome

Good – dislike = 35% good

Awesome good avg – dislike =

30%)

Taylor Swift

Evermore (1 awesome; 10 good; 3 ok; meh; 1 dislike of 15 (so far)

6.7% awesome; 

66.7% good

Awesome good avg = 36.7%

93.3% OK & up

6.7% dislike

Awesome – dislike = 0

Good – dislike = 60%

Awesome good avg – dislike 30%)

DON’T FREAK OUT THESE ARE FIRST IMPRESSIONS & SOME ALBUMS TAKE MANY LISTENS TO APPRECIATE

#25

Kelsie Ballerini (11 of 13 good; 1 strongly dislike message = 

84.6% good 

– 7.7% dislike = 

76.9% good)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/14/kelsea-ballerini-kelsea-album-review/

I have this little theory that Taylor Swift went around and did some (uncredited) featured work on all her friends’ albums.  Like just for fun and because she can.  I talked about it on the Selena album and on Katy Perry, and I thought I heard some contenders in this album too.  I heard her on those other 2 albums, then made my theory, then listened  for it on this album.  Song candidates:

1) The Other Girl- the parts where it says, “They know about me” and also “red dress” line.

2)  and/or Love and Hate

3)  and/or Hole in the Bottle (the layered voice could easily be TS, and that last laugh?  If that’s not Taylor, then it sounds identical.  

#24

Smashing Pumpkins (awesome; 3 good; 1 ok; 6 meh; dislike of 10= 

30% good; 

40% Ok & up)

I mean, they haven’t given me all that much to say about the album.  It’s Ok, nothing really stands out except for the progressive track title spellings.  Not bad, could be more noteworthy next time around.

#23

Nada surf ( AWESOME 6 GOOD 1 OK MEH of 9 = 

66.7% good; 

77.8% ok and up )

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/04/nada-surf-never-not-together-album-review/

Not the “Popular” sound at all!  Far from it.  It’s actually more of a Death Cab for Cutie sound.  I was surprised this one ranked above my honorable mentions list.  It’s mellow, but not boring, and they gave me just a taste of their 1990s sound, but mostly had a new vibe.

#22

John Legend ( 4 good 3 ok of 16 =

25% good; 

44.8% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/28/john-leg

end-bigger-love-album-review/

There were many songs on this album that I didn’t like something about.  But each of those disliked songs had at least one redeeming factor, or this entire album would have been ranked lower.

#21

Katy Perry (5 good 7 OK of 12 = 

41.7% good

100% OK & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/25/katy-perry-smile-review/

#20

Bon Jovi (2 awesome; 6 ok; 4 meh of 13 = 

15.4% awesome; 

46% ok; 

Aweseome + good avg=

30.7% good)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/10/bon-jovi-2020-album-review/

Bon Jovi wins easiest, most genuine segway into current events.  He does a seamless job of staying true to his own sound, and having an album that discusses all of today’s issues.  He hits on:  Political ugliness, the division in the country, war, racial justice, covid, and I applaud him for taking it on, and doing it well.  Every artist has a responsibility to do that right now.

#19

Rufus Wainwright (2 awesome; 3 good; 3 ok; 4 meh; dislike of  12= 

16.7% awesome;

25% good; 

Awesome good avg = 20.87%

66.7% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/29/rufus-wainwright-unfollow-the-rules-album-review/

#18

The Strokes (1 AWESOME 5 GOOD 3 ok of 9 = 

11% awesome; 

55.6% good; 

Awesome good avg = 33%

100% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/02/the-strokes-the-new-abnormal-album-review/

This is one of those albums that just might be too cool for anyone listening to it.  I’m glad to hear some more true alternative genre, but some of the experimental sounds are just too much.

#17

Haim (4 awesome; 5 good; 7 ok;  meh; dislike of 16 = 

25% awesome;

31.3% good; 

Awesome good avg = 28.15%;

100% OK & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/05/haim-women-in-music-part-iii-album-review/

I tried to listen to Haim before, because I heard a lot about them.  But I just didn’t really connect.  But some of their stuff was good on this album, and it made me want to listen to more of their catalogue again.

#16

Chris Stapleton (3 awesome; 6 good; 1 ok; meh; dislike of 14 = 

21.4% awesome; 

42.9% good; 

Awesome good avg = 32.15%

71.4% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/01/chris-stapleton-starting-over-album-review/

#15

Miley Cyrus (3 awesome; 8 good; 4 ok; meh; dislike of  15 = 

20% awesome; 

53.3% good;

Awesome good avg = 36.65%

100% OK & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/14/miley-cyrus-plastic-hearts-album-review/

This album is awesome–but not really because of Miley herself.  She pairs with standouts and covers some favorites.  But whenever it’s Miley, by herself on her own track–it doesn’t really hold up.

#14

Lauren Alaina 

Getting Over Him

(2 awesome; 4 good  of  6 = 

33.3% awesome; 

66.7% good)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/12/lauren-alaina-road-less-traveled-album-review/

Overall, I was disappointed.  If your EP is made of a few really great songs, put it out.  But if the songs are not perfect, either edit til they are better, or add some stunners and make a full album.  Also, the two things I liked best about her past album, was Alaina’s positivity and good messaging, and her vocal strength.  This EP showcased neither.

Yet, here it is at the top of the ‘Good’ list, because it’s out of 6 songs.  So maybe it’s the smartest way after all…

I didn’t realize Alaina had put out two EPs until (embarrassingly late) the day before I was ready to publish the finalized list.  Why not just make them 1 album?  So to all the people I said edit and put out an EP if you need to–never mind on that.  Spotify made it a complete pain in the ass!  It was hard to see them.  Hey Spotify developers, if you’re reading this–puh-leeze make all kinds of music chronological.

Miley Cyrus: Plastic Hearts Album Review

6 Dec

Plastic Hearts:  The song has a lot going for it:  Good beat, catchy chorus, cool guitar break-down, but Cyrus’ voice is not one of them.  It sounds a little rough-especially for her age.

Angels Like You:  I can immediately feel the emotions in the song.  Cyrus successfully conveys, sadness and regret.  I like how she addresses her shortcomings, and the media’s perspective.

Prisoner:  This is one of the best songs on the album to listen to, yet I dislike it because there’s a lot that’s formulaic and cliche’ about it.  It’s too 80s, the guitar is too, the cadence is something I’m sure I’ve heard somewhere else (“Get Physical”?).  I want to hear MILEY, not a collection of previously successful elements.

Night crawling:  This has an awesome beat, synthesizer, and of course featured artist in Billy Idol.  It’s very 80s without being cliche;.  

Midnight Sky:  I love the deep tones in this one.  Also, I think it’s pretty strong lyrically.

High:  I’m relieved this isn’t a straight up weed song, since that’s pretty much what I’ve heard of Cyrus as of late.  It’s a really nice, country-skewing song, actually.  With some of the best singing thus far on the album.  I find it pleasant that the track is stripped down from all the 80s stuff in the prior songs.

Hate Me:  It’s a good break-up song.

Bad Karma:  I really love everything about this one except the backing “uh huh-uh uh huh” which is so annoying.  The beat, and the “fuck you” lyrics are amazing, as is Joan Jett participating and the word, “heartbreaker” in the chorus.  All very bad-ass and clever.

Never Be Me:  Too quiet of a song to follow the last one.  The only good part about it is the “fire” break-down.  Needs more.

Golden G-String:  When Cyrus can’t rely on famous featured artists, the songs are a little meh.  This is a stab at an introspective quiet piece, but it’s a little flat.

Edge of Midnight:  I mean, I’m not going to stand here and critisize a mash up with Stevie Nicks-a fucking legend.  Cyrus sings her part with a lot more passion then she had in the version without  Nicks.  And obviously, Nicks is cool and awesome and amazing–though her voice is shot (and perhaps always was).

Heart of Glass:  It’s a cool, and raw rendition of that Blondie classic.  The only reason I can even tell it’s not the original is Cyrus’ accent (speech impediment?).  It’s a good job.  Maybe Cyrus should stick to covers since that’s where she seems to excel most.

Zombie:  As soon as I heard the opening beat, I immediately knew this Cranberries song.  And I thought–she better not fuck this up!  This is a sentimental favorite of mine, and I wouldn’t want to hear it damaged.  Cyrus executes it well.  I don’t care for her more growly reading of the lyrics, but the song is full of power and emotion, and cool guitar licks just as it should be.  OK, the guitar might be better in this version.  I wan’t going to add a remake to my Spotify list because obviously the original song is superior and a favorite, but now I will based on guitar.

This album is awesome–but not really because of Miley herself.  She pairs with standouts and covers some favorites.  But whenever it’s Miley, by herself on her own track–it doesn’t really hold up.

23rd Up to 17th Top 2017 Albums

10 Jan

#23-Eisley I’m always a big fan of how so many voices in the band come together.  I’m Only Dreaming reminds me of the album that the Princess in Super Mario Brothers might be listening to while locked in the castle.  It’s got a fantastic, whimsical sound.  As always, the songs stick with you but are also good background music.

#22-Minus the Bear

Truly alternative music.  VOIDS isn’t nearly as dark and depressing as 2012’s Infinity Overhead, and that’s a good thing.  But it didn’t hit that spot in my psyche like it used to.

#21-Emily Saliers Her first solo album is really exciting to me!  I have been a long time, huge, huge fan of the Indigo Girls (and I’ve always thought that Emily was the better writer and singer of the two).  I mean, there’s really no comparing Amy and Emily–they are different and each have their own strengths.   But I figured if I liked Amy’s solo material than I would really, really like Emily’s.  Murmuration is a little on the sentimental side.  A little folksy and quiet.  And most definitely an album that requires multiple listens before you feel attached to it.  It can try a little hard, like the line, “. . .  mother-phallic gun. . .”  I mean, I get it, I agree, but still. . .  I really love when the songs have violin, and I really like the Native American style wailing (if that’s the right thing to call it?  Sounds like powwow music) in some of the songs.  And I appreciate the story and sentiment in “OK Corral.”  For the most part, I’m on board.

Back at home, they’re shaking heads and asking why
He was so quiet, seemed like such a decent guy
A heart of darkness lies in wait in everyone
It opens like a hollow point when you point and shoot your motherphallic gun

#20-Pink I didn’t intend to make this blurb full of backhanded complements (though I have).  I have been with Pink for her entire career, from the competition with the bubblegum-pop Brittany/Christina set, to the introspective Funhouse, with songs like “Sober” that really evaluates a lifestyle.  And I like Pink with her “if you don’t like me, fuck you” attitude and edginess.  I know Pink may not be the most mature or marketable artist, but she is never phony.  My favorite thing about Beautiful Trauma is not the usual catchiness that makes Pink have a lot of radio hits.  None of the songs really struck me as stand-outs or singles.  It also wasn’t WHAT Pink had to say.  As a matter of fact, her song “What About Us” bothers me.  It’s unclear to me what exactly she’s trying to say, or who she’s talking to.  It’s a partially political, partial love song, but equates to saying nothing at all.  I can tell it’s a song written to appeal to the masses and say whatever you want it to say.  There’s no real message from Pink’s heart here–other than buy the album!  Speaking of buying, I’m disgruntled Pink is selling her worst concert tickets for $206! What. the. Fuck?!  But, but but!  The thing that I think is put forward in Beautiful Trauma is Pink’s singing.  It is perhaps her best vocal work yet, and definitely the album that showcases her pipes best to date.  She can really hit the notes, and does so in almost all these songs, and that’s really what the music industry should be all about.

#19 -Michelle Branch “Living a Lie” is ummm, sort of like No Doubt in the 1990s.  Its poppy but with a rebellious watered-down punk vibe, listen to “Living A Lie” = ska.  It’s a nice change for Branch.  “Not a Love Song” is a good ballad of regret and trying to get over someone, and very catchy.  I’m glad Branch is working again, and admire an artist that can successfully do adult contemporary, country, and alternative styles.  Keep it coming!

#18-Rachel Platton

Waves sounds very much like Taylor Swift’s new album.  The style is better suited for Platten, but “Whole Heart” is good even though it doesn’t match the intensity and uplifting feeling that “Fight Song” garners.  I can appreciate the sentiment in “Loose Ends.”

loose ends lyrics

And “Perfect for You” is a plea to take her as she is.

#17-Miley Cyrus

I’m surprised how high I ranked Younger Now.  Miley explores a more serious side here, more mature without being boring.  Her voice is different than any female vocalist around—very deep relatively.  A duet with Dolly Parton is always a crowd-pleaser and shows Cyrus still values and hones her country roots.  I would not call this album country, though.  If you had to categorize it Younger Now would be pop.  But not superficial pop.  “You’re Not Him” shows depth of writing and emotion.  “Week Without You” is about enjoying time away from a boyfriend and the ramifications of that.  I would like to hear more things from Cyrus not put out to instill shock and rebellion.

miley-cyrus-younger-now-video

2013 New Albums

24 Mar

Yes, 2013.  I just want you to know I’ve been working on this all the time (save for Brandi Carlile’s new CD listens) since January.  And I had listened on and off since mid 2013.  The songs were all very long durations.  The albums included a lot of song.  2013 was no small feat!  But finally FINALLY!  I HAVE FINISHED.  Yes, all-caps is necessary.  And yes, this is 3-10-2015.  From good singles, to made the list, to least to most starred songs here’s the list:

freq inside cochlea

Worth mentioning (1 song made my list):

“Sacrilege” Yeah Yeahs

“It Should be Easy” Will-i-am (Brittany Spears).  It has the electric sound of The Flaming Lips, the electric-pop singing of Cher, and the dancey beats of Justin Timberlake.

“Evolve or be Extinct” Wiley.  Who can say no to rap with an English accent?  You don’t hear this every day!

“Fault Lines”  Tom Petty.

“Tik Tik Boom” T.I. (feat. Britney Spears)

“Autobahn” Starfuckers.  It’s long (5:41), it’s electronic, it’s dancy–but it’s a rave-reminding dance fun-time.

“To Hell With You” Sleigh Bell

“Aint Your Right” Sky Ferreira.  It has a little bit of an 80s sound with electric backing and waif-like singing, but unlike the eighties–it has a feminist sentiment.

“Never Wanted Your Love” She & Him

“Blurred Lines” Robin Thicke

“I’ve Got Soul” Hanson.  Was Hansen always this churchy?  I think the three guys probably were, but their sound used to have extremem pop influence.  This new album as a whole was more spiritually-oriented, but I liked their characteristic bounciness was still in “I’ve Got Soul.”

“Axis”  Pet Shop Boys

“Alligator” Paul McCartney

“Immortal” Kid Cudi

“Brave” Josh Groban.  An uplifting, catchy chorus, and obviously that resonant voice.

“State of the Art”  –robot toast remix, Jim James.  a low-key song at first, but warms to a dancable beat good for rockin’ or running.

“Vertigo”  Jason DeRulo feat. Jordan Sparks

“Get Lucky” Daft Punk, featuring everyone & their brother.  I couldn’t help but like this song, but I think the hyped Daft Punk was severely overrated in 2013.

“Water and a Flame” Celine Dion.  She sounds like a smoker and a lot more blues then the romantic style I’m used to.

“Monsters of Sunderland” British Sea Power

“A Light From Home” Bradley Joseph

“Put It In” Blue October

“I’m Not in Love”  10cc

DMB Chicago 2014

Buckcherry- Confessions.  Like Flaming Lips’ newest endeavor, I like this album mostly for the concept.  The songs are OK, and there might be a standout, but it’s not really a song-comparison kind of disc.  This one goes as a set, and must be judged as such.  I like that each song title is a seven deadly sins (mostly).  It’s a really cool idea and you should give the entire thing a listen.

Bret Michaels- Jammin’ With Friends.  Also a conceptually-driven album that has it’s strength in its collaborations.  He plays with a variety of other musicians, some famous, some more obscure.  The re-calibrated versions (covers) are good, and have Michaels’ own spin on them–some even for the better.

Blossom Music Center

–Made the List–

Kenny Chesney = 2 made the list.  I usually don’t love Kenny, and feel he’s waaaay overrated.  I did like the duets and island feel of Life on a Rock.  Even if it’s a Jimmy Buffet rip-off.

Eels = 2 songs made the list.  For some reason they remind me of “Spongebob Square Pants.”  The creepy, scratchy singing is cartoonish, but interesting.  It’s high energy, but almost villain music.

Jay Sean = 2 songs on the list.  I like the caribbean-island feel mixed with rap and R&B.  I also like that these songs don’t disparage anyone (especially women).

Trapt–3 made the list.  Their live sound is a little more edgy.

Stereophonics–4 made the list.

Hugh Laurie = 4 made the list.  This is one to watch!  I like the jazzy-blues feel, soulful singing, and instrumentation.  I hope there is a follow-up.

John Legend = 2 songs on the list.  Hero of the music industry.  Nuff said.

Franz Ferdinand = 2 songs on the list.  Just alright.  I was disappointed there were no beat changes, false-stars, or dancable songs like I remember in 2005(?).

R. Kelly = 2 songs on the list.  As expected it’s sexy, it’s R&B.  The album also features many other artists.

Pearl Jam = 3 songs made the list.  I have a hard time getting in tune with their slurry way of muddling through lyrics.

Lady Gaga = 3 on the list.  It’s fine.  Maybe I’m not her target audience.  It’s dance.  It’s pop.  It features catchy choruses.  I just don’t feel it.

Moby = 3 songs made the list.  This is more of a background album to study to then a forefront album to listen.  I like the mellowness, but said mellowness means no starred stand outs.

Iron and Wine = 3 on the list, none starred.  It’s OK.  Doesn’t make enough of a statement to say much more then this about it though.

Morgan Taylor Reid = 4 on the list.  It’s like a toned-down One Republic.  With a little The Fray sprinkled in.  I like the chill easy-listening, but nothing got me excited.

Panic!  At the Disco = 4 songs made the list.  I feel like Too. . .  [long of a title] is a fan-album.  The songs were ok, but there was no song that really hooked me in and spoke to me.  It’s fine and good to write entire albums for the die-hard fans, but I don’t think one catchy mass-appeal single would have killed them.

Sheryl Crow–4 songs, ugh.  Made the list, no favorites.  I HATE to say it, I really, really do.  Side-note] Sheryl Crow was one of the first 12 CDs I ever owned, the first album under heavy rotation, and the first poster of any musician to ever grace my bedroom wall.  I loved Tuesday. . .  Sang along with her self-titled album, and felt The Globe Sessions.  She is one artist that I’ve continuously appreciated.  So that’s why it hurts me to say with Feels Like Home, her country crossover album–she sold out.  I think this country is forced, and a way to play it safe in the ultra-competitive world of music.  As an (aging) female rock gal, I think she went to country where older women have more of a chance.  But it doesn’t really suit her and it’s contrived.  I always hoped to catch Sheryl Crow at a live show or festival before she’s ancient and washed up–I really hope I’m not too late. . .

Arcade Fire = 5 on the list.  I liked their other albums a lot, and they went on heavy rotation.  Reflektor is not only poor spelling, I didn’t get a feel for it in the same way.  It’s just OK, and that disappoints me.

Aaron Neville = 5 on the list.  I love his voice, so crooning and gentle.  The reworked classics sound nice too.  I don’t think they are starrable songs, because none are original.

Eric Clapton = 6 on the list.  Old Sock has a different sound from how I remember Clapton’s signature.  It’s country-blues, and it’s good.  There are no stand-outs, despite it’s easy listening.

The Dear Hunter = 6 on the list.  They sound like a softer Fall Out Boy.  It’s just ok, but there’s potential.

Kings of Leon = 7 on the list, none starred.  And not because I didn’t like Mechanical Bull, (random title) just because it’s kind of down-low music.  It’s good to study to or good chill party background.  I do think it’s as good as the last album though.

Gregory Allen Isakov = 8 on the list.  He’s a quiet, study song-writer, mello guy.  Not the kind of artist you star for catchy choruses.  More of a staying-power kind of vibe.

Nelly =  8 on the list.  I liked them enough to put on the list, but there are no new favorites here.  No club anthem or running song. . .  M.O. was good, not great.

DMB Australia

98 = 1 starred.  And 1 other song made the list.  It’s old school by now, but the starred song, “No Part of You” is ahh-mazing!

Nine Inch Nails = 1 starred and 1 more song on the list.  It sounds like dark computer electronica.  Really, it kind of bummed me out.  The sound is a little unfeeling.  But I guess it’s good. . .  I do like “Copy of a” for it’s catchy beat and a little more listener-friendly tone.

Vampire Weekend–3 on the list, 1 starred.  I like the fast music and frantic singing.

Natalie Maines =  1 starred, 3 on the list.  I thought she had a respectable solo effort.  Mother showed good potential.  And I liked her newfound seriousness.  But I don’t think showing her characteristic playfulness would hurt the next album.  I’d like to see more of a mix of both.

KT Tunstall = 3 on the list, 1 starred.  Invisible Empire is very different from KT’s other records in that it’s quiet and has an old-school country vibe.  Sure, it’s not as immediately catchy, but  don’t think that takes away from the quality.  The instrumentation is more nuanced and the vocals more thoughtful.  It’s a quiet album, but good.

Luke Bryan = 1 starred, 3 on the list.  Crash My Party certainly feels like you’re at a bonfire party.  Before I looked at the album title, I was going to write that.  Aptly titled.  I see a lot of potential here, but it’s a little superficial to be outstanding just yet.  With maturity, I think Bryan can be a key player.

Jake Bugg = 1 starred, 3 total on list.  It’s an interesting sound.  Hipster.  Across-the-pond.  (Soft?) punk.  He’s one to watch.

B.O.B = 1 starred, 3 on the list.  They have a more easy sound to them these days, and I liked the softer vibe.  BUT the starred song, is still a heavy-rock/rap tune that will help motivate me as I’m sprinting.

Dido = 1 starred, 3 on the list.  I usually don’t like Dido, but Girl Who Got Away was more jazzed up with a stronger percussion then before.  I also felt the lyrics were less meditative and more provocative in that she has feelings.

Lissie = 1 starred, 4 on the list.  What she lacks in superior singing ability, she makes up with passion.  There is something about her vocal quality that isn’t stellar (nasal-tone?  Crackle?) but I really didn’t even notice it til I was listening carefully in order to write this post.  I like her cheekiness and the fact she says important things.

Neko Case = 4 on the list, 1 starred.  I really like the mix of old-school country and hipster.  It’s sort of friendly and chill with just enough “you’re not in the scene” to remain cool.

Ciara =  1 starred, 4 on the list.  I liked the rapping in “I’m Out” but that may have been Nicki Minaj.

Everything Everything = 1 starred, 5 on the list.  Unapologetically superficial and clubster.  Listening makes me think of the gay-boys lip-syncing and choreographing moves for the club.  Arc is FUN, but don’t expect seriousness here.

Fall Out Boy = 1 starred, 5 on the list.  Save Rock & Roll makes me conger an outdoor rally trying to accomplish. . .  things.  The album seems motivational, with unifying cries, but for what, I’m not certain.  Maybe that’s not the point.  The point is to remind people that music is a driving force that still has the ability to MOVE people to action–of any kind.

Golgol Bordello = 1 starred, 6 total songs on the list.  This album is still good.  It’s still energetic.  Pura Vida Conspiracy is relatively quieter then their last album.  Which isn’t quiet at all, but it doesn’t make me want to spring like their past offerings.

Linkin Park = 1 starred, 6 made the list.  As one of my long-term favorites, Linkin Park rarely disappoints me.  Sadly, Recharged, did.  I didn’t like their new highly electronic sound that deviated from their passionate rock.  I get the impression this album is more of a filler between “real” albums. . .  Get back to your roots, Linkin Park.

Paramore = 1 starred, which I really like a lot, because it is different from most of the rest.  It’s a very serious tune–what can I say?  I like the heavy, substantial songs?  When I’m in the right mood, I like 6 songs off their self-titled album of 2013.  I have to say, they’re a little 80s-centric for my usual mood though.  It’s just too pseudo-punk, clappy, pop for my norm.  And for some reason I think the band (or maybe their core fans?) are a little too over the edge of hipster for us real, down-to-Earth-types.  But, in a light, dancy mood, I’m in!

DMB flower instruments

Everything, Everything-  I had 2 of their songs on my list and I would classify it as hipster bubble-gum gay.  The songs are in a falsetto for the most part (that gay) and it’s catchy (pop), but seems a little too cool for school (hipster).

Of Montreal = 2 starred, on the list.  This hipster, English sound reminds me of listening to a Juno movie.  It’s too cool for school.  But I like it–even if I’m not in the club.

James Blunt = 2 starred, 2 songs on the list.  Though he always reminds me of Douche, Moon Landing deviates from his past sound enough to take a new place in my mind.  The 2 songs I liked had his characteristic voice, but a new feel.

Sarah Brightman = 2 starred, 2 on the list.  It’s relaxed and easy-going.  Kind of like a more instrumental, less new-agey Enya.

Robin Thicke = 2 starred, 2 on list.

Demi Lovato = 2 starred, 2 on the list.  I really liked her independence and anger on Demi.  It’s still dancy, but she has something to say.  Can’t wait for the next album.

Frightened Rabbit = 2 starred, 2 on the list.  It’s a low-key listen, and that’s OK.

The Saturdays = 2 starred, and 3 on the list.  It’s very poppy, and a little eighties-electronic, but I think they have some potential.

Sara Bareilles = 2 starred, 4 on the list.  Same great singing and emotion, less anger.

Justin Bieber = 4 on the list, 2 starred.  Yes, the kid is a major-douche.  BUT I did like a few songs from Believe Acoustic.  I like the concept of making a filler-album acoustic.  Also, it’s got a nice, laid-back vibe that I enjoy and could study to.  Again, I acknowledge this dude is a tool-bag in real life.

Gary Allen = 2 starred, 4 on the list.  The songs have drinkin’, lovin’, and love lost as every good country album should.  It’s melancholy though–a sort of recovery album.  I look forward to a brighter version in the future.

Britney Spears = 2 starred, 4 on the list.  It’s very clubby.  Very dancy.  Some of the songs are unemotional as a result, but there’s one sentimental lyrically-driven song here.  Britney Jean is solid, but not a top contender.

Backstreet Boys = 2 starred, 5 on the list.  They’re baaacccck!  And not quite relevant in today’s market, especially given their humongous popularity in the late 1990s, but there’s still a little something there.  I am a fan of the highly polished slick studio magic, but the singing and ballads seem a little forced and phony this time around. . .

Cold War Kids = 2 starred, 5 on the list.  Seattle or not–I don’t think I’m a big fan.  I find the singing a little whiny and tedious and get this off-putting emo-hipster vibe that I can’t tolerate.  Tuxedos is quiet, without a radio-friendly stand-out, but if you like this kind of thing, you might feel it more than I do. . .

Twenty-One Pilots–6 on the list, 2 starred.  I get a gay-vibe and superficial dancey beats.

Arctic Monkeys = 2 starred, 7 songs.  Some might be disappointed, because the sound is very different from the first album.  It has more of a. . .  beat?  It’s more uptempo?  Something like that.

Sean Kingston = 2 starred, 7 made the list.  Has a fun sound.  I like the island influenced rap.

Elton John = 2 starred, 17 on the list.  Sir Elton John is always one of my favorites and The Diving Board is no exception.  Though the tracks aren’t star-material for the most part, the album as a whole is really great.  The songs work together to tell a story.  It’s a thoughtful and mature album, saturated with instrumentals.  I like the cover art and concept, and the meloncholy sound is great for concurrent reading or reflection.  It’s heavy on piano, which is a great reemergence of his skills.  There’s a definite sadness/blues feel to the 17 songs (entire album?) that I placed on my list.  And I feel like I’m sitting in a deep South, smoky bar while I listen.

John Mayer = 2 starred.  I like John.  Always have.  He was my 2nd concert ever, and I’m completely out of the celeb-gossip loop so I don’t know of any of his D-bag ways.  Anyway, with this album, which I added 10 songs to my list from, he’s gone country *insert Taylor Swift joke here* and I think it suits him.  I think the last album was deeper, more heartfelt, and more sincere, but this one is moving–in a cross-over type of way.  And there are shades of the last introspective tunes in songs like, “Waitin’ on the Day.”  I can see the John is trying to project a more adult, mature version of himself, but I’m not jaded by the marketing, it’s still John’s low-key voice and mellow strummings.

J.T. = 2 starred.  And an amazing 11 songs made my list.  But he kind of made me annoyed.  After such a long hiatus, I was expecting greatness that matched his last effort.  And I found the first CD of 20/20 just. . .  Meh.  There was no “Sexy Back,” that’s for sure.  And I felt it was–too much–that his songs were ALL so lengthy.  Like, Justin, who do you think you are?!  When he put out a part 2, I was so over it.  I felt like he thought the first CD would be more popular, then he thought–oops try again.  So instead of the 11 songs being awesome and wonderful, the whole marketing skeme mostly annoys me.  And the songs need to be snipped in half–or shorter.

fish bowl 2

Ra Ra Riot = 3 starred and 4 on the list.  They are heavy with the gay-sounding pop and pleads “I wanna be your toy…”  I like the upbeat, dancy tunes and hope to hear more in coming years.

Brad Paisley = 3 starred, 4 songs on the list.  I admit, I liked “Celebrity” a ton, but I never liked Brad Paisley as a person/lyrically.  I think thought he was sexist.  The words in his songs just rubbed me the wrong way.  Wheelhouse has a slightly different tone to it though–are you kidding me a song about a survivor of domestic abuse getting revenge?  Alright!  I can stand behind that.  I’m still undecided if Paisley is a chauvinist, but I can give him the benefit of the doubt for this album.

Daughtry = 3 starred, 5 on the list.  Baptized is a little stronger of a statement then the last album, and I like the feeling that jumps out of both the lyrics and the instrumentation.  It’s harder, but still meaningful.  I approve.

Barenakid Ladies = 3 starred, 5 on the list.  Like the other albums, Grinning Streak has a playful, fast-lyric thing going on.  This makes it catchy, and it also lends to a jingle-type sound.  I don’t mind, but it’ll never go on heavy rotation because of that.

Skillet = 3 starred and 7 made the list.  They are like a non-douchy Creed.  It’s hard-rock, but with an uplifting vibe.  I can tell they’re not posers like the afore-mentioned band, in it for the money.  They sing with authenticity and feeling.

Avril Lavigne = 3 starred, 9 on the list.  Her self-titled album has little to no substance, but that’s what we like about Lavigne, right?  She’s a mindless edgy-pop guilty pleasure.

dmb stage

Bon Jovi = starred, 4 on the list.  What about Now is more subtle, more thoughtful, but no less cool then any previous album.  There is a hopeful tone that I really like and though its less hard-rock, there are still catchy riffs and riveting choruses.  And “Because We Can” is probably my all-time favorite song of 2013.  It’s upbeat, yet sentimental, introspective, yet energetic and motivating.

Darius Rutger = 4 starred, 4 on the list.  I felt a lot of emotion in True Believers, and thought it was a nice mix between country and contemporary soft-rock.

New Kids. . . = 4 starred.  Out of 4 songs that made the cut.  They’re back!  And surprisingly, they are not totally washed up.  I liked the broken heart song, the dance party song, and I thought they were still surprisingly relevant.

Bad Religion = 4 starred, 6 on the list.  It’s heavy punkish-rock.  The songs jam out, and are super-short (unlike almost every other 2013 album).  I like the catchiness and harmonies, but wish each song was slightly longer. . .

Saliva = 4 starred, 9 made the list.  Saliva wasn’t as whiny!  Thank goodness they’ve matured a little, because I have always liked their hard-rock sound.

stage close up

Top Ten:  Tim McGraw-6 made the list, 5 starred.  There’s a real energy on this album.  It’s upbeat and well-thought.  The songs are catchy and have main-steam appeal without being contrived, formulaic, and sell-out.

#9:  Miley Cyrus = 5 starred, 13 on the list.  She’s a horrible human being (from what the media tells me) but the gal can sing.  And her sound is a deeper, different range than I’m used to hearing.

#8:  Gabriella Cilmi = 6 starred, 12 on the list.  My vote for Best New Artist.  Think Macy Gray with a thinner, more blues Southern vibe.  The Sting is solid, and she’s one to watch.

#7:  Avett Brothers = 6 starred, 13 on the list.  OK, last year I was mad they skewed my listening stats b/c I had investigated them as DMB’s Gorge opener.  And I hadn’t liked a lot of their library because they tend to scream a lot.  This year’s Magpie and the Dandilion has a nice album title, and I purposely added 13 songs to my list.  It’s more of a quiet, sweet, introspective sound this time around, a little love-lost.  I liked the seriousness the band has found.

#6:  Eminem = 1 super-starred (“Rap God”), several starred, 17 songs made the list.  The Marshall Mathers LP2 capitalizes on past fame and on current connections.  It’s heavy on featured artists and samples.  Em, has still got it though.  His raps are solid, hitting the right note between fun, catchy, and seriously making you question social issues.  I’m still a fan, even though he’s so controversial as an artist.

#5 of 2013:  Robbie Williams = 6 starred, 7 songs made the list.  He was smart to jump into the ring with Michael Buble who was the sole artist reaping the rewards of the vortex of swing/big-band.  What ever you call it, when ‘ol blue eyes was gone, so was a genre.  And Micheal Buble has certainly reaped many rewards for instilling new life into it.  Robbie Williams, I think, saw the success and left pop/electric to put out his best album to date-Swings Both Ways.  Good business decision, and surprisingly well backed up by the talent.  And a duet with Micheal Buble?  Sign me up!  He’s always a pleasant listen and one of my faves.

#4 of 2013:  Dropkick Murphys = 7 starred, 10 made the list.  They sound like a drunken Irish brawl band, high energy, lots of fight in their lyrics.  Signed and Sealed in Blood is in my top 5 for 2013, and I would get their next album in a heartbeat.

#3 of 2013:  Cher = 8 starred, 13 songs on the list.  Yes, she’s still got it.  Washed up?  Not at ALL!  Closer to the Truth is relevant, fun/clubby, yet mature and well-thought.  Her voice is clear and hopeful.  Listening to the album made me motivated to. . .  I don’t know what, but do more then dance.

#2 of 2013:  Rod Stewart = 7 starred, 8 made the list.  Rod Stewart shows that despite age, he KNOWS how to make a hit record.  Yes, the themes are slightly different–love for family, and gaining maturity.  Instead of sexy or superficial–it’s substancial and hopeful.  I’d dare to say that Time is Rod’s best album yet.  I really liked the instrumental backgrounds, the catchy hooks, and the more introspective lyrics.  I super-like most of the songs, but especially fell in love with, “Can’t Stop Me Now,” an autobiographical call to action.

#1 of 2013:  Michael Buble = 12 made the list.  Obviously, and of course.  All starred, 1 super-starred (“It’s a Beautiful Day”).  Aside from thinking Buble is genius for filling an abandoned genre, I think his music is universally pleasing.  He has a pleasant, crooning voice and a real likability within his albums.  Like his past records, I think To Be Loved appeals to a wide audience, including staple covers, duets, love songs, and even a bitter break up anthem–my afore-mentioned super-starred.  Come ’em coming Micheal I (and all the Vegas gagsta wannabes, and of course the cougars) can’t get enough!

And YES!  I did it.  I finished the listen and finished typing the list!!!!!!!!!!!!!