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Chemist with a Review Thread (discontinued)


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Due to the removal of blogs, I'll continue writing reviews for this topic as well as reposting anything important I've made that was originally from my blog. The type of reviews I write out vary, so each post I make will clarify the subject of that review with these labels:

Animation
TV & Movies
Music
Rant

I'm going to start things off with what is essentially the last entry that I ever made on my old blog:

 

Music

Originally posted: April 5th, 2019

 

I am making myself another return to music reviews this month. While I am still in process of finishing the last half to my review of 2018’s year-end Hot 100, there’s also two other things that I’ve been meaning to do. First of all, I’m doing another ranking of a chart’s calendar year, specifically from the Alternative Songs chart, where I rank every song that charted during the 52-week period. I have been chosen a random year ranging from 2000-2009 and it will be…

2008

Yep, after covering 2018’s Alternative Songs chart in Claps’ respective Best of/Worst of Entertainment thread, I am going 10 years back from that. What will make the impeding review interesting is that I’ve cited a few times that 2008 was one of the weaker years for the alternative chart…but I could be wrong. My final standing towards the year for the Alternative Songs chart will be revealed once I get my review for it out sometime this month. In the meantime, here’s where I reveal the second thing that I’m going to be doing, and once again, it has to do with the alternative chart. While I wait out the retrospective review and rankings, I’m going to take another look at the Alternative Songs top 20 in its current form.

Dissecting at this week’s top 20…well, what can I say? It’s pretty much more of the same mixed bag as the previous top 20 that I’ve talked on. By more of the same, I also mean that “broken” by lovelytheband is still on the chart’s top 10 (currently #7) like from when I last talked about the chart’s top 20 sine the previous year. Because I have absolutely nothing of worth to say about the song at the moment, I will exclude it from my rankings and replace it with what’s currently the chart’s #21, which is “Over My Head” by Judah & The Lion.

With nothing much else to add, let’s dive right into this top 20…

 

Spring 2019 Alternative Songs Top 20 Ranked (w/o “broken”)

Week of 04/06/2019

 

Spoiler

 

20. 100 Bad Days / AJR (#16)

This is just yet another godawful song from an otherwise godawful group that is still showing no signs of improving. I am already finished just trying to talk about this group as much as I’m finished seeing their presence on the chart and on alternative radio, so I’m not going to justify my hatred towards this band again, nor am I going to justify my hate towards this song. Some of you should already know how I feel about AJR. And if continuing to ignore these three socially awkward slices of white bread may mean that they’ll disappear from the chart and alternative radio sooner than later, then let’s all just write off this song and immediately move on to another one, alright?

 

Spoiler

 

19. Hurt / Oliver Tree (#14)

So…I’m going to have go off-topic for a moment, but who here has heard of the name Filthy Frank? You guys can say what you will about him, but I didn’t bring him up so I can voice my own opinion of this particular character. He is the brainchild of comedian and musician George Miller, a.k.a. Joji and he is, in simplest terms, a living meme before the character would be retired for Joji would then focus on his music career – a career that is a far cry from his content as Filthy Frank. “Slow Dancing in the Dark” has, by far, become Joji’s most well-known song and it recently managed to just barely break into the Hot 100…although through a meme, something in which Joji himself never intended. Even if the song itself shows that Joji is trying his hardest to be taken seriously and to distance himself from his past personas, I think “Slow Dancing in the Dark” is a legitimately great song that showcases Joji’s knack for creativity in the alternative hip hop scene (that is if I should consider it as alternative).

To be fair, it’s hard to imagine Joji’s music being played on the radio, but my point is, I’d much prefer him over what we got on the alternative chart instead. Oliver Tree is a complicated case to talk on. He is a musician at the same time that he is comedic. Oliver Tree is acknowledged more for being a living meme than for his music, so it’s hard to talk about “Hurt” without having to talk about the music video that the song itself is arguably best known for. In terms of the music video, it really speaks for itself for how Oliver Tree tries too hard to be a meme in contrast to how Joji tries so hard not to be one. Just watch it and I won’t have to say much about it.

As for the song itself, what makes matters worse is that “Hurt” has a very serious narrative in despite of Oliver Tree’s rather deliberate over-the-top delivery, stripping away whatever amount of sincerity it has for me.  Now, when it comes to the song’s narrative itself…it provides absolutely nothing special. It displays just about any done-to-death emo hip-hop or rock cliché, ranging from the self-loathing lyrics (with the worst example being the line “I TRIED BUT…I DON”T THINK SO!!!!”), to the overemotional undertones and songwriting.

In other words, the song goes out of one ear and it goes out of the other whenever I try to listen to this. For a song with a narrative that tries to come off as sincere, it loses it due to Oliver Tree being too over the top for me. Even if the song has some sense of self-awareness, Oliver Tree doesn’t do a good job expressing it either. Whatever the heck Oliver Tree’s direction was for this song, it’s still an absolutely frustrating listen either way.

 

Spoiler

 

18. “99” / Barns Courtney (#10)

Compared to “Hurt” and pretty much anything by you-know-what-band, “”99”’ feels more like a legitimate novelty. So even if I feel like I can’t take this song too seriously, why do I still have it this low? Well, let’s compare this to Barns Courtney’s first impression on alternative radio, “Fire:"

For me, that first impression dignified that Barns Courtney could really turn out as such an interesting indie rock outfitter. That interest dwindled after “Golden Dandelions,” which I thought was alright enough, but then he had the audacity to make this particular song and release it for radio. The main reason why “”99”” frustrates me so much is because it just sounds like an insult to my intelligence with Barns’ lazy vocal delivery, the obnoxious instrumentation during the chorus sections, and the “Nintendo, Atari. Sega’s my Ferrari,” line near the end.

There’s also the mere distinction that “”99”” was part of a small trend in which some musical artists were flocking to tell us about the good, old, and long gone days. You had New Kids on the Block among others feeding us 80s nostalgia, you got late 90s and 2000s kids Charli XCX and Troye Sivan paying tribute to the 90s, and we also had Anne-Marie trying to make us nostalgic for 2002, from what I believe. “”99”” details Barns’ nostalgia for the 90s, and I’ll give it credit for having a tolerable enough narrative and not preaching to us how great a certain year or decade was. Still though, this is the kind of turn-off-your-brain indie rock that I just can’t stomach. Barns Courtney can do better and he has done better.

 

 

 

Spoiler

 

17. Over My Head / Judah & The Lion (#21)

Surprise, surprise, Judah & The Lion don’t have the worst song on the top 20 21 this week. While I still very well despise their music and find the problems with this particular song to be more of the same, (underwhelming vocals, little proper chemistry in the folk and hip hop styled production work, and to a lesser extent, songwriting being too vague for me to care), this is a small improvement over just about every other single I’ve heard from the group, I’ll admit.

 

Spoiler

 

16. 11 Minutes / YUNGBLUD and Halsey featuring Travis Barker (#19)

We got ourselves an interesting cast for this one, don’t we? We got YUNGBLUD, a solo act that previously charted on alt last year for “I Love You, Will You Marry Me,” then we got Halsey, a big-name singer on the pop charts, and then we got Travis Barker, drummer for blink-182. This seemed like a collaboration that could work, but I’m sorry, I don’t think YUNGBLUD’s nasally accented delivery doesn’t make good enough chemistry with Halsey’s raw, emotional delivery. Nonetheless, Halsey is the most interesting part of the song, with the conviction packed into her voice being the selling point. And Travis Barker is, well…Travis Barker. His percussion on the song isn’t something to write home about, but I still think he does a good job on here.

 

Spoiler

 

15. Happier / Marshmello featuring Bastille (#6)

For a while, this song has been souring on me. It’s not that I loathe it, but my feelings on this song are conflicting. On one hand, Marshmello’s production work gives the song some energy that it needs, but on the other hand, it sounds too so-and-so for my liking. While it feels like Dan Smith is putting a lot of effort into his vocals, I don’t think his tone matches with the song’s tone at all. For a song about wanting to make a former significant other feel happier after the end of a relationship, Dan comes off as sounding sorrowful like in certain Bastille songs that make the kind of tone work in “Pompeii,” “Blame,” and “Good Grief” to name.

Other than that, Marshmello’s magic has been starting to wear thin on me and I fear that he will eventually evolve into somewhat of a Zedd clone. Granted, every one of his charting hits made the top 40 (except for his most recent collaboration with CHVRCHES, which is climbing as we speak). At the very least, Marshmello is doing his guest features some favors, but I’d still like to see his production styling improve.

 

Spoiler

 

14. still feel. / half•alive (#17)

As far as I’m concerned about this, it’s a typical-sounding indie pop/rock song. Maybe there is some additional appeal to it, but there isn’t much else that I see in it and there isn’t any other material I can cover except that I remembered this song appearing at the top of my sidebar on YouTube so often.

 

Spoiler

 

13. Trampoline / SHAED (#3)

Here’s another song from an indie act that I’m sure some of you have just heard of, because this is their debut on the chart. It has a strong dream pop vibe and a serviceable whistle melody, but other than those two things, I don’t really care so much for this to provide more commentary either.

 

Spoiler

 

12. High Hopes / Panic! at the Disco (#2)

“High Hopes” is a song that you either love or hate. For some people, they got so sick of radio playing it constantly, or they think it sounds so obnoxious. For others, this song’s presence on the mainstream charts is a breath of fresh air in a pop landscape filled with dreary and downbeat music and in a landscape where the only crossover rock band that Billboard has ever been pushing these days is Imagine Dragons. When it comes to my thoughts on the song, I’m caught in the middle.

I was surprised to see this doing so well especially when you consider that the now-solo act has never had a hit this big since “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” That’s TWELVE years before “High Hopes” hit it big. I’ve really wanted to enjoy this song like most others do, but it’s got a very glaring issue to warrant this song’s low-to-middle ranking: the song is too overproduced for me to enjoy it. That’s not just a problem I have with “High Hopes,” it’s also an issue with other songs on the Pray for the Wicked album as well. I understand that the generous amount of trumpets, strings, and additional vocal layering on the track give it that bombast, but still, it’s a little too much bombast for me to handle.

Mind you, this isn’t also the first song where I’ve felt like it could’ve worked so well, but have had one or more glaring issue in the way. Take “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy as an example. It has a similar message as “High Hopes,” as it is said to be an inspirational song for the people out of the norm, and it’s got one of the same issues that I have with the former: it’s overproduced. I’m not saying that I hate either one of these songs, but as I should say, I’ve heard far better songs from P!atD.

 

Spoiler

 

11. home / morgxn featuring Walk the Moon (#15)

While this song was charting, Walk the Moon actually released a new single by the name of “Timebomb” not too long ago. While I do think “Home” is decent enough, I’ve had so much more of a preference towards the latter, and it’s a shame to see that it got cannibalized from the top 20. “Home” doesn’t pique my interests so much, but it has enough of a groove and punch to it cut close to the top 10 in my rankings. That and the two acts manage to back it up pretty well, through morgxn’s soulful voice and Walk the Moon’s usual brand of energy to specify. Also, let’s face it, any song by Walk the Moon that doesn’t sound like “Kamikaze” is better than “Kamikaze.”

 

Spoiler

 

10. Lo/Hi / The Black Keys (#5)

Look, I am a fan of The Black Keys myself, and I’m glad to see them with a new single, but this is where my standing sits. “Lo/Hi” just sounds like more of the same Black Keys song to me and it doesn’t come off as distinct from their previous works. I do still think the song is enjoyable and has some pulse to it though, but I’ve heard more stellar tracks from the group.

 

Spoiler

 

9. Ready to Let Go / Cage the Elephant (#1)

While I’m still on the topic of recent returns from bands that don’t provide so much of a challenge, here’s a song from another act that I usually tend to really like. It has a serviceable melody, and a nice yet small guitar solo, but I can’t distinguish it from most other songs from the band that I’ve listened to.

 

Spoiler

 

8. Superposition / Young the Giant (#9)

While the band’s lead single from their most recent album didn’t do much for me, I can definitely see why this became a bigger hit. “Superposition,” in a nutshell, is what I can describe as a psychedelic folk hook-up song on a ukulele. It may sound very peculiar and unfeasible on paper, but Young the Giant manage to execute it very well. The end result is a unique, intense, and mellow tune. The piano melodies give it a nice added touch as well.

 

Spoiler

 

7. Change / The Revivalists (#18)

So, alongside “Superposition,” these next two rankings will dwell on a particular trend where I feel that the follow-up single is more interesting than the lead-off. “Change” in particular offers a really nice change (no pun intended) of pace from The Revivalists’ previous single “All My Friends.” This song’s flavor of roots rock packs a good punch through its guitar riffs, catchy melody, and passionate crooning.

 

Spoiler

 

6. Beloved / Mumford & Sons (#20)

Say what any of you will that this is probably just Mumford & Sons on autopilot, but even if I can agree that the band doesn’t seem to be challenging themselves after their previous 2015 album, I say “Beloved” is still a solid enough song to warrant this high enough of a position. Marcus Mumford provides a lot of passion in his voice. When he belts it out, he can really give a song some life. That’s not the best thing about “Beloved,” however. The buildup, especially with the guitars, is what really helps keep me invested in this song. The lyrics and the subject matter are also very nice to boot.

I may have this only as high as #6, but I have a feeling that this will grow on me more.

 

Spoiler

 

5. Harmony Hall / Vampire Weekend (#8)

I’m also really glad to see Vampire Weekend back with new material since 2013. I wouldn’t say that this is up to the standards of their previous two albums, but it’s still a strong enough return to warrant a spot on my top 5. “Harmony Hall” is undoubtedly the band at their least innovative, but they do a good job with their limitations. It’s hard not to envision Jack Johnson whenever I listen to this song, but in the end, it’s still a nice, uplifting, and emotionally relaxing tune.

 

Spoiler

 

So, long after skimming through my rankings, I’m willing to bet that most of you are already wondering where that one Imagine Dragons song is going to end up. Well…here it is.

 

4. Bad Liar / Imagine Dragons (#11)

Yeah, I’m not joshing. This is how high that I’ve decided to rank this one particular song from a relatively infamous band. While I personally do like a lot of this band’s music there are a batch songs that I’ve disliked from them, I can definitely see why they are subject to mockery at times. They are the current face of modern rock. Their music has been played to death on radio, whether it’d be on the pop or alternative format, it’s no longer cool and fashionable to make fun of Nickelback, and the list goes on. Although, I don’t know if “Bad Liar” is actually one of the band’s more well-liked songs.

Enough of that though, here’s why I really like “Bad Liar.” First of all, in terms of songwriting and intensity, it is certainly one of the band’s most honest songs, given that it is about Dan Reynolds’ crumbling relationship with his wife. Dan’s voice is really on-point as he manages to sell his story and emotional delivery very well. The production doesn’t sound choppy at all either and it provides some genuinely good-sounding synth tones. So overall, when it comes to any of Imagine Dragons’ most recent songs, this is my definite favorite.

 

Spoiler

 

3. bury a friend / Billie Eilish (#12)

For a while, I didn’t have any strong feelings towards Billie Eilish’s music. Before giving her some more chances, she always kinda struck me as a discount Lorde. Considering if Lorde is not going to keep making music with such dark tones like bury a friend,” I’ll give Billie some credit for fleshing herself out more. On top of that, even if I sometimes can’t get the image of Lorde out of my mind while listening to this, I totally buy the dark atmosphere and tone that Billie displays on this song and I can find myself distinguishing it to her.

The production is bare, but that’s what helps make “bury a friend” sound so very brooding, while it’s backed up by a very catchy melody. I could do without the occasional screams though.

 

Spoiler

 

JFC, twenty one pilots have been on a roll lately…
 

2. Chlorine / twenty one pilots (#4)

Remember when I said it a few times that I didn’t care so much for twenty one pilots’ music outside of a select few songs? That was before the band’s Trench era. I’ve been impressed by almost every song from Trench that TOP had released as a single, and it’s probably not just because they have been making good single choices. I’m now curious about the rest of the album that I have yet to listen to. Anyways, what is there for me to say about “Chlorine?” From my perspective, it is TOP’s most radio-friendly-sounding song from Trench, as it’s backed by a very catchy melody.

Besides that Tyler Joseph has developed so much more of a good ear for innovation and melody, the song’s dark and hazy tones compliments it very well. The outro is really something behold and gives off some more strong chill vibes. With all that said, I’ll admit that it’s not perfect. Some wisecrackers would point out that “straight chlorine” is actually a gas and not a liquid, but one small flaw I have with the song is that it draws a lot of parallels to “Heathens,” a song of theirs that I’ve never been a fan of. But hey, I can easily say that I think “Chlorine” is what “Heathens” should’ve been as it does a more polished job with the vocal layering and production in general. While this is another remarkable effort from TOP, what other song on the current top 20 could top this, you all might ask?

 

Spoiler

 

My top choice has mostly been measured by its replay value. I can assure that this choice won’t be agreeable for everyone, but hear me out when I talk about why my absolute favorite song currently on the alternative top 20 is by none other than a band that can be comparable to…just about anyone imaginable…:
 

1. Longshot / Catfish and the Bottlemen (#13)

Okay, so what names for bands do you think of when you listen to this one? The way I see it, their style can easily be compared to The Strokes, The Hives, Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, U2, Franz Ferdinand, and others I didn’t name. Even if I am admitting that Catfish and the Bottlemen feel like a garage rock revival band that came too late and aren’t the most inventive band on the alternative charts, why do I have “Longshot” as my top recommendation?

You know how I’ve tried to make the point that if Lorde isn’t going to make the type of music that Billie Eilish is making, specifically songs like “bury a friend,” that I can easily attach the former’s name to said song? The Strokes haven’t come out with a new album since 2013 and the Arctic Monkeys’ most recent album is the band tackling a different style than sticking to their original roots, so I’d say that “Longshot” is one of the best songs that any of CatB’s other similar contemporaries haven’t written and I would look forward to more energetic garage rock songs from the likes of them.

While I’ve already stated that I’ve gotten the most replay value from “Longshot” out of every other song that I’ve ranked here, I’ve also made this my top choice as I can tend to be a big sucker for songs like this. Simply put, “Longshot” to me is a near-perfect indie rock song no matter how familiar it may come off as.

 

 

Edited by Steel Sponge
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Animation

Originally posted: January 7th, 2018

 

Steel's Top 10 Phineas & Ferb Episodes

 

After being around for 10 years, you know it would be a matter of time before I would move over to something that I should've done a long while ago, and here it is: my top ten episodes from Phineas & Ferb from SBC's favorite show...

Man, those were some crazy times.

 

Well, it's 5 months overdue, which is a good time for me to do this now. I did write something before I decided to put this countdown on hold, but since I didn't save it, I thought that I would cut this introduction short. I'm not doing a bottom 10 list because I don't think talking about some of my least favorite episodes wouldn't be so fun, aside from the fact there isn't so much contempt that I can make out of them. if you're all still wondering what my bottom 10 would look like, here you go:

10. Blackout!
9. Great Balls of Water
8. Boyfriend from 27,000 B.C.
7. Agent Doof
6. Tip of the Day
5. Canderemy
4. Quietest Day Ever
3. Phineas & Ferb's Musical Cliptastic Countdown Hosted by Kelly Osbourne
2. Attack of the 50 Foot Sister
1. The Baljeatles

Before I start, here's a shortlist of honorable mentions.

Bully Bromance Breakup
Father's Day
Mom's Birthday
Hail Doofania!
This Is Your Backstory
Oh, There You Are, Perry
Flop Starz
Happy Birthday, Isabella
I Scream, You Scream
Thaddeus and Thor

 

Any questions regarding my likeness towards any one of these episodes, just ask. Now onto the list proper:

Spoiler

 

10. Lawn Gnome Beach Party of Terror

Call it bias, but this was my first exposure to the show and I think it still holds up to make my top ten. "Fun" is pretty much the word that only comes to my head when I think about this episode. It's a very well executed episode with one of Phineas & Ferb's coolest big ideas. We also get some interesting storylines from Doofenshmirtz with his comedic, tragic backstory of being a lawn gnome and even from Candace, whereas she doesn't focus on busting her brothers and appreciating one of their creations. This isn't even the best that I have to say about Candace's character, just so you be warned. Overall, nothing's out of reach in an episode about a backyard beach.

 

Spoiler

 

9. The Lizard Whisperer

Nothing feels so worthy of a spot in the top ten than a episode that breaks more ground. I think this the point where I feel the show's usual formula doesn't apparently exist. I mean, P&F is a formula-driven show, there's no denying that, but Season 2 in general is where the show focuses more on character-driven storylines, and we got some pretty interesting ones in the form of the unusual chemistry between Doof and Jeremy, as well as Ferb being the main focus of this episode's plot, where he, his stepbrother, and Isabella try to find a supersized chameleon that Ferb had a bond with, offering it mushrooms and all. Later on, it leads to the one moment where Ferb...well, talk things up for nearly a minute, and it's certainly a moment that's both memorable and satisfying.

 

Spoiler

 

8. Phineas and Ferb Get Busted!

Here are with an episode that gives us a moment where Candace does manage to have her chance and busts her brothers. Too bad it was all a dream, but this episode solidifies why the show doesn't let us see that scenario completely fall into place, 'cause otherwise, we then get the scenario where Phineas and Ferb are taken someplace where their knack of creativity will be broken. By that kind of plot alone, the episode feels pretty intense. That's not what really gets me, however, as we get to see some character establishment with Candace. Her brothers may annoy her and concern her with their dangerous creativity, but on the inside, she loves her brothers no matter what...which is an archetype of Candace's character that we're reintroduced to, but it's still pleasant to see that side of her and for the show to give us the impression that someway, somehow, Candace might think that busting her brothers is not always the best idea.

Also can't talk about this episode without pointing out its flaws: the whole bit with the plot being all a dream is a bit of a cop-out, especially considering when the episode actually ends to reveal....that it was all Perry's dream after we were expected to believe that his secret agent stint was blown, 'cause that's just how very reliant the show is with its status quo. The main storyline in the episode also feels so abnormal to make me feel convinced that the dream reveal is waiting to happen. Regardless of those flaws, it's still a neat episode.

 

Spoiler

 

7. Dude, We're Getting the Band Back Together

Now this one is very much the definite favorite among fans of the show, as well as among non-devotees. It's an all-around pleasant episode where Phineas and Ferb try to impress their parents by reuniting Love Handel for their anniversary. What's also nice about this episode is that it bends the formula to push aside Candace's busting obsession into helping out with the anniversary surprise, and then we have Doof devising an evil scheme...as a way to make her daughter happy on her birthday. As for everything else...it's got some very memorable musical numbers and one of the best performances from the frontman of Bowling for Soup.

 

Spoiler

 

6. Phineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation

This is a Christmas special that falls under the category of being a certified classic, very much like "Christmas Who?", "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!" and "SpongeBob HanukkahPants." I'm joking, I also love "Christmas Everyday!" (you'll see my thoughts on that soon), and "A Very Possible Christmas," just to name a few more. This special accomplishes in just about a lot of what the show itself already accomplishes to be as good. The main plot is fairly simple, but it keeps me focused, it has some very well-made songs, and it's chock full of endearing character moments. It's so good that I can't put it into any more words.

 

Spoiler

 

5. The Lemonade Stand

I got the most laughs out of this episode and that's very much why it reigns the #5 spot. So I can't talk about my thoughts without mentioning some of the jokes, really. Some of the wittiest moments include the newsreel for the Paper-cut-inator, the one bit where Candace was skimming through contacts on her phone in order to find someone to go to the mall with, and especially the scene with the one character that was absolutely crazy over lemonade. Besides that, there's also the near end of the episode where Candace sacrifices her opportunity to bust her brothers to rekindle her friendship with Stacy. It was predictable, but it worked.

 

Spoiler

 

4. Nerds of a Feather

You know, given my relationship with fans in general and given my own stance as a fan, the main premise behind this episode is probably why I appreciate this more than I should. The plot revolves around a dispute between fans of the sci-fi themed Space Adventure movie and the fantasy themed Stumbleberry Finkbat movie, a dispute in which bears the question of which movie is better. This episode basically exemplifies the overbearing behavior of fans without going too far with it, especially provided by the fact that the episode ends on a pleasant note with Phineas and Ferb convincing Clive Addison to break the dispute with his ability to use special effects, as a way to deliver the moral whereas the two sides have to work together. Although, it ends with Candace in her Ducky Momo costume inadvertently making the special effects disappear and the nerds laughing at Candace for being a Ducky Momo fan - that in particular being a bit of a low point. Putting the main plot aside, the two subplots are pretty solid as well with the Doof 'n' Puss segments, and the scenes with Candace trying to keep herself hidden as a Ducky Momo fan. What can I say? There's not a boring moment in this episode.

 

Spoiler

 

3. Summer Belongs to You

Being an hour-long special, the most I could expect out of this is for the special to overwhelm with an interesting storyline, intriguing character development, and an entertaining subplot from Perry and Doof. Well, they did not disappoint at all. The highlight of this episode was basically the development of Phineas' character where he ends up feeling devastated after trying to think of ways to make his plan work perfectly while he and his friends got stuck on an island. Some other interesting tidbits include more interaction between Ferb and Vanessa, Candace and Jeremy confessing towards each other, some of the series' best songs such as the aptly named "Summer Belongs to You," and the scene with Isabella bringing back Phineas' confidence. It's a great special, but it's not a perfect one either. One nitpick I have is the schmaltzy "believe in yourself" moral. And so, right now you'll all be asking how a couple of 11 minute segments could manage to outperform this in my eyes?

 

Spoiler

 

2. Traffic Cam Caper

I've teased you all before that I was going to talk about one of Candace's most likable moments eventually, and this is what I was building up to, and to boot, it's a criminally underrated Season 1 episode. This episode in particular, IMO, was the first to dignify Candace as someone who's more than just obsessed with busting her brothers, as she's also someone who deeply cares about her brothers. Take for example the scene where Candace sacrifices the one thing (the disc containing the traffic cam recordings of P&F's backyard) she needed to save her brother Phineas from slipping into the lake due to the oil from Norm. It was predictable, but it worked...significantly so. Speaking of Norm, this episode also provides us with the welcome and humorous return of Norm. Besides Norm, the scenes with OWCA were also really funny, especially with this line "Sir, we lost Agent T last November." One other good thing to note is the revelation that Phineas and Ferb want their mother to see their creations as well, but clearly not in the way that Candace does.

 

Spoiler

 

1. Vanessassary Roughness

This episode was the most fun that I ever got from the series. Granted, the episode's plot takes inspiration from "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," and I'm always such a sucker for that type of storyline. The fact that this episode even brings Buford, Baljeet, Candace, and Stacy into the mix keeps me entertained. However, the biggest highlight of the episode would most certainly be the fact that we get to see Ferb and Vanessa talk to each other AND work alongside each other in the same episode. Another definite highlight is the song "I'm Me," which is one of the most cleverly written songs from any animated show. Like I've intended to say, there's not a boring moment in this episode.

 

That should officially wrap up my top 10 list for my favorite P&F episodes. I'm going to do another separate countdown for the series' songs later on, but I'm not sure when.

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Music

Originally posted: February 2018

 

Steel’s Bottom/Top 10 Hit Songs of 2010

 

What can I say that best describes the year 2010 in pop music? 2010 can be described as 2010’s awkward freshman year (and of course, I’m saying this because most of these hits were around during MY freshman year). 2010 tries quite a lot to hang around as the cool kid, but only ended up giving us some painful reactions. In other words, there’s a large presence of bad for 2010 in pop than a presence of good. However, the good stuff this year is really good, so my choices aren’t based on limited options. The bottom 10 wasn’t hard to craft either, but some of you guys might be thinking that I’ve made some painful cuts due to the number of bad eggs that this year had. Starting off with the hot garbage, we got…

 

Worst:

Spoiler

 

10. Blah Blah Blah / Ke$ha featuring 3OH!3

We start with a song from, not Kesha, but Ke-dollar-sign-ha. It’s considering to be one of the absolute biggest stains of 2010 in pop, but I think #10 is a reasonable placement for a few reasons: For one thing, Kesha is not the worst part of this song, rather it’s the unsexy frat boy duo that we’ve abandoned since the end of said year: Three-oh-exclamation-point-three. Second of all, there’s the distinction that Kesha herself is meant to be seen as a parody of pop music, but does that make “Blah Blah Blah” sound any less tepid? Nope. And what’s so bad about the song that hasn’t already been said? The songwriting is a major pitfall, and while the production isn’t too bad, but there are some noises that drown it out. Also:

'Cause I don't care who you are
In this bar
It only matters who I is

Yeah, don’t think that I’m done talking about these guys.

 

Spoiler

 

9. OMG / Usher featuring will.i.am

This song is living proof that will.i.am has the ability to suck out the talent of even some of the most well-respected pop stars. Take Usher on “OMG” for example. The best way to start with the song’s problems is the usage of autotune on will.i.am’s part, which is a perk in popular music that I’ve really gotten sick of. Then you’ve also got will.i.am and Usher’s barebones vocals. The gang vocals show more energy than both performers’ monotone voices, and it feels so imbalanced that it seriously annoys me. For a song that says “oh my gosh,” Usher’s lack of excitement is void of such reaction besides towards disbelief.

 

Spoiler

 

8. Undo It / Carrie Underwood

Say what you will about “Before He Cheats…”

Yeah, I had to go as far as to defend some things about the much-derided BHC, but allow me to make some points across. First of all, BHC is not one of my most hated hit songs from 2007, but I also don’t find it to be great by any stretch. At the end of the day, it’s a revenge fantasy song from the perspective of a fictional woman who was probably written to be as much of an insufferable jerk as we felt she was. Also, the song was penned by a dude first, and it was called “Before She Cheats.” I’m going to leave that there and contrast this song to “Undo It,” like I was meaning to do.

At the very least, the former had more interesting substance unlike the latter, which is why I consider “Undo It” to be the worst song I’ve heard from Underwood. You’ve got the painfully annoying “uh-uh-uh-uh-undo it” hook, but you also got the paint-by-the-numbers break-up/heartache song that feels like something that Kelly Clarkson rejected for being so thinly veiled. Watch as Carrie tries to add to the melodramatic nature of the song by calling out her ex-lover for “stealing her happy,” “taking the lonely and taking her for a ride,” along with “you want my future, you can’t have it.”

I like myself a good roast against an ex, but these lines burn like a candle fire that’s ready to go out. Sorry Carrie, I will redeem myself soon enough, but you’re not so convincing when you try to be Kelly.

 

Spoiler

 

7. Hey Soul Sister / Train

You know what’s funny? If this was just the ukulele melody, “Hey Soul Sister,” wouldn’t sound like a bad song, but goodness, Pat Monahan does everything in his power to make this song sound so awful, from his pitchy vocals to some of the worst lyrics ever written with such classic lines like “Your lipstick stains on the front lobe of my left-side brain,” or “ a game show love connection we can’t deny,” OR “My heart is bound to beat right out of my untrimmed chest,” OR “WATCHING YOU’S THE ONLY DRUG” OR “S O  G A N G S T E R  I ‘ M  S O  T H U G!”

Yeah, I’m done here. I’m never going to miss a single thing about this song.

 

 

 

…Tonight.

 

Spoiler

 

6. My First Kiss / 3OH!3 featuring Ke$ha

If there’s one thing that separates 3OH!3 and Kesha from each other when it comes to their quality of music in 2010 is that Kesha was a parody of pop music who was at least capable of making serviceable and catchy pop music. On the other hand, it’s safe to assume that 3OH!3 are legitimate while “My First Kiss” manages to be catchy in spite of how bad the songwriting is, hence why it’s as high as #6. Of course, the best bit about the song is Kesha, but doesn’t have as much of a strong presence as you’d think. As for the rest of the song, it’s unsexy pick-up line after unsexy pick-up line.

 

Spoiler

 

5. Cooler than Me / Mike Posner

Man, Mike Posner has come a bit of a long way. “Cooler than Me” is none other than Posner’s first impression and it’s a bad one at that. It’s your average, typical, bro-douche club song, but you also got the singer flaunting about he’s cooler than this girl, and perhaps also cooler than his listeners. That’s not even limited to Posner’s nasally, breathy vocals, an ugly synth riff, and some lines where Posner calls out the girl for the sound of her footsteps, and in the chorus where he tells her that he can get her falling all over him if he wrote a song for her.

All these serve as good enough reasons to be my #5. Surprisingly, Posner would redeem himself 6 years later with “I Took a Pill in Ibiza.”

 

Spoiler

 

4. Like a G6 / Far East Movement featuring The Cataracs and Dev

I’ve expressed my hatred of this song before in my (cringeworthy) topic for my bottom 20 worst songs. Suffice to say, my thoughts have softened a bit but the problems I have with “Like a G6” are the same. It’s repetitive, the songwriting is atrocious, and while the beat is alright, it gets annoying near the end because it hardly ever stops.

 

Spoiler

 

3. Deuces / Chris Brown featuring Tyga and Kevin McCall

You know, after the incident where Chris assaulted Rihanna and after his “Graffiti” album flopped and got collectively panned, it would absolutely perplex me that America made this a hit in order to insure that Chris Brown would still stick around – and so he does. In fact, “Deuces” is one of Chris’ worst songs, let alone his worst hit IMO. For an attempt at a redemption song, it already fails when Chris makes it so clear of how much of a douchebag he is. He calls out Rihanna while painting himself a victim, and he doesn’t try to hide it. Tyga is also in this song, but he does nothing to complement the awful vibes whereas Chris Brown whinges about his relationship issues. This would’ve been a very solid candidate for the #1 worst hit this year, but yet it gets outmatched by two other atrocities…

 

Spoiler

 

2. Imma Be / The Black Eyed Peas

It’s an understatement to say that the Black Eyed Peas have a lot of bad songs in their discography, but I should also point out that the band has some good songs under their belt. “I Gotta Feeling,” “Let’s Get It Started,” “Meet Me Halfway,” and “Where Is the Love?” best define the band at their best. At their worst, it’s when they create standard club music, or just mind-numbingly dumb club music. “My Humps,” “Boom Boom Pow,” and “The Time (Dirty Bit)” are all beaten down by what I think is the group’s worst hit: “Imma Be.”

When it comes to both categories of bad Black Eyed Peas songs, “Imma Be” is a mixture of both. To sum it all up, the song in question is an audio trainwreck all the way through. The song is devoid of any real meaning or purpose, and it hardly has anything to back up the ridiculously repetitive “imma be” hook, the song’s incredibly standard luxury theme, and Fergie’s clumsy brag-rapping.

 

Spoiler

 

1. Sexy Bitch / David Guetta and Akon

You got annoying like “Imma Be,” and then you got ugly like “Deuces.” If you put both together, you get this song. The song actually starts off cool before focusing on the main highlight for the song’s badness, which is Akon himself. He comes off as incredibly unlikeable, especially with the line that’s a part of the chorus where he says he’s going to tell his girl how beautiful she is with the utmost respect-

Damn girl

Damn you's a sexy bitch

Yeah, just like THAT. I never liked anything from Akon and this was the biggest low from him, as well as the hardest nail to be hit in the coffin of his successful music career, because after this, Akon had completely left our minds. That’s usually due to the fact that Akon hasn’t released new material for a possible new album in ages, but I’d like to think the death of his successful career was due to this unattractive trainwreck of a song. David Guetta’s also part of this, but the drop definitely didn’t make the song any better, and only made it sound uglier.

 

 

Dishonorable Mentions:

BedRock – Young Money featuring Lloyd (#11)
Whatcha Say – Jason Derulo (Backwash #12)
Tie Me Down – New Boyz featuring Ray J
Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz
Eenie Meenie – Sean Kingston featuring Justin Bieber
Teach Me How to Dougie – Cali Swag District
If I Die Young – The Band Perry
Bottoms Up – Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj
In My Head – Jason Derulo
Naturally – Selena Gomez and The Scene       
          

 

Best:

Spoiler

 

10. Misery / Maroon 5

Now isn’t this a surprise? I have a Maroon 5 song on my top 10 and it’s something besides “Makes Me Wonder.” As most of you guys may have known, I have a very complicated relationship with Maroon 5. I thought they were alright during the past decade outside of “She Will Be Loved,” but their output since the early 2010s has brought me into hating this band. Adam’s voice got higher and more grating to my ears and his personality got worse. However, “Misery” is not an example of bad M5, and it’s more of a reminder that they can make legitimately good music.

“Misery” has the same funky vibes that I loved “Makes Me Wonder” for. Adam’s voice doesn’t too pitchy either. I don’t mind the music video at all. In fact, it’s actually pretty hilarious when you focus on the fact that Adam was playing a character, and a ridiculously cartoony one at that. Seeing whatever pain that his character goes through is also pretty satisfying to me. Even that stupid running gag of someone getting hit by a car is funny to me.

 

Spoiler

 

9. Club Can’t Handle Me / Flo Rida featuring David Guetta

And for this next top pick, here’s a song that’s collectively the best from two artists that I find almost as frustrating as Maroon 5. While being a feel-good club banger, it is complemented very well by Nicole Scherzinger’s backing vocals and a cool-sounding guitar riff at the start. For the most part though, both Flo Rida and David Guetta are at their A-game. You got Guetta’s slick and infectious production work and then you have Flo Rida delivering a pretty solid flow.

 

Spoiler

 

8. Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart / Alicia Keys

Just to be fair, Alicia Keys was not a singer who was designed to win Grammys. The Grammys were designed to laud over contemporary R&B artists like Alicia Keys. A lot of Alicia’s talent can be seen in her singing capabilities, but granted, I wouldn’t call her so much of a virtuoso.

When it comes to pop-oriented Alicia Keys, I think this is where she is at her best, and yet for most people who acknowledge how good she is as an artist, this particular song tends to fly right past. Maybe it’s because it’s not very well-known. Granted, it barely reached #99 on the year-end list and spent only one week on the top 40 in due to the release of The Element of Freedom album, but anyways, “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” shows one of the best performances from Alicia. On top of that, it boasts a well-produced crescendo, percussion, and a strong melody backed up by Alicia’s sense of vulnerability and passion.

 

Spoiler

 

7. Magic / B.o.B. featuring Rivers Cuomo

As you all can tell, 2010 and 2011 were a couple of droughts when it comes to rock crossing over to the charts. At times, the charts would have a rock-flavored tune, like this particular gem. It’s got B.o.B.’s fun brand of pop-flavored hip hop, and of course, Rivers serves as a solid co-artist, bringing his usual Weezer influenced spunk to this track. To sum it all, it’s a song with a lot of energy and charisma to back it up.

 

Spoiler

 

6. California Gurls / Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg

Man, this year, nothing screams “guilty pleasure” more than something quite like this. Simply put, in the same vein where I admired “Cake by the Ocean” for being mindless fun pop, “California Gurls” shows Katy Perry’s strengths as a pop star for bringing such mindless fun and groovy vibes into this song that makes it so undeniable. Snoop Dogg also has a strange presence on the song, but his chemistry is so unusually charming, it also gets a pass from me.

 

Spoiler

 

5. Bad Romance / Lady Gaga

I love me some dark-sounding pop music. It’s one of the best efforts from The Fame Monster and while it can be as quirky as “California Gurls,” it still shows Lady Gaga’s most sensual and passionate side. The song itself sounds great, with cool production from RedOne. Aside from the strong European house/techno flavor, Lady Gaga’s eccentric personality and songwriting also shines here. And of course, later on her music would only continue to overwhelm.

 

Spoiler

 

4. Nothin’ on You / B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars

Looking back on this guy’s career, you wouldn’t be surprised to run into quite a lot of folk who’ll tell you that B.o.B. had so much potential. Not only is this a good first impression from B.o.B., it’s also a good impression from Bruno Mars, who served as an incredibly reliable hook artist. In short, “Nothin’ on You” is a sweet, pop-flavored hip hop song about how the rapper feels that his one girl is something more than all the rest and that no one else compares to her. And like I’ve said before with the hook, Bruno Mars does a good job with it and really brings me back.

 

Spoiler

 

3. Teenage Dream / Katy Perry

I had a feeling that my sentient towards 2010 in pop being its awkward freshman year would be sentient towards this song, but it’s not as such. “Teenage Dream” is about being in love but also feeling young again like you’re living the life of a teenager. The premise would sound pretty strange without any refined edge, but Katy managed to polish the sentient about first love nostalgia very well. Granted, inspiration for this song dated back to three to six years since before Perry released the song. However, the strongest points of the song come from Perry’s mix of powerful and melodic vocals to create a pop song that’s simple yet efficient.

 

Spoiler

 

2. Love the Way You Lie / Eminem and Rihanna

If “Not Afraid” can prove that Eminem could still make good music, this song in particular capitalized on Eminem’s continuing success. “Love the Way You Lie” is a very well-written and executed exemplification of a love-hate relationship. Eminem’s vocals are raw and emotional, Rihanna’s vocals are divine, and they both provide versatile chemistry together. The song’s content is also effective given Rihanna’s past experience with her relationship with Chris Brown. You see that, “Deuces?” This is how you take dark subject matter and make it work.

 

 

Spoiler

 

1. Need You Now / Lady Antebellum

And what better away to finish off this list by going straight into a midtempo country ballad after having talked about a midtempo hip hop ballad? While I’ve spent most of my early days listening to country music, I can’t really say I’m a big fan, but I absolutely love a good country song every once in a while. Why this is my choice for #1 is based on the song’s narrative, Scott and Kelley’s vocal work, and that flourishing guitar solo at the climax and by the end. To go in depth on the song’s narrative, I really appreciate how the band illustrates the sense of vulnerability with the feeling of being all alone, drunk late at night, and needing the company of someone.

This kind of miserable-sounding country music is what we need more often than the current cesspool of bro-country and deliberate crossover hits. It’s one of the best country songs of the decade and it’s also my #1 best hit of 2010.

 

Honorable Mentions:

DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love – Usher featuring Pitbull (#11)
Use Somebody – Kings of Leon (Backwash #12)
Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys (Backwash #13)
Not Afraid – Eminem
Animal – Neon Trees
Alejandro – Lady Gaga
Young Forever – Jay-Z featuring Mr. Hudson
Find Your Love – Drake
According to You – Orianthi
Secrets – OneRepublic

 

 

Steel's Bottom/Top 10 Hit Songs of 2011:

 

And now we’ve moved onto the sophomore year in 2010 pop music, and I have to say, it’s a big improvement from the previous year. The good stuff this year was very stellar, but the bad stuff this year was nearly as horrendous as the bad pop songs from 2010. There were a few painful cuts I’ve made. I couldn’t even make room for “If I Die Young” for this year. Alright, let’s just get to it…

 

Worst:

Spoiler

 

10. Country Girl (Shake It for Me) / Luke Bryan

Now here’s one reason why I didn’t put “If I Die Young” in my bottom 10, as this was the worst country song of 2011. It does have a serviceable melody, but it when it comes to its content. It just makes me sick to my stomach. It’s an ugly-sounding hook-up song, and it’s the poster-child of almost everything that’s wrong with bro-country. In fact, this song was pretty much the fire starter of the bro-country trend that plagued the country charts and the pop charts. Gag.

 

Spoiler

 

9. The Lazy Song / Bruno Mars

2011 was an incompetent year for Bruno Mars and well…”lazy” is pretty much right when it comes to describing this song. (SN: “Grenade” was dangerously close to making my bottom 10.) Even despite if there’s some self-awareness within “The Lazy Song,” the songwriting isn’t all that humorous. Like I’ve said before towards the song right above it, “The Lazy Song” at least has a serviceable melody, but its unfunny cynicism just makes me completely lose interest.

 

Spoiler

 

8. The Time (Dirty Bit) / The Black Eyed Peas

Now here’s a placement that’ll make a certain member by the name of Fred Rechid feel happy. The main concept of the song is not only bad, but it’s also practically meme-worthy-thy-thy-thythythy- DIRTY BIT! It’s far from the group’s worst, but goodness…that Dirty Dancing sample. It wouldn’t haven a bad idea to sample it, but it was a bad idea to modernize it and coalesce it with the Pea’s standard groan-worthy songwriting. Did I also mention that the drop doesn’t do any justice as well? It barely even has a pulse. No surprise, I don’t like the song, let’s move on to number seven-seven-seven-sevensevenseven- DIRTY BIT!

 

Spoiler

 

7. Don’t Wanna Go Home / Jason Derulo

For those who may ask, how does this trump Dirty Bit’s levels of badness? “Dont Wanna Go Home” commits the crime of poorly sampling not one, but two songs that are “Show Me Love” by Robin S. and “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).” So, in other words, this song is #7 on my bottom 10 under that condition. The Banana Boat Song sample contributes nothing to the song besides for the hook. Even if I was never a big fan of Robin S.’s “Show Me Love,” the song even makes me feel like going back to it. When it comes to the rest of the song, it’s your paint-by-the-numbers dance-pop, and your typical bad Jason Derulo song.

 

Spoiler

 

6. Lighters / Bad Meets Evil featuring Bruno Mars

So, here’s a confession that might surprise some of you folks: I used to really like this song. Nowadays, I’ve come to realize that “Lighters” has a good amount of problems. Surely, Eminem does provide a good flow, but he doesn’t sound anything as inspiring and his songwriting is nowhere close to his A-game when it comes to the cheap penis references. Then there’s Royce da 5’9,” who delivers the final verse and he barely holds any sort of presence. Then you have the hook artist, Bruno Mars, who is apparently the best part of the song because of how inspired he sounds, but his presence as a hook artist is unfitting on here. For a song about wanting to see a sky of lights, getting your feet back on the ground and living your dreams, “Lighters” is ironically depressing to listen to.

 

Spoiler

 

5. Look At Me Now / Chris Brown featuring Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne

Another year and I have another Chris Brown song on my bottom 10. While Chris does actually manage to redeem his musical abilities in “Yeah 3x” and to a lesser extent, “She Ain’t You,” “Look At Me Now” is Chris Brown at his most passionless. Aside from being a very average brag hip hop song and Chris Brown’s painful songwriting and whisper singing, there’s also the production work from Diplo that gets under my skin with the looping beat that sounds like a sound effect from an early 2000s Flash game. At the very least, Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne provide a couple good flows and save this from getting any lower on the list and from Chris Brown’s worst. (That honor is still going to “Deuces.”)

 

Spoiler

 

4. Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor) / Pitbull featuring T-Pain

Can I say “interchangeable dance-pop music?” Really, that’s how I would firmly describe this song. Both Pitbull and T-Pain bring absolutely nothing new to this, it’s every other hit club song that I’ve heard since like 5+ years from 2011. The lyrics, the instrumentation, the autotune, it all feels like it’s been done before. Lastly, to bring about one nitpick I’ve had towards the song, I used to hear this to death on the radio. This is the kind of music you would use only if you want to spice up your housewarming party.

 

Spoiler

 

3. We Found Love / Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris

I seriously overwhelmed my negative thoughts on this song too much back when I did my embarrassing bottom 20 songs list, to be real honest. During my High School days, this song was utterly inescapable and I dreaded to hear this song for the umpteenth time. Overplay definitely killed it for me to the point where I put it this low on my bottom 10, but this is as low as I think it should be.

It’s not #1 worst hit song of the year material, but it still has its problems, like Rihanna’s consistent vocals, the repetitive chorus, and that progressive drop that sounds like it’s going to explode. Deliberately avoiding this song did save it enough trouble to be no worse than my bottom 2. Although, since it’s a given that “We Found Love” is my #3, I still dread it from time to time.

 

Spoiler

 

2. Sexy and I Know It / LMFAO

Surprisingly, this isn’t even my #1, but it still reeks of being an absolutely unfunny mess. The songwriting is ugly, the drop is ugly, the rest of the production work is mind-numbing to listen to, and the penis jokes, I was never a fan of them in general, but anyhow, on here, they are a product of their time as well as being greatly unsubtle, to put it all bluntly. A few years from now, newer fellow chartwatchers are going to realize that we made this a #1 hit and we’re going to want to pretend that it never was that huge.

 

 

Spoiler

 

1. Tonight Tonight / Hot Chelle Rae

For a variety of reasons, this is my pick for the worst hit song of the year. “Tonight Tonight” is the epitome to why some people say “all pop music sucks.” It’s not because of Justin Bieber’s “Baby,” or Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” or generally any easy target from this decade, but it is this particular song that dodges all those bullets. The main problem that I have with this song is that it sounds like just about every other pop song. The majority of the song is probably made up of notes on making a popular-sounding song and nothing else more.

To best describe it, the song contains a combination of 3OH!3’s frat boy attitude, Boys Like Girls’ sense of emotion and youthfulness, lyrics pertaining to club-readiness that you’ve already heard of since 5+ years from 2011, and god knows how many pop/hip hop stars that have complained about a love affair and wanting to overcome it by hitting the club.

Outside of the “oh wells” and “whatevers” that do not help whatsoever, nothing is distinguishable about this song. All you singletons (EVEN THE WHITE KIDS!), be assured that there are far better pop songs – and “Tonight Tonight” is a serious exception.

 

 

Dishonorable mentions:

Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri (#11)
Like a G6 – Far East Movement featuring the Cataracs and Dev (Backwash #12)
Where Dem Girls At – David Guetta featuring Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj
Grenade – Bruno Mars
If I Die Young – The Band Perry (Backwash dishonorable mention)
Down on Me – Jeremih featuring 50 Cent
Give Me Everything – Pitbull and Ne-Yo featuring Afrojack
Backseat – New Boyz featuring The Cataracs and Dev
What the Hell – Avril Lavigne
Born This Way – Lady Gaga

 

Best:

Spoiler

 

10. 6 Foot 7 Foot / Lil Wayne featuring Cory Gunz

This is hands down Lil Wayne’s best hit song. Lil Wayne provides an excellent, long-lasting flow and a good amount of passion along that way. Cory Gunz doesn’t overwhelm but he doesn’t disappoint either with his flow. Likewise with “Don’t Wanna Go Home,” the Banana Boat Song is sampled on here, but the song’s producer, Bangladesh, manages to do something with it by making it into an annoyingly catchy hook. The songwriting is also pretty genius, courtesy from none other than Lil Wayne. It’s arguably one of his best offerings, if not the best.

 

Spoiler

 

9. Stereo Love / Edward Maya and Vika Jigulina

So, Eurodance made an unusual comeback over the course of 2010-2011. Other than this, we’ve also had “Yeah 3x” (which barely missed my top 10) and “Mr. Saxobeat” (which would’ve had the chance to make my top 10 if it was on the year-end list). Of course, part of the reason why I have this so high is because it has that strong nostalgic feeling. On top of that, the song has this pleasant, dreamy pop vibe and a pretty darn solid accordion riff. “Stereo Love” was also one of the first many 2010s pop songs I fell in love with, so granted I would give it a spot on my top 10. So yeah, “Stereo Love” can easily be defined as an underrated gem in 2010s pop music.

 

Spoiler

 

8. Someone Like You / Adele

I wasn’t too crazy about this song at first, but I can’t deny that Adele’s sincerity and honesty really sells here. It’s a very pleasant song about post-breakup, Adele wishing the best for her ex-lover while trying to move on. Adele’s vocals and the songwriting just feel so heart-wrenching. Overall, it’s just nice enough to have Adele’s music getting as popular, but is this the best hit that I’ve heard from her? You’ll all find out that answer soon…

 

Spoiler

 

7. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) / Katy Perry

Before her Witness days, Katy Perry had made some fun and genuinely good-sounding pop music, and this is no exception. On the outside, it it’s your typical club-ready pop song, but on the inside, it’s a mindless fun and groovy pop song. More or less, it’s the “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” of the 2010s. It comes packed with an unforgettable melody and a saxophone solo from none other than…Lenny Pickett. Yes, that was Kenny G in the video, but that saxophone playing wasn’t him. Bummer, but hey, this is still the song that makes me want to say “T.G.I.F.!”

 

Spoiler

 

6. All of the Lights / Kanye West featuring Rihanna and Kid Cudi

I still haven’t got around to listening to “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” in full quite yet, but I can at least say that this is yet another solid song from the likes and mind of Kanye West. I’m not too big on this, but “All the Lights” still accomplishes for being a very triumphant, inspiring, well-produced, well-written, and danceable effort, simply put.

 

Spoiler

 

5. You and I / Lady Gaga

This is an unpopular opinion, but I feel as though Lady Gaga really overwhelms in this song, in ways that it’s close to the quality of “The Edge of Glory.” It’s not the best hit off of the album, Born This Way, and while it doesn’t scream “Lady Gaga” the loudest (but it does kinda serve as a gateway to Gaga’s change of sound on Joanne), I can easily admit it that Lady Gaga is on her A-game here.

For one thing, it’s the closest thing to hit rock music in 2011 outside of the apparently-considered-as-so “Tonight Tonight” and “Pumped Up Kicks,” which I wasn’t a big fan of. The song starts with a simple “We Will Rock You” interpolation with the percussion and claps, but when it builds, it really builds into a powerful ballad that really shows off Lady Gaga’s singing capabilities. Afterwards, you also get a pretty soaring, mini guitar solo. Nothing else I should add besides that this is yet another remarkable effort from Gaga.

 

Spoiler

 

4. Fuck You / Cee Lo Green

This song was another massive radio staple, but this is a shining example of a song that’s still good after so much airplay. In short, it’s a very solid, angry send-off song. Cee Lo, of course, provides the song with his soulful vocal range and it gets backed up with the funky throwback instrumentation. And apparently, we can thank Glee for making it possible for the song to become such a big surprise hit like it was…when it was called “Forget You.” “Forget You?” No man, you’re thinking of “Fu-(cannot finish this sentence due to my unwillingness to swear directly.)

 

Spoiler

 

3. Rolling in the Deep / Adele

Yet another massive radio staple, but this one took some time until I eventually decided that this is one of Adele’s greatest. Adele letting out her inner frustrations and heartache into a song like this is something that I’ve come to adore the singer for. 21 had a lot of other songs in that nature, but I’d say that “Rolling in the Deep” is a classic way to establish those post-breakup emotions. “There’s a fire starting in my heart,” and like that, it gets me feeling pumped. And like so, Adele’s soulful performance is the selling point of the song. It’s the #1 hit song of the year, and it’s rightfully so. I love this song, but not enough to push it any higher than…

 

Spoiler

 

2. The Edge of Glory / Lady Gaga

Now here’s a song that really defines Lady Gaga’s pop sound. It’s a very solid 80s throwback backed with an otherwise solid performance from Lady Gaga and an incredibly danceable, stomping instrumentation. Another highlight of the song would most definitely be the saxophone solo from none other than the great, late Clarence Clemons. It’s powerful, uplifting, and packs quite a punch, but if this isn’t my choice for the best hit song of 2011, then what could it be? All I can say from here is….

The show goes on.

 

 

Spoiler

 

1. The Show Goes On / Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco is definitely one of those underrated rappers, and “The Show Goes On” goes along as an underrated hit. I just love how Lupe manages to make a Modest Mouse sample sound as good. Most of all, I really love the triumphant sound that Lupe gathers while backing it up with a flow that is absolutely astounding. The songwriting is noteworthy as well with Lupe telling off his record label, making it a great mixture towards the inspiring instrumentation.

Is it too much of an easy pick for my absolute favorite hit song of 2011? And yeah, it was the label’s record first, but no matter the backstory behind it, I love this song to death and it so earns its place at the top of my list, because when Lupe tries to put his vision into something like this, he can make it into something iconic.

 

Honorable mentions:

On the Floor – Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull (#11)
Yeah 3x – Chris Brown
Teenage Dream – Katy Perry (Backwash honorable mention)
Firework – Katy Perry
Moment 4 Life – Nicki Minaj featuring Drake
More – Usher
Colder Weather – Zac Brown Band
I’m on One – DJ Khaled featuring Drake, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne
Sure Thing – Miguel
You Make Me Feel… – Cobra Starship featuring Sabi

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Originally posted: May 23rd, 2018

 

Steel’s Bottom/Top 10 Hit Songs of 2012

 

You know, for a pretty iconic year in pop, I can’t adore this year more than I should. The good stuff that year was really spectacular, but…the bad stuff that year was also really, really bad. And I’m not saying this just towards the year-end list, I’m also saying this towards every other notable song that charted during the 2012 chart season. For every gem like “Midnight City,” “Dark Side,” “Lonely Boy,” “No Church in the Wild,” “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You,” “Love on Top,” “Safe & Sound,” and “Skyfall,” you also have trash like “Sorry for Party Rocking,” “The Hardest Ever,” “Faded,” “Turn on the Lights,” “Princess of China,” Give Me All Your Luvin’,” that disappointing comeback single from No Doubt, and “Truck Yeah…” by Tim McGraw. Back on the topic of the year-end list, one thing I should say is expect some hot takes as I go through my choices for the best and worst hits from that list.

 

Worst:

Spoiler

 

10. Feel So Close / Calvin Harris

As much as I’ve grown to like Calvin Harris’ music since the times where I’ve expressed that I’ve hated his music, I still stand by my feelings towards this song, but they have softened enough for me to give a respectable #10 rank. This isn’t even the worst song about feeling so close, mind you. So, what is it about the song that I absolutely dread? I just don’t see myself dancing to this, ‘because once you’ve heard the first part of the song, you’ve heard the entire song. “Feel So Close” plays like an endless loop to the point where it annoys me and it sucks away the energy that it could’ve had. Surely, Daft Punk sometimes gets flack for their repetitive songs, but they usually make up for it with their signature vocals and production work. “Feel So Close,” on the other hand, I’m not a fan of Harris’ vocals and the drop in his respective song. “Let’s Go” may be a clichéd club song, but Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo at least gave it some energy.

 

Spoiler

 

9. One More Night / Maroon 5

While going through Maroon 5’s discography more, I’ve made myself an unusual realization: the 2010s to Maroon 5 were what the 80s were to Chicago. It wasn’t until the band’s Overexposed days that I felt that way, but still, I think most people can agree that 2010s Maroon 5 sucks. This was the very song in which I’ve started to have a strong hate relationship with the band’s music. I couldn’t stand Adam Levine’s high-pitched vocals, I dread Levine’s constant relationship tensions that he expresses in most of his songs, and both of these factors are present in “One More Night.” Some critics have pointed out that they can’t tell whether Levine is feeling upset, or angry, but I can make the assumption that Levine sounds pissed in this song: he’s emotional and frustrated at the same time, which really gets on my bad side. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the pseudo-reggae production. The song is too catchy for me to put it any lower, though.

 

Spoiler


“Boyfriend” is the closest that I’ll ever get into putting a song by Justin Bieber on my bottom 10, and if it were on my list, that’ll please no one besides the ones that apparently still have a massive hate boner towards the guy. I’m never willing to pass up a song whereas Justin Bieber feels like such a hollow shell, but keep in mind that “Boyfriend” narrowly missed my list proper.

Besides Bieber, you know who else was an easy target during 2012? Cher Lloyd, at least for “Want U Back” and…that other song of hers. “Want U Back” missed my list proper as well and...big hot take I have to share: looking back on that song, I can’t bring myself to hate it as much as I used to. Yes, Cher Lloyd’s self-indulgent attitude is hard to get behind, but having some personality and groove is better than abandoning it, like this next song from another notably easy target…

 

8. Starships / Nicki Minaj

I can also never bring myself into loathing Nicki Minaj’s music like most others, but when she makes the most cookie-cutter pop song imaginable, she’s lost on me. Let me just say right off the bat that I do like the beginning of the song, it has Minaj’s usual spunk, and it has a serviceable groove to it…and then there’s the pre-chorus and the chorus, where Nicki Minaj sounds almost indistinguishable. And then there’s the drop, and that’s know you know how much of a mess this song really is. It’s one of the ugliest and most out-of-place drops I’ve heard. There are also the lyrics, with lines like “I’m on the floor, I love dance, “Hands up and touch the sky,” and “Let’s do this one more time,” you know, like you would expect from a generic pop song. Oh, and RedOne produced this, and he’s the same person behind “Bad Romance?” Gag.

 

Spoiler

 

7. Where Have You Been / Rihanna

I only have one other Rihanna song on my list, and this was just one that got under my skin. I’ll admit that it starts off pretty good at first, but it’s not until Rihanna starts stretching the line “Where have you been all my life,” sings the chorus like “Where have you been all my l-i-i-i-i-i-ife, and when the song gets to the drop that sounds almost like a bumblebee. As for the rest of the song, it’s just your basic, average club song whereas Rihanna doesn’t bring anything new to the table.

 

Spoiler

 

6. Rack City / Tyga

If you know me well, I considered this as my most hated song in most recent memory. Now…I’ll give it credit for being very interestingly bad, and for being an apparent, major contribution to the trap boom that followed. This song being on my bottom 10 stems from my feelings on Tyga’s music in general: I absolute loathe it. “Rack City” suffers from uncomfortable-sounding whisper rapping, and a good chuck of lyrics that give me an iffy feeling, including:

Young money young money yeah we getting rich
I got ya grandma on my dick
Girl you know what it is

Rondo, Green got cheese like a nacho
If you ain't got no ass bitch wear a poncho

Luckily for Tyga, I don’t find this song to be any worse than my bottom 5:

 

Spoiler

 

5. It Will Rain / Bruno Mars

Dear god is this song melodramatic. In fact, I find this to be Bruno’s worst song to date. I’ve already said it that one major problem I have with song is how mopey it sounds, and that’s because it really shows when the song is about how Bruno feels so broken up over a failing relationship with one girl to the point where he feels that everyday will rain when that girl completely walks out of his life. Right down to Bruno’s wimpy vocals and lines like “Leave the morphine at the door, “There’s no religion that can save me,” and “I’ll never be your mother’s favorite,” does it feel like Bruno is trying too hard to sell the drama. Given the fact that the song was tailor-made for the first part of the Breaking Dawn movie, it’s no wonder that Bruno would be reduced to this. I also like to pretend that this motivated Bruno Mars into making much, much better pop songs. Sorry again, Bruno, but I will redeem myself with my top 10 for 2013.

 

Spoiler


You guys can tell how much we “love” this song, given how many times we’ve posted the link to the “Believer” music video. I’m only posting it since I have to talk about Imagine Dragons for a good moment. Just so you all know, “It’s Time” is not on my bottom 10, not at all, but I can’t help shake the feeling that I’m supposed to treat this band as if they’re the epitome of everything wrong with modern indie rock. Don’t get me wrong, I also disliked “Believer,” but I wouldn’t say that their Evolve era made me change my mind about Imagine Dragons being good at some points. Yet again, I’m the type of guy who tends to defend certain popular indie rock songs to death. However, a modern alternative/indie rock song has to meet some conditions in order to make me loathe it.

Just to change the topic for one moment, say what you will about Skrillex too. Most people were willing to write off the entire dubstep genre as talentless garbage when Skrillex capitalized on the success of the genre. He at least knows what he’s doing with the dubstep sound, and Imagine Dragons were at least never the only act to “degrade” indie rock into something like the next particular song on my top 10 that apparently dodges a lot of those bullets…

 

4. Too Close / Alex Clare

You see what I mean, now? This song dignifies that Im not willing to like just about every indie rock crossover hit. While I do appreciate Clare’s passionate and soulful vocals, the problems I have with this song come straight from the execution. For one thing, the sound does not blend very well with the songwriting. The suspenseful tone of the song pretty much fabricates the song’s meaning correlating to the singer trying to end a relationship as HE’S. JUST. TOO. CLOSE. TO LOVING. His significant other. The dubstep production, courtesy of none other than Diplo, makes it sound obnoxious when layered with Clare’s soulful vocals.

Then there’s the songwriting, and based on the way I’ve heard it, it’s got a halfhearted “it’s not you, it’s me” tone. In other words, the singer sounds unapologetic about his unwillingness to continue his commitment, granted he does say “I’m not one to break promises.”  In addition, Clare sounds pretty vague about why he needs to go separate ways, but from what I’ve gathered, he does say that he needs to be true to himself…yep, sounds reasonable enough. Finally, there’s the chorus, which ends with the line “So I’ll be on my way,” which sounds so smug to me and gives me the impression that Clare is leaving his relationship behind because he’s just too good for his lover. That or because he feels that it’s too unsubstantial for him to handle…which is just about how I feel about this song, so I’ll be on my way…

 

Spoiler

 

3. Turn Me On / David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj

I still stand by what I’ve said when I expressed that I don’t hate Nicki Minaj’s music like most others, but I still absolutely dread it when she makes cookie-cutter pop, and it’s not limited to this collaboration with Guetta. Not only is this one of the most obnoxious dance tracks I’ve heard in recent memory, courtesy of Guetta’s production work, almost nothing about Minaj’s vocals or the songwriting scream “Nicki Minaj.” Speaking of her vocals, the way how Nicki Minaj’s voice in the chorus is layered with other tones and the usual autotune makes her sound so artificial. Overall, “Turn Me On”…? Turn it off, because this such as a lifeless tune.

 

Spoiler

 

2. Drive By / Train

Welcome back to the bottom 10, Train. While I’m willing to pass up the sheer absurdity of “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” and its oddball lyrics from Pat Monahan, you can pretty much say that I find “Drive By” to be a serious Trainwreck. The lyrics aren’t worse than those from “Hey Soul Sister,” but it’s still got that awful line about Pat needing a two-ply Hefty bag to hold his love. In other words, Pat compares his love to a girl to a garbage bag. Then there’s the rest of the lyrics for the chorus, which contains a line centering on how Pat will always be for this girl and that it’s no drive by. ….Just for the record, the term ‘drive-by’ is used to describe a shooting that took place from a passing vehicle. It could mean something unrelated to a drive-by shooting, but now I can’t stop thinking about that term, and I just can’t imagine it meaning anything else. Top it off with the “Mmmm the way you do me” line and you’ve got yourself one of the unsexiest songs ever written. Somebody hand me a two-ply Hefty bag to hold this garbage. It could’ve been my #1 worst hit of 2012, if not only for the next song…

 

Spoiler

 

1. Birthday Cake / Rihanna featuring Chris Brown

Seriously, how could it be any other song besides this? Whether or not it’d be the remix with Chris Brown, “Birthday Cake” is an awful pop song to end all awful pop songs, all the way from the uninspired production work, to Rihanna and Chris’ incredibly subdued vocals, to the unsubtle sexual metaphors, and the repetitive lyrics. It’s no wonder why this is not only my #1 worst hit song of 2012, but also a very worthy contender for the worst hit song of the decade.

 

Dishonorable mentions:

Boyfriend – Justin Bieber (#11)
Sexy and I Know It – LMFAO (Backwash dishonorable mention)
We Found Love – Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris (Backwash dishonorable mention)
Drank in My Cup – Kirko Bangz
Brokenhearted – Karmin
The Motto – Drake featuring Lil Wayne
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – P!nk
Wanted – Hunter Hayes
Back in Time – Pitbull
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift

 

Best:

Spoiler

 

10. Good Time / Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen

I bet you guys didn’t think that both Owl City and Carly Rae would manage to be more than just “Fireflies” and “Call Me Maybe” on the pop charts. Suffice to say, this was a pleasant surprise. Sadly, this is probably going to be the only Carly Rae Jepsen song from a year-end list that I’d put in my top ten (‘cause she’s clearly too good for the pop charts. Go ahead and listen to her music from her Emotion album and beyond – amazing stuff.) However, most of the surprising effort came from Owl City – an electronic artist that I never really cared for. Despite the cheesy, careless tone of the song and the music video that didn’t need to be in such poor saturation, “Good Time” excels in being such a great, fun, yet simplistic pop song. Adam Young and Carly Rae sound great together too, and their chemistry is undeniably what makes the song stand out. As I should say, they don’t even have to try. You’ll have a good time listening to this

 

Spoiler

 

9. Give Your Heart a Break / Demi Lovato

More embarrassingly so, this is, by far, the highest rank that I could ever give to a Demi Lovato song from a year-end list. (“Skyscraper” would’ve been high up on my top ten list for 2011 had it not drastically fallen off the charts that year.) The sentiments that I have towards this song is very much the same ones that I’ve had towards “Good Times,” except that I’ve gotten more replay value out of the former. This is an incredibly simple-sounding pop song, yet the opening violins, the hooky chorus and melody, Demi’s passionate vocals, they always drags me back to it. After having “Sorry Not Sorry” so low on my full 2017 rankings, (a song in which I put lower than “Juju on Dat Beat.” Ouch. If I were to change that list now, SNS would’ve been a spot higher.) I guess you guys would be saying that I’m giving Demi’s heart a break.

 

Spoiler

 

8. Blown Away / Carrie Underwood

Remember when I said that I was going to redeem myself later when it came to Carrie Underwood’s music? In this song, Carrie managed to blow me out the water. The song is about a girl who locks herself in a cellar from an incoming tornado, leaving her alcoholic father, passed out, inside of the crumbling house. In other words, it’s a revenge-murder ballad. This is the type of subject matter that I find to be…really captivating. What Carrie got wrong with “Before He Cheats” that had thrown off quite a lot of folks, Carrie manages to sell the drama and story of “Blown Away” by not only reminding us how good of a singer she can be, but also providing us with a character that we can feel for – a character who yearns to tear out the past that her abusive father left behind in that house. Carrie is usually on point when she touches upon darker material, and overall, “Blown Away” is a magnificent example of the singer’s capabilities.

 

Spoiler

 

7. Some Nights / fun.

When most people think of indie pop/rock perfection, this song usually comes to mind. There are also some others that beg to differ and find it pretentious like any other popular indie rock song on the charts, and/or write it off for its similarities to “Cecilia,” “Carry on My Wayward Son,” and Queen in general. When it comes to “Some Nights, I sometimes have to be in the best mood to stand by my appreciation towards it. In other words, while I really do like this song, it has its flaws. It’s not so close to “Bohemian Rhapsody” levels of quality, but it’s got an incredible mix of sounds, ranging from the Queen-esque opening acapella vocals (which act more as a homage than a “rip-off.”), the bombastic instrumentation, Nate Ruess’ passionate vocals, and the soaring guitar near the end. However, you also got the weirdly paced African music influences/spoken-word portions, and Nate Ruess’ seriously inconsistent tone and key changes in his vocals. There’s also that one auto-tune portion, which I wasn’t a fan of. While some portions of Nate Ruess’ voice bring it down for me, the song never fails to deliver and makes up for its cluttered moments.

 

Spoiler

 

...You know, this would be the part where I would post the video to “Believer” again, but now that I’ve had to mention Imagine Dragons again, you guys know what you’re going to get, and it might be one of my hottest takes yet: I have an Imagine Dragons song on my top 10, and I ranked it a spot higher than the more beloved “Some Nights…”

 

6. It’s Time / Imagine Dragons

I could make a point across to justify why I don’t hate Imagine Dragons in general as most others, but since I don’t want to make this review too long, I’ll just say it loud and proud: I liked quite a lot from the band, at least in the case of their first two albums. They got some good sounding singles including this particular song on my top ten, “Radioactive,” and “Shots,” as well as some great deep cuts, namely “Smoke and Mirrors,” “Amsterdam,” “Bleeding Out,” and “Friction.” Even if I can see why Imagine Dragons gets so much disdain, what is there to love about their first big hit? For starters, “It’s Time” was the point where most of us thought Imagine Dragons sounded like a legitimately good band, and so what is it about the song that makes me think it still holds up?

The song is about Dan Reynolds facing a low point of his life, deciding to quit college to focus more on his pursuits as a musician, (or ‘giving the commodities/the academy a rain check,’ according to the lyrics) much to the dismay of his parents. The charm that I can get out of this song is that the singer manages to really sell the story. The biggest selling point is in the chorus, whereas it leans towards an enriching tone with Dan states that while he’s sticking to his guns, he’s not changing the person that he is. On top of that, there’s the line “It’s time to begin, isn’t it,” which gives the indication that the beginning of the end would turn out to be a good outcome.

The song has a very moody atmosphere, but the passionate vocals and the usage of the mandolin assist in establishing the defiant tone. Dan Reynolds’ vocals sound great as well. He sounds like he’s more in control with his voice rather than trying so hard to belt. My favorite moment from the song is the final stretch, with the bridge and the bombastic final chorus. “It’s Time” sets a good example of what the band can be capable of, and it’s disappointing to me that they might not be able to top this or provide us with another hit that as remarkable as this, given the current direction that the band is in. So yeah, the length of this review goes to show how much I’m willing to defend this song to death. There’s a lot for me to like about “It’s Time,” and apparently, we have no one to thank besides Glee for making this song as big as it was.

 

Spoiler

 

5. Adorn / Miguel

After going over an act that I like that most others can’t stand, let’s talk about one singer that I find to be criminally underrated: Miguel Jontel Pimentel…or just Miguel. Kaleidoscope Dream is also an underrated record, so go check that out if any of you haven’t. My appreciation towards this song has to do with the production work, but it mostly involves Miguel himself. Miguel is a modern R&B artist whose style is distinguishable much like Janelle Monae. “Adorn” is just one of those songs from the singer that takes a modern spin on Michael Jackson and Prince, and those two influences really show when it comes to Miguel’s high tenor, the sultry instrumentation and singing style, and the occasion guitar tones. Overall, “Adorn” is a fascinating modern R&B tune with clear nostalgic influences, and it goes to show that the charts need more artists like this live-action Powerline.

 

Spoiler

 

4. [BUY SOME APPLES] In Paris / Jay-Z and Kanye West

Jay-Z and Kanye West are two of the best hip hop powerhouses, and the two collaborating for an album together felt like quite a dream. This particular song from Watch The Throne is a great exemplification of the duo’s chemistry. For good reasons, there’s not a dull moment from the song. As usual, Jay-Z and Kanye spit some serious fire, and finally, a good chunk of the songwriting is memorable, courtesy of Kanye and that Blades of Glory sample. That should all sum up my exact thoughts on this hit. However, there’s one more thing worth noting in the end: don’t let Kanye get in his zone.

 

Spoiler

 

3. Spoiler alert, “Scream” is not on my list.

Actually, what I meant to say was that I have an Usher song on my top 10, but it’s not the one that you’d think it’d be.

 

3. Climax / Usher

Let’s talk about the fine line between critical and commercial darlings. There are two kinds of people: those who prefer the one song that have critics head over heels but the silent majority do not tend to talk about it much. Then there are those who prefer the big hit rather than the former, lesser known hit. You know what I’m talking about right? If not, here’s an example: “It Ain’t Me” and “Bad Liar,” but in this case, I prefer the former. Some critics tend to write off “It Ain’t Me” as they make it off like Kygo stripped away Selena’s personality, but from my point of view, the song has a lot of ground to cover. “Bad Liar” gets all the attention from critics because it samples a Talking Heads song and…it samples a Talking Heads song...you see what I mean? Try to think of anything more you can get from the song besides Selena’s vocal style and that very distinction.

I do really like “Scream,” but I can’t like it more than I should since I can’t shake the feeling that we’ve already had a song like it, namely the remix to “More.” We’ve also got “DJ Got Us Falling in Love,” and what makes it distinguishable from “Scream” is that there’s no Pitbull feature on the latter. Now, there is another good reason why I have “Climax” on my top ten rather than “Scream:” I think “Climax” is one of the best songs that Usher has ever done, let alone one of his best R&B performances. Even while this song would be considered as the typical critic’s choice, I still stand by what I’ve said.

Usher’s high tenor voice feels really impressive here. Usher also provides the song with his usual, passionate vocals, but the songwriting also proves the emotional depth that I can attain from it. Indeed, the climax is the best part I find about song, with Usher’s raw emotions and the unique-sounding, electronic production work to boot. Speaking of the production, who was involved with it, you may ask? Why, it’s none other than Diplo, and I criticized his production work on “Too Close” on my very previous list. Believe it or not, the production is influenced by dubstep, and what's interesting to note about it is that there is no drop. That in which is the very point of "Climax:" you'd expect a drop to come, but it doesn't since Usher's vocals are the focal point of the song. So once again, color me impressed, Diplo.

From the public eye perspective, this feels like an underrated Usher song, and when critics say that this is one of his best, I can’t deny it that “Climax” really overwhelmed me.

 

Spoiler

 

2. Everybody Talks / Neon Trees

Neon Trees have been around since the success of post-grunge imploded. They had a big hit in 2010 with “Animal,” but they also managed to land a bigger one with this song. The band’s style can make them easily comparable to The Killers, but this song makes Neon Trees look like a worthy enough replacement. However, what the song’s style actually reminds me of is that of The B-52’s. Granted, the song does reference “Love Shack.” Why l love this song enough to put it in my top ten deals with the fact that I’m an absolute sucker for tunes that take you back to times of 80s new wave and synthpop. “Everybody Talks” is influenced heavily so from 80s pop music, and Neon Trees use their new wave influences to make the song into perfect pop perfection…but sadly, it’s not perfect enough to beat my #1…

 

 

Spoiler

 

And of course, my #1 happens to be another hit indie song. More specifically, it’s an indie pop song that was not only a #1 hit, but it’s also the #1 hit of the year 2012. You know what I’m talking about, it’s…


1. Somebody That I Used to Know / Gotye featuring Kimbra

“Somebody That I Used to Know” is one of those songs that best defines 2010s pop culture. “Call Me Maybe” was also a song that best defined the 2010s, and despite the fact that it was inescapable over the course of 2012 and 2013, it wasn’t the #1 hit of 2012. It felt like it could’ve been, but I can’t have it any other way, ‘cause “Somebody That I Used to Know” is an amazing song. What I find strangely fascinating about the song is that there’s barely any dull moments from it despite the minimalistic, yet distinctive production. It’s usually because of the incredibly surrealistic music video that gave the song so much exposure, but most of all, it’s because it is emotionally gripping.

When the song builds, it really builds when Gotye lets out his emotions. The song really starts to grab your attention the moment Gotye belts “But you didn’t have to CUT ME OFF!” For a song about a lost love, Gotye and Kimbra sell the story and drama very well. Kimbra was a nice addition to the song as she adds her own perspective, establishing more on the broken relationship in the process. To sum up all my thoughts on the song, it’s an unforgettable and charming breakup ballad. The melody is unforgettable, the lyrics are memorable, Kimbra’s vocals are pleasant, and Gotye’s vocals provide the song with an intense feeling. For all those good reasons, this my absolute favorite hit of that year and one of my favorite year-end number ones in general.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Work Out – J. Cole (#11)
Rolling in the Deep – Adele (Backwash honorable mention)
Die Young – Kesha
So Good – B.o.B.
Paradise – Coldplay
Mercy – G.O.O.D. Music (Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz)
Love You Like a Love Song – Selena Gomez & The Scene
Glad You Came – The Wanted
We Are Young – fun. Featuring Janelle Monae
Set Fire to the Rain – Adele

 

 

Steel’s Bottom/Top 10 Hit Songs of 2013

 

Now that we’ve moved onto the year 2013 in pop, let’s break down every other year from this decade that I’ve covered, including this particular year. So, where does 2013 end up?

1. 2013
2. 2015
3. 2017
4. 2011
5. 2012
6. 2010
7. 2016
8. 2014

Yep, right at the top. Clearly enough, there’s a lot of good things I could say about 2013 in pop music, but before I get to that, I’m going to compare notes with every other pop year I’ve covered. The year-end list for 2014 sucked, with a vast scarcity of excellent pop songs. 2016 had a lot of bad stuff this year which was made it interesting compared to 2014, and it’s such a pity that it came before 2015, a year in which proved to be a major step-up. 2010: a little over the same level of quality as 2016. 2012: A strangely iconic year with a great amount of both good and bad hits. 2011: An immense disparity in its level of quality compared to 2010. 2017 was pop at its most diverse so far into this decade, whilst being provided with a lot of gems. 2015 was a major step-up from the lackluster year that it succeeded. However, it leaves a deep scar when it comes to songs like “Dear Future Husband,” “Watch Me,” and…”Marvin Gaye.”

My rankings are very much like the typical Star Trek movie rankings, except it’s odd over even in this case. Some of you folks probably feel baffled that I consider 2013’s year-end list to be the best out of what we got so far into the decade. However, my appreciation towards this year in pop has to do with the fact that it’s a great year musically. 2013’s year-end list is just scratching the surface when it comes to brilliant music that came out that year. We got great albums from names including and not limited to Queens of the Stone Age, CHVRCHES, Daft Punk, The National, Janelle Monae, Arcade Fire (…speaking to those who are a bigger fan of this act much more than I am), and to a lesser extent, Kanye West. Another good way to describe 2013 in music is that it’s a year that’s so good, My Bloody Valentine came back to release a new album after 22 years.

2013’s year-end list is full of great pop songs and it’s gotten to the point where I decided to extend my list of ten honorable mentions into a list of twenty. Of course, I’ll have to talk about the B.O. from that year first. Why I ranked 2013 over 2015 is mainly because most of these songs are boring bad than irritatingly bad, so my #1 will be my most docile choice compared to my other number one worst crowners. Anyways, bottom 10 hit songs of 2013, let’s go:

 

Worst:

Spoiler

 

10. Holy Grail / Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake

‘Cluttered’ is pretty much the best word to describe my feelings towards “Holy Grail,” and it really pains me to put it on my list since it has the names of Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake attached to it. This song is the second collaboration between the two after “Suit & Tie,” and it deals with the love/hate relationship of fame. So, what’s the central issue I have with the song? It’s the lack of sincerity. Holy Grail” tackles on the typical “being famous sucks” message, but it goes on to express that it’s also worth having as much glory. Besides that, we have one particular verse where, in the form of an interpolation of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Timberlake and Jay-Z chant that they’re all just entertainers. They’re stupid and contagious, but they’re still just entertainers. Oh, you poor souls…

However, one detail about the song that gets me off the most is that the archetype of a bad girlfriend is used as a metaphor for fame. When it comes to that notion, the subtlety that the song tries to accomplish with is then lost on me. The way how Justin Timberlake’s opening verse and chorus tries to disguise the fact that “Holy Grail” isn’t particularly directed towards a woman just writes itself off when Jay-Z really starts to clear out that he’s talking about his relationship with fame:

I got haters in the paper
Photo shoots with paparazzi
Can't even take my daughter for a walk
See 'em by the corner store
I feel like I'm cornered off
Enough is enough
I'm calling this off

As justifiable as these lines may come off as, then would come these lines which correlate to why I feel as though that the song suffers from lack of sincerity:

Who the fuck I'm kidding though?
I'm getting high
Sitting low
Sliding by
In that big body

…And those lines are contradicted by the mere fact that fame is indeed a love-hate relationship for Jay-Z….

This fame hurt
But this chain works

‘It feels so bad, but why does it also feel so good?’ seems like the question that the song is asking. No matter the fact that the songwriting is really trying to be subtle, it’s still a mess. Jay-Z saves “Holy Grail” from getting any lower on my list since he still provides a good flow, as well as Justin Timberlake for his usually impressive vocals, but both can’t save the song’s jumbled message that is only a good old pat in the back for the two artists at the end of the day.

 

Spoiler

 

This one is going to hurt some folks...

 

9. Summertime Sadness / Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais

And no, I’m not talking about the original version by Lana herself that's so many miles better, I’m talking about the one version that actually charted: the remix. As much flack that other popular EDM songs from this year gets for being hollow, generic, overblown, and whatever else, I don’t see any reason for the remix of “Summertime Sadness” to exist. I feel as though that the meaning behind the original shouldn’t float on the same boat with the more upbeat-sounding EDM sound. That way, I just don’t see myself dancing to this. Just to sum up my thoughts, the electronic dance sound just absolutely strips away the depth and sincerity that the original has. The melancholic nature of the original is too solemn to work as a typical progressive house song. It’s also such a shame that this is the only instance of Lana Del Rey having a successful hit song on the pop charts (well except “Young and Beautiful,” but sadly, that did not earn enough points), as capitalizing on one of her songs being the only possible way for the singer to break through and land on the year-end list.

 

Spoiler

 

8. I Cry / Flo Rida

Flo Rida is on my list, and it doesn’t go by the name of “G.D.F.R.,” or “Whistle,” or any other song of his with otherwise bad reception. You know of that strategy that Flo Rida had done with “Good Feeling” where the sample is technically a sample itself? Flo Rida uses the same strategy on “I Cry,” in which it is a sample of “Cry (Just a Little)” by the Bingo Players, which samples “Piano in the Dark” by Brenda Russell. What differentiates “Good Feeling” from “I Cry” is that on the former, Flo Rida is trying to spread a message. That message is Flo Rida sending his condolences to victims of tragedies all across the world. However, that message is mixed in with occasional lines where Flo Rida strokes his ego. In fact, for a song with an emotional-sounding sample that’s there to try and make “I Cry” sound more deep, Flo Rida doesn’t sound so much like he’s trying to make the song sound as emotional as it suggests. In other words, “I Cry” is the type of song that just feels lost in its identity.

 

Spoiler

 

7. Started from the Bottom / Drake

While I’m still on the topic of musical artists stroking their egos…we got this song as well. Anybody who’s anybody that is a chart-watcher pretty much despised this song, and that’s not limited to me. Yet most music journalists were all over this song, so we have ourselves a song that really divided its listeners. “Started from the Bottom” is Drake at his most interchangeable. Compared to a lot of other tracks from his 2013 album, this song is a non-presence that is merely just a guaranteed hit on the pop charts. I can never seem to see myself caring about whatever Drake spouts of his rags to riches story, because I’ve heard it so many times before 2013 not only from a load of other rappers, but also from Drake himself – and Drake has done so much better than this.

 

Spoiler

 

6. Love Me / Lil Wayne featuring Drake and Future

…And welcome back to this list, Drake, but for Lil Wayne and Future, this only means ‘welcome.’ “Love Me…” there is much that I could say about this song. The songwriting makes me sick to my stomach and it’s just so sickening to listen to all the way through. The song could also serve as the epitome of misogyny in hip hop. The song is so bad and unpleasant, it’s somewhat amusing, but this isn’t one of the only songs of this kind of nature that I will be talking about. The next one will be a little more in-depth…

 

Spoiler

 

5. I Knew You Were Trouble / Taylor Swift

But first…here is the lowest that Taylor Swift has ever gotten for me…up until “Look What You Made Me Do,” of course. “I Knew You Were Trouble” best exemplifies Taylor’s past musical identity crisis. The song begs the question of whether or not Taylor should stick to her guns as a country artist or move on as a pop artist, as she was always a pop artist in denial. One question I also get from the song is one directed towards Taylor: if you knew that guy was trouble when he walked in, then WHY did you let him walk into your life? Back on topic of the production, the song is predominately country…but then it adds electronic influences and that’s where the song ends up being such a mess.

To put it bluntly, the song and its execution is troubled, troubled, troubled.

 

Spoiler

 

4. U.O.E.N.O. / Rocko featuring Future and Rick Ross

I’ve seen this all over worst hits lists, and it’s not so hard to imagine why. I couldn’t put this any higher because at most, the song is pretty forgettable. Although, the result is still a big mess and it has its visible flaws. First off, the big elephant in the room: this song is about date rape. It’s a very tough subject for me to talk about, so let the lyrics speak for themselves when it comes to the song’s controversy. Then you have the artists featured on the song. While Rocko is just simply a non-presence on the song, Future’s presence is uncharismatic in most parts. Rick Ross’ flow is, arguably enough, a bit of a saving grace on the track, but the songwriting can’t save it. Speaking of which, even the songwriting and production is pretty terrible, straight down to the repetitive “you don’t even know it” line and the otherwise repetitive instrumentation. Yep, this is certainly one of those interestingly bad songs, as well as being disgusting. However, the year-end list for 2013 has proved that some of the worst songs can be one of the most insignificant…

 

Spoiler

 

3. Come and Get It / Selena Gomez

Making a choice between the solo careers of Miley, Selena, and Demi over the course of 2013, Selena had, hands down, the worst and most uninteresting direction. “Come and Get It” is a solid example of a song that suffers from a lack of substance and personality. However, I’ll admit that the Bollywood influenced production work is a pretty enough sight that saves this song from being my possible #1 worst. As for Selena Gomez’s performance, there isn’t really anything much that I compliment on. Selena appears to be trying so hard to put on an impression of Rihanna, especially with the accent. I just can’t buy any of it. It’s usually not a good sign when you have to borrow a personality of another musical artist. Overall, “Come and Get It” is a hollow shell of a song, but it’s not as disposable of a pop song as…

 

Spoiler

 

2. Roar / Katy Perry

Okay, so take some of the most beloved Katy Perry songs, but take away whatever pulse that they’ve had: that is how I would best describe “Roar.” However, it’s also an example of a song that really tries to substantial only to lack as much substance. The song is piled high on lyrical pop clichés, as well as female empowerment song clichés. In fact, I can’t seem to attain anything of interesting from the song at all. You know how bad it is when this song doesn’t leave you with much of anything else to say. I could also say that that the “oooooh-oh-oh-oh oh-oh-oh” (or a variation of the millennial whoop, as the kids are calling it these days) in the chorus is irritating to listen to, though. At the end of the day, “Roar” is such a worthless song, but what could possibly beat it to the top of my bottom 10?

 

 

Spoiler

 

1. Scream & Shout / will.i.am featuring Britney Spears

This choice doesn’t seem so surprising, but still, there’s little to nothing that I can defend about this song. “Scream & Shout” is an audio trainwreck all the way through. Production-wise, the buzzing synths are irritating. The chorus is incredibly subdued in addition to Britney Spears’ vocals that just don’t match very well with will.i.am’s auto-tuned vocals. The songwriting is nothing more than indistinguishable even from will.i.am’s past work with The Black Eyed Peas. Last of all, the bridge is one of the dullest bridges I’ve heard from any pop song in most recent memory.

When you hear this in the club
You're gonna turn this shit up
You're gonna turn this shit up
You're gonna turn this shit up

More like turn it down, am I right? Ha, I’m so original.

 

 

Dishonorable mentions:

Cruise (remix) – Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly (#11)
#thatpower – will.i.am featuring Justin Bieber
One More Night – Maroon 5 (Backwash dishonorable mention)
Harlem Shake – Baauer
Pour It Up – Rihanna
Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I.
The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?) – Ylvis
Let Her Go – Passenger
Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
I’m Different – 2 Chainz

 

Best:

Spoiler

 

10. Sweet Nothing / Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch

After going on about how I’ve grown to really appreciate Calvin Harris’ music, this is the first song of his that appears on my top ten and not “Feels” nor “Slide.” How this song became such a grower stems from the impressive chops from both Harris and Welch. Also, one common criticism when it comes to EDM songs, whereas a singer provides his/her vocals for the track, is that the lack of substance for the song itself makes some listeners feel like a particular singer has been reduced to nothing. This is not the case for “Sweet Nothing,” which is, amusingly enough, about letting out the inner frustrations of being in a relationship with little to no substance. On top of that, when I hear Florence Welch’s voice and emotions throughout the track, I don’t feel like that I could hear anyone else singing it. I can easily hear and visualize those vocals coming from Welch herself, and it gives me the feeling like the song was made to measure her vocals.

Calvin Harris’ production was also something that I felt impressed with. The instrumentation not only makes the song such a solid banger, but the drop also very well parallels to the inner frustrations that Welch lets loose.

 

Spoiler

 

9. Mama’s Broken Heart / Miranda Lambert

When I see people talking about country songs successfully crossing over well enough to make the year-end list, I don’t see as many people talking about this song or Miranda Lambert as much. Granted, I am not the biggest fan of “The House That Built Me” and “Somethin’ Bad,” but this song in particular is a solid tune that very well justifies Lambert as one of the best country hit makers. The song appears to be about being driven to insanity after a bad breakup and Miranda manages to really sell the drama. The songwriting in “Mama’s Broken Heart” is a very solid representation of a poor mental state after a breakup, with the singer, as portrayed in the song, goes from experiencing emotional fallouts to contemplating revenge while her mother tries to convince her that to move past the breakup and try to hide the anger that’s beneath her. However, the heartbroken girl can’t see herself moving on from her failed relationship as modestly as her mother has since times are different.

Overall, this song is a hidden gem on the year-end list, and to boot, it’s a very well-written country song that hit big in the timeframe where crossover country hits were more reliant on pop and led to the bro-country phase. Also, when you consider the fact that “Mama’s Broken Heart” is penned by Brandy Clark and Kacey Musgraves, you know it’s a good enough sign that would result into the song making my list.

 

Spoiler

 

8. Royals / Lorde

Lorde is a rare example of an artist breaking through and earning a #1 hit on the pop charts only to prove later on that she’s just too good for the pop charts. I’ve ranked this song on my top 10 for 2014, but it’s more fitting for me to have this song on my top 10 for the year it debuted on a year-end list. Since I’ve already expressed my thoughts towards the song, Ill just sum it all up: the instrumentation is very down to the bare minimum, but Lorde backs it up with her very peculiar, yet clever songwriting about the lifestyles of the rich and famous. It’s a very well-composed song especially given Lorde’s young age at the time. In addition, I really liked the vocal layering on the choruses too. For sure, it’s one of the best bits about “Royals.”

 

Spoiler

 

7. Still Into You / Paramore

Paramore’s self-titled album is a genuinely great one and it’s often overlooked by critics and even some fans. The album spawned two hits, one of which would end up being their biggest selling hit on the pop charts, and then there’s this one, which peaked at the very bottom of the year-end list. The least I could say about “Still Into You” is that it’s just a mindless fun, yet simple pop song. The band provides the song with their usual brand of charm, namely Hayley’s high-spirited personality and Jeremy’s catchy guitar hooks. It’s just amazing to see how Paramore can still continue to release consistently great music (but I find it hard to believe that Hayley is pushing 30 this year even though I’ve been familiar with the band for a little more than 10 years. Christ, I’m getting old).

 

Spoiler

 

6. Suit & Tie / Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z

After giving “Holy Grail” a spot on my bottom 10, the same two artists are redeemed on this collaboration, which is fronted by Justin Timberlake. While the song serves as a very welcome return for Timberlake, it also serves promising chemistry between him and Jay-Z. As usual, Timberlake continues to prove his singing capabilities and Jay-Z provides us with his vibrant bars. The instrumentation sounds lively as well, with the trap percussion being a good match-up with the old-school R&B sound. Lastly, “Suit & Tie” is just a really cool song in general. There’s no other way for me to sum it up than like that.

 

Spoiler

 

5. Swimming Pools (Drank) / Kendrick Lamar

It’s Kendrick Lamar’s first entry in the top 40 and one of his first entries on the year-end list. I can only imagine people telling me that this rank is too low for a hip hop song that’s as great as this. Anyways, Kendrick’s presence on the pop charts was a pleasant surprise, alongside the fact that this song became a big enough hit in 2013 to make the year-end list. It’s easy to see why “Swimming Pools (Drank)” is so beloved since I’m a bit of a sucker for dark sounding hip hop songs as well as songs about drugs or alcohol with a dark message beneath it.

The song tells a very solid story about the social pressure of committing to alcoholism. What’s important to note is that “Swimming Pools (Drank)” establishes on how becoming an addict for alcohol can make you and your life feel like a wreck at times. Kendrick also uses ‘swimming pool’ as a subtle hyperbole to how much alcohol some people tend to consume in their lifetimes. I could name a lot of other, greater songs from Kung Fu Kenny, but this subtlety written, ironic club song still strikes a chord on me and it very much solidifies Kendrick’s position as one of the most beloved rappers in this current time.

 

Spoiler

 

4. Little Talks / Of Monsters and Men

Suppose it’s a little too restraint that I have this song (and the very next one) ranked higher than “Swimming Pools (Drank),” but still, there’s a lot for me to love about “Little Talks.” For starters, there’s the music video. Now, as for the song itself, I’ve really come to appreciate the building, emotional intensity from the female and male vocalists. The song also boasts a unique sound to the band’s indie folk style. From what I could make out, the high energy trumpet sounds exemplifies the confidence that the two lovers have in themselves that they won’t even let death do part one another, while the softer moments exemplify the couple’s emotional thoughts and attachment towards each other. That impression that I have towards the song is pretty why I’m also fond of the bridge where the buildup just stops for a moment before that break of silence leads up to the song’s final build for the chorus. Overall, “Little Talks” is an incredibly endearing love ballad that is backed up by its unique textures and the emotional interplay from the vocals.

 

Spoiler

 

3. Can’t Hold Us / Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton

Apparently, this would be hip hop song that I would give the highest rank to, but I can never see how it wouldn’t. Yeah it’s easy to love, but the song is still uplifting, triumphant, and self-empowering in the right ways. “Can’t Hold Us” is a type of song that always puts me in the best mood. Macklemore delivers a great flow as well as pretty solid wordplay at some points. However, I speak for everyone when I say that the other two artists on the song overwhelm Macklemore’s presence. Ryan Lewis’ production work is absolutely remarkable, since it has comes packed with a diverse blend of sounds throughout the track, from the upbeat piano, to the African-influenced percussion, to the triumphant-sounding horns, to one portion of the song that is vocoded. I can’t forget to mention Ray Dalton’s presence as a hook singer, ‘because the guy’s baritone vocals really hit home. It’s just impossible not to dance to this song, and so it earns a spot on my list.

 

Spoiler

 

2. Locked Out of Heaven / Bruno Mars

When Bruno Mars came back with a new, lead-off single to redeem himself, he managed to do just as that, but by tremendously striking a chord on me. “Locked Out of Heaven” has a sound that I can best describe as the lovechild of James Brown, The Police, and Dire Straits. Surely, it doesn’t give the song as much sense of originality, but let’s face it: Bruno Mars has almost always been a throwback musician and as visible as those influences appear to be, I really do love how they sound. Now, I haven’t forgotten that the song also has a club sound…and I loved the production for that as well, taking into the account of the chorus. Bruno Mars himself sounds so happy to be alive, providing the song with one of his best vocal performances. Overall, it’s just so much fun listening to this song and it’s definitely Bruno Mars at his A-game.

 

 

Spoiler

 

1. Get Lucky / Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams

And of course, the #1 spot for this year would have to go to Daft Punk. It was only a matter of time before the DJ duo would land a massive hit on the American charts after already being so big in Europe. The way that the band replicates the old-school Disco sound is just so perfect while I also love how they give the song a bit of a modern twist with their signature charm. Pharrell Williams is also a great addition to the song, as his vocals very well match with the throwback disco sound. Yeah, the song can be repetitive at times, but the core melody is so infectious that you can’t even be mad about it. In conclusion, “Get Lucky” is a perfect-sounding pop song all the way through and it so rightfully earns my approval as the best hit song from 2013.

 

 

Honorable mentions:

Thrift Shop – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz (#11)
Adorn – Miguel (Backwash honorable mention)
Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
The Way – Ariana Grande featuring Mac Miller
Try – P!nk
Treasure – Bruno Mars
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em’ Up) – Fall Out Boy
A-Team – Ed Sheeran
Carry On – fun.
Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker
It’s Time – Imagine Dragons (Backwash honorable mention)
Some Nights – fun. (Backwash honorable mention)
22 – Taylor Swift
Fuckin Problems – A$AP Rocky featuring Drake, 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar
Berzerk – Eminem
Die Young – Kesha (Backwash honorable mention)
Body Party – Ciara
Power Trip – J. Cole featuring Miguel
Radioactive – Imagine Dragons
Highway Don’t Care – Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban

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This is just a little something extra for my music reviews. Until now, I haven't got around to posting my complete rankings for the 2010-2013 year-end lists. Sooner or later, I will also post my rankings for the 2014-2019 year-end lists (in an addition to an updated list for 2014-2017) for the purpose of giving you guys a good idea on how I felt about the decade in pop. But for now, here's my complete rankings for 2010-2013:

2010:

Spoiler

 

1. “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum

2. “Love the Way You Lie” – Eminem featuring Rihanna

3. “Teenage Dream” – Katy Perry

4. “Nothin’ on You” – B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars

5. “Bad Romance” – Lady Gaga

6. “California Gurls” – Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg

7. “Magic” – B.o.B. featuring Rivers Cuomo

8. “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” – Alicia Keys

9. “Club Can’t Handle Me” – Flo Rida

10. “Misery” – Maroon 5

11. “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” – Usher featuring Pitbull

12. “Use Somebody” – Kings of Leon

13. “Empire State of Mind” – Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys

14. “Not Afraid” – Eminem

15. “Animal” – Neon Trees

16. “Alejandro” – Lady Gaga

17. “Young Forever” – Jay-Z featuring Mr Hudson

18. “Find Your Love” – Drake

19. “According to You” – Orianthi

20. “Secrets” – OneRepublic

21. “Forever” – Drake featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem

22. “I Gotta Feeling” – The Black Eyed Peas

23. “Sweet Dreams” – Beyoncé

24. “There Goes My Baby” – Usher

25. “Already Gone” – Kelly Clarkson

26. “The Only Exception” – Paramore

27. “Tik Tok” – Kesha

28. “Meet Me Halfway” – The Black Eyed Peas

29. “Bulletproof” – La Roux

30. “Whataya Want from Me” – Adam Lambert

31. “Billionaire” – Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars

32. “Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)” – Alicia Keys

33. “My Chick Bad” – Ludacris featuring Nicki Minaj

34. “Impossible” – Shontelle

35. “The House That Built Me” – Miranda Lambert

36. “Haven’t Met You Met” – Michael Bublé

37. “Rude Boy” – Rihanna

38. “Your Love is My Drug” – Kesha

39. “Just the Way You Are” – Burno Mars

40. “Airplanes” – B.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams

41. “Today was a Fairytale” – Taylor Swift

42. “Paparazzi” – Lady Gaga

43. “Over” – Drake

44. “You Belong with Me” – Taylor Swift

45. “Baby” – Justin Bieber featuring Ludacris

46. “Ridin’ Solo” – Jason Derulo

47. “Breakeven” – The Script

48. “King of Anything” – Sara Bareilles

49. “Smile” – Uncle Kracker

50. “All the Right Moves” – OneRepublic

51. “Life After You” – Daughtry

52. “Carry Out” – Timbaland featuring Justin Timberlake

53. “I Made It” – Kevin Rudolf featuring Birdman, Jay Sean, and Lil Wayne

54. “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home)” – Usher featuring Plies

55. “All I Do Is Win” – DJ Khaled featuring T-Pain, Ludacris, Rick Ross, and Snoop Dogg

56. “Your Love” – Nicki Minaj

57. “American Honey” – Lady Antebellum

58. “Stuck Like Glue” – Sugarland

59. “Just a Dream” – Nelly

60. “Down” – Jay Sean featuring Lil Wayne

61. “I Like It” – Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull

62. “Only Girl (In the World)” – Rihanna

63. “How Low” – Ludacris

64. “Dynamite” – Taio Cruz

65. “Telephone” – Lady Gaga featuring Beyoncé

66. “Party in the U.S.A.” – Miley Cyrus

67. “Two Is Better Than One” – Boys Like Girls featuring Taylor Swift

68. “Right Above It” – Lil Wayne featuring Drake

69. “Fireflies” – Owl City

70. “Live Like We’re Dying” – Kris Allen

71. “Naturally” – Selena Gomez & The Scene

72. “Do You Remember” – Jay Sean featuring Sean Paul and Lil Jon

73. “Rock That Body” – The Black Eyed Peas

74. “Mine” – Taylor Swift

75. “Lover, Lover” – Jerrod Niemann

76. “Say Aah” – Trey Songz

77. “Take It Off” – Kesha

78. “Hard” – Rihanna

79. “Replay” – Iyaz

80. “3” – Britney Spears

81. “Say Something” – Timbaland featuring Drake

82. “In My Head” – Jason Derulo

83. “Bottoms Up” – Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj

84. “If I Die Young” – The Band Perry

85. “Teach Me How to Dougie” – Cali Swag District

86. “Eenie Meenie” – Sean Kingston featuring Justin Bieber

87. “Break Your Heart” – Taio Cruz featuring Ludacris

88. “Tie Me Down” – New Boyz featuring Ray J

89. “Whatcha Say” – Jason Derulo

90. “BedRock” – Young Money featuring Lloyd

91. “Blah Blah Blah” – Kesha featuring 3OH!3

92. “OMG” – Usher featuring will.i.am

93. “Undo It” – Carrie Underwood

94. “Hey Soul Sister” – Train

95. “My First Kiss” – 3OH!3 featuring Kesha

96. “Cooler Than Me” – Mike Posner

97. “Like a G6” – Far East Movement featuring The Cataracs and Dev

98. “Deuces” – Chris Brown featuring Tyga and Kevin McCall

99. “Imma Be” – The Black Eyed Peas

100. “Sexy Bitch” – David Guetta featuring Akon

 

2011:

Spoiler

 

1. “The Show Goes On” – Lupe Fiasco

2. “The Edge of Glory” – Lady Gaga

3. “Rolling in the Deep” – Adele

4. “Fuck You” – Cee Lo Green

5. “You and I” – Lady Gaga

6. “All the Lights” – Kanye West featuring Rihanna and Kid Cudi

7. “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” – Katy Perry

8. “Someone Like You” – Adele

9. “Stereo Love” – Edward Maya and Vika Jigulina

10. “6 Foot 7 Foot” – Lil Wayne featuring Cory Gunz

11. “On the Floor” – Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull

12. “Teenage Dream” – Katy Perry

13. “Yeah (3x)” – Chris Brown

14. “Moment 4 Life” – Nicki Minaj featuring Drake

15. “Firework” – Katy Perry

16. “More (remix)” – Usher

17. “Colder Weather” – Zac Brown Band

18. “Sure Thing” – Miguel

19. “I’m on One” – DJ Khaled featuring Drake, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne

20. “You Make Me Feel…” – Cobra Starship featuring Sabi

21. “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” – Usher

22. “Fuckin’ Perfect” – P!nk

23. “We R Who We R” – Kesha

24. “Animal” – Neon Trees

25. “Back to December” – Taylor Swift

26. “What’s My Name?” – Rihanna featuring Drake

27. “Stereo Hearts” – Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine

28. “Coming Home” – Diddy – Dirty Money featuring Skylar Grey

29. “In the Dark” – Dev

30. “Without You” – David Guetta featuring Usher

31. “Written in the Stars” – Tinie Tempah featuring Eric Turner

32. “Headlines” – Drake

33. “Pumped Up Kicks” – Foster the People

34. “Super Bass” – Nicki Minaj

35. “She Ain’t You” – Chris Brown

36. “You and Tequila” – Kenny Chesney featuring Grace Potter

37. “Best Thing I Never Had” – Beyoncé

38. “Raise Your Glass” – P!nk

39. “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” – Jake Owen

40. “Price Tag” – Jessie J featuring B.o.B.

41. “Cheers (Drink to That)” – Rihanna

42. “Blow” – Kesha

43. “Knee Deep” – Zac Brown Band featuring Jimmy Buffett

44. “My Last” – Big Sean featuring Chris Brown

45. “Good Life” – OneRepublic

46. “E.T.” – Katy Perry (solo or featuring Kanye West)

47. “God Gave Me You” – Blake Shelton

48. “Motivation” – Kelly Rowland featuring Lil Wayne

49. “Hold It Against Me” – Britney Spears

50. “Just the Way You Are” – Bruno Mars

51. “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” – Thompson Square

52. “Just Can’t Get Enough” – The Black Eyed Peas

53. “For the First Time” – The Script

54. “Don’t You Wanna Stay” – Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson

55. “Remind Me” – Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood

56. “Roll Up” – Wiz Khalifa

57. “Rocketeer” – Far East Movement featuring Ryan Tedder

58. “How to Love” – Lil Wayne

59. “I Need a Doctor” – Dr. Dre featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey

60. “Moves Like Jagger” – Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera

61. “Honey Bee” – Blake Shelton

62. “Dirt Road Anthem” – Jason Aldean

63. “Crazy Girl” – Eli Young Band

64. “Just a Dream” – Nelly

65. “Who Says” – Selena Gomez & The Scene

66. “Only Girl (In the World)” – Rihanna

67. “Take a Back Road” – Rodney Atkins

68. “I Wanna Go” – Britney Spears

69. “Just a Kiss” – Lady Antebellum

70. “Dynamite” – Taio Cruz

71. “Party Rock Anthem” – LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock

72. “S&M” – Rihanna

73. “Black and Yellow” – Wiz Khalifa

74. “No Hands” – Wacka Flocka Flame featuring Roscoe Dash and Wale

75. “Tonight I’m Fuckin’ You” – Enrique Iglesias featuring Ludacris and DJ Frank E

76. “Till the World Ends” – Britney Spears

77. “Please Don’t Go” – Mike Posner

78. “She Will” – Lil Wayne featuring Drake

79. “Pretty Girl Rock” – Keri Hilson

80. “Bottoms Up” – Trey Songz featuring Nicki Minaj

81. “Born This Way” – Lady Gaga

82. “What the Hell” – Avril Lavigne

83. “Backseat” – New Boyz featuring The Cataracs and Dev

84. “Give Me Everything” – Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo and Afrojack

85. “Down on Me” – Jeremih featuring 50 Cent

86. “If I Die Young” – The Band Perry

87. “Grenade” – Bruno Mars

88. “Where Them Girls At” – David Guetta featuring Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj

89. “Like a G6” – Far East Movement featuring The Cataracs and Dev

90. “Jar of Hearts” – Christina Perri

91. “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)” – Luke Bryan

92. “The Lazy Song” – Bruno Mars

93. “The Time (Dirty Bit)” – The Black Eyed Peas

94. “Don’t Wanna Go Home” – Jason Derulo

95. “Lighters” – Bad Meets Evil featuring Bruno Mars

96. “Look at Me Now” – Chris Brown featuring Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne

97. “Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor)” – Pitbull featuring T-Pain

98. “We Found Love” Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris

99. “Sexy and I Know It” – LMFAO

100. “Tonight Tonight” – Hot Chelle Rae

 

2012:

Spoiler

 

1. “Somebody That Used to Know” – Gotye featuring Kimbra

2. “Everybody Talks” – Neon Trees

3. “Climax” – Usher

4. “[Racial Expletives] In Paris” – Jay-Z and Kanye West

5. “Adorn” – Miguel

6. “It’s Time” – Imagine Dragons

7. “Some Nights” – fun.

8. “Blown Away” – Carrie Underwood

9. “Give Your Heart a Break” – Demi Lovato

10. “Good Time” – Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen

11. “Work Out” – J. Cole

12. “Rolling in the Deep” – Adele

13. “Die Young” – Kesha

14. “So Good” – B.o.B.

15. “Paradise” – Coldplay

16. “Mercy” – Kanye West featuring Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz

17. “Glad You Came” – The Wanted

18. “Love You Like a Love Song” – Selena Gomez & The Scene

19. “We Are Young” – fun. featuring Janelle Monae

20. “Set Fire to the Rain” – Adele

21. “Someone Like You” – Adele

22. “Wide Awake” – Katy Perry

23. “Wild Ones” – Flo Rida featuring Sia

24. “Scream” – Usher

25. “Rumour Has It” – Adele

26. “Good Girl” – Carrie Underwood

27. “Red Solo Cup” – Toby Keith

28. “Lights” – Ellie Goulding

29. “Let’s Go” – Calvin Harris featuring Ne-Yo

30. “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers

31. “Stereo Hearts” – Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine

32. “Take Care” – Drake featuring Rihanna

33. “Without You” – David Guetta featuring Usher

34. “Young, Wild, and Free” – Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg featuring Bruno Mars

35. “Fly Over States” – Jason Aldean

36. “Springsteen” – Eric Church

37. “Call Me Maybe” – Carly Rae Jepsen

38. “The One That Got Away” – Katy Perry

39. “Want U Back” – Cher Lloyd

40. “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” – Eli Young Band

41. “Work Hard, Play Hard” – Wiz Khalifa

42. “Heart Attack” – Trey Songz

43. “Titanium” – David Guetta featuring Sia

44. “Burn It Down” – Linkin Park

45. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – Kelly Clarkson

46. “Gangnam Style” – Psy

47. “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” – Train

48. “5 O’Clock” – T-Pain featuring Wiz Khalifa and Lily Allen

49. “Pontoon” – Little Big Town

50. “Dance (A$$)” – Big Sean featuring Nicki Minaj

51. “I Won’t Give Up” – Jason Mraz

52. “Ass Back Home” – Gym Class Heroes featuring Neon Hitch

53. “International Love” – Pitbull featuring Chris Brown

54. “Hard to Love” – Lee Brice

55. “As Long as You Love Me” – Justin Bieber featuring Big Sean

56. “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)” – Ne-Yo

57. “Moves Like Jagger” – Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera

58. “Not Over You” – Gavin DeGraw

59. “Come Over” – Kenny Chesney

60. “Don’t Wake Me Up” – Chris Brown

61. “Take a Little Ride” – Jason Aldean

62. “Diamonds” – Rihanna

63. “Cashin’ Out” – Cash Out

64. “Whistle” – Flo Rida

65. “Part of Me” – Katy Perry

66. “I Don’t Want This Night to End” – Luke Bryan

67. “Party Rock Anthem” – LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock

68. “Home” – Phillip Phillips

69. “No Lie” – 2 Chainz featuring Drake

70. “Pound the Alarm” – Nicki Minaj

71. “A Thousand Years” – Christina Perri

72. “Turn Up the Music” – Chris Brown

73. “Domino” – Jessie J

74. “What Makes You Beautiful” – One Direction

75. “Payphone” – Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa

76. “Good Feeling” – Flo Rida

77. “Drunk on You” – Luke Bryan

78. “You da One” – Rihanna

79. “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck” – Kip Moore

80. “We Run the Night” – Havana Brown featuring Pitbull

81. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – Taylor Swift

82. “Back in Time” – Pitbull

83. “Wanted” – Hunter Hayes

84. “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” – P!nk

85. “The Motto” – Drake featuring Lil Wayne

86. “Brokenhearted” – Karmin

87. “Drank in My Cup” – Kirko Bangz

88. “We Found Love” – Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris

89. “Sexy and I Know It” – LMFAO

90. “Boyfriend” – Justin Bieber

91. “Feel So Close” – Calvin Harris

92. “One More Night” – Maroon 5

93. “Starships” – Nicki Minaj

94. “Where Have You Been” – Rihanna

95. “Rack City” – Tyga

96. “It Will Rain” – Bruno Mars

97. “Too Close” – Alex Clare

98. “Turn Me On” – David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj

99. “Drive By” – Train

100. “Birthday Cake (remix)” – Rihanna featuring Chris Brown

 

2013:

Spoiler

 

1. “Get Lucky” – Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams

2. “Locked Out of Heaven” – Bruno Mars

3. “Can’t Hold Us” – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton

4. “Little Talks” – Of Monsters and Men

5. “Swimming Pools (Drank)” – Kendrick Lamar

6. “Suit & Tie” – Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z

7. “Still Into You” – Paramore

8. “Royals” – Lorde

9. “Mama’s Broken Heart” – Miranda Lambert

10. “Sweet Nothing” – Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch

11. “Thrift Shop” – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz

12. “Adorn” – Miguel

13. “Mirrors” – Justin Timberlake

14. “The Way” – Ariana Grande featuring Mac Miller

15. “Try” – P!nk

16. “Treasure” – Bruno Mars

17. “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em’ Up)” – Fall Out Boy

18. “A-Team” – Ed Sheeran

19. “Carry On” – fun.

20. “Wagon Wheel” – Darius Rucker

21. “It’s Time” – Imagine Dragons

22. “Some Nights” – fun.

23. “Die Young” – Kesha

24. “22” – Taylor Swift

25. “Fuckin Problems” – A$AP Rocky featuring Drake, 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar

26. “Berzerk” – Eminem

27. “Body Party” – Ciara

28. “Power Trip” – J. Cole featuring Miguel

29. “Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons

30. “Highway Don’t Care” – Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban

31. “Counting Stars” – OneRepublic

32. “Ho Hey” – The Lumineers

33. “Wake Me Up!” Avicii

34. “I Need Your Love” – Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding

35. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” – Drake featuring Majid Jordan

36. “I Love It” – Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX

37. “Heart Attack” – Demi Lovato

38. “Best Song Ever” – One Direction

39. “Catch My Breath” – Kelly Clarkson

40. “Same Love” – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert

41. “Bad” – Wale featuring Tiara Thomas

42. “I Want Crazy” – Hunter Hayes

43. “#Beautiful” – Mariah Carey featuring Miguel

44. “I Will Wait” – Mumford & Sons

45. “Brave” – Sara Bareilles

46. “Applause” – Lady Gaga

47. “Gone, Gone, Gone” – Phillip Phillips

48. “Get Your Shine On” – Florida Georgia Line

49. “Next to Me” – Emeli Sandé

50. “Don’t You Worry Child” – Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin

51. “When I Was Your Man” – Bruno Mars

52. “Gangnam Style” – Psy

53. “Just Give Me a Reason” – P!nk featuring Nate Ruess

54. “Downtown” – Lady Antebellum

55. “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” – Randy Houser

56. “Girl on Fire” – Alicia Keys

57. “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself)” – Ne-Yo

58. “Safe and Sound” – Capital Cities

59. “Daylight” – Maroon 5

60. “Sure Be Cool If You Did” – Blake Shelton

61. “Sail” – AWOLNATION

62. “Demons” – Imagine Dragons

63. “Troublemaker” – Olly Murs featuring Flo Rida

64. “The Other Side” – Jason Derulo

65. “It Goes Like This” – Thomas Rhett

66. “Diamonds” – Rihanna

67. “We Can’t Stop” – Miley Cyrus

68. “Bugatti” – Ace Hood featuring Future and Rick Ross

69. “Hall of Fame” – The Script featuring will.i.am

70. “Beauty and a Beat” – Justin Bieber featuring Nicki Minaj

71. “Home” – Phillip Phillips

72. “Clarity” – Zedd featuring Foxes

73. “Boys ‘Round Here” – Blake Shelton featuring Pistol Annies

74. “That’s My Kind of Night” – Luke Bryan

75. “Love Somebody” – Maroon 5

76. “Stay” – Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko

77. “Crash My Party” – Luke Bryan

78. “Feel This Moment” – Pitbull featuring Christina Aguilera

79. “Wanted” – Hunter Hayes

80. “Cups” – Anna Kendrick

81. “I’m Different” – 2 Chainz

82. “Wrecking Ball” – Miley Cyrus

83. “Let Her Go” – Passenger

84. “Pour It Up” – Rihanna

85. “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” – Ylvis

86. “Harlem Shake” – Baauer

87. “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I.

88. “One More Night” – Maroon 5

89. “#thatpower” – will.i.am featuring Justin Bieber

90. “Cruise (remix)” – Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly

91. “Holy Grail” – Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake

92. “Summertime Sadness (remix)” – Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais

93. “I Cry” – Flo Rida

94. “Started from the Bottom” – Drake

95. “Love Me” – Lil Wayne featuring Drake and Future

96. “I Knew You Were Trouble” – Taylor Swift

97. “U.O.E.N.O.” – Rocko featuring Future and Rick Ross

98. “Come and Get It” – Selena Gomez

99. “Roar” – Katy Perry

100. “Scream and Shout” – will.i.am featuring Britney Spears

 

 

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Music

 

Steel Ranks the Alternative Hits of 2008

 

Okay, so I have finally given myself the time to talk about 2008 in alternative music. Was it as bad as I said it was? Not very, but it was definitely a weird year for the Alternative Songs chart. Now you may be asking me how weird I mean. For starters, this was the year that both Guns n’ Roses and AC/DC, both debuted on the chart. They didn’t have any prior history on Alternative Songs and they had no other song chart on there since then. Most of all, despite what you may believe may be the period where alternative radio has been starting to shift towards the indie scene, 2008 for the alternative charts was ruled by the remnants of post-grunge and nu-metal’s success. Besides perhaps Foo Fighters, the only song on the year-end top ten that is distant from either of those two categories is Weezer with “Pork & Beans.”

Likewise with my past Alternative Songs yearly review, I’m going to be ranking every song that charted during 2008, specifically the December 2007-November 2008 tracking period. That very period amounts to a total of 164 songs that I have to rank. Of course, I’m starting off with the bad stuff and let me assure you all that you’re going to be seeing a lot of songs that fall under the post-grunge or nu-metal category in my bottom 10. This list won’t feel like much of a surprise, but you’ll be happy to never have to hear any of these songs otherwise…

 

Worst:

Spoiler

 

Hoobastank, more like…yeah, the joke writes itself.
 

10. My Turn / Hoobastank

I bet you guys didn’t know there’s more to this band than just “The Reason.” Sure, you would’ve already known that if “Crawling in the Dark” and/or “Running Away” rang a bell for you, but most people probably don’t know that there was more to this group after “The Reason” became a hit. Funny thing I should say, for a song that’s about the group wondering when it’s their turn, “My Turn” solidified that Hoobastank couldn’t leave a lasting impression as this is the very last song that they’ve ever got to chart on Alternative Songs.

It’s not hard to imagine why because the production on this song feels very paint-by numbers and Doug Robb’s singing is horrendous, in addition to being a pretty far cry from his vocal work on the band’s three biggest hits.

 

Spoiler

 

9. Do What You Do / Mudvayne

Before I go over the problems that I have with this song, I just want to point out that I have listened to a few other songs from the band, and even then, I still can’t say that I’m so much of an open book on Mudvayne. This is the type of band that I can definitely say is not for everyone and they’re not for me.

Now, the main problem I have with “Do What You Do” is very simple: for a song that details a messy breakup, it is overdramatic af, from the imagery in the lyrics to the overblown sentiments from the singer. I could at least see that this is the main point of the song is to come off as ugly as the broken relationship, but the sound is too ugly for my tastes, and well…poorly written or thinly veiled breakup songs are generally my kryptonite. What else can I say from there?

 

Spoiler

 

So, let’s actually take a small break from the post-grunge and nu-metal and focus on one act that stems from a different category. Before I go on about the song, I feel the need to ask one question: who here
remembers Anberlin or the mere fact that this song of theirs got to #1 at one point?

8. Feel Good Drag / Anberlin

To give you guys a little history on the group and the song in particular, Anberlin are an alternative/emo rock group hailing from Florida. “Feel Good Drag” was originally a deep cut from the band’s 2005 album “Never Take Friendship Personal,” when it was known as “The Feel Good Drag.” Because of the track’s popularity among fans, it was re-recorded and released as a single for the band’s 2008 album. It began to chart on alt that same year while slowing climbing to #1 during 2009.

As far as I’m only concerned, I’ve seen some good praise for this song, but despite my attempts to try and see its charm, I actually think this song blows hard. First of all, there’s the chorus section of the track that I can’t stand where the singer’s guttural howl sounds more like Mark the alien from the Fairly OddParents the more that I listen to it. Second, there are some of the lyrics which come off as painfully vague until you dig deeper into them to understand what they mean.

Third, and worst of all, once you do dig deeper into the lyrics, you’ll actually notice the “feel good drag” that isn’t acknowledged in the lyrics is about a love affair with a woman who’s already in a committed relationship. So THEN, you’ll also begin to realize that the subject (or singer) in question, while using devil-like metaphors to describe this woman, is enabling this and deflecting the blame on her for this so-called feel good drag. Do I really have to try and justify this? Finally, and this is a niptick on my part, there’s this particular line, at the very beginning of the chorus:

Was this over before it ever began?

Gee, I don’t know, but you did contradict that question not long after:

This was over before it ever began

And that’s my cue to move on to the next song on this list…

 

Spoiler

 

Ugh, Theory of a Deadman.
 

7. Bad Girlfriend / Theory of a Deadman

Surprisingly, this song is only this high on my bottom 10. That should give you folks a good idea on how bad the bad songs of this year are looking. As for my thoughts on the song…well come on, what can I really say? They’re Theory of a Deadman. They are perhaps the ugliest band to have ever come out into the post-grunge scene while also having the least amount of redeemable qualities out of any other act. Trust me: this band is bad for more than just being a discount Nickelback (despite the fact that the band is signed by none other than Chad Kroeger). Just listen to this song and take a look at the lyrics and I won’t have to justify my feelings on the song so much.

“Bad Girlfriend” is only at #7 on my bottom 10 because Theory of a Deadman has only done worse, MUCH WORSE. Don’t think that I’m done with these sleazebags.

 

Spoiler

 

While I have no plans to cover the year-end Hot 100 for 2008, I’ll at least say that there were four songs that charted on alternative during 2008 that also made the year-end list, and in terms of my year-end Hot 100 rankings, all four songs would’ve made my bottom 10. In terms of me ranking every song that charted on alternative during said year, however, only this song made the cut:
 

6. Addicted / Saving Abel

Saving Abel is without a doubt a classic example of a Nickelback clone that failed to overcome their one-hit wonder status. “Addicted” is a sex song that’s filthy to the bone, but not in a complimentary way of saying it. While the song has a serviceable hook in its guitar intro, the sound and songwriting really begin to fall apart once as it progresses. There’s little to nothing that makes the singer come across any less unlikeable and there’s little to nothing that makes the song feel any less like objectification. It’s a plain and simple way for me to express my thoughts on the song, but it’s the best that it can be described.

 

Spoiler

 

Ugh, Kid Rock.
 

5. So Hott / Kid Rock

Like the previous ToaD song that I’ve briefly discussed, I don’t need to justify my feelings so much on this one either. It needs to be heard to be believed for why it’s on my bottom 10. “So Hott” is only this high on my bottom 10 because, let’s face it, while most of us can agree that Kid Rock has almost always been a talentless hack, him being terrible on a song isn’t really so surprising in 2007/2008. This is still a terrible song, but it’s not as quite as notoriously bad to me as the four songs below it.

 

Spoiler

 

Of course, when it comes 2008 and its Saving Abels, it’s also not without its Hinders…
 

4. Use Me / Hinder

Okay, so take Saving Abel’s “Addicted,” but take away whatever it was that kept it from my bottom five. Make the singer’s vocals more irritating, make the singer come across as even more unlikeable, and make the lyrics come across as even more objectifying. In a nutshell, these are my thoughts on “Use Me.”

 

Spoiler

 

3. Undead / Hollywood Undead

…So, imagine you’re a high school student in the mid-to-late 2000s, okay? Now imagine that you’ve come across this particular clique that constantly spouts homophobic slurs at you and wears the edgiest kind of clothing imaginable. Now imagine that this same clique have started a band of their own. Their influences flipped between…say, “classic” nu-metal and rap rock acts like Disturbed, Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Bloodhound Gang. Of course, they would also be making a living by sharing their music through a platform like MySpace.

Put all these images together and you’ll be able to visualize this very group. While all these descriptions don’t completely define Hollywood Undead, they still make up the feeling that I get when I listen to songs like “Undead” and this band in general: I feel like I’m listening to a bunch of edgelords trying their hardest to sound intimidating. I would definitely not recommend wasting your time on this one. Once you’ve heard the first verse, you’ve pretty much heard the entire song and one less listen means not having to endure some of the homophobic slurs within the lyrics.

 

Spoiler

 

If you still don’t think that 2008 was a strange year for alternative hits, let it be known that we gave Puddle of Mudd another #1 hit on the chart that year...
 

2. Psycho / Puddle of Mudd

This song may be, without a doubt, a solid candidate for the worst #1 hit on the alternative chart. “Psycho” speaks for itself on the kind of mood that the song displays. The band wears its usual brand of ugliness on its sleeve, Wes Scantlin’s vocal chops are unbearable, the increasing wall of sound in the song reeks of overproduction, and then there’s the “I’m/you’re the one who is the schizophrenic psycho” bit that just rubs me the wrong way. Heck, I could say the same about that last part towards the rest of the song. …Yet, one other song managed to beat it out of the top spot…

 

Spoiler

 

So, what’s one lesson that we, the listeners, and just about any alternative act have learned? No one wants to be a Theory of a Deadman, not even the band themselves…
 

1. So Happy / Theory of a Deadman

While I couldn’t say much about “Bad Girlfriend,” I can definitely justify putting this at the top of my worst list. Of course, the difference between the two songs is that “Bad Girlfriend” involves the singer owing some respect to the very subject of the song while “So Happy” is a kiss-off to someone who may or may not be the same woman on “Bad Girlfriend.” If you know me and poorly written breakup songs, you probably already know how I feel about this.

Among all charting alternative hits in 2008 of this type, “So Happy” is definitely the most…sexist of the bunch. Strong choice of words, I know, but the point that I’m trying to make here is that my hatred of this song comes down to this one particular line at the end of each chorus:

I’m so happy that I threw you away

This translates to me that the singer or the band as a whole tend to treat women as objects and I don’t think anything can convince me otherwise that it means something else. What makes my thoughts on the song worse is the how the singer (or again, the entire group) is constantly painting himself as the victim while the lyrics don’t try at all to justify it. This is something that I really hate seeing in breakup/kiss-off songs like this and what makes this case noteworthy is when you consider what I said before that Theory of a Deadman are perhaps the ugliest band in the post-grunge scene. So yeah, even if I can easily tell that the ex-girlfriend is the bad guy here, the behavior displayed from ToaD in the lyrics makes it hard for me to sympathize for them otherwise.

Time to move on to the best list now. I'm so happy that I threw this song and ToaD away.

 

 

Best:

Spoiler

 

10. Human / The Killers

Say what you will about the band being not as spectacular as they were on “Hot Fuss,” as long as this group can still craft a solid tune like “Human,” The Killers are still a great band in my books. I’m sure a lot of you can agree too that “Human” is one of The Killers’ best songs. It’s a near-perfect synthpop/rock song. Brandon Flowers’s vocal performance is gorgeous on the track and his delivery helps make the song as uplifting and emotional as it intends to be.

Is the songwriting as good though? As a matter of fact, yes. Most of the time actually, ‘cause certainly, I can’t talk about “Human” without acknowledging one particular line that I know most people talk about:

Are we human?
Or are we dancer?

As befuddling as this set of lyrics is, should we all have to dwell on what this is supposed to mean? If you ask me, I find this easy to ignore, and I do tend to ignore this because trying to analyze something from such a mindless fun song pretty much sucks away the fun from it. Are we human? Or are we dancer? Who knows? What matters most is that “Human” is another of The Killers’ greats.

 

Spoiler

 

9. Is There a Ghost / Band of Horses

For those who are unfamiliar with Band of Horses, may this song serve as your introduction to this underrated group. Considering that this song is only 14 words long, you wouldn’t think I wouldn’t compose as much commentary, but I thought Band of Horses managed to do something very spectacular with the minimalism of the songwriting. “Is There a Ghost” is already specific in what it entails without appearing too obvious. It’s about the subject’s fear and anxiety that there may be a ghost inside his/her house.

Then, of course, there is the instrumentation and how it illustrates the song’s narrative. The song builds up until you can hear the flourishing guitar. That very well describes the song’s intensity and puts the subject’s feeling of panic into more detail. Simple yet effective, “Is There a Ghost” does not fail to impress.

 

Spoiler

 

 

You guys can tell by me posting a video for “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid,” that the particular song is not on my top ten. However, the song is one of few painful cuts that I’ve had to make. Although, I did make room for another song from The Offspring, it’s one that I believe is also partially responsible for temporarily putting them back on the map…

8. Hammerhead / The Offspring

While I haven’t actually listened to an album in full that’s from this band, I do still consider myself quite a fan of The Offspring. For a lot of singles that the band has released, they show to have a very good ear for melody as they have quite energy and a vocalist to back them up. “Hammerhead” is absolutely no exception to what the group is capable of doing. Simply put, the song is a huge punk rock banger. However, there is something quite shocking about this song as well. No joke, this song is about a school shooter controlled by his temptation to kill and it is told from his perspective:

And you can all hide behind your desks now
And you can cry 'teacher come help me!'

Fully realizing what the song is about and that the sheer energy that it possesses intends to somewhat invoke a feeling of danger, I should feel disturbed by it, but yet I don’t. What’s more surprising is despite the song’s disturbing lyrical content, “Hammerhead” is still an unashamedly fun song to listen to. So yeah, it can give off an uneasy feeling, but The Offspring still managed to make a song like this work very well.

 

Spoiler

 

7. Conquest / The White Stripes

I cannot express so much more on why I absolutely love The White Stripes. Truth be told, this song is not one of the band’s own writings, but it’s actually a cover of the original by Patti Page. Simply as it is for to explain my thoughts on this cover, I really love just how much flavor and bravado that Jack and Meg White add to this. For example, a rough blues guitar sound is added to the song, courtesy of Jack White, and it meshes with “Conquest’s” Latin-style sound very well, especially in the middle. Enough said, “Conquest” just absolutely rocks.

 

Spoiler

 

I bet some of you guys didn’t know that Vampire Weekend’s first appearance on the alternative chart was way back in 2008. So, here we are…
 

6. A-Punk / Vampire Weekend

With all fairness though, some of you actually recognized this song after having heard it from an Apple commercial. Like the previous song I’ve discussed, I don’t think I need to express so much of my feelings towards this one. It’s a very fun, yet fairly short, indie rock song. It has a really nice and catchy guitar line to compliment it as well as some creatively written lyrics to back up a song that’s arguably not the band’s most innovative. Oh, and the music video is great too, go ahead and watch that if you’re interested.

 

Spoiler

 

5. Violet Hill / Coldplay

“Violet Hill” is hands down Coldplay’s best song (or second-best only behind “The Scientist,” depending on my mood). The best way to describe my feelings towards this song is that it’s a flurry of emotions. It’s rebellious. It’s angry. It’s somber. Even in a few places (most preferably at the end), it’s delicate as well. In other words, it’s one of those moments where the band come off as most interesting and it’s one of those moments where they are at their roughest – and that distinction is the main highlight I have towards this song.

Looking into the songwriting, “Violet Hill” is a protest song against having your life being controlled by others and I can absolutely buy that. The band really nails it with the imagery in the lyrics to illustrate their point and their feelings of being restrained of their self-being. Going back to what I said about the song being the band at their roughest, that’s where I get into the instrumentation, which I also find to be very solid. The guitar distortion and the aggressive piano lines backs up Chris Martin’s perishing vocals nicely. The use of synthesizers at the beginning and the delicate piano sounds at the end also very well establishes the beauty of this song.

Even if you can’t stand Coldplay because you find them uninteresting or boring as sin, I’d still highly suggest giving this a listen.

 

Spoiler

 

4. I Will Possess Your Heart / Death Cab for Cutie

Yes, the song is eight minutes in length for its guitar intro. Trust me though on this: the song is definitely worth listening to in full for that. It’s certainly one of the best guitar buildups for a non-progressive rock song. Anyways, if it’s not already clear, “I Will Possess Your Heart” is one of DCfC’s darker songs in their catalogue and the way that the band manages to pull off this dark and moody tone is the main reason why this song is so high up on my list.

Once you’re familiar with the lyrical content of this song, you’ll find yourself making comparisons to “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, and I can fully understand that. Like the particular song from The Police, “I Will Possess Your Heart” is about a stalker trying to get through to a woman he’s into, and it’s in disguise of a love song. Uncanny resemblance aside, what sets the DCfC song apart is that the instrumentation gives away a bit of a clear hint about the song’s true nature (keep in mind what I’ve said before about the progressive guitar intro). Other than that, Ben Gibbard delivers a rather stoic performance to coincide with the song’s uneasy atmosphere.

It’s not usual for a band like Death Cab for Cutie to compose songs like this, but they managed to make such a song with dark vibes work so well, and I highly appreciate “I Will Possess Your Heart” for that.

 

Spoiler

 

3. Decode / Paramore

It eludes me so much that I have the chance to talk about this song from this band. Like Kelly Clarkson, Aly & AJ, and Linkin Park, Paramore is one of the first few musical artists that I’ve come to adore and “Decode” is easily one the band’s greatest songs if not their greatest. “Decode” shows a great deal of emotional intensity from the singer, Hayley Williams. Perhaps the vocal work is a little overdone, but what matters is how Hayley manages to make it resonate, which is through her anguished tone and the through the song’s general meaning. “Decode” details the inner frustrations, confusion, and discomfort in a relationship between two particular people and Hayley sells those emotions very well.

Of course, though, I can’t talk about the song without acknowledging where exactly it’s from, as it stems from none other than the first Twilight film so yep…the song is really about Bella and Edward, the book/film series’ two central characters. You know what, though? No matter if the Twilight films and books are still fairly infamous to this day, and no matter if any of you still have a hate boner for this series, you really have to give it some credit when it’s due. If Twilight can bring to life such an emotionally riveting song like “Decode,” I can’t complain. On top of that, “Decode” strikes to me as more than just a song about a fictional vampire and a fictional soon-to-be-a-vampire. I believe this song can resonate and tell a different kind of story for anyone. Therefore, “Decode” excels for its accessibility, and it’s primarily why it’s this high up on my top ten.

 

Spoiler

 

2. Kids / MGMT

So, before I start piecing together my thoughts on this song, I’d thought I just share a brief history about one of my experiences in listening to this song. This goes back to 2015 while I was on the SBC Music site. I decided to play this very song, but other members in the room weren’t into it and decided to downvote it, allowing for it be skipped halfway. So, consider this song’s placement on my top ten as my little bit of payback. If you haven’t gotten around to listening to this gem or if still haven’t gotten into it, I’d say now is a reasonable enough time.

“Kids” stands out for just how diverse in sound it is from the bunch of songs that charted on alternative in 2008 (and 2009, in extension). I could also say the same about the group themselves behind it: MGMT. “Kids” exhibits a unique kind of an electronica song, for its extremely catchy instrumental synth hook, its lowkey synth tones on the verses, and the flourishing keyboard sound in the song’s bridge, the song creates a nostalgic tone while also sounding fresh. While I’m still on the topic of nostalgia, the song also displays an interesting narrative on childhood innocence and the loss of it thereof. The main chorus line (“Control yourself, take only what you need from it…”) best establishes the song’s message as it gets a little more haunting the more it is repeated.

Other than simply being a fantastic electronic/synthpop song, “Kids’” success on the alternative chart partially proved that the chart could be and is more than just what it usually represents, from plain alternative rock, to garage rock, to the crud and sludge of post-grunge and nu-metal, while clearly not being the first to let the alternative chart evolve once you consider that the chart had let Gorillaz chart since 2001. “Kids” has pretty much also made a sizable impact for the alternative music spectrum in coming years. Take for example, “Opposite of Adults” by Chiddy Bang, which is prominently built around a sample of said song. Heck, take “Midnight City” by M83 as another example. While I can easily agree that the M83 is the better song of the two, I could argue that we may haven’t had gotten it if it weren’t for “Kids.”

Despite all the appreciation that I had to give towards “Kids,” it’s only #2 on my top ten. This is generally because the song only spent a single week during the 2008 tracking period and spent the rest of its time on the chart during 2009. In other words, it felt more to me like a 2009 hit and is therefore my #1 for that year for the alternative chart. That, and because there was one other song that charted on alternative during 2008 that I’ve liked more…

 

Spoiler

 

Let’s face it: how can it be anything other than “Paper Planes?”
 

1. Paper Planes / M.I.A.

If “Kids” wasn’t the most diverse song on the alternative chart to prove how much the chart would eventually evolve artist-wise and sound-wise, then “Paper Planes” certainly was. It’s still surprising to think that a song like “Paper Planes” had managed to become a big hit across the UK. I know it was mostly due to it being used in the film Pineapple Express, but still.

So, what can I really say to warrant this song being at the top of my list? I could go on a tangent about how significant it is, but at the same time, I don’t think I need to overcomplicate my thoughts on it. “Paper Planes” slapped hard then and it still slaps today thanks to its unique production from Diplo. The song contains a very subtle and intriguing political message aimed against America’s immigration policies (with a very satirical tone to boot), something in which you wouldn’t normally expect to be able to become a sizeable charting hit from that distinction alone. M.I.A. as a musical artist is absolutely distinguishable and even if her time passes, I don’t think there will ever be another hip hop artist like her. I love that The Clash sample that’s used on the song. I love the very memorable hook in the chorus. And I love the chemistry that both M.I.A. and Diplo bring to the instrumentation.

While I can’t deny at all that “Paper Planes” is one of M.I.A.’s most iconic songs, I do wish most people haven’t treated with a one hit wonder status for this song. As a fan of her music myself, I can guarantee you that she is a lot more than just “Paper Planes.” Her first two albums are great, with Arular being the better of the two. Other than that, she’s also got a set of other solid singles like “Bad Girls,” “Bucky Done Gun,” “Galang,” and “XXXO.” If you think “Paper Planes” is great, then I suggest getting more into M.I.A.’s music.

With all that said, “Paper Planes,” while being arguably one of the most iconic hits of 2008, it is my definite choice for the best charting alternative hit for that same year.

 

 

Full Rankings:

Spoiler

 

1. “Paper Planes” – M.I.A.

2. “Kids” – MGMT

3. “Decode” – Paramore

4. “I Will Possess Your Heart” – Death Cab for Cutie

5. “Violet Hill” – Coldplay

6. “A-Punk” – Vampire Weekend

7. “Conquest” – The White Stripes

8. “Hammerhead” – The Offspring

9. “Is There a Ghost” – Band of Horses

10. “Human” – The Killers

11. “Stop!” – Against Me!

12. “Bodysnatchers” – Radiohead

13. “That’s What You Get” – Paramore

14. “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” – The Offspring

15. “The Pretender” – Foo Fighters

16. “Time to Pretend” – MGMT

17. “Viva la Vida” – Coldplay

18. “Sex on Fire” – Kings of Leon

19. “Misery Business” – Paramore

20. “Don’t You Evah” – Spoon

21. “Thrash Unreal” – Against Me!

22. “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told)” – The White Stripes

23. “L.E.S. Artistes” – Santigold

24. “Shadow of the Day” – Linkin Park

25. “Shut Up and Let Me Go” – The Ting Tings

26. “Crushcrushcrush” – Paramore

27. “Gamma Ray” – Beck

28. “Already Over” – Red

29. “Well Thought Out Twinkles” – Silversun Pickups

30. “Requiem for a Dying Song” – Flogging Molly

31. “Something’s Not Right with Me” – Cold War Kids

32. “Paralyzer” – Finger Eleven

33. “Discipline” – Nine Inch Nails

34. “Lost!” – Coldplay

35. “The Day That Never Comes” – Metallica

36. “Don’t Stop” – Innerpartysystem

37. “Given Up” – Linkin Park

38. “The Good Left Undone” – Rise Against

39. “Let It Die” – Foo Fighters

40. “3’s & 7’s” – Queens of the Stone Age

41. “Pork and Beans” – Weezer

42. “The Resolution” – Jack’s Mannequin

43. “Big Casino” – Jimmy Eat World

44. “Bleed It Out” – Linkin Park

45. “Nine in the Afternoon” – Panic! at the Disco Panic at the Disco

46. “That’s Not My Name” – The Ting Tingss

47. “I’m Not Over” – Carolina Liar

48. “Cath…” – Death Cab for Cutie

49. “Float” – Flogging Molly

50. “Mother Mary” – Foxboro Hottubs

51. “Many Shades of Black” – The Raconteurs

52. “The Running Free” – Coheed and Cambria

53. “Long Road to Ruin” – Foo Fighters

54. “The Shock of the Lightning” – Oasis

55. “You” – Atmosphere

56. “Salute Your Solution” – The Raconteurs

57. “Love Me Dead” – Ludo

58. “1234” – Feist

59. “The Underdog” – Spoon

60. “The Only One” – The Cure

61. “Handlebars” – Flobots

62. “Straight Lines” – Silverchair

63. “Take Back the City” – Snow Patrol

64. “Our Time Now” – Plain White T’s

65. “Re-Education (Through Labor)” – Rise Against

66. “Help Me” – Alkaline Trio

67. “Rise Above This” – Seether

68. “Falling On” – Finger Eleven

69.. “Supernatural Superserious” – R.E.M.

70. “Always Where I Need to Be” – The Kooks

71. “Everything’s Magic” – Angels & Airwaves

72. “Sometime Around Midnight” – The Airborne Toxic Event

73. “Rock ‘n Roll Train” – AC/DC

74. “Empty Walls” – Serj Tankian

75. “Believe” – The Bravery

76. “Tick Tick Boom” – The Hives

77. “Hard Sun” – Eddie Vedder

78. “Love Hurts” – Incubus

79. “Never Too Late” – Three Days Grace

80. “All Around Me” – Flyleaf

81. “Falling Down” – Atreyu

82. “If I Had Eyes” – Jack Johnson

83. “The Stone” – ASHES dIVIDE

84. “Baby Girl, I’m a Blur” – Say Something

85. “Someone Like You” – SafetySuit

86. “Second Chance” – Shinedown

87. “Leave Out All the Rest” – Linkin Park

88. “Wild International” – One Day as a Lion

89. “What Are You Looking For” – Sick Puppies

90. “Right Hand on My Heart” – The Whigs

91. “The Sky Is Over” – Serj Tankian

92. “Rise” – Flobots

93. “Shadowplay” – The Killers

94. “I Don’t Care” – Fall Out Boy

95. “Afterlife” – Avenged Sevenfold

96. “Island (Float Away)” – The Starting Line

97. “Always Be” – Jimmy Eat World

98. “Rainy Monday” – Shiny Toy Guns

99. “G..L.O.W.” – The Smashing Pumpkins

100. “Rise Today” – Alter Bridge

101. “Run” – Gnarls Barkley

102. “Slow Burn” – Atreyu

103. “Gotta Be Somebody” – Nickelback

104. “Riot” – Three Days Grace

105. “Psychosocial” – Slipknot

106. “Chinese Democracy” – Guns n’ Roses

107. “Hope” – Jack Johnson

108. “Michigan” – Rogue Wave

109. “I’m Not Jesus” – Apocalyptica featuring Corey Taylor

110. “2 A.M.” – Slightly Stoopid

111. “Becoming the Bull” – Atreyu

112. “Train” – 3 Doors Down

113. “All Summer Long” – Kid Rock

114. “Hold On” – Korn

115. “We Don’t Have to Look Back Now” – Puddle of Mudd

116. “18 Days” – Saving Abel

117. “It’s Not My Time” – 3 Doors Down

118. “The Greatest View” – Silverchair

119. “Inside the Fire” – Disturbed

120. “Natural Disaster” – Plain White T’s

121. “I’ll Keep Your Memory Vague” – Finger Eleven

122. “I Don’t Care” – Apocalyptica featuring Adam Gontier

123. “The Western World” – Pennywise

124. “Until the End” – Breaking Benjamin

125. “Breakdown” – Seether

126. “Life is Beautiful” – Sixx:A.M.

127. “My World” – Sick Puppies

128. “Believe” – Staind

129. “Troublemaker” – Weezer

130. “Indestructible” – Disturbed

131. “Scream Aim Fire” – Bullet for My Valentine

132. “Devour” – Shinedown

133. “Down and Out” – Tantric

134. “Amen” – Kid Rock

135. “Almost Easy” – Avenged Sevenfold

136. “Ricochet!” – Shiny Toy Guns

137. “Fake It” – Seether

138. “I Get It” – Chevelle

139. “They Say” – Scars on Broadway

140. “Beautiful” – 10 Years

141. “Who’s Going Home with You Tonight?” – Trapt

142. “You Better Pray” – The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

143. “Queen B.” – Puscifer

144. “Ten Ton Brick” – Hurt

145. “The Fad” – Chevelle

146. “Time is Running Out” – Papa Roach

147. “Bartender Song (Sittin’ At a Bar)” – Rehab

148. “Lollipop” – Framing Hanley

149. “Livin’ on Borrowed Time” – Puddle of Mudd

150. “Too Drunk…” – Buckcherry

151. “Love Remains the Same” – Gavin Rossdale

152. “I Kissed a Girl” – Katy Perry

153. “Good Times, Bad Times” – Godsmack

154. “Sorry” – Buckcherry

155. “My Turn” – Hoobastank

156. “Do What You Do” – Mudvayne

157. “Feel Good Drag” – Anberlin

158. “Bad Girlfriend” – Theory of a Deadman

159. “Addicted” – Saving Abel

160. “So Hott” – Kid Rock

161. “Use Me” – Hinder

162. “Undead” – Hollywood Undead

163. “Psycho” – Puddle of Mudd

164. “So Happy” – Theory of a Deadman

 

 

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Continuing with the blog re-posts since I've been sleeping on that. Maybe the next time I do a review of this type, it probably won't be as long as this was...

 

Animation

Originally posted: July 27th, 2018

 

And we have a winner. The majority wanted for me to do an animation-related review series, and I could already see why. As for the possibility of me reviewing albums or doing top tens, those type of reviews are going to be put on the back-burner until I have the time to do either one of them or if I have the mood for them. The fact that I haven't planned for this to last very long and that it's a series of blog posts that I plan to do on a monthly basis is a good enough strategy for me, so I knew this would be the best choice. The central basis of this series is that I'm going to look back at animated shows or films that are over 10 years old, but here's the catch: this is only limited to animated shows and films that came out in the 2000s, and an animated product of either of those two types have to have garnered little to no interest since the past few or several years.

People really want to forgot certain shows and films that came out during the past decade like Fanboy and Chum Chum, The Nutshack, Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island, Titanic: the Legend Goes On, Chicken Little and so forth, but considering that there are still some circles that are talking about how awful those were, they do not count. This series is for animated shows and films from the decade that fell below the radar. These are animated shows/films that just fell out of general discussion and/or just disappeared from our memory banks after they finished their respective runs. However, I also need to be knowledgeable enough about these animated shows or films beforehand, or I would be able to have access to them, in order for any of them to be covered on this blog.

Sometimes, I like looking back on some shows and films from my childhood that faded in obscurity after quite some time. I actually never usually forget about the shows that I had watched during my childhood, and while it's a stretch to consider them as "forgotten," for some reasons however, we have since overlooked them. What this series is going to do is that it's going to try and revive interest in those shows or films that have been distant from our memories for so long AND explore them in-depth. As you guys can probably tell, the most prominent topic that's going to be covered for these blogs are television shows that didn't make a lasting impression. So let's talk about an animated show that actually had a sizeable fanbase only for it dwindle considerably after the co-creator of that show would go on to create something more successful. As an introduction to my "One Hit Wonderland" type of reviewing series, this is the story of...El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera....

Image result for el tigre logo

From my personal perspective, this show isn't much forgotten. However, I've seen some people point out that it has been left out of discussion from animation in general for quite some time, and some will go around to say that they have forgotten about this show. El Tigre was an animated show made for Nickelodeon back in 2007 and ended its run a year later in 2008 on Nicktoons Network (now Nicktoons). It's easy to see how it didn't have a lasting impression because of its short run compared to a slew of other Nicktoon shows that sat on a fence before Nicktoons ended their runs.

Right off the bat, I can say that this show was criminally underrated. From the days I've stalked tv.com to the last time I checked its tv.com page during my time as a regular member on that website, I could remember very well that the reviews for the show were really mixed. Some have liked the show for probably the same reasons I do, but there are some others who didn't like the show for its characters, its humor, or they simply wrote it off as a "rip-off" of Mucha Lucha.

While Mucha Lucha was about a family and world of luchadores, El Tigre was a show about a family and world of superheroes as well as supervillains. Both animated shows come from the same cultural background, so I can see why El Tigre has gotten these comparisons. While I'm still on the topic of the show's culture, one significant feature of the show is its animated cast being very comprised of Latinos while the show's aesthetic is heavily focused on Mexican culture. That is one reason why I come to appreciate this show to this day, but on the plus side of things, this show had thrills and a lot of interesting characters.

Over the course of the show's run, it had its own video game for the DS. It even had a McDonald's toy promotion, and it wasn't even the first show on Nickelodeon to have such a commercial tie-in. It won FIVE Daytime Emmys and a single Annie Award, to boot. A DVD for the entire series is available as an on-demand Amazon exclusive while also still being available on iTunes and Amazon Video. El Tigre had a good amount of exposure despite having a short run, but after that, the show's popularity was still frozen in the late 2000s and its popularity wasn't as big as it was since those times. I mean, like a lot of other shows that were 'too good to last,' there's always the type of fans that will still grip on their love for it and continue to ask for it back. It's easy to determine that there is much demand for a revival for El Tigre these days, but it's still there. In addition, the views for Nick Animation's videos centering on El Tigre or one of its co-creators are in low numbers outside of its intro theme. By spreading some more awareness towards this show, I ask whether most of us still care about El Tigre and would wish for it to come back in some form, wish for it come back now that we have learned more about this show, or if most of us decided to just move on with the fact that El Tigre had a good, short run. Let's not dwell on how popular El Tigre is as of now, let's just dive into the show's history....
 

Before the show: El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera was developed by husband and wife Jorge R. Gutierrez and Sandra Equihua, both in the art and animation field. Of course, there's a lot of ground to cover from Gutierrez, so let's take it from the top: he is a graduate from CalArts, studying under Jules Engel. From there, he developed a 3D animated short film by the name of Carmelo. His first job in animation outside of CalArts goes all the way back in 1999 or earlier as an intern CG character animator for Stuart Little, which wasn't an enjoyable experience for him. That was when he released it that he didn't want to be an animator and leaned more towards art and telling stories. Before he could express his artistic vision in what would be El Tigre, Gutierrez had previously been as a writer for Maya & Miguel, as well as writing merely one episode of Brandy & Mr. Whiskers. More prominently so, he was also previously a character designer for ChalkZone, The Buzz on Maggie (which is where El Tigre's art style mostly stemmed from), and of course, for the one show that El Tigre had gained most comparisons to: Mucha Lucha.

Meanwhile, Sandra Equihua is a Graphic Design graduate from Universidad Iberoamericana. She eventually came to California while studying under Rafael Lopez. At that point, she found her calling in illustration. After marrying Jorge R. Gutierrez, her role in the animation industry was usually working alongside him by doing character designs for Mucha Lucha and The Buzz on Maggie. Outside of animation, both Gutierrez and Equihua also have experience as painters. Their paintings have been shown in galleries in Mexico and in the U.S. as well.

Now for the history of the show itself, after Gutierrez had developed his art style for The Buzz on Maggie and while learning about Flash animation, he and Equihua landed a deal with Nickelodeon with a pitch that would eventually become El Tigre. The show's concept with superheroes and supervillains stemmed from the thought from Gutierrez that there were no Latino superheroes. Going from there, Gutierrez continued with the idea by taking influences from his own personal life in Tijuana, Mexico.

Two of the main characters for the series, Manny Rivera and Frida Suarez, were based on the childhoods of Gutierrez and Equihua respectively. The inspirations for the characters extend to Jorge's family, whose dad was an architect - a career that was viewed as good by most, while his grandfather was a military general, - a career that was viewed as malicious by most. Those ideas would then be exaggerated into the show's concept of heroes and villains. With more ideas coming into place, El Tigre would then eventually introduce the world to one of its firsts: a Latino character that was...neither a superhero NOR a supervillain...

 

The opening theme: Okay, this is not the cleanest transition I’ve made before I could actually talk about the show in-depth. Before I analyze the show itself, I’m going to analyze the one attribute about every show that most people usually know, because we always have access to it: the opening title sequence. The first half is a narrative on three of the main characters: the Riveras and their super alter-egos. The second half is by the time you would describe it as a ‘theme song’ by letting the viewers in on the show’s recurring tune. Once you’ve heard the tune from the theme song, you’ve also heard the music for when Manny Rivera activates El Tigre. AND once you’ve heard the music for when Manny becomes El Tigre, you probably know how the episode would usually end: the villain of the episode is taken down, and then the episode decides to end on either a pleasant enough note or on a bitter note. That’s where my analysis of the animated series itself finally comes in…

 

The show: El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera centers on the titular character with superpowers. Manuel Pablo Gutierrez O’Brian Equihua “Manny” Rivera comes from a family of superheroes and supervillains, including his father Rodolfo, who goes under the superhero persona of White Pantera, and Grandpapi, who goes under the villainous persona Puma Loco. Because of his dad and Grandpapi having two opposing views for his future, Manny is conflicted about being a hero or a villain. When Manny spins the buckle of his belt, he has the powers of El Tigre and he will use his powers for either good or evil. What’s interesting to note is that each episode of the series will focus on Manny being a hero or a villain. Eventually, we are introduced to Maria, Manny’s mother and Rodolfo’s ex-wife, who is sensitive towards the sight of peril. The fact that Rodolfo still hasn’t given up being White Pantera prompted for her to leave prior to travel with a mariachi band before coming back to land a job as a librarian at Manny’s school. While the show is primarily focused on ‘family’ as its theme, it also focuses on Manny’s friendship with Frida, a black sheep in her family of a police chief, a court judge, and her cadet sisters who enjoys getting into mischief alongside Manny.

Outside of the central cast, El Tigre has a wide selection of villainous characters ranging from Sartana of the Dead, the most feared and powerful supervillain in Miracle City, a sentient skeleton who can raise the dead with her guitar; El Oso, a ruffian dressed as a bear; Black Cuervo, or Zoe Aves, a villainess who is just about Manny and Frida’s age, who comes from a family of supervillains known as the Flock of Fury; Senor Siniestro, or Sergio, another villain around Manny and Frida’s age, who pilots a giant robot with a cowboy theme…and he’s from Italy; Dr. Chipotle Sr. a supervillain with a robot arm and cybernetic eye, akin to his son Diego, Dr. Chipotle Jr., another kid villain who turned evil when he saw his father getting thwarted by the Riveras, and makes weapons out of strange objects such as guacamole. Also, like Sergio, he has a crush on Frida; The Mustache Mafia, who use their mustaches as combat, what else?; Finally, there’s the Titanium Titan, Rodolfo’s ex-sidekick who turned evil after Rodolfo temporarily retired from fighting crime to raise Manny. He has arms made of liquid metal, which give him the ability to shapeshift his arms and even himself.

All these characters, along with just about every other character in-between, reside in Miracle City, a place that is ridden with crime, but the citizens are well-adjusted to the crime and crime-fighting that takes place. That in which would then illustrate the fact that most of the heroes and villains don’t wear their alter-egos like a secret identity. If there’s a particular cliché in the superhero genre that has been done to death, it’s the whole bit about keeping your superhero persona a secret. However, in this series, anyone who knows Manny also knows him as El Tigre. Anyone who knows Rodolfo and Grandpapi also know them as White Pantera and Puma Loco respectively. Of course, there are villains that do have to keep their identities a secret, in the case of Zoe, Diego, and Sergio.

An animated cast like that also comes provided with a stellar voice-over cast, so let’s talk about that. The very main character is voiced by Latino-American actress Alanna Ubach. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, she recently provided the voice for Imelda from Pixar’s Coco, as well as the voice for the central character of Welcome to the Wayne: Ansi. Given Ubach’s experience in acting and her voice range, she seemed like the perfect option for voicing Manny/El Tigre, and….yeah, she was the perfect choice. Manny’s friend Frida is played by Grey DeLisle (or Grey Griffin). Given what the character’s traits were, it was easy for me to see why Grey was a fitting choice. On top of that, she pulls off the accent very well. Rodolfo/White Pantera is played by Eric Bauza and I can say right away that the best role that Bauza has done IMO was for that character. When it comes to Rodolfo’s serious moments, Bauza’s voice is on-point and when it comes to the moments where Rodolfo shows his naive side, he nails it well and makes him more of an interesting character. Grandpapi/Puma Loco is played by Carlos Alazraqui, an already well-fleshed out voice actor whose voice was already a good fit for the character.

Aside from the main cast, there’s also an interesting and noteworthy selection of voices for the villain characters. You got Susan Silo as Sartana of the Dead, Candi Milo as Zoe Aves/Black Cuervo, Richard Steven Horvitz as Diego/Dr. Chipotle Jr. (and it shows!), Jeff Bennett as Sergio/Senor Siniestro, and John DiMaggio as El Oso.

With a very noteworthy cast and interesting group of characters, El Tigre already feels like a very well-fleshed out animated show in retrospect. This wasn’t case for Nickelodeon when they decided to cancel it after one season. So, for a show that showed a lot of potential, why did it go out with a faint cry on the network and in our subconscious?

 

The cancellation: To recap part of the show’s history, El Tigre officially premiered on Nickelodeon on March 3rd, 2007. It was first previewed on February 19th, 2007 with the episode “Night of the Living Guacamole.” This was the same night as the episode premieres for the remainder of SpongeBob’s fourth season, dedicated to Patrick Star. Truth should be told that the Patrick for President premiere night was one of the worst SpongeBob-related events, period. Those episodes outside of “Sing a Song of Patrick” and “Gift of Gum” portrayed Patrick as painfully unfunny or painfully jerkish. Also, “Waiting” premiered on that same night, just a grim reminder.

Okay, back on topic, the story behind the end of El Tigre’s run is pretty much the same for any other short-lived animated show: it was screwed by the network. The point where Nickelodeon stopped caring about El Tigre was after they aired the Decision of Destiny event on January 25th 2008, where viewers decide if Manny should defeat Sartana and Django or join forces with them (unless you saw the ‘evil ending,’ there’s actually a lot more than just that). This is tied to the premiere of the 22-minute special “The Good, the Bad, and the Tigre,” and spoiler alert, the ‘good ending’ won the popular vote. Nickelodeon slept on this series until June 16th 2008 when the network starting airing a week of new episodes for the show…VERY early in the morning with no promotion whatsoever.

Then the remainder of the season aired on Nicktoons Networks, where the show completely ended its run with the final segment “No Belt, No Boots, No Brero” airing on September 13th 2008. The episode revolved around the reckless behaviors of the three Riveras to cause family tension, to be brought into family counseling before their powers would be stripped away by Dr. Eugene L. Butterman. Of course, it ends the way you’d normally expect it to: the Riveras realize they have to work together as a family to save Miracle City. They make up and get their powers back. Frida briefly kisses Manny at the end, so a few loose ends were tied up for this episode.

What makes matters worse about the show’s cancellation, however, is the fact that, according to Gutierrez himself, he and Equihua had made a lot of plans for the show that would extend to two seasons. I can’t acknowledge all of them, so I suggest looking into the future plot elements that Gutierrez had shared on Deviantart and/or in other places. It’s an interesting read. To reiterate, El Tigre showed a lot of potential and yet Nickelodeon decided not to renew it at all. I guess I can see why, because while 2007-2008 was the period where comedy-driven shows and action-driven shows are in a good balance, it was probably also the period where action-driven shows were starting to drop like flies. On top of that, besides El Tigre, Nickelodeon already had Danny Phantom and Avatar: the Last Airbender in their lineup, so why would you focus on trying to get into El Tigre when you already got those other two shows is a question some people might’ve asked. Could that be a factor as to why El Tigre’s momentum died down, or is it because something else just took the place of its old popularity?

 

Did [the creator(s)] do anything else?: Of course, this is where I start to talk about Gutierrez’s CG-animated film that came out in 2014: The Book of Life. When I first heard about that film, I was excited to see that the creators of El Tigre were coming out with another project. The film was directed, written, and had most of the characters designed by Gutierrez while Equihua provided designs for primarily the female characters. On the plus side, one of the original writers for El Tigre, Doug Langdale, co-wrote the script.

In the long run, the film was quite a success. It has a domestic gross of a little over 50 million while worldwide gross extends to 49 million, marking a worldwide gross of almost 100 million, while scoring a respectable 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. What’s interesting to note is that Gutierrez has came out to say that this film and El Tigre are set in the same universe. In addition, some of the characters from El Tigre are said by the creator to be related to some of the characters in The Book of Life while in the film itself, Manny, Frida, and Grandpapi make blink-and-you’ll-miss cameos. I could go on a tangent to explain my adoration of the film, but my mind is set on El Tigre, so…how about I talk about a fair amount of its episodes?

 

Best / Worst episodes: Now we’re really getting into the meat and bones of this reviewing series. Depending on how much I’ve known about the animated show, I will provide a list of my top 5/bottom 5 or top 10/bottom 10. When it came to ranking my favorite and least favorite El Tigre episodes, I was able to come up with ten for each respective list.  I’m going to start off with the bottom of the show’s barrel. These are the least that I would recommend seeing, but keep in mind that half of these are merely mediocre at best:

 

10. 24a. The Cuervo Project: I could make a joke that no one asked for an episode centered on the two pets of the Rivera family, but when it comes right down to the fact that “Animales” cycled through five writers including Gutierrez, I knew I can’t rank it on here since I could see that this episode at least had a good amount of effort put into it, looking back on it. Also, it’s because I didn’t remember most of the episode. Instead, my #10 spot is for an episode that I know that some have liked a lot….

You can’t go wrong with an episode that deals with Zoe being paired up with Manny and Frida as project partners, along with Frida questioning if she actually is Black Cuervo, but this episode didn’t work for me as much as I thought it should. The episode ends with Manny and Frida apparently still being unsure about Black Cuervo’s true identity, in due to Zoe’s grandmami masquerading as her so that her cover doesn’t get blown. In other words, this episode leads up to little to nothing. Since I didn’t remember so much from this segment, I couldn’t bring it any lower on my list.

9. 8a. Miracle City Worker: Maria is tired of the villains committing crime after crime, so she creates a luxury home to rehabilitate some of the villains in Miracle City. Manny tries to convince his mother that she can’t trust the villains to change, and when Manny and Frida decide not to waste their time trying to convince Maria that the villains can’t stay good…guess what happens. I like the beginning of the episode with Manny spending quality time with Maria, but the rest of the episode didn’t get any kicks or thrills out of me.

8. 16a. The Cactus Kid: A new villain blows into Miracle City and eventually catches the attention of Grandpapi, who decides to make him his supervillain apprentice in order to make Manny feel jealous. The storyline isn’t really bad, but I don’t remember enjoying this episode. Cactus Kid annoyed me a little too much to zone me out from some moments until his apprenticeship reveals an improvement with his powers.

7. 25b. Mustache Love: The first episode with Raul the mustache is centered on it being created and forming a bond with Manny. The second episode has Raul being framed, leading to Manny to go undercover with the Mustache Mafia to prove Raul’s innocence. This segment was about Raul needing Manny’s help to impress Browsia, the bushy eyebrows that belong to an American girl named Sofia. For a good chunk of the episode’s duration, this was just really dull to sit through. It doesn’t help that Sofia legitimately annoyed me.

6. 26a. Back to Escuela: Grandpapi goes to school with Manny so that he can steal the cursed Silver Scorpion of Sonora that is being put in display. Because Grandpapi makes a deal with Vice Principal Chakal that he and Manny will be transferred to a school in Antarctica if they cause trouble...yeah, guess how the episode ends. One part of why I didn’t like the episode was because it didn’t get any laughs from me, the episode ending on an abrupt and bitter note was what really took the cake.

5. 23b. Silver Wolf: This is the one point where the Titanium Titan’s obsession with getting rid of Manny shifts into some pretty creepy territory. This episode revolves around Frida falling in love with teen supervillain Silver Wolf, who is later revealed to be the Titan in disguise. You can tell how the episode pans out. Frida manages to get the attention of Silver Wolf, falls head over heels, ditches her friend Manny to spend time with Silver Wolf to the point where Manny becomes jealous, as Frida so accuses him to be, and decides to complete take Silver Wolf’s trust…until he threatens to kill him. I’ll give this episode credit for not having Frida think long and hard where she has a choice to side with Manny or with Silver Wolf by just choosing Manny, but still, this episode was tedious to watch.

4. 11a. Ballad of Frida Suarez: This is just your basic, average “fame makes you insane” type of episode. I just never found this episode funny and for the most part, even if it was intentional, Frida was not very likeable in this episode as one joke about Manny getting defeated by Sartana, which involves him inadvertently exposing his Zebra Donkey underwear, turns into an episode that makes it seem like Frida is being a jerk towards Manny. The episode ends with Frida’s goggles getting smashed, as karma for the way she was behaving, but then you got the final scene where a pumpkin falls on her head before rats scurry about to attack her. I mean, it’s fine that Frida does get some comeuppance, but I don’t know I should feel about the episode ending with Frida feeling anguished than just…upset.

3. & 2. 10a. The Curse of The Albino Burrito / 15a. Burrito’s Little Helper: Davi/The Albino Burrito is the most insufferably annoying character from this series and there’s nothing that can change my mind about that. The less I expose myself to Davi singing his theme to the tune of “Ride of the Valkyries,” the less that I would dread watching both of these episodes.

1. 24b. The Golden Eagle Twins: Now here’s the real rotten apple of the bunch right here. The episode centers on the Golden Eagle Twins visiting the Riveras. Manny and Frida have to spend time with them to learn some things about being a hero. However, the twins eventually turn out to be villains but with good publicity, doing villainous acts that they shouldn’t be getting away with by using their “credibility” as an advantage. The episode ends with the twins’ statue being accidently destroyed by their zeppelin (which Frida constantly misinterprets as a blimp). And you want to know the tip of the iceberg? Instead of the twins’ actions being unveiled, Manny ends up getting arrested, while the twins are still seen as heroes. Yep, the one pair of characters that we’re not supposed to root for win. There’s also a ‘wah-wah-wah’ sound at the very end to convince you otherwise that this episode was as bad.

 

And now…here are ten episodes that, in my opinion, cement how good this show can be:

 

10. 4a. Zebra Donkey: Manny wins a raffle so that he and Frida can spend the whole spring break with the school mascot: Zebra Donkey. Zebra Donkey eventually dies after eating one to many bananas. Unbeknownst to Manny, who didn’t watch Dr. Eugene L. Butterman’s documentary DVD, bananas are lethal to the school’s mascot. Manny and Frida eventually decide to take the risk of stealing Sartana’s guitar to bring Zebra Donkey back to life. This is on my list because it’s one of those episodes I’ve remembered best, and it serves as an introduction to Sartana of the Dead. Another highlight from the episode is near the end with Zebra Donkey sacrificing himself to defeat Sartana…only to be brought back from the dead again after Manny plucked the string from Sartana’s damaged guitar, given its use to raise the dead.

9. 1b. Night of the Living Guacamole: For many, this was the series’ first impression. Upon seeing this episode when it was previewed, I was already sold on this show. It had a pretty creative plot, and most of all, a lot of the jokes really worked for me, with lines like “Helping the poor!, “Frida, I can’t go home without guacamole, the floaty tattoo dad head won’t let me!” and this piece of dialogue: “I don’t know, creepy old lady, coming out of the shadows…” “It’s free!” “Sold.” Also, Dr. Chipotle Jr. was another one of the episode’s highlights, enough said.

8. 20b. Mech Daddy: This episode has a bit of joke about Manny and Frida unintentionally destroying an orphanage and a puppy hospital (with no one inside them, mind you) while trying to control Giant Robot Sanchez and it’s still a solid enough episode for the show. This episode centers on Manny and Frida getting stuck inside Giant Robot Sanchez’s head while the robot’s own mind is in a comatose state. The real kicker of this episode is when Manny and Frida come to the realization that GRS, whie a supervillain, is married with a wife and two kids. From then on, the episode is spent on Manny and Frida bonding with GRS’ kids while inside his robot body. Once as the episode transitions into the moment where Manny and Frida must save the lives of GRS’ kids is where the episode gets more interesting.

7. 7b. Puma Licito: Rodolfo and Maria fear that Grandpapi is so much of a bad influence on Manny that they might have to let him move out. Manny and Frida catch wind of this and decide to take the Golden Sombrero of Chaos to masquerade as Puma Loco and do some good deeds. Simply put, it’s an episode centered on Grandpapi that I attained the most from. It’s strangely heartwarming while also being pretty funny. Iirc, one moment that got a kick out of me was when Manny and Frida decide to just do the opposite of the first few things that they’ve done while impersonating Puma Loco, to fix Grandpapi’s reputation as a supervillain.

6. 9a. Yellow Pantera: When Manny’s classmates tell him that his father was a coward, Manny reacts justifiably before they tell him that Rodolfo ran away from a fight with El Mar Verde: a giant that devours superheroes. So he could restore the honor of the Riveras, Manny decides to take on El Mar Verde himself. Considering the nature of this episode, it is easily charming, coupled with some pretty hilarious moments as well, like Frida pronouncing library as “li-berry” and the same character just simply throwing a book at El Mar Verde as a stab at trying to defeat him. The one moment from the episode that did get to me, however, was when Manny realizes that Rodolfo didn’t run away from the fight because he was a coward, but because he didn’t want to continue to take the risk so he could still be there for his family.

5. 4b. Adios Amigos: One day at a carnival, Manny and Frida come across a new enemy known as the Titanium Titan, who used to be the sidekick of White Pantera. After seeing that her daughter got harmed by the Titan, Emiliano forbids Manny from hanging out with her again, believing that Manny would just keep leading Frida into the brink of danger. Manny himself decides to come to that agreement. Bar none, it’s the best episode that puts Manny and Frida’s friendship to the test. Seeing how Manny and Frida are visibly miserable without one another is heartbreaking. On the plus side, I also like the backstory for Rodolfo and why the Titanium Titan sought revenge against Manny.

The main highlight of the episode is near the end where Manny is forced into another fight against the Titan inside of the Miracle City volcano in order to save Frida. The real kicker is towards whom arrives to save Manny and Frida by the end: Grandpapi. In other words, this episode was just filled with heart-wrenching moments and surprising depth.

4. 10b. La Tigresa: Tired of being powerless and not being seen as useful, she decides to become El Tigre herself once she has the golden opportunity to take his belt. With the belt, she becomes La Tigresa and fights crime in Miracle City overnight, but she also has to ensure that Manny doesn’t find out who La Tigresa really is.

When I first got into the show, I’ve always had the thought of how Frida having superpowers or becoming El Tigre would make for a good plot. I pretty much got my wish with this episode and I appreciate the story that it tells with how dejected Frida feels about being normal, and how the episode ends with Frida being well-adjusted to being normal after she manages to beat Sartana of the Dead without the belt and by throwing a potato into the sound hole of Sartana’s guitar. Speaking of which, one of my favorite jokes from the episode is where Frida sees several useful options in front of her on how she should defeat Sartana...and ultimately goes with a potato as her weapon…and this just doesn’t happen near the end, it happens in the beginning as well. It’s such a good episode that establishes Frida’s character nicely…too bad this is the only time we got to see La Tigresa though.

3. 16b. A Mother’s Glove: In this episode, Manny learns that Maria used to be a superhero after finding her Glove of Power in the attic, who went by the name of Plata Peligrosa. This episode was a very interesting way to show why Maria stopped using her powers and even why she tends to hyperventilate at the sight of danger. We eventually learn that the longer that Maria has the glove on, and in due to the glove itself being sentient, the more obsessed she is about fighting crime. While as Plata Peligrosa, Maria goes as far as to break every villain in Miracle City out of jail just to fight them, before she eventually becomes compelled to even fight her own self, which was probably the most humorous moment from the episode. Overall, it’s a very well-written episode that does an otherwise good job in establishing Maria’s character.

2. 20a. Stinking Badges!: Frida wants to impress her father by becoming a junior cadet as she doesn’t want to deal with being ‘different’ from her family. After several days’ worth of failing to succeed in the academy, Frida requests for Manny to defeat the villains of Miracle City and have her take the credit. Yeah, yeah, that would exactly be a plot point that would make for a “Liar Revealed” type of episode, and of course, Emilio Suarez does find out soon enough, but it’s not until the climax and the very end that this episode redeems itself more. After the Mustache Mafia attack Frida, Emiliano Suarez pummels them for eight hours. After saving Frida, Emiliano reminds her that she is already perfect the way that she is and that she didn’t have to do anything to make him love her in return.

Now, my appreciation towards this episode actually goes beyond the ending. The main premise behind the episode is that Frida goes to great lengths to show how much she loves her father. She enrolls in the police academy and convinces her dad that she had taken down the Miracle City villains that Manny took care of himself, all to impress him. Of course, there’s still the underlying plot element whereas Frida was being dishonest and that the lie was going to be unveiled someway, somehow, but she also stretched the truth so that she could impress her dad while she did feel guilty about breaking her dad’s code of honesty. Even Frida’s twin sisters, after torturing Frida during her cadet training and after telling Emiliano the truth that Frida had been hiding, are given some sort of a redemption as they attempt to take down the Mustache Mafia once they lay a finger on their younger sister.

This is an episode that really tugs at the heartstrings and it would’ve been my absolute favorite episode if not for one particular 22-minute special that already came before this segment…

1. 14. The Grave Escape: When people first saw the trailer for Coco, one movie they thought of right away was “The Book of Life.” However, if I could compare Coco to anything, I would’ve acknowledged the fact that it feels closer to this episode of El Tigre than The Book of Life. When I saw no one make that comparison, that’s when I came to the conclusion that El Tigre was being forgotten. So, how close do I think “The Grave Escape” is to Coco, you may ask? To start with the obvious, they both take place during Dia de Muertos (The Day of the Dead), it involves the main characters being trapped in the Land of the Dead, it involves the main characters slowly turning into skeletons before they manage to escape, it has the main characters having to reach out to their old ancestors for help, and of course, family is the central theme.

It’s a pity that not as many folks have remembered this. This episode was more than just a holiday special dedicated to Dia de Muertos. It was also probably the first of that kind to be seen as a timeless classic. There was so much that I loved about this episode. I loved how the Mexican folk influences are presented in this episode. I loved that it showed a lot more about the Riveras’ family history. I loved the interactions between Manny and the original El Tigre, a character who was pretty much the same as Manny, while his indecisiveness towards being a hero or a villain ate him alive. I loved the family reunion between the current generation of Riveras and the older generations. I loved how much of a threat Sartana of the Dead came of as, using the forgotten dead as her weapon to devastate Miracle City and all. I loved the action scenes, which included Manny learning to summon an ancient tiger spirit through the first El Tigre.

Most of all, I loved how much heart that this special had (then again, the same can be said for any other episode like “Stinking Badges!” for example). It’s easy to tell that the writers/creators had a lot of thought put into this episode, given that Gutierrez’s artistic influence primarily come from Mexican folk.

 

Does it deserve more recognition?: Oh yes. I’m not even going to hesitate on that question. I can probably understand why El Tigre doesn’t get as much talk after 11 years since it first aired. While this show put Gutierrez and Equihua on the map, The Book of Life solidified their success in the animation industry. There are still a good number of fans still dedicated to this show, which I am aware of. It’s not that I think El Tigre doesn’t get any recognition…rather, I think this show doesn’t get enough recognition. I’d even argue that we might’ve never had The Book Life without El Tigre getting the greenlight from Nickelodeon. Perhaps a possible revival of this product doesn’t get enough demand because people are already asking for a lot of other animated action or serialized shows, but come on…most of us would rather bring back some shows that already had a proper ending (i.e. Danny Phantom, Kim Possible, and American Dragon: Jake Long), but there’s little demand to bring back an animated series that didn’t realize its complete vision?

 

So, if you’re not familiar with this animated series, then I suggest getting into it at a later point, ‘cause I know you don’t want to feel like you missed out on so much. Alright, that’s all I can say in behalf of this series. Next month, I will cover an animated show that’s a little less in familiar territory.

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Should've brought this back a lot earlier. Anyhow, while my overdue year-end animation of 2018 review is going to wait, here's a repost of a past review that I've finished last year. As it was originally on my old blog, this is split into two parts.

 

Animation

Originally posted: December 29th, 2018

 

Steel's Top 10 Best Animations of 2014 Part 1: Honorable Mentions (plus preamble)

...

PRAISE 2014 IN ANIMATION!

I’ve waited so long just to say that. Now that I’ve seen quite enough (and by that, I also mean a lot) of stuff within the animation medium that year, I can finally talk about why I liked it so much. There were so many great American animated television shows, movies, indie short films, and anime like you wouldn’t believe.

(Teen Titans Go!)

Then of course, there is the real talk of the town, which is the bad stuff that either debuted this year or prevailed into 2014. Take Teen Titans Go! for example, as I believe 2014 was the very point in which people started expressing concern about CN playing it to unhealthy amounts on its respective channel. TTG has become infamous for more than just that, so you guys know that I am aware. Anyways, this is no big deal.

(Breadwinners)

Ah yes, the so-called worst cartoon of all time. 2014 may have some notably awful animated shows or films, but as I should say, there was so much good that year like you wouldn’t believe…

(Kirby Buckets)

Okay, shut up. No year is perfect. I’m only here to talk about 2014 animation in its glory. 2014 might as well not only be one of the best years for animation in recent memory but also one of the most iconic in recent memory. Heck, even the bad stuff, I felt was iconic. Funny enough, 2014 was also the year that completely put Mr. Enter on the map, an animation reviewer who has been consistently scrutinized for quote-unquote taking cartoons too seriously. Even he was kinda iconic in 2014 since he’s partially the reason for the cartoon community rising in prominence.

You can all tell that forming my top ten wasn’t easy, as I had to make some painful cuts. Additionally, for a year in animation that I found to be so good, you’d know that I’d have to extend my number of honorable mentions to twenty-two. Before getting to them however, I have to acknowledge my usual ground rules first:

First of all, while my choices are broader, keep in mind that I haven’t seen everything nor did I need to. There was indeed a lot that I’ve seen, but my options were still limited by some means. If there was something you really liked from this year that I didn’t mention or isn’t on my list proper, feel free to recommend it, but don’t beg to get an answer from me on why something is not on my list. If there’s a reason why, it’s usually because I never saw it, never saw any of the particular episodes that came out during said year, or it didn’t stoop to the level as whatever does appear. Second of all, for a certain television series to make it high on my list proper or list of cuts, it needs to have aired a minimum of five episodes that I have enjoyed. For any series that had a relatively short run during this year, like SpongeBob and Mike Tyson Mysteries for example, this rule nerfs any of their chances of making either list. Finally, and this is the first time I have to acknowledge it, foreign animated feature films, short films, and shows qualify for this year if it had been shown in its home country that year. International debuts in any other country it was released to theaters or to festivals do not count. Take Boy & the World for example. It premiered in a Canadian film festival in September 2013 and was released to the U.S. on December 2015. However, it was released to theaters in its home country, Brazil, in January 2014 with no prior Brazilian festival release date being archived in places such as IMDb that I know of, which is why I’m making it count towards 2014 and not the year before and after.

Oh, and just so you all know, these lists are not completely spoiler-free, so read at your own risk. Now that all is said and done, let’s skim through my list of cuts from this year that didn’t make the list proper, but are all worth seeing and mentioning:

Honorable mentions:

Spoiler

 

*breathes*

Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared and The Tide Keeper

These are both different subjects but I’m putting them together in one spot because while these two works were some of my definite favorites, calling them animation alone is very debatable as both are not purely animation. The Tide Keeper is predominantly a live-action short film but with some stop motion animation elements, especially near the end. DHMIS has animated characters and puppets while it possesses live-action backgrounds and objects.

Anyways, DHMIS, it may already look and feel like an obvious deconstruction of children’s television shows and every time you watch any video if its kind, you’re waiting for ‘the one moment’ to kick in, but when those twists and turns come, they can come off as genuinely terrifying to me. As a whole, DHMIS has kept me invested with its surreal narratives and the web series almost never fails to deliver.

On the more niche side of things is The Tide Keeper short film, which is about a seaman’s nightmare about sailing across the ocean coming to life in the form of objects climbing to his bed and trying to suffocate him. Near the end is where most of its animation elements kick in, whereas a clay figure emerges from the seaman’s mouth and sails away. This is something that needs to be seen if you want to see why I found this to be so stellar.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Now here’s the real lowest honorable mention on my list. DreamWorks takes on an original story using the characters from the respective 1960’s cartoon. It stays true to the original source material while adding a lot of interesting details to it. The main result is an entertaining film with some clever wit, morals, good character development, and a competent story that dwindles once it reaches the whole time traveling debacle. Other than that, the portrayals for some of the historical figures can be a setback, but it’s nonetheless a small detail that doesn’t prevent me from enjoying the film.

The Bigger Picture

This is an example of an animated short film that I really liked more for its distinctive animation techniques than for its narrative. This one in particular hails from United Kingdom and it centers on two brothers struggling with caring for their ill and aging mother. While I live for its main, logical story, it is blended with some unrealistic moments which only make it feel less cohesive to me. Regardless of the small problems that I have with it, I can see that there was a lot of effort put into this short film.

Archer Vice
Best episodes: Arrival/Departure, Baby Shower, A Debt of Honor, Palace Intrigue Parts I and II

When it comes to fan preference of the show’s seasons, most comments I have come across have told me that Vice is Archer’s weakest season. This season started a departure from the series’ format from the previous and original four seasons, I see that, but its overall tone and themes are all still present to keep me invested in this series. In fact, Archer in this form was still significant enough to earn a spot on my list of cuts.

The idea of having the main characters live a life of crime is something I’ve found to be an interesting change of pace. One of the main plot elements that deal with having to sell cocaine, I felt it was thrown out of the water, but as I should say, the character development and the humor are both still strong here as they were before. Additionally, H. Jon Benjamin’s performance as Sterling Archer was still amusing as ever. While I couldn’t consider this season one of Archer’s best or a strong contender for the list proper, it was still a pretty solid season that showed Archer’s consistently great quality and it is still one of 2014’s greats.

Your lie in April
Best episodes: The Scenery I Shared with You, Let It Ring, The Journey, Cloudy Skies, Friend A

Like every other year, there was a lot of anime that came out in 2014. This was one that I had to settle with on a whim in which I didn’t have access to any other streaming service that provides anime besides Netflix. In the end, I was glad that I settled for this. Your lie in April is a well-written drama and romantic comedy with strong character dynamics between main characters Kosei and Kaori, as well as Kosei and every other member of the main cast, based on my experience with the first 11 episodes. What stood out the most for me, however, were the music scenes, as it’s the central topic of the series. On top of that, the show has some lovely musical arrangements and in the case of Kosei’s piano playing, there’s this feeling of authenticity where there are moments where images of Kosei’s deceased and abusive mother would drown out the sound of the piano notes and cause him to play messily.

Another highlight involves one of the main female characters Kaori, who is a solid example of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but I felt like her character wasn’t done horribly. She’s free-spirited, she’s quirky, she messes up sometimes, these are traits to a character of her type that are not absolutely new to me, but as the series goes on, Kaori more than enough becomes Kosei’s muse that compels him to keep playing the piano which is significant to Kosei’s character development. Oh, and she makes a few of references to the Peanuts comics. It’s a small detail, but other than her and Kosei’s increasing dynamic, that also makes me dread the whole character archetype less. While I have only seen the first 11 episodes, I am going to watch more of this eventually. It’s really got me hooked.

Oh, and the opening theme bangs, just saying.

Hunter x Hunter (2011)

For a few reasons, it’s only this high on my personal standings for 2014 in animation and I haven’t listed any episodes that I’ve enjoyed most. That’s generally because the Chimera Ant Arc, so far as I’ve watched it and read it, is the best storyline from the series. Now, don’t think that I’m just using this series as a placeholder for one of my spots. It’s just easier for me to praise the arc by itself. I have watched a fair amount of episodes that aired over the course of 2014, but I actually haven’t finished watching every episode that came out from that year since I usually catch up with the anime through Toonami. Funny thing I should add, this one of the first few shonen anime that I’ve gotten myself invested in. Yet, HxH in general is actually not your typical shonen anime series. If you’re looking for a series that distances itself from most usual shonen anime tropes and gets progressively darker, then Hunter x Hunter is the series for you. It’s a long road getting to the particular arc, but trust me folks, it is really worth watching.

EDIT: Now that I have finished reading the arc in the manga and watching it through the anime, I can now guarantee that the Chimera Ant Arc is the best storyline from the series. However, if it wasn't already telling, 2014's high quality prevented HxH 2011 from getting to my top 10, but now that I've watched every other episode released of HxH 2011 that year, it should be a little closer towards the list proper. I still can't provide a list of 2014 episodes I would highly recommend, but I would at least suggest watching the Chimera Ant Arc to see where I'm getting at. On a smaller note, I've also seen the episodes for the 13th Chairman Election Arc (the final arc that the 2011 anime covers). I would also recommend watching that, although not as much as the previous arc.

The Boxtrolls

I understand those who would rather have its Oscar nomination traded for The LEGO Movie, but I can’t really say that the Academy was in the wrong for nominating this film for an Oscar. Based on anyone’s first impression of the film through the ads or the trailers, it looks like your typical animated comedy film, but beneath the surface is some surprisingly good amount of character depth, storytelling, and wit. Second, the film has the style and tone that I’ve likened to that of some of Aardman’s films. Most of all, there’s the stop motion clay animation provided by none other than Laika, without a doubt, one of the most underrated animation studios. It may not be one of the strongest entities of 2014 in animation, but it is no exception to being one of Laika’s finest works.

The Pride of Strathmoor

This animated short film is as gothic as a gothic historical horror can get. This one is about the demise of a malicious pastor. The pastor’s cruel and racist perceptions and actions are chronicled through excerpts from his journal, giving the audience a dive into the man’s evil psyche. As the short continues on, the atmosphere and tone gets more sinister until the end cue reads that are no further entries from the pastor’s journal. It’s a horrifying yet very riveting, niche animated short film.

Duet

Okay, seriously. It’s an animated short by Glen Keane, you can’t go wrong with that. Duet is an ode to hand-drawn animation. The short itself is a coming of age story through dance. Watching this animated short after a few times, I could sense some strong Fantasia vibes. There’s not much else I could add to this except that it’s a cute, brilliantly animated, and brilliantly choreographed 3 minute animated short film.

Feast

Oh hey, another coming of age animated short film, and this time it’s actually Disney patented. I could at least that I’ve enjoyed this one more since it’s longer. At the beginning I already loved the setup used to tell this story of a dog that goes through his life eating scraps left by his owner before the story itself develops into that of a romantic plot to leave me hanging. It’s just a really cute animated short all the way through. The fact that it uses the same method to animating Paperman really helps.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Best episodes: Pinkie Pride, It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies, Leap of Faith, Twilight’s Kingdom Parts I and II, Three’s a Crowd

Closing out the bottom half of my list of cuts is, surprisingly enough, a series in which I felt was starting to reach higher ground at this point. Its fourth season is where I felt that MLP:FiM was really proving how significant it can be for a series aimed at younger audiences. While I thought the first season was a pretty solid introduction, season two didn’t age as gracefully but still had some worthy gems, and didn’t care so much for season three, season four managed to overwhelm me by providing clever morals that go beyond teaching a few things about friendship like in “It Ain’t Easy Being Breezies” and in “Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3” for example, strong character development, and as well as an exciting two-part season finale. It’s amazing to see how this series can still manage to be consistently great and boy, I’d tell you folks that after recommending this in my end-of-year lists for the fourth time now, that there should be more fans of this show on SBC as of right now and I’m not just one of the only few bronies left on this forum.

Fuligem (Soot)

This animated short hails from Portugal and the least I could say about this is that I am a sucker for this kind of 2D animation. The rotoscoping is absolutely stunning on here and it’s coupled with a very patiently paced and brooding narrative about how a man’s ride on a train makes him reminisce a traumatizing moment from his past life. And just so you’d all know, this is just one of a bunch of finest efforts from the Hispanic/Latin realm of animation over the course of 2014.

Gravity Falls
Best episodes: Into the Bunker, Soos and the Real Girl, Blendin’s Game, Society of the Blind Eye

That’s right. Gravity Falls, my pick for the greatest work of animation in 2015, as well as my pick for one of the greatest animated television shows of the decade, is only this high up in my personal standings for 2014. It wasn’t just because this year was just so good. I still thought that GF was a very solid animated comedy and mystery series, but it didn’t strike as many chords for me in 2014 in comparison to 2015 and 2012/2013. Also, this was the year that gave us “The Love God,” which I thought was the show’s weakest episode. Even while I thought the first half of Season 2 felt like a warm-up to the events leading up to something much bigger, Gravity Falls still continued to be a flat out enjoyable, humorous, and thrilling cartoon.

The Dam Keeper

You’ve heard of The Tide Keeper, now get ready for…The Dam Keeper. This animated short film is about a pig (and aptly named as such along with Fox), who keeps the windmill turning, which keeps a thick and dark fog from consuming his town. Pig is the target of bullies, but he then meets Fox, an artist who was very willing to be friends with him. From there, it’s somewhat easy to predict what kind of conflict will result from there. The two become great friends, there’s eventually a misunderstanding in Pig’s side that jeopardizes his friendship with Fox, but then because he was so torn up, he refuses to keep the windmill running, leaving the town gets covered in fog, and he then decides to save the town after realizing his misunderstanding. And of course, the short film does end on a positive note with Pig and Fox making up and continuing to be great friends.

Now, don’t get me wrong though, I still think the narrative is something to behold. It has its predicaments, but it is not without its strong highlights. Other than the animation and art style, one of the film’s greatest strengths is the growing friendship between Pig and Fox. Some other things that I’ve really liked about this are how very well it executes its emotional scenes, and in general, the animated short film itself is just really adorable. What’s really interesting to note is that this is work of a couple of Pixar employees. Yep, just when you think Pixar ended up being completely absent this year, they sneak up on you with this gem.

Big Hero 6

Not even the Oscar-winning animated feature could even hack it well enough to make it on my list proper. Whatever the means on why I only put it this high, it’s because I felt it had some visible flaws. I loved the seeing the relationships between Hiro and his brother as well as Hiro’s relationship with Baymax. While I understand why this film is so focused on Hiro’s character, I wish it wasn’t focused too much him and it established some more on the other members of Big Hero 6. On the other hand, you also have the main villain, Yokai, and I’m not going to lie…I thought that the villain was one of the main highlights of the film. Despite being branded as a twist villain, I felt that the reveal of Yokai’s true identity wasn’t so surprising to me, but what didn’t make him so frustrating to me was in comparison to two other Disney twist villains, Hans and Bellwether, Yokai was given a backstory, giving him enough depth to make me appreciate him as a villain.

Another one of BH6’s strengths is within its emotional depth and subject matter. Hiro losing his brother from an explosion inside a building, I felt that scene was genuinely horrifying and heartbreaking. Then there’s the climax in which Hiro has to leave Baymax inside of a portal to spare his life and save Callaghan’s daughter. However, the one particular moment that hit me the hardest was during Yokai’s reveal as Callaghan, which also unveiled what really happened in the disaster that killed Hiro’s brother, prompting for Hiro to remove Baymax’s healthcare chip and order for him to kill Callaghan before one of the members of BH6 reinstalls the chip – that, IMO, was the most intense moment from the film.

To put the rest of my thoughts on the film bluntly, it’s visually stunning, its action scenes are wonderfully animated, it has built some really strong character dynamics towards its main character Hiro, and the story is well-written.

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Not even this film made my final cut. A lot of the positives that I have for this film are mostly the same for its previous one. I might even have liked this sequel even more for its more serious tone, something in which made me like Kung Fu Panda’s first sequel so much. While the sequel for How to Train Your Dragon is still brilliantly paced, visually stunning, and heartfelt as ever, the story is what really stands out. In this film, we see Hiccup finding and reuniting with his long lost mother, as well as Stoick reuniting with the same long lost wife. The film’s villain is competent and intimidating. One of the film’s conflicts, a heatwrenching moment where Drago’s Bewilderbeast controls Toothless into killing Hiccup…but then Stoick takes the bullet.

The film does end on a pretty solid note with Hiccup releasing Toothless from the Bewilderbeast’s control and he, along with the other dragon riders engaging in a pretty exciting fight against Drago and the Bewilderbeast. Overall, the sequel is just as solid as the original, showing once more of how capable DreamWorks can be.

Eager

Time for a bit of a breather with another niche example of an animated masterpiece being cut from my list. This is the kind of animated short film that I could barely describe with words. Out of any indie experimental animated short film that came out in 2014, this was my definite favorite. The choreographed stop motion animation is really something to behold. Another one of the film’s highlights include the increasingly distorting music, setting the film’s experimental tone very well. Just go ahead and watch the animated short if you want to see what I mean.

Stand by Me Doraemon

Alright, prepare yourselves because this is the very part of the list where I talk about some of my most painful cuts from my list proper. And no, this is not a placeholder. I actually went my way into watching this film…well, albeit through cheap means. Yep, one of these days I have to live the life of a pirate, but after seeing what kind of general responses this film received, I had to watch it and settle for an available foreign dub (Hindi to specify) on a video hosting platform that’s free of malware. Even if I were to watch this in its original Japanese language, I would still be giving myself a challenge by watching it with a complete language barrier. So, what compelled me to watch this? Believe it or not, Japanese audiences were polled based on their experience in watching the film. Nearly 90% of the audience was driven to tears by SbMD, giving Pixar a run for its money.

My initial feelings on the film before seeing it was that I might be able to comprehend it just fine and find it touching, but once again, I’ve had this language barrier. Even if I couldn’t completely comprehend it and had to settle for TV Tropes and Wikipedia to know some certain details, I still managed to enjoy it. This is only as high as I could rank it because I didn’t feel so much of an emotional attachment towards the film’s saddest moments, but that’s probably because I haven’t grown so attached to Doraemon as a whole. I’ve only seen a good chunk of episodes from the 2005 anime when it was airing on Disney XD.

I’m probably guessing that some of you have never heard of Doraemon until I’ve listed this film as an honorable mention. If any of you didn’t know about Doraemon beforehand, I can’t blame you because I can’t help shake the feeling that Doraemon seemed like nothing more than a thing to the U.S. unlike in its home country, where it is a beloved national treasure. Anyways, this film is a combination of shorts previously from the Doraemon franchise including the very beginning, something in which I’ve already familiarized myself with through the anime. The collection of shorts would then culminate into a story of its own which, if it’s already telling, involves Doraemon having to bid farewell to Nobita how that he has helped give him a better future.

While I wasn’t completely captivated by its story, most of my merits went to the love and dedication that went into making this film. No surprise since this is coming from Japan. I really like how the CG models looked for the characters, I loved how well the CG animation flows, and I love how well that the shorts blend together to create something that will tug at anyone’s heartstrings. I didn’t cry nor feel my heart sink at the film’s saddest moments, but they did resonate with me. It’s an astounding film that deserves anyone’s attention. Don't do I what did by going cheap in order to watch this film. I suggest buying an imported copy of the film. I would do the same if I had the time and money to get a home copy of the film myself.

When Marnie Was There

It’s Studio Ghibli. When it comes to making quality Japanese animated films, it is a force to be reckoned with. With fairness though, I’ve seen some, including JelloApocalypse, being critical about the film based on their experience with the main character, Anna, or on the whole twist about Marnie. I mean, I understand. Even I think it has a fair share of problems, but still, this is one of my favorite animated films of 2014. And where do I start? Well…how about I go on a bit on why I liked Anna as a character?

Anna is definitely not one of the most likable characters and probably got aggravated by petty things, but considering that she is introverted and has to deal with the fact that her foster parents are paid by the government to take care of her, making her believe that they are pretending to be loving towards her, I can understand her sheer moodiness. However, there are also some scenes that show that Anna is at least polite to some folk, but still and all, Anna’s disconnection from society is what makes the dynamic between her and Marnie pretty strong as Marnie is written to be the kind of character that really understands Anna and is always so kind to her (something in which will really make sense once the film gets to the twist), at least from my point of view.

What really makes this film for is the continued interactions and increasing friendship between Anna and Marnie whereas it unveils more details about Marnie, which includes being a victim of abuse from her nanny and her maids. That of course results into the kind of plot where Anna would then help her friend overcome her fear of being locked inside the silo next to the family mansion like she helped her lighten up more. Of course, it results into a moment where Anna sees Marnie getting escorted from the silo by Kazuhiko and then you got Anna getting petty about that, which I’ll admit is one of the film’s weaker moments.

It’s not just Marnie that we learn more about though. I’ve said it a few times already that this film contains a twist, and that twist in question culminates into Anna learning some things about her family that have been kept secret from her, tying up the mystery behind the strong connection between the two characters, the abandoned mansion, and why Marnie lives there. I’m not going to spoil it myself, but I can ensure that it isn’t a very shocking reveal. Regardless though, the more that I’ve dwindled on the whole revelation, the more subtle it feels. So yeah, long story short, there is a lot to attain from this film, which isn’t so bad for one of Ghibli’s “weaker” films now, is it?

Boy & the World

The fact that I couldn’t make any more room for this really hurts me because this is can easily be seen as a masterpiece in the Hispanic and Latin worlds of animation. Boy & the World detail a child’s journey through the world that he lives in. Along the way, he comes across a couple of characters and learns some things about the industrial uprising. So yeah, it has an environmental message. While it come off as very subtle to me, it still vibrates with me as it is clear-cut and it can hit hard for those are a part of the culture that is established in this film. However, the subtext of the message does eventually manage to hit me hard once the film reaches near its end.

Meanwhile, what really makes this film stand out is for its animation and art style, as well as for its placid pacing and world building. It doesn’t end on a positive note, but Boy & the World is still a treat that deserves more attention.

Steven Universe
Best episodes: So Many Birthdays, Monster Buddies, An Indirect Kiss, Steven the Sword Fighter, Lion 3: Straight to Video, Coach Steven

My #11 for this particular year is a very solid series that just didn’t overwhelm me enough as all of the other choices above it when it came to 2014. This show had a lot of great episodes that have aired over the course of 2014, so it really hurts me to cut it from my top ten. Most of what I said about Steven Universe before in my other year-end reviews still rings true to the series at its start. I love the continuous world building. I love how the series’ characters are established and how they develop. Most of all, I love how well it handles some serious topics and how well it delivers its emotional moments. There’s nothing else I need to add here except that it’s really worth watching.

*pants*

 

Now that I got all of that out of the way, get prepared for some more of my insight on 2014 in animation as I eventually go through my top ten.

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Animation

Originally posted: January 5th, 2019

 

Steel's Top 10 Best Animations of 2014 Part 2: The List

(Once again, much like my other list, my top ten is not completely spoiler-free, so read at your own risk.)

Spoiler

 

10. The Book of Life

For a variety of reasons, this couldn’t have been able to make my top ten. While it’s easy to tell which of the characters play some of the most significant roles in the film, it is a little too cluttered with characters. It is filled with pop culture references that feel distant from the film’s vast influence from Mexican folk art and weirdly enough, El Tigre barely consisted of any references to pop culture. Lastly, the main female character never struck me as anything more than a bland love interest who displayed little to no flaws.

Yet, there are a variety of reasons why it has just barely earned itself a spot on my top ten. Seeing how the two creators of the more overlooked and mishandled El Tigre cartoon series moved on to create something bigger and greater just gives me a very warm feeling. Aside from that, one the film’s strongest highlight is just how well it displays its influence from Mexican folk art to really show how dedicated the film is towards the Dia de Muertos tradition. I even really liked how the characters are depicted as wooden figures to represent the story that is being told. Some other, smaller highlights include Manolo’s role as a protagonist, who came off as likable, relatable, and strong, and the chemistry between the two gods of their respective lands, La Muerte and Xibalba.

Now, another one of the film’s strong points, which perfectly sums up my thoughts on The Book of Life, is just how accomplished it is in possibly being one of the first classic films centered on Dia de Muertos, provided with a set of memorable characters, a memorable and original story, and just that perfect little Disney fairy-tale ending to make it feel complete. It may not even be my personal favorite effort from the Hispanic and Latin animation scene in 2014, but still, Jorge R. Gutierrez put all his heart and soul into this to create one of the best animated films of the year.

 

Spoiler

 

9. Space Dandy

 

Best episodes: I Can’t Be the Only One, Baby, Nobody Knows the Chameleon Alien, Baby, Even Vacuum Cleaners Fall in Love, Baby, There’s Always Tomorrow, Baby, The Lonely Pooch Planet, Baby, Rock ‘n’ Roll Dandy, Baby

No question about it, Space Dandy is a dandy guy…in space, and it is my favorite anime series of 2014 and will always be, no matter how many more beloved anime series from the year I will eventually come cross. The best way to describe my experience with it is that there were a good amount of moments that managed to make me laugh. In other words, it really excels as a comedy. Not only that, the series itself is a trip that goes quite a lot of places. The series delivers its comedy very well in its more humorous episodes (i.e. “I Can’t Be the Only One, Baby”), it delivers its emotional moments in its more serious episodes very well, (i.e. “The Lonely Pooch Planet, Baby” and “A Merry Companion Is a Wagon in Space, Baby”), and it can even deliver when it comes to its oddball episodes (i.e. “Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Baby”). Even while its finale is all over the place, I still found myself really liking it considering what I’ve just said about the series going into quite a lot of places.

Other than that, there are also some of the characters that I’ve really come to like. I’ve always found Dandy’s eccentric character to be entertaining. I’ve liked QT and Meow for their chemistry with Dandy. I’ve liked the villain’s (Dr. Gel) irrational obsession with capturing Dandy. Finally, there is, of course, the lemony narrator. So to put it bluntly, it’s a very entertaining anime series, courtesy of none other than the same man behind Cowboy Bebop.

 

Spoiler

 

8. Bear Story

At this point, I can just say that 2014 was a strong year for Hispanic and Latin animation and call it a day. Of course, I have to explain why this animated short captivated me so much. I can start by saying that part of the story represents the events of Chile in the aftermath of the Chilean coup d’etat. I don’t know what that is exactly, but I can definitely say that the way that the short film portrays one of those historical moments, it portrays it well. The result is an animated short film that made me feel emotional the most out of any other animated show or film in 2014.

Besides the whole historical subtext, the animated short film is about a bear that lives alone in a family apartment home and shows a kid a mechanical diorama detailing his life that starts with his wife and child and ends with his return from confinement at a circus. The story told in the mechanical diorama itself is definitely heartbreaking, but one thing about that story that really gets to me is the very end of it. That, and alongside the beginning of the short, showcases some strong implications concerning the bear’s family, which I think serves as a very thought-provoking allegory towards one of the outcomes of Chile’s military government reform in the past. The short does end on a rather optimistic note, but the implications give it that saddening touch.

Heart-wrenching and provocative, this animated short does well enough to earn a spot on my top ten.

 

Spoiler

 

7. The Legend of Korra

Best episodes: Old Wounds, Beyond the Wilds, Venom of the Red Lotus, Korra Alone, Enemy at the Gates, In Harm’s Way

Yep, not even Nickelodeon was completely screwing around that year and yet 2014 was a point in time where most of us couldn’t shut up about how the state of the Nickelodeon channel is continuing to worsen. For a variety of reasons, this is my #7. It’s not because this series was destined to be good because it had the names of A:TLA’s creators attached to it. One of the primary reasons why I have this high up is that it fixes most of the problems that I’ve had with the first two seasons and it proves that the series itself can really be something extraordinary.

I thought Air was an alright season. It had two memorable and menacing villains and it had a riveting story, but it also had a poorly-written love triangle plot and it was capped off with a Deus ex Machina. Spirits, while I can still see that were was at least a lot of effort put into it, is a weaker season in my eyes. It had a subplot centering on Asami, Mako, Bolin, and Varrick that just barely went places. It had a villain who started off interesting before turning into the type of villain that has been done to death, resulting into a ‘saving the world from total destruction’ type of plot that has also been done to death. And of course, the villain is defeated by…you guessed it, an A-pull.

Then, in 2014, we got spoiled by way of Nickelodeon premiering, not one, but two outstanding seasons that year. So, what make Change and Balance so great? First and most of all, there are no last minute resolutions to the conflicts of each respective Book. Second, the characters have become more relatable and mournful, like Korra for example, who suffers severe psychological damage from Zaheer’s torture for three years. Third, the two villains are some of the best to come out of Avatar as a whole. I loved Zaheer for his composed and yet menacing nature. I also loved to hate him for the pain he makes Korra go through. Then there’s Kuvira, who I loved for her intelligent, poised and yet extremely cut-throat personality. I also appreciated the little backstory that had motivated Kuvira to commit to her actions. Fourth, there are the additional details like its handling of serious subject matter, darker undertones, and its exceptionally thrilling fight scenes. Fifth, and this is prominent towards Balance, character development was all over the place. Korra manages to curb her PTSD, Asami reconciles with her father, who had realized his mistakes three years after the events that took place in Air, Bolin becomes more dependable and is recruited for Kuvira’s army until realizing that siding with Kuvira was a mistake, Lin and her sister put aside their troubled past and make up with each other, Mako becomes more tolerable (*shrug* I mean, what else could I say?), Zhu Li grows a spine and uses Kuvira’s trust to sneak in information about her attack before reuniting with Varrick, and Varrick…he’s always been a great character, but he and Zhu Li eventually get married.

Despite what people will say about the way Nickelodeon treated this series, I can’t stay mad about that since The Legend of Korra still showed its greatness and had a proper ending, making it a solid enough continuation of the already-excellent Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Oh, and I can’t talk about this series without mentioning the ending where Korra and Asami become a full-fledged couple. It was a bold move coming from the series’ staff and I was surprised that Nickelodeon was so willing to embrace something like this. I even liked that little moment myself, despite that it sparked some debate, even one time on XAT whereas I desired to know what some members thought about the series in general.

 

Spoiler

 

6. The LEGO Movie

Of course, I can’t go through my own list for this particular year without talking about arguably everyone’s favorite animated film of 2014 – and by everyone, I mean everyone except the Oscar academy, apparently. Ugh. My experience with this film can be described very simply. It is one of the most entertaining animated films of 2014, despite one of its pitfalls in which it is subject to displaying certain clichés like the “this is the world they live in” kind of plot, the social outcast hero, and the trying-to-break-stereotypes female protagonist. However, the film manages to make up for its problems like with these clichés for example. The main characters are all either likeable or enjoyable and very memorable to boot, with the film’s portrayal of Batman being the most enjoyable of the cast.

The film has that one twist in which it reveals parallels to the real world, but given how well the film draws some of the connections between the LEGO universe and the real world, I eventually thought that it was a competent twist. While its premise isn’t the most imaginative, I really liked the world-building used to create the film’s LEGO universe. In fact, I just really like the effort, knowledge, and passion put into this animated film in general. There’s just several more to like about this film. Its narrative works. A lot of its jokes work. Its animation and visual styles work. In short, THE Lego Movie is well-written, well-made, and definitely deserved the Oscar nominated that it never received. However, from my personal rankings, it can’t seem to beat my top five for 2014, including…

 

Spoiler

 

5. Wander Over Yonder

Best episodes: The Void, The Brainstorm, The Lonely Planet, The Rider, The Time Bomb, The Tourist, The Funk, The Epic Quest of Unfathomable Difficulty!!!

Yep, I liked the series this much in 2014. Over the course of its run in that year, I had the feeling like Wander Over Yonder could join the ranks with SpongeBob’s classic era in terms of astounding animated comedy shows (at least until 2015 where I felt like the writing took a bit of a nosedive). As a comedy, Wander Over Yonder excels with its colorful cast of characters to back it up and provide some of its funniest moments in episodes like “The Brainstorm,” “The Void,” “The Enemies,” and “The Epic Quest of Unfathomable Difficulty!!!.” It even very well executes its more serious moments in episodes like “The Lonely Planet” and “The Rider.” Third of all, I found a lot its world-building, its episodic plots and setups to be very imaginative, in episodes like, again, “The Void,” “The Ball,” and “The Fancy Party.”

Aside from its memorable characters, another one of the series’ significant highlights is Wander and Sylvia’s character dynamic. In fact, a lot of my favorite episodes of WOY from 2014 are centered on Wander and Sylvia. It’s like the more that the series focuses on their friendship and show how strong it is the stronger the episode. It’s not just that character dynamic that I liked a lot, there was also Lord Hater and Peepers’ interactions for the crazy antics that Hater would commit to.

So in short, Wander Over Yonder was one of the most enjoyable animated shows during 2014. Although, it’s still upsetting that Disney decided to cancel the series before it could move on to its next central storyline. Please bring it back.

 

Spoiler

 

4. Over the Garden Wall

Best episodes: Babes in the Wood, The Ringing of the Bell, Mad Love, The Old Grist Mill, The Unknown

“Over the Garden Wall…only NUMBER FOUR!?” I believe that’s what most of you will probably be saying to me. Over the Garden Wall is nothing short of one of CN’s magnum opuses, as well as a definite masterpiece for Patrick McHale, but it does have a few small pitfalls. It was hard for me to appreciate the anti-climax with the three main characters meeting Adelaide in the same timeframe as her demise. Then there’s the beast, who I felt the character was leading up to a possible reveal of its identity, and it never does lead up to that. Finally, there’s the whole bit about the miniseries taking place in the modern world, which I felt slightly kills the ancient woodland aesthetic that I felt that it was going for.

On the more positive side of the things, I could start by saying that two of my favorite details about this miniseries are the visuals and the aesthetic. Visually, the backgrounds are beautiful to look at, simple as that. In terms of style, Over the Garden Wall gives off a glorious blend of elements from Ghibli films like Spirited Away (“The Ringing of the Bell”), My Neighbor Totoro (“Babes in the Wood”), and Howl’s Moving Castle, (One of the main plot elements, in which it details a curse), and Patrick McHale’s influences inherited from his past work on Flapjack. Besides the clear influences, the miniseries does manage to have its own elements. With that and alongside having a riveting and imaginative story, the miniseries manages to have an identity of its own.

In other words, Over the Garden Wall is undeniably a great effort that continues to prove Flapjack’s surprisingly extraordinary domino effect and it is one of the finest works of animation from Cartoon Network as a whole.

 

Spoiler

 

3. BoJack Horseman

Best episodes: Downer Ending, Later, The BoJack Horseman Story Chapter One, The Telescope, Our A-Story is a “D” Story, BoJack Hates the Troops, Zoes and Zeldas

For a first impression in 2014, BoJack Horseman delivered with an ingenious first season. By far, I’ve only seen the show’s first season, which is probably because it’s my #3, alongside the idea that the later seasons are going to give me so much more to say and attain. Anyways, BoJack Horseman achieves in being a solid representation of the modern, strange environment of former and/or washed up television actors. The main character goes through an interesting development that results into an acid trip before then eventually ending with him being considered for the role of his dream to cap off the first season – satisfying as the first season focuses a lot on Horseman’s misery. Besides the central star, the rest of the cast itself is just as interesting and provide a few good moments.

Considering that it’s an adult cartoon, it handles serious themes such as depression and addiction and the show embodies them very well. If anything else I could add, some other highlights include the clever humor and some of the thrilling, surrealistic moments. In other words, BoJack Horseman is a perfect start to an adult animated series that I already know that I’m going to love for the rest of the way.

 

Spoiler

 

2. Rick and Morty

Best episodes: All of them (Rick Potion #9 is my biggest favorite while Something Ricked This Way Comes is my least-ranking favorite)

When it came to replay value this year, this series reigned supreme. When it came to comedy this year, this series reigned supreme. When it came to any animated series that was present this year, this reigned supreme…and yet this only landed at #2. Quite a surprise, wouldn’t I say?

My feelings on Rick and Morty in its first run (including the first three episodes that have aired in 2013) aren’t definitely something that I need to overcomplicate. Out of every animated series that came out or aired over the course of 2014, I’ve gotten the most enjoyment out of this show’s very solid introduction. First things first, I really like the chemistry between Morty and Rick, with Morty’s charming traits colliding with Rick’s hilarious antics. Heck, a lot of the characters are great. Even while Jerry and Beth can be seen as two of the weakest characters, they still have their memorable and enjoyable moments. The storylines range from being flat out humorous, intriguing, or exciting and each have had their fair share of surprises.

To sum things up, the first season of Ricky and Morty hardly has any dull moments, thus providing us with a solid introduction to an otherwise solid adult animated series.

 

 

Spoiler

 

1. Song of the Sea

For my personal #1 of 2014 in animation, I figured that it would be one that struck a chord on me the most. Look no further than this gem from Ireland (as well as the production work hailing from Belgium, Denmark, France, and Luxembourg), and from the same studio behind The Secret of Kells to claim that spot. Song of the Sea is a masterpiece in animation visuals, animated storytelling, fantasy world-building that takes influences from European folklore, and developing/establishing its characters. What’s considerably surprising about this film is that it starts off on an unusual note with only the animation and visuals to feel impressed by, but trust me when I say that the way that Ben and Conor are first portrayed after Bronagh’s death/disappearance at the very beginning will become much more understandable as the story continues on. Of course, once the revelation of Saoirse being a selkie completely sinks in, the film becomes a lot more interesting.

I will not blurt out how exactly the film reaches it end, but I can at least say that it ends on a very positive note. Alongside the climax, the end is one of the film’s most satisfying moments. I may have enjoyed the majority of Rick and Morty season 1, but I enjoyed Song of Sea a lot as well. While it was too soon for me to consider RaM a bonifide classic, it's best for me to call Song of a Sea an instant classic because it's perfect in so many ways. So, for those who haven’t seen this, go and check it out so you’ll understand why it’s my favorite work of animation of 2014.

 

Don't expect that long overdue 2018 review to come a lot sooner, although I am working my way through my watch list for that year since I have a lot of my own time on my hands right now.

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Since I have expressed my current level of interest in writing reviews earlier on Discord, I felt it would be inevitable to make this kind of announcement here on this thread. I am NOT retiring from writing reviews on SBC, but I am taking a considerable break from them, outside of a few projects. Before I make clear on what I mean by this, here's a list of reviews that I've intended to make, but haven't finished to date:

-Top 10 Animations of 2018
-Bottom 20 Nostalgia Critic reviews
-Top 50 Songs of the 2010s (Parts 3-5; #29-#1)
-Every episode of Fairly OddParents reviewed (S4-S10)
-Top 50 animated music videos (#25-#1)
-Top 60 animated songs (updated)
-Bottom/Top 10 hit songs of the 2010s

-Bottom/Top 10 alternative charting songs of 2019

I have also planned other reviews beforehand like doing more retrospective reviews like my El Tigre retrospective, and a year-end review for animation in 2019, but until further notice, I will not devote any focus towards them while I'm taking this break, and I've started by cutting down these planned reviews in half. The ones I've marked with a strikethrough, I will be posting later on, but only in its simplest form. There will be no commentary for each one of them, but a still-complete list will take the place of it. I will be open to questions for any of them and if I do get some, I'll still provide some commentary.

Knowing very well that this shift in focus from reviewing would benefit with my progress on finishing my spin-offs and such, I've ultimately come to this decision. Expect some new posts to show up on here later this week, but they won't be legitimate reviews per-se. That will be all that I need to say at this point.

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...Before I unveil this list, let me address the elephant in the room: there is music video on my top ten that was animated by none other than the most controversial man in the animation industry. Of course I'm talking about John Kricfalusi. As it's already been made clear on here that we all hate this man as a human being, he is not worth giving kind words to, but when I find some genuine artistic merits from the guy, I have to stay true to myself and say that I have sincere appreciation for what he had made. However, my reasons for putting that particular music video in my top 50 is not mainly because of John K., as I should note. On top of that, there was also another video animated by film on my top 50 ("Close But No Cigar" by Weird Al), but because I don't feel it lives up all that much now, I have since replaced it with something else, but keep in mind that the other John K. branded video remains on my top 50.

Anyways, here's the complete list in question. Like I've expressed, there's no commentary here, but I will answer questions about any of my placements:

Steel's Top 50 Animated Music Videos:

Spoiler

1. "19-2000" - Gorillaz
2. "The Raven That Refused to Sing" - Steven Wilson
3. "Bronte" - Gotye
4. "Reagan" - Killer Mike
5. "Brothers in Arms" - Dire Straits
6. "I Miss You" - Björk (this is the one I was talking out)
7. "Rock the House" - Gorillaz featuring Del The Funky Homosapien
8. "Burn the Witch" - Radiohead
9. "Shadrach" - Beastie Boys
10. "Eros and Apollos" - Studio Killers
11. "Ghost" - Mystery Skulls
12. "Feel Good Inc." - Gorillaz featuring De La Soul
13. "Fantasy" - DyE
14. "Paranoid Android" - Radiohead
15. "Sober" - Tool
16. "Good Morning" - Kanye West
17. "Sledgehammer" - Peter Gabriel
18. "Parler Le Fracas" - Le Peuple de l'Herbe
19. "Shelter" - Porter Robinson and Madeon
20. "The Shrine / An Argument" - Fleet Foxes
21. "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" - Primus
22. "The Story of O.J." - Jay-Z
23. "The Ancestor" - Darlingside
24. "Freak of the Week" - Freak Kitchen
25. "Another Tattoo" - Weird Al Yankovic
26. "The Pit" - Doctor P, Adam F, and Method Man
27. "I Stay Away" - Alice in Chains
28. "Dirty Harry" - Gorillaz featuring Bootie Brown and San Fernando Valley Youth Chorus
29. "Kill Your Co-Workers" - Flying Lotus
30. "Strawberry Swing" - Coldplay
31. "Little Talks" - Of Monsters and Men
32. "El Mañana" - Gorillaz
33. "Out of the Black" - Royal Blood
34. "White Flag" - Delta Heavy
35. "The Masterplan" - Oasis
36. "Break the Ice" - Britney Spears
37. "All Caps" - Madvillain
38. "Ankle Injuries" - Fujiya & Miyagi
39. "Fell in Love with a Girl" - The White Stripes
40. "The Rifle's Spiral" - The Shins
41. "Move Your Feet" - Junior Senior
42. "The God of Loss" - Darlingside
43. "carmen" - Stromae
44. "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" - Tame Impala
45. "Adventure of a Lifetime" - Coldplay
46. "Carpal Tunnel of Love" - Fall Out Boy
47. "Do the Evolution" - Pearl Jam
48. "Stylo" - Gorillaz featuring Bobby Womack and Mos Def
49. "Firework" - JonTron
50. "Katachi" - Shugo Tokumaru

 

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Because this was destined to happen, I'd like to make the announcement that this thread is discontinued in favor of running my own blog for my reviews and such on Wordpress.The next time I make full-fledged reviews, they will be on there and not on SBC. Anyways, here's my long overdue post of my updated top 60 songs from animation, in its simplest form, to cap it all off. I will accept any questions about my standings: 

Steel's Top 60 Animated Songs

Spoiler

1. "Tank!" - Cowboy Bebop
2. "Hellfire" - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
3. "Animal Nation" - The Wild Thornberrys Movie
4. "Worthless" - The Brave Little Toaster
5. "Two Worlds" - Tarzan
6. "Jack's Lament" - The Nightmare Before Christmas
7. "The Legend Comes to Life" - Pokemon the Movie 2000: The Power of One
8. "Lilium" - Elfen Lied
9. "Darkwing Duck Theme" - Darkwing Duck
10. "Make a Man Out of You" - Mulan
11. "Guren no Yumiya" - Attack on Titan
12. "Smile Song" - My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
13. "Pokemon Theme" - Pokemon
14. "Both of You" - Steven Universe
15. "Summer Belongs to You" - Phineas & Ferb
16. "Underwater Sun" - SpongeBob SquarePants
17. "What's the Use of Feeling Blue?" - Steven Universe
18. "Magic School Bus Theme" - Magic School Bus
19. "I'm Me" - Phineas & Ferb
20. "Stronger than You" - Steven Universe
21. "Go the Distance" - Hercules
22. "This Is Halloween" - Nightmare Before Christmas
23. "A Whole New World" - Aladdin
24. "Daffy Duck the Wizard" - The Looney Tunes Show
25. "Again" - Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
26. "I 2 I" - A Goofy Movie
27. "Butter-Fly" - Digimon Adventure
28. "Your Heart Will Lead You Home" - A Tigger Movie
29. "Remember Me" - Coco
30. "In the Dark of the Night" - Anastasia
31. "It's Over Isn't It?" - Steven Universe
32. "Sunflower" - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
33. "E.V.I.L. Boys" - Phineas & Ferb
34. "I'm Mad" - Animaniacs
35. "Hit in the USA" - BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad
36. "Happy" - Despicable Me 2
37. "Let It Go" - Frozen
38. "The Ballad of Star Butterfly" - Star Vs. the Forces of Evil
39. "DuckTales Theme" - DuckTales 1987 and DuckTales 2017
40. "Nations of the World" - Animaniacs
41. "Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride" - Lilo & Stitch
42. "Be Prepared" - Lion King
43. "Glass of Water" - My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
44. "The Greatest - Everyday!" - Pokemon
45. "The World Without Logos" - Hellsing
46. "Shiny" - Moana
47. "True Love's First Kiss" - Shrek
48. "Battlecry" - Samurai Champloo
49. "Kanchigai Lonely Nights" - Space Dandy
50. "Other Friends" - Steven Universe
51. "This Day Aria" - My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
52. "Ain't Got Rhythm" - Phineas & Ferb
53. "To Die For" - Lion King
54. "Vampire Queens Love Pimpernels" - Phineas & Ferb
55. "The Snorks Theme" - The Snorks
56. "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" - Lion King
57. "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch" - How the Grinch Stole Christmas
58. "Ripped Pants" - SpongeBob SquarePants
59. "Floating with You" - The Fairly OddParents
60. "Goof Troop Theme" - Goof Troop

 

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