Monday, December 30, 2013

PTA's Best Music of 2013

Welcome to 2013 through the eyes of PTA! At least, as far as entertainment consumption goes. This week we will roll out our top picks as follows:

Monday – Ken: Music
Tuesday – Patrick: Books
Wednesday -  Chris: Movies
Thursday – Josh: TV Shows
Friday – Brett: Tech

So, let's talk 2013's music!

I don't expect you to pity me (please, don't), but time was I used to be tragically hip when it came to music. But somewhere over the past decade, discovering new music took a back burner. I don't know why, exactly. I still love great music. But now I'm kind of content to just take recommendations from people I trust. Which is why most of my top picks are going to be music you see noted by my friends here on Part Time Authors.


So, this year I was partial to The Civil Wars and Haim. Beautiful and catchy. But I'll let my peers tell you more about that. According to my iTunes, the song that got the most play in 2013 – and this may be partially because of my children – which may be a big part of why I like listening to it, is Imagine Dragons' “I'm On Top of the Word.” It's upbeat and makes me smile every time I listen to it.

Perhaps it should be a “guilty pleasure,” but I also enjoyed the Pink songs I heard on the radio this year. I actually don't own any of her songs, but when she came on the radio, every time, I let it play. She kind of fascinates me. This tough but vulnerable lady. She reminds me of a girl I knew my junior year in high school. We had an accounting class together. She was this tough, but pretty girl who wore ripped jeans and bandanas and could swear like a sailor. I was the clean-cut Mormon kid who sat next to her in the corner of the room. But I could make her laugh. And we chatted every day like we were on an elementary school playground. At the end of the school year, just before I moved from California to Hawaii, she said to me, “I wish we had gone out some time.” To which my mouth answered, “Yeah, me too” but my brain answered, “Don't you dare. You have no idea how to survive in that world.” And Pink reminds me of her, so I can't help but root for her and feel like we would be friends. Like I would get her. (I flatter myself.) Plus Pink has some pipes!

This year has been a whirlwind of Music, there has been new music and there is still the old stuff laying around your car door pockets.  I used to be real into music and a great source to come to when you needed new and upcoming music...but that was the Cranberries and Lisa Loeb and I've not got much else since then.  Lucky for you Brett and Josh and Chris are weighing in...they will have something to say.

However, my favorite song this year was Pink and Nate Ruess.  So, yeah, now it's on FM 100 which means it can't be cool, but I super love both these singers.

Here is the link to a live performance and the thing is...Pink is a singer.

She does everything she can to trick you into thinking she's rough and killer and super duper cool...but she is so casually effortless when she sings.  It's always controlled, even Nate is reaching for some of his notes in this video and Pink is all, 'Ahh, I'll hit those for ya buddy.'

So good.

Also, when I was looking for that link I found this one....

So I guess I liked FUN this year...and forever Janelle Monae.    


Full Albums:
The Civil Wars: The Civil Wars
Mideau: Mideau
HAIM: Days are Gone
Father John Misty: Fear Fun
First Aid Kit: The Lion's Roar
Vampire Weekend: Modern Vampires of the City
Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel...

If I had to pick my favorite song from 2013?

How about two: "Funtimes in Babylon" Father John Misty and "Dust to Dust" The Civil Wars

OK, how about three: "Diane Young" Vampire Weekend

I already posted about Haim, my latest band obsession, and they are definitely the top of my list for 2013. But if I had to pick a song that really stood out to me this year, it's Royals, by Lorde.

The funny thing about 2013 that I will always remember is that this is the year that my kids (ages 9, 8 and 4) started getting into music. I would come home and they would be having dance parties up stairs to music they chose and put on the AppleTV and not something that I chose for them. My sons also decided this year that they needed to listen to the radio when they go to sleep, which means that song lyrics are being implanted into their minds subconsciously. And I will never forget when we were driving in my car and Royals came on my iPod and all my kids started singing along and knew every single word. I'm not sure how appropriate it is for an 8 year old to be singing about Cristal and tigers on a gold leash, but whatever. The song is catchy and fun to sing and I love Lorde's voice and am freaked out by the fact that she was 16 when she recorded that song.

For my guilty pleasure: Let It Go by Idina Menzel on the Frozen soundtrack. We saw this movie with the kids on Christmas Eve and my 4 year old daughter loved it. If you haven't seen it, this is the song where one of the protagonists, Elsa, decides it's time to be herself and stop being controlled by her fears. So it has a cute message. And, no surprise, Idina Menzel wails on it. So yes, I love to see my 4 year old walk around the house singing it. And yes, I've been known to belt it out in my car while driving down I-15.

This was a good year for music. I found a lot of completely new stuff and many of my old favorites released new music as well. The one band that I kept coming back to was Friska Viljor (They’re Swedish.) Here’s a quote from their Wikipedia page:

"So now, there you are, maybe with a little circular plastic piece lying in front of you. Or maybe you have just recently heard of this band and you are now looking at their story on a shiny screen. Anyhow you may not believe it, but that little plastic piece combined with a stereo, or clicking on a sound link on this screen, volume cranked up of course, brings all that life, joy, playfulness and freedom to You, with all the energy that once was dedicated to a now lost love."

And, as it stands now, are my favorite albums and songs from 2013:

Full Albums:
Friska Viljor - Remember Our Name
Mikal Cronin - MCII
The National - Trouble Will Find Me
San Fermin - San Fermin
Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
Matt Pond - The Lives Inside the Lines In Your Hand
Phosphorescent - Muchacho
Avicii - True
Local Natives - Hummingbird
CHVRCHES - The Bones of What You Believe

Honorable Mentions:
John Wizards - John Wizards
London Grammar - If You Want
John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts
The Annuals - Time Stamp
The 1975 - The 1975

Janelle MonĂ¡e - Dance Apocalyptic
Lorde - Royals
Avicii - Hey Brother
JT - Suit and Tie
Daft Punk - Instant Crush
Katie Perry - Roar
Get Free - Major Lazer
Hopeless Wanderer - Mumford and Sons
Tegan and Sara - Closer
Mount Moriah - Younger Days

(Josh here: For your listening pleasure, a spotify playlist of our picks. In the case of whole albums, I just picked a couple tracks from each, and I have no idea if those were the best tracks or not. Remember: I'm the one who picked a song from a Disney movie, so I am not the music authority.)  
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