Friday, December 12, 2014

LISTEN: TOP 100 SONGS OF 2014

Another year is coming to a close, and with it comes a desire to look back at everything that took place. As many other sites and publications tend to do, I will be wrapping the year up with a series of lists and charts detailing what my favorite things were throughout the course of 2014. To start things off, here is my list of the top 100 songs of the year. This is determined solely by how many times I listened to each song, according to last.fm, which seems like a good indication of just how much I liked each track, although it should be noted that songs that were released at the end of the year did have a bit of a disadvantage as a result.

Friday, December 5, 2014

HOTTIE OF THE WEEK: PETE DAVIDSON

via Variety
To say the current season of "Saturday Night Live" is off to a rocky start might be somewhat of an understatement. Sure, there have been some stand out bits, and even a few that have managed to go viral, but for every genuinely funny sketch there are at least 2 that barely elicit a smirk. One of the few bright spots to emerge has been young comedian Pete Davidson, whose appearances have largely been among each episode's funniest. It doesn't hurt that he also has a goofy cuteness about him, and as it turns out, is in surprisingly good physical shape.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

READ: "STATION ELEVEN" BY EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL

Station Eleven My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There's a good reason this book has been appearing on so many of this year's best lists. It tells the tale of our world in the not too distant future, after a major flu outbreak has all but wiped out humanity, something which is all too possible and portrayed here with frightening realism. A few survivors are followed throughout the story, as they struggle to survive, both before and after the catastrophe. The prose is beautiful and the characters wonderful, the plot may seem to meander at times, but it all comes together in the end, to show how the actions of one can have an effect on so many, and even the most seemingly inconsequential events can have such great meaning over the course of time. A literary masterpiece, and easily one of the year's best books.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

READ: "THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE" BY EDWARD O. WILSON

The Meaning of Human Existence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book may not be very long, but it does leave you with a lot to think about. The title is somewhat misleading, as of course that answer isn't really provided. I can't say I expected it would be as that is possibly something we can't ever really "know". That being said, the essays within leave you with a lot of pieces of the puzzle to help you piece it together as best as possible for yourself. Much of the book focuses on the scientific reasons for our existence, meaning evolution, but not just of the physical variety, but also the sociological, which provided for many of the book's most fascinating moments. I don't know that I feel all that much closer to understanding the meaning of human existence, but I do feel I learned some interesting things about the very nature of humanity, and that's something.

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OPINION: TAYLOR SWIFT IS JUST GREEDY

There probably aren't too many people that don't have at least some knowledge of Taylor Swift's recent decision to remove her entire catalog from streaming music service Spotify. The story was picked up by many media outlets when it broke, and has been inspiring many artists to speak out and offer their take on the matter since then. Suffice it to say that the decision hasn't exactly hurt sales of Ms. Swift's latest album, but it is also worth noting that she is one of the few people in the music industry at the moment who could realistically afford such a move, especially in light of Billboard's recent announcement that they will begin counting song streams towards their Top 200 albums chart.

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HOTTIE OF THE WEEK: GRANT GUSTIN

via Fitmales


There was never any denying that Grant Gustin was attractive, but during his screen time on "Glee" his character was such an unrepentant asshole, it was hard to think anything remotely positive about him. Now though, with his new role as superhero on the CW's "Flash", it is far easier to get into him, and given the nature of CW programming, it is also far more likely to see him get out of his clothing.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

READ: "THE BONE CLOCKS" BY DAVID MITCHELL

The Bone Clocks My rating: 5 of 5 stars

David Mitchell is one of the best authors working today, and his latest novel only serves to solidify that opinion. Much like his previous work, "Cloud Atlas", "The Bone Clocks" is structured as a series of unique, but interconnected novellas. Unlike "Cloud Atlas" however, this book functions much more as a logical, complete story. In the first section we meet British teenager Holly Sykes, who runs away from home after a fight with her mother and a bad breakup with her first boyfriend. Each section after that is from a different person's perspective, and is written in their unique voices, with Holly appearing in each to varying degrees of importance. As things move along, it also becomes gradually more and more apparent that something fantastical in nature is occurring and that all the characters so far are somehow involved, before the 5th section, when the book goes into all out fantasy mode. Some don't like the very bleak, sci-fi 6th section that wraps things up, but I personally loved it, and felt it provided just the right amount of closure without being cloyingly sweet. The characters in this novel are all wonderful, and there are bits of brilliant dialogue scattered heavily throughout. The overarching plot is engaging and wraps up very nicely. So many little things that happen in the beginning come back to matter at the end, it is mind-boggling just how much effort Mr. Mitchell must have to put into plotting his novels out. And the very, very end is so satisfying, it qualifies as one of the best individual "moments" in literature this year, possibly this decade. Everything that came before adds together to one perfectly planned out moment, when the ultimate message becomes clear: That everything we do matters, and all of our lives have a purpose. Honestly, I would love to know what happens next.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

HOTTIE OF THE WEEK: EDDIE REDMAYNE

via My Populars
Just what is hot can vary wildly from person to person, and English actor Eddie Redmayne may not be the typical example of hotness, but there is something about his boyish looks, red hair, and freckles that makes him irresistible. His acting chops certainly don't hurt either, as evidenced by his breakout role as Stephen Hawking in the new movie "The Theory of Everything", which already has him pegged as a strong front runner for this year's Best Actor Oscar. And as we all know, being the owner of one of those trophies doesn't exactly make anyone less sexy.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

LISTEN: AZEALIA BANKS "BROKE WITH EXPENSIVE TASTE"


It's rare that an artist comes along who so deftly blends underground credibility with pop sensibilities, but rapper Azealia Banks pulls the combination off perfectly. The driving house beats and weird techno instrumentation might keep her material off of mainstream radio, but the hooky melodies and interesting lyrics will keep you coming back for me upon first hearing them. There are 1 or 2 misfires on this album, but it is nevertheless one of the strongest LP's released this year, and definitely worth a spin. Oh, and while it doesn't matter as far as the listening experience is concerned, I love the cover art.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

LISTEN: ROB CANTOR "SHIA LABEOUF LIVE"


This is easily one of the best pop tunes released all year, while also being one of the strangest. An Orson Welles sounding voice tells the tale of actor Shia LaBeouf stalking the listener through a slasher movie narrative over a jazzy beat and dramatic string arrangements, complete with a weirdly epic and catchy chorus. I am instantly in love.